Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cotton Pickin' Fair!!

The first show of the holiday season is Gay, Georgia and the Cotton Pickin Fair. It is not our usual Junior League event - but one we love. It is so Americana and brings to mind a different time when our lives were not so overwhelming. Situated on an old family farm with original cotton and peach sheds, the train passes right behind our vendor area. Trains are one of my favorite things, so the whistle and sound of the wheels on the tracks are not a distraction but a pleasure to hear.

There are two stages that have performances throughout the day -
Sunday morning church is also held here.

We have had the same area for our booth for 4 fairs. We love it - it is a covered area next to a peach shed!

There are thousands of people who attend this fair - from several surrounding states. We have lots of repeat customers here.

Next stop - Martha's Market in Charlottesville, Virginia

Monday, October 10, 2011

Christmas in October???

It has been a longgggg weekend at Home and Garden! Today is the official open house for the holiday season and everyone (about 20) worked to turn the store into a wonderland. It seems early, until you realize that there are only 6 weeks till Thanksgiving and most people decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving. It is a little difficult to give each holiday it's due - right now we have Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas - all filling every space in 3500 sq feet. Needless to say ...things get a little messy:

Selma - the kitchen is her area!

Jeanne - who is our master decorator!

                                                         Mason - keeping it all together

                                                       Cindy who tries to keep us straight (to no avail)            

                                                         Kerri (left) our nursing student

                                                        Jessica - our Wofford connection

BUT - after many, many hours, they all come together to be beautiful!

Don't think that decorating is all we did this weekend! We had a customer who was giving a party for her friend that loves Halloween - so Kristen did her magic:

But.....that's not all we did this weekend.....

We also hand sifted, handpacked and boxed almost 500 Sugah Cakes!! We just returned from Gay, Georgia for the Cotton Pickin' Fair and we are restocking for our next show - Charlottesville, Virginia's Martha's Market. Love Charlottesvile. Would love to see y'all there!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

AAARRGH! Treasure hunt on a deserted island!!

Last full week before school starts and trying to find an exciting adventure for the kids! Last fall we bought a boat so we could spend time with the kids and stay in our favorite city - Charleston. This has been a learning experience, to say the least. Who knew how hard it was to drive a boat??
Anyway, I digress. We needed excitement, we needed adventure - we needed pirates!
First on my list was costumes - plastic swords, eyepatches and bandanas with skull and crossbones. A treasure chest full of jewels and more importantly - cookies - sugah cookies!!!
Unfortunately, the weather, tropical storm Emily, and excessive heat postponed our adventure. This is the view from our deck looking towards downtown Charleston:
 I still am excited about this event and will keep you posted - think it will make a great photo shoot. It also helps my daughter-in-law is a professional photographer.

This week has been full of special orders for event cookies - Olivia, tie-dyed peace symbols and first birthday cupcakes:

Having cookies to match the invitation is the perfect little party favor. Kristen can make a cookie to match almost every invitation we have - and we have hundreds!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Last bite of the big apple -

Last day in NYC,  and I don't think my feet could take another day!

or Kristen's shoes - worn out!

 Kristen and I finished up at the stationery show. We had to check out a few things we made notes about. Actually found some new ideas for our Sugah Cakes booth - inspiration in the strangest places. Went straight from the show to Ground Zero. I have not been in a couple years and it is amazing how much progress has been made. It will be a beautiful sight when they are finished. Then to Chelsea market. Only Kristen and I consider food vendors as tourist attractions. Loved watching the bread makers at Amy's, the Italian market to marvel at the cheeses and pasta and the bowery kitchen shop to again do "market research". Next stop Dean and Deluca in SoHo. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a Dean and DeLuca on the corner from your house?
Subway - thought I was a pro but I missed my stop - had to get off and go back and then the train didn't stop!!! So back again on the next train and finally off at Spring street and hiked over to Little Italy for lunch. What could be better?
Last on our list for the day was Sweet Revenge. Everyone has seen the Chase Ink commercial about the girl that lost her corporate job and started a cupcake and wine bar. Again, lots of walking and sore feet. Gave in and took a cab back to the hotel.
All in all a fabulous day, but we are looking forward to being home. We found some lovely items for the store and got some great ideas. Come see us!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

SugahCakes goes to the Big Apple

Up at 3:30 AM and off to Charlotte to catch an early flight to NY. Kristen and I are attending the NY stationery show and doing "market research" tasting cupcakes all over town! As soon as we arrived we hit the streets and walked for miles. Even though it was a little overcast the weather was perfect. -  Here's Kristen at Rockefeller Center - the flowers everywhere are in full bloom.
We saw Wicked Saturday night and loved it!! The music is fabulous and the story so cleverly played off  the Wizard of Oz. There is nothing like Broadway, and Times Square at night is always a thrill:
If you have never been to a trade show - it is hard to imagine how much "stuff" there is. The New York Stationery show is HUGE. Again, miles of walking and tons of stationery and paper and notecards and greeting cards and gifts and wrapping paper and and and and - you get the idea! One more day of the show and lots more "market research", then home on Tuesday. So much to see - would love to have all week - but don't know if my feet could take it!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Back to reality

Back in to the swing of things after a weekend in Gay - BUT not for long. Kristen and I are off to the Big Apple for the stationery show! Great excuse to visit one of my favorite places. As much as I am all about being Southern, I do love New York. We will have a great time sampling the food, visiting all the cupcake shops there and we are seeing Wicked on Saturday night.
We made lunch for Hawk and Tom (97.3) this am, so I was at the store bright and early at 5:30am (did I really say bright? It was still dark!) I think they thoroughly enjoyed the food, even at that time of the morning. Sent some of my favorite cupcakes, too!

Sweet thoughts,


Saturday, May 7, 2011

What a perfect day in Gay, GA! Our third trip to the Cotton Pickin' Fair and it gets better each time. Today the weather was a crystal clear day with highs near 80 but cool in the morning. Lots of repeat customers and friends from our previous trips.
We are staying at the Pine Mountain Club Chalets, up the road in Pine Mountain (near Callaway Gardens Darling chalet with a large screen porch - grilling dinner and resting up for tomorrow. Mother's Day - but I am happy to be
I have had a revelation about baking cakes on this trip. We have been just about everywhere in the southeast and Texas baking cakes for shows. When people tell me their cakes never turn out, I am always amazed. Today at the chalet my cake got too brown in the oven. Over the years as owner of Home and Garden, we have done hundreds of cooking classes, and it is amazing how many women do not have the appropriate tools in the kitchen. It occurred to me today that most people don't think about their oven - just the cooktop. A convection oven makes baking a breeze - even temperature and a nice crisp top. Checking the temp and "hotspots" will make everything you bake turn out a little more perfectly!
Looking forward to another day at the "fair" - will fill you in tomorrow!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Take Out Valentine's Day

This is the first "20's" installment.

Since we have only been married for a year, this was our  first married Valentine's Day. For us the perfect dinner was take out Thai food and a picnic during Julie and Julia.

Have you seen Julie and Julia? It is such a good movie...make sure to see it if you haven't...and then get cooking!

We decided to watch the movie again because it has the best Valentines scene. In the movie, Julia Child has an intimate Valentines dinner with friends. Everyone is wearing big construction paper hearts on their lapels. It's a very sweet scene, and was even the inspiration for our engagement party. Instead of paper hearts, our hostesses gave everyone red flashing hearts. The night was a blast and Valentine's Day will always be a special and sentimental day for the two of us now!

Our only homemade goodie eaten during Valentine's Day was made here at the store. We enjoyed one of the new "Hostess" Cupcakes that Ann and Kristen have been making. They are incredible! Come try one, but come early, because they sell out fast!

Did everyone have a sweet and fun Valentine's Day, too? 

Post by Beth McCord

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Twas the night before Valentine's.........

After working all weekend, we finally finished up late this afternoon. Several hundred conversation heart sugah cookies and dozens of red velvet cakes later, the store looks sweet to say the least. Being involved with the SugahCakes group is a wonderful experience. We span the decades and yet have worked together with one common goal. Many times we talk about the fact that we would make a great reality TV show. Mostly because of our main man - JC. 6'4" - 240 as he likes to say, he is the strong, but not so silent type.
Jessie is one of our teenagers who has worked for me about 3 years. Soon to be going off to college - she has learned to do just about anything in the store from printing stationery and invitations to baking cakes.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Almost Valentine's Day

No - not a romantic weekend getaway for this holiday of the heart. Kristen and I are busy being cupid for what seems like all of Spartanburg! Hundreds of conversation heart cookies and dozens of red velvet cakes left to go before Monday. That's not even counting the dozens of cupcakes! Valentines day is sure to be a sweet one. I think what I want for Valentine's Day is a pair of "sole warmer" booties from Do Not Disturb. Heated in the microwave, you rub your feet with lotion and slip them into these heated fuzzy boots and relax! My feet would love it after this weekend.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Feels like Spring

Know we have a long way to go - but it certainly feels like Spring today! "A young mans thoughts turn to love" - isn't that how the saying goes? The best way to send a message may be Conversation Heart cookies from SugahCakes. We are taking orders for these cute (and yummy) cookies now. They will be available this month and we will have them on hand after Feb. 7. I would suggest placing an order though. Kristen can customize the saying if she has advance notice.

The store is beginning to look like Spring, too. It has been a long cold winter and it is only February 1st! Hopefully we have seen the last of the snow. Two major snowfalls for us is more than necessary.
Subetha has been working her magic at the store - decorating and adding flowers everywhere. We are having big shipments arrive everyday (why do I buy so much???), so there is much to do. It always amazes me, after all these years, how the look of the store can change so dramatically from season to season. As much as I love Christmas, it is always a joy to see Spring arrive.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yes - the name is Sugah Cakes - but that's just a little of what we do. Kristen is our cookie designer - and she is fabulous. Today she did two different cookies for children's parties. The first was a batman theme for a 4 year old grandson of one of our customers and the second was to match some baby bedding for a baby shower. The chicks were hand drawn and cut, then decorated to match the birds on the crib blanket. I am sure the mother-to-be will be thrilled.

the finished product:

and the birds:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cooking Class at Home and Garden

One of the most fun things that happen at Home and Garden Classics is cooking class. We have been offering them for about 15 years - long before food tv. Last week we actually had two different groups come for the evening. Both were girls night out and we had a great time. We did tapas for the first one and Italian comfort food for the other! We would love to host your group - minimum number of 8 people - is a great girls night - supper club outing - bridal shower - men love it too!

Here is a great simple recipe for an appetizer that is delicious and easy to do:

1 can artichoke heart bottom (rounds)
6 roma tomatoes halved (tossed in balsamic vinaigrette) and roasted
fresh mozzarella
french bread sliced and lightly toasted

Place artichoke round on french bread round, top with tomato and a slice of fresh mozzarella. Place a dollop of pesto on top and roast in oven at 350 for 4 or five minutes until cheese begins to melt.
To roast tomatoes: slice roma tomatoes in half, remove seeds and place on silpat or parchment covered baking sheet. Roast at 225 for 3 hours. This produces a fabulous flavor and they can be used in a wide variety of ways.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Market in Atlanta

Welcome to the new site for the Sugah Cakes Blog. This site just seems to be a little more accessible and believe me, I am all for making life easier. I hope you will follow my journey through the perils of retail and a cake and cupcake business. Last week we made the trip to Atlanta to market. Always sounds so fun - part of it is - but oh my feet! There are 3 buildings: one 14 stories, one 20 stories and one 18. All filled with showrooms or temporary vendors. We usually spend 4 to 5 days, starting early in the morning and calling it quits about 6 or 6:30. We stay outside the perimeter in Atlanta, which means about a 20 minute commute if traffic isn't terrible. Because we have such a variety of items in the store and the fact that we are a kitchen shop, a bakery, a stationer, a gift shop and offer interiors, we have to look at everything! It is an exciting time and a chance to see all the new trends and "must haves".
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