Archive for April, 2012

Kristen Cumings, the artist behind some of the Jelly Belly Candy Company’s famous jelly bean art, knows her beans. In 2010, Kristen was commissioned by Jelly Belly to produce eight pieces of jelly bean art for a collection titled “Masterpieces of Jelly Belly Art.” This collection includes eight recreations of the world’s most most recognized works of  art, including Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.” The Masterpieces collection is now on display through June at the Children’s Museum of the Upstate in Greenville, S.C.

 

My kids tell everybody that we meet that I’m a jelly bean artist. I’ve always been into art. My first jelly bean portrait was of Herman Rowland [chairman of the board, Jelly Belly]. It took me about three months to complete.

A typical commissioned piece for me is 4 feet wide by 5 feet tall and includes between 12,000 and 15,000 jelly beans. I now can finish a piece in about three weeks, which is roughly 100 hours.

I sort my beans by color in compartmentalized bead boxes. I’ve dropped one of those boxes on more than one occasion and have actually paid my kids to re-sort them for me.

For pieces that Jelly Belly commissions, the company orders a 10-pound box of each color. I use about 25 to 35 colors per piece, so we have a lot of leftovers in my house. My favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean color to work with is Island Punch. I dyed my hair the same color last year. My hair is now mostly red, but two parts are purple and pink striped. The purple stripes look like Island Punch. The pink stripes are more Strawberry Daiquiri.

I work in the evenings after my regular job. I am a special education classroom assistant and I do a lot of art with the kids. They love the jelly bean projects!

My favorite jelly bean portrait so far was the one I just finished. It’s of my son. My reference image was from when he was 7 years old.

Jelly Belly jelly bean art

Kristen Cumings' portrait of her son, Malcolm, at age 7.

I was bummed when Jelly Belly got rid of Peanut Butter and Caramel Apple jelly beans. They were my go-to colors for mid-range fleshtones. I hoarded them. To get that medium value now, I put two beans together—like Honey Bean and Chili Mango. For a shadow here and there, I’ll throw in a blue or a purple bean.

My favorite Jelly Bean flavor is Sour Cherry. I really like the sours.

One of my biggest challenges is knowing when to add in that odd color to make a piece really pop. I always try to match the tones of my reference images as much as possible, but sometimes the result can look too dull. That’s when I start taking out some beans and add in a bean color to make it livelier.

Jelly Belly jelly bean art

All colors pop in this recent jelly bean portrait by Kristen Cumings. The subject is her son's best friend, Bailey.

I just started a private commission for Lola Salazar who is the owner of Lola’s Sugar Rush. It’s a cute image of her for her candy shop.  I’m really excited about it! My commissioned pieces run about $3,500 to $5,000, depending on the size of the canvas.

My best friend’s son was upset that I didn’t include Harry Potter’s lightening scar in the portrait that I created. The reference image I was given to use from Warner Bros. didn’t include it. On the under-painting that I did, though, the scar is there. You just can’t see it because the beans cover it up.

Jelly Belly jelly bean art


Photo credits: Samuel Levi Jones (top photo), Kristen Cumings (jelly bean artwork photos)

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in Bulk, Candy, Jelly Beans, Jelly Belly Candy Company, News

Bird's PartyWhen it comes to parties, Bird from Bird’s Party has all angles covered.  She created a successful party printables business with her graphic design skills, which led her into party planning, styling, editorial photo shoots, and eventually Bird’s Party Magazine.

Bird’s a modern marvel because she’s been able to create a successful full-service party business that has no geographical boundaries. Bird is based in France with her husband and children, but all of her print-it-yourself party products, ideas, and e-zine are accessible anywhere. She’s like the girl next door, who doesn’t actually live next door.

I’ve often wondered, “How does she do it?” I’m still not sure, but she did let us in on a few insights …

 - – - – - -

Candy.com: So, which came first: your party designs and printables, your event planning business, or your magazine?

Bird: The graphic design and party printable aspects came first and along with that, the need to style and plan photos shoots, editorials, and real life events based around the printables.

The magazine came last as a way of compiling and featuring the best Bird’s Party has to offer, but now it has grown into a real resource for all things party and event styling in general, and offers an invaluable platform for many related business to showcase their talents.

Big Top Party

Candy.com: How did you go from process engineer in your early career to party animal?

Bird: Although I come from a science background, I’ve always had a passion and interest for art, entertaining, and graphic design. After designing my very first printable collection (Bollywood Bling) for my wedding anniversary a few years ago, there was no turning back! I had enjoyed the whole process just too much to ignore it – designing, styling, baking, and even photography. When it was subsequently featured on Hostess with the Mostess, Amy Atlas, and several other party sites, I received a lot of requests and positive feedback. That’s when I knew my passion had potential to become a career.

 

Candy.com: Were you born and raised in France?

Bird: My husband and I moved from the UK to France some 10 years ago. When the kids were born, I packed it all in to become a stay-at-home mom.

 

Candy.com: You keep your business seamless across countries. Did you start out marketing your company in Europe,  America, or both?

Bird: The whole “kids party scene”  is quite a new concept in the UK and France, so my main market is targeted toward the US, South America, and Australia. Though we have customers from all over the globe—Dubai, Vietnam, South Africa to Holland and in between!

 

Candy.com: Are parties celebrated differently in Europe vs. America? I read on one of your posts that a baby shower in France is “quite novel.”

Bird: Kids’ parties in particular are a very small, simple affairs without many decorations. Candy or more elaborate dessert tables are kept for “special” occasions like weddings. But the Internet is a powerful tool, and the amazing parties from the likes of Amy Atlas, HWTM, and Tori Spelling have filtered abroad, so they serve as real inspiration.

We can now see a whole new market emerging, and baking suppliers, candy stores and general party shops are cropping up everywhere, so it’s an exciting time to be in the party business in Europe!

 

Candy.com: Are candy buffets (or anything similar) popular in Europe?

Bird: They are getting more popular nowadays. It’s mainly a question of finding the right supplies! I still have a real hard time buying swirl lollipops and the usual hard candies for instance. Not all candy is readily available and this makes it harder to create a full color-coordinated display with a range of interesting candy.

 

Candy.com: Do Europeans enjoy DIY party planning as much as Americans do?

Bird: One thing that has always been alive and well here is crafting and DIY. So marrying the parties with a DIY aspect is catching on fast!

 

Candy.com: What made you decide to create a electronic magazine filled with creative DIY party ideas from primarily American party planners and stylists?

Bird: I never set out to have primarily American stylists, but it just so happened that the stylists I knew were mostly from the US. So when it came to putting a magazine together, it was only natural that I’d invite those women I admire to join me! We welcome quality pitches from anywhere in the world, and have had the honor of working with Australian and Brazilian collaborators in the past.

Candy.com: Now that you just published Issue 5 of Bird’s Party Magazine, what has surprised you most about your e-zine?

Bird: The readership numbers and general support from peers and sponsors, continue to amaze and astound me with every new issue. Issue 5 has to date reached a staggering over 540,000 unique page views and over  44,000 reader in just 2 weeks, and that’s totally down to all our supporters and collaborators!

 

Candy.com: Ok, you have successfully tackled party printables, event planning, and publishing. What’s next for Bird’s Party?

Bird: There is always so much more to learn! I have hunger for learning, and with that comes the need to push myself further, and also to venture into new domains. But it’s been a real roller-coaster year so far, and I’m just happy and excited to continue to work hard, and take the time to enjoy the ride!

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in Business, Candy, Candy Buffets, Trends

Sweet! Today, we’ve got a tutorial on how to make adorable Baby Chick Gumballs today from The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle. These baby chicks would be a major hit at a baby shower. (Take a peek at SweetSugarBelle’s Jordan Almond and M&M’s Bluebirds.) Thank you SweetSugarBelle for sharing your sweet yellow chicks with us. Love them!

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Want a cute accent for your next baby shower? These baby chick gumballs are adorable and easy!

Baby Chick Gumballs

Here’s what you need:

1. Yellow Gumballs

2. Black Royal Icing {piping consistency} fitted with a #1 tip

?3. Orange Royal Icing {20-second icing} with a #2 tip

4. Yellow Royal Icing {stiff piping consistency} with a #13 or #14 tip

Here’s the how-to:

Begin my packing a cooling rack on a cookie sheet and cover with a towel. This will help to keep the gumballs from rolling around as you work.

Baby Chick Gumballs 2

Make sure to give the gumballs a little space so you can work without bumping into the others.

Baby Chick Gumballs 3

Next use the black icing to add eyes.

Baby Chick Gumballs 4

At this point, I kinda start thinking of this…just kidding.

Baby Chick Gumballs 5

But seriously, at this point use the orange icing to add a beak.

Baby Chick Gumballs 6

To finish up, use the yellow piping icing to add a sweet little puff of feathers to the top of the chickie’s head.

Baby Chick Gumballs 7

Let dry and you’ll have the cutest and easiest chickies you ever did see!

Baby Chick Gumballs 8

For matching cupcakes head on over to my blog, The Sweet Adventures of SugarBelle.

Hope to see you there!

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25 Apr

Sizzling Hot! Candy Bacon Lollipops 0

Bacon Candy PopsSizzling bacon isn’t just for eggs or burgers anymore. Nope.

Bacon’s now being snuck into chocolate bars, cupcakes, ice cream (Burger King just launched a Bacon Sundae) … and now lollipops.

The Melville Candy Company has a new line of translucent Candy Bacon Lollipops shaped like crispy strips of bacon and infused with bacon bits.

These sweet and savory slices of yum are made in the USA (Weymouth, Mass., to be exact), and come in three flavors: Maple, Honey, and BBQ.

How perfect would these amber piggly wiggly candy pops be at a BBQ or wrapped up with a bow for Father’s Day?

Hog heaven!

p.s. Everything’s 10% off at Candy.com now through Sun., April 22, including Bacon Pops! Just use webcode CandySave10 at checkout.

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