Jamie and Claire! Have fun making your Bonny Plaids!
I have a *slight* obsession right now. A little something called "Outlander".
It started about a month ago when I decided to watch the Starz "Outlander" series on tv. Eight episodes later, I was left hanging with "WHAT HAPPENS NOW?!". Unbeknownst to me, the show was based on Outlander, a book series by Diana Gabaldon. Two days later, thanks to Amazon Prime, the first three books were at my doorstep. If you are unfamiliar with the story, the gist is Clarie, an English nurse, goes back in time from 1940's to 1740's Scotland. She falls in love in Jamie, a Scottish Highlander and outlaw.
Oh. my. word.
This has inspired me to cookie some of my favorite characters from the books. And since the male lead character is Scottish, I had to include some plaid cookies Now, I do no claim to know anything about Scottish tartan-don't fuss at me. But I do know a little something about cookie tartan!
You'll need a candy stripe stencil. I tried to remember where I got my candy stripe stencil but was out of luck. You can find a similar stencil here. You might even be able to get the stencil made by one of the great cookie stencil makers out there. Another option would be to print one on cardstock. You can cut out the stencil with an exacto and ruler (and a steady hand) or a scrapbook paper cutter.
Let's make some bonny plaid cookies!
I started off with a square cookie that I flooded light bluish gray. It is completely dry.
Now, time to airbrush! I decided to use violet to airbrush the thicker open areas of the stencil. It's not a big deal that the smaller lines got a little airbrush too- I'll airbrush over them later.
Now turn your stencil 90 degrees and airbrush violet again in the larger open areas.
Clean your airbrush and load your selected color for the smaller lines. I chose royal blue. Carefully and lightly airbrush the smaller lines. Turn your stencil 90 degrees again. Take care to line up the stencil with the already airbrushed lines. Lightly airbrush the small lines again.
The colors were a little too bright for me, so I lightly airbrushed black over the entire cookie. I wanted a muted, almost dingy look. The look of well-worn tartan.
I really like how they turned out, especially with their corresponding cookies.
I don't think it's a coincidence that plaid is a hot print for this fall. Here's an airbrushing tip! Try out your pattern by airbrushing on ordinary printer paper. You'll be able to practice control of the airbrush gun, as well as see how the colors interact with one another. Keep in mind, though, that airbrush colors can be altered by the flood color beneath. Check out the plaids I made for fall and winter cookies!
Seriously- how cute is this plaid polka-dot pumpkin?!
Now, if you don't mind, I have to get back to the adventures of
Jamie and Claire! Have fun making your Bonny Plaids!
These little swirly roses are a twist on Sugarbelle's Simple Swirl Rose. As I was recreating her sweet little flowers, I made a mistake. A mistake that I loved!
Sugarbelle's Simple Swirl Roses are a view of a rose from above the blossom, with the swirl centralized. I offset my swirl so that you view the rose from the side of the blossom. That sounds kinda confusing. Let me show you!
After the icing dome has crusted, pipe
a "smile" along the bottom edge.
You can pipe the swirl to the left or to the right to get a little variety!
I think Sugarbelle's Simple Swirl Roses and these side-view roses make for a really pretty bouquet. . .
as well as sweet accents to simple cookies!
Best of all, these pretty flowers can be made in advanced as transfers!
I received many wonderful inquiries as to how I created the seashells for this "Sweets from the Sea" collection. Check out my tutorial on the starfish here.
Let me show you!
Bake your favorite seashell shape. Flood with the color of your choice. After it dries, pipe some lines in the same color as the flood. Allow the lines to dry.
Trace your seashell cutter onto a food container lid (like a coffee can or cool-whip lid). Cut out the shell shape. Make a simple curve for the top of the shell, not the wavy line.
For the remainder of the tutorial, I have a video to share! Mind you, it's only made on my iphone with my 11-year old as the videographer. It's not fancy, but it will do the trick! Enjoy!
Who's up for a trip to the beach?
When I think of starfish, these beauties come to mind.
Do you know that they are called "Sugar Starfish"?! Honest! And with a name like that, I just knew I had to cookie them! After studying many starfish pictures, I thought that I would try to recreate the texture with royal icing and nonpareils.
Let me show you how I made them!
First, cut and bake your starfish shapes. If you don't have a starfish cutter, just use a regular star cutter but round off and curve the ends a little so it looks less like a perfect star. Bake and cool. Flood with a golden brown color. Let it dry really well.
While your flood is drying, add some color to your nonpareils. I put some plain white nonpareils in a small cup and lightly airbrushed them with Amerimist Ivory. I continually swirled the cup as I airbrushed to coat the nonpareils as evenly as possible. Afterwards, I mixed in a pinch of confectioner's sugar so that the nonpareils wouldn't clump together.
For the starfish's texture, use a thick, light yellowy-tan royal icing.
I used a boo-boo stick to apply the texture, but an off-set spatula would work, too. Place a little bit of icing on the flat edge of the stick or spatula and touch it to the surface of the cookie. Immediately lift the stick straight up.
Use the stick or spatula to press and lift the icing over the surface of the cookie. Don't smear the icing side to side. Press down and lift straight up. Add more icing as needed to coat the surface.
While this texture is drying (it should dry pretty fast), thin out some of the light tan color to piping consistency. Place it in a piping bag with a #2 tip. Pipe a star shape and center lines extending down each arm. Immediately sprinkle some of the nonpareils on this piped line.
Pipe some additional random dots in the center of the star and down each arm. Add the nonpareils and you're done!
These starfish would be a great addition to a beach themed party or wedding!
Sanding Sugars. Those tiny, sweet crystals that can add a little extra sparkle and depth to cookies. Like many other cookiers, I have a slight addiction to sanding sugars and sprinkles. It doesn't take long to amass a generous collection of these miniature gems.
Sanding sugars. Coarse sugars. Sugar pearls. Nonpareils and Sixlets. In every color imaginable. Not to mention metallic dragées and wide array of shaped sprinkles- from hearts to flowers, pigs to leaves. And before you know it, you have enough sugar toppers to sugar-coat every cookie you make for an entire year. And still have some sugar leftover. That can create a bit of a storage issue.
I store my sugars 'n sprinkles upside-down in Rubbermaid totes. It makes it easier to find what I am looking for.
Sometimes, though, I don't use the sugars straight from the bottle. I'll make specialty sanding sugar mixes for specific purposes. Let me show you some of my favorites.
Birthday Candle Mix
A mix of little yellow, orange, red, and clear
Salt 'n Pepper Mix
A mix of black and clear
Ruby Slipper Mix
A mix of clear, red, and silver (silver is the key!)
Beach Sand Mix
A mix of gold, brown (it's the CK brand- it looks like charcoal gray), yellow, and clear
Some sanding sugar tidbits:
* These little cups are great to store your sanding sugar mixes. They're great for salad dressings, and Jello-shots too! I found them at Wal-Mart next to the paper plates and plastic silverware.
* I buy my sugars from a variety of places. Best deals can be found immediately after the holidays when they go on clearance. Also, check local Amish/farmers markets.
* Look for multi-color bottles of sugar pearls and sixlets. Just pick out the colors as you need them.
* Hold a sugar swap! Get together with some other cookie pals and share sugars. Use the little cups to take home your sweet stash. Not only will you save on storage, but you'll save money too!
Hopefully I have inspired you to put some of those sugars to good use!
Today I had posted these blossoms on Jill FCS' wall as my contribution to her share theme of "understated artistry". She was looking for cookies where the number of colors and techniques were limited but the cookier still pulled off a beautiful cookie.
I was overwhelmed with wonderful comments and likes for these simple blossoms. Then there was talk of a tutorial within those comments. So I had to make a choice: laundry or make a video tutorial. I can hear the Cookie Widower now fussing at the offspring about turning their socks right side out. Love that man!
So here is my completely non-professional video of how to make my little blossom. Try to ignore the hum of my commercial refrigerator in the background. Boy that thing is loud!
Looking back at my purple ones, it looks like I did slightly smaller petals in between the bigger ones, since I had used a flower shaped cookie. The idea is still the same as what I had demonstrated in the video.
It was fun doing that little video! Kind of reminiscent of my old teaching days. So what do you think- would you like to see more videos?
School will be out for my kids in less than two weeks. It is the first year that I am not teaching and experiencing that sheer giddiness of handing in my classroom keys for the summer. No, this year it's different. In less than two weeks, my boys will be together 24-7. With lots of fighting, and yelling, and eating, and a little bit of getting along thrown in there. Just a little though. My days of quiet cookie-making are going to come to a screeching halt.
School-themed cookies are great gifts for those individuals who have tolerated and taught the offspring as a sort of consolation prize. Of course these could be used for the start of school too!
I love re-purposing cookie cutters. I'd bet you'll never guess where that pencil and book stack came from!
Chances are, your necktie cutters are out anyway for Father's Day. Just chop off the knot part and you have a chunky pencil.
Take that grad cap and lob off the tassel. Turn it upside down and it's great for a stacked set of books. The grad cap cutter is also great for cute Pool Frogs.
I don't know of any teacher who wouldn't like a beautiful set of cookies as a Thank You gift, boxed in a BRP gift box.
The ultimate teacher gift, though, is an extra month of summer. I wonder if BRP Box Shop has a box big enough for that. . .
To all the teachers and students out there-
Have a Fantastic and Safe Summer!
Graduation season is coming to a close and the thermometer says that summer is right around the corner. What does graduation and summertime have in common?
The Wilton graduation cookie cutters! With a little creative thinking, these cookie cutters can be pool-ready in no time!
See how the frog is really the graduation cap- upside down?
Let me show you how to make this cutie pool frog!
After baking, turn that cap upside down. Pipe the swimming mask with piping consistency icing. Let it dry for a bit.
Use a 20-second green to pipe the frog skin. Quickly add a few yellow spots.
Grab some 20-second white and fill in the mask. While it's still wet, add in a little blue to give it that "glass" reflective look. Drop in some black for eyes now too! Pretend there are eyes in the pic :) Let dry for a bit.
Grab some thick black icing. Add some of the facial details- like the nostrils and happy smile.
Once the mouth has dried a bit, pipe the snorkel tube with a thicker icing. Mine was a little too thin, but it was already in the decorator bag. And I was feeling lazy.
After the snorkel tube has crusted, add in a few small details to the tube to finish it off. I think he's ready to jump in!
Our pool frog needs a towel to dry off! Use that diploma cutter to make a wrapped up beach towel.
Add in a few other summertime cookies and you are ready for that first pool party of the season!
You'll be sure to make a splash!
When I see old-style Singer sewing machines, I immediately think of my Mom. Maybe it's because she's always sewing something- curtains, tablecloths, aprons, pillowcases for my boys. She even sewed my wedding dress, with a broken arm I might add. My mental picture of Mom is one where she's wearing one of her old aprons with a tape measure draped over her shoulders. A thimble is on her finger, and straight pins between her teeth. Yup, that's my Mom.
A few years ago, Mom came across some old Singer sewing machines at a yard sale. You could just hear her light up as she talked about the little treasure she acquired, especially when she described it's miniature size and how it worked like a charm.
She even picked up one for me! Not that I sew an awful lot. Ok. I haven't *yet* used it. But I know it works. Mom told me so. And it will be there when I am ready for it.
And thus started the association with old Singers and my mom. Whenever I see one, in any form, I immediately think of Mom. I even bought an old treadle-style Singer machine head from a local swap-n-sell for pretty cheap. I have no idea if it works, and frankly I don't care. I just wanted to put it on my shelf and think of Mom when I see it. Isn't it pretty?! I did a little research on my antique and get this- the decal style is called "gingerbread". No lie. It was fate.
So it was a no-brainer when I came across a sewing kit cookie cutter set from Foose. I had to have it because it reminded me of Mom. It has several sewing-related cutters, including that treasured sewing machine. I decided to bake the cookie sewing machine on a rectangle as it's base.
The supporting cast of cookies includes some thread, buttons, and thimble. The texture technique on the thimble is the brainchild of Bluebonnet Bake Shoppe. She had used it for cookie golf balls and it works great for thimbles too!
I am completely in love with my cookie pin cushion. Americolor's Tulip Red makes that perfect red-with-a-touch-of-orange that is the same color of my mother's real pin cushion.
I packaged up my cookie sewing kit and mailed it to my Mom a few days ago. Let me tell you, she was so excited. She even told the girl at the deli counter about her cookies. That's love :)
So on this Mother's Day, think of that Mom or Mom-like figure that has guided you to become the person you are. And be *sew* thankful for the impact she has made on your life!
Happy Mother's Day!
In my house, my boys were fascinated with leprechauns- those nosy little green men that popped up around St. Paddy's Day. They knew the stories of how these mythical little creatures were greedy and ruthless in their endless search for gold coins, or any money for that matter. In hopes of seeing (and catching) one of these mysterious creatures, my kids would make "leprechaun traps" of sorts with assorted boxes and toys, baited with a few pennies and quarters. Overnight, the nosy leprechaun would spring the trap, steal the coins, but leave a little something sweet to commend the boys' efforts in trying to trap him.
So I decided to make a version of these nosy leprechauns-
NOSY in the literal sense!
WOW- that's a big nose. Perfect for a nosy little creature! Let's make them!
I used an upside-down baby face cutter. Find it here. When I bought it, I wasn't sure about the pointy-hair part- but it's perfect for a beard!
Time to decorate!
And there you are- some nosy leprechauns!
Pair them with some little pots of gold! Check out the awesome pots of gold from SemiSweet and Sweetopia!
Happy St. Patrick's Day!