The weather is actually looking and feeling like October, hurray! I love this time of year and always think of some great Halloweens we experienced when our kiddos were ages “trick or treat”.
As we approach the 31st another favorite comes to mind. His name is William Joyce and he is my all time favorite author / illustrator of children’s books. I’m guessing this incredibly talented man and his family are busy getting ready for Halloween as he does every year at his home in Shreveport, Louisiana. The measures Joyce goes to in decorating each year are amazing. Lucky guests!
Back in ’97, while we were stationed at Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa, Japan, I was introduced to the Internet for the first time ever by a fellow first-grade-mom, Marilyn, who showed me how the whole thing worked. Do you remember that discovery?
Well, when you are on an island that is less than 70 miles long and no greater than 20 miles wide, you learn all you can to keep yourself from going island mad! As I ventured into emailing and surfing the web, Marilyn and I decided to create a website. She created one about her family and I decided to create one about William Joyce. Since there was absolutely nothing on the web about him, I figured this would be a good subject. We worked day and night to complete our sites as if we had some urgent deadline to meet.
Everything I created on The Wonderful World of William Joyce was done from scans. All the images on my site were from me scanning and resizing pages from my own books or articles I may have collected over the years. It was a true labor of love and a simple attempt to stay sane while living so far from home! I completed my site, Marilyn completed hers, and we were on to snorkeling, tide-pooling with the kids, coaching soccer, learning how to roll sushi, etc…
I would peek in on my site now and again just to see if anyone had visited it. After a few years I was surprised to start getting emails from William Joyce fans that found the site thru a search engine. At first, I was able to keep up and reply to posts from all over the country, but after a few years, I simply got busy with other things, and LOST my login details. I eventually emailed someone about eight years ago and requested my password. I was able to catch up on the many guestbook posts, and update my age to 38.
Now, at 46, at least 2 PCs later and elbow deep into running our shop, I have not had luck getting my login information, again. Too many mergers of Yahoo, geocities and such will, most likely, keep me forever 38 years old on my site! If you come across any ‘dead-links’ you’ll know why.
I hope you will take time to, not only read about William Joyce, but also venture into a bookstore or library and enjoy his titles and creative spirit!
There are two things that have stayed with me regarding cooking dos and donts that I learned in a gourmet cooking class in college.
~ Always tear (never cut) lettuce into bite size pieces so guest can eat their salad with ease.
~ Anything that is offered on a plate should be edible. (this could explain the excessive use of parsley sprigs in the 80s :)
I still consider and stick with these two rules, but there is one exception I make when it comes to cupcakes. I think it is perfectly acceptable to dress a cupcake up with a pick or topper! I know they're not edible, but since they are a fun and inexpensive way to dress up a party, I say 'go for it'!
As a kid, I clearly remember collecting those funky chenille and plastic toppers when they showed up on cupcakes in the bakery during the holidays. They were simple and the whole miniature aspect of them makes them an immediate hit.
Today there are many toppers to choose from at party supply stores and online shops. You can even create your own! We have had many customers show us some very festive toppers that will go on the cupcakes they are picking up from our shop. While we do the baking, customers are all too happy to focus on that perfect table display. Here are a few places to look for toppers: Party Warehouse, Party City, or make your own with Martha Stewart instructions!
If you are from Fort Worth, or visit often, chances are you have a few favorite spots that you frequent. For me one of those areas is Historic Handley! I discovered some wonderful shops in this little community just off East Lancaster about six years ago while driving around Fort Worth.
There’s a tiny antique shop called Eastside Antiques, located in the old Handley Post Office. I have found some great plate stands, old photos and glass pieces in this little nook. If you’re lucky enough to sneak a peak, you’ll be impressed by the shop cat, Baby. This wee kitty tip-toes among the many breakable treasures on the lookout for the next best napping spot. I am extremely allergic to some cats, but have never so much as sneezed while watching as Baby leaves everything undisturbed.
A few other favorite spots are Paper Planet, Crème de la Crème, and Sunny’s which is located in the gorgeous old Weller House. I’m guessing a story goes with the Weller name, but I always forget to ask. If anyone out there knows, please share! For those that love gift shops, Sunny’s is well worth visiting.
Crème de la Crème is owned by Jamie Holder who has been turning out wedding cakes for over a dozen years here in the DFW area. She opened this sweet spot a few years ago, and shares a ‘walk-thru’ wall with Paper Planet, an adorable paper/stationary shop!
When this little venture into baking cupcakes for a living came to mind almost four years ago, the first thing I wanted to know was: did a bakery even exist that baked just cupcakes? Since my search-engine of choice is Google, I went straight there and typed in ‘cupcake shops’ to see what, if anything, would pop up.
The first result to appear was a site called All Cupcakes All the Time. I clicked it and found myself at a blog titled Cupcakes Take The Cake, and I was immediately hooked! This blog was created by three gals in New York City and is dedicated to any and all cupcake topics.
Now remember, I was in search of anyone that sold just cupcakes, and when I stumbled upon Cupcakes Take The Cake there were a mere handful of cupcake shops listed. I was actually happy to discover that the idea of a cupcakery wasn't completely crazy.
Most of the shops listed were in NYC, like: Magnolia Bakery, Buttercup Bake Shop, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, there was one in Toronto, and Sibby’s in the Bay area. There may have been others, but those are the ones that I remember. I became a frequent visitor to this festive site!
Rachel, Nichelle and Allison have nurtured Cupcakes Take The Cake and turned it into an amazingly fun experience. They were even featured on Martha Stewart’s Cupcake Week in recent months. The list of cupcake shops on their site has boomed to some 200 plus locations worldwide! You can read our interview from January 2007.
It’s been great fun watching Cupcakes Take The Cake grow into quite the busy-blog! Thanks to three energetic and creative young ladies the rest of us get to experience the growing community of cupcakes with just a click!