Monday, January 31, 2011

Welcome to the Neighborhood, Anam Cara Theatre Collective!

The Cake Shop is so excited to welcome our new neighbors, the Anam Cara Theatre Collective, to the neigborhood! In just the past week or so, we've watched the hardworking women of the collective move, paint, clean, and shine up the former Beach Bingo space just a couple of doors down the hill from us, as they prepare for their February 5th (this saturday) Grand Opening!

The space is awesome, with the front end being occupied by a small and adorable local art/craft consignment area, the middle area consisting of a stage/showspace, and the back area housing rent-able studio space, a small kitchen, and the bathroom. I'm so excited to see what can happen with such a welcoming space for creative work and celebration, and to see all the awesome performance art that can thrive with a space to showcase it.

Saturday's Grand Opening starts at 7:30, with free admission, Live Music by Nikki Talley, refreshments, and door prizes! (and afterwards, you can go see Hooray for the Riffraff at the Get Down). From their flyer: "Come see what Asheville's newest indie theatre company is all about! We are joining forces (performers, musicians and artists alike) to create the ultimate creative space on Haywood Road! Interested in selling YOUR creative, crafty wares at our shoppe? Looking to volunteer or want to get involved in the arts? Need a space for YOUR class or workshop? Shoot us a line or give us a call! We'd love to have YOU be a part of it all!"


Or Email;

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bakery Boy Blogs about Short Street Cakes!

Check out this awesome article on the Bakery Boy Blog about Short Street Cakes! The article is so generous in its descriptions of the cakes, the Cake Shop, and my story; and great photography, like this picture, abounds:

I had a great time visiting with Bakery Boy, and the highlight, for me, of our visit was when he pointed out that the ceiling of the Cake Shop is painted "Haint Blue," a traditional color for ceilings in the South (especially porch ceilings.) There are alot of differing theories about Haint Blue, but the general consensus is that it is a color that wards off evil spirits- some say by tricking them into flying out of the building, thinking they are under the open sky. I was really excited to hear that lore, and happy for the accidental magic of choosing a lucky color for the ceiling without even knowing why.

Thank you, Bakery Boy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

At Short Street Cakes, We Are All About Love.

(or: How to Celebrate Valentine's Day with Cake)

Here at the Cake Shop, we love love. We love it alot. And the kind of love that is celebrated at Valentine's day, sexy, flirty, lovey-dovey kind of love, is our favorite kind of love. And we're here to help you celebrate your love, and your loved ones. If you are interested in some history on Valentine's Day, check out last year's epic post. If you are interested in purchasing sweet, cake-y goodness for your lover (or your inner lover, yourself) this Valentine's Day, read on.

Valentine's Day Special #1)
The Sweetheart Cake: $20 including Delivery.

This is sweet Lucy, displaying the teeny tiny little Sweetheart Cakes that she invented for the Cake Shop. We've decided that they are the perfect expression of Valentine's Day love- perfect to share with one special someone, and perfect to have delivered, to your sweetheart on Valentine's Day, along with a heartfelt message (we can help you with that), a paper flower from Two of Hearts, and a handmade Lollipop from Sugar Two Shoes.

$20+tax gets you a Sweetheart Cake in your choice of Mexican Chocolate, Raspberry Almond, or Bacon Apple Flavors, Boxed, Delivered anywhere in 28801 or 28806, with a Handwritten, Heartfelt Note, a Paper Flower, and a Lollipop. (yes, you can use your groupon). Please place your order by Friday, February 11.

They will Swoon.

Valentine's Day Special #2)
The Classic: An 8" Heart-Shaped Chocolate Cake, covered in rich Ganache, accompanied by a heartfelt note (again, we can help you with that), and adorned with fresh sweetheart roses. Delivered anywhere in 28801 or 28806 for $30. Please place your order by Friday, February 11.

In the shop:

Extended Hours: We will be open from 10am until 6pm Saturday, Sunday and Monday, February 12th, 13th, and 14th for all your last minute Valentine's needs.

Sweethearts and broken hearts:

(a subtle way to show that special someone exactly how you feel)

And rumor has it that there's going to be a cupcake peep show- with some X-rated cupcakes behind an 18-and-over curtain in the case. Just sayin.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Nobody Doesn't Love Hannah Dansie. (Or: More Beautiful Things You Can Buy at the Cake Shop)

This is local artist Hannah Dansie, who also happens to work at the Cake Shop (lucky us!) I first met Hannah almost two years ago, when she was a vendor in our Craft Market, Howard Street Handmade. There she sold beauty in multiple forms under the name of Two of Hearts.

Hannah, among many other things, crochets, makes buttons and pins, and is a painter. She creates works like this painting:

And this painting, behind her candy display at the Cake Shop (we'll get to that in a minute):

And, now, lucky us, Two of Hearts has been making things to sell at the Cake Shop!

These Amazing Paper Flowers:

And These Amazing Magnets!

Next time you come in the Cake Shop, pick up a little gift, a paper flower or handmade card to go with your cake, perhaps! And come back soon, because she's working on new ideas for more handmade loveliness for the Cake Shop. Yay!

But, that's not all. As if all that weren't enough, she's been working on another project: her new local, handmade, all-natural line of Candy, Sugar Two Shoes!

Hannah debuted her new business at the winter Big Crafty, and the response was immediate and huge: people want their candy!

Sugar Two Shoes offers a variety of lollipops and hard candies, in ridiculously good flavors such as: Black Cherry Rose, Raspberry Almond, Banana Cream, and Egg Nog. She's making up more tomorrow, so come by the Cake Shop on Wednesday and see what new beautiful treats await!

Hannah is renting the kitchen at the Cake Shop for her candy production, and I'm so excited that Hannah has chosen to display and sell her candy at the Cake Shop, too! I am also really excited that the Cake Shop is living the dream of supporting small-scale crafting (craftivism?) towards entrepreneurship and empowerment, especially for women.

Thanks, Hannah! You rock and we love you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Witch Cake!

This Christmas, my very favorite gift that I received was a signed copy of this book, from my friends Julian and Noelle:

Julian was so thoughtful to find it for me; I had seen a copy of it at his family's home in Brevard- I spent an hour poring over it, relishing its weird, 1940s-era story of a "Doughnut Girl" who came to life in Dutchman Hansnoodle's bakery, and "bewitched" the rest of the baked goods. And he remembered, and being that he has his ways with books as the manager of Asheville's famous Downtown Books and News, he was able to procure a signed copy, in beautiful condition. (THANK you!) Its a wonderful story, sometimes rhyming, sometimes in prose, of the doughnut girl wreaking havoc on the town.

Since we made the Gingerbread People for Christmas, I've been fascinated with the stories across all cultures about different foods that come to life. Baking is magic and baking is alchemy, so its no wonder that people all over the world have wondered, when they leave the bakery at night, if their handiwork will come to life and have a party.

The story begins:

"There once was a baker of wonderful fame,
A fat, jolly Dutchman, Hansnoodle by name;
A Doughnut Girl he did skillfully make,
and put her away with the other cake.

He laid the girl down with the greatest of care
And went to his baking away down stair,
All was as quiet, as quiet could be,
till up jumped the Doughnut Girl and cried she:

Come on, Pies and Cakes, lets have some fun
While Fritzie's away, finishing his bun!
The Pies, Cakes and Cookies rolled down from the shelves
And danced all around like merry young elves."

It goes on to describe the attitudes of the various baked goods:

"The Cream Puffs, puffed up because they were rich,
Said, "we won't play with a common old Witch!"
Remarked Macaroon, "I guess we're rich , too;
If we play with her, then why shouldn't you?"

Then a little girl (Flossie Lea) buys the Witch Cake, and the Witch Cake proceeds to wreak havoc on Flossie's home as well. The story follows Flossie and the Witch Cake through various troublesome antics, and many gruesome attempts to reign the Witch Cake in (beheading and dismemberment, for example).

The Witch Cake bewitches a flower garden, a zoo in New York, a pig farm, a music store, a fancy ball, and takes Flossie on a trip to the moon, much to the chagrin of all the grown-ups, all of whom want to either destroy her, or enslave her to do their bidding. But in the end, Flossie and the Witch Cake, and their friendship, survive. (A pleasant change from most other Baked-Goods-Coming-to-Life stories, which usually end with the hero being eaten by a fox).

It ends:
"I've had such a happy time, dear little Witch Cake," said Flossie sleepily, nestling the girl closely in her arms.
"Then I am happy, too, little girl," the Witch Cake told her. "And I promise to be your Good Fairy, to guard you carefully, and to stay with you always."
"You-are-so-good-to-me." Flossie breathed softly, "Good-night-dear-little-Witch-Cake."
"Good night, Flossie, and pleasant dreams."

Its a sweet story, with the moral appearing to be: Girls (and Witches) just wanna have fun. If anybody wants to take a look at it, just ask at the counter at the Cake Shop; we'll keep it on hand here.

Or: anybody up for a storytime?


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Winter Time.

(Lucy, outside the Cake Shop on a snowy early morning)

I love this time of year, in all its cold, snowy, melancholy darkness. Though, for all intents and purposes, I am a summer girl, winter holds a special beauty for me, especially the time after the holidays. All is quiet, the days are short, and the mind turns to more contemplative matters. For me, its a time to regroup after the mad rush of Christmas, at the shop and in family life, to set goals and priorities for the year, tidy up corners and loose ends, and begin anew.

And, its a time for sledding.

(Jasper and Hana, on our way to sledding at the Montford Amphitheater)

We've had so many snow days off from school and work this winter that its beginning to feel like a way of life. Between the sledding, the shared meals and time with friends and neighbors (and new neighbors that have become wonderful friends, yay for Peter and Hana!), the card games and general merriment, it feels like Christmas has lasted for a month and a half. We had lovely friends visit from Colorado, we had family up from Charleston and from Atlanta, and Santa came and brought Jasper a transformer and some treats. And while we all need to get back to work and school at SOME POINT, this Summer-Camp-in-Winter feeling is certianly lovely.

(On the one warm-ish day we had in the last 6 weeks, Jasper and Stella hung out downtown)

We had a gathering on New Years Day, with Hoppin John and collards and wine and friends and kids, and we made wishes for the new year and put them on a garland in the kitchen.

We burned last year's Christmas tree, along with the slips of paper on which we had all written down the things we want to release and let go of from last year, in the bonfire in the backyard.

When we burned the old tree as the yule log on New Years Day, in my heart I hoped for the best and brightest for every one this year. I think 2010 was challenging for many of us. I know I've got alot on my mind, trying to balance the beauty and the difficulty of the experiences I've had this year with the long view of being grounded in my home and family, and balancing the joy and creativity of my work with the sobering reality of the hard work that giving my life to a specific path entails. My Cake Ladies book is complete, and will be coming out in the fall, and I'm so proud and excited. But right now, with the snow on the ground and the house warm and cozy, I'm not in a big hurry- the book (and wedding season) will come soon enough. For now I'm going to enjoy the winter, and life with my family.

And, speaking of family, Duncan's home! That's right, we got the band back together. And I won't go too deeply into that story right now, but I'd just like to say that I'm incredibly grateful, and that I'm learning: about teamwork, about appreciation, and about the giving and receiving of love. All year, as I journeyed and wrote a book and experienced magical adventures, my heart kept returning to the things that were here all along: my home, my sweetheart, my baby boy, my Cake Shop. And now I'm learning that life doesn't have to be an either/or situation: that I can have my happy, healthy home and family life, and have my soul journey too. Integrity is a word that comes to mind: a wholeness, a sense of being yourself no matter where you are, and of believing that, everything, joy and sorrow, solitude and togetherness, creativity and good ole hard work, are not opposites, but co-exist in proper measure, one to the other. This is what I think is expressed in this image from Tarot:

And that's what I've been trying to incorporate more of into my life. Temperance and balance have been tough lessons for me. I've been working hard in these years since Jasper was born to create more balance and stability in my life, but sometimes it seems life's changes keep coming at me so fast that its hard to take a breath, much less put own solid roots. Sometimes, I do get a little bit affeared. But I'm learning that, when we feel affeared, that maybe what we need is stability not in the form of security, because nothing is truly "secure," but that actually what we need is just a little bit of shelter, a respite for a minute before we pick up and keep moving. I've learned that we each carry a little bit of shelter around with us- sometimes we find it with friends, sometimes, it's in our home; but most of the time, its in our own hearts. And that we have to look if we want to find it, and we have to appreciate it where it is, and that nobody is going to do it for us, and that we sometimes have to work to accept and receive it. Luckily, right now, I'm feeling it in so many places- in my home, in my work, in my relationships, and in my heart. And I'm learning to believe it and to recieve it.

Another couple of images that come to mind are:

The Benjamin Long fresco of the Prodigal story, from the Chapel where Duncan and I were married 9 years ago.

And the ten of pentacles, a symbol of stability and family, which carries with it a reference to Odysseus, who was only able to return home to his family after a long journey.

So Duncan and I returned home to each other, and our love and our home and our son are healthy and happy, and it took us being apart for a while to get there. And the Cake Shop is strong, and I'm appreciating each of these things like never before, with a presence that I am just now learning.

I am grateful for my community, and for the friends and family that love and support me. This year, my intention is to give and receive, in equal and reciprocal measure, that love and support in all my endeavors. My hope for all of us this year, friends and family and the world, is that we learn to truly give and receive love. And so may it be, and so it is.

Post Scripts:

-There is tremendous personal power in letting go. I'm now an advocate of breaking up if that's what you need to do to figure out how to make it work, or to figure out that you need to move along. (sort of along the lines of, "If you love someone, set them free.") We are each responsible for our own happiness, and for doing what it takes to make things right for ourselves, even if it means taking a seemingly terrifying leap. And its OK to be alone.

-Standing in your own power and opening your heart only benefits all of those around you. You do not diminish anyone's else's light by shining your own.