Wednesday, March 31, 2010

LICK: Custom Lollipops for Art Opening

Earlier this month, we were contacted by Seattle artist Catherine Grisez whose show, LICK, opens at the Traver Gallery downtown on April 2, 2010.

Catherine’s show features sculptures, photography, and writing about wounds and the potential beauty behind the healing process. She asked us to design a custom lollipop for the opening night of her month-long exhibition.

The final lollipop design featured ginger-flavored red hexagonal “jewel” pieces embedded in two kinds of lollipops: solid sparkly-white coconut-flavored ones, and clear sparkly-flesh peach-flavored ones.



We were thrilled to be asked to do this project and we hope attendees enjoy their suckers at the opening. A future post will talk about the design challenges for this project.

Catherine’s website is but her work for LICK isn’t shown there yet. If you’re in Seattle during the month of April, we urge you to go to the Traver Gallery to check out Catherine’s beautiful and thought-provoking works of art!

Photos by Kevin Keeker

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Limited-Edition Ginger Lollipops

coconut-ginger lollipop

We’ve got one bag of 12 Coconut-Ginger Jewel Lollipops for sale in our Etsy store, and a couple bags of 12 Ginger Lollipops.

ginger lollipop

These lollipops have the wonderful heat and zip of ginger to complement their sweetness. Ginger and ginger blends are not part of This Charming Candy’s regular rotation (yet…), so try these while they last!

photos by Kevin Keeker

Monday, March 29, 2010

I’m a Sugar Artist! (not really)

But I did recently take a continuing education class in pulled sugar artistry at Lake Washington Technical College with my friend Kim. It was a nice, small class – just the two of us and one other woman, Susanne – with lots of hands-on work and attention from Chef Chris Malham.

When I say “sugar” I usually am referring to syrup made of dissolved isomalt, a sugar substitute that handles better for artistic applications. One factor that makes it especially attractive for artistry, I learned, is that it resists caramelization so it doesn’t pick up any golden color that you don’t want your piece to be tainted by.

On the first night, one of the things we learned was how to pull and shape flower petals, and attach them to create a flower. The goal was to make a rose, but mine had other ideas and came out more like a magnolia:

white flower made of sugar

During the second and third nights, we worked on creating a sculpture of a clown. This involved

  • blowing sugar to create the hollow limbs, torso and head
  • making sugar ribbons for the cuffs and neck ruffle
  • freehand sculpting the hat, hands, feet, accessories, etc
  • making rope sugar and coiling it for the sculpture base
  • creating a straw sugar stump for the clown to sit on
  • making net sugar to decorate the base
  • joining the various pieces

Chef Chris made the stump, hat, and a few of my clown’s limbs, but I did eventually get enough of the hang of the blown sugar to finish it off. Everyone’s clown was holding a different accessory of our choice – Kim’s held a beach ball, Susanne’s had a balloon, and naturally, I gave mine a lollipop to hold!

sugar sculpture of a clown holding a lollipop sugar sculpture of a clown holding a lollipop

Of course, this stuff’s pretty fragile and has a short shelf life out in the open, because sugar’s constantly trying to slurp moisture out of the air. Thus, it’s best not to get too emotionally attached :-) The clown’s already history. The flower is holding up ok.

clown photos by Kim of Pepo Park

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Couple of Last Easter Photos

I liked so many of these Easter photos that I just can't help but share the last couple with you! Here's one more of the Easter basket:

And here's one that mostly features Doctor Bun. The good doctor is a little dirty because she gets launched into the air a lot when she's not on Easter duty. She may want to be an astronaut when she grows up.

I'll add a gentle reminder to please order your Easter candy this weekend to make sure it arrives in time.

photos by Kevin Keeker

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Easter Candy Delivery

Easter is April 4th! We suggest that you order Easter Basket lollipops by March 28th to make sure they arrive in time.

The basket on the left shows our Adventurer's Pack and Celebration Time lollipops. Don't they look lovely nestled in the basket with the plastic eggs, fake grass, and Doctor Bun?

photo by Kevin Keeker

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Root Beer Float

Our recipe for Root Beer Float incorporates nutty vanilla, which complements the root beer nicely and makes the overall taste richer than Root Beer flavored candy on its own.

Root Beer Float lollipops are dark creamy brown. We sprinkle a little powdered sugar on them, as if they were flecked with bits of vanilla ice cream.

You can find Root Beer Float in a single-flavor twelve pack or as part of the Celebration Time collection.

photo by Kevin Keeker

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Birthday Cake Lollipops

We mix a few different flavors together to emulate the taste of a classic yellow cake in lollipop form. All that’s missing is the frosting!

Birthday Cake lollipops are pale gold. Decorative pink, green and purple candy confetti inside make them look even more festive.

You can find Birthday Cake in a single-flavor twelve pack or as part of the Celebration Time collection.

photo by Kevin Keeker

Monday, March 22, 2010

Craft Happy Wrap-up

Thanks to everyone who attended Craft Happy in Fremont, CA this weekend! Kate and her adorable sales assistant had a fun and successful day selling lollipops. Check out their big smiles and cute table display – they’re in the 4th photo down. It’s conveniently captioned “This Charming Candy” :-)

And it looks like there were lots of other awesome crafts to be had there. I’m smitten with the Dorklandia table.

Bubble Gum Lollipops

Classics are classics for a reason. It didn’t surprise us at all when Bubble Gum came in as one of the top flavors at our tasting party. Of all our flavors, it’s probably the one that’s equally popular with kids and adults.

You can find Bubble Gum in a single-flavor twelve pack or as part of the Celebration Time collection.

photo by Kevin Keeker

Friday, March 19, 2010

Celebration Time Lollipops

Every day is someone’s birthday. There’s no rule that says you have to personally know the birthday boy or girl, is there? Of course not! As long as you’ve got Root Beer Float, Bubblegum, and Birthday Cake lollipops on hand, a celebration is always just around the corner. Root Beer Float is creamy brown, Bubblegum is shocking pink, and Birthday Cake is yellow with neon candy confetti sprinkled inside. Perfect for anyone who knows people who have birthdays.

You can buy some at This Charming Candy on today!

photo by Kevin Keeker

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Easter Candy

We took some pictures of a new collection and its flavors - that will be announced tomorrow - over the weekend. I brought my daughter's Easter Basket and some Adventurer's Pack lollipops along with the vague idea that "some Easter pictures might be nice." Holy Bejeesuz did Kevin Keeker, our resident photographer, deliver.

We took these outdoors, on his back deck that has some flower boxes along the edge. I love how colorful all of the eggs and the basket and lollipops are! And the natural light makes everything wonderful and bright.

And here's one of the lollipops with Doctor Bun outside the basket.

I think we got some great Easter photos.

photos by Kevin Keeker

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Get Craft Happy!

Saturday, March 20th, I (Kate, me!) will be at the Get Craft Happy show in Fremont, CA. This is This Charming Candy's first ever California craft show!

We'll have Spice Rack collection, Adventurer's Pack collection, and our new Celebration Time collections available for sale. We'll also (as always) have single lollipops for sale from those collections.

I'm excited because this will be my first solo craft show. Susan's been doing them in Seattle for a few months now, and I helped out with the big holiday IHIC show up there.

So head on out to the Niles Banquet Hall in Fremont on Saturday. You can buy some yummy lollipops and see some other wonderful crafters from around the Bay Area.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lollipops on Holiday

After that last post, our friends and loyal customers in the Netherlands sent us this lovely picture of Salted Caramel lollipops in front of a local windmill. Pretty!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Where Have We Shipped To?

All those grey colored states? That's where we've shipped lollipops to. Twenty-three states in all, so slightly less than half. We've also shipped lollipops to Ireland, Scotland, the Netherlands, Australia, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and the Virgin Islands as well, but they don't show up here.

We don't have any goals about making that map all grey, but maybe I should talk to Susan about that... Hm...


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Adventurer’s Pack: alternate photos

We really liked a lot of the Adventurer’s Pack trio photos this time. You may have seen the one we posted earlier:

Turquose, Gold and Seafoam Green lollipops in the foreground; giraffe on savannah in background

We also posed the lollipops as if they were a family on safari, gazing at the giraffe on the savannah:

Turquose, Gold and Seafoam Green lollipops in the foreground; giraffe on savannah in background

And we also used a background with kayakers. Here’s a funky pose in front of that one:

Turquose, Gold and Seafoam Green lollipops in the foreground; sea kaykers in background

We decided that in most of the kayaker pictures, it was hard to tell that the people were holding paddles as opposed to rifles, so most of those photos got left on the virtual darkroom floor.

Photos by Kevin Keeker

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


seafoam green lollipop in Pistachio-Marshmallow flavor

It’s a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Pistachio lollipops taste fine but not spectacular, as do marshmallow ones. But somehow when these two bad boys get together, something magical happens. We can’t explain it. Luckily, no one has to explain it. Let’s just enjoy this crazy awesome flavor for what it is.

You can find Pistachio-Marshmallow in a single-flavor twelve pack or as part of the Adventurer’s Pack collection.

Photo by Kevin Keeker

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Nutmeg Crème

Gold lollipop in Nutmeg Creme flavor

We combine the decadent flavor of sweet pastry crème with the smooth zing of nutmeg to create a taste that’s delicious… but challenging to describe. Taste testers, in between raves, told us they detected similarities to egg nog, banana bread, spice cake, and Dr. Pepper. Either way, we think you’ll be delighted with this adventurous flavor balance.

You can find Nutmeg Crème in a single-flavor twelve pack or as part of the Adventurer’s Pack collection.

Photo by Kevin Keeker

Monday, March 8, 2010


Shimmery turquoise lollipop in Teaberry flavor

When I was an undergraduate at Penn State, one of my favorite flavors of ice cream from the school's Creamery was Teaberry. It's a flavor that makes me a little homesick for Pennsylvania.

If you've never tasted Teaberry, you may be surprised to learn that it isn't very fruity. Turns out, Teaberry is a regional name for the plant Gaultheria procumbens, also known as American Wintergreen.

While the tongue-tingling Teaberry was quite well liked at the tasting party, I remember it being a controversial flavor among my college friends. We dare you to try it by including it in our Adventurer's Pack collection or as a single-flavor twelve pack.

Photo by Kevin Keeker

P.S. If you like our Teaberry lollipops, I recommend Clark's Teaberry chewing gum. I’m not sure, it might only be stocked in stores on the US east coast, but you can track it down online.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Adventurer’s Pack Lollipops

We love trying new flavors and flavor combinations. Most of them turn out all right, some of them are spectacular, and some are better left in the kitchen.

Turquose, Gold and Seafoam Green lollipops in the foreground; giraffe on savannah in background The Adventurer's Pack collection highlights the best of our unusual lollipops. In fact, we briefly contemplated calling this the “I Double Dog Dare You To Try It” collection: it-just-works Pistachio-Marshmallow, tongue-tingling Teaberry and decadent Nutmeg Crème.

Pistachio-Marshmallow is sparkly seafoam green, Teaberry is shimmery turquoise, and Nutmeg Crème is a rich gold. Perfect for anyone with bold tastes.

You can buy them at This Charming Candy on Etsy today!

Photo by Kevin Keeker

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster

Deluxe is a fascinating short history of the traditional luxury goods industry. I want to start with a quick definition: a luxury good is something that has been made either by hand or machine to the highest quality possible. This fascination with detail extends into the salesroom; the stores are beautiful and the service is impeccable.

In very broad strokes: Providing a high-quality item and an excellent customer experience is expensive. Relying on the traditionally very small customer base that can afford, say a custom-made Vuitton trunk, means that the companies often struggle. At least until Bernard Arnault came along 30 or so years ago. Arnault came into the luxury business and turned it into a Business - leveraging the luxury brands' reputation to mass-produce less expensive (but still high-quality) goods like perfume and handbags that the upper-middle class and middle class could afford, as could the emerging elites in countries like China, India, Russia, and Brazil. This lead to growth, which luxury companies liked. So they investigated less expensive production methods for all their products to continue that growth. That turns the priorities on their head. Companies like Fendi and Coach still aim for quality, but suddenly cost becomes a more important factor than it was before. This doesn't have to lead to a quality decline, but it certainly sets the stage for it.

There is a lot of elitism packed into the luxury and fashion industries.

At the core, though, there is something that Susan and I believe in too: a well-made product surrounded by a high-quality customer experience. There's a fabulous story the author has tucked away in there about Hermes, one of the only luxury companies to emerge from the book in a good light, having never veered from their handmade, incredibly expensive heritage. In 1995, they took ten of their craftsmen to Pakistan "for a weeklong exploration of their creative roots." The point was to make sure that everyone realized "The world is divided into two. Those who know how to use tools and those who do not." (Quote from the head of Hermes)

[Most of what comes next is me speculating and isn't implied by the book.]

As traditional luxury companies veer away from value and quality, how does that affect, say, someone like me? I would love to be able to afford a handmade trunk or a tailored dress, but it's probably never going to happen. I'm not that rich, and I'm not likely to ever be that rich. But I do want things that are well-made. Once upon a time, you could count on a $500 skirt from Nordstrom or Marshall Fields to actually be better constructed and use a better fabric than a $30 skirt from the Gap. But now, the $500 skirt is being mass-produced in the same factories in China or Vietnam that are producing the $30 skirt at Gap that looks awfully similar. So what am I getting for that extra $470? It leads to a lot of confusion and cognitive dissonance that marketers will often call inauthenticity.

Which, to me, is where Etsy comes in. Etsy provides a place for people who *can* fill the need for well-made clothes/bags/etc with construction and quality you can trust from people you can trust. There's a quality/authenticity gap that the luxury brands are leaving as they abandon their traditional high-quality position.

[Me, done speculating]

If you've made it this far a) thanks for reading and b) what do you think? Do you think at least some of the sellers on Etsy and other crafters fill the need for a higher-quality item that, more traditionally maybe a luxury or a high-end regional retailer or producer would have filled in the past? Have you found items on Etsy to be higher quality than things you find in the store? Or are hand-crafted items more about a non-mass-produced style instead of quality?Or something else entirely?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Small Request: Please Update Your PayPal Address

We have a small request: please update your PayPal address.

When you buy lollipops from our Etsy store and pay through PayPal, we often use the address you have stored in PayPal, not the address you've given us at Etsy. Most of the time these are the same -- but not always. Personally, I move a lot and keeping all of my addresses up to date can be a pain.

If we notice they're different, we'll convo or email you and ask which one to use. But sometimes we're in a hurry and don't notice. So please make sure that your PayPal address is up to date to prevent a package from going astray. Thanks!

Monday, March 1, 2010

I Heart Indie Crafts in Kirkland

Susan will be at I Heart Indie Crafts at the Lake Street Bar & Grill in Kirkland on Sunday March 7. It's all ages (despite being in a bar, there were lots of kids there at the holiday show I did with her in November) and there will be a DJ. Last time we were under the disco ball.

We'll be selling all our usual combos and flavors: Spice Rack, Fruit Basket, Love Triangle, Salted Caramel, to name a few. We also hope to have our Adventurer's Pack ready to premier! We should have plenty of packages full of delicious teaberry, nutmeg cream, and pistachio-marshmallow lollipops.

Stop by to say hi and maybe try a new flavor!