Recently the Cakeway to the West Facebook group had a pizza party and potluck at the Thomas Dunn Education Center in South City. There was a nice turnout, and two of the cake artists came as well. Numerous items were for sale, including postcards (several of which feature my photos) and coasters (one of which utilizes my photo). I am not going to lie, it is quite a thrill to see my photos used on items that are for sale. They were also taking pre-orders for a 2015 cake calendar. Proceeds of the sales are going to fund a book, "It's All about the Cakes", which they hope to release early in the spring. A couple of people brought their binders, books and scrapbooks, and it was interesting to see the different approaches being taken to commemorate this journey.
one of my postcards
I met some new people from the group, and enjoyed catching up with the ones I have met at previous events. Again, I cannot get over how nice everyone is, and how much fun I am having hanging out with others who get my cake addiction. I hope we can keep up our friendships when 2015 rolls around.
Things have been busy lately. On November1st, the St. Louis Publishers Association again offered a class at the Meramec campus of the St. Louis Community College. I have written about the book publishing class on my other blog, Write Formation. Later that day, my friend Caren and I went to Soulard to walk around the area and take photos. I am so grateful because she is an avid photographer (a professional photographer, in fact), so we both like to stop and take pictures. Of course there are four cakes in the area we were walking, so I had to get additional photos of those. We went to McGurk's for an early dinner, and though the day had been a comfortable temperature we decided to eat inside. They have such a beautiful outdoor dining area there, but it is not so much fun if you are cold.
9th Street Abbey
unlucky chicken foot
On Wednesday I was doing some gardening as the day was very nice. I was pulling out annuals and tidying things up when I heard the dog chewing on something. He likes to gnaw on sticks, so I didn't think too much about it at first. When the crunching continued I decided I better check it out. Much to my dismay, I saw part of an animal leg on the ground next to him. Now, Kirby has never mastered the "Leave it!" command. There is no way he willingly gives up anything, be it a toy or something gross. Utilizing the fine art of distraction, I ran towards the gate shouting "Look who's here!", which faked him out enough to run off to guard his territory. I hurried back and scooped up the parts (thinking back to the old commercial "parts is parts"), and being thankful for my gardening gloves. Normally I am squeamish about picking up things like this, but desperate times call for desperate measures. As I dropped the pieces in the trash, I noticed the larger leg piece still had a foot attached. Ugh! I guess there is one less clucker from the yard across the alley now. They have a chicken coop but they also let the chickens roam. Sometimes I see them in the alley. They cannot get into our yard because they are too fat, and our dog never runs loose, so Kirby is not the fowl killer. He just takes advantage of the situation if someone else does the dirty work.
When I relayed this story to my husband later, I couldn't resist telling him that we were having chicken for dinner. After all, the dog usually eats the same thing as us.
At the October meeting of the Webster Groves/Shrewsbury/Rock Hill Chamber of Commerce meeting, I was asked to talk about my experience of finding all 250+ cakes placed by the STL250 organization. Joining me on the program was Erin Budde, formerly the Executive Director of STL250. After our presentations there was to be an unveiling of a rogue cake, meaning one that is not officially sanctioned by the organization. The cake was commissioned by the Webster Groves Historical Society to be placed in front of the historic Hawken House, built in 1857 and certainly much older than many official cake locations.
I arrived early to the meeting as I was bringing the computer and projector for the presentations. I like to have extra time because technology is not always my friend. When I pulled into the parking lot, I saw the artist, Henryk Ptasiewicz but no cake. I have met him at a caker's picnic, so I went over to talk to him. He told me that he simply had run out of time and the cake was not complete. The unveiling had been all over social media, and a local reporter was coming to cover the story. We immediately got on Twitter and Facebook to let folks know that the cake was not in place.
Despite that setback, the meeting went well. I ran a slide show of all of my cake photos (well, two of each cake anyway) in the background during the preliminary meet and greet and lunch. Erin was first on the program, and her talk was quite interesting as she filled us in on some of the behind the scenes activities that led to the formation of the volunteer STL250 group back in 2009. The very first cake to be placed was St. Louis City Hall in February of 2014.
For my portion of the program I talked about what the cake hunt had meant to me, the things I learned about the metropolitan area, and the wonderful people I have become acquainted with along the way, including the 1,800 plus member Facebook group. To bring things back to the audience, as business owners in the area, I discussed the benefits of this caking adventure such as high visibility for the businesses and organizations lucky enough to have a cake. It also helped other businesses in the area as the cakers stopped for meals, drinks and shopping along the way. I really enjoyed the opportunity to share my experience of learning more about the history of the area.
As it ended up, the Hawken House cake had a very quiet unveiling on the following Wednesday, and I took photos of it on Thursday morning. If I didn't know the cake was made out of wood and not fiberglass like the official cakes, I would have no idea that it was a rogue cake. It is that good!