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Halloween Ovals *GIVEAWAY CLOSED*

22 Oct

So I said was going to get another post up last Friday. Not the one that just passed yesterday— the one a full week before that.  Then I had sick kids, I was sick, and you combine that with time flying at break-neck speed, and here we are.  Life happens. Sorry about that.

But hey, let’s not look back. Let’s look forward! I have some Halloween ovals to show you! I really should have shown you the ovals first and then ended with the rectangles, because I really liked the rectangles better, which sorta makes this anti-climatic, but such is life.

So we have a set of oval cookie cutters.

Half are plain-edge, and half are crimped edge. I used the plain edge for these cookies.

First are some Halloween treat buckets.

Had a little bleeding on the handle on the one on the left, because I was lacking patience. If you don’t want bleeding, you must wait. Don’t put a dark color on a wet lighter color. Wait. Patience! (Yoda voice)

Next, some plain pumpkins.

These are easy. Just draw an oval in the center that is about three-quarters of the height of the pumpkin. Then add ridges heading outward and slightly upward. Does that make sense? Then add a stem and maybe a leaf. You can have pumpkins in all kinds of sizes. Who needs pumpkin cookie cutters?

Next, I tried just a bunch of candy.

It looks too stark to me. Maybe more candy?

Remember in my rectangle post, I made some monster faces? Frankenstein, Mummy, Dracula, and a Skull and Crossbones. Here are their oval counterparts:

Here are the rectangles and ovals together, just for comparison’s sake.

Definitely like the rectangles better, but the ovals are cute in their own way.

These next guys were my favorite, and they were also the most simple. I wanted something really easy for the smallest ovals, so I decided on spiders.

I loved doing them. They took about 10 seconds and added a lot to the plate of cookies.

And my other favorites were equally easy. Candy corn!

What? You say these aren’t ovals? Well, you would be right. But all I did was cut a sliver off of each side of the oval (at an angle) to make cone shapes. I loved that it worked, because now I can make any size of candy corn. The smallest were almost the same size as real candy corn. Cute.

Here’s a platter of the ovals:

Fun stuff.

I have a handful of sets of oval cookie cutters to give away. I’m probably not going to get them to the winners by Halloween, but the good news is that the uses for oval cutters is ENDLESS.  You can use them all year long, and then when next Halloween gets here (in the approximately 2 seconds that will take), you’ll have them to make all the pumpkins, candy corns, spiders, or monster faces you want.

Comment on this post by Wednesday, October 26, midnight, and you’ll be entered to win a set of your own. I’ll choose 5 winners using Random.org. Please enter only once.

Thanks for reading! Good luck this week getting all of your Halloween preparations together. I have 4 little costumes to figure out this week. Do you have a lot to do before Halloween?

Thinking Inside the Box *GIVEAWAY CLOSED”

10 Oct

I’ve been talking a lot about my desire to learn to think outside the box a little more. I am always completely blown away by Callye (Sweet SugarBelle) and her ability to make anything out of nothing. In fact, I really need her to be my buyer because I’ll pass right over certain products (like the Wilton Fangs cookie cutter, for example) and then she’ll do something totally crazy awesome with it.

So I’m trying to learn. And after meeting Callye last week, and learning some of her methods for thinking outside the box, I came home totally stoked to try some new things.

I love the rectangle set of cookie cutters.

I actually resisted liking them for quite some time. Because really, you can do without them in a pinch. You can use a ruler and a pizza cutter and get all the rectangles you could ever want. But once I bought this Fox Run Set, I wondered why it took me so long to get them! They have come in handy for so many things, and are so infinitely easier to use than a ruler and pizza cutter.

I have been wanting to feature them for a while, but didn’t really know what to do with them.

Well, I came home from Cookie Camp all fired up to be creative. I knew I wanted more Halloween cookies on the blog. I knew I wanted to feature the rectangle set. So I decided to think outside the box by thinking inside the box. Get it? Inside? The box… because it’s a rectangle….

Yeah.

So the first cookies I came up with were these guys:

I’m quite sure Frankenstein has been done on a rectangle before, since his head is a giant rectangle and all. But I was proud of myself for thinking of the other ones! 😀

Then I thought just some spider webs would be cute and simple.

Easy, simple.  Anyone can do it. Outline, flood, let dry, then add a spider web and spider. Easy peasy.

Then I got crazy ambitious. I had just seen the most adorable cookie done by Haniela, that was just a silhouette of a child blowing a dandelion. And then I saw a Halloween card that had the silhouettes of trick-or-treaters. I figured it was a sign, so I tried it.

I think it has potential! It isn’t perfect, but it’s kind of a cool effect. I want to try it again soon.

So then I got off my ambitious kick and went back to simple and less creative.

I don’t have a Kopycake (obviously! Ha ha), and I really didn’t feel like spending a ton of time getting the font just right, so I didn’t. I just looked at a picture of fun-size Hershey bars online and went for it. These are pretty small– about the actual size of a fun-size candy bar. So I kept them super simple. Although it doesn’t look too impressive up close like this, when they were mixed into a platter of cookies, it totally worked. I’ll show you that in a minute.

The next two were thoughts along the same lines. I wanted a haunted house, but a rectangle is kind of limiting. So first I did another silhouette-type design:

And then I got an idea. How about just a haunted door?

Does it work? I don’t know. I’m not sure I’ll do it again, but it was worth a shot.

I recently got to see a Cookie Artisan (Maryann) platter of cookies in real life. They were amazing. I loved her sign, and so I got the idea to do a scary “KEEP OUT!” sign.

I tried to make the lettering look rough and scary. I piped it on and then scraped at the edges a little with my boo-boo stick. I think next time I could do it better. But not bad for a first shot.

This next one is a simple idea that wasn’t executed as well as I’d hoped, but again, it has potential. I think that’s what I’m learning about “thinking outside the box”– sometimes you have to try it a few times to make it work, but you know if you’re on the right track.

Next time I’ll do the background a different color. But it’s cute in its own way.

I really liked this next one. It was fun to do, super simple, and it turned out cute.

I know what you’re thinking. That this isn’t a true rectangle. Which is true. But all I did was trim the tiniest bits of the top left and bottom right corners off before baking so that the bag would have some dimension. Easy easy easy.

I thought it needed some depth, so I painted on some charcoal black petal dust in the corners where the bag would be folding inward.

Here’s how it looked afterward:

Just like the fun size candy bars earlier, I went super simple with the candy in the bag. You just want the overall look to be there.

So those are my thinking outside-yet-inside-the-box cookies.

And I tried some Glorious Treats tricks for photographing my cookies. You know, like actually putting them on a plate and stuff. 😀 I hope she’ll be proud of my attempts at taking some prettier photos.

Here’s one:

And another:

Look Glory! Props! 😀 I’ll get the hang of this yet.

I came away from this little exercise realizing the the possibilities for the Rectangle Set of cookie cutters is seriously endless. What would YOU do with them?

Comment on this post by Thursday October 13th at midnight (wherever you are!) and I’ll enter you to win a set all your own. Please enter only once. I’ll choose THREE winners using Random.org.

Another fun (similar, yet different) project coming up soon!

Using Stencils as Templates

18 Apr

A couple of months ago, we got a whole bunch of new stencils in our shop. I got to work right away playing around with them (it’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it!)  Over the next few weeks, I’ll show you what I learned.

I probably shouldn’t start with my favorite– I should probably save it till last– but I can’t help it. I love these. They are done with the Mini Spring Garden stencils.  Which really aren’t all that “mini”, by the way. They are made by a company who is used to doing large cake stencils, so they call most of the cookie stencils “mini”. They are a great cookie size.

There are a few ways to use stencils. One is the traditional way that they were probably made for. You can see Mike show you how to do that here. (It was his video debut. I think he should do the rest from now on… :D)

Another way to use stencils is to use them as a template. I really like using them this way because it’s easier to get lots of colors on there. Sometimes it’s pretty tricky to get multiple colors using the traditional stencil method.

I made the four rectangle cookies without taking any step-by-step pictures, because I’m forgetful like that. So I had to go back and do the tutorial on an egg cookie that I had sitting around. But you’ll get the idea.

First you’ll need to bake and glaze (or outline and fill in) your cookies. I used the largest rectangle from the rectangle cutter set. Let them dry completely.

You’ll need some edible markers. I like the Americolor Gourmet Writer 10-color set. Choose marker colors that match the color of frosting you’re going to use. For this one, I was making red tulips with green leaves, so I used the red and green markers.

Use the template to outline each section.

Finish all of your outlining during this step. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until the first part dries before you can replace the stencil to outline the next section. I know that’s just common sense, but I think it bears mentioning since I may or may not have forgotten to do that on one of these cookies.

So here’s what your outlined design will look like:

You’ll probably notice that there are some little blotchy spots. Sometimes that happens. Not all the time, but sometimes. Why? I don’t know. But don’t worry about it if it happens to you. You’ll be piping over it anyway.

Next, you’ll want to have some runny-consistency frosting. Meringue Powder Buttercream is what I used here (watered down a little bit so that it is pretty soft), but you could also use Royal Icing or Corn Syrup Glaze. Just use what you’re comfortable with.

Outline each little section with your frosting using a small tip. I used a #1 here.

You’ll want to stay just barely inside your marker guidelines, because when you fill in there will be a tiny bit of spreading.

While outlines are still wet, go back and fill in using the same frosting and tip. After I fill in, I use a boo-boo stick to even out the frosting and to pull out sharper corners and tips.

Continue on with all colors.

Try to get your frosting colors the same consistency. My green was a little bit thicker than my red, which is why the tulips look more smooth than the leaves. But hey, it adds texture. Yeah. That’s it.

Then you can add a cute border to the cookie.

They actually make pretty cute Easter eggs.

Here they are on the original rectangles that I did:

These were really fast and easy, and I loved how they turned out. It makes me think of spring… which is still pretty elusive here in Idaho.

So today I’m giving away a set of the Mini Spring Garden Stencils

and the 10-color pack of Americolor Gourmet Writers

To THREE winners. I’m tired of only having one winner. So just comment on this post by midnight on Wednesday, April 20th, and I’ll choose three winners using random.org. Good luck!