Besides a ton of boxes, cupcake liners, and pans that I will need to buy regardless of whether or not it's in the budget, there's one big-ticket item that I've had my eye on for a while.
It's an airbrush set. I've stayed away from that route because I don't know how good I would be wielding an airbrush at my cakes. I don't know how much artistic skill is really needed to make it a useful tool. I've seen some horrendous airbrushed cakes on Cake Wrecks. It's enough to scare me away from that type of cake decorating.
Working with more fondant orders, I've noticed that when I color the fondant before kneading and rolling and covering the cake, I tend to have lots of leftover colored fondant. That would be all well and good if I used the scraps right away. If I don't need to, the fondant loses it's initial texture, and it dries out. Even if I softened it up again with some glycerin, the texture is never the same and it tends to crack if you try to cover anything with it. This results in a lot of wasted fondant, and fondant is not exactly cheap.
I've decided to try and start making my own marshmallow fondant to use when I sculpt figures or flowers. It will cut my fondant costs since marshmallows, sugar, and Crisco is fairly affordable. When I buy these things in bulk the savings only add up. It will also be more cost effective if I have a little bit that gets wasted. It doesn't hurt the wallet as much.
My hands and wrists are starting to feel the early onset of some arthritis. My mom started having these pains when she was in her early 20's so I guess I should count myself lucky that I've gone 32 years without much creakiness. The Tiffany Box cake and Spiderman cake did a number on my bones that weekend, and I could barely move my hands when it was all said and done. Given the fact that it was a rainy weekend, the dampness in the air only worsened things for me.
I think forcing myself to start making my own fondant will help keep my wrists and hands in constant motion and exercise those joints so they don't stiffen up on me. It will probably hurt like a bitch at first, but no pain, no gain- as they like to say.
Covering a cake in white fondant and then going over the whole thing with an airbrush will save money on wasted colored fondant. It only takes a couple of drops of color mixed with a touch of alcohol to achieve nice coverage on an entire cake. So, in the long run, it will also save me money on gel coloring. I tend to use up a lot of that when I color fondant, too.
My cupcake stand bit the dust during my friend Vanessa's wedding. One of the pillars broke and I have not been able to find a replacement part anywhere online. I was going to just eat it and buy a whole new stand, but my stand is no longer being sold anywhere. I tried to track down the dude on eBay that I bought it from three years ago, but that fucker doesn't have an eBay account anymore. Luckily, my mom found out Wilton is now selling a similar stand for about $100. I paid a little over $60 for mine. With my trusty coupons at AC Moore or Michael's, I'll end up paying about the same for the new one. I'll be more careful who I allow to handle it this time around. Who knew those things were so damn fragile?
I have two huge parties coming up within the week. Once I buy the boxes and staples, I'm going to take a chance and order me one of these:
I adjusted the picture size so I have no clue how it's going to look once I post this, but this seems to be a nice starter kit for a beginner like me. There are moderate priced sets starting at $100 and a pro set that retails for $350. This little baby is only about $70 before shipping and tax. I usually try to stay away from the super cheap and tend to buy the pricier models, thinking they often work the best. I learned however, that a brand name doesn't always deliver.
KitchenAid Ultra Power 5-Speed Hand Mixer(CRAP!! DO NOT BUY!!)
So, with this in mind, I'm going to give this little $70 model a chance. I'm still learning. I don't use a whole lot of airbrushing on my cakes anyway. (They sell spray cans with edible color.) And with very little extra income in my wallet right now, it's the smarter choice to be frugal with these purchases. If I find it a tool that I use constantly, like my large KitchenAid stand mixers, I'll eventually spring for a pricier model with a stronger compressor.
This isn't helping my Get the F Outta Dodge Fund, but it will help me make my business more profitable and efficient. Isn't that how real business people think?