Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Blog Re-direct

Hello Everyone,

I have been absent for a very long time.  What can I say, life happens.  I have decided to combine the three blogs I am (not) maintaining into one.  I hope you will come visit me there!

Chelle's Bakery of Life


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The end is in sight!!!!!!

So, I actually got quite a bit accomplished last night on the cakes!

I got the borders on all the cakes piped, as well as the side decorations for one of them.  I also got the topper finished too!  In trying to get as much done last night as possible, I put the ribbons on the cake boards (I usually leave this for the last step).  I also got what I could packed up (flowers, table decorations, etc).

I just wrote out a to-do list for what is left, and there isn't much!

- Embellish borders (had to wait for last night's borders to dry)
- Box up cakes (two) for transport
- Iron tableclothes and figure out how to transport wrinkle-free
- Pack the rest of the cake stuff for the show
- Pack clothes and suitcase
- Pack non-perishable food

- Clean out car and remove back seats
- Pack everything into the car
- Assemble perishable food in refrigerator
- SLEEP!!!!!!!!!!

- Get up early, lol
- Pack food into cooler and put in car
- Go have fun! :)


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sooo close...........

.........I wish it were further away!   If you're asking 'What?'...the answer is the cake show I'm going to.  This weekend.  As in, I leave in 3 days (Friday morning).  Are the cakes done?  Nope, not one of them is finished yet - though they are pretty close to being finished.  There were supposed to be four of them.  There are now two.  The first cake to be nixed was a Lambeth cake.  I just did one not too long ago, so I was ok with nixing this one.  The next one that got nixed is a buttercream cake.  See...one of the requirements for Certification is to ice and decorate a buttercream cake.  I need practice on this.  Lots of practice, lol.  So, I figured a great way to practice was to do one for the cake show.  Only now, I don't have the time to get it done properly.  Oh well, there's always another show!

I lost some time working on the cakes this weekend.  I had planned on spending the whole day Saturday and Sunday working on them, and having them finished by Sunday night.  Well....I had errands to run on Saturday, so that ate up about half the day.  Then I learned Saturday afternoon that the wake for a friend's father was Sunday night.  From 4-6, and it was approximately 3 hrs away from where I live.  I had to go, not going was not an option.  So, I got some little stuff done in the morning and headed off to pick up another friend and we drove out together.  By the time I got home, I went to bed, lol. 

No problem, I still had Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night to work on the cakes.  Thursday is out, I need to relax and get a good night's sleep (leaving my house at 5am to pick a friend up that's going with me).  Then JEM texted and wanted to know if I could go to dinner Monday night.  JEM is my best friend, and is now living in Utah.  Yes, Utah.  Her and her husband have been here for a few weeks because his father passed away.  There flights back to Utah are today, Tuesday.  The only time I had gotten to see them while they were here were for the wake and funeral, and when she asked about dinner there was no way I could say no.  Unless something changes, the next time I'll get to see her is September (going to try for before that though!).  So, we went out and had a great time.  I would enter no cakes if it meant spending more time with JEM, lol.

So, here we are.  Tuesday morning.  I have tonight and tomorrow night to get things finished.  I should be able to get it all done.  I have table decorations picked out, just need to iron tablecloths.  I need to pipe some borders on the cakes and embellish them a bit, and finish decorating one of the cakes.  All the flowers are done and dusted.  Those that can be packed up for transport are boxed up already.  You know...when I write out the list it seems pretty short.  But, I'm working until 6pm every night this week, and by the time I get home and have dinner I have about 2hrs a night to work.  I may stretch that to 3 just to save my sanity!

Thursday night is reserved for packing the car and my clothes and stuff.  I'm leaving at 5am Friday morning, picking my friend up at 7am and then we are headed to Westminster Maryland!  We should be there about 2 or 3pm.  I will post pictures Sunday night and let everyone know how the show went!


Monday, April 16, 2012

If only things went according to plan................

.....it would be a refreshing change!  The plan for one of the cakes for the upcoming cake show I'm attending, was to have daffodils on it.  Now, I've never really made daffodils before - though I have taken a class with the awesome Kim Morrison.  The one we made in class went great!  However, the life-size one(s) I tried to make did not go so well.

I got my hands on some real daffodils, and promptly pulled one apart to trace and measure the petals and throat (or trumpet).  I then cut out the throat shape and attempted to frill the edges and actually form the throat.  All was going ok until I tried to close up the bottom of the throat....for the *&(*&%( life of me I can't figure out how to do it without the paste ripping!  Sticking the (already) dried centers through it did not prove to help the situation at all.  After about 4 or 5 attempts I went in search of alternate directions via the interwebs.  I came across a technique where you take a ball of paste, and hollow it out into a trumpet shape.  This worked better, but I was still not happy with the results. 

Time to re-group and think of options!  After much discussion with a friend, I settled on doing sunflowers.  Have I made sunflowers before?  Nope.  Hey - it's how I roll!  I do have Nic Lodge's instructions from his Potpourri of Flowers book.  Since I had no appropriately sized styrofoam balls (for the center) and no chocolate fondant (again, for the center), I set about figuring out the petals of the sunflower.  Nic's instructions call for 30 petals...PER FLOWER.   I am making three flowers.  That's NINETY individually wired petals.  I found an appropriately sized petal cutter and set about making a ton of petals.  I believe I have 95 or so petals.  Got those done, and they are drying.  Also made some sunflower leaves and those are drying as well.

Also got some hydrangea blossoms made this weekend.  They are GORGEOUS!!!!!  They are light green and blue. 

The plan tonight is to get the sunflower centers made.....let's hope all goes according to plan!  Assuming those get done, lol, the petals and leaves will get dusted also.  HOPEFULLY all can be assembled tomorrow, but if not, there's some stuff I can switch around in my plan.


Friday, April 13, 2012


I am planning entries for a cake show in May.  I finally sat down to work out a schedule to get everything done on time.....and guess what??  The show is in three, yes THREE, weeks!  Yikes!  How did that happen???  Last time I looked it was 6 weeks away.  Oh, and did I mention I doing FOUR entries?!?!  Well, four is what's planned, but I've learned over the years it's quality over quantity!  So, four are planned, and I will make a valiant effort to put forth my best work for them all, but if some don't get done, they don't get done.

I am doing a wedding cake (3-tier), an any occasion cake (2-tier), another any occasion cake (1-tier) that will be buttercream, and an International/Special technique cake (1-tier) that will be lambeth.

Thankfully I have no plans for any weekends (and need to keep it that way!), so between working after work and having weekends free, I should have enough time to get it all done.  Just need to stick to the schedule I made!

I'll give a brief description of what's going on the cakes:
Wedding Cake: oriental stringwork, gumpaste daffodils, stephanotis, and hydrangea
Tiered Any Occasion: quilting, piping, gumpaste bow
Non-Tiered Any Occasion: buttercream piping
Int/Spec Technique: lambeth

Wish me luck!  I'll try to post every few days or so and let you know how the plans are coming.  I may or may not include pics - I haven't decided....it also depends on if I remember to take the pics, lol.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Garden State Cake Show - Burlington NJ

This past weekend, I traveled to Burlington NJ with some friends of mine to attend the Garden State Cake Show.  This is the second year we've gone (I believe it's the show's third year, but I may be wrong).  I have to admit, I was skeptical about going this year since last year was not the experience I had expected.  I went this year because friends asked me to go (I would not have initiated the idea to go).  I was pleasantly surprised at how well-run the show was after last year's experience. 

It is a rather small cake show (compared to others I go to) but has a good number of entries, vendors and classes available.  The friends I went with took a couple of classes while at the show: a cake decorated using Jacobean cutters and a high-heel shoe class.  I, personally, don't get the fascination with "shoe cakes" but the shoes were very nice that they made. 

Knowing that I wasn't taking any classes, I decided to bring along some stuff to keep me occupied.  I have been neglecting drawing out the collars for the Nirvana part of my Certification cake, so I brought that stuff with me.  I did manage to draw out the collar and side panels, as well as decide what size dummies to use.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012


You might be asking yourself "What is Certification?"

If you are, I can answer that!  If you're not, then stop reading, lol!!!!!

The international cake group that I belong to has devised a Certification program to be certified as either a Master Sugar Artist or Sugar Artist.  There are pretty detailed rules regarding the test. 

In a nutshell, I will have to completely decorate a three-tiered cake, a non-tiered cake and a non-cake display piece in the span of 8 hours.  Yes, you read that correctly 8 HOURS.....not 8 days, lol!  Very little can be done ahead of time (the point is to see how well and quickly you work).  Of the four cakes two can be iced at home and two have to be iced at the test.  One in buttercream and one in fondant.  All cake boards can be fully decorated ahead of time. 

To decorate the cakes and display piece, you have to chose 8 decorating techniques from a list of about 30-40 techniques, arranged in categories by skill level.  They range from the simple (simple stringwork and piped flowers) to the complex (Lambeth and Nirvana).  There are particular rules about how many techniques in each category can be picked, etc.... but I don't want to bore you with the fine details.  The 8 techniques you choose will be the ones you are judged on.  You can incorporate other techniques in your pieces, but only these 8 will be judged, the others will count towards your overall asthetics score. 

I have spent a few years working on which techinques I would choose, and figuring out which ones I needed classes in.  I have taken classes in the techniques I needed to be better at, as well as those I haven't really done a lot of.  I have been trying to incorporate some of the techniques in competition cakes that I have done over the last few years - though not in earnest.  That's about to change!!!!  My plans for my certification cakes have to turned in by April 1, 2013, so I have a little over a year to perfect my plans and practice them to make sure they are viable. 

I have done competition cakes in the Nirvana style (and won two Best of Shows) and Lambeth (3rd place - know what needs to improve).  I have gone back and forth a few times with the techniques and trying to design a cohesive cake that incorporates the techniques.  I am happy to say that I have settled on a final design for the three tier cake!  The only variable is the type of flower, but that's easy enough to change and adjust the colors accordingly.

So.....what skills have I chosen to be judged on?  Those without a description can be searched online :)

Piped embellishments (piped swags, compound borders, etc...)
Fabric Effects in Rolled Fondant (bows, swags, etc....)
Brush Embroidery
Basic Stringwork
Gumpaste Flowers
Oriental Stringwork

I have a sketch drawn up on paper as well as the computer.  My next step is to print it out and use colored pencils to get an idea of how it's going to look all finished.

So, after all this, are you wondering WHY I want to do this?  I know I still ask myself that question, lol.  I am doing this for me, and no one else.  I'm not doing it to further my business (I don't have one) or my standing as a decorator, or for letters after my name - none of that matters to me.  I'm doing it for me, to prove to myself that I can do it.  Plain and simple!

I will try to keep you all updated on my progress through the Certification process!