Category Archives: SugarCoated

The sweetest of all my elements

Hipster Ghost Cookies

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Hipster-nation has taken over the the USA. Whether you are in Brooklyn, Portland or Nashville, their stereotypical fashion style has caught your eye: horn rimmed glasses, bow ties, selvedge raw jeans, handcrafted leather accessories and a splash of plaid. But did you know that hipster style goes beyond just us humans? It is just as recognizable on ghost cookies, as one of my instragram followers pointed out when she called my ghost cookies hipster ghosts.

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Well, I guess she was right, this ghost does look like a hipster but Im not sure he was meant to be.  His designer, Matthew of Design By Detail is in Hull, England.  Do they have Hipsters in the UK? Maybe…probably so, since style is global now.  Last year I discovered Matthew’s shop on etsy while preparing for our Halloween open house.  I loved his graphic style printables and ordered my invites and several of his Halloween signs (including a “hipster” bat).  This particular cookie design was used with his permission and everyone loved how unique he was.  I gave the cookies (along with many other treats) away at our party.

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I ejoyed working with Matthew so much that I asked him to design a sweets logo for me.  I needed something new to put on my cookie bags.   He did a great job at using my cake plate idea and an even better job at emphasizing my blog & etsy shop name Nikkiikkin. It never really occured to me that someone didnt see that it was the name Nikki forward and backwards.   When Matthew put the two words in different colors yet still spaced as one I had instant feedback from a friend, “I just realized nikkiikkin is nikki and nikki backwards” Which was a perfect reaction!  The new logo caught her attention and read better.  I had tried to portray that myself in a few logo renditions.  I started my blog with a header logo that had nikki mirrored (backwards) with ikkin but it was a pain to continue seamlessly with other account names since you cant actually type font backwards.  I also tried to make both n’s capital, that didnt do much for me either.  I really like the two tone and even though my blog and etsy headers are not with a cake plate ( I reserve this logo just for round stickers)  I stuck with this look.

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You can check out Design by Detail on etsy for branding, logo design as well as really great printables for parties here.

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Filed under Celebrations, Cookies

A Vintage Cat Lady Party

nikkiikkin cat lady party 16 Hi Friends!  Have you missed me?  Its seriously been way too long since my last post, in fact my posting the entire last year has been non-existent.   Its not because I haven’t wanted to, Ive just been up to my eyebrows in sugar.  And thats not a bad thing!

I’m so appreciative of all of the local referrals and etsy sales that I’ve been given this past year but I want to keep this blog going too.   I still want to focus on sharing my own work,  I have plenty of content to share but I’d like to include more resources and inspiration boards.  Maybe even try out some DIYs and tutorials which in the past I’ve shied away from doing. I also would love to start a series about my favorite sweet spots in NYC.   My son, Hudson has started pre-k this year and is 5 full days away from mommy now. Yikes! but Yeah! too.  Ive got about 25 more hours a week on my hands, so lets play!

If you follow me on Instagram (or have popped in to check on me and seen my instagram feed that changes on my blog sidelines) you have been in the know with what I’ve been up to.  Ive used Instagram as a replacement for keeping up my blog.  I still get to share and I love the instant feedback I get from all kinds of people.  You may have figured out that I run in a few different creative circles.  Im an interior designer, so I follow lots of dwelling and design peeps.  Although it would seem that cake designers, cookie artists and party stylists are one big family they actually stick to their own groups, well I’m a little bit of each of those too.  And then because my daughter is a ballet dancer at School of American Ballet, I love to follow the professional dancers, students, dance moms and dance photographers.   I have so many interests and have made a lot of great connections within each of these creative groups, they are great cheerleaders and an inspiration to me.  A year ago I tried keeping up with Twitter but I’m much too visual.  I was constantly clicking the links to see the pictures and blog posts and that really takes a lot of  my time.  A picture is worth a 1000 words, right?  So lets just get to this gorgeous party!

I had a hard time picking which sugar project to jump back in the game with, there are SOOO many good ones I havent shared.  Im going to start with my daughters 12th birthday.  This was a home party in August, very small, just family and 2 of Macy’s friends.

nikkiikkin cat lady party 4 We have a running joke in our family about cat ladies, Im one, my sister is one and macy is too, except she hasn’t had a house full of cats like me and my sister have had.  Macy will certainly reach that point one day but until then she can keep on dreaming because our little NYC apartment is not the place for it.    We also joke about Macy being an old soul, we believe she was once a fiesty old lady, strong willed and wordly.  She is a collector, to the point that I have to clean her out sometimes, she just like her stuff.  So, to sum it up this  Vintage Cat Lady Party was all about Macy. nikkiikkin cat lady party 1   Let me first tell you about these amazing tablecloths that I used on the cake and dining table.  They are from the vintage collection of one of my best friends, one of the most giving and selfless people I know.  Jennefer generously express shipped me some of her most prized pieces including the pink one I used on the the dining table that was her great-grandmothers and the white lace edge one that was hand embroidered by her mother!! I was so nervous about using them but Jen just said that her great grandmother “would be ecstatic for it to be used”!  When I asked her about barrowing something for the party she sent me all kinds of pictures and mock ups to choose from.   At first we passed on the dark green but then came back to it and Im so glad we did, it was so perfect.  I loved that it was the same emerald shade as my jadeite cake stand, just darker.  I really wanted to keep that one!  (Jen, if you ever find a duplicate grab it for me!) nikkiikkin cat lady party 3 nikkiikkin cat lady party 11 nikkiikkin cat lady party 10   The party decor existed at the dining table and a smaller side table that served as a backdrop.  The paper goods were a mix of the Frills and Frosting collection that comes out of the UK  and the Poppy Talk for Target which was a summer collection that you cant get anymore. That magnificent cake was fake, oh yeah!  I love to make fake cakes for my parties.  First of all that cake would feed 100 people and my parties are small so I would never need such a big cake but I always want that big focal point.  I like to serve cupcakes or smaller cakes instead, in this case I made a strawberry shortcake….with sparklers….and cupcakes with plastic toy cats on them.    On top of the strawberry short cake is a cat knick knack from my childhood days of collecting cat decor for my room.   We lit the sparklers when we sang happy birthday and it was awesome but they did leave soot on the cake that I had to scrape off before I served it.  Not a big deal, still worth doing. The porcelain cat on top of the fake cake was also mine, dated 1990 on the bottom.   nikkiikkin cat lady party 14   nikkiikkin cat lady party 19 nikkiikkin cat lady party 18   nikkiikkin cat lady party 9       This was a tiny party by any account, so I didnt go crazy with the sweets.  I made oreo yarn balls (which were really evil cake pops in disguise) and I ordered a bag of old school butter mints AKA baby shower mints.  They were the perfect pallet of pink, yellow, teal and white!   nikkiikkin cat lady party 21 nikkiikkin cat lady party 20   nikkiikkin cat lady party 5   I made some cute cat and yarn ball cookies sets, you can find them in my etsy shop here.  The tuxedo cat face cookies are also in my shop here. The invites and thank you tags for take home cookies were from Sequins and Spaceships shop on etsy. nikkiikkin cat cookie 2 nikkiikkin cat cookie   Macy and I made wrappers for our milk bottles out of streamers and stickers from Little Dear Prints on etsy  (which should win an award for cutest packaging, it was like Christmas when they arrived). nikkiikkin cat lady party 8   nikkiikkin cat lady party 6 nikkiikkin cat lady party 13   nikkiikkin cat lady party 12     As favors, we gave the girls these super cute cat ear headbands, they had pearls and were purrfect.  They are sold at several places for a range of high and low prices.  I’m pretty sure the $20 set at ASOS is the same cheap product that you can find on amazon and ebay.  I order ours from this ebay seller without any problems in shipping but pearls did pop out as the girls played in them.  No big deal we just glued them back in.   nikkiikkin cat lady party 17The food served on my kitchen island was not a part of my decor but I always give thought in presentation, we served cucumber sandwiches, egg salad on a croissant, spinach dip and veggies on inexpensive doilies.  The girls needed to eat light because after the afternoon party they did this:   nikkiikkin cat lady party 15 Very old lady like, right?  A 2 hour trapeze lesson at NY Trapeze School, very awesome!! Two ballerinas and a gymnast flew like pros! nikkiikkin cat lady party 1   nikkiikkin cat lady party 22   I dont know how most people decided to celebrate actual birthdays for their kids but we spend it together and make it special even if there will be another party with friends.  We like to do something such as see a movie and there is always a cake with candles.  This year I made Macy an ice cream cake and hid it in the freezer a few days before her birthday.  We spent the day out and I surprised her with the cake when we got home.  Keeping with the theme, because I already had the  table cloths and paper goods, I went with an ombre rosette cake.  The most forgiving cake decoration there is!  I highly recommend trying out this techinque, here is a link to a free Craftsy tutorial for it.

P.S. those lovely long blonde locks pictured above are getting chopped 8-10 inches today!  WOW!

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Filed under Cakes, Celebrations, Cookies, Cupcakes, SugarCoated

Little Owl Love Story Cookies

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Just in time for Valentines Day I have  cute little cookies to share that are all about LOVE!

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A dear friend asked me for cookies for her brother and sister-in-law’s baby shower.  She gave me a few inspiration ideas and an image of a stuffed owl they were using as decoration at the party.  The little handmade brown owl was a perfect inspiration for a cookie, but I wanted to do more than just an owl on a cookie.  I decided to tell a little owl love story with my cookie set.  My cookies started with boy meets girl and little mother and her egg to the happy family of three.  Along with a few portraits of the stuffed owl, adding a pink bow for cuteness.

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I have never made a set of cookies like this before, I typically stick to one or two designs in each set.  But since the color pallet didnt change for each design I didnt find it hard to create 5 different ones.  (soon I will show my MLP cookie set that was a challenge to change up in colors and designs)  It’s certainly a design idea that I could do for any bird theme so I will be adding these cookies to my etsy shop!

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The etsy seller for the little stuffed owl, Green Owl Curiosities,  can me found HERE.

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Filed under Celebrations, Cookies, SugarCoated

Farewell to the Nutcracker

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2013 has just minutes left.  I decided to take the countdown as a challenge to get one more post in this year!
What a year it was for me and our family!  While I’ve shared a lot on instagram and Facebook I havent have a moment to post more than once about what Im spending the majority of my life doing   in December: the nutcracker and cookies.
Id like to wish a farewell to my daughters first year in the New York City Ballet Nutcracker!  She has had a blast and although it was a lot for our family to juggle, as a mother I can sort of compare it to childbirth and say (now that it’s over) it wasnt so bad to go through.
Im glad that Macy had the extra time to develop some great friendships with some really nice girls  and I’m glad that I had the extra time to chat with some really nice parents.
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Of course there were lots of cookie involved.
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I was thrilled to make Nutcracker cookies for so many people and organizations this year.  My original little guy made his way to events at the Ohio Dance Theatre and the San Francisco Ballet, as well as several other of my etsy clients.
I also made a new Nutcracker design for Joffrey Ballet School NYC for the dancers recital gifts.
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But what was most enjoyable was sharing cookies with the children’s cast at NYCB’s Nutcracker.  Macy was super proud to pass them out and when they announced that I had made one for each of the 65 kids the parents applauded me…..I covered my face in astonishment.  The children were so sweet, many of them came up to thank me, its like they really understood how much time each little cookie took me and they appreciated it.  I made a solider, angel and sugarplum fairy with the costumes as close as possible as I could get to the real deal.
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I loved taking snapshots of the life going on under the stage each night (incase you aren’t familiar the children perform about every other day for 6 weeks)  Since there is not wifi or cell service on the Lower Concourse of the David Koch theatre the children entertain themselves in traditional ways, like card games and Jacks.  Yes kids still know how to play Jacks!  They celebrate birthdays, give secret santa gifts and squeeze in homework.  Parents read the newspaper, address their christmas cards and occasionally share a bottle of wine.
I thought a collage was best way to share all of those backstage shots, for my readers and for Macy its sort of a keepsake.  One of the snapshots of Macy made it as our Christmas card, sometimes those are the best!
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I hope all of my other ballet moms had unforgettable holiday performances and I look forward to continuing to share and chat with you all next year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
XOXO, NIKKI

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A Vintage Inspired Halloween Dinner Party

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Halloween Dinner Party 2012

Last year this Halloween dinner party was featured on Amy Altas just a few days before Halloween.   We all know that as soon as its November 1st no one wants to look at Halloween pictures anymore. So I’ve held on to these pictures for almost a whole year!

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My party was inspired by vintage Dennison Bogie Books.  After deciding that I needed to know the origin of the iconic screeching Halloween cat face that pops up everywhere, I did a little research and discovered Dennison Boogie Books dating as far back as 1912.  I fell in love with its wholesome and kitschy suggestions and illustrations of a bygone era.  Most importantly I found inspiration in revitalizing the use of crepe paper as in inexpensive decoration material.

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I sought out a few vintage Dennison Halloween die cuts and illustrations on ebay to reproduce, ordered a republished copy of a 1926 Bogie Book and a few rolls of crepe paper.  The rest of the decorations were from our curated Halloween collection.  And of course all the treats were made by me!

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The invitation is vintage, sort of, I designed and drew it 8 years ago….pre photoshop knowledge.  Back in the day, I loved to make hand cut and one of a kind cards from card stock.  A reader informed me that the technique I used to make this card is called typesetting, who knew?  I just did what I had to do to get stuff done, I still do!  You can check out more about this card HERE and know that you can still create a beautiful invitation even if you don’t have skills of a graphic designer.

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What about that about that wall??!!!  I love big showy backdrops and I was channeling Dorothy Draper with the black and white stripe fringe crepe paper.   Crepe paper can deliver that big of a punch without breaking the bank,  it was so easy to create and so inexpensive.  I covered a 12 foot wall with just 6 rolls at $2 a roll!

Tabletop:

The placemats are vintage Dennison illustrations that were once used on crepe paper banners.  The desert plates are crate and barrel and target.  We always cruise the thrift shops for Halloween decorations, the older and creepier the better.  These candle sticks are brass cast-off that we spray painted black.

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The crow curio is a combination of a glass dome sitting and a styrofoam round decorated with fringed crepe paper.  You can see an up close how to about it HERE.

Sweets:

The treats included a scary black cat and spider web cookies, mummy Oreo pops and a three-tiered Trick or Treat cake.

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A cake this size would easily serve 100 people, so I made two of the tiers as fake dummy cakes.  The cake layers features a Dennison Cat made from fondant, silhouettes of dancing witches and a harlequin pattern reminiscent of a paper lantern.  I finished the cake off with a witch, moon and bat silhouettes fondant topper. You can see more of the cake HERE.  And I have had a request to share the template I used for the dancing witches.  Well, there wasn’t one, I drew it!  But I might go back through my files and see if I can find the inspiration and my original sketch.  If I can I’ll clean it up and share it as a download.

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Instead of caramel or red candle apples I came up with “Black Magic” candy apples by coloring the sugar with black gel coloring. Then I dipped it in black sanding sugar for extra sparkle.  See more about them HERE.

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I had more guest (and more decorations) than one table could hold, so the littlest kids at our party had their own table.  Here I used more Dennison inspired imagery.  I created a paper chandelier right from the instructions in a Bogie Book and made tussie mussies to hold candy for the the kids to take home.

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And just incase you’re wondering, I didn’t rent orange chairs, those are our own dining chairs.  We use orange in our home decor so it was easy for our Air Chairs and Panton Jr chair to become part of the party decor.

Each year our Halloween decorations box grows, it grew alot last year and I cant wait to reuse almost all of these decorations this year at our Halloween Open House party.  But the questions is do I wait another year to share those pictures or do my readers want to see Halloween posts in November?

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Nautical Stripes and Sugar Sequins Cake

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If you’ve followed along with my blog for a while you probably notice this pattern: I have several posts and then I wont have any for weeks.  My silence is not laziness, during those weeks that I don’t post I am always super busy making the beautiful sugar works that I share!  I wish that I could be more consistent and always have a regular MWF blog but it’s just a lot of work when the majority of my content is all my creations.   If you would like to see sneak peaks of my day-to-day creations you can follow me on Instagram (my live feed is in the sidebar).   If you do follow me, then you have seen the beautiful cake I made for my daughter’s 11 birthday.

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Macy loves nautical striped shirts, first it was just the plain navy ones, then J.Crew started making ones with sequined hearts & anchors.  She has striped dresses and skirts, all mostly in navy.  In general navy is a neutral for all of us.  We often go out as a family looking very stripey, bluey and coordinated.  Not on purpose, we just all like it!  Ok, Hudson doesn’t really know what he likes but we like it on him (currently his favorite shirt is one that we tie dyed, he calls it his “color shirt” it makes him very happy to wear it…with navy shorts of course).

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For the first time ever Macy didnt have a party for her birthday.  It was a break that had been decided when we planned on during the planning of  her Dylan’s Candy Bar birthday party last year.  So there was no disapointment for her or me, it just the decision that was made.  I still knew that I would make a beautiful cake.  In fact, I did plan to make several cakes (all fake except one for us) but I had too many other projects going on that it fell to the wayside.  Hopefully I can make the beautiful Nautical Suite of cakes that I sketched out,  I just have to make it a project on my list.

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I made Macy’s cake an extra tall 6″ round.  It had 2 layers of chocolate and 2 layers of vanilla cake with swiss buttercream.  I used brand new recipes for every bit of the cake and I am so happy with them!  Both the chocolate and vanilla cake recipes were suggested by Jessica Harris of Jessicakes, they are the sturdiest cakes Ive ever made.  They are definitely the type of cakes you need to get a flawless fondant finish.  If you are new to fondant and find it frustrating to get perfect, it’s probably your cake and icing that is the problem.  I know when I started researching the best tips and techniques I found my fondant skills were fine, my cake stacking skills were really bad!  So along with Jessica’s recipes I also used the upside down icing technique, (its crazy sounding but for small cakes it really works!!) and I’m a big fan of the wax paper transfer method for applying cake decorations.  With horizontal stripes this is the ONLY way to achieve perfect level stripes all the way around.  You will lose your mind and too much sleep any other way.  I will post links to recipes and tutorials at the end of the post.

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So the design was simple really, it mimicked the stripped shirt Macy loves (and now has 3 of).  The sugar sequins technique on the anchor was new for me, new in general really.  I had seen it somewhere on the internet and filed it away in my mind.  In going back to look for any tips or the example I had seen I could not find anything anywhere.  So  I winged it.  I pressed candy sequins into still soft fondant and let dry over night.  Then I painted on metallic luster dust.  It turned out beautiful but I’m sure there must me some other ways to cover the candy sequins more completely.  The thicker I painted on the luster dust the less definition I got on the shape of the candy, I tried the spray color too but it didn’t cover the colored sprinkles at all.

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Over all I liked the creation enough to make cupcake toppers for my etsy shop with this technique. These cupcakes were not for Macy’s birthday but I still had the nautical theme in mind when I combined them with stripped Simply Baked baking cups I purchased from Pick Your Plum ( you can also get them here  or here and on amazon)  I’ve listed heart shapes in gold or silver in my shop, but really the shape and colors are limitless!

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Although we didn’t party like rock stars, we did spend the whole day celebrating Macy, with a movie, dinner, stroll in the old neighb (Lower Manhattan) and she had a friend stay over.  It was a beautiful and unseasonably cool August day, we enjoyed our stroll on the Battery Park City Promenade as we always do.

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My chic tween rocked a new Target dress with an on trend origami bird pattern on her birthday, she added to it a glitter Crewcuts belt (the type that inspired the sugar sequins technique) and a brass whistle necklace she bought at the Brooklyn Flea, oh and a navy blazer, lol.

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Check out my new Sugar Sequin toppers here.

My new favorite Vanilla Cake recipe for a dense sturdy cake here.

My new favorite Chocolate Cake recipe for a dense sturdy cake here.

Swiss Meringue recipe by Martha Stewart here.

Jessicakes wax transfer technique here and a video on icing a cake upside down here.

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Filed under Cakes, Celebrations, SugarCoated, The Chic Tween

Totoro and Soot Sprite Cookies

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Im still cleaning out my cookie closet…. here is another short post of cookies that I made in January.

I cant believe my kids and I were introduced to Totoro just this year!  There is certainly something to love about the magic and natural curiosity in the Studio Ghibli film, My Neighbor Totoro.  Outside of America, Totoro” is as famous among Japanese children as Winnie-the-Pooh is among British ones”  and  ” is more genuinely loved than Mickey Mouse could hope to be in his wildest—not nearly so beautifully illustrated—fantasies.”   If you think that’s hard to believe then just set a kid in front of it!   I havent met a kid that doesn’t adore him.  I love to hear Totoro’s name roll off of Hudson’s lips.  It’s one of those movies that he will ask to watch more that once in the same day.  Fortunately, I love the music and the story line myself, so I dont mind.

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I was asked by another mom in my building to make these Totoro favor cookies for her daughter (it was then that I had to borrow the movie to see what the fuss was about!) The Totoro cookies were hand cut (I only do this if it is a small order), but were easy to ice and the soot sprites were just a blob, cant mess those up!
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So maybe you have kids but havent seen Totoro because it was released in 1988 and re-relased by Disney in 2006 (with Dakota and Elle Fanning as Satsuki and Mei), so its sort of old.   But I bet you have seen Toy Story 3….Totoro made a cameo as a toy in Bonnie’s Room!  Now I hear “there’s Totoro!!!” every time my kids watch Toy Story 3.  Let yours watch My Neigbor Totoro and you will too.

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