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Practise Makes Progress by cakecrumbs Practise Makes Progress by cakecrumbs
I'm uploading this because I often get comments around the various mediums I post to along the lines of "You're so talented" or "I wish I could do that" or "I could never make something like that."

I'm here to tell you you can. Talent has nothing to do with it (or I'd be stuffed).

I understand the feeling, because I look at those that excel at digital art and lament never being that good. But the fact is, if you put in the effort, eventually it will all click. Yes, some people are naturally inclined to be creative, but even they have to learn to hone their skills. For most of us, it's all in the practise.

I've been cake decorating for a little over two years. I'm entirely self-taught, so my learning process comes from making mistakes. I learn best by doing stuff wrong, and boy have I done a lot of stuff wrong. These photos show some of my first attempts at various things, and how much better they got the next time I tried it. I'll talk you through them.

Let me preface this by saying that I still have a world of things to learn and I've by no means perfected any of this. I'm showing progress rather than perfection.

1. On the left is the very first attempt at fondant. I made it myself, I used liquid food colouring, I dusted my work surface with icing sugar, I left it in the air too long... it was a disaster. I've not attempted another fondant rose until this weekend just gone. Learning how to control fondant makes all the difference.

2. First attempt at a cake pop. That's one ugly duckling. Realising the error and rectifying it the next time led the a much smoother finish.

3. This is perhaps being slightly unfair to myself as a lot of the drama I had with this cake came due to a natural disaster/extreme weather event on the east coast of Aus. The humidity soared and destroyed everything I tried to do. But those bees, the chocolate honeycomb, it was all pretty fail. In the last few months I feel I am finally getting to the point with fondant work where I understand it well enough and don't get stressed. I know what to do to avoid errors. The result was that this weekend I created the first batch of fondant bees that I was happy with. It took me 5 tries over the last 2 years.

4. My first piping attempt vs. my second. I'm still bad with piping due to little practise, but half the battle is in getting the consistency right. Learning to recognise that helps.

5. The first time I tried to cover a cake with fondant and my second try with fondant. Made all the same errors as in #1 This is a photo before I covered the horrific sides with biscuits to hide the mess. I didn't even bother photographing the other side of the cake, on which most of it isn't even covered with fondant. I'm still working on getting that perfect finish, but now I'm able to cover complex shapes with a relatively smooth finish and no seams.

6. And last but not least, my third try with fondant and first attempt at fondant figures. This was the last time I made this mistakes made in #1 and #5. Liquid food colouring made it so unworkable, you can see the sag of the hats. But you can also see how terrible and cracked even the uncoloured stuff is. Compare that with exactly two years later and the fondant figures I can make now are a lot more complex and have a much nicer finish.

So if this is a hobby you've just started, or want to start, and feel at all dejected, have a laugh at my early work and feel better. We all have giant fails from time to time (even the pros), but with every mistake comes a learning curve.
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:iconivanrostoff:
IvanRostoff Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2013
Keep progressing! :-)
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:icondyda81:
Dyda81 Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I totally agree!!!!!! :clap:
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:iconcakecrumbs:
cakecrumbs Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
:dance:
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:icongsnail:
GSnail Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Is the honeycomb made by pressing bubble wrap into the melted chocolate. That's what it looks like, and if it is, wow, so creative. (If it isn't, sorry, I have an over active imagination)
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:iconcakecrumbs:
cakecrumbs Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012
Yes, it is bubblewrap. But I spread the chocolate over the bubblewrap, then cut and invert it.
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:icongsnail:
GSnail Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
that's so cool.
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:icond-erlette:
d-erlette Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
This is lovely. Thanks for sharing.
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:iconcakecrumbs:
cakecrumbs Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012
My pleasure. :heart:
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:iconcuygirl:
cuygirl Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
These are so amazing!!!
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:iconcakecrumbs:
cakecrumbs Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2012
Thanks :heart:
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:iconarualcat:
arualcat Featured By Owner May 27, 2012
Haha, this is so good!!!! Don't know exactly why, but the combinations of images is funny!!
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:iconcakecrumbs:
cakecrumbs Featured By Owner May 27, 2012
haha, thanks xD
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:icontoughspirit:
ToughSpirit Featured By Owner May 17, 2012  Student General Artist
Really nice pieces. They're all so cute.
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:iconcakecrumbs:
cakecrumbs Featured By Owner May 18, 2012
Thank you. :]
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:icontoughspirit:
ToughSpirit Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Student General Artist
Welcome^^
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:iconfairy-guinevere:
Fairy-Guinevere Featured By Owner May 17, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I agree with the comments below, what a lovely idea, I am self taught as well and often have friends telling me they couldn't possibly do what I do, and this is such a great way of showing improvement! Very inspiring. :)
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:iconcakecrumbs:
cakecrumbs Featured By Owner May 18, 2012
Thanks! I'm glad it could help inspire others. It's also encouraging me to keep practising as well!
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:iconfairy-guinevere:
Fairy-Guinevere Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
practice makes perfect ! :)
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:iconcorpse-queen:
Corpse-Queen Featured By Owner May 16, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Very inspiring. I am also a self taught decorator of nearly 2 years now. This makes me want to make something like this of my own work to see the progress! I do think your first tries were a lot better then mine though lol!
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:iconcakecrumbs:
cakecrumbs Featured By Owner May 16, 2012
Oh I'm glad. :] It can be really encouraging comparing old and new work. I'm probably lucky my boyfriend was so adamant about taking photos and progress shots when I started, cause I was too annoyed with it to want it photographed!
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:iconcorpse-queen:
Corpse-Queen Featured By Owner May 16, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
lol. I always took pictures of my work, even if I hated it! Because I wanted to remember doing it. And even as a beginner I was fairly pleased with what I had accomplished since I had never done it before. If I has seen the amazing work from others back when I started out I prob would have been too mortified to take pictures! lol!
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:iconcakecrumbs:
cakecrumbs Featured By Owner May 17, 2012
That's really nice that you are able to have that pride in even your early work. It's a brilliant outlook to have. I'm always pointing out what's not good enough about mine. I find it really hard when food blogging about it because you can't be like "this is shit, this is also shit" - no one wants to read that! So you have to talk it up a bit and feel weird about that.

It's definitely much more intimidating when you look at what others do. Soon after I started, I joined a bustling communal food blog (which I now own) and seeing the amazing stuff everyone could do made me feel like such a failure haha.
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:iconsabathamk:
Sabathamk Featured By Owner May 16, 2012
I can't say that any of your 'first stuff' is bad. I think it looks great! And for me, if it resembles what you want it to, who cares if it has some cracks, or some rolls, or whatever. I'm still learning too... I actually took a buttercream course because I could NOT get the stars to stay 'stars' for the life of me... found out the recipe I was using was all wrong, haha. But yes, practice and more practice is what helps us to get better! I love all your cakes by the way! And those bees = adorable!
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:iconcakecrumbs:
cakecrumbs Featured By Owner May 16, 2012
Aw, thanks. That's nice of you to say. I suppose my problem with them is that they didn't look like what I wanted it to - I conjure up these images of perfection in my head, but it almost never looks that way.

I admire your patience with star piping! It's one of those things I look at and think "I would not have the patience for that". Which is probably weird, because fondant takes so much longer haha.
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:iconsabathamk:
Sabathamk Featured By Owner May 18, 2012
I never wanted to do star piping either, because they looked like dots when I'd do them, haha. Fondant is so much fun to work with, but yeah, takes forever. I personally buy my fondant now since I don't have much time to make it anymore... I can buy it for cheap enough at the Bulk Barn. :)
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:iconfairy-guinevere:
Fairy-Guinevere Featured By Owner May 17, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I think we all suffer from that. I always have a wonderful picture in my head and I get soooo frustrated if it doesn't turn out the way I wanted it to.
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:iconcakecrumbs:
cakecrumbs Featured By Owner May 17, 2012
If only we could transplant our mental image into cake!
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:iconfairy-guinevere:
Fairy-Guinevere Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
it would make life just soooo much easier hehe :)
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