Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Petalsweet Ranunculus Tutorial

Greetings and Happy February!

We hope you are safely enjoying the winter season wherever you are...we have been blessed with a very mild winter here in Southern California, and are taking advantage of as many opportunities as possible to spend time outside enjoying the sunshine!

We’re very happy to announce our Ranunculus PDF Photo Tutorial is now available for sale online!



We have been working on this little project for several months...and are excited to finally have it completed. We know there are a lot of great tutorials out there for this cutie, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to share our version too!

This PDF downloadable tutorial features our stylized version of this adorable and trendy bloom! It is definitely one of our favorites and such a great flower for spring and summer designs. There are 30 pages of step-by-step instructions along with over 100 photos used to show you how to make our standard flower, leaves, our favorite little buds, dusting techniques and lots of tips for success.

We had a lot of fun putting it together, and we hope you enjoy it! We'd also love to see any flowers you create, so be sure to share them with us! We are so grateful for your support - thank you!

The tutorial is available for $12.95 USD and you can find it here:



We also wanted to share our Favorite Brush Tips! We have been cleaning and reorganizing in the studio this month, and Jacqueline gets a lot of questions about brushes in class, so we thought it would be a great time to talk about some tricks that work for us!

1. We purchase most of our brushes from a local craft store. We don't buy anything super-duper fancy, but make sure the brushes are of high enough quality they don't "shed" on our flowers when we are using them. We buy brushes for both small blossoms and larger flowers. They are gently washed with soap and warm water and then left to air dry before using. If we need a specialty brush for detail work (like tiny dots on an orchid) we splurge a little at the art supply store.


2. We keep our brushes in color families! Storage can be as simple as jars, canisters or a drawer in your work area, and Jacqueline uses labeled plastic zip top bags when traveling. What's great is, we don't spend our precious time washing them, our brushes last longer because they are not getting frayed, and most importantly, we don't accidentally use the wrong color brush on our flowers. There is nothing like making a pretty blush pink flower and then getting the wrong color on it, right?! 

3. Different brushes have different jobs...just like using brushes for make-up, we find it best to use small, firm, flat brushes to apply dust to a specific area or when edging petals and leaves. Big, round, soft fluffy brushes are great for a light dusting over a large surface area. Here are some quick examples...

Firm flat brushes:


Using a flat brush to add color to the edges of a rose:


Round soft brushes:


Using a big soft brush for a light dusting of pearl dust on a parrot tulip:

Stay safe and enjoy the season...more news and updates coming soon!

Thank you and our very best,

Jacqueline and Petalsweet

Copyright © 2014 by Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet Cakes. Content of this blog (including text, cake and sugar flower designs, photographs, tutorials, videos and layout) is the property of Jacqueline Butler and Petalsweet - please respect copyright laws. If you want to link to our blog, or post any of our photos, please contact us - it would be great to have the opportunity to connect with you. Thank you!

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Petalsweet Sugar Flower Classes - Winter 2014

Greetings and Happy Fall to you!

We hope you are enjoying the change in season and are getting ready for the holidays!

Our Winter sugar flower classes have been posted and we wanted to give you a quick run-down on what Jacqueline will be teaching early in the New Year. We are excited to share some of our most popular signature flowers as well as some new flowers that we are loving for the 2014 wedding season! All four of these classes run two full days each, and have been scheduled on weekend dates.

January 2014 classes will take place in downtown San Diego and include the following:

January 11 - 12, 2014 - SAN DIEGO CLASS IS FULL
Freesia - Sweet Peas - Cosmos







January 25 - 26, 2014 - SAN DIEGO CLASS IS FULL
Open Peony - Parrot Tulip










For more information and to register for San Diego classes click here.

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February 2014 classes will take place in San Francisco at Baking Arts and include the following:

February 1 - 2, 2014 - SAN FRANCISCO
Cosmos - Anemone - Cherry Blossoms







February 8 - 9, 2014 - SAN FRANCISCO
Lilacs - Lily of the Valley - English-style Rose







For more information and to register for San Francisco classes click here.

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For those of you thinking the little pink cosmos flower might be a great addition to some of your cakes for next Spring - we could not agree more! We just finished this wedding day cutie and are in love with using the delicate cosmos flowers mixed with our signature fillers:



Wishing you a safe and wonderful few weeks as we approach the holiday season...and we hope to see you in class next year!

Thank you for stopping by...

Jacqueline and The Petalsweet Team x

Copyright © 2013 by Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet Cakes. Content of this blog (including text, cake and sugar flower designs, photographs, videos 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!
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Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring is Here at Petalsweet!

It's been a very busy Winter season here at Petalsweet...and we are so happy to see all of the beautiful signs of Spring! Here's what we've been up to...

Planning for our upcoming international classes and workshops...we are thrilled to be teaching in Spain, Australia and Thailand this summer...please follow the links below for more information:
Making lots of flowers for our cake designs and future classes, including a few anemones...



Some cherry blossoms...


More peonies...



And a few roses...



We've loved having a chance to play with some new flowers and some new colors, and can't wait to share some pretty cake designs and projects in the coming months!

Our many thanks for your ongoing support...we see many of you on our Petalsweet Cakes facebook page and so appreciate the time you take to stop by to say hello!

Thanks so much for stopping by...
Jacqueline and Petalsweet x


If you are interested in receiving updates about future classes and workshops in your inbox, please subscribe to our Petalsweet Newsletter below...


Copyright © 2013 by Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet Cakes. Content of this blog (including text, cake and sugar flower designs, photographs, videos 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!


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Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays from Petalsweet!



Our wish for you and your family...peace. love. joy. and the magic of the holiday season! We thank you for visiting here and sharing our joy in what we are so grateful to be doing everyday.

Merry Christmas!

Jacqueline and Petalsweet x



If you are interested in receiving updates about future classes and workshops in your inbox, please subscribe to our Petalsweet Newsletter below...


Copyright © 2012 by Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet Cakes. Content of this blog (including text, cake and sugar flower designs, photographs, videos 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!






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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ranunculus Sugar Flowers


Funny how things change. 
I started making ranunculus flowers a few years ago...they have always been a favorite, and I still LOVE the fresh look of the white flowers with the gorgeous green centers. They continue to be a very popular flower for both weddings and cakes, but I've found my flowers have changed over the past few years - especially having spent so much time studying and practicing them, and now teaching them to students!

Here are a few photos of flowers and buds I made several years ago...these photos now make me cringe thinking about how heavy, bulky and poorly shaped my flowers were at the time (so sad!). And it took SOOOO much time just to create a single flower! But I was so excited to try them, and very quickly fell in love:



And I started using them in cake designs - this is still a favorite from years ago:



I wasn't sure about what I was doing at all, but it was certainly fun to experiment..and with time my flowers improved and I figured out the techniques to shape and apply my petals to get a desired look and shape. They were still very stylized and a bit more whimsical than I wanted...but super cute and much more user-friendly:



Then things started to change a bit again, as they always do...and my style, taste and techniques started to become more refined, and I found the look of my flowers and buds evolving into softer and a bit more realistic versions:



Including this little peach number that took a really long time because I was experimenting with veining techniques. A money-maker this was not! That's the trick with a lot of sugar flowers, but ranunculus flowers for sure...you have to be very mindful when making them for your cakes...they can quickly become uber time consuming! Plan ahead, plan ahead, plan ahead...and charge accordingly for your precious time!


So here's where I am today...I've played with adding wired petals to make the flower look more open and delicate. This is a great flower to use on it's own on a mini-cake...a real statement and definitely one of my favorites:




And I've come up with techniques and a formula to make a "standard" flower to which petals can be added or removed depending on the size flower I want to create. The ranunculus can be a bit deceiving in its simplicity...so for me, a formula is necessary for making a lot of flowers and it's really helpful for teaching classes. They're certainly not the most realistic versions in the industry, but they definitely fit my current style and the look I'm trying to achieve for Petalsweet:





And that chocolate cake design? It needed a little updating too:


I'm curious what things will look like in another few years...for me, the ever-evolving process is one of my favorite parts of making sugar flowers! They don't need to be perfect...but just a true reflection of my style and vision. 

How about you...do you like ranunculus flowers? Do you make them for your cakes? 

And most importantly...do you want to learn how to make them? If so, what's the best way for you to learn sugar flowers?

As always...thank you for stopping by! x


If you are interested in receiving updates about future classes and workshops in your inbox, please subscribe to our Petalsweet Newsletter below...


Copyright © 2012 by Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet Cakes. Content of this blog (including text, cake and sugar flower designs, photographs, videos 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!



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Monday, October 29, 2012

Petalsweet Bud Tutorials

In addition to creating sugar flowers for our cake designs and classes, one of our favorite things to do at Petalsweet is to make flower buds...they are quick, easy, and can be customized for just about any flower or color combination:



They are also fabulous space fillers for arrangements, bouquets and toppers...and if you happen to be a bit OCD about gaps between flowers (like me...it's a serious problem my friends!), then you may just fall in love with these little guys as a great solution:




As many of you know, my flowers are quite stylized and I make a lot of my decisions about creating AND coloring flowers based on what I think looks pretty...not necessarily what is perfectly botanically correct. I keep things real enough so the flower can be recognized, but after that, all bets are off! A lot of you are already making and using my stylized hydrangea buds from my online Craftsy class...thank you so much for  taking the course -I hope you have enjoyed it!

So having said all that, please note these directions are for my own version of flower buds that I have created for both form and function in my wedding cake business...they are a quick and pretty choice to use on cakes but are certainly not going to win you any horticulture awards!

Below are the instructions for two types of Petalsweet Buds:
  • Our very popular and super easy All-Purpose Buds
  • My version of some cute Gardenia Buds
The written instructions are first, followed by short videos to show you the process in real time. And lastly, there is a quick video covering the dusting process for both types of buds. They are both quick and simple to make...enjoy!

Tools and Supplies you will need:
  • Wire (18g, 20g, 22g, 24g the larger the bud = the heavier gauge wire)
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • White gumpaste
  • Sugar glue
  • Styrofoam
  • Knife tool
  • Petal dust and brushes
  • Pearl dust and brushes if desired



ALL-PURPOSE BUDS by Petalsweet

1. Prep wires by creating a small closed hook with the needle-nose pliers.




2. Roll a small piece of paste into a smooth ball, and then into a chunky teardrop shape.

3. Dip the hook into the sugar glue and wipe off excess (your wire should only be damp - too much glue will make your wire slippery, and it will be difficult to attach the paste). Insert hook into the wide end of the teardrop and secure the paste at the base. To attach, pinch about 1/4" of paste out of the base of the teardrop until the paste is thinned around the wire. Hold the paste between your thumb and finger and twist wire to remove the excess bit of paste.

4. Using the knife tool, press firmly into the teardrop from the bottom to the tip, creating three (3) indentations equally spaced around the bud. Reshape the bud if necessary.

5. Place wire in Styrofoam and let bud dry thoroughly 24 - 48 hours.

6. Using your preferred petal dust colors and a stiff, flat brush, dust green at the base where the paste and wire come together, then draw the color upwards through the indentations. If desired, use another color to lightly color the tip of the bud. We think pink is a really cute variation:




7. Steam gently if desired, and once dry, finish with a very light brush of pearl dust so the dried paste will catch the light and look less flat.




NOTE:  You can make All-Purpose Buds in both smaller and larger sizes...but keep in mind larger buds will also be heavier in weight. For really large buds, you might consider covering a small Styrofoam ball or cone with paste to achieve a lighter result...then gently score with the knife tool as outlined above. You can also try using different colored pastes to create your buds before dusting...pretty green paste is a frequent favorite at Petalsweet:



GARDENIA BUDS by Petalsweet

1. Prep wires by creating a small closed hook with the needle-nose pliers.




2. Roll a small piece of paste into a smooth ball, and then into a long cone shape.

3. Dip the hook into the sugar glue and wipe off excess (your wire should only be damp - too much glue will make your wire slippery and it will be difficult to attach the paste). Insert hook into the wide end of the cone and secure the paste at the base. To attach, pinch about 1/4" of paste out of the base of the cone until the paste is thinned around the wire. Hold the paste between your thumb and finger and twist wire to remove the excess bit of paste.

4. Using the knife tool, press firmly into the cone from the bottom to the tip, creating six (6) indentations equally spaced around the bud. 

5. Holding the bud lengthwise in front of you, gently twist the top and bottom ends in opposite directions until you have created a spiral in the paste. Re-shape as needed.

6. Place wire in Styrofoam and let bud dry thoroughly 24 - 48 hours.

7. Using your preferred petal dust colors and a stiff, flat brush, dust green at the base where the paste and wire come together, then draw the color upwards through the indentations. 

8. Steam gently if desired, and once dry, finish with a very light brush of pearl dust so the dried paste will catch the light and look less flat.



And for some quick and easy dusting...remember your buds should be completely dry before you add color to them!



Look at them...all twisty and cute!!




Thanks so much for stopping by...x


If you are interested in receiving updates about future classes and workshops in your inbox, please subscribe to our Petalsweet Newsletter below...


Copyright © 2012 by Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet Cakes. Content of this blog (including text, cake and sugar flower designs, photographs, videos 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!

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Single Tier Cake

I've had the opportunity to make a few smaller cake designs over the past few months...whether they are for intimate weddings or even the occasional birthday celebration, there is a lot of interest in creating a WOW factor with a single tier. It's been a lot of fun for me...I love to create tight, lush and full arrangements of sugar flowers on larger designs - so imagine the challenge in creating an opulent  and over-the-top feel when working with a very small surface area!

Here are a few of my recent favorites...I've also experimented with cake edges that are sharper and more defined...definitely a look I've picked up from my time visiting and teaching in Australia. What do you think?

Parrot tulips and freesia blossoms mixed with lots of buds and filler flowers:



Dark purple anemone flowers arranged on chocolate fondant...with a little peek of green and white buds and filler flowers to give it a fresh, modern look. I think it helps to have the ribbon in a similar chocolate color so it doesn't compete with the flowers:



A trio of my garden roses with a few buds and leaves...and finished with a dark pink gingham ribbon. The cake edges are softer and rounder here:


And finally, a graceful and stoic Southern magnolia flower...mixed with buds and hydrangea petals, and finished with the very important dark, glossy magnolia leaves:


What decorations would you use if you only had a single tier to work with?

Thanks so much for stopping by...more to share soon! x


If you are interested in receiving updates about future classes and workshops in your inbox, please subscribe to our Petalsweet Newsletter below...


Copyright © 2012 by Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet Cakes. Content of this blog (including text, cake and sugar flower designs, 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!





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