One of the many reasons I started Shiny Creations was because I loved making personal gifts for the people I loved. That soon leaked into making personal gifts for strangers. It’s not just the simple act of making a fine craft by hand that I enjoy, but also in the agonising, tiny details that make a product truly personalised. I will often spend days working on a product until it is perfect. Though yesterday I took on a challenge that had me wondering if I had been dropped on my head as a child and everyone just forgot to tell me.
Yesterday morning I received a panicked phone call; a woman had ordered an old family photo to be made into icing cake topper figurines. Unfortunately, the baker who had been commissioned had been unable to make them and had left it until the day before it was due to let his customer know. The cake toppers were for the woman’s parents who were celebrating an astonishing 70 years of marriage. A war time couple, Gladys, 88, and Alec, 90, are an incredible story that prove even the most cynical people wrong about love.
They were having a grand party to celebrate this platinum party, but were suddenly out of a personalised cake topper. I knew I had to help contribute to this special day, the only problem was, the party was the next day. I usually quote a two week processing and making period when any custom-made item is ordered from Shiny Creations. This is due to the complexity of hand-making such detailed and fine crafts. I had less than 24 hours.
The woman on the phone may have been holding her breathe while she waited for my reaction from the deadline. ‘Well, I do enjoy a challenge,’ I thought; “Sure, I can do it!” I create the cake toppers based on the photographs the customers send me. Jacqueline, (Gladys and Alec’s daughter,) didn’t have a digital copy of the photo so she drove to my home with the original photograph from 1945. The black and white image of the young, happy couple was lightly painted by hand to suggest the colours. Checking details with Jacqueline and her husband, I made a list of what needed to be included, we had to partly imagine and partly remember what the rest of the photo may have contained as the image only went as far as their torsos.
Promising to have a unique and completely personalised cake topper ready for them to collect the next day, I showed my customers out. After being let down by a professional who had had the order for months and been forced to do a quick web search for a replacement, I wonder how nervous they were leaving the task with a twenty something woman, wearing a comic book t-shirt.
I worked well into the night, making Alec’s navy suit, Gladys’ veil, his blonde curls and her yellow rose bouquet. The next morning I may have been as nervous as they were. I spend so much time and effort on these creations that there is a lot of pressure when you ponder the possibility that your customer may not be happy with what you have made. Fortunately, this was not the case. Jacqueline seemed thrilled with the result and more than a little relived that, on the day of the party, she had two perfect, personalised figurines of her parents, 70 years ago on their wedding day.
I was so proud that I was able to add this personal touch to a celebration and for a couple who remain happily married 70 years on, in a world where it has become increasingly hard to make a love that lasts a life time, (harder than making a couple of cake toppers at least.)
Happy Anniversary Gladys and Alec,
Here’s to seventy wonderful years!
Creative Head of Shiny Creations