Saturday, December 26, 2015

White Christmas Cookies

Wow! It has been quite a while since I posted anything here. 2015 has been a whirlwind year for me and my cookie decorating has taken a backseat. Decorating cookies proved to be a very productive form of grief therapy for me and helped me be able to live life again this year. My father died back in 2012 and I quickly spiraled down into a deep pit of grief and depression. It was in January 2013 that I made my first attempt at decorating cookies and became hooked after that. I am glad I had an art form on which to focus during that time, although I will admit that I did use it as a crutch to fool myself into believing I was being productive and therefore nothing was really wrong. It did give me the opportunity to make a little money for a couple of years, and for that I am grateful. However, this year, I have had a glorious emergence from my personal pit of despair and find myself out living life, rather than hiding behind my computer screen or occupying my time with a piping bag in my hand. This year I have eliminated dairy, sugar and gluten from my diet and am feeling like a new person. My anxiety and depression are gone!! I am able to soundly sleep because I am no longer snoring and therefore awake well rested and ready to go each day. And as a wonderful added benefit, I am wearing clothes this backside hasn't dreamed of being in within the last 10 years. I am feeling good inside and out! My grandmother died in October at age 89 and while I was upset, I was able to deal (still dealing) with it much better than the death of my father and have not completely shut down and isolated myself. At least I learned some things during that first go around! Things leading up to her death took up a lot of my time (thankful that I had the extra time in my schedule to be with her) that I might have otherwise worked on cookies and I have/had also been training for my first 5K, which I excitedly completed on December 5th! Have another scheduled for January 23, 2016, so I am still training, just not as heavily as for the first because of all of the holiday activities going on. Anyhow, enough about me, let's get to my latest cookies!!

What with the balmy mid- 70's temps we're having, I figured the only way I could have a White Christmas was to make one! Actually, I was just lazy and didn't feel like mixing icing colors but the result was stunning! I have essentially put myself on a "no more buying cookie cutters" restriction, but when I ran across the set containing this reindeer marked down at Marshall's, I HAD to have it. I am so glad I got him because he's just so cute! That's my standard favorite Wilton triangle Christmas tree and the large snowflake from their muli-pack of snowflakes.

White Christmas Cookies

I did actually mix color one evening for cookie decorating with a friend's grandchildren, which I will get to in another post, and had some left over so I did a few trees in colors for this set that I gave to some friends who love my cookies at their annual Christmas Eve Celebration.

White Christmas with colored trees cookies 

Thank you 2015 for being such a great year of awakening for me!! Here's hoping 2016 deals me more of the same!

Decorating Cookies with Kids

Holy cow!!! That's the only way I can truly describe decorating cookies with children. My perfectionism had to be left at the front door of my friend Beverly's house where I went to decorate cookies with her three grandchildren last weekend. I laid out about 8 various cookies on a work tray covered in wax paper for each child. There were two boys and one girl. I expected differences in the older two (boy/girl twins) and their younger cousin, but the biggest difference that never occurred to me was how differently the boys approached it than did little Maggie. Maggie was meticulous with her designs and execution (and sneaking mouthfuls of icing), but the boys, while interested in what they were doing, just jumped straight into each cookie as a whole made it up as they went along. The young Cam LOVED sprinkles... A LOT! We realized after his first time using them alone, that he needed to be supervised with any sprinkles! It really was a fun evening and I think we all had a good time making Christmas cookies.  Here are some pics from the evening.



Decorating Cookies With Kids








Decorating Cookies With Kids




 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Starbucks Barista Cookies

I heart emoticon my local Starbucks! (In the new Sprouts shopping center area) The people who work there are awesome, Jamie, especially. He was so great to me week before last week as I was traveling so much, so as a thank you to him and his co-workers, I did a baker's dozen of these with the dough left over from another project. I did them hurriedly, but they still turned out pretty cute. I used the same cutter and basic concept of the mermaid cookies. They were a huge hit with them and every time I've come through the drive through since I dropped them off last Saturday, someone else has told me thank you and that they loved them. I think this is why I like cookies so much - I get all the enjoyment of them without having to consume a single calorie! I totally forgot to get a pic, so I asked Tuesday when I went through the drive through if anyone had taken one and I just got this one via text taken by Jamie. He put it on top of a SB bag, which makes for a nice photo effect, although I did not do the exact logo on the apron, both for copyright reasons and because I am just not that talented to do so in such a tiny space! ha!

Starbucks Barista Cookie

Under the Sea and Mermaid Cookies

I'd been in a bit of a cookie lull and even, GASP, considered selling my enormous cutter collection. Then I had a friend contact me a couple of days before the birthday party of a child who is a huge part of her life, who said that she'd been trying all week to make some cookies and they were a miserable failure in all regards. I tried to help her with tips and suggestions, but could feel her frustration, so even though I was in the middle of a major hospitalization of my grandmother and making daily travel of 3 hours to sit with her, I volunteered to help her out. They were the PERFECT stress relief project for me and set me back on my cookie love trail. I totally used this tutorial from Sweet Sugarbelle because I didn't have the time to be creative on my own! I am in love with these and they could be some of my favorites ever.

Under the Sea Cookies, Mermaid Cookies
 

Conservative Lingerie Cookies

A friend had asked me about doing some racy cookies for a lingerie shower, but I flat out told her no, that wasn't anything I wanted in my portfolio of work. I'm kind of a prude, I guess. So she then gave me creative freedom to come up with what I wanted to do. I so was not feeling these at all. I thought and thought and thought over them and just never felt good about them. So the night before they were due, I begrudgingly began them. I am just not a fan of the whole over the top T&A look of so many of the similar ones done using the heart cutters, so I think maybe the way I cut these lessened that effect. I used the lower section of a large onesie cutter for the underwear, which are more sort of granny panties. I still hated them and kept thinking, "Who wants to eat underwear?!?! Gross!" But they were happy with them and from what I understand, these ended up being the most conservative thing at the party.

(Side note: I have never attended a lingerie shower because when I was just out of high school, my best friend told me a horror story of one she'd attended for girl who attended high school with us. After she opened everything, she then MODELED every single item for the party goers. That idea has always stuck with me and I promptly decline all invitations to lingerie showers for that precise reason, although I am sure that isn't common practice, just knowing that it happened at least once has completely scared me away from ever attending one!! So, I am sure that may be partly where my distaste for doing these cookies came from as well.)

Conservative Lingerie Cookies
 

Veitch4DA cookies

I am part of the small team working to elect Bill Veitch as our local DA in 2016. We did our campaign kickoff in early August and I decided these would be a cool addition to the food for the evening. HUGE mistake! haha! Now they've been requested for all upcoming events! #Veitch4DA

Veitch4DA Cookies

Veitch4DA cookies

Veitch4DA Logo on which the cookies were based



Fender Bass Guitar Cookies

Did these for my cousin's husband at the end of July for his birthday. He was a bass player in his younger days and did the whole hair band thing, so these were perfect for him.

Bass Guitar Cookies

Bass Guitar Cookies
 

Lightning Bug Cookies and Watermelon Cookies

Did these back around July 4th for a friend's grandchildren for their lake outing for the 4th.
Lightning Bug Jar Cookies

Lightning Bug Cookies


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pirate Cookies

My adorable little nephew wanted a Jake and the Neverland Pirates party for his 4th birthday, so I volunteered to do some pirate themed cookies. I didn't want to try to do character cookies because without a KopyKake, I find recreating specific characters very difficult, so I thought coordinating cookies would be perfect. I knew I wanted a treasure chest as the centerpiece, so I went to Michael's and found this little unfinished one for $9.99 and used my 50% off coupon. I heavily diluted some brown craft paint and did a color wash on it. One application was plenty. Then I printed the skull image on my black and white laser printer and attached it with a homemade version of modge podge, which was watered down Elmer's glue. Worked perfectly and gave the set that little extra something I had in mind.

Pirate Cookies

  video
My thank you video for the cookies. How Adorable!

Tool Cookies

Did these for a tool and gadget shower for one of my husband's cousins that was this past Saturday. Of course, this is the photo op version, because there were almost 90 of these bad boys overall! I also did the letter W on the little wooden toolbox. I'd debated whether to make the toolbox out of cookies as well, but decided against it because of all of the icing and drying time it would require. Found this little unfinished toolbox at Michael's for less than $5.00, so I grabbed it up, along with some white craft paint. After that dried, I did a very watered down coat of brown craft paint over it and immediately wiped it off.

I really like the details on this version of the tool cookies I did, as opposed to the first set I did a few months ago. I think it makes all of the difference in the world. Differences? Pliers are muli-leveled and have a screw on them. I love that little screw and the notch on it. The hammer, wrench and screwdriver also have multiple layers, which makes them much more realistic. And I added silver metallic luster dust (mixed with a few drops of vodka) for a metal finish on everything that required it, except the saws. I really need to invest in some better brushes for that purpose.

Tool Cookies

Kentucky Basketball Cookies

Some months ago a friend from my hometown was raising money for genetic testing for her granddaughters for a condition known as Dravet Syndrome and I offered up two dozen cookies for auction as my donation. She posted the auction in two places, so I ended up agreeing to honor both auction winners, because there was no way for those in each place to see the other bids. My friend, Amy, who I have done a number of cookies for in the past, ended up winning her auction and asked if she could wait to redeem her winning bid for her husband's birthday in June, although she immediately made her donation. (BTW: Between both auctions, we raised $110.00 for the cause!) I told her that was fine. She had no idea what she wanted to do, but then it hit me that her husband was a University of Kentucky fan, or at least I thought so. I sent her daughter a message to confirm because I wanted Amy to be as surprised as Mark would be. Her daughter said he would LOVE them. When I delivered them on Sunday, Amy's face and reaction of pure excitement and surprise said it all! :) (Also of note, genetic testing came back and they do NOT have the syndrome!)

I ordered this UK cutter from JB Cookie Cutters, who do 3D printing to make cookie cutters. When it arrived, I was a little disappointed with the size as it seemed awfully small, but it ended up working just fine. They also sent the component parts of the cutter, I guess in case I was doing fondant. Because they were a bit on the small side, they were a bit tedious to do. I ended up doing the white outline first and then filling in, which makes the blue a little lumpy looking, but I was too scared to try it otherwise. Now that I have a point of reference for them with these finished cookies, I think next time (she posted them on FB last night and I already have a request for some for a birthday in September) that I'll do a completely blue flood and fill first and then come back when that is dry and do the white outlines.

Kentucky Basketball Cookies

Kentucky Basketball Cookies

Trains and Teddy Bear Cookies

Did these trains and teddy bears for the child/grandchild of some long time friends. I decided to try my first go at a 3D/stand-up cookie with one of the trains. Just made a couple of long rectangles to bridge them together and attached them inside with really stiff royal icing. I LOVE that they ended up using it on the cake! I recently bought the Betty Crocker 101 set of cutters because there were a couple in there that I wanted, so of course, I just got all 101! ha! Anyway, I used the train cutter from that set instead of the only other one I had which was from the Wilton 101 set, because I liked the design of this one better.


Train Cookies, Teddy Bear Cookies


Train Cookies, Teddy Bear Cookies

Train and Teddy Bear Cookies

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Swirl Rose Cookies using Royal Icing.

Sometimes things work out just as they were in my head. I am in love with these rose cookies. And my, oh my, they were so super simple.

I was asked by a friend's mom to do angels and roses for a luncheon she was giving for a wives group at a VFW gathering during D-Day weekend. The luncheon was to honor the outgoing president of their group, who had used the symbols of angels and roses during her term. Her daughter did lovely stemmed beverage glasses with a rose embossed on the base of each. I had done some roses before, but didn't really like them, so I wanted a different idea. I noticed when I did a google image search that a few people had done simple swirl roses using a 1M tip. I'd always assumed they were buttercream cookies and couldn't be done with royal icing, because I've done tons of buttercream swirl roses on cupcakes and swirl rose cakes. Upon further investigation, I discovered that I could do them with very stiff royal icing. My decision was made - that was what I would be doing for the roses! I used a round cutter and added a couple of small leaves to it. These things were so easy and so quick AND they look amazing. When I say quick, I mean super, super quick! I did about 2dz. each of the angels and roses. The angels took me just a little over an hour to complete. The roses were done within 10 minutes. The biggest delay was refilling my icing bag, because they do use quite a bit of icing, but they are so totally worth it.

Rose and Angel Cookies

Swirl Rose Cookie

Spa Party Cookies

Did these for a friend's daughter's birthday party. These have become a favorite, as it is the third time I have done ones like these. Loved the addition of mascara and eyelashes to the mix.

Spa Party Cookies

Tree Stump Cookies

Did these for the retirement party of a co-worker of my husband who has a side business doing stump grinding. I could not find an actual tree stump cutter anywhere, so I got a huge circle on from Sur la Table, broke it open and my husband and I shaped it into the stump. Since I had no idea what I was doing, I just jumped in and tried. Notice the few along the back that have the larger "cut area" showing, those were my first ones and I totally wasn't feeling them. I adjusted doing the same portion in a smaller surface area and ended up liking them much better.

Tree Stump Cookies

Watermelon Cookies

Did these for our local bar association's annual picnic. I don't like the shade of bright green I used - I ended up mixing electric yellow and avocado, which looks like a neon yellow/green shade. Next time I'll either do plain old electric green or a mix of lemon yellow with avocado to get a less glow in the dark shade. ha! I also just did random black RI transfers for the seeds. Can't locate black candy covered sunflower seeds without ordering online, which I hate doing, so next time I am going to try using Wilton spray color in black on a bunch of colored candy covered sunflower seeds I already have for a more uniform look.

Watermelon Cookies

Friday, May 22, 2015

Baby Rattle Cookies for a Baby Tea

I did these for my husband's little cousin's baby tea. I'd told her that I would be glad to do some and really had a platter of 3-4 dozen in mind when I made the offer, but didn't specify that. So when they let me know what they wanted to do, the cookies were going to be used as favors for 80ish guests. Of course doing cookie favors is different than simply doing a mixed platter with quick and easy coordinating fill-ins, so I had to figure out what I was going to do. For favors they need to be either all uniform or at least similar in size, so I initially settled for doing a mix of bottles, rattles and onesies, but I had a lot of other cookies going on for the same delivery day and didn't get started even baking them until after 9:00pm the night before I was to deliver them at 8:00 am. Since the number was over double what I'd initially planned for, all needed to be detailed and because I was running super short on time, I opted to do all rattles because they had the smallest surface area of decorating and for drying time. The colors were yellow and blue so I did a mix of all of the colors and did about 6 variations on the overall look of them.

Also, note my fantastic piping on the words, "Oh boy!" Yep, that is the result of the most magical tip ever that I received as a birthday gift from my long time friend Kim, remember, she's the one who gave me the mixer for my birthday a couple of years ago. Ya know, every year for my birthday, she does things that I can never top or even come close to matching in return for her. She's awesome! Anyhow, I digress. That piping is the result of my new PME Supatube 1.5 writing tip. I'd read so many people talk about how awesome it was, but was still like, "Seriously, how can it possibly be THAT much better?" But it so is!! It is like there's this magical little elf inside the elongated portion of the tip making everything you pipe come out beautifully. Looks like super-cheapo me, will be investing in some more of these awesome tips!!

I didn't get a pic of these cookies before I delivered them, but my aunt snapped a cell phone pic of a few that remained near the end of the tea. This is that pic.

Baby Shower Cookies

Girly Cookies for a Bachelorette Party - High Heel Shoes, Diamond Rings, etc.

These are pretty much exactly what the title of this post says, not much more on which I can elaborate. I will say this was my first time using Americolor Deep Pink instead of Soft Pink and I think I really like it a lot better. I had planned to use both, but just ended up using the same batch of colored icing and just diluted the color with additional uncolored icing to achieve the lighter shade of pink.

Engagement Ring Cookies

High Heel Shoe Cookies
 
Girly Cookies

Birthday Cookies

These are a couple of sets of birthday cookies I did for a friend and for a friend's daughter. For the candle, I used a cutter like this one and just cut off the bottom section. Works well, but I really want to get a chubby candle cutter a long these lines or like this, but until then, this works fine. I also did some birthday cupcakes for Kelly, which were just plain yellow cake with vanilla buttercream icing.

The writing on both of these is horrible! Even though I'd received my AWESOME PME Supatube 1.5 writing tip by then, I'd been too lazy to mix a separate batch of piping consistency icing and didn't thicken these enough to keep the letters from running together. Other than that, I was good with them. 

The turquoise color for Hallie's cookies was made using a suggestion from Jill of Funky Cookie Studio. Everything I'd tried kept coming out too green and then one day I saw something she posted and inquired how she achieved the shade. She used electric blue and a smidge of avocado green. I was thinking I followed her suggestion to get my color, but when I looked it up just now, I am certain that I do not own electric blue, so I may have used royal blue and avocado green, which is why mine isn't quite as bright as hers were - makes sense now. Pay attention, Beth! haha!

Birthday Cookie Platter

Cupcakes
I did Kelly's a few weeks before doing these for Hallie's and decided to do the candles differently  and love the results.

Birthday Cookie Set

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tool and Gadget Shower Cookies

Did these last weekend for a friend who was giving a tool and gadget shower for a young couple.

Tool Cookies









Tool Cookies

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Gone Fishin' Cookies


An old friend asked me to do some fish cookies for her dad's 73rd birthday since he's a big bass fisherman. I've always adored him, so I went all out and did a whole fishing theme. Used this idea to give the fish some sparkle like scales would using Wilton pearl spray. I LOVED the mouths on these, so I tried a similar effect, although I was too lazy to thicken my icing. Although they are upside down in the pics she sent to me, I loved these old school life jackets and recreated them. Used a Christmas ornament to make the bob thing, and I hand cut the boats based on my horrible free hand drawing of these. I also hand cut the fishing rods and pretty well copied these done by the master, Sugarbelle.

Fishing Cookies




Bass Fishing cookies

 Gone Fishin' cookies

Fishing Cookies

Gone Fishin' cookies

Fishing themed cookies