Wednesday, December 18, 2013

'Tis the Season. . .

This year I decided to spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the season with family and friends.  As a result, all of my good intentions to make a lot of new and different cookie designs will have to wait until next year.  Instead, I opted for traditional Christmas colors, design favorites of the family and some cutters that I have had for years but never used.

I did complete a few orders for friends.  .  . a dozen for Kathy and Joe to send to their friends in Iowa, and a few good men for Lyn to give to some committee members at school.  I changed the beard from last year and opted for a humorous tag.

I chose Mrs. Claus as the design for the Our Lady of Victory Women's club.  Once again, I revised the design from last year and followed SSB's tutorial to use a Halloween skull cutter in place of my round design.  Mrs. Claus' tag said, "Behind Every Good Woman.  .  .", but I forgot to take a picture of it.

It is somewhat of a tradition that I add a new and different Santa and Reindeer each year, so I added two new cutters to my collection. 

This year the great-nieces/nephews
will find personalized stockings on the dessert table.

Finally, for just a bit of fun, I trimmed my Santa cutter and created Snowbird Santa.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Halloween 2013

I always have fun making Halloween cookies and every year I try to do some new and different designs.

LilaLoa's  car cookie has been so much fun since I first attempted it in August, that I knew I wanted to create a Halloween design using her tutorial.  Then when SugarBelle introduced her school bus cutter, I decided to try a front and back view of a car.  I trimmed the top of the bus so that it would look more like a vintage car.

Last summer I found these cutters on sale and although they are much larger than the cookies I usually make, "cookie cutter" + "70% off" was too good to pass up.  I used one to make treats for Mary Grace's birthday party, but I wasn't sure if I'd ever find another use for them until Ali Bee posted a design for a ghost and a vampire.

Since I purchased an extra set of cutters for my cookie friend, Donna's, birthday, I knew I had to try these designs.  I really like Dracula, but I think my ghost looks like the Michelin man dressed up for Halloween.  

                       Trick or Treat!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Linda Excels

 Twenty-eight years ago, I met Linda at a luncheon for teachers who were new to the school district.  What were the chances that in a 6 high school district, I would sit next to a person who would be working at the same school and in the same division?

As Chicagoans, we car pooled to the 'burbs during our first year of employment.  We became good friends and have shared lots of laughter and a few tears over the years.

I was so excited to learn that this very, worthy teacher has been selected to receive the Award of Merit from the Illinois State Board of Education.

While baking Halloween cookies, I decided to make a few special cookies for Linda and one of my "cookie cards", a home made card illustrated with pictures of the cookies.

Linda's collection will include a few cookies in honor of, ¡Hoy es Viernes!  A tradition in Linda's Advanced Placement Spanish Class,  that evolved from a weekly greeting, to brightly colored t-shirts, to a classroom bulletin board  featuring the t-shirts being worn in locations all over the world.

Linda's card will say:
Fly Swatters, iPads and now even Twitter. . . are just a few of the items in your creative bag of TRICKS.

                                 So make no BONES about it, 
there are nothing but TREATS in store

                                   for this teacher who Excels!

Congratulations on your 
recognition from the 
Illinois State Board of Education!

A search of the web turned up many designs for skeleton and trick or treat bag cookies, but if you are interested in a step-by-step tutorial, check out: 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Christie and Roy's Rehearsal Dinner

 This wedding car design from LilaLoa has been my go to cookie since August.  I selected it for Mom and Dad's 65th Wedding Anniversary in August, recreated it in a different color for my sister's 25th Anniversary in September and jut shipped some to a cousin in Alabama for a rehearsal dinner.  I added  a tuxedo design which I've never made before and some simple pumpkins and  hearts covered in disco dust.

Hopefully, a few cookies will make the long trip in one piece.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ghoul Friends

My sister, Carol, asked if I could make a few cookies for a  co-worker's daughter who was hit by a 15 passenger van while she was jogging.  I wanted to do something fun rather than creepy!

I added a note in orange ink and a "cracked font" that said:

Sending you some “Ghoul Friends”
to keep you company as you recover. 

Little square monsters thanks to LilaLoa's tutorial.  The Count's hair was a challenge but I really like Frank.  The hat is a smaller version of the one that I did last year and it is still one of my favorite designs to make.

Carol received the following message from her colleague who was recently transferred to the building at the VA where my sister's team works:

This is to let you and your staff know how much of a smile (which I haven’t seen since before the accident) that I saw on my daughter when she received the box of cookies and how much it meant to her and her momma. She loved them.  The cookies were so cute.   You all are the GREATEST!!! I am so glad they moved us here. I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!   
Also,  I appreciate their thoughts and prayers during this crazy time and enjoy the company when they stop by my office to check on me and see how I am doing…..It makes me cry with happiness.  You have a GREAT Team!   
Thank you, Thank you, thank you!!!! 

This note is a nice reminder of why 
I spend the time making cookies!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Baby It's A Jungle Out There

Thanks to the creativity of SweetSugarBelle, I have now used my reindeer cutter to make giraffes more often than he has appeared during the Christmas holidays!  The pumpkin baby was inspired by the shower invitation.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy 25th Anniversary

Twenty-five years ago today, my lovely sister, Carol, married her wonderful husband, Marty.  They had an informal wedding in their beautiful backyard.  It was a perfect day filled with sunshine, blue skies, bright colorful flowers in the garden and a yard filled with family and friends.

Since that day, they have guided their blended family to adulthood, attended the weddings of their children and have become loving grandparents to another generation.  Then and now, family continues to be the center of their lives.

 Wishing you many more years of happiness in the future.

I'm not sure who took the photos, but Marty's head was cut off in almost all of them!

 Love and Hugs to both of you on your special day!

Instructions to make LilaLoa's vintage car design can be found here.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Cornhole Cookies

It "takes a village," or at least a block, of hard working, dedicated friend to organize a successful block party that is a summer tradition in many Chicago neighborhoods.  My niece, Jody, organizes a wonderful event every year and is grateful for the help she receives from many of her neighbors.  She asked me if I could make "Cornhole Cookies" for a senior citizen who constructs a game every year to be used as a raffle prize.  At the age of 86 he even volunteered to be in the dunk tank!

No matter how old I get, I am always learning . . . I had no idea this game was called "Cornhole," I thought it was bean bag toss.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Happy 18th Birthday


Great-niece, Kaley, is celebrating her 18th birthday today.  Although
she is now miles away at college, she is always close to my heart.
Kaley (r) and younger sister Kendall (l)

Sending Love and Hugs You Way,
Enjoy Your Special Day!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Back To School Minis

Back to school minis for the children in the family.  I used plastic containers for mailing and glass for the ones that could be hand delivered.  Thanks to The Decorated Cooke, for the printable tags.

Have a Great School Year!

Kyle, Meg and Maddie sent this photo via FB when their cookies arrived in the mail. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

You Gotta Have Friends

When I was a little girl, my parents enrolled my sisters and me in swimming lessons.  I wanted to learn and I really, really tried.  However,  when I took my glasses off, my poor vision made the pool a scary place and I never mastered the skill.

Now many, many, many years later, thanks to Lasik surgery and goggles, I was willing to give swimming another try.  My friend, Kathy, and I signed up for an adult swim class at the community college, aptly titled, "Face Your Fears, Learn to Swim." 

In honor of our recent adventure,  I made this collection of cookies for her birthday.

I included a card that said: 

We're certainly beyond the bikini stage of our lives . . .


and we may never be able to swim like a fish. . .

                             . . .  or be as graceful as a duck,

 . . .  or dive like a dolphin,

       . . . and we will NEVER survive a shark attack,

 but as long as we wear our goggles,

and keep our flotation devices nearby, at least we're no longer afraid to jump in the pool!

Happy birthday my friend, I always have a "whale" of a good time with you!

                            P.S.  Don't forget the sunscreen!

Thanks to the following bloggers for design inspiration:

Shark:         SweetSugarBelle
Whale:        SweetSugarBelle
Swim Fin:   Sweet Creations By Debbie

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Special Thoughts at a Difficult Time

Some people wonder why I spend hours making cookies when I could do so many other things with my time.  I can not explain it any better than this blog post written by a dear friend in response to a package that I sent to her last summer:

Cookies cannot cure cancer, but that package from Diane reminded me why we make cookies.  Those cute little shapes, the cheerful colors, the soft bite into the cookie, and the dissolving of icing let me escape from life-changing challenges and remember the peace and joy which has blessed our lives. 

If my time and effort brought a little comfort to Donna last summer, I am hoping that this collection will do the same for another family facing the serious illnss of a loved one.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sometimes Simple Says It Best

Donna, my friend and former co-worker, started decorating sugar cookies in 2009 and became my first "cookie friend."  She staged great photos of her cookies and introduced me to the networking of cookie decorators via FLICKR and Facebook. Recently, Donna has been on a sabbatical from the cookie world.  She is enjoying golf more and time in the kitchen less.  I suspect as the weather grows colder she will return to baking for her family and friends, but until then I'm sending some cookies to my "cookie friend." 

During the last year simple star cookies took on a special meaning for us, but sometimes simple says it best.  So, simple but SPECIAL stars and hearts for a very special friend.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Welcome to the USA

 Twenty years ago, I participated in a two year, cohort, graduate school program and developed a strong friendship with another member of the group.  Jodi was a young teacher in the process of finishing graduate school, planning a wedding and preparing to move to Cyprus with her new husband.  After nineteen years of living and working abroad, they are returning to the USA with their three teenagers and a dog.

I made an eclectic collection of cookies as a welcome gift, took pictures of them and created a card that said:

As you leave the beautiful 
beaches of island life behind,

keep Cyprus in your heart,


as you embrace the journey 
of your new life in the
United States.
Welcome to your new home,


You can learn more about the Gren(adiers) here.
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