Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kentucky Class Photos

I have finally gotten a chance to sit down and post pictures of the Flowers and Fancies class that Jen Dontz and I teach together all over this great land. We arrived in KY one week after they had a historically bad ice storm. Something like 20,000 power lines were out and many homes had tree damage. Donna, pictured below, just got her power restored a few days before we arrived.

Me (looking haggard after 2 days of teaching), Donna, and Jen.

Donna is a great friend of mine, a cake bud from way back when in the early days. We met on Ladycakes and became fast friends. We have gone on many cake related trips together over the years, to various classes, DOS and the like. I like to room with her. She brings me hot coffee in bed every morning. Well, let me tell you that Donna saved the day with this class, which was originally to be held in Evansville, IN. But when our hostess pulled out a few weeks before the class, Donna stepped up to the plate and found a classroom for us in Owensboro, allowed Jen and I to stay in her beautiful home with her wonderful family, and volunteered to assist us at the 2 day class. Just cuz she is that nice. We could not have done it without her. Thank you Donna, love you.

Jen and I co-teach the class. We make a 2 tier fully decorated cake and 2 large gumpaste flowers. I teach the cake part and Jen teaches the flowers. And she rocks at gumpaste flowers. The "big" names have got nothing on her.

Here I am showing the gals how to put a tiny pearl edging on the sides of bow loops. What was I thinking picking that raggedy T shirt to wear? Make up stain on the sleeve and all. I need to stop getting dressed in the dark.

On the left you see Sheet Cake County Susan, who is trying to introduce new techniques and ideas to her clientele. On the right is Jennifer, who has a dessert shop/bakery and is expanding to custom cakes. I want to chop off her hair and transplant it onto my head. Think she will notice?

Left is Kentucky Megan (Mee-gan, not Meg-an). She is a doll and a cake making machine. You should see the wonderful cakes she cranks out every week. On the right is Jode. She is gorgeous, and has a daughter who is a Radio City Rockette. How cool is that? And guess what; Jode taught her how to high kick! Love it.

This is Lisa LaMablahblahblah. Her last name was too hard to pronounce so we called her that. She is so quiet and timid, loves cats, but can curse like a sailor and kick yer ass too if she needs to.

Susan: Please don't hurt me with that thing.
Jen: It's just a big clay gun.
Susan: Please put it away. It is scaring me.


Let me tell you a little story of something that happened. On the first day, Jen starts teaching the gumpaste flowers. She calls all the kids to the back of the room, and shows them how to use the electric pasta roller to roll out their paste for the flowers. She makes a special note on cleaning it, and gives them a very clear warning not to try to clean the machine with a paper towel while the rollers are moving. It can very easily get sucked into the rollers, jam it, and break the pin on the inside. It happened the last time we taught the class. It was still under warranty and Kitchen Aid was kind enough to replace it. She wanted to make sure they were all especially careful not to have that happen again.

So she goes back up to the front of the class, the kids go back to their tables to work, and Donna and I are assigned to stay in the back and roll out all the pieces of gumpaste the kids will need to cut out their flower parts. So Donna and I get our groove going, a little assembly line, and we are kicking gumpaste butt. The pasta roller starts to get a little gunky from all the use. Donna turns it off, starts to wipe it down. There was still some residue hanging behind. I go wet a paper towel and the rest is a blur to me. Somehow that machine turned itself on, and the wet paper towel jumped out my hand right onto the top of the moving rollers. Before I could blink, the towel is jammed in there tight; the machine comes to a groaning halt, and is jammed.

Sharon in a panicked whisper: Shit!
Donna: What?
Sharon: Shit shit shiiiiiiiiiiit!
Donna: What happened?
Sharon: I jammed the damn machine. OMG she is going to kill me.

Then Donna and I circle the wagons around the machine so Jen won't notice what we are doing. We try frantically to get the paper towel out of there with brushes, spatulas, wires. It ain't budging. I drop a few F bombs under my breath, sweating bullets in fear and panic, while Donna and I try furiously to un-jam the thing. Of course a few stressed giggles leak out too, and we are certain Jen is going to call us out from the front of the class. But thankfully she just keeps teaching on.

After a few more unsuccessful minutes, I detach the roller from the KA machine, cover it with something lame I cannot remember, and casually take it into the enclosed kitchen attached to the classroom. Sharon thinks running hot water over the towel will help it disintegrate and come out of the rollers. Any idiot knows that water makes paper towels swell and expand, so guess what? That brilliant idea did not work. I am scraping and shaving minuscule pieces of paper out of the microscopic space between the 2 rollers for about 6 hours, with no success. Right at this time, a big burly plumber man comes into the kitchen. (We were in a pipe fitters' hall). I immediately turn to the poor unsuspecting bloke who came in to refill his coffee cup and beg him to help me get this out or my friend is going to have my head. Since pipe fitter guys are so historically nice, he of course took over. He worked that thing over like nobody's business. He scraped at it with a knife for about 20 minutes and slowly got tiny piece by piece out. He is doing this in the metal sink, and proceeds to make huge clunking and metal banging noises as the pasta roller hits the sink over and over again. A couple of times Jen calls in to me: "Hey, what the heck is going on in there?" I ignored her as sweat soaked my ratty, make up stained T shirt.

Soon it becomes evident, that even if Pipe Man gets the stuff out, the rollers are terribly scratched and I will have to replace the machine. No big deal. I will get her a new one. Just as long as we can still use this one for the next 2 days of class, all will be well. After about a millennium, the nice man gets all the paper towel out. The rollers are forever scratched, but I figure I can tell Jen about this later on and just buy her a new one. I give the man a big piece of pumpkin cake (that Jen made for lunch) and thank him profusely. I wanted to jump on his burly neck and hug him but I refrained.

I quietly sneak back into the back of the classroom and reattach the rollers to the KA mixer. Donna and I try to use it and... and....and.... noooooooooooooooooooooo. The rollers will not turn. The KA is working but the rollers on the machine will not turn. The internal pin must be broken. Shit. Shit. Shiiiiiiiiiiiit!! OK Sharon, the jig is up. I do not want to interrupt Jen's teaching, so I just told Donna I will tell Jen at a break, I will buy her a new one, and we will just use the manual rollers we have for the rest of the class. It will slow us down, but it will do.

Just as I formulated my plan and accepted my fate, big Pipe Man swings the door open, entering the classroom, and looks at me way in the back. Jen at the front of the class says to him, "Hi! Looking for cake?" He says, "I'm just checking to see if that thing is working or not."

Dead Silence.

Thud. My jaw hits the floor. I swallow hardly and deeply.

Jen: "What thing?" looking at me.
Me: Sheepishly, barely over a whisper: "Your pasta roller I just broke?"

Hysterical laughter breaks out in the class. Poor Pipe Man has no idea what is going on. Jen says "What did you do?" I said, "I do not know, that paper towel jumped right out of my hands and into the turning rollers." (I am shitting a brick by this point.) Jen just laughed it off, said something about how she just told us not to do that; said not to worry about it, and class moved on. I felt terrible for the next 2 days. She would not allow me to pay for the new one, she called it a class expense, and wanted to split it 50/50. Now that's a class act. I still feel bad about that.


Here is Jen at the "dusting" table with some students, applying dust to their flower parts.

Flower parts.

Beautiful expecting mom Starr with her beautiful peony.

Starr's beautiful mom, Patty, who better have raised her prices by now. Or else!

Here is the cake I made while teaching the class. See that black dot on top of the round tier? It is driving my batty I tell you. I keep trying to wipe it off the monitor screen, but it won't budge.

Jen and I chatting while the kids work quietly.

Jen: I can't believe you broke my pasta roller.
Me: I told you not to let me near complicated electrical equipment.
Jen: It's just a simple pasta roller!
Me: Whatever. It's your fault really.
Jen: My fault??
Me: Yes, you made me use it.
Jen: Sharon, stop it.
Me: Make me.
Jen : Donnaaaaaaa!!

And here we all are with the students' beautiful creations. The only person you have not met yet is Rebecca, on the far left. She is a librarian. You know how anal librarians are. Rebecca invented the word anal. The reason she is not in any of the pics is because she was busy either transcribing notes in real time into her laptop or redoing something on her cake for the 5th time. All joking aside, she is a good pal of mine, and an impeccable decorator. Love ya, Reb!

Well, despite all the complications and it being sub zero temps while we were there, we had a great time and I have 7 new life time cake pals.


Love your cakes. They come from you, therefore they are wonderful.



PS. Please pray for Jen's hubby. He is battling a very serious illness and they can use all the prayers, thoughts and well wishes you can spare. Love you, Jen.


Kentucky Megan said...

Thank you Sharon & Jen for an AWESOME class. I learned so much and had a great time! Looking forward to having you both come back in 2010 ... maybe in warmer weather! Love ya! Meeeeegan

Anonymous said...

Okay - now in your extra 'spare' time you need to start writing comedies!! This was so fun to read and relive!!

I had so much fun and am constantly using my new skills and toys on cakes!!

I'm setting on ready to go for 2010 - I'll be there for sure!!

Thanks for a great laugh!


Jacque Benson said...

Looks like you all had a great time!! Next time I want to be in the class!!
I will bring an extra pasta roller for Jen. ;-)

Adele said...

Thank goodness my pasta roller will be safe at home a few states away when I see you next month! Whew!!
Great photos, beautiful flowers and cakes!!

Jacque said...

OMG, you guys, how funny. Sorry about the machine... see, that doesn't happen with the good old hand crank machines. That's what you get for being all fancy, LOL. JK

The flowers and cakes look fantstic! Wish I coulda made it over for class. It looks like everyone did a great job.

Scarlett Wishes said...

I couldn't stop reading! and laughing... especially at the shit shit shiiiiit parts..... lol.

send me a full size of the cake with the tiny little black spot and I can photoshop it out in less than a jiffy.


jode said...

OMG sharon!!! You made me pee my pants laughing at your description of our class and the pasta machine incident!! It was a great class and fun time...looking forward to camp at Jen's this summer!!!

Anonymous said...


Me timid, shy, ha-ha, not really just a great tool I learned from being in the Army, (besides the mouth like a sailor)keep your mouth shut, ear, and eyes open.

All jokes aside, I loved the class,learned some pretty neat tips and tricks, and I am so happy to have new cake Pals.

My love to you, and to Jen and her husband, may god heal is broken body.

Can't wait for the next time you come to the upper part of the south.

Lisa Gil de Lamadrid

Valentina :D said...

LOL - you are hilarious!! I am still laughing from the big clay gun part. If you are ever having a class out here in Northern California I am so signing up!!

Rebecca said...

Me?? Anal?? Nah, you MUST have me mixed up with someone else - you know, that little gal from N.O. that likes to feed paper towel to pasta machines!

Oh, okay, maybe a wee bit anal. :)

I had a blast in the class - as always. You and Jen together are seriously a dynamic duo.

You appear to have hidden a talent from us, but no longer - what a writer, I was giggling aloud while reading.

Can't wait to see you again at ICES! Take care cake buddy!

Rebecca (aka Reba)

SugarEd Productions said...

We had fun, huh guys? Can't wait to see you all again.

Do the rest of you see Lisa's last name in the comments? See whay we called her Lisa LaMablahblahblah?


SharonG said...

WOW! not only a amazing cake decorator, but also a amazing writter! Love your story of your and Jen's class in the Bluegrass State! Only thing I don't like is that I couldn't be there, wish I could have gone and met all you wonderful ladies. It sounds like everyone had such a wonderful time. I was helping my son out in Ohio, and we got the ice and snow up there. I told my hubby that was the most snow I had seen in 32 years.

Sending prayers to Jen and her husband, may God and his Angels watch over and be with you both. As the song by Alan Jackson saids "Someday", maybe someday I'll get to take a class with you and Jen.

Love, this story and how you wrote it!!!

Shelly said...

Sharon - Your story of the pasta roller reminded me of a story about a Hamilton Beach mixer smoking after someone loaded it down with too much buttercream...LMAO Woman you crack me up!