Thursday, August 27, 2015

For a Special Friend

Today is Kathy's birthday, however, it is another milestone birthday that I will celebrate without a loved one.  2015 has been filled with illness, injury and loss. . . and in my cookie world that means I turn to stars.  Simple stars, combined with the following verse,  help me to find a bit of comfort:

Perhaps they are not
stars in the sky
but rather openings
where our loved ones
shine down 
to let us know
they are happy.
                                 -an Eskimo proverb

Kathy LOVED my cookies.  She asked me to make them for her daughter's wedding shower, her son's 30th birthday, gifts for friends .  .  . but sometimes I liked to surprise her with cookies "just because" it was fun to celebrate our friendship.

I made Halloween cookies for her when she introduced me to the online game, Words with Friends .  .  .

.  .  .  and this collection was for her birthday when we decided to conquer our fears and sign up for a swim class for adults.  It is still one of my favorite collections.

Kathy's children recently invited a few of Kathy's close friends to a dinner to celebrate her life, so once again I bagged and tagged star cookies in her honor.  Hopefully, this special tribute provided a bit of comfort to her loved ones.

Happy Birthday to my dear friend, 
you will always be in my heart and in the stars. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Celebrating a Life Well Lived

Dad would have been 88 today, but we had to say good-bye to him a few weeks ago.   I was lucky to have this gentle, caring, hard working man as my Dad.  His was a life well-lived.

From pro baseball to family man . . .  smiling at his surprise 80th birthday party . . .  wearing his Cub hat in the hospital . . .  Dad was surrounded by children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and friends until the very end.

Since Mom has vision loss, Dad always wore a Cub hat with a white front, so she could see him when they were out shopping.

Over the past several years, star cookies have become a special bond between my "Sugar Sister," Donna, and me.  This time I was on the receiving end of the stars, with a special Cub hat included in the collection.

Both of us would like to go back to baby shower onesies
 and cute little animal cookies. 
 Instead, we are gazing at stars . . .
Perhaps they are not stars in the sky,
but rather openings where our loved ones
shine down to let us know they are happy.
May you find peace as you look upward,
 knowing that your father is waiting at the gate wearing his white Cubs hat, 
so all of you can find him!
My prayers embrace you and all your family.

Thanks, Dad, for teaching me the meaning of unconditional love.
You will always be in my heart, and in the stars shining down on me.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mary Grace Can Do Anything

Great-niece, Mary Grace, is celebrating her tenth birthday and once again she has found a unique way to celebrate.  I always look forward to her cookie requests because she challenges me with her new and creative ideas.  This will be the fifth year that cookies have been part of her birthday celebration, and the second year that she is following the theme that "girls can do anything."

Age 5  turtles
Age 6  pigs
Age 7  gumball machines
Age 8 ice cream
Age 9 brains

When Mary Grace asked for rock climbing cookies I thought it would be a quick and easy design because I envisioned a simple rock wall, but she really wanted a girl on her cookie.  After much consideration I thought the best approach would be to use a royal icing transfer. Here is a photo for my non-cookie friends who do not care to learn "cookie speak."
Royal icing transfers can be very helpful in cookie decorating, but they are also very fragile.  Silly me, the cookie I chose for my photo is the only one that cracked.  Let's just say I planned it, in memory of the wrist that I broke earlier this year.

In my past cookie life, the crack would have made me toss the cookie and start over.  However, since my new motto is, "it's just a cookie,"  I just said, oh well, and did not attempt to lift it out of the wet icing and replace it with a new one.  Hopefully, the bumps, bruises, and breaks will only be on the cookie, and not on Mary Grace when she is celebrating her birthday scaling a wall!

Since Mary Grace is celebrating her first "double digit" birthday, I decided to include the number 10 in her cookie collection.  Mom said that MG is beyond the pink stage, I added a little silver to the rope handles, just to give the collection a hint of sparkle.

Love, hugs and cookies for
an amazing girl!

Design inspired by free clip art that can be found here.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Awesome Elliot is Five

Great-Grandpa, "Papa O," always says Elliot is AWESOME.  Papa O thinks everything he says or does is "awesome," because of the challenges he faced as a preemie.  Fortunately, this tiny preemie is now an active, engaging, five year old.

Cookies have been a part of  Elliot's birthday celebration since he turned one. . . Cookie Monster, Buzz, Diego, Lightening McQueen and now Spiderman.

Every year I think that Elliot is going to ask for Chicago Blackhawks cookies because he is a "super" fan.  By the age of 3 he was skating, falling asleep while singing Chelsea Dagger, and wearing his very own jersey.  Perhaps the Hawks are too special to be reduced to cookie form??????

Now that Elliot is old enough to have input into party planning, we have discovered that he doesn't seem to see the need for a party "theme." Last year he asked for a Spiderman cake and Lightening McQueen cookies, this year the combination is Spiderman cookies and an NFL cake.

I think the birthday boy will be happy with his cake, cookies AND the gift of another Stanley Cup Championship the same week as his birthday.  Three championships in his five years--who knows how many more he will be able to celebrate in the future!!!

 Love, Hugs, Cookies,
a Stanley Cup Championship,
for a very special boy!

Hawks win, Hawks win, Hawks win!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Good-bye Mustangs, Hello Tigers

Congratulations to my great-niece, Megan, who recently graduated from Chicago's Northside Prep High School.

During her 4 years of high school,  Megan embraced all that a large, urban, multicultural, high school had to offer.  Megan worked hard and played hard, earning numerous awards for her efforts.

Megan's love of Latin led to a state championship with her Certamen team, and spring break trips to Italy and Greece.

From the time Megan was a little girl, she has talked about being a veterinarian, so as she leaves a large, Chicago, high school behind, to embrace the learning environment of a small, southern, rural university .  .  . I knew that I had to make her cookies that represent the mascots of the schools.

Good-bye Northside Prep Mustangs, 
Hello Sewanee-University of the South Tigers!

Love, Hugs and Cookies to a very, special girl!


Horse Cookie Tutorial--SweetSugarBelle
Tiger Cookie Tutorial--100 Animals Book by Lisa Snyder, The Bearfoot Baker

Monday, June 8, 2015

Bee . . . Well

Fortunately, after a broken wrist and four months of therapy, I will be able to say good-bye to my therapists today.

This whimsical cookie collection is a gift to show my gratitude for their patience, guidance and support.  In February, I wasn't sure if I would ever be able to write with my left hand again, but an outstanding team of therapists have helped me to return to my normal routine which includes decorating cookies.

I first made these cute little bees for my co-workers when I retired in 2010.  My decorating skills have definitely improved since then!

In an effort to conquer my fear of my airbrush, I am trying to use it for a few cookies here and there.  I thought polka-dots would be a nice addition to this collection.

Flower cookies are always a challenge for me, so I am constantly looking for new design inspiration.  This collection is based on a beautiful design by the amazing Jill FCS.  My petals were a bit wonky, but they made me smile.

Unfortunately, as my therapy comes to an end, a friend is now facing rest and rehab for a broken ankle.  I made some extra cookies and a different bee hive to take to Denise when I visit her this week.   Maybe the cute little bees will make her smile.

As I finished this collection I decided to add a few of the cute little lady bug RI transfers that my "Sugar Sister," Donna, recently made and shared with me.  After all, lady bugs are supposed to bring good luck  .  .  .  Let's hope for an injury free second half of the year.

Special thanks to:

- Aileen Master who graciously gave me permission to use her design when I made them back in 2010.
-Tutorial for the roses can be found on SweetSugarbelle's blog.
-Jill FCS

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Good-bye EG, Hello U of I

Graduation season continues. . . this weekend we are celebrating the achievements of a family friend. It was fun to have the opportunity to visit an old friend, the Grenadier.

Since Dorothy is planning to attend the University of Illinois, I made some t-shirt cookies that were hidden at the bottom of the tray.