Now that is a loaded title, ripe with keywords bound to attract SEO spammers and Twilight fangs fans!
I say, bring it on!
My poor spam folder has been neglected these past few days…
…nothing, nada, zilch…
A few weeks ago, I was complaining on Twitter about the boring French spam ads for Abercrombie and Fitch, and now my blog is apparently on some kind of spam black-list. Nobody will send me any spam. :P
However this title serves another, more appropriate, purpose. It answers that ubiquitous question:
“What have you been up to?”
Well, gee, funny you should ask…
“I’m earning money for adding vampire fangs and blood-shot eyes onto cupcakes!”
Here are some green-faced mummies, big black spiders, and orange Jack O’Lanterns.
And while I realize how messy that black butter-cream icing is… I have toddlers after all! …Halloween wouldn’t have been official without BLACK CAT cupcakes!!
With Joe’s boss sucking the blood from his dying career, and the prospect of taking on additional hours at my workplace, I needed to make a change.
Scraping spaghetti sauce off grocery shelves, and assisting elderly ladies in locating their instant barley and bran flakes, may have provided me with a paycheck but certainly wasn’t a job that I could sink my teeth into.
I need challenges.
I need to exercise my talents.
I need to stop making poor vampire puns.
And I need to feel needed.
Anyone can put boxes on a shelf. No experience necessary.
So when my store manager approached me about a opening for a cake decorator in our bakery, knowing that I had years’ worth of experience on my resume… the offer was quickly accepted!
It has taken me a few days to get acclimated to the routine again, but cake decorating really is akin to riding a bicycle. You’ll never really forget how to do it.
On my first day, I began with simple designs and decorated this “Tangled” kit cake from DecoPac. It’s a very basic concept, just lots of twisted hair using a #233 grass tip, and some small flowers made with a writing tip.
But the icing bags felt natural in my hands – unlike cases of Cheesy Ragu – and the shell borders and roses all came back to me.
In fact, my brain is now preoccupied with all-things-cake. I find myself looking at artwork, and wondering how to replicate the design and style with icing. I half-jokingly told Joe that I’d re-create Mr. Darcy Cat onto a cake someday, and sneak it into our showcase.
But with Mia turning 4-years-old this December, and the popularity of Tangled cakes, I’m in birthday-cake planning mode…. and leaning toward the incredibly cute cupcake/muffin tower featured in this Super-Mom blog post!
I believe I’m somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to cake decorating. I love the classic touches – swirly shell borders, piped roses and leaves, basket-weaves, vines, and swags. I might also incorporate gumpaste flowers, edible glitter, and airbrushed color.
Today’s trends, though, are wild, colorful, and sometimes just a bit strange.
More cakes by Karen Portaleo:
I don’t have much experience working with sculpted cakes like these, or with fondant for that matter. I’ve always preferred the sweet taste of butter-cream (or even better, whipped chocolate! Mmmmm…) over that edible Play-Dough stuff.
And I secretly loathe rolling out dough. Whenever I’m baking cookies or biscuits, I’ll take a section of floured dough, flatten it with my palm, and cut the circle with an upside-down drinking glass. Blend the leftovers into another piece of dough, rinse, and repeat. Who needs a rolling pin?!
Cakes like those take a loooong time to create… Barbara Jo took over a week to create her TARDIS cake honoring Dr. Who, complete with LED lights and mirrors inside! O_o
At our house, if the cake takes longer than 2 hours to decorate, it will undoubtedly be eaten (by somebody) before it gets finished. *whistles innocently*
Leaning tower cakes, and cakes shaped like steaks, and….
The retailers for whom I’ve worked are catering to the average customer who wants a $20-40 birthday cake, or an occasional $200-400 wedding cake…. since I get paid an hourly wage, that means quantity is almost as important as quality.
Of course, I’m assuming these professional decorators are commanding higher salaries as well. ;)
I’ll never forget the customer who tried to slip me a twenty-dollar bill, saying “I know your boss isn’t compensating you for all that hard work.”
I didn’t take the money. To do so would have violated our company’s policies regarding tips. But considering his $20 contribution was almost double what I earned in my paycheck for that gentleman’s cake… it brought to the surface some uncomfortable realizations about my self-worth.
I was discussing fads. And the most influential design of all? The blasted polka-dot. Personally, I cannot stand dots.
“But they’re modern!” squeals my shift manager excitedly. “We need more modern cupcakes!”
Like Dots Cupcakes. Which are $3.00 per cupcake and come in a smorgasbord of fun flavors. Even honey goat cheese?!
They deliver straight to your door ~ just like pizza! Except in smaller boxes.
So in the coming weeks, you’ll find me buried up my ears in polka dots and pin stripes… trying to relearn old arts and new at the same time.
Squeezing in some studio time, blogging a bit behind schedule, and dreaming about cake steaks.
Or more likely having nightmares about vampire cakes made from Play-Dough trying to suck my blood, and leaving me covered in polka dots!
In case you’re wondering how AfriCat did in the Art for the Animals charity auction? She sold for $40.00!
Although I didn’t win any awards, AfriCat was announced as 1st runner-up for People’s Choice in my category. I was the only runner-up publicly acknowledged, due to the near-tie between my work and the winner’s! Yay! :)
Nothing brightens my day quite like reading over the latest comments in my blog’s spam folder. :)
But my sanity has never been in question; it’s obvious that I have none.
But me? I read spam comments while sipping my sugared coffee and eating syrup-laden pancakes.
I don’t get much fan mail anymore, since I left the theatre, and no longer parade around as a costumed stock model… instead, I content myself with this:
“This website is certainly instead useful because I’m with the second making an online floral site – even though I’m only starting up out consequently it is truly pretty little, nothing at all similar to this website.”
His flattery warms my heart almost as much as this coffee does, and I’d like to thank my supportive family and friends, for encouraging me to reach for the stars and make this website instead useful.
The misspelled words and total randomness of thought are funny enough, like this gem from Kaycie:
“Yeah that’s what I’m tkailng about baby–nice work!”
Or was it Jahlin who said it first?
Everyone seems to be tkailng about it, baby!
[And in case you're wondering, I have it on good authority that Tkailng is a Klingon wine made from some kind of animal blood.]
Other comments seem almost normal when taken out of context. It’s really amusing to be complimented on my 50% OFF Original Art Sale:
“Good post you got here. It would be great to read something else more relating to this subject.”
You can read more about this subject by visiting my Etsy shop. And perhaps thank me with a small purchase…. and you’re welcome!
Reading spam is akin to learning a foreign language. Who knew there were so many ways to spell the word article:
“So excited I found this atcrile….”
“There is a critical shortage of informative articels like this.”
“What a neat atirlce. I had no inkling.”
Wow, I had no inkling either.
But most importantly, I have to thank Tennie Kuhnen from WordPress-SEO for his invaluable and insightful critique of my website.
Tennie writes, “I noticed that your On-Page SEO is not that great, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post…”
Gee, you are absolutely right.
I need to punctuate my writing with large headers….
Because these spammy looking H tags will improve my Google score
Gotcha. What next?
Tennie remarks, “…also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization.”
So rather than italicising your quote, I should highlight KEYWORDS like, um….
Mr Darcy cat Tuxedo Feline Regency Art Portraits by TaraFly on Etsy ….
….because that looks completely natural. Not spammy at all. Right? ;)
Tennie says, “No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO.”
Now THAT is what I’m tkailng about, baby! Tell me more….
Tennie asks, “So what is good On-Page SEO? First your keyword must appear in the title.”
“Then it must appear in the URL,” Tennie replies.
Tennie continues, “You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing).”
Uh-huh. Whoa… what?! Optimize my keywords? Density? Latent Semantic….
Flux capacitor… Hover conversions….
What are you tkailng about, Doc?
Marty, you aren’t thinking fourth dimensionally!
When the DeLorean reaches 88 mph, those keywords won’t even be there!
(Did you notice he spelled article correctly, though!)
Tennie nods appreciatively, “Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.”
Crap. Why didn’t you mention that before?
Tennie points out, “Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page.
You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.”
So I need to begin and end every post with “TaraFly’s Regency Cat Art ~ Mr Darcy Cat”.
And sprinkle a few Regency Cats and Well Dressed Felines over my left shoulder for luck.
Tennie also says, “There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword…”
Any image will do…. like this one?
Tennie excitedly squeals, “wait there’s even more …. Now what if i told you there was a simple WordPress plugin that does all the On-Page SEO, and automatically for you?
That’s right AUTOMATICALLY, just watch this 4minute video for more information…”
Holy Copernicus, there’s a plug-in?! That does all of this stuff AUTOMATICALLY?
Like creating big, giant spammy headers?
And keyword stuffed ALT tags?
It will add extra keywords to my ~ Regency Cat Art ~ opening and closing paragraphs?
It will fix my titles and URLs?
[And by fix, I mean neuter... just like Mr Darcy Cat]
Sorry I won’t share the video with you. But you can Google Tennie Kuhnen’s alter-ego Daniel Tan, and his “SEOPressor Plug-in”… where you’ll find his red-hot mess of a website.
And it does appear that some crazy, auto plug-in crafted the entire thing!
(Judging from his sales page, I need to add green and red headers too…. because Google SEO really likes Christmas colors)
Be forewarned, though, even my usually reliable Pop-Up blocker didn’t prevent me from being accosted by spammy windows (and even a recorded voice!) repeatedly asking me to watch the video before leaving.
Very professional, Mr. Tan. I’m impressed.
Just not impressed enough to get your plug-in… I can create spammy looking blog posts without your help.
Wait… why on earth would I do that?!
However, I was impressed by your comment. There is a critical shortage of comments like yours on the web, and I’d like to hear more about this subject….
But my coffee is getting cold, my pancakes are gone, and I have lots of projects to finish….
Like my Regency Cat Art portraits.