Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Tax Season is Coming--How To Prepare

Yes, it's true, you'd better get ready to do your taxes. Unless you're the person who takes a giant box of receipts and hands it off to an accountant, you'll need to get things straightened out for the upcoming trauma of the Schedule C.

Use this handy guide to get things ready this month, so that when the stroke of New Year's is here you can start and finish this onerous task quickly and efficiently. If you start now and do it a little at a time it won't be so heinous.

1. Gather your documents. Receipts, invoices, records of payments received, estimates taxes paid, mileage records, salary paid to employees, etc etc. Sort everything out into categories and put them into a spreadsheet ready to be totaled up, or enter into your bookkeeping software that you should have started using way before this (I use GoDaddy bookkeeping, it's cheap compared to the time it saves you.)

2. Investigate whether you're required to do inventory or not. There are exemptions for small businesses and certain types of businesses, so if there's an exemption that includes you, take it. You don't want to figure out inventory if you don't have to, believe me.

3. Check into whether any equipment you have on your depreciation lists has been sold or discarded this year and update those. Add anything new that you might have had to buy this year, and get the receipt copies to keep with the record of depreciated items.

4. Make sure you're up to date on your estimated tax payments. The last one for 2016 is due in January of 2017, so if you're behind you still have some time to catch up.

5. Go through your bank account and make sure there isn't anything that you paid for that you didn't put into your expenses. Sometimes things that are overlooked can be a good deduction.

6. If you have a rough idea of how much your net income is going to be, check the tax tables to see if you're going to have one of those "surprise, you made more than you thought so now you owe a ton of income tax" moments. If it looks like you're going to experience the joy of owing taxes, at least you can start putting some money aside to pay for it between now and April 15th.

7. If you haven't done it yet, so get some bookkeeping software. Like I said, I use GoDaddy bookkeeping (www.bookkeeping.godaddy.com) but any online service that you like will do. Make sure that the one you choose will import the accounts that you tell it to, and then all you have to do is go in and double check that everything was entered and press "print" and you're ready to fill out your taxes. Seriously, this saved me a week of work the first time I used it. My taxes are strange because of my online income, so using GoDaddy uncomplicated things for me tremendously. If yours aren't as tricky and you can get by with a spreadsheet that's fine, but make sure it's ready to go and  completely accurate.

8. If there's any equipment or supplies that you need, and you have the need to reduce your net income by adding some expenses before the end of the year, go shopping now. Just make sure that your payments process before the end of the year to avoid questions about which year the items were purchased.

Taxes don't have to be hideously difficult, you just need to get organized to make it easier on yourself. Starting now will take the pressure off and make it easier to actually fill out the forms when the time comes.



Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com


Monday, December 5, 2016

How To Make Wafer Paper Roses

This post contains affiliate links

To see the video of how to make this flower from beginning to end, click here: How To Make Wafer Paper Roses

Here's the finished flower...The center is made from a strip of cut paper to look ruffly.


Start with a 1" styrofoam ball (the rough kind, not the smooth polystyrene.)


Press it flat against the counter on one side.


Wire it so that the wire sticks out the rounded side, and the flat side is up. (The wire isn't shown in this photo.)


Cut off a piece of the colored wafer paper and wrap the flattened styrofoam ball in it. This will give the wafer paper petals something to stick to. Let that piece dry for a while.


Cut a strip off of one side of the paper. Make it about 3/4" wide.


Fold it and cut the folded ends halfway through to make a fringe.


Cut little marks in the paper all the way along one side.


Cut the edges of the fringed side in a wavy way so that the fringes will be uneven.



Open the strip up.


Lightly moisten the flat edge.


Coil up the strip and press it onto the center of the styrofoam ball.


Wind the strip around itself and make a coil of the fringe. Brush a little more water onto the ball if needed, but don't make it too wet.


Cut the top of the fringe unevenly if it looks too regular.


Add another fringed strip to cover the whole flat top of the ball.


Cut some 2" circles from colored wafer paper using a 1 1/2" round paper cutter. If you're making a rose with more uneven petals, or you don't have a paper cutter, you can cut them out freehand. Cut out 7-12 petals depending on how full you want the flower to be.


Attach the petals to the ball with the colored sides facing out. You'll be steaming the flower and curving the petals in toward the center, so that will make the colored side show.


Attach the petals overlapping so that they cover the edge of the ball. 


As you attach more petals, move them a little lower so that the top edge of each row of petals isn't completely level with each other. The outer edges should be lower than the inner ones.

Cut out some larger 2" circles with a round paper punch. You can leave some of them flat on one side if you're running low on paper.


Attach these with the colored side facing in, since they'll curl away from the center of the flower.


Attach 10-12 circles in a spiral. Let the flower dry.


Heat up a pot of water on the stovetop and hold the flower over the water long enough to make the petals soften up a little.


Gently bend the inner petals in toward the flower center.


Hod the flower over the steam again and bend the outer petals away from the center. Keep steaming and bending the flower until it looks the way that you want it to.








Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

Monday, November 28, 2016

Dusting Purple Gumpaste Hydrangeas

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Okay...we all know that purple is the most heinous of colors because of its tendency to fade and change colors. The best way to get around this is to dust whatever it is that you want to stay purple.

These hydrangeas started out lavender. I dusted them first with a lighter purple/lavender color.

Then you dust the center with a little darker purple. For these I used French Lilac and Grape Crystal Colors dusts.

Make sure that when you dust the flowers you don't extend the color all the way to the edge of the petal, and that you keep the darker color mostly in the center. But a little variation is good because no two flowers are the same anyway.

Use a big, rounded, fluffy mop brush like a puffy powder makeup brush to make sure that the color isn't too concentrated in one area.




Here's the before and after of the non-dusted and dusted versions. By layering the color the purple looks more natural, and since it's petal dust it won't fade.



And you can pin the image on the right to see the whole process  and save it for later.  :)


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

          
                                     

Friday, November 25, 2016

Edible Ink Printers part 4-- Smearing Prints, Paper Jams, and Other Fun.


Here's the last video in my series on edible ink printers. In this one I cover smearing, paper jams, and some other random information.

Again, if you don't need to use an edible ink printer on a regular basis, think twice about getting one. They're a fun toy if you use them a lot, but if you use them a lot you'll run into every problem you can have with them, so they will test your patience.


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

Friday, November 18, 2016

Edible Ink Printers Part 3 - What To Do If It Won't Print The Right Way.

The worst thing is when you go to print one thing, ONE THING...And you end up spending three hours trying to figure out why the printer won't print the one color that you can't get away with leaving out. This shows the process of going through the decision tree before finally having to take out the printer head for cleaning.


The basic decision process is:

-"Prime the sponge" so to speak. Print a test pattern, if that doesn't work...

-Run a cleaning cycle. Print a test pattern, if that doesn't work...

-Run a second cleaning cycle. Print a test pattern, if that doesn't work...

-Do a Deep Cleaning cycle. Print a test pattern, if that doesn't work...

-Try wetting the sponges in the inside of the printer. Print a test pattern, if that doesn't work...

-Remove the print head and clean it out using cleaning fluid (available from the edible ink companies) or hot water. When it's totally clean, dry and put it back into the printer, replace the cartridges, and print a test pattern, if that doesn't work, you might have to try cleaning the print head again.

Also, (and I forgot to mention this in the video but I added a note) you might need to just replace the cartridge that isn't printing if cleaning the print head doesn't help. Sometimes refilling the cartridges wears them out or something, and a new one is what you have to do.


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com