I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Did I do that?

I promise this is not me trying to be all shy and "oh you shouldn't have"...but when it comes right down to it, I'm not entirely convinced I am any good at this whole cake thing. Or this whole blogging thing, but that's not today's topic.

Today's topic is all about how I secretly think (or not so secretly, hello there Internet) that I suck at cake decorating. Not suck as in "feature on cake wrecks" suck, but suck in a"never going to be as totally freakishly awesome as Pink Cake Box, Confetti Cakes or Cake Lava," sort of way (go Google any one of those and prepare to have your eyes fall out of your head from sheer awesomeness). I attribute this suckage to two things. One, I am mostly self-taught when it comes to decorating, and so there are a lot of things I feel I don't know (although I do endeavour to engage in continuing education). Two, I am lazy as all get out, plus a dash of impatient thrown in for good measure. So while I *could* spend an entire day making sure each corner is *just so*, I tend to make it 'pretty darn good' and then get on with the next task. In part that's just who I am, and in part it's where I've deliberately placed myself in the market - many steps above home decorator and yet some steps below the "sell a kidney to afford it" decorator.

Many, many times a week I will finish a cake and see only the flaws. I might see it as "the client will be really happy with this" but I rarely see it and think I am totally happy with it. I am mostly left thinking I could have done more, done better, worked harder, been more particular, fixed that mistake, started over, done it a different way. I am my most demanding client, and this client is pretty much never satisfied (damn. Should've told her we're fully booked for all weekends into eternity.) Some of this relates back to my emotional self, because being far too attached emotionally to just about everything means it's very hard to be objective about things (even cake.) I look at the blogs of those companies I admire and think, "In my wildest dreams I could never produce something as perfect as that," or I think, "I'll never find a client willing to order something like that," or one of a thousand other negative thoughts which are doing nobody any good.

I just feel as though I lack the skills and the artistic vision to produce anything nearly as wonderful as the creations I see in magazines and books and online. Sometimes I even feel like I am just a big ol' faker - I do it well enough to keep the punters happy but not well enough to actually stand up amongst my peers.

This week, though... I had a moment of happiness and feeling like I am worth something as a decorator. Actually a couple of them, which are rare as hen's teeth and therefore very valuable to me. My employee's decorating skills are coming along pretty well - especially considering it's this lazy, impatient decorator doing the teaching - and this week she has had to replicate a number of my cakes. By replicate I just mean a client ordered something which the business has done before, so she had a photo to work from. She did the first one, and I thought it was pretty cute, and I said to her, "Hey, that's a really cute cake - fun colours and design!" ...and then a couple of minutes later I thought,"Wait a sec! That's a cake *I* designed!". Later in the week the same thing happened a few more times - with a couple more cakes and then some fondant sea creature cupcakes. Creations which came out of my head and made it into real life without the help, influence, or inspiration from anyone else. Creations which I looked at and thought they were fun, interesting, different, colourful and entirely happy-making for both me and the client.

Hmmm. Could it be I am finally beginning to appreciate myself, finally valuing my skills?

Sadly, I don't think so...because after each of those, my next immediate thought was, "Yeah, total fluke, that."

*sigh* I think I've got a ways to go on more than just the decorating front.


cakelava said...

Michelle, first off, we have to thank you for the huge compliments -- we're honored to be in the company of the other designers mentioned. More importantly though is this growth, realization of you coming into your own as a designer you respect. The fact that you do notice all the little flaws in your cakes and that it bothers you to give anything less than your absolute best will allow you to take that next step in your designing career. Rick and I are both the same way. It pains us to not give 100% to our clients but we also must remember at some point, you've done what you can and it's counter-productive to beat yourself up and think you could do even more. The market is flooded with people trying to get by with mediocrity and it is those who really strive to give their best that will stand out and make a name for yourself. People are limited by their level of experience but passion is either there or it is not. You are a passionate person on many levels and this is evident by your style of blogging. You are an awesome blogger and a wonderful sugar artist. RESPECT!

emzeegee & the hungry three said...

Thanks guys - I am truly humbled. :)

(and just slightly in awe!)