Since it was part of my winning bundle, let's start with the jellyfish. I wanted it to be "sort of" real looking... but not necessarily anatomically correct. I saw lots of examples of happy jellyfish, plain jellyfish, and fancy jellyfish as I trolled the internet...but, not what I was looking for.
I found a photo that looked pretty - I was looking for the blues that appear almost iridescent. I don't want to steal any one's work, so I'll link you to the photo I tried to imitate (well, I guess I should say it was the inspiration - because it doesn't really look anything like my cookies look).
I started with a chocolate sugar cookie from fellow-blogger, LilaLoa. I liked the flavor and the dark color as a background. I am not posting her recipe because I didn't alter it at all, so please stop by her blog and check it out. She is a great cookie decorator and her writing style is very entertaining. You won't be sorry.
Back to the jellyfish. So, I baked off just 7 of that shape. Like the patriotic cookies, I had to wait a couple of days to get the right "atmospheric conditions" for using royal icing. I knew this cookie would require a couple of days of "patience". I sketched a pencil mock-up of the cookie components and how I would layer it up - laid out a time frame to ensure adequate drying time. Since I started with these cookies, I was actually able to do the base coats over the course of one day...starting early and finishing late.
I used a sky blue from Americolor, then a darker mixture of sky blue, royal blue and one drop of black (all Americolor)...and then I took some white and added it to the sky blue - just squeezed it straight into the piping bag and squished it around (kind of wanting it lighter and marbled looking), and then last, white for tentacles. Sound confusing? Yep, me too, that's why I wrote it all out in advance.
First, and foremost, I will again state...not anatomically correct - simply wanting to make it look "real" vs "cartoonish" and impeded in that quest by the limitations of this basic cookie cutter shape and my eye's inability to see dimension (or how to create dimension). I am simply NOT an artist. I view the cookie decorating more as crafting. My high school art teacher tried to help me be a better artist...but I think I was pretty much one of those students she just helped get through the class! So, with those points straightened out. I began.
I outlined and filled the top of the bell cap (uh, the aboral surface?) and the poor attempt at making it 3-d with icing (really hard) by piping the bottom part of the cap with the same color. Used the sky blue for that.
I allowed it to dry several hours then filled in the darker shade of blue to represent the lower under inside of the bell cap. That's not how it ended up looking...but that was the intention. Allowed to dry a few hours also.
Then, I did the marblized blue and white section where the tentacles would go. It didn't look as marbled as I had expected.
If you looked at the photograph, you saw there were some big thick things hanging down from the center of the underside of the bell cap ...the manubrium? Then, white hangy down things...which I call tentacles...but I am not sure what they are called exactly. I had to fit all that into the little cookie section obviously meant for "tentacles".
The next morning I piped white tentacles on the designated tentacle area. Several hours later, I mixed up some dark gray icing.
I piped small dots all over the "top" of the bell cap and drew a line across the bottom of the upper blue section. Then I used a damp paint brush to "shade" down towards the center of the darker blue middle part. Confused much? I was. I found I didn't like the look of the manubrium...and left it off half the cookies. It just looked sort of ugly to me. (shrug)
Last, but not least, I very lightly sprinkled some disco dust over the cap to give it the iridescent look I was going for. Unfortunately, it doesn't show as well in the photos...but "in person" it looks just the right kind of sparkly.
It was a satisfying project...wouldn't want to do a boat load of these cookies, but they did what I wanted them to do. They looked pretty on the cookie tray I think. Well, hmmm...now that I look at them, they might be mistaken as aliens. I'm going to have to make more of these because I already see changes I would make.
So, next will come the lighthouses...when I get around to writing it up :-)
Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!