Share Your MOMent: Chasing Dreams

April 25th, 2016 by Emily Easterly

In celebration of Mother’s Day, we asked Wilton employees to share some special memories and stories. For many of us, our moms – or someone who is like a mom to us – piqued our interest in baking. Who did you learn from? What special memories do you have? Or, are you a mom who enjoys baking with her kids? In this series, we will feature a different story each day. We hope you enjoy reading the stories of those who chose to share their MOMent!

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I didn’t learn how to decorate from my mother, but she was very supportive of me when I was first teaching myself to decorate. My favorite story is from about seven years ago. She was up visiting me for my 25th birthday (I lived in Nashville, and she in Florida). She bought my KitchenAid mixer, and took me out shopping to Michaels. I saw the gum paste flower set, as I had many times- and told her about how THAT was what I wanted to learn. I wanted to make realistic flowers like those. So, she bought me that kit.

Emily Gum Paste Vintage

Later on, she was supportive of my move to Chicago to attend The French Pastry School, even though it was farther away from her and she was sick with COPD. She always helped us out as much as she could. While I was attending school there in 2011, she was granted a “wish” through a program called Dream Foundation. She wanted to fly up north to get to see her family again, and she stayed at my uncle’s house in Indiana, and also went over to Detroit to visit some other sibling and nieces and nephews of hers. I spent a weekend in Indiana with her over at my uncle’s house. I gave her a gum paste rose that I made in school and brought one of the recipe cakes we made in class, and she just loved it.

Emily Mom Cake

A week later, after she was back at my uncle’s after visiting in Detroit and getting ready to fly back home, she got really sick and passed away. That was the last time I saw her.

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I finished school, and a few months later, I started freelance decorating at Wilton and eventually became full time. Last year, we released a new gum paste flower set and I got to be a big part of that set. I helped develop the techniques for the new flowers, and I decorated the cake that’s on the cover of the box.

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I’ve even got a Craftsy class featuring those techniques:

Statement Flowers

I wish she could be here to see how far I’ve come: from her buying me an early version of that kit, to me being the one doing the cake and flowers on the packaging that I always used to admire and even teaching those very techniques to students around the world.

And even still, there are projects that I get to work on that make me think of her (even more than I already do every day).  Last year, we worked on projects for the 2016 Wilton Calendar. My mother’s favorite color was a turquoise-y blue, and she also really loved dreamcatchers (we have Cherokee in our blood). So, when I got to work on this cake it really was something special. It was even more special that it was going to be the cake for March, since her birthday and passing were both in March.

Dreamcatcher Cake

I know she’s still watching over me every single day, and I know she’s proud of me- I’m proud of me too, and I’m so grateful for all of the support and love she gave me every single day that she was on this earth!

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Emily Easterly Emily Easterly is a decorator at Wilton. She started cake decorating at Baskin Robbins and in grocery stores as a teenager before attending the French Pastry School in Chicago. She has worked in several bakeries around town, and also runs a side cake business called Betty June’s, named after her grandmother. She is a proud volunteer and advocate for Icing Smiles, a charitable organization that donates dream birthday cakes to children with critical illnesses and their siblings. She is happily married to a man that she met in the 2nd grade. They have 2 kids, Raven and Ayden, 2 cats, Belle and Rengar, and a Chihuahua named Peanut. Emily loves Dr. Who and appreciates a good meme.

5 Replies

  1. Susan Zimmer says:

    OMG! That is beautiful!!! Made me cry!!!!

  2. Sheryll Kimbel says:

    I am very proud of you Emily. You have followed your dreams and have become an awesome cake decorator, as well as pushed yourself to greater things. You are truly, a wonderful young woman.
    I am sure that (my sister Cynthia) your Mother, is looking down with much pride, admiration and Love.
    Keep doing what you love!!!! XOXOX…from Aunt Sheryll

  3. Karla says:

    Oh Emily! I’m crying like an idiot right now. I am so proud of you and all that you have accomplished! The dream catcher cake is gorgeous, and you do such beautiful work, I can’t wait to see what you will do next!

  4. Dennis Dudek says:

    Emily ..She was Always so Proud of you ! I’m so HAPPY for You …the way you sacrificed things for your Schooling and I always knew you’d go far !! Love n hugs to you n the kids !!!
    I Miss her everyday…. Still just me n my memories !!!!!
    Russell is in Daytona Beach ..I’m gonna try n see him on Saturday !!!!
    Great Job on the Cakes !!!!!

  5. Darlene Scheffler says:

    Nice work Emily, I enjoyed your story. I wish I could have seen her before she passed away. She was a good friend for most of my life. I never stopped loving her. God bless you and your family. With love, Darlene

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