Thursday, October 29, 2009

Christmastime Fondant Fun Class

I will be teaching a class on decorating with tools, cutters, mats and my puffed embroidery technique on Monday, November 30, 2009 and Sunday, December 6, 2009 at my home studio in Fishkill, New York. The theme is Christmastime. The classes are being sponsored by the NYC Cake Decorating Meetup Group which is coordinated by Dina Gandy. For information, please visit the meetup group's website

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Let's Promote and Support The International Cake Exploration Societe' (ICES)

The International Cake Exploration Societe' (ICES) was founded in 1975 by Betty Jo Steinman of Michigan. Her dream was to have a "caring and sharing" organization for cake decorators; namely, the housewife who decorates at home for fun and pleasure, to be able to obtain the cake decorating information and knowledge that was not readily obtained.

I became a member of the organization in 1982 and gave myself whole heartily to support and promote and be a part of the ICES' growth. I became a NYS Alternate Rep in 1982 at the Rochester, MN ICES Show and Convention and the NYS Rep the following year. I have served a total of 5 years as NYS ICES Rep and 2, 3-year terms as a Board of Director. Due to the extent of my involvement, support, promotion, dedication, commitment and involvement of the ICES organization, I was awarded the "Wilbur Brand Memorial Service Award" for excellent in service. That was a great honor to me and represented all the people who gave me support and got me to that point in serving the ICES organization.

ICES is a not-for-profit organization that gives scholarships to worthy recipients each year. The Hall of Fame has one or two inductees each year who have sufficiently contributed to the sugar art; namely cake decorating.

There is a newsletter that for the members that is published and sent out 11 times a year; one for each month. The newsletter is a valuable tool for the member due to its contents of information and resources.

An annual convention is held each year in a deciding place by the ICES Board of Directors which is taken from the bids that are submitted by the State or Country wanting the convention and show in their state/country. In 2009, the Convention was held in St. Charles, IL; in 2010, the Convention will be held in San Diego, California and in 2011, the Convention will be held in South Carolina. For more information about this wonderful organization for the sugar artist and for those interested in the sugar art, please visit the web site:

Not a member, yet? Now, is the time to join.
Not been to a convention, yet? Now, is the time to plan.
Attending the convention in 2010? Now, is the time to think about the display to bring to share at the ICES convention in San Diego.
Need cake decorating supplies?
Oh, ICES vendors have lots of great and new products!
Want to learn something new or what you have a desire to learn? There are plenty of demonstrations and hands on classes.
Want to support and promote the organization? Just go to the website and see who to contact for posters and brochures.

Hope you join or renew your membership and plan on going to the ICES Show and Convention in San Diego, California in 2010! I am looking forward to seeing you there!

Diane's Attached Ruffles Technique

Way back when, when the cake decorating was in its early stages of being known in regard to rolled fondant and gum paste flowers, the technique of ruffling was done with a wooden tool and onto the side of the palm of the hand or anywhere on the hand that would work. The foam pad was not in existence, either. Well, I thought I was the only person in the world that just could NOT get a ruffle effect as I saw seeing in books and by teachers and decorators. Good grief was I NOT good at that at all!

Finally, as I have already mentioned, the foot tool was my baby! Now, I could make ruffles. I did not even have to mess around with attaching them to whatever I wanted them to be attached to. I was in my glory. At the 2007 ICES Show and Convention in Orlando, Florida, a lady came up to my vendor booth and wanted that tool that her friend said makes great ruffles. It was the foot tool. She was really wanting to see the tool and see how the ruffles were made. She was thrilled! Now, I know for sure that I "wasn't the only decorator in the world that could not do proper ruffling". After that, another lady came to my booth wanting, what else? The foot tool for ruffling!

The ruffles on the baby blanket are great because the piece of fondant or gum paste can get the impressions of a knitted or crocheted look and then have the foot tool go right over the indentations and smooth them out with the foot tool when the ruffles are created. If you would like the rope impression roller and any of the mats that I have available, please go to my web site and email me. You will be thrilled at what you, now, can accomplish.

Little circle can be cut out of fondant and have the attached ruffle created around it. Bow loops and tails can have impressions on them and have a ruffle created around the edges. Baby bibs, hearts, dresses, the bride's dresses, fondant strip borders and so many other cake emblishments can, now, have attached ruffles made so much more easily to enhance the fondant out. It's all done with this fabulous and amazing technique using the foot tool!

For more pictures using this technique for ruffles, please visit my web site: Right on the index page are a variety of my bows with those attached ruffled edges.

Judy Smith of Nebraska totally flipped out, when I was there a couple of weeks, ago, and was intrigued when she saw that done on one of my wedding cake fondant cookie cutter cutouts. She was amazed that the ruffles were not added and liked the neat look.

Fondant Cookie Cutter Cutouts - Dresses, Shoes, Hats, Purses

I find it so much fun to make designs in fondant using the cutouts made from cookie cutters. Not only are cookie cutters great for making cookies, but can be used effectively for decorating cakes. This is my new endeavor for the sugar art world that I am presently working on. It is surprising what can be done in fondant using tools, cutters, impression mats and my "Puffed Embroidery" technique that I developed in 1984. The pictured items shown also use my techniques of "the attached ruffle" using the foot tool and the "dig-in ruffle" using the foot tool and the dig-in tool. The foot tool is also used for creating the puffed embroidery effects. Flowers, leaves, bows, bow tails and many other designs may be free-hand created using this technique. To obtain these tools, please visit my web site and email me. I plan on getting the page of tool products posted soon on my web site. A variety of some of the cookie cutters I use and sell are now posted there along with pictures of my work indicating what can be designed using these products.

My website:

Winter Scene Cake with Wood Grain Effects

The wood grain effect using the wire brush that I introduced to cake decorating in 1982 at the ICES Show and Convention in Rochester, MN was used on the rolled-fondant covered cake. I then proceeded to use my 3-D scenery methods and techniques, including some hand molding to make the wintery scene on the cake.

The New York State shaped wood-grained plaque has miniatures created right from the plaque as well as hand molded and added to the scene which shows things in New York State. I worked on the left hand side for Niagra Falls and continued creating until I finally got to the point for the Hudson River.

The wood grained plaque with the hand molded mouse in the garden was so much fun to make. Some of the areas where the miniature flowers are took 2 hours to make.

I love creating this type of sugar art and would love to travel to once, again, teach my hand sculptured creations in gum paste. I try to keep my classes within the budget of my students.

Christmastime Wood Grained Work

Here is some of my work using my wood grained effects and my hand molded gum paste miniatures. One of the most humorous times in my career was when I presented one of my first demonstrations. It was at a cake show at the Cherry Hill Mall back in the 1970's. Boy, was I much younger then! I was demonstrating at the table. There were a hand full of decorators watching me demonstrate. I made a miniature bird, cut open the beak of the bird and was ready to place the tiny red berry in its mouth. It got very quiet. And, as I went downward to place the berry inside the mouth of the bird, every one, in unison followed by movement and when downward, too. The group was so intensified watching me that they automatically went downward as I did. A laughter broke out right then and there. It was so funny!

Gum Paste Miniatures and Woodland Scene - The Magic Show 1982

In 1982, after competing for 9 years, I won First Place, Best of Division and Best of Show at a cake show in the Cherry Hill Mall in New Jersey. The competition was tough with over 270 entries.

My "Magic Touch" with a "Floating Lady" had hand molded miniatures of gum paste and wood grained effects. The lady actually appeared to be floating in mid air. The magician bunny and his family were dressed up in costumes.

The standing upright plaque in the background had a scene where the gum paste features got thicker as I built the scene toward the foreground. The bridge was placed touching the plaque scene and went onto the cross section of a log cut at an angle made of plastillage to look like wood. The animals watching the magic show were placed on the ground and on a wooden bench. There were birds perched in the evergreen trees, love doves in the hole in the maple tree and an opossum hanging from a branch of the maple tree.

The judges were mostly impressed with the curtain because the bottom of the curtain was turned up and simulated stitches were created at the hem. The stage was made to look similar to a stage made of wood.

After winning this Best of Show, it was requested by Mary Beth Enderson to bring my "Magic Touch" to the 1982 ICES Show and Convention to be held in Rochester, MN. I joined ICES and began to become internationally known for my gum paste miniatures and wood grained effect. It was neat when Judy Smith of Nebraska, a couple of week ago, when I was there to do a hands on class, vendor and demonstration, told the group attending a class that I was the "Queen of Miniatures". WOW! My work in that area was still being remembered even though I am now working more in rolled fondant using my innovated "Puffed Embroidery" technique on "Fondant Cookie Cutter Cutouts" and using tools, cutters and impression mats to made the decorations and designs. I was so pleased, and they were so excited to be learning new techniques - "Puffed Embroidery", my attached ruffle and my dig-in ruffle. They are interested in my coming back to Nebraska to teach my gum paste miniatures and woodland scenery on a rolled fondant covered base. This makes me so happy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What is Puffed Embroidery?

The "Puffed Embroidery" technique was developed and innovated by me in 1984. I used a tool that I had bought in the mid 1970's and wanted to figure out what to do with it. I was in a store and was intrigued with a Valentine cutter of a girl holding a heart, bought the cutter and thought about the tool. Somehow the use came to mind, and I began to use the "foot" tool to press into the lined impressions that the plastic cutter had made. It appeared to me that the areas around the lines of indentations created a puffed effect. Thus, the name, "Puffed Embroidery" and the whole presentation also reminded me of some type of embroidery.

The "Puffed Embroidery" technique was used around the ghosts that decorate the sides of the Halloween cake pictured, below. I covered the cake in orange fondant. Then, I pressed a ghost cookie cutter into the fondant and removed the orange fondant shape. I rolled out a piece of white fondant, cut out the ghost shape and replaced the area with the white ghost. It does not matter what the thickness is of the replacement shape. It just depends on the look that you'd like to have in regard to the thickness and depth of the area. If interested in obtaining the Foot Tool, just visit my web site: and send me an email. I have posted, in my cookie cutter product section of my website, pictures of my work using this technique.

I am presently working on new creations with what I call "Fondant Cookie Cutter Cutouts" that may be used for decorating cakes as well as cookies and cupcakes.

At the NY Cake Convention, I will be teaching this technique in a baby theme and will be demonstrating this technique in a bridal/wedding theme. I am presently working on the bridal/wedding themed display to bring to the convention. Please come to both, if possible, and enjoy my sharing.

Classes and demonstrations schedules are listed at the convention website:

Puffed Embroidery

Monday, October 26, 2009

The NY Cake Convention 2010

Come one come all to the first time ever NY Cake Convention to be held in NYC January 2-5 at the Hotel Pennsylvania.

For updates and quick-viewing information, please visit my web site:
For full and detailed information, please visit the convention web site:

Darel Rodwell is the Show Director and is working extremely hard and doing her best to have a sensational convention. Many famous teachers and well known sugar artists will be there to teach and demonstrate.

I am pleased to say that I have been an invited guest to teach, demonstrate and judge. My husband, Steve, will be judging the cake tasting section of the competitions. He has been a judge in this area several times at other cake shows and is excited and thrilled to have been asked to do this at the NY Cake Convention.