So here's the finished deal: (see my previous posts for detailed pix of the flower pot)
And the aerial view...
I learned quite a bit during this project, so I thought I'd share some tips with my friendly crafting community.
1. I purchased Wilton brand 8" lollipop sticks from Michael's craft store. Shortly thereafter, I learned they were cheaper at Walmart.
2. The lollipop sticks (at least this brand) do NOT burn in the oven. I did line the cookie sheet with foil because the recipe I used called for it, and I made sure not to overlap the sticks.
3. I made a few mistakes with my cookie recipe. I really wanted to make chocolate chip cookies, despite what my better instinct was telling me about how they would NOT make good flower-shaped cookies. I used salted butter (I learned somewhere that one should never bake with salted butter, but it was all I had and I refused to buy more butter just for the cookies). I think my "flower" cookies might have looked more like flowers had I used margarine or Crisco, but I'm not sure about that...
4. I did use cute flower-shaped cookie cutters, but you really can't tell. The cookies look like large, non-circular blobs.
5. The little baggies I had bought to cover the cookies were too small, but they did fit over the candies I made, so I kept them and used them. For the cookies, I cut squares of plastic wrap and gathered each at the stick. I tied shiny green ribbons around each stick to hold on the plastic (ribbon on sale at Michael's for $1.00! I used it all up!).
6. The recipe I used made really yummy cookies, and just the right amount for my cookie bouquet. In fact, I had a handful of cookies left over, but I'm sure it would have been a TON more if I had used a regular choc. chip cookie recipe. I used the Cookies on a Stick recipe from this site: http://www.thatsmyhome.com.
7. For the chocolates, I used Wilton brand light cocoa and pink white chocolate melting wafers. I used the double-boiler method of melting them, and it went fairly quickly.
8. My big learning experience with the candy making was that the lollipop sticks were either too long, or there's just something I don't know about the candy business. My sticks kept leaning and falling out, so I propped some of them up, but it took several tries to get them at just the right height/angle to keep them in straight while they were hardening in the fridge.
9. I purchased a small block of Dry Foam from Michael's for 79 cents (the cheapest and smallest I could find) and used a sharp knife to cut in a downward motion around the base of the flower pot (not the saucer, which is wider). The foam left lint-like dust everywhere, so I decided to be safe and cover it with plastic wrap as well. I did that because I intended to fill the pot with some M&Ms, but...
10. All said and done, I really didn't need to fill the flower pot with any other goodies...there was barely any space left in there! I just stuffed as many cookie and candy-pops as I could into the flower pot.
I envisioned much more colorful goodies, but I couldn't get myself to color the chocolate chip cookies... I think the finished product will be well-received anyway. Thanks again for all the help and feedback!
Expenses list (much from memory - excuse the blanks):
* 4" rose flower pot and 4" saucer - ?
* green ribbon - $1.00
* flower cookie cutters x 2 - ?
* candy melts, 2 colors - $2.49 ea.
* lollipop bags - $1.96
* lollipop sticks - ?
* outdoor paint in three colors - ?
* dry foam - 0.79
* baking supplies (had most of the ingredients, so not sure) - ?
I'm sure the whole thing cost less than $30 (I'm guestimating and seriously rounding up), but it could have been even cheaper if I had bought regular paint instead of outdoor paint, purchased the lollipop sticks at the cheaper price at Walmart, not purchased the cookie cutters (which didn't work out as planned), and not purchased the candy molds, candy, and candy bags.
Lesson learned: don't be overzealous about project supplies until you KNOW what you need, and shop around for the best price for the supplies that are needed. The good news is that I'm certain I'll use the remaining supplies in future projects.