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Friday, February 13, 2015

The Valentine Cookie Parade 2015!



Well, it's time!  I finally finished all the cookies I'm gonna finish.  I always end up with unfinished cookies, because I run out of time...once again, that is the case!  Oh well.  I don't care, I just do what I can do.  I'm sure Mr. Flip Flop will eat the "nekkid" ones!

I have been cleaning piping tips, couplers, ties, and all the "stuff" I use...refiling stencils, replacing everything in my cookie armoire where it belongs.  The clutter overtakes my dining area for about 10 days while I bake and decorate in waves before a holiday.


Whew, glad to be done with it for a few days.

Next I start on the donation for the KOA Care Camp auction.  That gives me a week-end reprieve.  Then I'm back to mixing, rolling, cutting, baking, cooling, icing, drying, decorating, drying, and decorating some more!  I only do it because I love to do it.  It's my favorite hobby.  I still get asked "how can I order your cookies" and I have to keep saying "I don't sell my cookies".  I like the freedom to create what I want to create and not what people want me to create.  The few times I've done it, I was a stressed out mess.  Maybe some day - but I'd really rather teach someone to do it themselves than to take orders and pump out cookies looking the same, one after another.  Not my thing!

I had fun stretching my wings this Valentine's with some new cookie cutters.  I bought a few from Whisked Away Cutters (on Etsy) and used the tiny owl cutter to make an owl like Sweet Sugarbelle demonstrated on her web site.  They were one of my favorites this year.

Also had fun with the "wedding bouquet" cookie cutter using the tiny piped roses I learned from my SweetAmbs Craftsy Sweet Elegance class.  They turned out cute I thought.

My friend, Jessica, took the photo below of one of the bouquets - she's an awesome photographer and I really enjoyed her visiting a cookie decorating day at my condo.  All of the ones that I could not take or wouldn't have thought to take (me working on the owls, the piping bags on the table, etc.) were taken by Jessica and you can see them in the Food Photography gallery at Just Us Photography.
I also acquired this cuteeee tiny cupcake cutter which I know I will use repeatedly for upcoming birthdays and other celebratory events.  They are so sweet.

I used a lot of new and not-so-new stencils on a variety of cookies.  I enjoy stencil work quite a bit.  I am getting more tools to help steady things during the process (which you can read about here). The lips and the guitar necks were new to me and I liked their addition to this "musical set".  My granddaughter is in choir (upper left went to her), my middle son has given me a lot of Mary Chapin Carpenter music over the years, so he got the upper right (I'm sure he won't think that's too weird - he'll "get" the connection)  The Love Me Do nod to The Beatles went to my youngest Beatles fan...he texted me that it was "cheeky, Mom".  Fun to do, one and all. Love baking for my family above all others!


I have worked for over two years trying to free hand scroll work without a template or looking at a picture.  I finally just sat down and did this heart on the left below - and the light wasn't even on!  Maybe I just needed to forget the fear of messing up and just go for it.  Turned out pretty well - and I was happy about having one I didn't cringe from.  I love the look of scroll work on cookies - looks elegant.  Another skill learned from Amber Spiegel of SweetAmbs.  She makes it look effortless.

I'm giggling over my ASL "I Love You" cookies - they looked a little funky to me, but I've not figured out just the right way to make them look right.  I've done three sets of these in the past and none were worth photographing.  I'll keep working on it and WILL get it right eventually!

These last three photos were using the chocolate cookie dough from LilaLoa's recipe and a slightly altered recipe of my cream cheese meringue powder icing to top them.  Crusted much better and tasted pretty darn good.
Rolled and cut large hearts and cut out the center with a
smaller heart - which I simply iced below.
Photo by Jessica
I enjoyed quilting on this cookie on the right.
On the first one I didn't measure the lines.  Awful.
This one I used a ruler and an edible
marker and it was just right.
Another technique I worked on this year was making a
ruffled lace edge on some of the hearts using brush
embroidery.  More techniques learned from the
tutorials from Montreal Confections, McGooU, and
 many other cookie artists.  It sounds easy...but I had to
find just the right brush to make it work right.
Well, that's the end of the cookies I (or Jessica) photographed.  I baked 90, ate a couple, and decorated about 70 cookies.  I know my sons' and my granddaughters' cookies arrived at their destination unscathed.  I have a few local friends to deliver to and then I'm finished with the Valentine decorating extravaganza.  Mr. Flip Flop ended up on-call on the 14th, so we will be celebrating on Friday the 13th.  Hope it's a good luck day for us!

May every day be filled with love - whether it is love for your best friend, your beloved, your family, your pet, the beautiful outdoors, the beach, the mountains...whatever rings your chimes.  Let it fill your heart on the holiday of love.


Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!



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