Monday, April 16, 2012

I heart my library

Last week was National Library week and the lovely Sarah of Songbird Sweets had the genius idea to cookie a few of her favorite books in honor of this literary celebration.  She asked a couple of her  friends to join in filling a cookie bookshelf of our favorite books.

I read a ton and it was very hard to choose my FAVORITE!  I ended up cookie-ying Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Winnie-the-Pooh for a couple of reasons.  The first one is simple:  I AM A COMPLETE Harry Potter NERD!  Even though I'm a muggle I know a little bit too much about the wizarding world and J.K. Rowling's vocabulary tends to slip into my everyday conversation, earning me either a confused look or a look that says unmistakably, "Wow, you're a real nerd aren't ya?"  So yes!  Today I celebrated my HP obsession by painting the cover of my favorite book of the series on a cookie with food coloring.  Me?  a nerd?... okay, guilty!

Secondly, I chose Winnie-the-Pooh.  Even though my children are still young, they are no longer "Winnie-the-Pooh young".  This book reminds me of their little smooshy, pink cheeked, toothless baby years and all the sweetness that comes with having a little one.  No, I don't miss the diapers and yes I love it that they feed themselves now and two can even make macaroni and cheese with a little help, but I always think of my babies when I hear or see the Winnie-the-Pooh series.  So in honor of A.A. Milne's stout little bear, I painted the 100 aker wood map that is found on the inside cover of the beloved books.  

So!  I'm ready to read some more!  Go join the rest of the reading room and find a few more great books.  All the links and pictures are at Songbird Sweets blog.  And don't forget to thank your librarian today!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Bunny Ears and... More Bunny Ears

I have lots of cookie cutters.  animals.  all the letters of the alphabet.  baby rattle.  frog.  You know what cookie cutters I use most often?  My rectangle and my circle.  You know how some kids are really bad at coloring in the lines?  That is me with cutters:  I am really bad at cookie-ing in the lines.  Some other cookiers can see all kinds of crazy things within  those lines!  My mind is always blown when someone fits an amazing picture within the confines of some random cookie cutter!  I am insanely jealous of those with cutter-vision.

So the other day my hilarious and genius cookier friend Georganne of Lila Loa threw down the gauntlet with a "Creative Cookie Decorating Contest".  That crazy lady posts this outline of a present cookie cutter and tells cookiers to go nuts making it into anything... except for a present.

Now, I don't know about you, but I see a present... and that is all.  Period.  I couldn't WAIT to see what people could do with this.  I kept finding myself thinking about what else it could be, meditating, willing myself to suddenly be gifted with cutter-vision!  Nope.  nothing.

So I went to visit my sister and we went shopping at that mecca of all creativity: Hobby Lobby.  I don't have one anywhere near me, so I seriously dream about that place.  There we are perusing the aisles; me touching everything and skipping, (maybe singing?) when suddenly before me is that present cookie cutter.  Hanging there.  Mocking me.

To make a short story long, I bought the offending cutter and I asked every human who crossed my path what they saw within those lines.  I rotated it for them.  When they answered "present" I hissed at them and limped back to my corner, cupping the precious in my hands and stroking it.

Okay, so that didn't happen...  not the limping part...  and I didn't carry it around with me in my purse just in case... and I didn't sleep with it either...

Short story longer, I was making Easter cookies and decided to cut out some of those FREAKING presents and maybe inspiration would hit.  Here is what I finally saw within those lines.  And now that my brain is exhausted I can retire my present cutter to my cookie cutter bin with the rest of those crazy shapes that I will never look at it again.   

I don't know why I came up with two things with the same name, I'm just happy I came up with something!  Thank you Georganne for torturing challenging me and others to exercise our creativity.

There is still plenty of time to torture yourself with making a present cookie into not a present cookie.  Go to Lila Loa and join in on the fun!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Let's Smell the Flowers!

I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds, and bowers: 
Of April, May, of June, and July flowers. 
I sing of Maypoles, Hock-carts, wassails, wakes, 
Of bridegrooms, brides, and of their bridal cakes. (or cookies!)
~Robert Herrick

I am an admitted lover of autumn, but a close second for me is spring.  I am seeing signs of it everywhere and it makes me happy and twitterpated... and it also makes me want to deep clean every surface in my house.  Spring cleaning fever is real and it is catchy.  

The talented and super creative Hani of Haniela's has put together a virtual cookie party to celebrate spring and you're invited.  She has arranged for 19 cookiers to represent different flowers so it will be like walking through a flower garden.  How lovely is that?  Let's take a Claritin and get started!  

For my flower, I chose lavender.  It is in the mint family and it grows like crazy here!  (I would say it grows like weeds, but that's just rude).  Locally, there are several beautiful organic lavender farms devoted to this humble crop.  The flower's fragrance is known for it's purifying properties that help calm and relax.  

Even the look of the flower is lovely and serene and I wanted to evoke those feelings with my lavender cookies.  My goal was to make it look like I just placed a sweet little sprig right on top of a cookie.  Simple and elegant just like the flower.

Here's the breakdown:
After I did a simple royal icing flood base on the cookies I only needed to mix two colors.  
For the green I used Wilton's Juniper Green and a touch of yellow to get that soft sagey green for the stems
For the purple I used Americolor's Electric Purple and a little Wilton's violet.  Americolor's purple has pink undertones and Wilton's violet has blue undertones and I mixed until I saw the right color.  Using my 1.5 tip I piped the stems and a 1 tip for the buds.

Of course I couldn't leave it at that and I painted the little blossoms a touch with some slightly diluted purple food coloring at the base to give it a little depth.  

I love how lavender stems have very fine hairs that lend a slight shimmer, so I brushed a little pearl dust on my cookie stems for a subtle sheen.  

I also made a bouquet of lavender tied with ribbon and painted a botanical illustration of a stem of the species that grows here on the rectangular cookie.  I ah, ah... achoo!  I hope that you had a lovely time in my section of the garden and you are feeling calm, spiritually purified, and relaxed.  Please do take a glass of lavender lemonade to sip on while you peruse the rest of the flowers.  Freshly squeezed lemons paired with the very fine lavender grown locally infuse this beverage so I hope you'll enjoy!  Oh, and don't forget a couple of cookies. 

 There's a few things I've learned in life: 
always throw salt over your left shoulder, 
keep rosemary by your garden gate, 
plant lavender for good luck,
 and fall in love whenever you can
~Alice Hoffmann

A special thank you goes out to Hani for hosting such a beautiful party!  All of the amazing participants are indexed below and you are in for a real treat.  Such talented ladies!

1. Black Eye Susan by Lisa, The Bearfoot Baker
2. Carnation by Meaghan, The Decorated Cookie
3. Cherry Tree Flower by Pam, Cookie Crazie
4. Daffodil by Georganne, LilaLoa 
5. Daisy by Stephanie, Ellies Bites
6. Dogwood by Marian, Sweetopia
7. Gerbera by Paula, Vanilla Bean Baker
8. Hyacinth by Amber, SweetAmbs
9. Hydrangea by Kim, The Partiologist
10. Iris by Cristin, Cristin's Cookies 
11. Lavender by Liz, Arty McGoo
12. Lily of The Valley by Hani, Haniela's
13. Lotus by Marlyn, Montreal Confections
14. Morning Glory by Glory, Glorious Treats
15. Orchid by Ali, Ali Bee's Bake Shop
16. Pansy Nicole, Life's A Batch
17. Poppy by Callye,  SweetSugarBelle
18. Sunflower by Bea, Cancun Cookies
19. Tulip by Lorriane, LorrainesCookies
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