Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Austin Day of Sharing

So once I was *finally* done shipping and packing everything for Austin in my ginormous new suitcase, I finally arrived in the great state of Texas.

If you know me, it's no big secret that I have a not-so-secret love of Texas.  I mean, what's not to like?  Meat? Good.  Cowboys? Goooooood... ;)  I also might like country music and two-stepping, but don't tell anyone.

I arrived a couple days early and spent time with my fabulous friend Tina, who I went to high school with.  She and I ate some awesome food, like this bacon maple doughnut from Gordough's:

Don't judge me.  It was one of the greatest things I've ever eaten.  We also ate some other unusual foods, like foie gras and duck egg and fried bone marrow and beef heart.  Fantastic!

I had the luxury of using her kitchen to finish prepping for the day of sharing where I enjoyed the company of her cat, Mr. Peanut.

He's so awesome he even has his own Facebook page.

Back to the sugar.  For my demo, I decided to show the zebra print portion of my latest shoe, and some cheetah print on a cake, and then whatever else I had time for.  So I pre-made my shoe up to this point:

This photo and the remaining photos in this post are by Chris Wingler.

This was my very first time doing a one hour demonstration and I had a big audience!  I also had some really talented decorators/ demo-ers on before me, so I was feeling the pressure.  I had a table on a stage and a camera that was projecting me onto big screens on the sides of the room.  For the record, it was really hot on stage.  So even though I was lamenting not investing in a chef's coat in time for this event, I was really glad not to be wearing long sleeves...

Not sure what I'm doing in this picture, but I seem to be concentrating on it. :)

Here's the completed shoe from the Day of Sharing.

And my little table display...

Here I am (far left) with the other demonstrators:  Janet Rosebeary, Ashlee Trotter, Kimberly Chapman, and Ruth Rickey.  What a fabulous bunch!  I learned something from all of them and they're all such fun people.

Overall, a great experience!  I learned a lot about new decorating techniques and picked up some good tips on giving demos as well.  I also want to thank the Capital Confectioners for inviting me, especially the president, Kyla Myers, who organized the whole event and coordinated my class the following days!

Up next:  Pics from my 2 day Sexy Stiletto Workshop!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Prepping for Austin!

Welcome to my kitchen after my gum paste making extravaganza.

I was totally stoked to be invited to Austin to participate in the Capital Confectioners annual Day of Sharing as one of the demonstrators (this means I needed to prepare a ~1 hour demo) and to stay and teach my 2 day Sexy Gum Paste Stiletto Workshop on the following days.

When I teach my class here at International Sugar Art Collection, all of the supplies and gum paste are taken care of.  Out in Austin, I was coordinating with the fabulous Kyla, who managed to procure many of the supplies, but I still had to bring/ ship a bunch of stuff out there.  Not the least of which was 28 lbs of pre-colored gum paste.  That's right, for a class of 15 students plus myself I needed 10 POUNDS of red gum paste, 6 lbs of navy, and 4 lbs each of white and ivory.  That's a lot of work for my poor kitchen aid. But I did this over the course of a few days.  Let me reiterate:

Yup, powdered sugar strikes again and again.  I made one color per day and put it in my new freezer.  Oh yeah, I'm now the proud owner of no less than 2 refrigerators + the one that is part of my apartment.

So I shipped out my huge box of gum paste and sole formers for the class about a week ahead of time.  Then I started making lists... and lists... and finally a pile:

I don't think you understand how big this pile is, so here's a picture with my foot in it for scaling:

I had to buy a bigger suitcase.  The box you see there is my carry-on with a prototype of each of the red and blue shoes for my class (which made it in one piece!  And made it home almost unscathed but Austin security really jostled it around and the red shoe came unglued and I had a heart attack...)  Everything else in this pile is class/ demo supplies.

So you can see why you hadn't heard from me for a while...

Tomorrow I'll recap the day of sharing!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Zebra Print Gum Paste High Heel

Okay, okay.  So first of all, I apologize for being a blogging slacker for the last month.  I have a partially valid excuse, I promise.

In case you haven't heard, this past week I traveled to Austin, TX to participate in the Capital Confectioners Day of Sharing as the headlining demonstrator(!) and to teach my 2 day gum paste stiletto class.  I know.  I was really stoked about it.  

However, this required a lot of preparation.  We'll address a lot of this in some subsequent posts, but one of my orders of business was to figure out what I was going to demo!  Since it was a jungle theme, I opted to center my demo around animal prints.  I decided that I would demo a zebra print on a shoe, because how cool would that be!

So I just had to come up with a new shoe design and figure out how to do zebra print.  No problem, right?

Well, you know me, I like to make everything difficult.  So first I developed a new heel idea.

Okay, so I 'cheated' and made it out of styrofoam.  Actually I made 2, one for the practice shoe and one to take on the road with me.  The heels were then wrapped in gum paste and painted to look like wood.  Now, if I wanted to make this fully edible, I would create a mold from a styrofoam form and then cast it in chocolate and proceed as normal.

Here's an up close shot of the painting process.  I couldn't paint the whole heel at my demo so I brought it pre-made.  However, I did demo the painting technique on a flat piece of gum paste so people could see how I did it.
I did some experimenting to perfect the zebra technique:

The second one is a little more fun. :)

Aren't the studs fun?  I made my own mold for those using a rhinestone I found in the scrapbooking section at Michael's and Amazing Mold Putty.  And I love the patent leather look of the red edging on the toe piece.  I achieved that look by painting it with confectioners glaze to give it a high shine.

The flower is gum paste with plastic stamen.  
I did the label with an oval cutter and then trimmed the edge with my favorite tool, the PME Design Wheeler using the zig zag attachment.  That's also how I do my stitching....

Ah, shoe love!  Now for the Austin posts!