September was the month where things really started rolling for me, but what did not really start rolling was… Dooner’s preschool. Also, we spent a good portion of the month with at least one of us battling the same cold. We’re hoping to all go to church together tomorrow for the first time after five weeks! So, I’ve gotten to start all the things, but all the things that were supposed to stop, didn’t really. In other words, it was busy.
The Changing Winds
This month started out a little cooler, but with some beautiful double-positive digit days in there. It’s ending just below freezing, with 50-70 kph winds. My wrists are sore with the humid chill of this time of year.
I harvested the last of our radishes, and a good shake of kale, from my little garden. I’m letting the kale keep on for a bit, just to see what happens. The tomato plants didn’t end up with time and warmth enough for their little green fruits to mature. Next year I will make windows in the back flap of the garden as well as the front to give more sun to both sides, and hopefully add a little more soil. I will add some lettuce to the crop, and eschew the spinach and herbs, which did not work. More basil indoors; my one successful basil plant has given us two dinners’ worth of pesto already! And the kids actually like pesto! This reminds me, I need to go dig up my beets and see if they grew.
This was my first month officially working for Wool n’ Spinning! I have to tell you, out of all the hats I’m wearing right now, this is the one that I am finding most life-giving. I always knew this community was supportive, but they have just poured out the love for me joining. It feels amazing to believe that I can offer something of value to the community’s supporters, and give Rachel the support she needs to keep this going and growing.
This is a little peek at the yarn I made for my first episode of the Wool Circle. Of course, producing this content and leading a study group helps me grow too, big time. Teaching about sampling is forcing me to get my thoughts in order about it, which is always rewarding. This month was more about the sampling process in general, and measuring yarns. In October I’m exploring sampling from raw fleece, and getting more into questions of what kind of sampling to do for different projects.
I also finished the 2022 Breed and Color Study!
At the beginning of the month, I finished the red braid of Radnor, seen below next to the blue yarn spun in August.
Then, on the penultimate day of the month, I finished a combo spin of both colorways, with a 2:1 ratio of the blue colorway to the red. I love how they balance in those proportions.
I need to finish a Secret Knitting before I start these last few pairs of socks, but I’m fairly itching to do so. I’m happy enough for the motivation. What socks shall I spin for next? Just kidding, I already know.
Speaking of knitting, that has been happening around here too. While I was waiting for more yarn on the Secret Knitting, I got back into the handspun Weel Riggit sweater that had been languishing on the needles for some time.
It was my evening knitting for a solid week, during which time I got through the body up to the armholes. I’ve stalled out a bit here, though. I can’t seem to bring myself to cast on for the sleeves. I rather need to get over myself.
I also finally finished a really big thing. This will get its own post, once I figure out how on earth to photograph it. But it was so extremely long in the making, I don’t feel in any hurry to finish the blogging instantaneously.
Cake (for pups and peeps)
This was another record-setting month for cakes! I count 18 below, plus one that I forgot to photograph. Again, I didn’t bother with nice, well-staged, big-camera pictures this month. I have been hesitant to add to my Facebook portfolio because I’m getting more business than I know what to do with. But I’ll share them here, because I like the perspective of “good grief I did all that.”
First, Something Completely Different. Sisko had his first birthday on September 6th, and MiniMighty simply insisted that we make him a “pupcake,” a recipe out of one of her books. It’s basically mashed banana and peanut butter, mixed in with dog food, and frozen in muffin tins. Diamond got one too. They dispatched these in less time than it took me to sit down at the table after putting the plate on the floor.
It’s hard to believe that my Little Man has been part of our family for a whole year! He’s reached his probably-maximum size of 45 lbs, which is not enormous, but certainly at the max of what we can handle. I haven’t had enough time for him in quite a while, but he still loves me. We’re so lucky to have him and his mum in our lives.
No, on to people cake. In no particular order.
I had this interesting order for a “Stranger Things” cake, ordered by a mother for her daughter. I didn’t really know what that meant, and neither did the mum, but I found a design with Google, and sent it to my sisters for approval. Not for the first time, a mold from my kids play-doh tools (properly sanitized, of course) came in handy. I’d have liked to brush the waffles with something more textural, but I don’t have powdered food colors on hand. The lights and waffles are made of fondant.
This was a funny one, from an RCMP family saying goodbye to one of their members moving away. The top says “Crap you’re leaving.” I got the idea from google, and it was my first time both actually covering a cake with fondant, and getting to use my nifty stitching texture tool.
This was a small cake made as a gift for a friend for her wedding anniversary.
My second go at an LOL cake! This time I used fondant for the eyes and other facial details, to get them more sharp and cartoony. I don’t really have a way to get the outlines of the buttercream used for the rest of the design really sharp, but using fondant for the whole thing would have been a little too challenging. These designs are fussy and difficult and stressful, but just SO DANG CUTE at the end.
This was my attempt to fulfill a specific design request, but the lettering didn’t come out how I wanted. I did green first, but it didn’t stand out with the green on the top, so I added black… well, live and learn, and the customer still loved it. It’s a red velvet cake inside too, so that’s fun.
This pair of cakes is for two sisters who live on our street. The one who visits us all the time asked for “purple, with black swirls” so I worked that into the design, and coordinated for her sister. I like how they came out; I wanted those girls to have something nice.
Oh, Pikachu! I love this design (found on Google); it was so simple yet effective! The birthday boy, a neighbor kid, made my day when he looked in the box and said, “I love it!” I did a similar Bluey design, which I sadly forgot to take a picture of.
You get two pictures of this next one! The order was for a Harry Potter cake. I piped stripes onto the sides, then dragged them with the bench scraper for the effect you see. After that, it was just playing with fondant.
I’m particularly fond of the golden snitch. All the luster dust, all the time!!!
I’m glad I had a second chance to make a mermaid cake, after my first one didn’t come out in the baking. They just paid for a two-layer, but I had some extra cake, so I made it a tiny two-tier just for fun.
Then there was the epic cake! I won’t say anything else about that, as I have tooted my own horn quite enough.
On that big cake weekend, I got a request for a cake for a little friend of mine. I wouldn’t have taken the order for anyone else, but I didn’t want to let him down. Unfortunately it didn’t bake completely, grr! That’s the only time this happened all month at least; I’ve gotten ruthless about baking my cakes extra long to make sure they’re cooked.
Then there’s the Blues Clues cake! On this and Dustin’s cake, you can again see the judicious use of lots of fondant decorations on buttercream frosting. I really like decorating this way. I’m pretty proud of how the little characters came out. The wee clock is my favorite.
Then, there was this weekend.
Those last four cakes? They were all delivered yesterday.
It’s awesome that folks have been supporting my business so extravagantly. This culture is incredibly supportive of cottage industry, and I’ve never had a suggestion that I give a “friends discount,” and almost never been questioned about my prices. Over the last three months, I’ve been able to use that income to invest in new equipment for my podcast, and get a real start on the nest egg I need for long-term project goals.
That said, I really need to cut back. I’m limiting myself to two orders per week in October. I’m writing this here so you can give me a hard time if my cake tally next month is still out of control.