This is the page for random tips, hints and things that have made my life easier...there are as many ways to do things as there are sugar artists, so take them with a grain of salt and use the ones that make sense to you.
Always keep some clean nylon knee-high stockings on hand and use them to strain your icing before putting it into your decorating bag. Put the stocking down inside the bag, load with icing; grip the top of the bag firmly with one hand and with the other one pull the stocking out of the bag thus forcing the icing through the stocking. When you are working with itty bitty tips this will help keep you sane since all the lumps end up in the sock and not your tip.
If you are using more than one color or bag of icing you can make a very effective holder with some basic materials. Get one of those plastic, domed containers in which you can buy cakes from the grocery store. Use your X-acto knife to cut holes in the top. Cut an old kitchen towel to fit the bottom tray. When you are ready to do your project, wet the cut towel thoroughly and wring it out. Place it in the bottom of the tray and snap the lid in place. Put your bags into the holes in the top with the tips down into the wet towel. You can now fill your bags easily and once that is done, if you put a bag clip on the top of your bag, the icing will not dry out from either end. Be sure to use different holders for buttercream and Royal icings if you are using both at the same time.
Always use two glasses of water for rinsing your brushes. Rinse the brush n the first glass to get all the paint out. Rinse it in the second glass to clean the brush and then NEVER, EVER, EVER leave your brush standing in the water. It messes up the bristles. Lay it down on a paper towel and take the time to gently twist a point on round brushes so they dry nicely.
When you have to color fondant or gum paste rub some shortening into your hands and particularly your cuticles. Color your material and then use dish soap to wash the color away. If that dosen`t take care of it, when you take your shower, wash your hair. Most colors will just disappear.