Sunday, 17 June 2012

Tumbleweeds roll by

Hello Blog!

It's been 2 months since I last wrote anything, which is most remiss of me.  I'd like to say I was too busy lazing about in the sunshine or I was off having a fabulous time but actually I've been working.  And working. Then some more work in the gaps between the work.  I moved past busy and over-committed into Holy Crap I Need More Caffeine Stat.

A lot of my business has been to do with teaching.  I know, right? Me, actually teaching people things. Teaching used to figure on my Most Unlikely Job list, alongside athlete.  But here I am, over a year into home educating my son and running classes and workshops for baking and cake decorating.
I've done a couple of workshops here for 4 to 6 people. The kids' workshop had them making sugarpaste decorations, icing and decorating a celebration cake, using royal icing on biscuits, baking and icing cupcakes.   They took home all their creations and were so proud of themselves.  I got some lovely thank you notes; they were a wonderful group.  I'd post photos but I haven't asked their parents for permission and I do hate it when people put photos up without agreement
My next kids' workshop is this weekend.

Then there was a cupcake evening with 5 adults. They were all novice bakers so we went through basic techniques, made vanilla cupcakes and lemon and raspberry cupcakes, did buttercream icing with palette knives and piping bags, made sugarpaste decorations and drank Prosecco. Oh, and ate little cheese and marmite pastries I'd baked.  I am DEFINITELY making those again, they were delish.
Anyway, my adult students did marvellous work and have done so great baking at home as well, judging from the photos they're sending me.  I will do another class like that in a heartbeat (even though as the tutor I don't get Prosecco. Bummer.)

My other teaching work has been at local schools.  Lesley from Thomas Danby, my amazing tutor, would no doubt laugh her socks off at the thought of me teaching anyone cake decorating techniques.  I felt like the duffer of that class; there were so many talented people there I was often intimidated. But the level of stuff I'm teaching is the sort of thing I do week in and week out so i can teach it with my hands tied behind my back.

On Mondays I teach 15 people how to pipe royal icing, apply buttercream, model with sugarpaste and coat celebration cakes with sugarpaste. And example of the things wee do is the photo. The students are all women and girls - the youngest about 11, the oldest about 17 and their mums.  They are a lovely bunch. My favourite bit is watching them leave with the things they made, buzzing with a sense of achievement and happiness.  Passing on how to do something is VERY rewarding indeed.  I love what I do and I especially love helping others get fun from doing it too.

Tuesdays are more challenging.  It takes place in a primary school and is for family groups.  The age range is Reception to Year 10, with 22 people including the 5 parents.  Such a large group and enormous age range is very hard to manage successfully. Individually they are all very nice but as a group it's kind of overwhelming.  I have to dash between them so quickly, helping each one as s/he need it and setting projects that all skill levels can work within. I am always exhausted after that class.

I've also had more private commissions this last few weeks.  Some have been pretty straightforward. There have been red velvet cakes, cupcakes, plain birthday cakes with a message piped on. There have also been reflecting the passions of the recipients - hiking, lawn bowls and flowers, in one case and lilies of the valley, forget-me-nots, poppies and daffodils in another. I was very proud of the flowers; quite a few things I'd never tried before. But they are awfully time-consuming and time is something I'm running short of just now.
 I think I'm averaging about 48 hours a week at the moment. Combined with Home Ed and parenting  - not to mention the twin horrors of laundry and washing up - I'm pretty much exhausted.  Today I hit the new low of having a glass of coke with a coffee chaser in a bid to keep going.

Still, I've no business to complain. I have a business I love, I'm in demand and never have to advertise for work, and I am getting better at it all the time.  I can sleep later on. 2013 maybe.