Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Quick Tips for More Realistic Sugar Flowers

I am in the middle of another sugar flower making marathon, and it has had me thinking about ways to improve my flowers.  For the most part, learning to make sugar flower has been a trial and error process, but here are a couple of things that I have found that have quickly and consistently improved the realism of my flowers without having to invest in a bunch expensive tools and cutters.

Sugar Rose and Leaves
1.  Before you ever start trying to make of flower out of sugar, try to get a hold of living example to study or at the very least look at pictures online. Study the shading, shapes, and bits and pieces of the flower you are trying to make. Observe how the petals lay and how the flower opens up.  Keep a picture next to you for reference while you trying to make it out of sugar.

2. Roll your gum paste thinner.  Look at the petals of real flowers. Notice how delicate and THIN they are. If you don't get your gum paste rolled thin enough, your flowers are never going to look super realistic. And while the thinness of the petal sometimes depends on the flower, usually the thinner you can get your gum paste the better.

3.  Okay I fibbed a little, for this third one you will need to invest some money, but it is well worth it. Learn how to shade and color your flowers with petal dust.  This is the stage when you truly make your flowers come alive.  Study your pictures from number 1 and then play around and see if you can recreate it on the sugar flower.  Don't forget to give your flowers a quick steam after you finish to help blend and set your dust.

Hydrangea before and after dusting with petal dust.
Obviously, there is no substitute for knowledge of flower-making techniques and/or a good set of quality tools, but these are a few of the things that have helped me improve the quality of my flowers.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

1st Anniversary and Wedding Recap

As I celebrate my 1st wedding anniversary this week, I am finally getting around to putting together an album of wedding pictures and deciding on some prints to be framed.  It is about time, right?  I also realized in the hustle and bustle of last year that I never got around to recapping my wedding at all for the blog.  I didn't even follow-up with a picture of my cake.  Any way, I am going indulge my vanity a little and post some of my favorite pics for the wedding. So beware, lots of photos below.

We got married last May at the Carleton Hotel in Oak Park, Illinois.  This was a great little local hotel.  They only do one wedding per evening,  and since we had both our ceremony and reception there, we had a whole section of the hotel at our disposal.  Having everything at the hotel was one of the best decisions we made since we had a large majority of guests coming from out of town.

It takes a village to get ready or at the very least 4 attendants, a mom, a make-up artist, and hair stylist.

Kudos to my best friend who buttoned and unbuttoned these tiny buttons about a half-dozen times during the course of the day.  That is real friendship.

While the girls were working hard getting pretty, the boys were getting the party started down at the hotel bar.


We had our first look privately before the ceremony so that the wedding party could go downtown before the wedding and get pictures taken.

We wanted a simple, classic, elegant look for the wedding, so we decided on black and white with pops of red. The boys looked sharp in classic tuxes, and the girls picked their own black dresses.  My only request was red shoes. 

It was a cold, raining Chicago day, but our wedding party were troopers

and we were still able to get some lovely pictures.

We made a last minute decision to sneak into Union Station to take pictures without a permit.  I am so glad we did because my favorite pictures of Mike and I were taken here.

We hurried back to the hotel for family pictures and the ceremony. One of my oldest and dearest friends performed the ceremony for us.  He was actually the person that introduced Mike and I.

We wrote the ceremony ourselves, and there were some tears, but a lot of laughs too. We had a sticky moment with Mike's ring, but luckily, we finally got it on.

We didn't hear each others vows until the actual ceremony. I didn't write mine until the morning of the wedding on a piece of hotel stationary.

And it is official! 

Our main priorities for the reception were ensuring good food, good drink, good music, and a good time.  We started the party with our first dance to Ray Lamontagne.

We followed up with toasts.  It, of course, turned into a weepy hug fest.

My dad gallantly suffered through Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" for the parent dance. (He isn't the biggest Dylan Fan.)

My favorite picture of my dad and I.

The cake cutting turned into a bit of mishap.  We were having difficulty getting the knife through the cake and could not figure out why.  That was because this dummy forgot which of the layers was a Styrofoam dummy.  Oh well,  it makes for a funny story and good pictures.

We cut all the way through the dummy before we realized what was wrong. 

I will admit I was kind of picky and not a 100% happy with some of the decorative details of the cake. The cake itself, however, was 100% delicious.

After dinner we danced. The one thing we refused to compromise on was the DJ.  We wanted the best music and Toast and Jam delivered.

Saying good night to my mom.  My favorite picture of the two of us.

It is so nice to look back at our pictures and remember what a lovely day it was.  Jeremy Lawson did an amazing job capturing the day, and I foresee a tough time deciding on pictures for the album.  

I am going to do one more post focusing on the details of the wedding, and then I swear I am done basking in the wedding nostalgia.