Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Petalsweet in Australia Part V...Melbourne and Home

I was very sad to leave my friends in Brisbane (read all about our fun in Part IV below), but it was getting close to the time I was due to head back home to the States, so I was also excited to get going to my last stop in Australia. I flew from Brisbane to Melbourne with plans to spend a long weekend in the heart of the city visiting new friends, and letting them show me all of the things they love about their home.

Melbourne is a gorgeous city with a lot of European influence. There is an incredible mix of beautiful old architecture and churches along with very modern buildings...but they feel and look as though they both belong. The streets and lane ways are filled with smartly dressed city-dwellers and hundreds of little outdoor cafes where you can enjoy time with your friends and the fabulous people-watching...

Beautiful churches:

Contemporary skyline:

The very modern Federation Square:...the civic square in Melbourne:

Cafes and lane ways:

My lovely and very gracious hosts were Mignon Daymond of Cake Face, and Kerrie Giannakis and her daughter Molly of Love at First Bite Cupcakes. I had spent the previous year connecting with them via our Facebook pages and was thrilled that they might have some time to show me the sites of Victoria. All are incredibly talented cake decorators and sugar artists, and it was such an absolute pleasure to spend time with them! Little did I know they would put aside most of their other responsibilities and take the time to share so many amazing parts of Melbourne! From sun-up to way past sun-down...for the entire three days I was there...we walked and talked and laughed and ate...and ate some more...and I loved every single minute!

Mignon, Kerrie and Molly:

Mignon had just moved in to her new cake studio...and I had the wonderful opportunity to spend some time visiting with her in her gorgeous new creative space:

Kerrie and Molly were excited to see Mignon's space as well...and we had a fabulous time talking shop, and sugar flowers, and all things sweet:

My heartfelt thanks to Min, Kerrie and Molly for taking such wonderful care of me while I was in the city...and for taking so much time to share beautiful Melbourne with me. It was such a pleasure to finally meet you...and I feel so incredibly blessed and grateful for our friendship. xoxo

Here are a few more photos of my weekend tour...

Walking along the Yarra River:

The beautiful Birrarung Marr Park on the north bank of the Yarra River:

The iconic Acland Cake Shop window in St Kilda - a favorite beachside suburb of Melbourne...and yes, we just had to "force" ourselves to go inside and try something yummy to go with our afternoon coffee:

Dinner and desserts in Carlton with another dear and gorgeous new friend Tish...the dessert counters and cake displays at Brunetti's are legendary:

In the amazing Cake Deco shop in the city...it's a tiny shop that is wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling cake decorating supplies...so fun! This was just one tiny corner:

I also had the great pleasure of finally meeting Fran McGregor, who is an amazing cake artist in Melbourne. Fran and I connected through our Flickr sites and social media, and I had been a huge fan of her beautiful work, Cakes by Francesca, for well over a year...

Fran is now working on an amazing project called The Cake School, and will be teaching and hosting many different kinds of cake decorating and sugar art courses. We had a wonderful breakfast meeting at the adorable Firehouse in Ringwood, and Fran graciously gave me a tour of the new facilities in progress at the school. Thank you so much, Fran, for the lovely day AND for sharing your exciting new adventure with me! x

And then...

Just like that...

It was all over and I was heading back home to San Diego...

My heartfelt thanks to all of my wonderful new Aussie friends and colleagues for all of your time and thoughtfulness, and for taking such amazing care of me during my 7 week adventure. And thank you so much to my many students who were eager and excited, and grateful and kind...and very talented! I hope to be back soon...

And thank you to my fiance, family and friends for their endless encouragement and support...truly, I am blessed.

Thanks so much for stopping by...

Copyright © 2011 by Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet Cakes. Content of this blog (including text, photographs and layout) is the property of Jacqueline Butler - please respect copyright laws. If you want to link to my blog, or post any of my photos, please contact me - it would be great to have the opportunity to connect with you. Thank you!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Petalsweet in Australia Part IV

After teaching all of my classes in the amazing city of Sydney (please see Part III below), it was time to head north to beautiful Brisbane, Queensland! The weather was a bit warmer and the sun was shiny and bright...and I finally had a few days to relax and enjoy some of the gorgeous surroundings including...

The Brisbane skyline:

The Story Bridge (nope, I didn't climb this one):

The Mt. Coot-tha lookout:

The Roma Street Parkland which is located right in the Brisbane CBD and is filled with absolutely stunning flowers and gardens:

And, of course, my trip would not be complete without seeing some of Australia's adorable wildlife up close and personal. I had the incredible opportunity to visit The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary which is one of the world's first and largest koala sanctuaries...and where I got to meet and hold the very handsome "Wisely"...and yes, they are quite heavy for their small size, and their fur is very soft:

And feed and interact with a gorgeous group of kangaroos:

After a few quick few days, it was time to get back to work and back to class! I was thrilled to be teaching at Cakes Around Town which is an amazing cake decorating supply store (online too!) and classroom in Brisbane owned by my lovely new friends Cathy and Glenda. I was also hosted by my dear friend and fabulously talented Greg Cleary of Sweetums Designer Cakes. Greg is a long-time resident of Brisbane and is an incredible cake designer and sugar artist. He graciously took me all over the city to see all of Brisbane's beautiful sites! He also took on the role of my wonderful assistant for both of my classes...thank you so much, Greg!!

The charming classroom:

Cute stripes on the wall:

I taught peonies, hydrangeas and filler flowers to be arranged on a small tier...the class was two full days, and I taught the same curriculum for both classes (lots of requests for peonies!!). The class project looked like this:

Group photo from the first class:

Group photo from the second class:

Beautiful student work:

Thank you, thank you to all of my wonderful students for coming to class and being so completely fabulous...it was a pleasure to meet you and work with you!

And many thanks to my kind and thoughtful hosts Cathy and Glenda for providing a beautiful classroom AND a great visit after classes were over...so grateful for you both!

And I could not have done it all without my incredible friend Greg...thank you for all of your time and generosity, for making the classes run so smoothly, and for showing me your fabulous and unforgettable city!

Thanks so much for stopping by...stay tuned for the final stop I made in Melbourne before heading home to the States!

Copyright © 2011 by Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet Cakes. Content of this blog (including text, photographs and layout) is the property of Jacqueline Butler - please respect copyright laws. If you want to link to my blog, or post any of my photos, please contact me - it would be great to have the opportunity to connect with you. Thank you!


Monday, August 8, 2011

Petalsweet in Australia Part III

The adventure in Sydney continues...

After an incredible round of classes at Faye Cahill's studio (see my blog post Part II below), I had a few days to prepare for a small, private class with some very talented decorators from all around Sydney. The class was put together by the owners of Cake Couture Classes and we spent a lovely three days working on a number of different sugar flowers including gardenias, magnolias, peonies, ranunculus, filler flowers, and phalaenopsis orchids.

Lots of peony and magnolia petals drying:

Dusting and assembling flowers:

All of our completed flowers below...thank you the very kind and thoughtful Louise, Sharon and Lilia for hosting me and putting together a fabulous class!

The last two weeks in June I had the absolute pleasure of being hosted by the wonderful staff at Planet Cake in Balmain, Sydney. For those of you who are not familiar with their work, I encourage you to pop over to their site to see their amazing cakes and the incredible classes they offer. With highly skilled decorators who are also jaw-droppingly talented artists AND amazing instructors, and a wonderfully kind and organized team in the office, Planet Cake is a leader in the cake industry, and they also run the largest cake decorating school in Australia. Sound pretty fabulous? Yep - they are!

The Planet Cake studio can be found along a quaint street in Balmain, just a 10 minute ride outside the bustling city. Love their entrance and windows:

Upon arrival, I was greeted by the fabulous Jess and Leslie who ushered me inside and gave me a tour of the facilities, and introduced me to the very welcoming Paris Cutler, owner of Planet Cake. Two gorgeous classrooms are set up next to a wonderful office and tons of storage, and a lovely lobby to welcome clients and students. Here is one of the classrooms, complete with adorable cupcakes and staff faces painted on the walls:

My first class was a three day workshop on making sugar flowers (peonies, hydrangea, filler flowers and ranunculus) and arranging them in a sugar vase. I had students from all around Australia, as well as New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia, and they all did a fabulous job on their projects!

Sugar vases drying:

Petals and buds ready to assemble and arrange:

Student arranging flowers in her sugar vase:

All of the gorgeous sugar vases:

And our fabulous class photo:

Many thanks to all of my students for coming to the class, and congratulations for doing such beautiful work..it was a pleasure to meet you and work with you!

Next on the calendar were two days of demonstrations covering six different flowers! Each of the demos was 2 hours long and included the construction and coloring of the specific flower, and a Q & A session. The room set up for demos:

And some of my flower prep:

Thank you to all of you who attended the demonstrations! It was wonderful to meet you and finally put some names and faces together!

Next, I had the pleasure of teaching a three day sugar flower jam session with the fabulously talented Greg Cleary of Sweetums Designer Cakes. Greg is a dear friend of mine, and an amazing artist who makes stunning wedding cakes and sugar flowers in Brisbane, Australia. We decided we would teach together to offer the students an opportunity to learn two different styles of flowers. Greg's style is more realistic, and mine is more stylized. Greg taught roses, cosmos and tulips, and I taught gardenias, hydrangea and peonies...

Here I am with Greg:

Gardenias drying:

Student gardenia:

Student work:

More student work:

Many thanks to all of our wonderful students for coming to class and working with both of us! I'm sorry I don't have a class photo to share...we ran short on time on the final day and some of the students had to rush off to catch flights home. Thank you, Greg, for an amazing three days, and for giving me the chance to work and teach with you...it was a blast!

My sincere thanks to Paris for welcoming me to the Planet Cake studio and for giving me the opportunity to teach in your amazing facility! And thank you to Leslie, Jess, Anna Maria, Cat, Emma, Kylie, Ritzy, Antony, Neen, Michelle, Naoko, and Margie...what an honor and a pleasure to meet you all - thank you for taking so much time to make my visit and classes a success!

The big finale in June was my climb to the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge! We could not have asked for a more beautiful day, and my heartfelt thanks to my friends Betty at Glasshouse Cakes & Supplies and Linda at Whimsical Cakehouse for joining me in the adventure!

The Bridge Climb facility:

It was an absolutely amazing experience...about 4 hours total including all of the preparation before climbing to the top of the bridge. Once at the top, our guide pointed out all of the beautiful sights in the Sydney Harbor, and gave us the history of the gorgeous surrounding areas. I'd do it again in an instant!

At the top of the bridge with the gorgeous Opera House in the background:

With Linda and Betty...thanks lovelies!!

Thanks for stopping by...stay tuned for the next stop in beautiful Brisbane, Queensland!

Copyright © 2011 by Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet Cakes. Content of this blog (including text, photographs and layout) is the property of Jacqueline Butler - please respect copyright laws. If you want to link to my blog, or post any of my photos, please contact me - it would be great to have the opportunity to connect with you. Thank you!