Reading this thread has me worried that some icing problems will come to roost with me. I haven't had problems to speak of but sometimes colors are just a little south of what I want. I always use Wilton Merangue powder, I mix both ameri gels and Wilton gels together with no adverse result. I beat my base icing for around 5 minutes and keep it in the frig when not in use. One trick I really like is to put icing in a double bag. I place a scoop of icing in plastic wrap twist the ends, clip one, then I place that in my piping bag. It stays fresh, and last much longer- have fun in the kitchen!