Bogie For The Course

July 30, 2008

There are people who take their dogs to work, and then there’s Mike Turner, who took his dog Bogie for a round of golf yesterday!

Bogie is probably thinking that he’s visiting a four star dog park!

Bogie is a three year old Border Collie – one of three border collies owned by the Turner family. Owner Mike is an avid golfer (he even qualified for the Senior Tour last year!), so it’s no surprise how Bogie got his name. If you recall, I did a post on Bogie’s equally handsome canine brother Jammer a couple of weeks ago. While Jammer is the sweet and quiet one, Bogie is the family goofball with the heart of a lion. I’ve seen videos of Bogie rolling around on the couch like a clown with the family’s then puppy Bentley, but don’t let that silly demeanor fool you. According to the Turners, Bogie is very devoted to the family, so don’t you be messing with any of Bogie’s family members because you’ll have to deal with him first!

Bogie has a way with the ladies! :)

Mike told me that Bogie had a great time at the course playing fetch, and loved riding around in the golf cart. I foresee a new trend in the golfing word – canine caddies!

This hole plays slightly dogleg left, not including the four that Bogie has!

Thanks for these wonderful pictures, Mike!

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

Big Is Beautiful

July 29, 2008

Take a look at this 44 lb cat!

Photo credit: Philly.com

You can call her chunky because that’s actually her name! Princess Chunky, a stray cat temporarily residing at the Camden County Animal Shelter, is only 2 lbs shy of the 1987 Guinness World Record for um…cats with curves. I personally think she is just adorable! According to the Philly.com article where I found this story, Princess Chunky’s foster mom is working on getting her on a regular exercise regimen. I’m betting that there is going to be a line out the door of people wanting to adopt this cat. This kitty is a cutie!

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

Shark Week

July 29, 2008

This is going to be a great week for me because it’s the start of Shark Week on the Discovery channel!

Photo credit: Terry Goss, wikipedia

Yes, I’m a total shark geek! My very first memory of sharks was when I was three or four – my Dad had rented a videotape of Jaws and was watching it with my older sister, and the combination of the music and the sight of the large creature on screen scared me to the point that I bawled nonstop until my Dad resignedly stopped the movie halfway through. To this day, I can’t go swimming without the passing thought of a shark creeping up behind me…even if I’m in a swimming pool! Hey, don’t fault me for my overactive imagination – it comes in handy when I have to design dog toys. :)

Of course, after seeing multiple documentaries about sharks, it is now clear to me that sharks are really quite complicated and misunderstood creatures. And to pay homage to this magnificent creature, I decided to do a Room Candy version of the Great White.

Sebastian The Great (JUMBO and mini).

Like any toys that we do, it all starts with a sample.

This shark sample needed some serious editing! There are three key things I needed to get right – the teeth, the fin and the tail. I knew that if I can get these features to look good, I got myself a shark toy that’s big, bad but also cute!

My edits, done in Roxio photosuite. In real life, sharks have multiple rows of teeth because they are continuously replaced, but I simplified our shark toy with just one row of *sharp* teeth made of felt. I also “fattened” up the toy so it looks more tubular in shape. While real sharks actually don’t make any sounds because they do not have vocal chords (funny how the movie version always roars like a lion!), our version squeaks!

Sharks – they always make my heart beat faster!

Extra yummy: You can read more about sharks on the Discovery channel’s website. There is also a feature where you can upload a picture of yourself and change your smile into a shark-tastic smile!

Tiki’s Before Picture: The Great White Maltese

Tiki’s After Picture: The Great White Smile?

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy

Movie Night

July 27, 2008

It’s been a while since I actually went to watch a movie in the theater – by the time the weekend rolls around, all I want to do is be a total couch potato and just veg in front of the television. Anyway, see if you can guess the movie that I watched tonight just by the screen shot.

Look, it’s a musical starring Gene Kelly and our Tiki The Monkey toy!

Alright, so the real answer is “An American In Paris”, and Tiki was photoshopped into the screenshot I took of the scene where Gene Kelly struts down an amazing staircase. I tell ya, they don’t make movies like this anymore!

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

I must be coming down with a case of jungle fever because I can’t stop thinking about jungle animals! Granted, we also got another shipment of jungle-themed toys yesterday (photos coming soon!), so that’s probably why I have jungle animals in my mind.

Anyway, I’ve never tried animal crackers before even though I’ve seen the cookies in the cookie aisle, so I thought this is a good time to give it a try because I’m curious as to how food companies shape their cookies into jungle animal shapes. Maybe I’ll get an idea as to what animal to do next for our toy line!

The first type of animal crackers I bought is the Barnum’s Animal Crackers, which I read is the most famous and longest produced (since 1902!).

What great packaging! It’s like a circus-to-go box complete with a string handle on top.

Between the clever packaging and those pictures of animals with their babies, how can you say no?

I don’t know about you, but I can almost hear circus music in the background just by looking at these pictures!

These are the crackers/cookies that I have in the box I bought. I’m actually surprised at the variety of animals in there for such a small box. The details were also surprisingly good – the only cookie that kind of came out a little mushed is the tiger on the very top. Taste wise, it’s like eating into a thin lemon cookie. I could only bring myself to eat the ones that were already broken in the box because I felt somewhat bad biting into a cookie shaped like an animal. Yeah, I tend to over analyze everything!

The second bag of animal crackers I bought is the Stauffer’s brand, which I believe is also a classic.

They also have these packaged in a similar box-with-string a la Barnum’s Animal Crackers that you can view on their site.

There are supposedly 13 different animals, although I could only find 12 styles in my bag. Here are the first 11 displayed together. These crackers are a little more minimalistic in shape with a few edgings on each cracker. Look, there’s even a cat in there too (bottom row, middle cracker). The last shape I found is the elephant, and the two I found in the bag didn’t quite come out so good.

Trunks are hard to bake!

The Stouffer’s animal crackers remind me a lot of cave paintings of animals.

Food imitating art?

The last box I got is Mother’s Cookies.

Side 1: Landscape version of packaging

Side 2: Portrait version of packaging. Two ways to merchandise the same box? Very smart!

The animals on the box look like they are floating up toward the sky, so here’s a shot of the box against real sky.

Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s animal cookies!

Wow, the pink icing is really quite pink! The sugar coating is also quite thick, so the animals are harder to differentiate. I could only find what looked to me like a hippo, a lion, an elephant and a camel.

There were also quite a few odd shaped cookies that are open to interpretation. What do you think these are supposed to be?

I see a fat wombat on the left and an anteater on the right.

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

JUMBO Toys

July 24, 2008

We’ve always been known for our small toys, so I wanted to branch out into bigger toys this year. Not just bigger, but JUMBO! Humongo! Gigundo!

Keep in mind, up until this point, the biggest toy we had was the Jeffrey the Giraffe, which measures about 12″ tall.

I guess as far as JUMBO toys go, Jeffrey would be considered an entry level JUMBO toy. Time to go bigger! This is JUMBO Sebastian the Shark, coming in at about 14″ and introduced earlier this year.

How many JUMBO shark toys can you fit into a small Room Candy nest bed? Now you know!

And these just came in a couple of weeks ago – JUMBO versions of our jungle toys. 16″ tall, y’all!

JUMBO Gigi The Giraffe (with the regular 6″ Gigi)

JUMBO Pepe The Tiger. For two years, I called the 6″ version “Pepe The Panther” (because I love alliterations) until one of my customers gently reminded me that panthers have spots and tigers have stripes. Oopsie! You would think that for someone who regularly watches the National Geographic and Discovery channels, I would know the difference between these two jungle cats. Pepe The Tiger it is!

Leo The Lion.

Look how big those feet are on the JUMBO toys! They are easily four times bigger than the regular versions of the jungle toys.

How do I feel about JUMBO toys? To quote a certain Tony the Tiger, “They’re grrrrrrrreeeeeeaaaaattt!!!”

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

Tiki Got A Haircut

July 22, 2008

Every summer, I give Tiki a puppy cut because his hair grows so long he looks like a mini sized Yeti. And every time I do it, I’m amazed at how skinny he looks underneath all his fur!

This is Tiki with long hair (the Yeti version is even puffier)

And this is how Tiki looks today right after his bath and his summer cut (the hair around his snout is still kind of wet from the bath)

He usually acts pretty indignant right after his haircut, but I realize now that it’s all an act because it always works in guilting me into “comforting” him with dog biscuits. Look at that pout! That boy knows he’s going to get some biscuits right after I take that picture.

….5 minutes later (and 3 dog biscuits gone)

“Aah…I’m feeling much better now.”

This is Tiki posing with Wally when his hair is long. He usually looks much bigger than Wally because of the added girth from his hair.

And look at the difference now!

Tiki, you look easily 5 years younger!

Extra yummy: All this talk about Tiki’s puppy cut makes me want to dig up his puppy pictures from eight years ago. These are pictures of Tiki when he was a wee puppy. He was a jolly little fella then, and he’s still a jolly little fella now!

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

An apple a day keeps the doctor away? How about an apple, a lemon, an orange, a strawberry and a pear?

These fruity delights are actually 1″ marzipans that I bought at my local farmer’s market. I wish I had bought the whole box because seeing these marzipan fruits all lined up in a box gives me the same kind of high I get when I open a box of chocolates. Aren’t they incredible?

I can just imagine the work that goes into each one of these sweets – between molding the almond sugar paste into these shapes and then hand airbrushing the colors on. Talk about things that are too pretty to eat!

Why stop at just fruits? These are two adorable 2″ piggy bank marzipans I picked up on the same day.

Oink, oink!

You got coin? I got coin too!

For those of you wondering, the coin you see is actually a paper coin. I tried to dislodge it to see if it has any value printed on it, but it’s lodged pretty good in the pig!

These pigs actually remind me a little bit of our Nunu The Pig toy.

See? They all have the same floppy ears!

Extra yummy: While doing some reading on marzipan, I saw this picture of a marzipan spread on wiki; check out the amazing variety! I see marzipans shaped like cherries, plums, peaches, bread, bananas, butterflies, fish, mushrooms, cauliflowers – it’s like an a-z list of things you can make with marzipan!

Photo credit: wikipedia

Even more yummy: I’ve had the Asian version of marzipan, which is made of mung bean paste instead of almond and has a glossier appearance because the marzipans are coated with a thin layer of agar agar (clear jelly). You can view a picture of these Asian marzipans (luk chups) here.

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

A month ago, I received an invitation from Ariel, a buyer at Henri Bendel, to participate in their week long event, The Dog Days of Summer. Yes, it’s that Henri Bendel in New York, the famed department store for all things uber chic and fabulous! Since New York is a mecca for high fashion and dog lovers, Henri Bendel will turn its atrium into a “doggie playground” for a week (7/29 – 8/4), and will feature products from a handful of pet manufacturers. I am beyond excited and honored that they chose Room Candy to be one of the vendors!

Here’s a sneak peek at the select Room Candy dog toys that will be featured at the event.

Henri Bendel Kit 1: These are our donut toys and our plush vanilla ice cream toy wrapped in a crisp cello bag and tied off with a pink ribbon.

Notice the hand cut pinking edge on the top of the bag! We’re all about details.

Aerial view of the bags of toys. I feel as though we’re preparing for a big catering event with all these bags lined up together.

Kit 2: Cake set with our Strawberry Shortcake toy, Triple Truffle Torte toy and Raspberry Almond Sandwich toy.

I love doilies, and I think the addition of a doily on the bottom of the cake toys really completes the look of the packaging.

These hexagon shaped containers are the perfect size for these three toys. While I was shopping for packaging options, I considered packaging these in sushi boxes and even ice cream sundae boxes, but the height of the boxes were too short for our puffy toys!

Kit 3: Cupcake toys galore!

Don’t these containers remind you of a bee’s honeycomb?

I just love cupcakes! I actually commissioned a bakery to do real buttercream cupcakes fashioned like our cupcake toys last month for a photo shoot. Check out this picture of the real cupcakes and our toy cupcakes side by side.

I am so craving a cupcake right now!

You can read more about the event on the Henri Bendel website. Do stop by the event with your dog if you’re in NYC! Special thanks also to Ariel, Lindsey and Alexa for all your help in coordinating the logistics for this event. This is definitely the highlight of my year!


Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

We usually ship out orders from the company warehouse, but I frequently use my post office in San Marino for international shipments and have gotten to know pretty much all the staff there. So I stopped by the post office today on the way home to ship off a package for Canada, and was greeted by Helen behind the counter.

“Hello, Candy!” she chirped. That’s Helen’s nickname for me. Now, for those of you who don’t know Helen, she is a petite little Asian lady who’s probably 4′ 10″ on a good day, but has enough spunk and zest for ten people twice her size. Helen’s the living definition of “joie de vivre”, and always makes a point to treat every customer like they are her favorite relative. Our city’s post office is probably the only one with pens that each has a huge fake flower taped onto the tip so that they look like a bouquet of flowers in a can (and she changes them according to seasons!) just because it’s Helen’s way of brightening up the place. Needless to say, I just adore her.

“Nothing much, Helen. Just finishing up the day.” I replied.

“So, Candy, do you eat Jello?” she asked casually as she weighed my package.

“Of course…”

“I made some Thai style Jello with milk and brought it with me to work today for the staff. Wanna try some?”

“It’s okay, Helen, I’m on a diet..” I chuckled.

“No, no…you wait here!”, and off she went to the back room while the printer is printing out my receipt. A minute later, she emerged triumphantly with two styrofoam bowls cupped on top of each other to keep the jello secure, snapped a rubber band around the container and handed it to me with an ear-to-ear grin. How could I say no to that? I thanked her profusely and took the container. “Have a great weekend, Candy!” she called out to me as I left.

When I got home, I opened up the container and poured the contents into a cup expecting to see chunky pieces of jello floating in milk. This is what I got instead.

Hello, what do we have here? Methinks there are longans and jackfruit slices in this sweet concoction as well! See that round shaped ball-like fruit floating on top?

That round thing is a longan fruit. If you’ve never tried longans before, they’re a round crunchy fruit that’s quite sweet, with a big pit in the center. There are canned longans available in Asian supermarkets, and I’ve even seen some in the “Asian Food” aisle of my local supermarket.

Picture credit: wikipedia, USDA

Judging from the perfect shape of the fruit, Helen used canned longans for her dessert, which suits me just fine because I actually prefer canned longans to fresh longans.

And the yellow pieces in the middle are the jackfruit slices. I love the green hue of the sliced jello strips – it reminds me of the green you see on a kiwi. I gotta say, Helen has a great eye for color because that’s one great looking jello dessert!

As I’m writing this post, the Thai style jello dessert is long gone and gone to my belly. Yes, it was very good! All that crunchy and sweet fruits and slippery jello mixed together in a cool, sweet milky soup was very refreshing. I think I’ll have to recreate this dessert for myself soon! Thanks for starting off my weekend on such a sweet note, Helen!

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!