Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Michael Jackson Cookies

I tried to get creative with the title, I really did, but it just wasn't coming to me.  So instead you get the most boring title ever.  Mr. John thought "You've been hit by a smooth cookier" was a good idea.  :D  If you have any ideas for optional titles, I'd love to hear them.

Unless I get crazy and decide to pull out some New Years cookies, I think these are the last cookies of 2011.  I made these for a lady who makes me watch scary movies, who orders thai food for me at restaurants, and who is basically an incredible person (even though she's never eaten one of my cookies because she doesn't eat wheat); Angela.  Her co-worker was promoted so she had me make some cookies for him of things he loves.  She told me two things:  Michael & Jackson. 

Actually she told me Michael Jackson and Dallas Cowboys, but I don't want to promote the Cowboys in any way :D  In fact, I'm going to go cross out all the references above about said football team.  Against my better judgement I made those blue atrocities and sent them on their way.  ahem... back to the cookies at hand:

I was singing Michael's songs the whole time I was painting these cookies and I did a pretty mean moonwalk in the kitchen as I boxed these babies up.  I also couldn't resist doing this:

 and I will leave with you that disturbing image.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas!

 What an incredible year it has been!  I am so blessed by the new friends and inspiration I've found through blogging.  This year was full of discoveries for me.  I discovered cookies as a canvas and it has changed the way I think.  I have discovered lots of new friends who cheer me on and give so much encouragement it boggles my mind. 

I look back at this year when I created my Arty McGoo facebook page specifically as a defining moment.  It asks you to classify yourself.  There were several options that I contemplated like: personal blog and food.  I saw the option of "artist" but I shied away from it.  I can't call myself that!  I almost chose personal blog, but something made me click that scary word instead.  ARTIST. . .  you know what happened?  Nobody laughed!  Nobody sent me an email asking me to rescind my decision.  Nobody told me that they actually were an artist and that it offended them that I used that term for myself.  Someone DID ask me if I had an art degree and it scared me for about a half a second until I realized it was a compliment and not a verification of my status. 

You know what else happened?  People started "liking" my page!  They started commenting on my creations on facebook and here on my blog!  People started calling me an ARTIST!  People I admire and looked to for inspiration were admiring MY work!  What a thrill!  (Have I used enough exclamation points to illustrate the fact that all of these things excited me?!!!!  and continue to excite me?!! )

I just wanted to say:  THANK YOU!  I realize how lucky I am.  I'm just a girl (so I'm 33, but who's counting?!) who has a passion for painting on cookies but never imagined that would be of interest to anybody else.  I so appreciate every comment and email I get and I love being able to answer questions for people who are trying out this painting on cookies adventure with me.  It really touches me to think I might have inspired someone!

Someone asked me the other day "What do you do?" and you know what I told them (with only a trace of trepidation)?  "I am an artist."

I can't wait to see what next year brings.  I am full of hope and ideas and excitement for things to come.  I hope you can find beauty and meaning in your family gatherings and traditions as you celebrate this year.  We celebrate Christmas so I made these Christmas greeting cookies, but I also wish you a very Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and hope they are magical!  See you next year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12 Days of Christmas

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
I made these cookies for the lovely Shannon who won my 1000 facebook friend giveaway.  She is so sweet and when I asked her what she wanted me to cookie for her she told me I could do anything I wanted, but she'd like them to be Christmasy.  I'd been thinking about doing 12 days of Christmas cookies for a while so this was a perfect opportunity since she won a dozen cookies.  Coincidence?  I think not!  I had so much fun painting these.  Until I did these cookies I never realized it's almost half birds and half people. 

I'm not exactly Shannon's true love, but I did send her:
  • 12 drummers drumming
  • 11 pipers piping
  • 10 lords a leaping
  •   ladies dancing
  •   maids a milking
  •   swans a swimming
  •   geese a laying
  • 4   calling birds
  • 3   french hens
  •   turtle doves 
  • and a partridge in a pear tree!
  I hope you are thoroughly enjoying this beautiful season and taking the time to really celebrate Christmas.  I guess what I'm saying is take time to smell the roses poinsettias, notice if the birds are partidges or french hens, and appreciate the people around you whether they are maids, drummers, or leaping lords.  There is a special spirit this time of year, don't forget to stop and feel it!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

I Make Stuff

I'm having a particularly lazy Saturday today and I didn't want to ruin it by doing anything productive, but I still wanted to accomplish something.  That's when I decided to finally change out of my pajamas and pull on some jeans.  That oughta do it!

I know the next couple of days and weeks are going to get crazy so I didn't want to use up this one precious Saturday to do anything really useful.  That's when I remembered a thought I've been playing around with for a while.  It wasn't even my thought originally so it still qualifies as an acceptable activity for my lazy Saturday.  Several months ago my friend Callye from The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle (the most amazing blog in the universe) suggested I make a cookie of my blog header.  I thought it was a hilarious idea and filed it away for a day just like today.

I grabbed a leftover cookie and I got to work painting.  myself.  on a cookie.
Okay, so now that I type that I realize this must be the most self-involved post possible.
But, hey!  That's what a lazy Saturday is all about.  I think I'll round out my self-centered/ lazy day eating a cookie of myself and painting my toenails!  Good day to you sir!


P.S. a little more self-centeredness action:  I made a button for my blog if you'd like to grab it.  I'm too lazy today to post it here, but it should be somewhere over there...  yeah over there to the right.  And of course it's a picture of what else? ME!

P.s.s. I'm totally going to make up for all this self-centered/laziness today and host a giveaway.  I should have it all figured out once I'm done being lazy.

P.s.s.s.  Thank you Callye for giving me the idea and thank you Stephanie Kappel who did a self-portrait cookie recently that showed me it could be done awesomely!  (click the links to go to their facebook pages.  they will rock your socks)

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Hills are ALIVE!

With the Sound of Music! 

My friend Carey... (I just realized I know at least 5 Carries with almost all different spellings)  Anywho...  My theatrically inclined friend Carey, (that still describes several of my Carries!) who shared the stage with me in Annie (that STILL describes 2 of my Carries!) recently told me the great news that her daughter had gotten the lead in her school play!  Not just any lead, THE lead in THE best musical of all TIME!  Katey got the role of Maria in The Sound of Music.  So to celebrate her opening night, Carey had me make a set of Sound of Music cookies for the whole cast.

Since this is one of my all-time favorite movies you can imagine how excited I was.  If ever there was a movie that needed to be cookie'd this was it!  While making these cookies I also got the strongest urge to watch the movie, which made me realize how long it had been since I'd seen it last.  Mr. John and I got cozy with the kids and immersed ourselves in the lederhosen-wearing clan's story.  Can anybody watch that movie without bursting into song???  It was so fun to introduce the kids to this classic.  They absolutely adored it, though they did have nightmares about Nazis that night.

So without further ado, or should I say adieu?  Here's what I came up with:
How do you solve a problem like Maria?

Most of the cookies
So much fun to make!
On that note:  So long, farewell.  I leave and heave a sigh and say "Goodbye!"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Goodbye November

 I LOVE autumn!  I love the colors, I love the smells, I love running through the leaves every morning.  It's still officially autumn, and since I live on the central coast of California, I won't even really see much of a change in the weather as it turns to "winter" here.  But our front yard and house are now covered with Christmas lights, our Christmas tree is standing in all its glory in the living room, and the autumn decorations are disappearing.  Denver wore a Santa hat to school today... with a skeleton shirt so it was a bit like sending Jack Skellington off to school.  Maybe he's a little torn on the season change as well?

Don't get me wrong:  I LOVE Christmas and I'm super excited as we pull out all of our decorations.  Bailey is playing Winter Wonderland on the piano right now.  I'm just a little sad to see autumn go.  So here is my farewell post to autumn.

I made the above chocolate autumn leaves for my friend, the carefree Cari.  Carefree, because she visited family for Thanksgiving and her assignment was cookies.  These were a change of pace for me and I really liked how they came out.  And the chocolate?  mmmm I made a couple extra entirely for quality control purposes.  I'm committed like that.  It took about 5 cookies to get a definite conclusion because I am dedicated to culinary perfection.  ummm, did I mention that 4 of those cookies were in cookie dough?  Ahhhh, sometimes life as a cookier is hard.

Speaking of Thanksgiving... we had a fabulous time with friends and family.  All told we had 20 people here who shared delicious food and conversation.  The one snag in our day:  Mr. John is my turkey man and he woke up early to stuff the bird and get it roasting.  Well, he found it half frozen still... after 6 DAYS of thawing!  He made a run to the grocery store and luckily they had a fresh 24 lb bird and everything turned out beautifully.

So, you ask, "What happened to that other ginormous turkey that has probably thawed by now?"  So glad you asked.  We made that turkey last night and plan to be eating turkey the rest of our lives.  Actually, we invited some friends over and we made a good dent in it, but guess what is for dinner tonight for the 6th day in a row?  Surprisingly I'm not tired of it yet, but the turkey fatigue is setting in for the kids.

And here is the latest contribution to the Dessert of the Month gift that I have been giving to my father in law this year.  I would post a link to the pecan pie recipe, but I really guessed here while making these.  I roughly cut down the recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and then added melted chocolate chips to the filling.  Sadly, one mini pie did not survive the evacuation of the muffin tin and I HAD to eat the crushed pie.  Once again... challenging times for me, but I do what I have to.  If you love pecan pie, try adding some melted chocolate to the filling.  You will not be sad.

I will post the recipe for the pie crust because I love it so much and it is all I ever use because it is awesome for everything from pies to quiches and it makes a ton!

MaryJo's Pie Crust
I don't know Mary Jo, but this is the recipe my mom has used since forever and when she shares the recipe she always calls it MaryJo's Pie Crust.  I bet my mom has made it more than MaryJo by now and it should be called Daphne's Pie Crust, but I digress... 

With electric mixer, mix:
6 C flour
3/4 tsp salt
3 C shortening 

In a 2 cup glass measuring cup:
1 C water
3 eggs
1 TBSP vinegar

Buzz briefly with handmixer to blend liquids, then add to the above flour/shortening mix, stirring together.
Separate into balls of dough about softball size.  Keep out what you need to use and freeze the rest in a ziplock bag.  Freezes nicely.  Makes about 5-6 balls of dough.  Roll out for pie shell.  Bake about 350* for 15-20 minutes.

These are all my mom's terms by the way.  I love how unfussy this recipe is.  No chilling, no fancy ingredients.  One thing to keep in mind:  I once tried butter flavored shortening, thinking that would be a yummy idea.  DO NOT DO THIS!  I don't know what is different in the butter flavored shortening than regular shortening, but it was a complete disaster!

Now that I've said goodbye to autumn, I'm ready... bring on winter!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Cart Before the Christmas

I'm making some Thanksgiving cookies today, but I made some Christmas cookies last week for the completely charismatic and captivating Cari.  She is doing amazing things for the growing Jewel Kade company.  I don't wear a lot of jewelry, but these are so charming and artistic and I just adore them.

All of the cookies below are based on Jewel Kade charms and are available from my bestie Cari Ham.  Go here to see all the gorgeousness!

I always have so much fun cookieying things.  (Yes that IS a word.  You know why it's a word?  Because I use it all the time :D)  This is my third set of Jewel Kade cookies and since they're always coming out with new pieces, I'm always excited to cookie a new charm.  Here are the other JK sets:

A little bit about the cookies:  All the cookies start with a royal icing base.  Once that is set, I hand-paint each cookie with food coloring and a paintbrush.  With this collection I made little droplets of melted sugar to use as "rhinestones" on the peace cookie, the D monogram, and the candy cane cookie.
I've done so many fun cookies sets lately that I need to catch up!  Maybe I'll have 2 posts this week?!  gasp or 3???

Have a charming day! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

That's What Blogs Are For

I find myself editing parts of myself a bit on my blog.  The parts I tend to edit (besides the normal "I'm only going to show you the clean part of the room" pictures) are usually about religion/spirituality etc.  I always told myself I kept my blog religion-less because this blog was about my creative and artistic pursuits; but I know it was also because I was protecting something that is precious to me.  

Well, my spirituality and my artistic side merged when I created a little video for my daughter Sage, who was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Saturday.  I made one of these for Bailey a couple of years ago when she turned 8 and got baptized, and I know in 2 more years I'll be making one for Denver when he turns 8.  Sifting through all the baby pictures, first day of school pictures, and pictures of Christmases past always makes me feel so blessed and amazed at how much my babies have grown physically, mentally and spiritually!

I stayed up all night, looking through pictures while the sun came up.  I got completely lost in those moments that were frozen on film  in pixels.  Mr. John woke up and padded downstairs and shook his head at me, smiling and said in a knowing voice, "Baby." and nodded at the computer screen to see what I'd created. 

He watched and then very quietly left the room and came back with a tissue wiping his eyes and shaking his head in apology for his tears.  I debated posting this because it's quite personal and beliefs can be a scary thing to share.  Then I realized that's what blogs are for!  Sharing ideas, your thoughts, your beliefs and hopefully a little part of yourself.  So I hope whether you watched it because it sounded cute, you accidentally hit play, or because you were curious:  I hope you feel the love we have for our children and the love we have for the Lord.

If you have any questions about the LDS faith, a great place to go is mormon.org or just ask me :D

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Frogponds and Gingerbread

I don't know about you, but I've been loving this autumn weather!   It gets downright brisk and those silly furry boots I found at the thrift store are looking mighty cozy right about now.  The other day I was finishing up a project and the littles came in asking if I could take them down to the "frog pond".  The frog pond is just a gross, muddy little bog that is in a greenbelt a couple of blocks away from our house where the kids occasionally will find a frog or two.  I told them that an autumn walk sounded like a fabulous idea and asked them to be patient little critters and I'd be out momentarily for our jaunt.

I made my way outside and a million kids were sitting on our front steps and I kid you not; in unison they yell, "Hello Mrs. Adams!"  They were prepared to go with bucket in hand to hold all those little slimy guys they were planning to catch.  They had even labeled it with electrical tape spelling out "frogs".  We live in a cul-de-sac and apparently not much is secret in our neighborhood, so my newly acquired 10 charges and myself marched down to the frog pond.

We ended up not catching any frogs, but we did spot a couple of tadpoles and a football.
The point of this story is:  nothing.  I don't have a point!  It's just one of those simple stories that I know I will forget about if I didn't write it down or snap a picture.  That is the beauty of photo-journaling.  I'll always look at this picture and remember the pure surprise I felt looking at all those expectant faces, excited to go to the frog pond.

On another note, last Christmas I gave you my heart, but the very next... no that is not what I meant to say!  Last Christmas, I gave my father-in-law a gift of a dessert a month.  I somehow got off track and need to catch up before the year is out.  This month I think will be dessert of the week and I'll be back on schedule.  Lucky devil!  So I got back in the groove with this Pumpkin Gingerbread.  The lovely walnuts came from a neighbor's tree.  No walnuts were poached in the making of this gingerbread.  They were very graciously donated. 

Here is a link to the Pumpkin Gingerbread recipe I used.  It was a very different recipe (almost fudgy rather than cakey) with a crust.  I prefer my gingerbread a little cakier, but this was still quite delish!
That is all for now.  I hope you're enjoying this beautiful season!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Halloween Goodness

I know it's been a couple of days, but I'm just now getting over my sugar hangover.  I thought I'd post a couple of pictures of how the Adams family does Halloween before it's Christmas.  That is all!

Never mind!  That is not all:  Also tomorrow I get to randomly pick a winner for the giveaway.  Sooo excited, you'd think I was going to win something :D
Good luck all!

Now for reals... that is all!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

1000 Facebook Friends Giveaway

My facebook page reached 1000 "likes" a couple of weeks ago and it is so amazing to get that kind of support and encouragement!  I am always so touched by the kind words and comments that I get from people.  I have been welcomed to the cookie community by so many friends, foodies, and fellow cookie artists.  THANK YOU!

Now, I am a firm believer that food speaks louder than words... so I thought I would finally get my cookie-making butt in gear and do a cookie giveaway.  I will randomly pick the winner and make them a dozen of the most outrageously awesome cookies.  I don't know what they will be... but they're gonna be rad!

All you have to do is like Arty McGoo on facebook (if you're super awesome you already have :D) and then leave me a comment here on this post.  I love comments on facebook and if you feel so inclined, I always appreciate it; but THIS is where I will be randomly picking from, so make sure your comment for the giveaway is here!  Your comment can be anything, you can suggest an awesome cookie idea or you can philosophize on the social ramifications of dodgeball, just make sure it's awesome and that you comment only ONCE.  So I'm gonna break it down:

1.  "Like" Arty McGoo on Facebook.
2.  Leave ONE awesome comment below.
3.  Wait impatiently for me to announce the winner on Saturday, November 5th.
4.  Feel the love and thanks radiating from Arty McGoo

Using random.org the number picked was #117 which was from Sharon:

"Arty the comment does not have to be awesome you are, I am in awe of your work, and to top it all the cookes are in my favourite color yay xxx"
Sharon xoxox

Congratulations Sharon!  I will be emailing you shortly to get all your details.  Thank you everybody who participated.  I wish I could send you all cookies!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Time!

You know what that means!?  Picture overload!  We always have so much fun picking out pumpkins at  La Familia pumpkin patch that I can't contain myself with the camera.  I love this patch because it's a simple and beautiful working farm.   It was quite brisk this year and I LOVED it.  We picked out our favorite pumpkins, got lost in the corn maze, pet a donkey, and found what the kids call a manbug (a green ladybug).  Too much fun! 


this picture of Sage cracked me up!

They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky.  They're altogether ooky:  The Adams Family!

These pictures freak me out a little because they make me realize that Bailey is growing up!

Sage's impression of an adorable jack-o-lantern

Denver was a leeeetle bit excited!

We always enjoy pumpkin patch time with Grandma & Grandpa Adams

Love the girl's faces, but Denver actually looks scared.

My kids are such HAMS!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Painting on Cookies: A Fabulous Tutorial!

I always enjoy watching tutorials.  It's amazing how much clearer things become when you actually get to watch a process in action!  I got a couple of requests to make a video tutorial and decided I better figure out how to do that.  I made a quick video two days ago with my 8 year old recording and though it was informative, Mr. John didn't think it very entertaining.  I agreed with him and we did a little brainstorming and came up with the tutorial you see below.

If you don't like cheese:  LOOK AWAY!  Better yet RUN.  FAST.
If you do like cheese:  This is as cheesetastic a tutorial as I could create, so enjoy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Munching and Lunching with Sue of Munchkin Munchies

It's getting more and more common to hear of people meeting online and falling in love.  Well, I can say it's happened to me.  As soon as I took one look at the blog Munchkin Munchies by Sue it was love at first sight!  I loved all her baking projects, the pictures are beautiful, and she is so stuffed with creative ideas I was inspired every time I stalked read her blog.  We exchanged comments on each other's  blogs and appreciated each other's work and soon discovered we lived about an hour away from each other!

On Friday I got to meet my virtual blogging friend in the flesh.  We met up at JoAnn's and did a little shopping for cookie cutters and candy melts while we chatted and got to know each other.  Let me just say she is the sweetest  and easiest human to talk to on the planet and just beautiful.  It's hard to believe she's a grandma x 8!!! 

After gathering our new crafting treasures we headed over to lunch at Applebee's, but before I got out of the car Sue came bearing gifts and said, "I made you some cookies," and handed me these adorable, googly-eyed spiders all festively wrapped.  So cute!  She shows how she made them and variations in this spider cookie post.
 Well, great minds think alike, because I made her some cookies too!  I made these to match the artwork on her blog header and she adored them. 

Our leisurely lunch was fabulous as was the conversation.  We finished it off by sharing a maple butter blondie a la mode that was to die for and she even let me have the last bite :D  It was an incredibly fun experience to meet someone that I so admire and find out they are even more awesome than I imagined.  Thank you so much Sue!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Star Wars Cookies

 My brother asked me to make Star Wars cookies for a co-worker's birthday and I was so excited.  The only problem was there was too much good stuff to make cookies of, so I went to the biggest Star Wars nerds superfans that I knew and asked what they most wanted to see in cookie form.  
Things that made the list but not the cookie sheet were:

Princess Leia (in slave girl outfit of course!)
tie fighter
Ton-Ton (the critter Han cuts open for Luke to sleep inside)
Rancor eating pig dude
Jabba the Hutt

Those cookies ended up on the cutting room floor either because they would be too unappetizing (can you imagine eating that slimy, sluggy Jabba?  gross!  or they didn't make it because I really wanted to make sure I made a wookie cookie.  I was tempted to make a Leia cookie to see if I could, but this is a family-friendly place and that is just a little too much cleavage and chains for a PG rated blog.  

Thank you Mr. John and Gabe for being such big nerds fans and knowing all the names of every single character, how to spell it, and why they should be a cookie.  Hopefully the birthday boy agrees. 

May the force be with you!

P.S. FAQ: Yes, these are hand-painted cookies (with food coloring and a paintbrush)
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