Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Craft Fair Countdown!

A popular theme on the Etsy team discussion boards is "I want to quit my day job and pursue crafting full time." Everytime I read this, I can't help but think "Oh reaaaaaally?" Don't get me wrong - I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that I could quit my old job to work on Bit of Sugar full time. However, it's not peachy keen 100% of the time . . . maybe just 95% of the time :) I wanted to do a series on just exactly what goes into running a full time crafting business. Now is the perfect time because Brad and I have a HUGE (35,000+ people) show, Made in Hawaii, in exactly one month. Come join us for the extremely stressful, but enormously rewarding work that goes into prepping for a major show!

Day 31: Personal Prep

When Victoria's Secret has a 7 panties for $25 sale, I stock up.  And what does that have to do with craft fairs, you ask?  Simple - there is no time to do laundry the month or two before show.  Brad and I did 14 loads of laundry to make sure we have enough clothes, towels, etc. to make sure we have enough clothes to last us through the next month.  Isn't being a full time crafter oh-so-glamorous?  

The next item on the list was toilet paper - so off to Costco for 36 rolls of toilet paper, shampoo, and garbage bags.  Yes, we become so engrossed with production that we do not want to run to the store to buy toilet paper one week before the show.  And we poop a lot.  I told you crafting is glam!

But you can't poop without food!  So it was off to Whole Foods for Veganaise, tofu, avocados, soy milk, and lots of veggies.  We HAVE to do everything possible to stay healthy before a show.  If either Brad or I get sick, production stops and we don't make the merchandise we need to have a successful show.  No co-workers to help pick up the slack here.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Polyjuice Featured on Etsy Finds Newsletter

This past week, we were so lucky to be included in the Etsy Finds shopping newsletter.  Our Harry Potter inspired Polyjuice Potion was featured in the "Embrace Your Geekiness Day" email and we feel so honored to be alongside some super clever products like the Yoda in Love card.  Thank you, Etsy!

           Etsy Finds Newsletter Feature
Polyjuice Potion (just in case you don't feel like being yourself today)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mexican Candies and Cookies

One of my favorite things to do on vacation is sample new foods, and this includes somewhat exotic candies, cookies, and snacks.  On the second night of our trip, my sister Sarah and I raided Oxxo (a Mexican mini-mart) for any type of treat not found in the US. 


I really, really, really wanted to love the Bubu Lubu.  How can you NOT love a candy named Bubu Lubu?  Alas, it was just okay.  It reminded me of those chocolate covered marshmallow Santa Claus shaped candies that everyone used to use as stocking stuffers . . . you know, the ones you throw away.

 Bubu Lubu    

My favorite sweet was Mamut, a dense cookie and marshmallow fluff covered in a hard chocolate shell.  Apparently, they're available in the US, but I haven't seen them anywhere in Hawaii.  If anyone finds them, I'd gladly trade some Bit of Sugar merchandise for a box of these!

On the complete opposite end of the yummy spectrum is this Indy Dedos crap.  Imagine vomiting up a puddle of bile, letting it evaporate, sprinkling on a bit of tabasco sauce and you get the picture.  

Monday, July 11, 2011

Patisserie Ideal, Mexico City

Mexico City is home to many culinary delights, but the sweetest ones can be found at Patisserie Ideal in the Central Historic district.  The unassuming store front features just two tiered cakes, but step past the security guard blocking the door (the first hint this is not your ordinary bakery), and enter a world concocted of butter, sugar, and gum paste.  The second floor features an amazing cake gallery, and I'm still not sure if the cakes were "fake baked" or made from some sort of hard, edible frosting.


This cake was probably close to 15' tall.

Could these clowns be any creepier? 

Bride of Chucky Cake

Downstairs, cookies, cakes, tarts, pies, and molded gelatins are jammed into every nook and cranny.  There's nothing better than the smell of 10,000 cookies! 

Individual chocolate cakes
Mom in front of case that housed thousands of cookies *yum*

Don't expect to see any stalagmite-ridden clown cakes in the Bit of Sugar collection anytime soon.  As incredible as those gigantic cakes were, they definitely didn't appeal to my aesthetic.  It seems that Mexicans love over-sized pastries they can eat without a fork and knife, and little attention is given to the presentation.  While I appreciate the practicality of Mexican pastries, I think I'll stick to dainty, French-inspired Japanese desserts like green tea macarons and honeydew melon parfaits. 


I spent most of June traveling up and down the west coast of North America, from Vancouver, British Colombia all the way down past the equator to Mexico City.  Along the way, I found a few sweets that definitely inspired me to crank out some new clay confections for the Bit of Sugar store.

While in Seattle, Mom, Angelo, and I stopped in for dinner and dessert at one of my favorite confectioneries, Dilettante in the Capital Hill district.  Baby brother Angel, only 20, indulged in one the signature hot chocolates.  It was so rich my lactose intolerant stomach took one sip and started crying.  Oh, but it was sooooo delicious . . .

Dilettante Hot Chocolate

Mom and I both had the Sea Salt Caramel martini made with Ephemere truffle sauce (Dilettante's signature chocolate), fresh cream caramel sauce, vodka, caramel Bailey's, and garnished with a salted coco rim.  Now mind you, I'm usually a 2-3 martini type of girl, but after one sip, I knew I wouldn't be ordering another one.  At $10, I initially thought it was a pretty pricey drink, but this pretty little glass is potent enough to make any frat boy woozy.  The vodka felt a little vaporous going down, which makes me think they're using low-quality booze.  That's a big no-no in my book!  The chocolate, caramel, and salt didn't overpower the vodka and overall, the drink was good but not great.  Pretty to look at and take pics of?  Certainly!  Would I order it again?  Nope.

Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Martini

*Nom Nom*  Angelo's plate of grilled flat iron steak had tomatoes skewered on rosemary sticks and it smelled so delicious!  As they say on Iron Chef Japan, "My nose hairs felt like they were being tickled by herbs from heaven."  Lil' brudder has become quite the foodie this past year and his "specialty"  is steak.  He loved every last bite of his meal, and if I remember correctly, I think he voluntarily ate his veggies with no nagging from Mom. 

Grilled Flat Iron Steak

Mama had the grilled gouda and tomato sandwich and some type of cream soup.  She's a germaphobe so I didn't taste her food.  She always offers us a bite, but we know better . . . While it smelled delicious, it also looked very, very rich.  This is probably the best grilled cheese sandwich I never ate :)

Grilled gouda and tomato sandwich with soup

My choice was the Hungarian meatloaf, which is ground meat wrapped in bacon. I don't like red meat all that much and I hate bacon, so I must have been feeling anemic to choose this.  I can literaly count on my fingers the number of times I've had bacon in my life.  My initial plan was to unwrap the meatloaf and give all the bacon to Angelo, but I think this bacon came from a magical pig because it was super scrumptious!  Now that it's been a few weeks since we ate at Dilettante, I feel sick just looking at this pic . . . can you say protein poisoning?  At the time, though, it was so so so delicious and I would recommend this to any carnivore!

Hungarian Meatloaf

BACON! Magical pig bacon!
And now for the best part of dinner -  Dilettante is known for their extravagant, rich desserts.  You won't find fancy French desserts with names that no American can pronounce.  Dilettante does familiar, classic desserts, and they do them very, very well.  I just wish they had a dessert sampler offering because I wanted to try them all!

Angelo had a classic ice cream sundae.  Nothing fancy, just rich, creamy vanilla ice cream with yummy toppings.

Mama had the Strawberry Chantilly.  I did try a bite of her cake (and transferred my germs) and it was just right.  The cake was fluffy, the frosting was light and airy, and it was not overly sweet.  The almonds, however, I did not care for because of textural reasons. 

Strawberry Chantilly

I'm embarrassed to say that I don't remember the name of what I ordered.  I believe it was the Mocha Praline, but I can't be sure.  Please cut me some slack because ridiculously strong martini + protein overdose + sugar = food coma.  All I know is that it was REALLY, REALLY good and I went into Beagle Mode.  What is Beagle mode, you ask?  Beagles don't have the ability to moderate their food intake, so if provided the means, they will eat and eat and eat until their stomachs literally explode. 

Mocha Praline

For those of you in Hawaii, come visit us at Made in Hawaii at the Blaisdell Center from 8/19-8/21.  We'll have a couple of miniature cakes inspired by the confections served at Dilettante!