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Posts by denetteb

Do you have a 2D?  I think it looks the same as a 1M and takes less icing if you are short.  My best guess is too dry.  I would take a small amount of icing and add some liquid and give it a try before doing the whole batch.  You really only need it stiff enough that it holds it's shape, no need to have it overly stiff.  It should flow easily out of the bag/tip.  It shouldn't take a lot of force to push it out.  And it really is a simple but impressive design.  Have you...
Too dry, add some more liquid, water, milk, liquid coffee creamer.   
How high will they end up?  If they are 3 inches high or more a 10 inch round will serve 38 according to the standard Wilton chart.  7 would give you 266 servings, way more than enough.   
Don't forget your fuel cost as well.  
This chart will help you with how much icing and batter you will need.  http://www.wilton.com/cakes/making-cakes/baking-wedding-cake-2-inch-pans.cfm This will help you with your support system.  http://www.wilton.com/cakes/tiered-cakes/stacked-tiered-cake-construction.cfm.  You must have each tier (two layers of cake or about 4 inches of cake/icing) on their own cake board.  This board must be placed on dowels/heavy straws that are in the layer below it.  Like a table...
Yes, you can freeze buttercream.  I use ziplock bags or rubbermaid-type containers.  How long?  Not sure but several months at least.  
I agree your price is your price, she can take it or leave it, her choice.  Is your 12 inch a two layer or one layer cake?  A two layer cake serves 56 people which is way more than you need.  That may account for some of the prices differences from the posters.
To practice piping you can practice on the bottom and sides of upside down cake pans.  Make a batch of buttercream, fill a bag and practice piping, then scrape it off and re-use it.  You can re-use it over and over and get a lot of practice with the same icing.  Of course, don't eat or serve the abused icing, just for  practicde  
I haven't tried it but don't see why it wouldn't work. Give it a try.
Check out the youtube videos by seriouscakes and tonedna1. They both have a bunch of excellent videos and each of them have a good one on stacking which includes info on supporting your cake. One thing about caking, like with many other things, is that there is generally no absolute right or wrong. Your instructor didn't like non crusting buttercreams, others hate crusting buttercreams. It depends on personal choice, weather where you live, decorating style, luck, etc,...
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