I mentioned a few weeks ago that Beth and I would be taking a Wilton Cake Decorating course at our local Michaels store. Time has flown by, and our last class in Course 1 was this past Wednesday. We enjoyed it so much that we've already enrolled in Course 2, which will begin on December 13. I wanted to show you our final cakes for Course 1. They aren't perfect or professional, but we loved doing them!
Here is Beth's cake. She was trying for a deep red, but after adding icing color to the icing in several big blops, she decided to stop with this deep coral color. I thought it was very pretty, and our instructor remarked several times how pretty it was. Beth also learned to do really good roses. At first, she was turning the flower nail the wrong way, which was not working well, of course. When the instructor noticed that she was turning the nail the wrong direction, she suggested that Beth turn it the opposite way, which solved that problem and immediately allowed Beth to produce beautiful roses!
Here is my cake. My roses are actually more of a deep lavendar, but this picture made them look blue. I had a horrible time with my roses! The petals were not a problem for me, but the center was. I just could not get that center to close tightly and look neat! The instructor worked with me for a few minutes, showing me her technique, and I was finally able to make a respectable-looking rose, although far from beautiful (I will practice, though!). The instructor and I did figure out that my icing was a bit too stiff, which is a help. Now I know to thin it just a bit to get a better consistency. For some reason, my basic buttercream icing recipe always turns out too stiff. I'll have to experiment with it and see if I can get it to come out better.
I just have to tell you how impressed I've been with our instructor and with Michaels. First, our instructor. She has been decorating cakes for less than a year and is already an instructor! She makes it looks so easy. I expected big sales pitches for Wilton's, but she hasn't done that at all. In fact, she's done the opposite. She has shared tips with us from the very beginning on how to save money on supplies, which supplies we really need, as opposed to what is "suggested" by the course materials, and she has given each of us a 40%-off coupon each week to use to help with supplies. The coupon story is long, but the gist of it is that I don't get them at my house - the mail doesn't deliver them, and we can't seem to get the paper that has them as inserts delivered. So she's been giving them to us. She's also been open to suggestions from us. I had read on the Wilton's discussion forum that you could use a Hershey's kiss as the base of the rose. She had never heard of that and thought it was a great idea, so she went right into the store and bought a bag for us to use in class!
The thing that impressed me the most about Jocelyn, though, is how she opened up her schedule to help us be able to attend the Course 2 classes. Because December is so busy, she is doing the four classes on two days a week for two weeks, instead of one a week for four weeks. We didn't have a problem with two days a week, but one of the days I have a doctor's appointment that I've waited months for already. When I asked her how I could rearrange to attend a different class, she took out her calendar to see if she could do it another day. There is one other lady in the class who will be attending Course 2, and she suggested that we make the first class longer and not come the second class (which is the day of my appointment). Long story short, we are stretching the first and third days to be three hours each, skipping the second day, and having the regular two-hour class on the fourth day. I was really impressed that Jocelyn was willing to rearrange a whole day for just one student! The other lady said it would work out better for her too, since she drives a long way.
And as for Michaels, this store has been great. When I registered for the first course, the incentive was half off the course price, which I thought was great. Then I bought my kit, and they gave me 40% off of that, without even asking for a coupon. Then, as I bought supplies during the course with the 40% off coupon from the instructor, they gave me the coupon value plus the 10% off that is advertised for participants in the course! This week, as I registered for Course 2, the lady was going to charge me full price for the course kit, but I knew that I'd gotten 40% off before without even asking. So I asked about it. There was no 40% coupon valid for that day! But she went to a manager, told her what I was buying, and she said to give me the discount anyway! I've never known a big store to cater to its customers like that. I am just way impressed!