A Yorkshire Country Garden

So I wanted to share with you my fun evening I had last Wednesday, although the previous couple of weeks leading up to it weren’t as fun, in fact they were pretty stressful.

A friend and colleague of mine is responsible for booking guests for the Roche Valley branch of the Yorkshire Countrywomen’s Association (YCA). Each year she is tasked with finding interesting guests who talk about their lives, their work or demonstrate their crafts; here is where I come into the story, because she asked if I would be the guest for the next meeting and demonstrate how to make sugar flowers. I was so excited I said yes, after all I can make sugar flowers in my sleep so how hard could it be to teach a group of women how to make one – mistake number one.

Over the next couple of weeks I mulled over what would be the best flower to make. I was going to have to teach 20 to 30 women and I needed something that was easy to make and didn’t require too many tools, after all this was the first time I had done anything like this and I wasn’t very well equip with more than one of most of my tools. Initially, I thought it would be a good idea to 3D print enough flower cutter for all the members, which would mean they could all take it home to keep at the end of the day, I decide this probably wouldn’t be very cost effective. The way forward was to look at how many flowers I knew how to make that didn’t need petals cutting out, instead the petal is formed from shaping the fondant than rolling it out thin. I spent several evenings making different flowers, each evening the night of my meeting grew ever closer.

After a lot of umming and ahhing, and with a little advice from my son, I decide to teach the group how to make an oriental poppy, and so I didn’t need to dye lots of sugarpaste they were going to make white poppies.

So we get to Wednesday night. I arrived equip with individual, bagged up, portions of fondant, greaseproof paper circle (to roll out on), cocktail sticks (to roll the petals with and also to apply the edible glue with), lots and lots of tin foil (to nestle the poppies in), three dozen cupcakes and a bottle of vodka (unfortunately not to drink, it’s good for removing cornflour that might be left on the sugarpaste, after rolling out). My second mistake in all of this was thinking something that is easy for me will also be easy for others, it really isn’t. After demonstrating how to make the poppy seed head I sent everyone back to their seats to have a go, I have never seen so many variations on a theme, it was a delight to see how different everyone’s were and it only got better after I demonstrated how to make the petals, although some of the petals were so huge it took a lot of tin foil to nestle the poppy comfortable, so they would dry with floppy petals. I can say with all certainty that it was the latest finishing YCA meeting in Roche Valley history, but I think everyone enjoyed themselves. I happened upon one of the ladies today, who when I ask said she had let her flower dry and now displays it on her sideboard. However, next time maybe I’ll stick with teaching them how to made a fondant panda…wait until they learn what they have to do with spaghetti.

My next project is a Bart Simpson for this year’s Scarecrow festival.

Watch this space!