Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fancy Fantasy Flower Wedding Cake

Lately, I have been watching several videos on how to make life-like botanically correct gumpaste flowers.  I certainly appreciate the time and talent that it takes to make a gumpaste flower that is indistinguishable from its real life counterpart, but there's just something about fantasy flowers that I adore.

Maybe it's because they're easier to make, and that anyone can make them.  Or maybe it's because I'm only limited by my imagination, and not just flowers the world has to offer.

Like this flower here, which spans about 15 inches from top to bottom.  I made lots and lots and lots of petals for this flower, but when it's the only element on an otherwise bare cake, you can't be stingy with the petals.  It seems like I made a bazillion, but I filled 3 full sheet pans with petals.

I have been getting SO many compliments on my You Tube tutorials lately, and it has inspired me to make more.  This is one of the cakes I want to film into a tutorial.  I have some footage on the computer and hopefully Chaddy and I will have time this week to sit down and polish it up a little.  With any luck, you'll have a new tutorial video to see here next week! (keep your fingers crossed!!)  Thanks and have a great week!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Yellow and Gray Cake AND Giveaway!

I, like many others, am currently obsessed with Lori Hutchinson, aka The Caketress.  I am seeing works inspired by her designs all over the Internet.  The more I see, the more I like her work.

I had been looking for one of her cutters for literally months, and last fall when we were at ICES we kept seeing people using her "signature" cutter on lots of display cakes.  Chaddy took a picture with his phone and we hit the vendor room, showing each and every vendor our picture to see if they had a matching cutter.  Finally, one of the vendors had one and sold us her last one!  I was SO excited!

So, I used her cutter to outline the yellow section of a new display cake, another in my so-called series of yellow and gray cakes.  And ruffles are such a big trend in cakes right now too, that I had to add some.  I did want to add my own flair to it, so I found this petal border cutter and decided to use that to make my ruffles.


Well, I don't have an extra set The Caketress cutters, but I did somehow find an extra set of the cutters I used to make the ruffles on my cake. It's the FMM Sugarcraft Straight Frill Set 3 (9-12) cutter (read more about it here). It's still in the package and everything!!  If you interested in winning this, just leave a comment on this post from now until April 2nd at Noon EST.  Just leave me your e-mail so I can contact you if you've won.  I'll announce the winner here on the blog on Tuesday April 3rd.  This giveaway is sponsored by little-ol-me!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy Third Blogiversary... to Me!!!

Chaddy reminded me yesterday that Wednesday was our 3rd year blogiversary.  It doesn't seem like I have been marking up this little corner of the interwebs for 3 whole years, but it's true!

I started writing this blog because I thought it might bring more brides to my website, and it does, as sometimes brides will mention it during a phone call or consultation.  But I soon found that I was finding it personally rewarding as well.  It was just nice to write down my feelings and troubles, and not to get all ten-dollar-wordy on you, but it was truly cathartic.  And soon after, other decorators showed up and agreed and sympathized with my problems.  And lots of you told me what a great job I was doing as I honed my cake skills.  Cleansing, validation, and respect (with a smidge of marketing) all in one place - why would I ever leave??

I do admit there's times when the blog becomes more of a chore, but I'm an opinionated girl, so I always eventually find something to talk about.  But I also want to hear from you!  As my little blog begins it's fourth year of existence is there anything you want to see more (or less) of?  Would you be heartbroken if I switched to blogging once a week instead of twice? 

Let me know in the Comments!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

This Ain't Your Mama's Review

Cake decorators get very few perks... Occasionally we get a better parking spot while delivering cakes, and I guess we get all the free cake scraps we want!  But this weekend we were invited to visit the This Ain't Your Mama's Wedding and Party Expo.  We love working with brides that think outside the box, so we really wanted to be a vendor, but all the available vendor spots were already taken.  But the coordinator of this event, Ayesha from Homespun Parties and Events was nice enough to invite us to the show as her guests.  And I'm SO glad we attended.

This was really unlike any bridal show we have attended and in a good way.  There were some traditional wedding vendors, but there were lots of artists there actually selling their wares onsite.

We ran into some old friends:
Meghan and Eric from Soli Photography

Rich Smith from Rich Smith Photography

But we also met some new friends too!

The Button Florist
These "floral" arrangements were SO cute!  They were made from antique buttons and upcycled materials, and if the artist, Celia will pardon the pun, were as cute as a button.  These would be so great for a bride that wants to keep her bouquet as a keepsake or maybe even some cool boutonnieres for a steampunk wedding!

Large Kusudamas by The Paper Pimpernel
I have known about Darcee, the artist behind The Paper Pimpernel for some time, but this is the first time we have met.  Darcee takes origami to a whole 'notha level with these beautiful, delicate, paper flowers.  I have a couple of upcoming brides that plan on using her paper flowers and one is looking to have matching edible versions on her cake!  Maybe Darcee can give me some pointers!  Photo appears courtesy of The Paper Pimpernel.

White Lace Headband from Judith Lauren Designs
I knew I would like Jill from Judith Lauren Designs the minute I saw her cute little booth and her awesomely glittered high heel shoes.  Jill makes very affordable bridal jewelry and accessories and they are all available on her Etsy Shop, or she can custom make pieces to suit your needs.  She was very passionate and energetic about her work and I'm sure we'll all be seeing great things for her in the future! 
Picture appears courtesy of Judith Lauren Designs.

If you're in the Chattanooga area look for this show again next year and make plans to attend.  If we're not there as vendors, we'll certainly be back as guests!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Simple Cake, Beautiful Pictures

As I said on the last blog, I'm scraping for un-blogged about cakes at the moment.  Instead of making more cake dummies, I've been working out in the yard.  Spring is just too tempting!  So here is an old cake with great pictures.  My friends and long time clients, Mike and Tammy Houston (Houston Studios Photography) took these great shots of a simple little cake that I made a while back.

It's cute when a client calls you and says, "You have to make a cake, it's all she wants for her birthday.  I'll be in the dog house!"  Mike is much more proactive these days.  Now it's a cake that stays on my calendar from year to year.  This is such a simple cake with a #3 tip for grass, some plunger flowers, and a few gumpaste yellow flowers (plus a pretty purple ribbon!)  I didn't love this cake until they sent me these pictures!

It's just amazing what a good photographer can do!   I think it's the same with us cake decorators.  We do things effortlessly, and make them look so easy.  When I was teaching a cake class, I told the students that the hardest thing about decorating cakes was the most basic.  Icing a cake smooth.  If your cake is bumpy or humped on top no amount of great decorations will make a perfect project.  There have been over 18,000 hits on my silly one-take YouTube video on icing cakes smooth.  There are a lot of people that have a hard time.  All I can say is that it takes a lot of practice and then you will also pick up some speed.  I'm planning to make a video on how to ice a square cake perfectly.  If you have any hints that help you do this well, PLEASE leave a comment or email me your suggestions.

Photos taken by and appear courtesy of Houston Studios Photography.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Favorite Wedding Colors

We decided not to participate in the two area bridal shows this Spring, so it's not been crazy busy like this time last year.  My big sister is recovering from a small stroke so I decided to visit her in Maryland for a little while.  It was very lonely without my sweetie, but someone had to make some money and take care of all our kitties!  If I'm not baking, we have no cakes to blog about!  Chaddy will not let me only do one blog a week, so it's dummy cake time!  All my display cakes need to be replaced.  They are old, dirty and I'm super tired of looking at them! 

The hardest part of making a display cake, for me,  is deciding on ONE design.  Pinterest is killing me!  There is so much inspiration out there to get your wheels turning that it becomes overwhelming.  I mean, OVERWHELMING.  So I have start with some guidelines.

  1.  It's not a cake contest.  I don't have to use the hardest techniques or do everything I know, on one cake.  No one is judging them!
  2. These displays are for brides, not me!  It's not my wedding, so I should tailor the designs to types of looks that my brides like and can afford. I would love to add an extra $500 worth of gumpaste flowers to a display but I don't have that customer at this time (maybe one day, Sylvia Weinstock!).  
  3. Combo of 1 & 2... Keep it simple.   Sure, I have the rare bride that wants something really different, but most want buttercream icing, a little color, a few flowers, a little personal detail (monogram, graphic from the invitation, etc).

We will see if I can follow my own rules in the next few weeks!  I still want to be proud of these cakes and they should represent my style too!  This little cutie cake is the first in a group I'm going to make in the same color scheme.  I just love this gray and yellow combo!  My idea here was to get the bands of color without using plain ribbon (which is a constant these days).  It was hard for me to paint flowers a "not so natural" gray, but it had to be done!  Tee hee!  A lot more "could" be added, but I'm trying to follow rule #3.  If you think differently, please tell me!  Also, I want to make some gumpaste "billy balls" for one of my upcoming displays, so if you know how to make them, please let me know! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Cup a Dee Craft Time!

I have had a problem for quote some time.  When I meet with brides and we start discussing gumpaste flowers, they usually will want to see them.  And I'll confess right here and now that I buy a lot of my gumpaste flowers.  I have found that they look better than the ones I make and when I factor in the time it takes me to make them, they are more cost effective for the client (and me!).  So I wind up going into the pantry to pull out box after box of roses, lillies, etc. to show to the bride.  It's an "unelegant" moment to an otherwise classy and elegant consultation.

Then I had the idea to put a sample of each flower into a shadow box.  That way the bride can see each flower up close and personal.

To make your own, you'll only need a few things:

  • Shadowboxes to hold all your flowers (I used 2)
  • Floral pins, staples, hot glue, or other method of adhering the flowers to the back board
  • Wire cutters
  • Some gumpaste flowers to display (of course!)

I bought 2 18x24 shadowboxes at Michael's Craft Stores.  They were buy one, get one free so that was a bonus!  The back of the frame is also where you will pin your flowers, but it comes right off!  Word to the wise... when you flip the back over, make sure your hangers are facing the right way, you don't want you flowers hanging upside down!

Start arranging your flowers out on the board.  I tried to line mine up so that similar flowers were together and things lined up as nicely as possible.  Did you ever have to do a leaf collection in grade school?  Channel those memories here!  I found that clipping the wires with my snips made things look a little nicer.

Once you have things looking like you want, you can start affixing your flowers.  I initially used big floral picks/staples, but they didn't really hold like I wanted them to.  I found that hot glue worked best, although I know that sort of ruins my board if I want to rearrange things in the future.  I also found that some of my flowers were a little too big to fit in the shadowbox and got crushed at first. Most of them I was able to manipulate so that they would fit.

Once you have all the flowers arranged, make sure you have cleaned up any gumpaste or wire bits from the board and put it into the shadowbox frame.  Then just mount it on the wall and you will have a very nice display for customers to look at as they pick out flowers for their big cake!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!


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