“Sign here”, said the post woman as she handed me a pen, a large pad of paper containing dates, names and signatures all neatly divided into columns, and a small yellowish envelope post marked “China”. I tried to restrain my excitement, but quite honestly I felt like a kid on her birthday seconds before ripping off the ribbons and wrapping paper on a gift box. Much like the birthday child, I didn’t know for sure what was inside the package, but unlike the birthday child, I ordered and paid for this myself. The thing is that I ordered and paid for so many small packets lately, that I really had no idea if this was the one that I ordered two weeks ago or perhaps that other one that I purchased a month ago.
My interest in cake decorating started quite suddenly just a few months earlier. Perhaps out of boredom, I registered for a three hour class in the making of sugar dough flowers. I had no idea what sugar dough was exactly or how to work with it, but I was thrilled with my completed creations. Looking back, though, the roses, calla lilies and daisies were all much too thick and quite lacking in any resemblance to reality, but they were colorful, and with a good imagination were even vaguely discernible as flowers.
It was only several internet tutorials later, that I realized that if I had better tools and more equipment I could do much finer work. So I started frequenting the local cake decorating stores and craft shops only to find that this new budding hobby was going to be a very expensive one. At the time, my cupboard was pretty bare with only three baking tins, one large rolling pin, a few cookie cutters and some parchment paper. Amazon and e-bay quickly opened their doors and their virtual aisles to me, but their shipping fees were much too prohibitive. On the verge of conceding that my new pastime would be short lived, I accidentally hit the wrong computer key and up popped Aliexpress, a Chinese e-bay type site, if you will. One purchase with free shipping has led to another and yet another. True, there are no name brands, but from what I can tell the quality is reasonable and most of my kitchen toys cost about one third of what I would have had to spend in the local stores.
My cupboard is now quite jammed with baking related equipment, some of which I don’t really need and others that I haven’t as yet quite figured out how to use. I probably do buy too much and certainly could get away with a lot less, but I do love the rush of receiving all these little “gift” packets in their yellowish envelopes that are delivered almost daily to my front door.