“Would you like to try?”
Those simple words changed me into the person I am today. Honey, we called her, although she was born as Elizabeth Opal Ray. She is my grandmother, my dad’s mom. She was a wonderful, loving, inspiring, Christian woman with a love for all things family. Grandma Honey was, is, and always will be the voice beside me asking me, “would you like to try?”
I didn’t know how to cook or bake. Grandma Honey must have seen something in me that I didn’t know existed. Now I enjoy cooking and have a passion for baking, decorating cakes, and desserts. All I had to do was try.
2005 - I began this dream of someday making wedding cakes for people at an affordable price. Now this dream is a reality. Time made things a little harder for me. I never really knew what I wanted to do with my life; I took many turns and hit many bumps, but the dream remained.
I baked and decorated my first birthday cake in February of 2005.
I learned so much from just one 9x13 inch basic cake.
We made the cake, made the icing and learned how to write
and pipe all in one afternoon. Now, let me just say, piping takes technique and
patience. Some of it came quite easily, some of it didn’t.
But, it wasn’t bad at all...and it tasted YUMMY!
Fast forward to 2012; I graduated from the Arts Institute at Kansas City with my Associates degree in Baking and Pastry. I can’t say I learned anything there that I didn’t already know from my Grandma, but it was an experience nonetheless.
I had several of the best chef instructors. I learned from them what I didn’t learn from my grandmother, kitchen skills. I figured out how to take the basics of a kitchen and use them to make a better product.
Upon graduation, my friend and I wanted to go into business together. For several months we tried to come up with a name to suit us; finally it came, Sweet Occasions. We were going to provide cake design and event planning. And, we had a few gigs, which turned out pretty fantastic.
My friend decided to go to business school. We thought we would go in to business together where she would be the brains and I would be the creator. The best laid plans...right?
I still took the occasional order, but it was hard to do it alone and Grandma helped as much as she could. She was getting weaker day by day. As time went on I was getting better, so all I needed was her company.
In 2014, Grandma Honey passed away.
I took a sabbatical from baking and event planning. My heart wasn’t in it anymore. She was gone and I didn’t want to do it without her. I loved her so much and loved baking at her house. I would go over and bake and we would sit at the table talking about life and solving all the world problems.
At lunch time we would have sandwiches, bologna and cheese or grilled cheese -- if I was feeling crazy. Sometimes, Aunt Shelly was there and we would laugh and laugh all afternoon.
Grandma was a rock, an inspiration.
Grandma was the woman I want to be when I grow up.
She loved like there was no tomorrow.
Her family was her greatest joy.
Happiness was in the room when Grandma Honey
I wasn’t ready to let her go.
In the end, it wasn’t up to me.
Keep moving forward. Dreams are made to become reality. But, reality is hard. Time gets away from you and you realize its been more than twelve years. Where has time gone, and why does it take people you love.
I find myself ready to get back in the game. With Grandma in heaven praying for me and watching over me, I am ready.
Andrea's Sweet Occasions is here, and we are ready to reach for the stars.
Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Wife, Step-Mother,
Entrepreneur, Customer Service and Accounting Manager, Pastry Chef, Paralegal, and most importantly,
a child of God.