What an amazing Christmas season that was. Filled with some amazing customers, great baking projects and a few sleepless nights as I learned my limitations. Many a night I would just flop, fully-clothed, into bed next to my husband Mr. B, leaving a big puff of flour in my wake.
But after experiencing what baking full-time can be, I’m filled with excitement for the future. Sometimes I take a moment, sit back with a cuppa tea and let my mind wander to all the future possibilities that my skill sets will allow. If there’s anything the past year has taught me, it’s that all things are really possible if you put your mind to it.
That last cornball of a sentence is something I always heard growing up but filed it away with other sentences like “a bird in the hand is worth three in the bush,” or “a picture’s worth a thousand words” or a multitude of other phrases you tuck away in the back of your mind with the cobwebs. When I started, I envisioned what I wanted, figured out the steps to get to it, and invested the time and effort into making it happen. Makes sense, right? But I never really imagined it would work.
Working for yourself and trying to build a business is hard, backbreaking work, but the payoff is immense. The feedback from customers and readers of this blog, as well as the personal pride payoff is what’s kept me going so far. And the hope that doing what I love will one day pay off in the same way that previous mind-numbing, unrewarding jobs did. But until then, keeping my brain active is payoff enough – not checking the clock every 15 minutes, waiting for my lunch break.
What I’m trying to get at here in a roundabout way, is this:
Thank you for last year.
Thank you, my wonderful clients with their great ideas and big smiles. I’ve gotten a lot of hugs on delivery and even the occasional tear of happiness; there’s no better payoff than that.
Thank you to the Ottawa Foodies – other bloggers, bakers and just plain eaters who have been an endless source of ideas and encouragement and who welcomed me into their community with open arms.
And thank you to the readers; you whose eyes are currently skimming this sentence. I watch my readership go up with every blog post and I get a tingly kind of excited – the kind that starts in my toes and works its way up to a blush in my cheeks. Sorry about the typos. And my overuse of the word ‘awesome.’
Alright, enough mushy stuff, let’s get to the goods – the baked goods, if you will.
You remember that awesome Ottawa foodie community I was talking about? Well one active blogger / tweeter / all around awesome lady that I like to follow is The Vanilla Bean Baker (Paula, or @VanillaBeanBake as she’s known on twitter.) She makes some beautiful cookies, this one. And she won’t admit it, but her cupcakes are quite tasty too! (I know, having scarfed one down at Ottawa’s Capital Cupcake Camp last fall.)
She graciously passed along some extra business my way for a 90th birthday party. After some discussions with the client, I came up with some cookie sketches along the same theme – Gardening:
I’m a bit of a… ah, what would be the word… Perfectionist? Over-thinker? Wait – no, *crazy person.* I’m a bit of a *crazy person* so I plan out each and every cookie step in advance, figuring out which colours need to be made and what order they need to be applied in, laid out in my trusty Geek Sweets moleskine:
Once I had all my T’s crossed and my I’s dotted, I went at it, hunched over at my kitchen table, taking a break only to throw some Chicken Korma from Ottawa’s amazing Basmatti down my gullet. I’m super happy with how they turned out. Here’s a closer look:
As these were being given out to party guests as take-away’s I thought it would be a good idea to individually package them so people could just slip them into their purse / pocket and nom on them later. Not that there’s any shame in just tearing into them and nomming away right at the party. Maybe not while driving home however. Safety before sweets, I always say. (Yeah, I never say that.)
We brought them to my husband’s EB Games to use their shrinkwrapper to seal off the end of the bags. He’s a good fellah.
So these cookies? Great fun. Probably the most complicated I’ve done but I had a lot of fun figuring out all the ins and outs that went into making them. And then guess what? Someone paid me to make them! I love my job.