Search This Blog

Monday, January 25, 2016

Admirals and Quebec Tercentenaries Are Ready to Scan and Steph's 30th Birthday Bash

Since my last panicked post, things have gotten better: sales have now just passed $1,100 for January, which is not at all bad when I consider that people are all spent out from the Christmas season, and I am getting between 5 and 10 new customers a week. I have just passed 200 new customers since July 2015 and I have to remember that each and every one of these has the potential to be a repeat customer. All I have to do to maximize my chances of this is to look after them as best as I can and make them feel special and valued. I am doing everything in my power to do this by communicating with each and every one of them, whenever they order something from me and I am making sure that my messages are completely tailored to them.

I have been working frantically for the past two weeks organizing the stamps from the 1908 Quebec Tercentenary and the 1911-1928 Admiral Issue. Last Thursday I had finally completed my identification, grading and pricing of this material. I have well over 1,000 items to list and I must say that I am extremely proud of the work I have done on these. I have taken no shortcuts whatsoever. Shades have been identified using the Stanley Gibbons Colour Key, which every philatelist with access to a stamp dealer can obtain, rather than relying on the inconsistent colour descriptions contained in the Scott or Unitrade catalogues. Papers have been checked using a micrometer for thickness as well as being described thoroughly so that specialists of this issue can know exactly what they are buying when they order from me.

This work was not without its low points though: my work did turn up several re-perforated stamps that I had not noticed before, and although I should still be able to sell them for what I paid, I probably will not make any money on them. Still, it is better that I noticed these issues before my customers did.

Steph turned 30 on the weekend, and I decided to have a big birthday party for her. We had discussed the idea months ago of a "dip party" in which the food was different home-made dips. So I thought, a great idea was to do a party with 30 different dips, one for each year. I called it "Steph Dips Into her 30's". The dips I made can all be found online by Googling the following names and taking the first or second search result in each case:

1. Sweet onion dip - this one was pretty good, but not amazing.
2. Buffalo chicken dip - incredible!
3. Jalapeno popper dip - pretty good.
4. Warm blue cheese dip - amazing if you like blue cheese.
5. Beer dip - pretty good.
6. Spinach and parmesan dip - good.
7. Creamy salmon spread with horseradish - amazing!
8. Warm caramelized onion dip - amazing!
9. Herbed lemon-ricotta dip - good, but heed the warning not to chill for more than 4 hours!
10. Cheese and guiness spread - good, but gets very hard and difficult to spread.
11. Cookie dough dip - this was by far the most popular dessert dip at the party.
12. Caramel dip - good.
13. Farm stand fruit dip - amazing and very popular.
14. Raspbery cheesecake dip - amazing.
15. Maple bacon dip - amazing.
16. Guacamole - amazing.
17. Pizza dip - I only thought it was good, but it was the first to disappear.
18. Hummus - good.
19. Fig and olive tapenade - leave out the rosemary or use fresh as my guests didn't like the texture.
20. Gazpacho salsa - surprisingly good and simple.
21. Devilled egg dip - I thought this was amazing!
22. Lemon garlic edamame dip - sounds really good, but not as amazing as I expected.
23. Spicy beer mustard - one of the most popular.
24. Zesty green goddess dip - very good.
25. Roasted garlic, tomato and white bean dip - I liked this one a lot, but it was the least popular.
26. Mint pea dip - I liked it, but again most of my guests said it tasted like grass.
27. Moroccan spiced roasted carrot dip - very good.
28. Nutty Swiss chard and roasted garlic - a very good, non-dairy dip for vegans.
29. Roasted red pepper dip - excellent.
30. Garlic walnut dip - maybe I made this one wrong, but not that good.

There you have it - 30 different sweet and savoury dips! I served them with a variety of dipping foods from crudites, to french bread, crackers, cookies, baked sausage chips, chips and fresh fruit pieces. The party was a great success and some of the guests were able to take the leftovers of their favourite dips home. There was more than enough food to feed everyone, even though I made 1/2 to 1/4 of the stated recipe amounts. I had 14 guests, and with the amount of leftovers, I would say that I could have fed 30 people very easily. For drinks I served a large 10 quart jug of Sangria and three 2 litre bottles of soda and that more than satisfied everyone who attended. The total cost of everything was under $200. So this is a very good idea to develop if you are looking to do a large party without spending a lot of money. The idea of making 30 dips sounds daunting, but I started on Thursday night and made 9 dips in just under 2 hours, and made the other 21 on Friday starting at about 3pm and finishing by 9pm. The dips all use common ingredients, so once you have them all in front of you and as long as you keep rinsing out your food processor, you can make one dip after the other. I stored them in Ziploc plastic containers and then when it was time to serve the cold dips, I just took them out of the fridge an hour before the party was scheduled to start and brought them to room temperature. For the warm dips, I made those right in the stoneware baking dishes, covered them in plastic wrap and popped them in the oven just before the guests arrived.

Steph made little flags using blackboard tape and skewers so that guests would know which dips were which. Cleanup took less than 1/2 hour, as we used paper plates and plastic cups, and for the leftover dips all we had to do was put the lids back on the containers and pop them back in the fridge. We couldn't have done it though without the help and support of her mom and dad who helped make some of the dips and supplied all the vegetables, fruit and the sangria.

So all in all, it was a great theme for a party and one that I would definitely do again.

No comments:

Post a Comment