Monday, December 9, 2019

A Christmas Engagement

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Every once in awhile I made a platter of cookies that even I am like, Wow!  I did that!  This is one of those platters.  My directions were Christmas but not Christmas green, and engagement but not "she said yes" cookies as they were engaged a few weeks ago. I know this friend well, and I knew this would be a pretty dressed up party (no blue jeans here), so the cookies needed to be elegant as well.


We decided on gold accents, which I just love with red and sage.  I hand painted the rings because I find gold airbrush to be the strangest color!!  I love some sugar crystals to add a little texture to the platter, and of course a diamond should sparkle.  There might be a dash of disco dust on there.


 I love the way the platters came together.  They originally wanted to do their own platters which I understand.  It's the South, we use Grandma's sterling and fine antique crystal, but I told them I would fill 2, 18" platters and it is doubtful they have anything that could accomodate 5 dozen cookies.  I know people are turned off by disposable plastic, but I am pretty adamant about making the platter myself. I have lots of practice!


A few days before pick up, she texted me and asked if I could add a dozen cookies.  Hmmm.  I usually have some basic blanks, and I had these fat stars.  I just love the Merry Me on them!!! They were a sweet addition, get it, sweet addition?  Yep. 


 I knew she was planning on doing white flowers, and I assumed there'd be poinsettias.  I found a tutorial from Sugarbelle on making poinsettias.  I didn't do so well.  I had the tip, but I made these giant round cookies thinking I could fill it with one poinsettia.  That didn't work.  I made dozens of these smaller poinsettias on parchment paper and put 3 on a round cookie, but I know I will use them all the season.  I improvised and I really love my very organic poinsettias!  I also loved the white background for my poinsettias where I sprinkled a little gold shimmer on the white, I just loved the way everything sparkled!  The hearts were inspired by Clough'd 9 cookies, Amy is super talented.  My pine boughs need a little refining.....


So there you have it.  Another Christmas first in the books.  Ho, ho, ho....what are you waiting for?  Get in there and bake!!!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Water Color Christmas Cookies

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Looks like a famous Italian plate, yes? They agreed!


Regards! Merry Christmas!  Or something like that.  We always say Auguri!
 You know that old wisdom about how you'll never see anyone you know at Target unless you go without a shower?  I swear...I have the best interactions with friends and customers straight out of Pure Barre.  That means leggings, t-shirt, fleece, likely a baseball cap, (no makeup) not the most professional appearance!  So there I was a high end gift shop I love, buying a gift, and I chose this little collectible that was a gingerbread girl, and told the gal at the register, "Since I'm the cookie girl she will always know I gave this to her!" She responded with "Cookies??"  and off we went!

So fun to paint these!

The store was hosting a signing by an artist with Vietri, a gorgeous Italian dish ware company.  She wondered if I could do Italian cookies.  Me?  So we chatted and decided I would make her some amazing biscotti, very traditional, and some sugar cookies.  I showed her the cookies I made for Guess and Company,  and she loved the big platter full of Christmas.  She took me to the Vietri display and we looked at the Santas and the trees and she asked if I could do any of those.  I was a little apprehensive copying their work, but she said they will love it.  So I went home and went to work!

I had never watercolored on a cookie before, and it was a very satisfying experience.  I loved it, and I wasn't really bad at it! Who knew??? I loved looking at all of their pieces and deciding how to put this all together.  I also shopped while I worked, and when I delivered the platter, I had a good order of Vietri for me and my girls. Ho, Ho, Ho!!!    I also watched the artist, loved listening to him speak Italian and when I met him he complimented me on the cookies and said I was a true artist!!!  That is high praise!  I went home with an amazing sense of accomplishment. 

How fortuitous the Italian flag is Christmas colors!

The lesson here is that art, whether it is royal icing or acrylics, must evolve.  Certainly I am much better than my first attempt at faces... want a good chuckle?  Check out these volleyball players!  I was very apprehensive attempting these Santas and surprised myself.  It was a confidence booster and it really is what I needed to give me that push to branch out a little.  Who knows what next year will bring, new cookie ideas, new creative outlets, more dishes?   We shall see....So what are you waiting for?  Get in there and bake...and paint!!


Friday, November 15, 2019

Getting Ready to Ho Ho Ho!

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I admit.  I usually put up my tree on Halloween.  Yep.  We are lucky if we get a dozen trick or treaters, and I am totally itching to move on to the festive holidays.  I don't decorate the tree for a few weeks, but I love sitting in the light of a Christmas tree.  Think of it as a fancy floor lamp if you must.  There is no getting around the Christmas cookies however.  I get orders earlier and earlier every year.  This year, I also decided to only take 2 custom orders in December, and everything else is Christmas themed.  It will totally keep my sanity in check if I'm not making baby rattles and onesies in baby blue come December 15th.  Any other month is fine.  And I have a December baby, so I know all too well that they can get the shaft on a lot of things because of the jolly fat man!

This platter was made for a friend helping out at a giant Christmas sale in Arkansas.  She is related to the man who owns the business and she goes up every year to help them.  I used the logos and sayings from the company website and made a cheery Christmas platter that she picked up on Halloween!  Which was fine, because you know, my tree was going up!


So the company is called Guess and Company in Des Arc, Arkansas.  I followed them on Facebook so I could get a feel of what she wanted to bring.  Well every day Paul Guess is posting these videos in the 60,000 sq ft warehouse talking about this enormous sale that lasts into December.  I wanted to go! My original plan was a road trip for opening day....I love an event!!!  Then I saw a video about how you can pull a ticket at midnight the night before it opens, to GET IN LINE the next day!  Holy Moly....this was serious. They only let 350 in at a time, and that happens fast on opening day! My friend suggested opening day was not the best idea.  So I regrouped and let opening weekend pass.  I rounded up a couple of girlfriends and went Friday of weekend 2.

The drive to Des Arc from Memphis is 100 miles, on the nose.  The worst part of the drive honestly, is driving through Memphis.  So we decided to leave after rush hour and maybe we'd miss the first wave of crazy shoppers,  You know who you are! We arrived in this tiny little town on the river at about 10:30.  Parking was not a problem, and we didn't need a number to get in.  The place is insane!!!  There are beautifully decorated trees everywhere, and nestled in the vicinity of said trees are the picks, garland, ornaments and whatever else was used to make that tree.  It was sensory overload in the very best way.  We started first as a simple wander around and then developed a strategy after we felt like we had a feel for where everything was.

I knew that the pastel colored area was not of interest, neither was the rustic woodland.  I focused in on the more traditional red accented area, the snowmen trees, and the gold trees and found the mother load for my house.
Super Traditional....

Whimsical....



I bought a lot of these! And the carts are so cute!
 My friend Debbie hit pay dirt in the woodland area and even paid a worker to climb a ladder and strip a tree of a particular garland she wanted.  She bought every last one.  When our baskets were full, we got another and filled that. They even have a corral where you can leave your full basket while you continue to shop! Monica filled hers with gold everything!  She was changing up her Christmas look and gold it was!  We finally made our way to the line for checkout.  WHOA!!!

The line.  It snaked to the back of the store and back around to the front.  We heard people complaining they'd been in line for an hour, we saw deserted baskets everywhere.  People!!!!  This is the caveat of a great adventure...so we got in line and honestly, time flew.  You walk the perimeter of the warehouse and the three of us would take turns wandering and adding and chatting and looking at what others had and were doing. And maybe making some last minute buying decisions!

We still had 3 bags to squeeze in....
 The checkout line was fast and efficient and I seriously had a sad little feeling when I left, like maybe I forgot something!  I did leave without a significant amount of money.  The three of us spent just over $1500. Really, it's not bad!  I won't disclose who spent what since we are all probably fibbing about exactly how much we bought!  We stopped at the Dairy Bar for a super nutritious lunch, that was delicious...and crossed over that picturesque river on our way out of town.  It was so worth the trip.  No, not cheap.  But not ridiculous retail either.  There are sooooo many things I have never seen, and I was so inspired.  You need to go with a plan, a budget (well, that's probably not the easiest part) and some friends because we had a blast. Also don't for one minute think you can do this in a car.  We filled, and I mean filled my SUV.  It was covered in glitter!!!  What a way to usher in the holidays!