Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lovely Purple Dahlia - Made in gumpaste

How I made the purple Dahlia from this photo...

Photo of real Dahlia found on the internet...
My finished gumpaste Dahlia...

At the nursery I saw some beautiful Dahlia's I thought I would love to make. Silly me didn't buy one since I didn't have time to make it then. Later I searched for Dahlia's on the internet and this one just caught my eye. It was a very delicate with a bright deep purple center as the color fades towards the tips. It had an abundance of petals and was just lovely to look at. So, I decided to make this one...

What I do when I find a flower I want to make

  • Don't have the real flower then print the best photo or photos you can find.
  • Look through your cutters to find one which would work best. You don't always need to buy a cutter since many cutter sets have several components and with a little manipulation you can create the perfect petals shapes. 
  • I then do the same with the veiner. Find one which looks like it is a somewhat close match if not perfect one. Not all flowers are veined but if they are it is nice to add that extra touch.
  • Next, I gather all my supplies, the cutters and veiners, photos or real plant and just start making petals. I make a few different variations and match them to the photo or plant to see if they look right. Once I am happy with the petals I make them all.
First try making the flower... ended up redoing it...
Dropped above flower... it was meant to be redone!!!

Some things to remember if you don't have instructions and are making them the first time...

Supplies I am using to make the Dahlia

  • Have the real flower or photo with you for reference
  • Write instructions as you make the flower!! I am guilty of not always doing this thinking I won't make this flower again. You just never know. 
  • Don't forget to write the petal dust colors and how you applied it in case you need to make more. 

Take photos... 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Writing Blogs...

I very much so enjoy writing blogs !

Gumpaste Tulip

I started blogging to share with everyone the wonderful world of sugar flowers. I certainly had enough photos to post but, not much more than that. I wasn't quite sure what to write about since all I do is make sugar flowers.

I was doing it all for fun and the love of it. And still do!!!

A lot has happened since I began on August 19th 2010, maybe not gigantic YET, but still as I look back I see so many blogs of sharing what I love to do..

Some of my blogs...

The Orange County Fair my first blog. That year I entered the fair and won Best of Show and 1st place for Sugar Flowers. I also did a demo on a peony!!!
I wrote about working with Colette's Catering being their Sugar Flower person when they need that special flower.
I also wrote about flower orders I had, how to make some of the flowers in very brief tutorials, and other flower related things I thought might be of interest.

I will post more about what I am doing, where I will be teaching, where I am selling the sugar flowers and will add a couple brief tutorials of some simpler flowers since I am a one person show doing the making and photo taking..

It would wonderful to know that I am inspiring others who are interested in sugar flowers to continue on and learn this wonderful world of sugar art...

Gumpaste Daffodil


Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Mishaps of Flower Making

I have a very long list of flowers I would love to make and I hope to get to them all one day and will make a great effort. I look on line for flowers I like and then save them to remind me. 

Getting Ready to make the Dahlia

I came across a Purple Dahlia that I just had to make and put it at the top of my list. It might have been the wonderful purple color (you can see in the photo) or maybe I thought I could make it quickly being it was just one cutter in different sizes and not a lot of shaping needed to be done to the petals. Or it could been both. 

So this where the mishap begins. Sometimes when I look at a flower I forget to notice how the petals are layered or how they come together to make the whole flower. With gumpaste once you make the petal and it dries you can't reshape it.  But, they don't always come out as I expect.  I sometimes shape them wrong, or I forgot to curve it so all the petals fit nicely.. Things do happen and for these petals I didn't shape them right.

Just a few of the petals

I made lots and lots of petals that didn't fit together too nicely.. But, I figured it out and worked with it.. I started to assemble it and  it ended up looking pretty good. But, when I was almost done wiring the flower, it just slipped from my hand and fell only about 8 inches onto the apple crate. A good many of the petals broke. They were very fragile being so thin. 

The Broken Dahlia
Well, I have long ago learned not to fret, just make more petals and move on.. So, that is what I did. Since many of the petals didn't fit together I just made almost all new petals.. The best part is the second one came out better than the first one.. 

The finished 2nd gumpaste Dahlia

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Shaping Gumpaste Flowers

The most asked question I get is...
How do you make your flowers look so real???? 

To make a flower look real takes a bit of time and patient, but it is well worth it. 
And being I love to make flowers it isn't work at all.   

It is partly the shaping and partly the coloring.. 

My little tips...

Placing petals...
You really don't want to just lay your petals on a foam pad to dry. You want to place them to dry in the shape you would like them to look. You also don't want to shape them all exact like little soldiers, so if you just shape each one a bit differently it really can make all the difference.

laying the petals in the shapes I want them dry

Using tissue and napkins...
After you place your petal in its shape and it just won't stay add some support to that area. Use tiny bits of tissue or napkins or foam to place under the petals so they won't sink or start to fall down in the areas you shaped.
pieces of napkin added for support

added pieces of napkin to hold up for support 

What can I use to dry petals in...
You don't have to just use the ready made styrofoam shapers that are sold for gumpaste flowers, you can get a little creative. Use things that have the curve you are looking for. Here are a few samples of what I do.. I tend to use the avocado and apple crates the most, using both sides depending how I want to dry the flowers. Foil works good for the petals you want less of a curve to but still want some motion.

Some ideas to dry and shape your petals with

Styrofoam gumpaste petal shapers

Apple and avocado crates the back side

Wilton formers with tinfoil laid over it and the use of the backside

Monday, May 7, 2012

Plumeria Class

I had my first class at Laguna Culinary Arts, in Laguna Beach a couple of weeks ago. This is a lovely culinary school with a Professional Chef program, catering and special events, wine and cheese shop, and specialty classes. 

I had 4 students who never worked with gumpaste and are not decorators, they just thought the class sounded fun and signed up.. I love to teach those who never worked with gumpaste. The first thing I usually hear them saying is I can never make a flower that looks like that, meaning mine. I tell them oh yes you can all you need is patient. You will leave with a wonderful flower arrangement.

We were making plumeria's, leaves, and buds.. Day 1 I talked a bit about gumpaste and the tools, gave them a demo and told them not to be afraid of it.. It is only sugar and they can redo it if need be.  Before every new petal or leaf I gave a demo since it is easier for someone to follow right after seeing it done. They did a bang up job making 4 plumeria's, a couple of buds and some leaves. They were very excited to come back the next day to add the color. I told them I look on line for coloring ideas.

Day 2 when they returned they all had photos and were ready to go.. Giving a short demo on how to apply the color, shading, over dusting, and some rules like not to dip brushes in different colors, and to go lightly when adding the color since you can always add but it is hard to take away.. This day ran over a bit which was fine and they all finished their flowers. The only thing they didn't have time to do was tape and arrange them so I did it for them. I think they were too excited to see what they made put together and didn't want to wait..

They told me they had a great time and all of them were very happy with what they made.. I think they all did a fantastic job and hopefully they will take my next class there, succulents.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Colette's Custom Wedding Cake

When I decided to sell sugar flowers I contacted Colette's Cakes in Fullerton, sending her samples of the sugar flowers I make. It was the right timing since she was looking for someone to make custom flowers for some of her cake orders. We met and I brought samples and we started to work together. I made a few sample cakes for her showroom displaying the sugar flowers and I made an over sized succulent for a cake she has on display at the Hilton Waterfront Hotel where I live.

When you visit Colette's Custom Wedding Cakes she has dedicated a page to my sugar flowers. It was very exciting to see them displayed on her site.

Last week Colette called for one large fantasy Peony in all white with lavender/purple center. Sometimes creating fantasy flowers are a challenge since I like to make all flowers lifelike modeled after real ones. But, they are fun to make since it is my decision how they will look. Colette sent me a photo for this one and all I had to do was replicate it, and although the photo was hazy I did replicate it pretty spot on...

The photo Colette sent me of the fantasy Peony

The fantasy flower I made

The finished cake Colette's Catering made with the fantasy Peony I made

I supplied Colette with addtional larger petals in case they wanted a bigger fuller flower. And as you can see she preferred to have a fuller flower adding the additional large petals.