Pennie Hunt: Be Careful Where You Hide Your Crumbs

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By Pennie Hunt, Columnist

For many years I taught cake decorating for the Wilton Co. It was a skill I learned from my grandmother. Throughout high school, I created birthday, anniversary, graduation and wedding cakes in my mom’s kitchen. I ordered so many cake decorating supplies from the Wilton Co. that they contacted me to teach for them. 

I enjoyed teaching the skill of spinning a flower nail around to create a frosting rose and bobbing a frosting-filled bag up and down to create swirling borders. In the first class session, I would explain the process of preparing a cake to decorate. 

I have a few decorating secrets that I rarely share, but one that I taught that first night was called crumb frosting. This is where you brush off the loose crumbs and then cover the cake with a light coating of frosting to lock in any remaining crumbs. When you add the final layer of frosting the crumbs are secured in the first layer and do not show through or tarnish the cake with unwanted speckles. 

No one wants to see the crumbs. I would tell my students:“You have to catch the crumbs and hide them so that no one sees them, and they don’t destroy the beauty of the design.” 

This technique created a smooth canvas for the final layer of flowers, borders and words. It was this top layer of beauty that people noticed without ever realizing there were crumbs hidden underneath. No one wants to see the crumbs, right?

Layering is an interesting concept. We layer our makeup on our faces in the morning. Foundation, blush, mascara, lipstick – all to conceal our flaws. No one wants to see our flaws, right?

When I paint, I begin with what is furthest away. Painting the sky, then mountains, then a lake and trees. Layering until I paint the grass that I could reach out and touch right in front of me. If I make a mistake in the first few layers, they are easily covered by the time I am done with the painting. We don’t want to destroy the beauty of the design with mistakes, right?

In life, we layer our feelings. If someone says something unkind to us, it may hurt our feelings, but we can brush off the little crumbs. The little jabs, disappointments and broken promises get locked into the layer like crumb frosting and can’t be seen on the outside. 

It becomes a problem when it happens over and over again. We can only layer so much. If there are too many crumbs to cover, the outside is going to show the speckles and flaws. Sometimes this takes years of layering, but eventually there will be a crack. The years of hiding and covering our feelings will spill out.  

Just like there is a technique for frosting a cake, putting on makeup and painting, we must pay attention to how we manage our feelings. We must learn how to brush off the small ones and address the big ones. 

Smooth them over into hidden layers without expressing them, talking about or processing them can be a dangerous way of dealing with them. Your layered feelings will build until eventually exploding into health issues, relationship issues or emotional issues. 

Be aware when you layer your feelings. You don’t have to catch all the crumbs and hide them so that no one sees them. Learn to express feelings in a healthy, kind way. 

Show the true beautiful design of who you are – feelings, flaws and all.   

Pennie’s Life Lesson: Don’t hide your feelings. Express them in a healthy, kind way.

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