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Recently my three year old wanted a Doctor Who/Princess birthday party. She is being raised by nerds! So we planned a menu surrounding these themes. We had fish fingers and “custard” (garlic aioli), bowtie pasta salad, chips, hor d’ouerves, wibbly wobbly timey wimey jello jigglers, princess tea party jello and puddings, and . . .Dalek cupcakes.

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I sort of ran out of time and they aren’t the most perfect dalek cupcakes ever made, but I will share my recipe with you! What I did was turn a cupcake upside down, top it with a mini cupcake, pour chocolate ganache all over it, then used pretzels and chocolate chips to make them look like Daleks. I used a very old-fashionedy recipe for cupcakes that uses vinegar and olive oil as the leavening agent, so they are vegan without the ganache.

The recipe for the cake came from here: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/super_easy_super_moist_chocolate_cupcakes/. Thank you!

The rest of the recipe is a bit less exact.I heated an 8 oz carton of heavy cream in a small saucepan, just before the boiling point. Then I poured half a bag each of milk chocolate and dark chocolate chips into a heat proof bowl and poured the hot cream on top of them. I blended the chocolate into the cream until it resembled chocolate syrup and then left it in the fridge for a while to harden up, about 30 minutes. You don’t want the resulting ganache to be too solid or to runny, find a balance.

Once the ganache is ready get out your cupcakes and take off the wrappers. Take a large one, turn it upside down, apply a bit of ganache to attach the small cupcake to the top, then as neatly as you can, pour the genache all over both cupcakes, smoothing as you go. Do this to all the cupcakes, and then let them sit in the fridge a few minutes to harden just enough so you can put on the chocolate chips and pretzels without them sliding all over the place. Voila!

Now go and CE-LE-BRATE!

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When i read “Growing your Handmade Business” by Kari Chapman and wrote this blog post, I was all ready for jump in and write a business plan, look at rental properties, launch a new marketing technique, etc, etc.  . . Then I went a little crazy at the local library and took out about six books on inter-library loan also on business planning for small creative businesses.

One of these books is “Etsy-Preneurship” by Jason Malinak. Now this book is an eye-opener. Where Chapin’s books are very inspirational and definitely geared towards the creative person, this book reminded me of the things I have really been putting off, like taxes, EINs, and other procedural paperwork kind of things.

So I’m back to the drawing board for a while getting my ducks in a row with the state. In Illinois fortunately they have something called the Illinois Business Gateway. I love the name. I’m picturing a magical gateway leading into a realm of possibility and dreams coming true . . .

Once I register with the great state of Illinois, I will be much more legitimized and all confident again. I am registered with the county, but to be fully realized, I must register with the Illinois Department of Revenue. Thank you Jason Malinak for prioritizing for me. Once I get through all this boring stuff, I can get back to marketing and business plans and endless hours of research into my dream store location.

Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, even joyous. That has more of an effect on economic well-being than any other single factor.

When we think of people who write books about business and economics, we do not think of quotes such as the one above. As I work on my business plan, I have been researching sustainable business practices and businesses with those practices in place that represent my market.

In this research I rediscovered Paul Hawken, an entrepreneur, environmentalist, author, an all together amazing person. The above quote is one of my favorite Hawken quotes.

A big buzz word lately is “sustainablity.” I use it all the time, in fact it’s in my mission statement (well my mission statement in progress) When I am asked to come up with the point of my business, that word comes to mind first and foremost.

So what is it? According to Paul Hawken, “The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces or at least not to defy them.” That might seem like hippy mumbo jumbo at first glance or maybe you think our commerce can’t possibly ever be “sustainable.” How ridiculous to think we would live in harmony with our planet (which is our home by the way and the only one we have and it would be perfectly content to be rid of us)

Really think about the word, “Sustainability” Quite simply, the ability to sustain. Now does that seem like hippy mumbo jumbo?

So what would I like to sustain? Human intelligence and our access to our base of collected knowledge (I would like to trade and sell used books) I would also like to sustain our natural ecosystems and beautiful landscapes, really who doesn’t? So I purchase from local small scale farming operations. Large scale farming is not practical and not necessary and if we really must have it, we can invest in our infrastructure and build vertical farms. Another really awesome person wrote about that, Dickson Despommier in “Vertical Farming”

I would like to sustain community development and creativity. So I started “Ripples Book Club” and I work at the public library. I also want to sustain my bottom line, but as Mr. Hawken says, “The bottom line is where it belongs, at the bottom”

So what can I do sustain and also grow my business? Better World Books has a fantastic business model that has 6 rules:

  • Customer Focus
  • People Matter
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Foster Innovation
  • Passion for Literacy
  • People, Planet, Profit (in other words, the Triple Bottom Line)

And what’s really important? Does my business venture sustain my happiness. The answer is absolutely yes. I find a lot of joy thinking, planning, and scheming was to make my business grow and sustain itself. When I get super excited thinking about what I’m going to make for Etsy next, I know I’m doing the right thing.

Links:

http://www.paulhawken.com/paulhawken_frameset.html
http://www.verticalfarm.com/
http://www.betterworldbooks.com/

P.S. Better World Books is absolutely fantastic. Please check them out. They are one of the outlets I sell through with Ellipsis and I am very proud to do so!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!!!!

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