Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Are those leaves "Really" made of sugar???

I completed the gumpaste leaves I wrote about. 
I get Super excited and impatient wanting to see how they turn out.

Gumpaste foilage Palm Leaves, Eucalyptus, Croton

I created an assembly line sort of to make them

I colored all the paste needed for all the leaves
Next, made all of them and left to dry
    Getting closer to finishing!!!
Finally got to assemble all of them..

Whew!!!!!!!!!!! that was a lot of FUN work and I am pleased with how they turned out. I now know some new leaves I can use for arrangements. Yes, I think I want to find a few more to learn.

Gumpaste Palm Leaves

Gumpaste Eucalyptus

Gumpaste Croton

Monday, November 19, 2012

In need of new leaves

When looking for new flowers to create when I am out
 I overlook the leaves. 

I am very aware of the different leaves in floral arrangements. BUT... I just don't think about them when creating flowers and I end up adding the same leaves I always use.

 I am in need some new fresh ideas...

Photos of my first choices...

 Silver Dollar Eucalyptus 

Palm Leaves..

Bettleweed leaf. Love the jagged edges

Yes, today I finished the last of my first choices in gumpaste and will post them tomorrow. The Beetleweed I already used in an arrangement and the other two are being included in my current arrangement..

Please stayed tuned for the photos..

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Busy creating while away....

I have been away from my blog for over a month

In the past month or so I have been very busy creating new flowers and coming up with new ideas. I seem to have a list as long as I am tall of all the flowers I want to make. But the problem has always been what to make next.

So many flowers to make so very little time it seems. 

On my list to make are Sweet Peas. I had made them once when I first learned sugar flowers many years ago. I don't have them now or any photos of them. But, I do remember I made them pink. So, of course I decided when I make them they will be pink.

Photo of real sweet Pea's for a design idea 

I love how delicate and intricate they look to make. Just after making my first one I discovered they aren't difficult at all but I can say they are a bit time consuming. I always tend to choose flowers that are small and require a several to create an arrangement. Not by choice it just happens that way.

So, I looked up several on the computer to get the details needed for the flower plus to see the leaves that go along with them. I didn't remember they had tendrils which really add to the arrangement and really help them look more realistic.

Here are my Pink Sweet Peas that I just created.

Sweet Peas in gumpaste

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Modern Flower

How to make your own Modern Flower

Supplies needed
Tear Drop cutter
Ball tool or celpin
Foam pad
Apply crate or similar

Cut out tear drop shape
Insert Wire
With ball tool or celpin using foam pad or palm of your hand
     -Gently roll tool of your choice around in a circle over the entire petal to hallow it out slighlty so it curves.
Lay in apple crate or similar with a nice curve and let dry.

I make petals in odd numbers per layer.
Continue as large as you want the flower with any size petals
You can use each size or skip one for a more dramatic look and less petals

Just keep in mind the larger they are the heavier they are and a bit more tricky to wire 
Use the right size gauge wire (strong enough to hold the petal)

Modern Style Flower

My friend Christy of Simply Layered Cake Design 
has requested this particular flower many times.

Christy was describing the flower she wanted as sort of a Modern Peony. Big, bold and simple with no frilling of the petals..something that was Modern!!! I was looking at her with this look that said WHAT???  She knows I make flowers that look real with detail and lots of frills and this was going way outside my box. So, I listened to her description and this is what I ended up making.  It was without frills Big and Bold and really looks Modern.  She has requested this flower several times since and have come to love to make it.

Gumpaste Modern Flower (Peony Style)

Simply Layered won Best Dessert again this year at the Taste of HB

I think we are going to have make this her signature flower 
and name it.. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Fantasy Tulip

I learned this variety of tulip is known as a 
Peony Tulip since it looks like a Peony.

I was searching on line about Tulips and the different colors and types. Just like many flowers there are many varieties and colors... that is what poses the problem for me always, which one and what color do I want to make in sugarpaste???

I came across this beautiful Tangerine color one that really didn't look like a tulip that I am familiar with.  I thought it was just beautiful and had to recreate it in sugar.

They seem to first produce yellow petals as you can see at the base,
 then turn into that beautiful sherbet color..

I didn't have tulip veiners but just had to make this flower anyway and decided I would use the tools and cutters I have and recreate it the best I can.

What I used

A basic leaf cutter
Jem veining tool
Veiner of a flower that looked like a tulip but just not quite.
Apple crate for drying
A lot of shades of orange, pink, yellow, and some green

Here is the what I made and call it my Fantasy Tulip

Since I didn't have the proper veining tools the petal changed shape while veining them by hand with my Jem tool.. I was consistent and was very happy with the end result.. 

Back to the drawing board to create a real double tulip in sugar...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

My Demo Corner

I am always happy to be invited back to do my sugar flower demo at the ORANGE COUNTY FAIR. It might be a little hectic to get so many flowers ready for display and deciding what to make or show.. Then I wonder what flowers I will demo and what to bring..and the big concern will I forget the most important things like my gumpaste???

The day arrives and it all just seems to work out fine. I did make many flowers for display that I offer classes on, and brought some flowers I just love to make and share.

On the first day of the fair I had set all of the flowers up behind me on long tables  that was provided. They didn't have the glass cabinet just yet.

Day 1 of the Orange County Fair

The next day the cabinet arrived and I set up all the flowers in it which I though looked pretty good..

Display is improving....

But, the following day I was given cake stands and plates which just made the display of the sugar flowers just POP...I was very happy!!!

Final Display of gumpaste flowers...
 More people actually noticed them in the case and stopped by to see what I was doing.

Note to self " buy a few cake stands and plates for displaying"

Thanks to everyone who stops by to just look, asks questions or to see my demo...
Love to share the art of sugar flowers

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day One at the Fair...

OMG... has it really been a whole year since the last fair????

 I had a very good first day.. Ray the fruit carver was there again... he is such a funny guy with lots of fascinating stories.. He attracts tons of fair goers... I will take some photos and post.. Here are a couple from last year...

Ray - fruit carving

Ray - fruit carving

I saw so many friendly familiar faces.... I have a great little spot with lots of space to display my sugar flowers.. My first day I had a couple of visitors come by to see me.. WOW!!! now that was awesome..

Here is a photo of me in action doing a demo adding petal dust to a flower...

Shaile Socher (me) dusting gumpaste orchid petals
Photo by Hollywood Chronicles

I will post more as my two weeks float by too quickly

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Orange County Fair 2012

Hi Everyone,

It has been more than a month since I have posted anything on my blog. I have been very busy and since I am a one person show I have had little time.. NO EXCUSE!!! I will be more active with my blog since I love to share all I can with others.

Just made these Pointsettia's to advertise a class
Gumpaste Pointsettia in red and Pale Yellow

I have been preparing for the Fair mostly, Also working with my friend at her shop and I have been teaching. Working at the bakery and teaching are still  new to me and can't tell you how much I love both. I would choose teaching over baking but I am having a Grand Time.

Even though I know the routine of working at the Fair I still seem to need a lot to bring and do. I had some new business cards made with new flowers I have mde, and have some new gumpaste sample flowers to display. I also have a list of flowers I hope to make and demo while I am there but I will have to play it by ear. I have been posting I will be at the Fair practically daily so lets hope people will come and see me.

I will be posting on a more regular basis to share my new flowers or ones I have already made but updated.. thanks for visiting my page

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sugar Flowers and Sharing...

My Passion for Sugar Flowers

Has it really been over 10 years since I started decorating cakes and cookies??? That is when I first learned of sugar flowers and taking my very first class with Nicholas Lodge. Yes, one class one yellow rose changed my path.. 

The top yellow flower is from one of Alan Dunn's books.. I made one in Orange too

Gumpaste Lily in yellow and orange

I was making them for fun quite a while. As I learned more the more I wanted to make and then I began to perfect them. I followed Alan Dunn with his books making many of his flowers learning how to add texture and shaping to bring them to life. Just looking at his photos was so helpful...It was and is very excitng to recreate a flower out of sugarpaste to look so real.

This is from an Alan Dunn's book too, one of my favorites

Over the years I added cutters and veiners to my collection and way too many dusting colors to my supply. Well, not enough dusting colors since I still buy them!!! I am always on the search for veiners and cutters since new products are always coming out. As for the cutters I don't always buy a new one, sometimes I use one from a set I already have or bend a cutter or trim the paste after I cut it out. I can now shape petals with tools I have and can look at fresh flowers and see the details I need to add. It is very interesting at how I look at flowers now, it more like analyzing!!!

Tiny purple orchids from an Alan Dunn book.. These are my favorite orchids to make so far

purple gumpaste orchids

So, it has been slow going but I am beginning to teach this wonderful sugar art. I hope there are many decorators who would love to learn to create lifelike flowers for their cakes. I am glad of all who follow what I do and all the compliments and ideas I am given. I love to look at sugar flowers from other decorators and get ideas or learn something new or different. Yes, I have my favorites too!!!

Look for my info I will post later this week about the classes I will start to offer...


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Adding Color to Sugar Flowers

Wow.. the petal dust really does make the flower go from just so so looking to amazingly realistic. This is my absolutely favorite part of making the sugar flowers 

Good exmaple of blending colors so they look natural

Good example of adding color

To me it seems like painting but with dry powder to get all the colors and the shades to blend just right. And whenever I do a demo or display my sugar flowers there is usually a painter just by chance looking at my work. I usually ask them what they think of the colors. They always have something nice to say which makes me feel awesome. I just learned by doing and trying this and that by looking at photos or real flowers.

I begin most flowers in white paste only because I like the ability to make the colors as deep or as pale as I want them. If I want petals to have two colors in a few different shades I like to apply the colors to the sections I want on a plain white slate.

I have never seen other sugar flower people add color and not sure everyone uses dusting colors. Some use airbrushes. I am asked a lot if I would like to airbrush. No!! is my answer. One thing I don't know how and learning to use one will take some time. The other thing is I love to add petal dust with brushes. It is quite fun.

Here you can see a yellow flower with Orange tips and deeper yellow center

Very subtle color added at the tips and center of flower

So, These are the basic steps I do to add the petal dust. Let's say I am using yellow and pink..
  • I first dig through all my yellow and pink colors and choose the shades I might like. Yes, I have a lot of shades and I am always getting more. 
  • I get out my plastic plate (it cleans up nicely) and my small pallet tray. 
  • I look at the photo of the colors I am going for.  
  • I begin with the lightest of the shade of color that covers the most area first.
  • Then I add the next color in the lightest shade. Now the whole petals should be covered
  • Now I go back and add the highlights of the deeper shades of the colors and tinge the edges
  • Always blend the colors with the brush so they just don't stop a a certain point like a line.
That is it in a nutshell but that is just a very short explanation. I mix colors, overlap colors, I sometimes add whites and lighter shades of the color if the color turns out too dark. It just takes practice and practice to learn how apply the petal dust.

One hint is to try on a bad petal or make extras to try it out on..

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Beautiful Gladiola

I was asked by a fellow cake decorator who saw my sugar flowers if I had made a Gladiola? 

She wanted to make one for a cake and she bought the cutters, but didn't know how to make them.  No, I haven't I told her, but if she sent me a photo of the Gladiola she was interested in making and her cutters I will make one and tell you how.

I went on line and looked at Gladiolas like the photo she sent me and I also visited some nurseries to see them in person. I actually love to learn to make a new flowers on my own and not following any sugar artist method. It is a great challenge to me and when I do get it just how I want it I am sooo very excited. I love feedback I get also when I post it and ask for suggestions or thoughts  of others.

Here is the flower I found on line that I am going to make. I just love the colors

A real Gladiola

After looking at the flowers a while and studying how the petals are arranged and the texture the flower has I found a cutter and a Styrofoam shaper that would work perfectly.. I also had the texture tool I use quite often and it would work just fine. 

The toughest part of making a flower the first time is shaping them to dry to come out like you want them. Sometimes I think I know what will work, but then I realize I shaped part of it wrong. With this flower I shaped the tips of the petals just how I wanted them, but the bottom of the petals I curved in just a bit too much so they wouldn't lay as flat as I hoped.

Here is the finish flower after fiddling with organizing the petals.. 

Gumpaste Gladiola (my first go of it

I do have a few adjustments to make to the other flowers I will make to complete a Gladiola stalk. But all in all I seem to like it. I will be making an additional full open flower, a couple of buds and just opening flowers.

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.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Simply Layered Cake Design

Ultimate Cake Off (TV Show)
I wrote once before about my friend Christy who is the owner of Simply Layered. We became friends interning at "Let Them Eat Cake" in Costa Mesa several years ago where we were both interning. After we went our separate ways.

It truly is a small world after all.

About 2 years ago I was at work at my day job and ran into Christy in the parking lot where she worked her day job just around the corner from me. She was building her business and I changed paths to making sugar flowers. We caught up a bit and became friends. She began ordering sugar flowers from me and soon after I started helping her out at times with her orders. It was fun to decorate again.

Her business has grown a lot since we first met and she moved to a bigger rental kitchen. She has also expanded her offering from decorated cakes to include a variety of the best tasting baked goods all made from scratch.  Christy began supplying local Huntington Beach restaurants with her baked goods on a regular basis and hopefully it won't end with just the two.

Mini Treats

The fun part is helping test recipes and assist when I get a chance. I am slow but it's very fun. Who knew how many dishes need to be washed throughout the day.. I really earn all the treats she gives me just from doing the dishes.  

At the end of this month April is the annual "Taste of Huntington Beach". This is where many local restaurants and other food vendors share what they make.. last year Simply Layered won best dessert and this years display and desserts have already been chosen. Only a couple of weeks away and I am very excited to see it all come together.  Can't give away what she is making, but I can say it will be extremely tasty and fun...

The link to see all the fun from last year...   The Taste of Huntington

And how can I forget... I made some sugar flowers for part of her display, so as soon as the event is over I will post some pictures and write a little something...