Monthly Archives: February, 2010

Experiments

The workload is light.  So, I’ve been able to do a little experimenting.  This time, it’s with piping gumpaste.  This experiment began Sunday night.
I placed about a 1/2 cup of gumpaste, pinched off into small pieces, into my mixer bowl. I added about 1/4-1/2 cup of hot water, a little at a time while mixing on low (the small chunks made the mixer clunk about a bit).  I covered it with plastic to let in dissolve (hopefully) for several hours.  After several hours had gone by, it hadn’t fully dissolved.  I added 1 teaspoon of the white Unbreakable Gel and let the mixer run on 2 (Kitchenaid stand, tilt-head) for about 10 minutes.  It still wasn’t fully dissolved.  I then placed the bowl over a pot of simmering water with the hopes that that may help.  It did, I think.  I removed the bowl from the heat and transferred it to a smaller bowl and covered it with plastic, making sure the plastic rested on the surface of the goopy mix.  I allowed it to come to room temperature (several hours).  I removed the plastic and stirred…still little lumps.  I decided at that time enough was enough and brought out the big guns when it comes to lumps…the support hose…as in a new pair of support pantyhose, feet removed and washed, sanitized and dried.  I scooped all of the gumpaste goop into the hose foot and squeezed it into a pastry bag fitted with a coupler.  I now have something…I don’t know what exactly…to try out.
Fitted with a #2 tip, I decided to pipe out tiaras.  This was awesome.  All the intersections fixed themselves…melded nicely into each other.  It piped without too much effort.  I also piped out a net pattern…the kind, that when the sides are pulled, it looks like a fishing net.  Because the gumpaste goop had the consistency a little thicker than piping gel, I allowed all the pieces to lay flat for about 30 minutes to set…that was the plan anyway.  After setting for about 30 minutes, I placed several of the tiaras over their form (an empty 2 litre soda bottle with the ends removed) to dry.
After several hours of curious touching and waiting, the piped pieces were tacky but not wet or sticky sticky but more like rubber or another substance when it gets warm…it had a bounce to it.  So, further experimenting, I placed one of the piped tiaras into the microwave for 8 seconds (microwaving gumpaste pieces for short amounts of time and sometimes, several heat/cool sessions depending on the thickness of the piece, has proved, to me, to be an excellent way to harden them faster…).  All it did for this piped piece was to heat up the thin spots and make them bubble.  After it cooled, the bubbled areas were obviously effected still effected, adversely, by the heat.
I woke up this morning, anxious to see if the night hours brought any success.  Oh, yes!  They’re hardening!  No more bounce to them.  Oh, no!  Some of the tiaras remained on a flat surface!  hmmmm…side of a cake decoration…possibly the beginnings of an upright decoration…or suspended beneath the cake, between two tiers…or maybe further experimenting by steaming them to see if they become pliable enough to secure to the form.
These are the pieces as they are this morning. The drip areas are obvious at the bottoms of the tiaras…and you can see how it flattened out.  The bottoms of the tiaras were piped beads.  You can see the thin, bubbled areas on the microwaved tiara (the one laying next to the piped netting(or third from the right)).

A New Outlook

     I’ve recently decided to complete at least 10 flowers per day regardless of the workload.  Will I be able to do it?  As long as I can keep myself motivated and remember what the plan is, I believe it can be done. Depending on what is going on throughout the day as to how many I will able to complete.  If I had all day to do nothing but flowers, of course, I’d be able to produce more.  So, keep in mind, this is not indicative of a whole days’ work but more what can be done in 15-30 minutes here or there.
     These were done Monday-Wednesday.  Roses, daisies, calla lilies, and carnations.