Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Christmas Eve!

I can't believe Christmas is here!  Tonight the fam will get all fancy and go out to eat with Mr. John's family and gather around the tree and open presents.  Then we'll head home and put the kids to bed and wake up to see if Santa came for a visit.  We'll play with our new toys and then get ready for my family to come over to share a meal and singing around the piano.

It is awesome how well our family traditions fit together.  Mr. John with his side celebrating on Christmas Eve and mine on Christmas day.  As always it came a little too fast and not everything that I wanted to do got done.  But thinking about it now I realize the important stuff did get done:

* We went to a couple of Christmas concerts.
* We sang and rang the bell for the Salvation Army.
* We went ice skating.
* We went to Disneyland
* We bought gifts for needy families.
* Last night Mr. John made sure a certain home got a Christmas tree... complete with lights and decorations.  {I can't tell you how much I love this man!}
* We will see lots of family!
* We went caroling to a couple of assisted living homes.  This was our second year doing it and it is one of my favorite new traditions.  After singing several songs we asked "What would you like to hear?" and little Lois said, "More!"  It only takes a little time and seeing their faces, we know it means so much to them.
* We decorated gingerbread houses.

I hope you got to check off the most important things on your list this season.  And if not?  Christmas isn't the only time to get things done or to let people know how much you care.  I know I have a lot of things on my "to do" list for the new year and I can't wait.  Merry Christmas to you.  I hope it is filled with wonder and love!


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Milk... it does a body good!

Do you know what today is?  Yes, it's Saturday, what else?  Sure it's the 8th of December, you're getting warmer...  It's the 8th day of Christmas!  Do you know what my true love gave to me on the 8th day?  Go ahead, sing through the song.  And while you're at it check out these amazingly gorgeous and breathtaking cookie creations linked below:

a partridge in a pear tree by Callye
2 turtle doves by Maryann
3 french hens by Hani
4 calling birds by MariĆ«lle
5 golden rings by Alison
6 geese a laying by Marlyn
7 swans a swimming by Lisa

8 maids a milking... by me!

Callye decided the only way she could finally fulfill her dream of cookieying the 12 days of Christmas, she'd need to enlist the help of some friends.  I chose 8 maids a milking and I imagined a folk art inspired quilt cookie, with primitive cows and milkmaids.

Then I realized:  HELLO!  I can't make a bunch of square cookies for the Queen of Cutter Repurposing!  I am 0% creative when it comes to having cutter vision; that ability to see outside the cutter.  When I see a fish shaped cookie cutter, you know what possibilities I see?  Yeah, that's right... a fish.  But the thing I like best about taking on a collaborative project is the ways I grow as a cookier when I push myself {or somebody else pushes you: Thanks Callye!} out of my comfort zone.

So, not only did I decide to repurpose a cutter for this, I decided to do 8 different milkmaids with different cutters.  I guess when I decide to push myself I really shove!  Actually... I figured if I hated the end results I could salvage at least one milkmaid to post about and I'd throw in a cow and call it good.  But surprise, surprise!  Even though this whole process was completely new to me, after I freaked out a little over it, I had a TON of fun and all 8 milkmaids remained intact and repurposed!

Go check out the cutters I used and the cookies I came up with at The Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle.  

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mission: Homespun Tree Cutter

cutter can be purchased here at Karen's Cookies
I received the following message at 9 hundred hours from Agent CC (Cookie Crazie):

Good morning, Ms McGoo. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to create a cookie design using the above cookie cutter designated "Homespun Tree Cutter" that I have created. You may select any color scheme and it is not essential for it to be "Christmasy". Though you are a civilian, I have found you to be a highly capable cookier.  You have forty-eight hours to complete your design and submission.  As always, should any member of this collaboration be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions.  This message will self-destruct in five seconds.....  

Okay... so Pam didn't send me that message exactly...  and my computer didn't blow up exactly... but she DID create that cookie cutter, and she DID invite me to make my own design for her collaboration, and all of the proceeds DO go towards a mission, just a different kind of mission.  You see, all the proceeds for Pam's cookies go directly towards her yearly missions to the Ukraine.  Isn't that wonderful?  That includes all the proceeds from these cookie cutters, so go and get your hot little hands on one and help support an amazing effort.    

Pam really gave us several weeks to complete our cookies, but 672 hours just didn't sounds as impressive as 48 hours.  I, of course waited until 8 hundred hours of the day they were due to get mine together!  I tell myself it's because I do better under pressure, but it's really just because I was busy and a procrastinator.  

I was inspired by those scrappy trees you've been seeing.  You know the ones where people make use of their stash of scraps to make a cute Christmas tree?  Like this one:

from Little Page Turners
Cute, right?  So that's what I cookie'd.  A scrappy tree:

The truly rad part about this cookie is that it is supposed to be wonky.  In this case the wonkier = cuter. I love it when that happens because then there is no worrying about it being perfect or stressing.  You just have fun piping on perfectly imperfect long rectangles, let it dry, and then have fun painting patterns with a paintbrush and food coloring or you could even cheat and use markers.  I like to think of the scraps as wrapping paper scraps.  What designs would you see on wrapping paper?  Just have fun with it!  

The beauty of this cookie cutter is there are sooo many things you could do with it. I am NOT one to see lots of possibilities within the confines of a cutter, but I had several ideas I could have done, and if I could do that: I know it's a good multi-purpose cutter.  Besides that... you can see for yourself all these incredible ways this cutter was purposed:

Aren't they gorgeous?!  And the best part is that none of the collaborators were caught OR killed so no one was disavowed...  
For a closer look at all the beautiful cookies, check out the links below.

2 CeCe – Tactical Baker
3 Laurie – Cookie Bliss
4 Andrea – Cupookie
5 Christine – Sugar Cravings
6 Heather – Sugar Nosh Treats
7 Lorraine – Lorraine’s Cookies
9 Nancy – Seasons of Joy
10 Kim – The Partiologist
11 Maryann – Cookie Artisan
12 Jen – Posh Pastries
13 Jennifer – Cookie Cutter Creations
14 Tricia – The Cookie Loft Girls
15 Elizabeth – Lizy B Bakes
16 Stephanie – Ice My Biscuit
17 Melissa – The Baked Equation
18 Liz – Arty McGoo

Now that I have recruited you and given you this top secret message, you know what happens next?  Yep... that's right:  5... 4... 3... 2... 1!

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