Thing-a-Day. Day 27
Well, I have finished all the bits and pieces for the floral arrangement on the Mother’s Day cake today.
I now have 12 yellow sugarpaste roses with leaves, 50 white sugarpaste filler flowers, and a couple of dozen purple sprays of sugarpaste flowers. I will only be using a few of these for this cake though and I will carefully put the others into storage – keeping them cool and dry – so that I will have some nice flowers on hand should I get an order for a cake with a floral arrangement at short notice, because, as you have seen, making these flowers takes a very long time and cannot be hurried!!
I have no idea what I shall do for tomorrow’s ‘thing’…the last one for 2010!! Where has this month gone to?!! There has been some great stuff on Thing-a-Day this year – and a lot of inspirational ideas – thanks everybody!
See you all tomorrow for the big Good-bye!!
Thing-a-Day – Day 26
Ooooo…What a fiddle! I have been trying to get these little purple sugarpaste flowers done today. I like to have these in my arrangements because they add a bit of height and stop all the flowers having the same sort of profile. They are very forgiving to make compared to most things made with sugar flower paste. This paste is a product that dries very quickly and is prone to crack if you try to rearrange parts of the flower you have been making when once it has started to dry. With these little flowers…and boy!…they are really small to work with!… there are parts of the process where you need to leave them to dry out, so you can keep doing little bits and then leave them to dry while doing other things – like attending to the needs of a little boy (my grandson) …or even the considerably bigger boy (my son) who has been kind enough to keep him entertained for much of the day despite it being his day off!!
These flowers range from 1.4cm (1/2 inch) to 0.7cm (1/4 inch) and are made from 3 slightly different shades of purple with the largest being the palest and the smallest the darkest. They are cut with little tiny cutters and then cupped with a ball tool before being pierced in the centre with a dressmaker’s pin. They can then be left to dry and go hard. Meanwhile I have cut some white flower stamens and ‘dyed’ them yellow with ‘petal dust’ (a very fine edible colouring pigment). Then, when I had some time, I was able to post the end of the stamens through the little hole in the dried flowers and add a little dab of confectioner’s ‘glue’ to attach the flowers to the stamens. You do end up just a bit cross-eyed after a while!
When the glue has securely attached the petal to the stamen each little flower can be wired together into a little spray with the smallest flower at the top and the bigger ones added below it. Finally – if any areas of yellow stamen ‘stalk’ are still showing beneath the flower, these need a dab of green food dye painted onto them so that they blend nicely into the rest of the green stem.
A lot of faffing and fiddling – but I think it is worth it! The photo at the top of this write-up shows a little group of all the flower types I have made over the last couple of days and I am happy that they will look lovely and fresh and springlike for the top of the Mother’s Day cake I have been asked to make. I still have the leaves to make and wire into clusters…I might do that tomorrow…or move on to something else for the last 2 days of Thing-a-Day…we’ll see!!
I’ve had very little time today… very busy baking cakes!! And my grandchildren are just about to arrive for their tea!!
I have managed to get a bit more done for my sugarpaste roses. They now have their calyxes and are ready for wiring into an arrangement. I didn’t quite manage to get the leaves done so I’m hoping that the rather ‘arty’ bit of photography will make up for this omission!! I’ve still got more flowers to make and hopefully will get a bit more done tomorrow… although I have my youngest grandson with me all day so I never quite know how that will pan out!!
Today I made a bunch of yellow roses….4 full bloom, 4 partly open and 4 buds.
They are just so satisfying to make…almost a miraculous transformation from flat flower paste to a glorious rose! Ok – so it wouldn’t fool a rose gardener, but on top of a cake on the head table they can look totally stunning!
They are a bit more labour intensive than the ‘just-a-minute’ filler flowers I made yesterday. The full dozen took me just about 2 hours – and that is without adding the calyxes or binding the wires with florists tape.
1. I build my roses onto wires which are customised with a teardrop shaped lump of dried sugarpaste on one end. This makes the finished roses big and fat!
2. After colouring and rolling out my flower paste to almost tissue thickness I cut out 5 petal flower shapes. This is a quicker way of adding petals than cutting them out and adding them individually.
3. Using a special ball tool I thin out the paste around the edges and develop the cup shaped petals.
4. I apply a little confectioners glue to the ‘bud’ and thread the petals onto the wire and then glue them to the bud, covering it completely and interleaving them to make a swirl, like real rose petals.
5. It is then a case of adding more and more layers of petals until it reaches the desired fullness.
6. It is important to take care where the petals are positioned and to shape them gently into a rose shaped arrangement.
Tomorrow I will make the calyxes and some leaves to give the full rose effect.
In the space of 24 hours I have received requests for a cake for Mother’s Day and an order for a wedding cake…both of which will require some sugarpaste flowers. As it is spring time – well, almost! – I am looking at doing a little arrangement in ‘spring coloured’ flowers for the Mother’s Day cake. In my mind that conjures up the colours of snow drops, crocuses and daffodils. As for the wedding cake, I am awaiting confirmation of colours but I will need certain ‘filler’ type flowers for the arrangements. So today – and probably for the next couple of days – I will be making some flowers for Thing-a-Day.
Whenever I make sugarpaste flowers I always make some extra to requirements because they are rather fragile and accidents do happen – so I like to have some spare to replace any damaged ones. This means that I have a random collection of odd colours and shapes of flowers in storage – and as they pretty much last for ever if kept in dry conditions I can look at examples of most colour combination to help me plan arrangements.
The photo on the left is a selection of colour samples and varieties of ‘spring like’ flowers that I am thinking of making up in the next few days. But today I am making a batch of my ‘just-a-minute’ filler flowers which are pretty much just that! They are the easiest of flowers to make and take less than a minute for me to make each one, and being white and fairly small, they fit into any arrangement, filling up little gaps and adding a little lift to the colours of the rest of the arrangement. Practically all of my floral arrangements contain some of these and, as it can sometimes be a few months between orders for floral decorations, it is a nice way to get me back into the swing of flower making!
On the right of the photo I have shown a step by step guide to making these flowers.
1. Pinch off a small piece of flower paste and roll into a ball.
2. Roll slightly off centre to create a teardrop shape.
3 Using an appropriate tool, push the point into the fat end of the teardrop and rotate it make a little cup shape.
4. Using a fine pair of scissors cut 5 incisions into the edge of the cup shape.
5. Pinch each ‘petal’ between index finger and thumb an rub gently as though spreading the edge of the petal across the edge of your index finger. This lengthens and thins out the petals.
6. Insert a piece of florists wire into the throat of the flower and push it through until the end of the wire nestles just beneath the petals. Gently roll the base of the flower between index finger and thumb to ensure there is good contact between the flower and the wire.
Then leave them to dry! When they are dry and securely stuck to the wire I usually cover the wire in florists tape which I take up over the back of the flower to make a rudimentary calyx, and I will dust a little fresh green petal dust into the heart of the flower. Then it is ready!!
Hmmmm….which ones should I make tomorrow??
I have suffered from hayfever for nearly 40 years. I have dreaded the summer coming round each year and have missed out on enjoying all sorts of outdoor activities because of it. I’ve tried all sorts of medication over the years and have even had de-sensitising injections but nothing has really made a long term difference……..could this year be different???
I recently saw an advert on the televison for a new form of allergy relief which really took my attention…it was for some device that you clip up your nose for a few minutes each day. Sceptical that this could help my hayfever I did a bit of research on the internet. The customer reviews seem to indicate that it works really well…but they all mentioned not to use it in public places because it makes you nose light up!! “Curious”, thinks I…..but I decide to buy one and give it a go. Even if it doesn’t work it certainly raises your spirits because it makes you laugh every time you use it as it really does make your nose light up like a Christmas reindeer decoration!!! Far from not using it in public I have decided to use it in front of the world!!!…because I think it might really work!!!
I know that it is only really the beginning of the grass pollen season in the UK but I have been using it for the last few days and decided to give it a baptism of fire yesterday. I went to my favourite local ‘chill out’ location (Norton Priory Museum and Gardens) in the afternoon as it was beautifully warm and sunny and was fortunate enough to arrive just before the start of a guided tour of the Walled Garden. I’ve been to this location dozens of times but have never heard the history of the gardens so this was really interesting – and the gardens are really lovely. They have all sorts of ‘old fashioned’ roses – you know, the ones that actually have a fragrance!! and a walk in these sheltered walled gardens was like being in a box of ‘Turkish Delight’ (a soft jelly confection flavoured with rosewater) – soft, fragrant and indulgent!!
At the end of the tour the guide suggested that we take a walk through the ‘wild flower meadow’………hmmmmm. Normally I would have run a mile at the thought but I decided I would give it a go to see if this device is really making a difference.
It was really lovely – although there was a haze of grass flowers, just above the oxeye daisies, across the whole field – and I walked the path that surrounded it without so much as a sniffle! Amazing!!
I guess time will tell how effective this thing is as the hayfever season progresses but I am very impressed so far!
My afternoon was rounded off by meeting a lovely Irish lady called Louise from Crewe (and originally from Dundalk) who was kind enough to stop me and tell me that she had been admiring my jewellery!! Needless to say – I was a walking advert for Solunar Silver Studio as usual!! …but I have never had this experience before – and it made me feel wonderful!! So thank you for your kindness Louise! – you really made my day!!
And I hope condron.us will keep me on a high by sending lots of lovely visitors my way!!!
Well, there has not been a lot of jewellery made for the last few days.
My daughter is graduating from her college on Thursday – having gained distinctions in practically everything she has done over the past 2 years – and she is now a fully trained and very competent Holistic Therapist. Anyway, she wanted a dress to wear for the college “Leavers’ Ball”, and as she couldn’t afford to buy one she asked me if I would make something for her. Now I have done a dressmaking course and have a qualification in Fashion Design but I tend towards the more ‘theatrical’ designs and I am not necessarily that happy following a conventional pattern design – however, I am fairly happy with what I have made for her. It is really hard to photograph without a body in it but you might get the idea from this photo! It is a one shoulder design with a ‘fishtail’ over skirt which falls to one side and is made from a lightweight black crepe fabric.
I couldn’t resist adding a bit of a extra decoration to break up the shoulder-to-hem blackness of the fabric…so I made a bunch of organza roses and sewed a broach pin onto it so she can pin it where she likes. They are really quite easy and satisfying to make because they don’t take very long put together and the effect is quite stunning! Again, they are really hard to photograph because the fabric has quite a sparkle to it and reflects the flash back in all sorts of odd ways!
But I am quite pleased with the fruits of my labour….and I am sure I can put together some silver jewellery to go with it!!
I hope she has a wonderful day. She is a very clever girl…as a mother of 2 little ones it has not been easy for her to fit in a full time college course – but she has done it and excelled!!
We are so very proud of her!!.