Self Taught---Want More...long...

Decorating By mamafrogcakes Updated 17 Aug 2005 , 10:38pm by KATE39

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mamafrogcakes Posted 15 Aug 2005 , 7:02pm
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Like every other wife/mother/baker/miracle worker out there, I have NO extra time in the evenings. I am self-taught when it comes to making cakes and I have been frustrated lately about trying to learn various flower making techniques (BC, gumpaste, fondant, etc.) Everyone that I've mentioned this to or posted on other websites say I should just find the time. Well, that sounds great but I have looked into taking classes in our area (Michaels and another place) and the classes are from 7-9. I have a 5 yr old and a husband who works night shift. Finding some place for my daughter at these times are next to impossible.
Does anyone have any suggestions for my learning more? Books?? Anything?? And which is easier to learn, BC, gumpaste?? I recently bought the Wilton gumpaste kit with the cutters and it's just not clicking. I'm getting frustrated and really want to learn to make flowers to add to my possibilites in decorating.
Thanks for letting me rant and rave! icon_cry.gif

15 replies
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TamiAZ Posted 15 Aug 2005 , 7:09pm
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Check out Nicholas Lodge's website... He has lots of dvd's/vidoes on how to cover cakes with fondant, make gumpaste and make gumpaste flowers..He's an awesome teacher!! I'm sure you'll find something there that can help you expand your skills. The prices of the dvd's are VERY reasonable!!


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msmeg Posted 15 Aug 2005 , 7:12pm
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Well I never learned how to make a great rose with buttercream but I think my gumpaste and candy clay roses look quite good. I just got in there and played. ok since I have a family childcare I do play with clay alot and tend to make a flower when they make snakes

Now that my children are grown I am ready to take some classes unfortunately local classes are basic classes and not what I need but I do need parts like roses and stringwork

There are lots of videos out there which are an easier way to learn than the book I used . Master one thing and enjoy!

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mrsfish94 Posted 15 Aug 2005 , 7:18pm
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Well first off....WOW! Your cakes and web site look great!!! For someone who has never taken a class...your doing great!

I would ask at Michael's and/or cake store, if they could offer classes during the day or if the teacher would consider one on one classes.

I have taught my younger sister to decorate cakes...via email and on the phone. She lives in Idaho and I live in California. She did come to visit a few months ago and I was able to give her pointers, while making my older sister's birthday cake. So if you want advise...ask me or anyone here...MrsMissey is so great about sending you whatever you need!!!

I haven't been able to take a gumpaste class either. The class here is $80.00 and not including supplies. Way to much for me right now. So I have been trying using fondant. I have a simple gumpaste recipe that I have not tried yet...I will one of these days.

I hope this helps...keep up the great work. thumbs_up.gif

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Fishercakes Posted 15 Aug 2005 , 7:24pm
post #5 of 16

I can relate with you, we have five kids running around the house from ages 2 to 15. I am self taught also, other than watching my mother when I was a little girl before she ran me out of the kitchen for "shaking" the table.

I have only used BC so far, but would like to try fondant, gumpaste, etc. I go to the library and look for cake deco books and also I have purchased a few Wilton yearbooks from ebay.

I also do alot of reading of this forum. I have learned tons of new tricks and things from this forum. ( icon_redface.gif I am an addict here).

Good luck and let me know if you find any new tricks of the trade. I would love to hear about them.

Thanks and good luck!!

msmeg: I love doing string work!!! I do a lot of google image searches and then when I find something that I like I try to imitate it.

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leily Posted 15 Aug 2005 , 7:28pm
post #6 of 16

I can understand, time is hard to come by for a lot of us.

Using the suggestions above with clay. I would suggest getting/making playdo or buying sculpey clay. You can practice with these (to get the technique down, they have similiar consistancies as fondant)

This would be a good time to have some extra around and have your daughter "play" with you. My BF's nephews and niece love to play around with clay when my BF's sister and I get it out. You may be able to get some extra practice this way!

I personnaly have a really hard time making roses/flowers with fondant (i have not tried gumpaste, so i'm not sure how different it is) But I use to work in a bakery and had plenty of experience with Buttercream, so for me it was practice practice practice on BC flowers.

I don't have any suggestions for teaching materials because I have been lucky enough to work with a couple of other very talented decorators.

I would suggest checking with local Community colleges in your area. Many of these have cake decorating classes around, and many during the day since these are their normal "school hours"

Good luck, and let us know how it goes, can't wait to see pictures!


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mamafrogcakes Posted 15 Aug 2005 , 10:16pm
post #7 of 16

You guys are so great! I had been told a number of times to just make time for a class b/c they are invaluable. I understand that it would probably be easy to just have someone SHOW me how to do things, but sometimes we aren't always that lucky! I will take everyones suggestions and I really want to thank everyone for them. I was starting to get frustrated!! icon_cry.gif Thanks again!!

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debsuewoo Posted 16 Aug 2005 , 1:46am
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I took the classes 20 years or so ago and stopped making cakes a few years later, so now I am back into decorating and have started taking classes again. Having 3 children of my own (2 eight year olds and a 6 year old), I understand about not having the time (or babysitter) for classes. I've been wanting to take the classes for refresher for a while and my DH finally just said find a class and take it. It gives him time with the kids by himself.
Just keep practicing and keep looking for classes that will fit into your schedule. You'll find something!


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cybourg Posted 16 Aug 2005 , 2:01am
post #9 of 16

I took the Wilton courses, all three, and they were given on Sundays. I guess it depends on the instructor and what her schedule is. I ended up taking my two year old with me to the last course. I just brought her coloring books and stuff to play with. I would fill a bag of icing up for her and put a rubber band around it so she could ice too.
Our local cake supply store has videos you can rent. Personally, I need hands on instruction. I wish there were more classes available locally, but I have not found any.
I bought the Wilton gum paste kit and was very disapointed. Not that talented. For the little flowers, I find it easier to make them in bc or royal.
I, too, have found this site so helpful. I have learned quite a few hints just from being on here every day.
I hope you find the time and or classes to fit your schedule. You deserve to do something for yourself.

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kalikw Posted 16 Aug 2005 , 3:24am
post #10 of 16

I would check out DVD or videos. Martha Stewart has some really good ones , especially on Wedding cakes. Try, they also have videos for sale. Also check with the local library. I know how it is to find the time, I have three kids myself 3, 5 and 9 and my husband use to work the night shift. I finally had the opportunity to take classes because he is now working days. Also some cake shops have classes on Saturdays.

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beachcakes Posted 16 Aug 2005 , 3:28am
post #11 of 16

I can totally relate, mamafrog! Sometimes you just CAN'T make the time - there are only so many hours in the day! I too, have bought the wilton gumpaste kit, but haven't attempted it yet - it looks difficult and more important - time-consuming!

I work full-time during the day, DH works night shift too; evenings are spent dividing time between all the household chores and spending quality time with my 8 yr old and working on reading and math skills in preparation for 3rd grade. By the time he goes to bed at 10 (gotta love the summer), I don't have the mental or physical energy to play with gumpaste. I'm only still up tonite becuase I'm baking a cake for a coworkers birthday later this week.

I wanted to take a Wilton course, but Michaels is over an hour away and all classes are during the day! Someday I'll learn the proper way to do all this! I have found that I enjoy modelling with fondant, something that I've just begun. It's not that difficult and it's alot of fun. I highly recommend it! I have one of Debbie Brown's books and it's really helpful for figures. I haven't attempted fondant flowers yet.

I just wanted you to know you're not alone!

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tinascakes Posted 16 Aug 2005 , 3:35am
post #12 of 16

You could ask the instructor if she allows children to come. Our instructor brings her daughter and has told us we are welcome to bring our kids. When kids do come they sit and color, do crafts, or just watch us. I, however, don't take my son. That's my time.

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charlieinMO Posted 16 Aug 2005 , 3:37am
post #13 of 16

I know it is hard and frustrating sometimes but don't give up! I have asked a similar question before when I was feeling a little down and overwhelmed. Everyone on here is wonderful and very supportive. If you ever have questions they are always willing to help. Sometimes the searches can help also. I have a 15 year old, a 5 year old and a 2 1/2 year old. Time is precious!!icon_smile.gif I wish you luck and hope you can find some good videos to help you.

PS, forgot to mention, there is an article/video on this site for making roses on a stick. You may have already seen it but thought it might help!


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Daniela Posted 17 Aug 2005 , 6:19pm
post #14 of 16

I'm with you also. Between work and home I have no time for classes right now. I've bought some books from e-bay and they seem to help. This website has been a lifesaver also. They teach you everything. And when you can't find something there are so many people that are willing to give they're advice and techniques. The food network also has some good programs. For anyone in Canada that missed the wedding cake challenge back in June, they're going to be doing a repeat September 25 @ 8pm. ( I'm saying anyone in Canada because our air times are different than the ones in the US) Thanks


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cakes-r-us Posted 17 Aug 2005 , 8:24pm
post #15 of 16

Why not take your daughter with you if that's possible. When I took the classes years ago, I took my daughter, she was 7 and husband worked nites. She enjoyed it as much as I did.

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KATE39 Posted 17 Aug 2005 , 10:38pm
post #16 of 16


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