Friday, October 28, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Both women and men can become victims of this horrible disease, and the toll it takes on family and friends can be daunting.

We must all do whatever small part we can in helping to find a cure for this insidious disease. Volunteer at a hospice, knit/crochet caps for chemotherapy patients, donate money, or do what you think you can to contribute.

We must have hope, and we must keep up the fight. It's too important of an issue not to.

Love & sweetness,


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's A Love/Hate Thang

As long as I can remember, I've had this love/hate thing going with winter.

Yup, the season. Let me explain.

I live in New England, where we are blessed to experience all four seasons in their complete glory. Springs are sometimes rainy and chilly, but newly budding trees and flowers, and the occasional warm breeze, reminds you that life is renewing itself, and that's a wonderful thought.
(Springtime in Boston)

Summer is, well, summer. What's not to like about it? Warm (sometimes TOO warm) days, sunshine, barbecues, beach trips, sounds of motorcycles (yup, I looooove 'em), sitting on the back deck at night with a glass of wine. Ahhhhhh.............
(Nantucket Harbor)

Fall. In New England, fall is breathtaking. The colors on the trees are indescribable, and I am constantly amazed at the beauty of it all.

And then there's WINTER. Ugggh.

Now, I'm a winter baby, so I guess I'm supposed to like the season. And I do. To a degree.

I love when the fireplace is roaring, and there's a heart-warming holiday movie on tv, and we're all snuggled on the couch (puppies included) watching. I love, love, love Thanksgiving and Christmas, and shopping on Black Friday, and Valentine's Day...........And I love watching snow fall at dusk, when it's absolutely quiet, and the wonder of it all just gets to me.

But.............(and there's always a but), I detest the cold, and the wind, and the ice, and the heating bills, and the slush, and...........well, you get the idea.

Anyway, with all that being said, I set aside my dislike of the season every year and get into the spirit. And this year, I'm starting early.

This cake was so much fun to make. And it's really not that difficult, but it is a little time consuming.

First, I need to give credit to Melissa Diamond of My Cake School from whom I got the inspiration for this cake. (You should check out her website/blog. She's phenomenal.)

The cake/igloo was made in two pyrex bowls and covered in fondant. The fondant was then scored to look like ice blocks. The doorway to the igloo was made from 2 Rice Krispies treats that I shaped into a horseshoe and covered in fondant.

The figures were all made from a 50/50 mix of gumpaste and fondant. (I make my own fondant from a recipe by Michele Foster that I found on Cake Central)

The snow is royal icing that I spread around with an angled spatula. And the trees are cones of gumpaste/fondant shaped into cones, and snipped with craft scissors.

Easy, peasy, as they say. Hope you like it!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Whimsical, that's me!

I've been baking, and enjoying it, since I was very young. Growing up, we always had homemade baked goods in the house, thanks to my grandma who lived with us. (She made the bestest cookie dough crust for blueberry pie that I've ever had!!)

True, she baked the "old-fashioned" way (a pinch of this, a smidgen of that), but still, I watched and learned. Grandma (and my parents) emigrated here after World War II, and her baking was ethnic and delicious. I adored her!

After I married and had children, I seemed to bake more and more. Given my upbringing, it always seemed important to me to have something fresh and yummy in the house for dessert or a snack. I made cakes (and pies and cookies) for every birthday, and holiday, and any other excuse I could come up with. I made wedding cakes for friends and family, and loved every minute of it. I distinctly remember my daughter's first birthday (she's 23 now), when I made this elaborate 3 tiered cake, complete with roses and scroll work, only to have her stick her hands gleefully into my masterpiece. (Who knew about smash cakes then? lol)

I tried very hard to get things just right in my decorating. I practiced my flowers, my piping, my smoothing. It was very important to me to be "perfect." (Or, as perfect as I could get.) I wanted my decorating to be elegant and refined. Call it youthful determination, I guess.

But now I'm older. And my style has changed. Oh, I still want to get things "right", (and I still spend alot of time practicing my skills) but I am not as inclined toward the dignified and elaborate. I've decided that now, in middle age, I am distinctly more whimsical than I used to be. (At 52, I absolutely adore Hello Kitty. That's whimsical, right?? :-)

For instance, take these cookies that I did recently for a baby shower.
They're cute, aren't they? (The cookie recipe is from Martha Stewart and you can find it here). And this is the type of stuff I totally enjoy doing now.

They make me happy!

Oh, I still try my hand at more difficult work (Haniela is one of my biggest inspirations) and, of course, if I produced a beautiful five tier wedding cake that won a prize at the Oklahoma Sugar show I'd be more than thrilled!
But for now, I guess I'll stick to the things that make me smile!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My babies

No, I didn't make cookies that look like my children (although I've thought of it!! :-)). Instead, I'm talking about my 4-legged babies, Aries and Nikki.

Nikki is on the left, and Aries on the right. It's hard to get a good photo of them!

To be honest, Aries is my son's dog, and Nikki (his daughter) is kinda-sorta my dog. Although, I share her with my own daughter on occasion.
Awww, a boy and his dog!! :-)
Aries is a long-haired Dachshund, and Nikki is half Doxie, half Bichon. (She looks nothing like a Bichon, dontcha think?)

Anyway, in my latest order from Karen's Cookies, I got the most adorable Dachshund cutter, along with a fire hydrant cutter. After all, how can you make dog cookies without a fire hydrant??

I had to make these right away. It was imperative, it was a necessity, it was a sugar and flour situation!!!So, I made the dough, baked them, and flooded them with brown icing (I use the "Sort Of" royal icing by The Decorated Cookie):

Then I dressed them up with some sweaters, and cute bows for Nikki, and they ended up like this:

And like this:

I think they're kinda cute!!! But not as cute as my love bugs!!!!!!!!!!
Love and Sweetness,


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Have you seen the little fishies....?

I can't take credit for this design. I was perusing the 2012 Wilton Yearbook (which, by the way, is an awesome source of inspiration) and found these adorable fishbowl cookies.

I had free rein to make some cookies for a wee child's special day, so I whipped up a batch of one of my favorite sugar cookie recipes (more on those later) and decided to try my hand at these.

The fishbowl is just a large sized round cutter, with about 1/2 inch cut off the top of the cookie to simulate the flat top of the bowl. I piped the blue for the water around the cookie, and flooded it. I used just a little of Americolor electric blue.

The round fishies are just small round cookies piped with a number 1 tip, and flooded. After drying they are attached to the larger cookie, and the tail, fins and mouth are added. I also added a royal icing eye that I purchased because I absolutely suck at making eyes! lol

Air bubbles are just dots, topped by a little heart. I used multi colored confetti hearts for the gravel on the first few (just brush some corn syrup or piping gel on, and pour the hearts on), but decided to go with blue and yellow sanding sugar for the remainder. The white band at the top is a thin rope of fondant (I primarily use Satin Ice, although I've been known to use Duff's on occasion), again attached with piping gel or corn syrup.

Oh, and the cat? It was a new cutter that I'd been anxious to use, so I threw him into the photo for the heck of it. Too bad I forgot to draw on his drooling tongue!!

I know this is a big cookie with alot of sugary goodness, but I understand the wee one adored them!!

Love and sweetness,


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Things that make you go BOO

I've been really enjoying my cookie exploits lately. I've found recipes that I love, and am stoked that Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are soon to be upon us. What better time for decorating cookies, right??

Here are just a few examples of things I've been doing lately:

These cookies, a combo of cream cheese sugar cookies, and chocolate/chocolate chip cookies, are covered with The Decorated Cookie's "Sort Of" royal icing recipe. They were so much fun to make!!

I also did these for some special friends:

I think I like the apples best of all.

Aren't these fun? The brooms were supposed to be witches' brooms, but they looked cuter to me this way.

I found these Wilton cookie cutters, and just had to make these.

I thought the witch's boot was an awesome idea for a cutter. LOL

Like I said, this time of year is sooooo much fun. Except for hating the cold, I love how the autumn and winter bring out the kid in me.

With love and sweetness,


Friday, September 16, 2011

Pink and Brown for Baby

I had such fun doing these cookies and cupcake bouquet for a little lovely's baby shower.

This chocolate recipe came from LilaLoa, and the taste is amazing!

The new auntie, who placed the order with me, wanted alot of PINK for baby Olivia, and I was more than happy to comply. (Next to purple, it's my favorite color!!)

This sugar cookie recipe comes from Sweet Sugarbelle, who constantly amazes me with her cookie genius!

I had so much fun doing these cookies!!

The cuppies were red velvet and key lime, faves of the mom-to-be. Aren't those baby faces cute?? :-)