Wilton Wannabe: What Will the First Course Cost?

Well, my apron is rolled up in the not-so-steamy bathroom, hopefully to be dewrinkled in time for tonight's first class. Do you know how hard it is to find a plus-size apron? And not the "plus size" at Michaels that is only an inch wider on each side but has "extra-long strings!" - gee, that will do it. And it really will have to because that's what I ended up buying since it would only be $4 with coupon.

Wal-Mart's regular aprons have an extra half-inch on each side but it didn't seem worth a few extra bucks plus, you know, Wal-Mart. It may be interesting to note that almost all of the cake decorating stuff at Wal-Mart was within 75 cents of prices at Michaels, and of course if you do what I said in the last post and use that 40%-off coupon from the Michaels app, the price doesn't begin to compare.

However, not everyone lives almost walking distance from Michaels and therefore can afford to pop by and use the coupon every day to slowly build the collection... although the guy at Michaels told me I could use the coupon over and over on the same day (despite what it says) so long as there's someone in line ahead of me when I re-queue. Interesting.

Bed, Bath, and Beyond had "full size" aprons with a healthy extra five inches on each side, but these were $20 and, honestly, it would be cheaper to replace most of my shirts if something got on them.

Opinion on the Wilton forums about aprons is divided. Some people never wear them. Maybe I will be one of those people, but $4 seemed like a reasonable investment just in case I'm not. However, as there is still an inch of me showing on every side in the "plus size" apron, I don't know if the apron will fulfill what one person said was the most important thing: a place to wipe your hands. When I cook at home I wear an old t-shirt and wipe my hands on my hips (when towels aren't handy), so my instinct to wipe in the "apron zone" just isn't there.

Okay, in further minutia, one thing I have learned in the course of having 1,322 hobbies is that, if I like the hobby, I will spend more than planned. I thought I would look at the supply list and see if I could suss out in advance what the cost of taking this four-week course will be. Then later we can look back and LAUGH and LAUGH.

I took photos of many of the items at Michaels earlier this week (nerd alert, nerd alert) and below will list that price minus coupon (if realistic) plus tax (~8% in Las Vegas) then rounded in the nearest direction. A few prices I can only guess, and might be quite wrong, and some things I already have here at home. I've only included optional items if I plan to get them.

Item       Cost
Class tuition   $23.00
Student Kit   $22.00
Wilton Ready-to-Use Decorating Icing   2.50
6 plain, flat cookies   3.00
Apron   4.00
Pen/pencil and paper   (already have)
Scissors   (already have)
Sticky notes   (waived by instructor, but already have)
Damp cloth   (waived by instructor, but already have)
Food storage bag to carry soiled tools   (already have - any plastic bag will surely do?)
Reusable, cloth wipes   10.00
(Reusable wipes? Oh, Google says it's a baby thing. And Amazon says they're 10 bucks each. First sticker shock of the class! Ten bucks is probably still easier/cheaper than making my own.)
Toothpicks   (already have)
Cellophane tape   (already have)
Waxed paper   2.50

(If Yahoo Answers is right.)

Bath-sized towel  
(Already have - pre-distressed and everything from when Phobos would try to dig her way into the bathroom. She was like a cat - couldn't stand closed doors. I still prefer dwarf hamsters to "regular" ones, but I do miss that silly girl.)
Plastic bags for clean-up   (already have - again, not going all fancy)
Small plastic bowls or disposable cups (8 oz.)   4.50
(Argh - who just convinced Mike to toss out a bunch of unsightly commemorative tumblers? Maybe I could use plastic measuring cups? And a cracked plastic measuring cup that I was just about to junk! What about glass ramekins if I don't care if they break? But then Michaels probably does care. Hey, is AM/PM still selling those limited edition World of Warcraft tumblers? Oh, hold on. DUH. Talenti empties - a half dozen of which are sitting in the cupboard, getting in my way, but too useful to throw away. We probably have a dozen on the countertop holding various spices and several more holding craft stuff. With their sturdy construction and screw-top lids, they're rather amazing as well as surprisingly attractive, and they allow me to justify spending $4 on a pint of delicious, delicious gelato now and again. Check out the gallery from their Facebook reuse contest.) But I'm still adding 4.50 to the tally because if not for this class I would've forgotten about the World of Warcraft cups.
Roll of paper towels   (already have)
3c confectioners sugar   5.00
(Hmm. I just bought a box of this the other day. Um. Um. Guessing...)
Squeeze bottle with water  
(I have a sports bottle but it's leaky. I think I may have done the right thing and thrown it away. Rats. I suppose they mean more of a condiment bottle? Michaels online doesn't give a price. Target sells them for $10/3 pack. WAIT! WAIT! I just threw away a depleted deli-style mustard squeeze bottle last night! And then I lazily postponed taking out the trash! I'm going to have faith that I can use this bottle... and there are two more like it in the fridge on their last legs. What can I say? We love a variety of mustards here.)
Angled spatula   3.50
(Okay, right now I think - per the advice of one website - that I want the smaller spatula so my little hands can handle it easier, plus it can be used on cupcakes. But I may get talked into the bigger spatula tonight, and I don't want to have spatula drama, and maybe the bigger spatula is better? But... the internet says... I'm going to use the "sticking to my current guns" smaller spatula price.)
Tip 789 (optional)   2.00 + 2.00
(This thing is huge. Does it come with its own coupler? I don't see one in my pic. I took a photo of some large couplers next to it but they didn't look big enough. Still, better add on the price to be safe.)

16 oz featherweight bag (optional)   6.00
Piping gel   3.00
Cake leveler   3.00
(Wal-Mart price. They only had the "ultimate" one - $25 - in stock at Michaels.)
Turntable   13.50
(Bought already! I didn't want to risk them selling out when the other students found out they needed one. Per the Wilton forum recommendations, I went with the Ultra Trim 'n Turn so I'd have a little height off the countertop.)
Icing colors of choice   10.00
(I'll go with the larger value-pack, I suppose.)
10" cake board for torting   4.00
10" foil-covered cake board or Show 'n Serve   3.50
(This annoys me. I don't really care what's underneath my cake unless I'm giving it away.)
Class Decorating Buttercream (~8)
hopefully includes enough for home practice
(Let's figure this out. Here's the recipe for the stiff version. Looks like we're going to need a lot more confectioners sugar. And what does shortening cost? I haven't had a can of it around since I lived with my chicken-frying parents... which sounds like an oath, heh. And do I really need "Wilton flavor" or can I just use vanilla extract? $35 is my guess, Mr. Barker...)

Glue stick   (already have)
25 icing flower squares   1.50

(I can't just make them out of the waxed paper, above?)

12 disposable decorating bags   9.00

(Surely this hobby will be much more fun if I invest in the 50-pack.)

Rose Flower Nail Templates   3.00
(From what it looks like on the student kit box for the next course, these are included? Hopefully by the third lesson I'll know whether I want to take the next course.)
8" layer of cake on a cake board   4.50 + 10.00
(I was going to go store-bought all the way to save time *and* have a means of carrying the decorated cake without buying a cake caddy. I don't mind sucking up the cost of a cake caddy that, I swear, will only be used for these classes because I'm way too anxious to ever actually serve my cooking to others, but here I am trying to declutter, you know? But even if I make my own cake, using a plastic covering from the store is going to be so ghetto, all sliding around and stuff.)

(So, 4.50 for cake mix, plus I think we're about out of regular vegetable oil despite only buying some every two or three years. Plenty of eggs, though. Cage-free and everything. See, I'm not cheap where it matters.)

(And a tenner for the cake caddy. Sigh.)

6 cupcakes   2.00
(Should I make the Cherry Coke Float cupcakes again? Nah. But will my cake caddy hold six cupcakes? Surely. Or should I get the 3-in-1 cake caddy instead? No, that thing is huge, and I don't even need a cake caddy. You know what I'm going to do later? Scope out some multi-purpose Tupperware.)
Cake   2.00
Projected Total:   193.00

I may need one of those damp cloths for my forehead.

(Later, for torture and funsies, I'll see if the Ultimate Caddy/Kit will save me enough to make it a more interesting option for the second course.)

Two hours until showtime. Let's go pack everything and see what I forgot!

Note: the title of this post sort of comes from my cake decorating inspiration board on Pinterest. Check out the pillow cake. Someday?

09 March 2012 |






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Carnival Splendor (2009)
Carnival Spirit (2010)
Carnival Spirit (2011)
Carnival Splendor (2011)
Norwegian Pearl to Alaska (2012)