Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
At some point, most fans ask: Why? How?
Wikipedia says: in 1946, a visiting Chicago Blackhawks player went into a Toronto hat store, but didn't have enough money to buy the hat he wanted. The owner said that if he scored three goals, he'd give him the hat. The player scored four goals and got his hat. Thus, a tradition was born.
I've only ever seen a handful of hat tricks; they're pretty rare. I've certainly never seen anyone throw a fedora onto the ice (though I like the idea). Maybe we'll get one in the Winter Classic? A girl can hope.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Or in our case, the lollipops. Kate & I are doing some 2010 planning, and this is an honest-to-god exchange we just had:
Kate: <sends me an Excel file summarizing our Product Development Cycle>
Susan: what, no MS Project GANTT charts?
Kate: I thought about faking them in excel. Then I decided that was overkill until we finalized the task list.
I love my business partner… and I decided we needed a “Gigantic Dorks” category to file this post in :-)
Friday, December 18, 2009
To be “on the schneid” means to be on a losing streak, racking up a series of losing, and especially scoreless, games. “Schneid” is actually short for “schneider,” a term originally used in the card game of gin, meaning to prevent an opponent from scoring any points. “Schneider” entered the vocabulary of gin from German (probably via Yiddish), where it means “tailor.” Apparently the original sense was that if you were “schneidered” in gin you were “cut” (as if by a tailor) from contention in the game. “Schneider” first appeared in the literature of card-playing about 1886, but the shortened form “schneid” used in other sports is probably of fairly recent vintage.I certainly hope that the Sharks and their scorers are all off the schneid by the time you're reading this.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I almost can’t believe that 2010 is almost here – this year went by so quickly! Especially the fall, once we opened for business it seemed like Kate & I were constantly in motion. Probably because we were! A few of my musical highlights for 2009 included:
Song of the Year
"Summertime Clothes" – Animal Collective, from Merriweather Post Pavillion
Favorite albums of 2009
- Hometowns – The Rural Alberta Advantage
- Fantasies – Metric
- These Four Walls – We Were Promised Jetpacks
- Creaturesque – Throw Me the Statue
- It’s Blitz! – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- Message to Garcia – Visqueen
- Glistening Pleasure – Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head (actually a 2008 release)
- Of June – Owl City (actually a 2008 release)
Hometowns was by far and away my favorite (I love RAA! Everyone should own Hometowns. - k8), and seeing the RAA play a tiny show at the Tractor Tavern was one of my live music highlights. They also win my Lyrics of the Year with “Late at night / Sink your heart into mine … Hey tonight / Sync your heartbeat to mine”.
I almost feel sorry for everyone else who released an album this year :-)
What topped your list?
Monday, December 14, 2009
If you enlarge the photo of the Tangerine-Clove lollipops above (part of our Spice Rack collection), you’ll see clearly that they’ve got some powered sugar on them. Hey! Aren’t lollipops sweet enough already?
Well, powdered sugar isn’t really a flavor garnish. It serves two purposes – one decorative and one functional. The decorative purpose is self-explanatory, I hope. It just looks really pretty!
On the functional side, I sometimes grab the shaker of powdered sugar because I cook our lollipops in rainy Seattle. Rain means humidity, and humidity is one of the chief enemies of hard candy! If it’s humid when the lollipops are cooling in their molds, they may pick up a little moisture from the air. This makes them a little sticky and hard to bag. The cure? Powdered sugar!
photos by Kevin Keeker
Friday, December 11, 2009
The insanely awesome new tradition of playing an NHL game outdoors on New Years Day probably got its start thanks partly to Kate’s and my grad school alma mater, the University of Michigan. In 2001, a couple of years after we graduated, 74,554 fans attended an outdoor game between Michigan and Michigan State, held at the Spartans' football stadium. Yes, over SEVENTY-FOUR THOUSAND people.
On Jan 1st, 2010, my hometown Philadelphia Flyers will head up to Boston’s Fenway Park to
defeat take on the Bruins. This week, NHL.com reported that the king of ice-making, Dan Craig, is ready to get to work in Fenway – making this rink will take a few weeks.
More squee-worth than even that news? The NHL released a new commercial for the game and it is just perfect. I love it. I must share it with you all:
The game is just 3 weeks away!! SQUEE!!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
We knew we wanted apple involved in the Blood Sucker somehow. Vampires personify temptation and so much of Twilight is about avoiding temptation. The book even has an apple on the cover. But what to pair with it? Cinnamon-apple seemed obvious, but no matter what the ratio, cinnamon completely overwhelmed the apple flavor. We tried anise with apple on a whim. Our tasters looked vaguely askance at us, then tried it. Everyone -- even those who don't normally like anise -- raved about it. We knew we had a winner.
We went back and forth for awhile about what flavor to make the Sweetheart. The only thing we could find in Twilight was that Edward thinks Bella's blood smells floral. Jasmine was one of the flavors at the tasting party, but it didn't do well. So we tried some other floral flavors -- including one that tasted like "sugared old lady's underwear" -- before going back to jasmine. Susan's already written about how simply adding honey did wonders for jasmine. Once we hit on that, we knew the Sweetheart was done.
The Lickanthrope was the hardest to come up with. All we knew was that the flavors should scream Pacific Northwest, and that our tasters were calling Apple-Anise and Honey-Jasmine "home runs" and we needed something that would live up to the hype. We considered a plethora of flavors; most were all right, but nothing spectacular. We got the most enthusiastic comments about hazelnut-coffee and mocha-hazelnut. When we narrowed the flavors down to those two, it was clear that hazelnut-coffee was the winner.
We are incredibly proud of all these flavors, and we hope you'll like them too!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
If you follow us on Twitter or are our Facebook fan, you might have seen us link to something called a “treasury” now and again. I remember that the first two times someone tried to explain Etsy Treasuries to me, I was kind of lost and hoped it was something obscure that wouldn’t come up again.
Basically, an Etsy Treasury is a grid of 12 items that are for sale on Etsy. Members of the community scour the site for items that fit a theme that interests them such as “owls”, “summer”, the color pink, or really anything at all.
Member-created treasuries only last for a few days and are fun to browse, and here’s one key thing about them – there’s a chance that the Etsy admins might use a member-created treasury on the home page, which conveniently is also a grid of 12 items that is refreshed every hour of the day. Ah, the intersection of crowdsourcing and user-generated content :-)
That happened to us on December 3rd – Tias included our Fruit Basket lollipops in her treasury, and between 7-8pm Pacific, they were up on the homepage in all their glory! We had a massive freakout and Kate nabbed this screenshot for posterity:
We confirmed something, namely that a homepage feature can be a firehose of attention – even though it just lasts one hour. In that time, the Fruit Basket lollipops garnered over 1200 views. Wowza!
Common wisdom in the Etsy forums says that the better your product photography, the better your chances of being selected for a treasury and the home page. So we’d be remiss if we didn’t wrap up this post with another shout out to Mr. Keeker for his rockin’ photo skills that show our candy to its best advantage!
Anyway, now when we tell you we created a treasury or that we were featured in someone else’s treasury, maybe it’ll make more sense. Or maybe not.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
If you let us know that you're buying a gift when you make your purchase, we can use our gift invoice. Our gift invoice hides prices and has space for a message. We also have a limited number of holiday cards in which we can hand-write a short note for you. Please convo us on etsy or send us an email (thischarmingcandy [at] gmail [dot] com) to let us know if your purchase is a gift, if you want a card included, and what you want the gift message to be.
Hanukkah starts on December 11th and runs through the 19th. If you want lollipops for Hanukkah, please order as soon as possible.
The earlier you buy, the more likely it is that you'll get your order before Christmas (not to mention the better the selection will be). The deadlines are:
- Internationally, we need your order by Sunday December 13th (for shipping on the 14th).
- In the Continental US, you'll need to place your order by Sunday December 20th (for shipping on the 21st) to make sure it arrives before Christmas.
Any questions? Please put them in the comments! And please visit our etsy store early and often. :-)
Monday, December 7, 2009
Coconut-Caramel is the creamy white lollipop, Mango is the peachy-orange one, and Pomegranate is the lovely Christmas-y red. These are great for people who prefer more traditional flavors -- my picky-eater daughter loves both Mango and Pomegranate.
One of our customers bought a dozen Pomegranate lollipops to use as part of her Christmas table setting - each diner will have one at their place. I think that's a charming idea and hope she shares pictures.
In short, Fruit Basket is full of wonderfully charming flavors that are guaranteed to make someone happy this holiday season!
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Sunday we participated in I Heart Indie Holidays (IHIH), and had a blast! We were next to the Jet City Roller Girls, who were a riot. Sales went pretty well too, at least partially due to selling single lollipops for the first time. They made a great impulse purchase for people as well as providing a way for folks to try a flavor before they committed to a whole pack. That's our overloaded table - sorry for the poor quality, I took it with my iPhone.
After IHIH we threw everything in the car, grabbed a sandwich and headed to the Paramount to see Morrissey perform. He opened with This Charming Man - a total squee moment if there ever was one. The picture below is of the concert, I swear! Morrissey is the slightly brighter smudge in the middle that the spotlight is pointing at. The picture in the backdrop is of an Italian actor from the 1960s, Walter Chiari. We were proud of ourselves for figuring that out.
And if all that weren't enough, Monday we turned Susan's front room into shipping central; we packed up over 20 orders. While that was happening, our 100th Etsy order rolled in! We threw a couple of extra lollipops into the box to celebrate.
Early Tuesday morning, I hopped on a plane and flew back to the Bay Area. I'm pretty sure I'm still recovering. Where's my coffee?
Friday, December 4, 2009
Our Spice Rack lollipops have also felt the love, being featured on Celebrate Odd Etsy (which has some really awesome things - I kind of love these bike helmets) in October.
We've got the glimmers of ideas about how our lollipops got into the hands of these writers, and we'd like to thank any and all of you who've shared your lollipops with them. We appreciate it!
UPDATE 1:30pm Friday 12/4 --
Thanks to our wonderful customers we are temporarily SOLD OUT of Salted Caramel 12-packs until early next week. Follow us on Twitter or fan us on Facebook to be alerted when they go back on sale! Thanks again!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Last week I made, among other things, Love Triangle flavors (yum) and it was the first day that I was able to use the new bags for the individual lollipops AND the new labels for the bags that hold 6 Love Triangle lollipops. Behold! And click to enlarge.
The Love Triangle lollipops have an overall darker look to them than our other collections because they use the black sticks and the flavors are deep red, brown, and purple. Justine carried that vibe forward into the bag design, by giving the whole label a charcoal background.
Most of our flavor collections will have labels with a white background and a colored banner at the top. We don’t yet have pictures of the Fruit Basket or Spice Rack labels, but they’re similar to the Charm School Dropout labels seen hanging out with the Love Triangles below:
Most of the individual lollipops in that bag are using the old style label, but the front of the bigger bag is new. And quite gorgeous in my opinion!
As we’ve said, it’s going to take a short time to completely change over to all the new labels while we use up our stash of the previous ones, but not too long!
Photos by Kevin Keeker
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
We’re in the process of retiring our original product labels, which Kate and I put together, and rolling out new ones created by Justine Kamionsky, someone much more talented than we are. I honestly don’t think we could be more excited about this!
Let’s take a peek at the individual bags that each lollipop is wrapped in. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the old (left) and new (right) labels for Vanilla-Cardamom.
If you’ve ordered lollipops from us already, the bag on the left should look familiar – a round label with the flavor name and our URL. Gets the job done, nothing flashy.
The new label is rectangular and covers the bag from edge-to-edge. It’s got a lovely charcoal background with a large lollipop print, and a white area with a scalloped border for the flavor name that recalls the banner at the top of this blog and our Etsy store. The label actually folds over the top edge of the bag, and our URL appears on the backside, no longer competing and sharing space with the flavor name, which is front and center as it should be!
We’re quickly using up the old style bags and have already begun using the new ones for all flavors, and we just can’t wait for you to see them in person!
photo by Kevin Keeker
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Susan hard at work making Vanilla-Cardamom lollipops.
Susan bagging some Vanilla-Cardamom Lollipops.
A completed batch of Tangerine-Clove. We often call these trays "droid armies".
The coloring for a batch of Sweethearts has just been added.
A completed batch of Sweethearts has just been poured. I love this shot.
The molds await the syrup for Salted Caramel.
All photos, of course, by Kevin Keeker.
Friday, November 27, 2009
First, Free Shipping:
If you haven't been over to our Etsy Shop lately, you may not know that we're having free worldwide shipping this weekend! That's right, anywhere in the world.
We can also send gifts to your loved ones. We have a special gift invoice that hides prices and includes a gift message from you. Just convo us or include a message to seller to let us know!
Second, I Heart Indie Holidays:
There are only 2 more days until I Heart Indie Holidays! We'll be there with our full selection of delicious, uniquely flavored lollipops. I'm flying up to join Susan, so I really mean that "we". If you're in the Seattle area, I hope you'll stop by! I'd love to see you!
That's all. Back to your regularly scheduled Fridays.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Fragrant jasmine pairs wonderfully with sweet honey to create just the right flavor to capture the sweet, flowery essence that Edward smells in Bella’s blood.
Sweethearts are a shimmery, flower-shaped, royal purple, and can be found in the Love Triangle collection. Or, pick up a 12-pack of Sweethearts. They’d make a perfect gift for the Bella Swan fans you know.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The apple symbolizes love and temptation; it requires a partner equal to its fundamental mystery and danger. Blood Suckers blend crisp apple with the cool, tingly-kiss of anise to create a flavor with just the right bite.
Blood Sucker lollipops are a dark, rich, mysterious, heart-shaped red, and can be found in the Love Triangle collection. Or, pick up a 12-pack of Blood Suckers, a perfect gift for the Edward Cullen fans you know. Go Team Edward!
Monday, November 23, 2009
The Lickanthrope pays tribute to both sides of his character with two warm and comforting, yet slightly bitter flavors of Jacob’s native Pacific Northwest – coffee and hazelnuts.
Lickanthropes are a round, earthy russet brown, and can be found in the Love Triangle collection. Or, pick up a 12-pack of Lickanthropes. They’d make a perfect gift for the Jacob Black fans you know. Go Team Jacob!
Seattle-area folks are heartily encouraged to buy copious amounts of This Charming Candy at I Heart Indie Holidays!
When: Sunday November 29, 11 am – 6 pm
Where: Lake Street Bar & Grill in Kirkland
To get you even more excited for the show, we’ve put together a collage of work from some other vendors who’ll be there. We don’t know exactly what they’re bringing to IHIH, but it’s sure to be awesome.
- Cotton Candy- Tsumami Kanzashi Hair Clips by theastarr
- Snow White Gothic Fairy Tale Big Eye Print 13x19 by cherrybones
- wig wag borosilacate glass pendant by Emmettsglass
- Synonym button by Short Attention Span Girl
- Poppy letterpress notecard combination pack by ilee papergoods
- Bluebell hat by Muluk
- SWEET ANTHEM vegan friendly perfume oil samples by sweetanthem
- Chrysoprase and Silver Bracelet by girlseattle
- Squid ashtray by urbana
- Mia by pare*umbrella
Friday, November 20, 2009
San Jose has one of the top records in the NHL, but even so, they've been making a lot of mistakes over their last few games. They've gotten lucky to get the overtime loss a couple of times, including last weekend's game against the Blackhawks. One of the reasons to watch the Red Wings is that you're seeing a well-oiled machine (which also makes watching them feel a bit like watching something cold and not very interesting). The Sharks? They don't really come off as a well-oiled machine. Tonight they had a lot of communication problems, particularly in the first period.
In fact, the Flyers didn't seem to be a well-oiled machine either, though I know far less about them. They're known for their gritty toughness, so Pronger is a good fit with them. Ray Emery looked fabulous for the first two periods tonight and has apparently been on a streak.
But you know? I'm happy rooting for a not-well-oiled machine. Well-oiled machines are too bloodless. I'm a sucker for the underdog; I root against the Yankees. I like a little bit of mess in my sports teams. So, go Sharks and go Flyers!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
It’s mid-November, which means the holiday craft fair season is heating up. Here in Seattle, there’s an abundance of talented creative craftspeople and we have lots of opportunities to see and buy their work. Here are a few shows I’ve got my eyes on for the next three weekends:
The first 50 people in line each day will receive a swag bag filled with awesome stuff from EtsyRAIN members. We aren’t selling at this show, but we donated a dozen Charm School Dropouts, so 12 lucky people will get a lollipop among their swag bag items! Details about the show and vendors who’ll be selling there are on the EtsyRAIN holiday show web page.
This Charming Candy will be one of the vendors at the I Heart Indie Holidays show in Kirkland from 11 am – 6 pm, Sunday November 29. Come to the Lake Street Grill on 15 Lake Street and get some charming candy from me and Kate! Lollipops make great stocking stuffers, and we’ll have plenty of Spice Racks, Fruit Baskets and Love Triangles for sale.
Admission is free, and the first 25 people through the door will receive a swag bag with goodies from many of the IHIH vendors – including a Charm School Dropout in every bag. Check out more details and get directions to the show from the IHIH website.
And Urban Craft Uprising's Fifth Annual Winter Show is a huge huge show that will be at Seattle Center Exhibition Hall – check out the list of vendors! The show runs December 5th & 6th, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.
And those are just a few of the shows that are going on in Seattle this holiday season. Happy shopping!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Not long after I started making lollipops as a hobby, my friends started howling for a coffee-flavored sucker. And being a Seattle-based candy company – a city which is synonymous with coffee dependency – means we’ve got to have a coffee flavor or we risk having our business license revoked!
And yet, in the tasting party, coffee was the most polarizing flavor we tested. It earned nearly as many top ranks as bottom ranks, and had the highest standard deviation of any flavor’s scores. We thought to ourselves, “We can do better than that.”
(“Eels” was Coffee’s codename in the tasting party)
Enter another great flavor of the Pacific Northwest: the hazelnut. We’ve been experimenting with adding Chocolate Hazelnut and plain Hazelnut flavor to Coffee and circulating the results for casual feedback. Plain Hazelnut was the clear winner, so we included it with our Love Triangle lollipops as our representation for earthy Jacob.
Photo by Kevin Keeker
Friday, November 13, 2009
I’m visiting my family in Pennsylvania for a few days and got to watch the Flyers on TV with them last night. Flyers beat the Sens 5-1, so yay, and the first three goals in the game were all power play goals and it got me to thinking. Are power plays charming?
I think they are, in a bizarre way. There’s just something very direct about the punishment of an infraction with the equivalent of a parent’s “time out” for a disobedient child. Of course, when it’s your team that’s received a penalty, it doesn’t seem so charming…
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Love Triangle Lollipops were born when we first read Twilight. It was then that we envisioned a Blood Sucker for dashing Edward, a Sweetheart for lovely Bella and a Lickanthrope for hunky Jacob.
The heart-shaped Blood Sucker is a tingly blend of apple and anise; the flower-shaped Sweetheart is an intoxicating pairing of floral jasmine with honey; and the round Lickanthrope is a comforting combination of hazelnut and coffee. They’d make a perfect gift for the Twilight fans you know.
Buy some Love Triangle Lollipops in our Etsy store today!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
My favorite part of getting feedback is the funny things that people say to describe their reactions. No matter whether I’m usability-testing software or taste-testing candy, occasionally someone will come up with a fantastic zinger.
One of the most entertaining comments I’ve gotten lately is:
“It’s like eating sugared old lady’s underwear – liked it at first, then it began to be cloying”
It's the funniest thing I've read in awhile. Clearly, we need to take this flavor back to the drawing board.
Monday, November 9, 2009
All you need to do for any of these options is to either email us or let us know in the message to seller when you buy from us on Etsy!
Friday, November 6, 2009
They were notorious for showing up at the Roenicks’ dinner table there, but also were scouting other dining options at the homes of some of their married teammates.They are totally your little brothers who come over to charm you into letting them eat your food and do their laundry. It's a fun narrative for them, but for now I wish they'd both get healthy so I could watch them play hockey!
The two players have specific criteria they look for.
“It has to be someplace quick. We show up, eat and maybe stay awhile, but there are no expectations,” Mitchell said, giving points to Joe Thornton’s wife Tabea for excellent appetizers.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
- 9Pack Necklace by Tias Glass
- Pi Crochet Plush by EternalSunshine
- Tetrahedron Laser-Cut Pendant by Polymath
- Silver Abacus Pendant Necklace by Ninexmuse
- Second Generation Sierpinski Triangle Tetrahedron V by Gwenbeads
- Normal PDF/CDF Stained Glass by Nausicaa Distribution
- Infinity Ring by Rachel Sudlow Jewelry
- Vinyl Record Necklace by Aroha Silhouettes
- Moonlight Sonata Fractal Art Print by Bonnie Bruno Photography
- Acrylic Dodecahedron by Largo Laser
- Frankness Original Drawing by Lunarcus Art Experiments
- 2010 Dodecahedron Calendar by Paper2Rock2Scissors
- Vintage Flash Cards by GuidonEtsy