My First Sugar Blossoms: the peony, the orchid and the rose

It’s official I have been introduced to the world of sugar flowers. After a steep beginner’s learning curve, I have made it out alive with my first peony, orchid and rose. While in Canada, for the Christmas holidays I took the opportunity to take some private lessons with Lisa Bugeja from Flour Confections in Pickering Ontario. Lisa was a wonderful teacher, perfectly gracious, completely open to sharing her wisdom, endlessly patient and best of all very knowledgeable on making flowers and the entire cake industry in general.

Probably would not pass an inspection by a botanist, but I’m happy with them.

I was extremely excited about my private lessons, leading up to the day, thinking about how professional and cool I would be after taking my knowledge to the next level and let’s just say that the first day was a complete shit-show. Instead of feeling elated as I left, I felt completely embarrassed. From the word go, I struggled to keep up. I am certainly a beginner but I didn’t realize I would struggle as much as I did. I could barely fill a silicone mould fast enough or get the proper shape using balling techniques. Unfortunately it didn’t get any better. I cut out too many petals at once trying to save time and then they dried out and went on to cracking around the edges and not frilling properly since they had lost their malleability. The time flew forward quickly and at the end of the day when we had planned to have made three buds and petals for three peonies, I had barely made enough petals for two peonies and we didn’t even touch on beginning the rose. And that was after Lisa graciously spent an EXTRA hour with me than originally planned! Yeah, not good. I ran out of there embarrassed for taking an additional hour of her time, forgetting to pay for my lunch. My head was whirling with embarrassment. *head palm*

So that night I gave myself a huge pep talk. You know, “Ewa be cool tomorrow. You learned a lot, just process the knowledge and make sure to keep up. You have a chance to redeem yourself. Just keep up tomorrow and all of the beginner’s bad luck will fade away as if if it never happened.”

So I walk into Flour Confections, with a nice amount of time to spare, cool-headed as ever and thinking that today I am going to seize the day. So first thing we do, is put all the dried petals that I rushed to make just the bare minimum of, from the day before onto a plastic tray. I set the plastic tray beside my elbow. You see where this going. Lisa demonstrated how by gently tugging on the florist tape, you activate its stickiness. So I tug on my florist tape, my finger slips off as I am tugging and my elbow continues with the momentum from the tug, colliding with the tray and within seconds all my petals for both my orchid AND my peony are on the floor. Awesome. Now this happened within the first FIVE minutes of the lesson. Not like, 2 hours into the lesson, but within the first five minutes, I had lost ALL hope of ever looking cool or professional in the eyes of a cake master. So approximately 4 out of the 8 peony petals had broken in half. I am sure a student drops one petal every once in a while during a lesson but not the whole damn tray!! Professional as ever, Lisa said we could still continue because I would have learn the florist wrapping techniques anyway and we can still build the flower, even if it would have some damage. Flowers in nature also have damage anyway, right? So off I went, building, I’m sure the first ever, peony with that oh-so-realistic damaged look. Classy.

Just before that fateful moment. They weren’t expecting to come crashing to their deaths in about 2 minutes.

The class continued forward and I built up my peony and here is what the final product looked like.

I don’t usually post pictures taken with the camera’s flash, but the flash helps to see the shading I did using powdered colours.

The class continued and I focused. Little talk, a lot of concentration. I tried to keep up but again fell behind and could only make two out the originally planned three roses. And out of those two only ONE to the complete full bloom rose stage. So let’s just say I now know what they mean when they say advanced sugar crafting classes. Eek!

In the end, I am completely happy with what I walked away with and I would go back to get more lessons from Lisa any day. Her patience was endless and her generosity in spending extra time with me on BOTH days was absolutely appreciated. I can’t thank her enough for all the advice she shared and all the time she spent with lil’ ol’ me. Her shop is awesome with a huge selection of really cool cake tools and accessories. Her open concept teaching kitchen allows shoppers to observe her classes and gives the whole place an open feel. The drive up to Pickering was well worth it and if you are not in the mood for driving you can find all the accessories and tools on her online shop.

View as you walk through the front door.

And now, I await another D-Day with Lori Hutchinson.

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