Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Debbie Brown 2010 Brisbane Workshops- The Story

I hope that you have taken a seat... as the blog of these fantastic 4 days of workshops may take a little while.

To begin at the very beginning... around 12 or so months ago- I received an email from Debbie asking whether I thought that Brisbane Decorators/enthusiasts would be interested in doing some of her workshops- I was so excited- Of course we would be interested! Debbie's work is an inspiration to many cake decorators and it would be a delight to have her come to sunny Brisbane!
So after many emails back and forth- it was decided that Debbie would be here in the last weekend of June for 4 days of workshops! YAY!

After looking at all the brilliant cakes and modelling classes that Debbie could demonstrate- it was decided that she would hold the following workshops:
 FRI- Beetle Bride and Groom car- From Debbie Brown Wedding Cakes Book
SAT- Three Witches- From Debbie Brown Enchanted and Magical Cakes book
SUN- Funky Flower Fairy- From her recently released Gorgeous and Gruesome Book
and finally
MON- Ganesh Cake topper- From her Wedding cakes book
Being the wonderful and patient teacher that she is- and having the ability to easily impart her knowledge quickly to others- the classes were open to professionals and novices alike.

Debbie's trip to Brisbane was at the end of her Australia and New Zealand trip- She stayed here for close to a week- and not only did she manage to host 4 workshops in Brisbane - she also- with the help of Mary Reid from Merivale Cakes and Crafts- hosted a Visual demonstration in Toowoomba- where Debbie Demonstrated her Pixie Teapot cake ( also from the Enchanted and Magical Cakes book)
So after her quick trip up the Mountain to Toowoomba- Debbie arrived here in Brisbane- where I was lucky enough to be able to host her for the days she was here.
Debbie did not travel alone- her Aunt Elaine was with her to give her a helping hand and to keep her company. Elaine is just a beautiful person too. It was a delight to have them both stay- and I hope to be able to see them both again soon.

I was super excited as Debbie was so down to earth - not a hint of a Diva in sight. After collaborating with my sister Kate ( hostess with the mostess) I had prepared a welcome basket of all things Aussie- and especially focusing on Queensland Produce- so that Debbie and Elaine could take it home and share with their families.
The house was clean and shiny- Guest bedrooms decked out like a mini hotel- all of my cakes for the weekend finished boxed and ready to be delivered (thanks Steve)- workshop supplies boxed and ready to go- more organised than I have ever been before LOL!!
Being winter meant that there was limited daylight hours- and when the workshops were over for each day- meant that it was the evening already. So the first day Debbie and Elaine arrived in the Afternoon- we shot up to Mt Cootha to have a look at the Brisbane Lookout. It was a fairly clear day so "hopefully" the view was pretty for them to see.
After the lookout we did what any visitor to Brisbane should do- go shopping LOL! We headed to Chermside and checked out the shops- then called it a night before the workshops began.

Now the Debbie Brown Workshops would not have been the success that they were without a couple of Key parts.
Firstly a Massive Thank you to Australian Bakels ( and in particular Trevor) for supplying Debbie and the Workshop Participants with the RTR Icing. Bakels icing is the icing of choice for the majority of local decorators. Its super smooth consistency and flexibilty makes it a dream to work with.
Bakels icing is available retail through Cake decorating supply stores and most recently 750g packs through many IGA Grocery stores.
Secondly- the venue- Mantra on Queen. The Queen Anne Conferencing did more than a spectacular job at feeding and looking after everyone.
The Room was spacious and suited this style of teaching beautifully.
There was a constant stream of irresistibly delicious food and goodies available to keep up our strength. Each day the food was different- freshly bakes cakes and scones- slices- gorgeous curries and salads- I was almost beginning to wonder if we had signed up for an epicurean adventure instead.
Thank you Natalie for looking after us all and making sure that we were well and truly fed over the workshop days.
Last but not least a Massive thanks to the Attendees! Without you all Debbie would not have been able to demonstrate her superb talents to us.
I really cherish meeting all of you and I wish you all the very best in your cake endeavours- and hope to see you all again soon.

Day 1- Beetle Bride and Groom Car:
This day was packed with eager students ready to meet and learn from Debbie.
There was a few local decorators who I knew- but so many enthusiasts- it was just brilliant! 

I sat with my very great friend Karen form KVW cakes-  I am actually surprised that we didn't run totally over time- as when Karen and I get together- we could talk all day LOL!

I was amazed that considering we all had exactly the same amounts of icing etc... every one's car was a little bit different- we each had our own way of interpreting the instructions- an of course the way we each model is different to each other. 
Here is my effort- not too bad for a first time go ;)

The headless couple before I completed them.

My completed car and couple. Although they were meant to be kissing- the air kiss looks quite fashionable hehehhe!  I also went for the hair long and down option too.
After the workshop- we took Debbie and Elaine for a City cat Trip over to Southbank- where we had a nice dinner at the new Ben O'Donohue Restaurant- Southbank Surf Club. If you get a chance to go I can certainly recommend it.
Day 2- Three Witches Cauldron

The Second day was a Sculptured cake design.
The Three witches cake from the Enchanting and Magical cakes book was a popular one indeed. BMag had run a short piece on the workshops and had featured the particular cake in the editorial- so many people ringing up wanting to make "that cake"!
The Students all worked on Styrofoam with this design- that way they could keep their creation.
For those of you who read my blog regularly would know what a fab help my family is to me and my business- so in return for their help I booked my Sister Alex and My Mum in for a day each.
Alex joined me and was my table partner on Saturday.
Artistic license is an imperative part of cake design. Using colours that suit your needs/wants and adapting designs is all part and parcel of the creative process.
Debbie was all for encouraging the students to create the designs to reflect themselves.  

Alex had a fabulous time creating her own cake- her witches were certainly wicked!

Or was that whacked out? LOL! Nice work Al!
I too had fun creating little personalities for each of my witches too


  It seems like that Day 3 crept up so fast. With allot of the students signing up for more classes once they got the taste for Debbie's fabulous workshops- each day was becoming full to the brim with budding novelty cake makers.

Day 3 : Funky Flower Fairy
Without doubt this cake design would be any little princesses dream
A beautiful floating fairy on a castle- just gorgeous.
My Nieces eyes lit up when she saw the finished product at my home- AHHHHHHHHH pretty!
This design taught us all tips and tricks- including how to use simple tools to create beautiful patterns.
The original Design- which comes from the recently release Gorgeous and Gruesome book- is Pink- there were many who stuck to the pink- Debbie however chose Lilac and I chose a teal green. 

 Artistic License was in order once again.
My headless fairy is making progress!  

Despite her collagen injected lips ( LOL!) she is looking cute as. 
All Finished! Floating flower fairy!

I sat next to the Vivacious Simone from Cakes by Simone!  

Simone's Funky flower fairy turned out just wonderful!

The super friendly Linda from Bubble and Sweet sat in front of us and her pink fairy was just divine.
See her creation here 

 Then Debbie showed us all how it is done!  

Smashing!- her finesse is just amazing!

After a long day of teaching- there was no rest for Debbie and Elaine.... oh no- I had planned an Aussie BBQ for them - where my friends and family - along with some of my local Cake decorating colleagues- and we had a night of food/drinks and just and all round social time!
My husband and Sister Kate had been home all day with strict instructions of what to prepare- and they had outdone themselves. Barramundi and Tiger Prawn Spring rolls- Kangaroo Meatballs with bush tomato sauce- Yummo!
My Nana almost freaked out when she realised that "all these cake decorators are eating my cake" well Nana- you do make terrific cakes- and everyone loved them- so no need to stress! 
It really went so fast- day 4 was just about here.

Day 4: Ganesh Model cake topper

This workshop was possibly the most advanced of the four days.
I had booked my mum in for this day. She is quite arty- and I knew that she would love to do this one.
This was intense- even getting the legs to fold correctly was really hard. 

Marking in the creases and getting the model "portly" enough. Personally my model needed a bit of a feed. if the history of the Ganesh means that the big belly represents the wealth... my topper must have been middle income then! 

Mums topper was a tad "larger" in the belly area though.   

There was ALLOT  of detail in this piece. But well worth every minute once it was completed.

At one stage you just have to step away from the sugar piece and stop fiddling hehehe! 

So just before I did the gold Painting.......

Then my finished product! 
And a look at  Debbie's brilliant finished piece!


So A MILLION THANK YOU's to Debbie for coming and hosting workshops in Brisbane. It was a blast!

I was really delighted to have you and Elaine come to Brisbane and not only teach us but to also get to know you personally a bit better. Next time you are in town I hope we get allot more leisure time too!

The day after the workshops finished I jetted off on Holidays and left Debbie and Elaine in the capable hands of my family- we got a day of sightseeing- native animals and all- but would have loved to be able to show both Elaine and Debbie around SEQ allot more.

So after close to 3 hours working on this blog.. here it is!
I hope you all enjoyed reading it- and that it encourages you all to come to the Workshops next time Debbie is on town... finger scrossed that it is not too far away.. 2011???????? we will see!


Anonymous said...

I must say it turned out to be a fantastic experience for me, especially meeting such lovely talented people. The workshops ran smoothly and everyone was happy (well I hope so!) It looks as though I'll be back in March 2011 teaching at the Black Pearl Cookery School :o)

Thank you again Steve and Sarah-Jane for your warmth, helpfulness and lovely natures, I look forward to seeing you both again in the future! x

Sarah-Jane said...

Thank You Debbie!
We look forward to seeing you too.
I am still hearing great feedback and Thank you's form the participants- they really loved the workshops.
Take care and I look forward to seeing you soon

Wedding Cakes Brisbane said...

It is great to read some of the information and feedback, here. I hope to read more ideas in the future!!!