...but first I have to tell you an adorable story. Some of you know that the adorable toothless child on our website's homepage www.sweetwise.com is our daughter Lindsey, 7. She is holding a cake made by Stephanie Felts of The Sweetest Day, winner of the 2009 Tennessee Cake Fest (www.TNCakeFest.com) at a class taught by the Amazing Mike McCarey (which is detailed with Modeling Chocolate, which I'll get to).

The other day, things didn't go her way and she decided she would show us. She marched herself to her room and packed up to run away. All the important stuff - a change of clothes, her favorite blanket, and vital stuffed animals. It was, of course, snowing outside. She had one arm into her coat and went to tell her brother Logan in a carefully planned but non-chalant manner that she hopes he enjoys being an only child. She made the next dramatic entrance into the office, where we were working, to ask if we had any last words before she left. I just hugged her and told her that I would miss her terribly, to please stay warm. She made a few steps to the door and burst into tears. Of course, I scooped her up and sat her down on my lap and gave her all she needed to hear - the family wouldn't be complete without her, I would be too sad, she would be scared and alone and unsafe, and she can't bully us in to getting her way. Although she still didn't get her way, we gave her lots of cuddling that night and she felt safe, warm, and loved. John and I later shared each of our own "I ran away once" stories. I think her drama was all over a Rainforest Cafe cup that she HAD to have THAT day. Thank you for indulging me. Now about modeling chocolate!

I've seen it called many things: modeling chocolate, plastic chocolate, candy clay, etc. It serves several purposes - some coat their cakes in it, although I really don't care for that method, but to each their own. I prefer just using it for details. It is a bit shinier than fondant, and models a little easier. Difficult to make? No, not at all, and you can make it in any color. Sweet Wise sell Merckens Chocolate in 16oz bags. Take one of those bags (in chocolate, white chocolate, or ANY color), and melt it just until it's smooth - the microwave is fine, but don't burn it! Stir after 30 second intervals of heat. Once it's smooth, stir in 1/3 cup of Glucose OR 1/2 cup CLEAR corn Syrup. Pour it onto a silicon baking mat or simple aluminum foil. Once it cools off, it's ready to model! It's THAT EASY!

Kathy's tip: Have some old colored chocolate in the pantry that doesn't melt smooth and is spotty and not pretty? Don't throw it away. Turn it into modeling chocolate, wrap it up and store it in a zip bag. It will last longer, not go to waste, and might just come in handy when gumpaste just won't do what you want it to.