boween Posted 5 Sep 2005 , 2:34pm
post #1 of

My goodness ladies, thanks soooo much for all the wonderful comments. Iam blushing. I didn't want to be a post hog but I do work very hard on each cake, and each cake is a learning experience for me, something new to try daily! I just wanted to share to hopefully give you the courage to try new things, I do everyday and so you have some idea. Something I sometimes have a hard time with. Iam not the creative one, I see cakes I love and I use them as a guideline. I doubt if I could dream up anything on my own!!!!
A little bit about myself I had an opportunity 3 years ago to buy a womans home cake kitchen. I didn't even know how to ice a cake!!! Called cake decorators in the phone book, no one returned my calls. Where I live is a small town, no Michaels closer than 75 miles away! I ended up calling my husbands twin sister who used to make the kids cakes she came a few evenings and showed methe basics, icing, smoothing with a spatula and roses!
I had been cleaning houses for 16 years I had 22 regular customes, when I quit cleaning August 18th last year!I homeschooled my youngest daughter thru 8th grade, to senior year, and I helped my sister establish a costume shop she bought 5 years ago. My sister and I burnt alot of midnight oil getting that off the ground. Now I just close the kitchen for two weeks at halloween and I work 24 hours a day till we get thru Halloween
The first year I didn't do hardly any cakes, just sheet cakes, which is a good thing!!! I didn't know what I was doing! The second year things were picking up, but the last 8 months have been unbelieveable. I will say Iam still not too good at wedding cakes, can't seem to get them perfect!
Now to answer a few of your questions I went to the ladys home where she had a cake kitchen and bought everything she had, totes, and totes, and totes of supplies, and a commercial oven, a three year old oven $5,000 I got for $1,000. We loades a small trailor. My husband took what used to be the original kiten in our old home, then our laundry room ad made my kitchen. My laundry room was moved to the dungeon basement! I bought an old two bin sink for $200 that had no legs and had to be welded in spots, a used bakery rack for $50.00, a referbished kitch aid from ebay. I did buy a new stainless steel table, because we needed a custome size and a new $3500.00 commercial frig. I have about $5500.00 in my initial kitchen. Its small but its just my size!!! I have three used freezers I bought out of the news paper and a new frig from sears they call a garage frig, no freezer. $350.00. I will post pics of my kitchen. We put that shower board on the walls because it was cheap and I can wash everything down!
Icing images!!!! I wanted to offer icing images to my customers when walmart wouldn't make me one. so I went to staples and bought a Cannon 560. $99.00 and printable ink and sheets from the Lucks company. When I need a topper for a cake, I dreamed up putting the image on fondant and letting it dry to make a topper. I attach it with white chocolate. It is very strong as a glue!!!
This is what I did out of neccesity!!!! I couldn't make some of the cakes out of the wilton books, no formal training in piping!!!!! so I decided to do a web search for buttercream wedding cakes, my cake book has only cakes that I think I can make, no string work!!! etc.. I have a lovely wedding book. On the very first page I acknowledge that these cakes are made by various artist on the web, now though I have done enough to have my own cake book. I also have a cake file on the computer of my most favorite cakes by different artist that I let people look thru for ideas on a cake, we sometimes design there cake using these ideas. I have hundreds of cakes in my files! I only put cakes in my file that I feel like I can make, as time goes on the cakes have gotten a bit more complicated. More 3D cakes because the customers see them and Iam getting out of sheet cake syndrome!!!!
Now for the icing images, My wonderful husband makes them for me from free images I find on the net. My husband works 40 hours at the plant and then 40 hours for my sister brother in law who owns Gaines Sport Photography. If you have a minute visit his web page, my husband designed the page and all the oicyures and all the posters. We moved our downstairs bedroom to one of the girls old room upstairs, and now this is an office. Pat and my husband Les do all the computer work here. I bought a Cannon i560 from staples for $99.00, and I use it only for edible images. I only use the brand LUCKS icing sheets and edible ink for the printer. If you buy one be sure you by a special head cleaner for edible colors or you will have a mess. When a customer needed a custom made topper, that is when I tried the icing image on fondant and letting it dry, I attach a popcycle to the back with melted white chocolate, and it makes a perfect topper. Its quick and easy. Does take a few days to dry though, and its all edible. As you can see I use it alot. I haven't learned to do color flow yet, one of my next to do's!
Now for my cake consolitation room. I had a dress living room as you came in the front door. We rarely lit the fireplace, both my girls have moved away, so I sold my dress furniture and this is where I talk to the brides and have my displays, and people can pick up there cakes! Works great.
Iam sure I have bored you to tears, I would just wanted to share what has worked so well for me. I joined a board about three years ago THAT CAKE BOARD. without those ladies I would not be here today. They are all sharing and amazingly talented cakers. I subscribe to two magazines American Cake Decorating and Mailbox News. And I have bought as many DVDs and VCR tapes I could to learn new techniques. My newest on is on covering a cake with Fondant, my new adventure!!!
I would be very happy to help anyone, I usually get on the board every morning before I hit the kitchen, EVERYTHING I have done has been a lot of TRIAL AND ERROR and alot of LESSONS LEARNED!!!
I forgot my sign!!! I painted a wood sign when I first started, my husband had a custome one made for me and a vinyal decal for my wagon this past christmas!!!! Also I bought a used 92' Mercury Sable Wagon with 52,000 miles for $5,000 last November and I loe it I cn haul alot of cakes.

I'll stop boring you, I hope my cakes give you some inspiration like so many have done for me!!!

Connie

22 replies
frogfiend Posted 5 Sep 2005 , 2:46pm
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No way are you boring me or anyone else I would say. Your cakes are absolutely beautiful. I hope to one day be an inch as good as you are. I am still learning I took one class and the rest I learn on my own. I do mostly ckaes for friends and family. I would love to one day be able to do them for a living. You are an inspirsaton to me and everyone else I'm sure. Please keep posting your cakes as they inspire me to learn more.

Sherryb Posted 5 Sep 2005 , 2:56pm
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I looked at your other post with the pictures of your kitchen. I could only hope to have a kitchen like that someday.
I love all your cakes.
Sherry

NottawaChelle Posted 5 Sep 2005 , 2:56pm
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Thanks for letting us know "who you are" so to speak! I have been enjoying looking at your cakes as they are posted. They are works of art! Reading your post about how you got from "then" to "now" was inspiring, plus it is fun to find out a bit about the people behind the username and avatars! Maybe we should ask others to share more often!

blittle6 Posted 5 Sep 2005 , 3:13pm
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You are really talented and dedicated.....Keep you the good, and HARD work!!

Berta icon_smile.gif

mary-ann Posted 5 Sep 2005 , 3:14pm
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Connie,
Thanks so much for telling your story. It's very inspiring to hear how you became such a creative person despite starting with no knowledge and how you continue to build up your business as you go. I admire your courage at taking a chance when presented the opportunity for your own business. I'm sure it was hard work but you must feel great satisfaction in making your customers happy with your beautiful cakes.

I'm like you and love looking at the beautiful work of others. The pictures of your cakes are fantastic and I've saved them all. Please keep posting more pictures. You're very talented and have a terrific style.
Mary Ann

good36 Posted 5 Sep 2005 , 3:25pm
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WOW! I enjoyed reading your post. You are one motivated women. You have done well for yourself. congratulations.
Judy

s_raines Posted 5 Sep 2005 , 3:26pm
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You are a inspiration to newbies like me. I am now taking classes for cake decorating and only hoping I can do half the things you have done. Your cakes are wonderful. You are very talented. Keep up the great work!! thumbs_up.gif

HollyPJ Posted 5 Sep 2005 , 3:31pm
post #9 of

Thanks for sharing your inspiring story!

You have done an excellent of teaching yourself!
I, too, taught myself to decorate using books and the internet. I don't have a business and just do the occasional cake for family, but I still enjoy learning new techniques.

You will be a fondant pro in no time! In my opinion, it is easier to work with than buttercream!

Good luck in your business

adven68 Posted 5 Sep 2005 , 3:40pm

I'm pretty sure you'll be great at every new technique. You are really inspiring. Take care!!

SquirrellyCakes Posted 5 Sep 2005 , 3:41pm

Boween, very interesting post, your cakes are fabulous too. YOur pictures of your kitchen and cake room are wonderful. Good for you!
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

Kos Posted 5 Sep 2005 , 3:42pm

What a wonderful introduction. You are truly an inspiration to us all. Thanks for sharing.

ddog Posted 5 Sep 2005 , 4:43pm

WOW what a story. You are one very talented woman!!!
I loved reading about you it was not boring at all, it was inspiring!

JennT Posted 5 Sep 2005 , 5:04pm

It's so great to hear how you accomplish everything you do! I would love to come across someone selling all of their equipment. My husband has so much faith in me, I daresay he'd take out a small loan to help me get all of the supplies I need so that I could really make a business out of it!! lol We're about to do an addition on our small little house we have how, just to give us a little more space until we build our "big" house...we've toyed around with the idea of redoing our kitchen in an industrial style so that it's more workable...it's a nightmare as it is now.

You are such an inspiration! Likely, I'll be calling on your expertise in the future!! hehehehe icon_lol.gificon_biggrin.gif

VickiG Posted 5 Sep 2005 , 6:16pm

I think your cakes are just beautiful. I don't really aspire to being a professional cake decorator, but I am so inspired by your cakes. I find myself thinking immediately of family and friends and anyone whom I would love to make one of these. They truly are inspiring and so is what you've made with your business. Connie, thanks for sharing these.

charlieinMO Posted 5 Sep 2005 , 11:25pm

Great post! It is really great to hear how someone has started out. Your cakes are beautiful and I can't imagine that you can't do anything that you try!! I wish I had more time to practise. Maybe once my little ones are a little older!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

Charlotte

melodyscakes Posted 6 Sep 2005 , 1:40am

thanks for sharing your story! we are in the process of building a commercial kitchen in our basement. it will be small, but i cant wait until its done! i really like your cake room for your clients. i also looked at all your cakes, wow! they are really good!
melody

cakemommy Posted 6 Sep 2005 , 2:06am

WOW!!!! You've only been doing this for three years!!!!! Hello, I've been decorating cakes for over 5 years now but as a hobby and for family not for a business. I'm too scared to run a business! I don't have the money for an off site kitchen plus I'm military so we move too much. Anyway, I am no where near as great as you are and YES, you are an inspiration to me. My goodness! I'm so glad you found us here at Cake Central. THANK YOU!!!

bonnscakesAZ Posted 6 Sep 2005 , 6:30am

Hi Connie! Good to see you here! icon_smile.gif

Joshsmom Posted 6 Sep 2005 , 10:39am

Boween, you are definitely my inspiration. I too do not have any formal training and everything is trial and error so to hear that it is possible to decorate beautiful cakes like the ones you have made is very inspiring.

I loved reading your story and how you got started, please keep more coming.

Mac Posted 6 Sep 2005 , 11:47am

Boween--
You are such an inspiration to all of us who strive to have "a little shop somewhere." I have been decorating cakes for 20 years ( took 2 Wilton classes--have not taken the wedding class), and I have learned more in the last 2 years from wonderful people like yourself and other posters here, and my hobby/business has grown considerably. Kudos to all of you here at CC. Have a great day--Pam

momsandraven Posted 6 Sep 2005 , 1:34pm

Great post Boween! It is so fun to hear other people's stories. Especially when it involves starting with 'not much' and working up! I tend to get wrapped up in thinking that I need the all the accessories and toys to start a project. (Then not using most of the accessories and toys- oops.)

I love the idea of the edible images on fondant! They say that necessity is the mother of invention! icon_smile.gif THAT kind of thinking is why you are succeeding! (That, and a LOT of hard work.)

Now, I'm off to find those kitchen pictures in your other post! Thanks for telling your story!

scoobam Posted 6 Sep 2005 , 1:44pm

Thanks so much for sharing with us!!
That is such a great story!! and makes someone like me who is start starting out feel really hopeful that it can be done!!!

Loved your pics of the kitchen and room too!!

Thanks again!! icon_smile.gif

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