MR. CLAUS IS ALSO COMING TO TOWN

There is no way Mr. Claus would leave the love of his life alone, so here he is! Another amazing online event by Amy, from @seriouslysweet, I could not decorate live with all the other participants because we were away on a trip, but the moment I came back home, I baked the cookies and went to work. This cookie cutter set is also available at dotsandbows with a click here. For a flashback to Mrs. Claus, go here.

Totally smitten with this cute old guy… So many details and techniques in this set! I finally got the hat effect – a folding of the fabric – to work. As I mentioned before, this type of detail I do not feel ok about sharing, as this was a paid event hosted by Amy. I am thrilled that it now worked ok for me. Poor Mrs. Claus went with a flat hat, without enough pizzazz.

We started by sketching all the details on the cookies, then slowing decorating each area, using all the methods of piping, from flood consistency to very thick for the white details. I feel that I messed up the eyes a bit, they did not turn out as good as Mrs. Claus’ but overall I am happy with this set.

My favorite technique is definitely the little ruffle on top of the gloves and boots. I just love doing it, and once you get the consistency and strength to squeeze the bag (with no icing tip), it’s very easy and fun.

So this closes the double Christmas set, the Claus Couple, ready to spread Holiday Joy around the world!

Amy, thank you once again for your super detailed instruction and patience with all of us following your online adventures!

ONE YEAR AGO: Zentangle Strikes Again

AMY’S STACKABLE PUMPKIN SET

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Here I am to report on yet another great online class taught by Amy. If you don’t want to cut the cookies by hand (which is what I did), the set is available at dotsandbowsdesigns, with a click here. Amy’s classes are great to teach several different tricks using the same basic cookie and this was no exception. This particular set takes the pumpkin concept to a higher level of elegance, and it would be a perfect centerpiece to a Fall get-together or a Thanksgiving meal. I learned so many cool tricks… So let me just briefly walk you through the process. Obviously, I cannot share specific details, as it is part of her class.

The cookies are baked, and the pumpkin piped in stages to allow the different sections to have enough definition…

This step is quite straightforward, the only thing you need to master for that is the icing consistency, but that is pretty much the most important aspect of cookie decorating, and only practice will give you what it takes. Keep in mind that no one was born with that skill, we all more or less struggle through the learning process until it becomes second nature. Do not get discouraged. The real fun begins with the side floral panels, and a progression is shown below.

Every step of this process used a new technique. Once again, it is all in the consistency and I got all of them ok, except the blue roses, the icing was just a tiny bit too soft. But I think I still got the shape to stay. My favorite bit is the grapevine, such a cool way to pipe it! And the little pumpkin shown from the top, another brilliant way to bring that to life. Cookie life, that is…


To finish the set, I just added a little shading to the pumpkin and a little touch of luster powder (Khaki color) on the stem and leaves.

I just love all the details and how much I learned in this class. Amy is very encouraging, and even when we need to do something that is intimidating, she insists it is easy and doable, and makes us try it on parchment paper first. That really helps a lot.

Amy, thank you so much for this fantastic online experience!


ONE YEAR AGO: Sally Cookies Sally

A VINTAGE DRESS SET

A couple of weeks ago during a weekly Facebook live, Marlyn hosted a tutorial in which people could decorate in real time with her. Cookies were hand-cut and baked before class. Handbag and shoes were not part of the live demo, she had a little tutorial to show how to do those previously posted in her Patreon site. The skirt and blouse had some pre-decorating done, and were then finalized during the event. This set would be a perfect gift for Mother’s Day, or Teacher’s Appreciation Day, or a simple “I Think You Are Special” offering. You can watch the whole video following this link.

The cookies required stencils to provide guidelines for piping, but you could conceivably draw that free-hand. Some of the steps of the preparation are detailed below

For the shoes, after flooding in white, the stencil is used to add the red details, using an air-brush. You could draw them by hand and fill the red using a food safe pen. Once that is done, the rest is all piping with Royal icing. The shoes were by far the trickiest for me, my first pair was not fit to be seen in public and had to be consumed as evidence of a cookie-crime. I did a little better on the second pair, which is the one included in the group photo.

The handbag has a very clever design. The rough texture is made with sugar dyed with blue food color. I love the tiny details of gold, which are sequin sprinkles such as these. They also go in the blouse, tying the design together nicely.

For the skirt, a petal tip was used to decorate the border, and after that flooding with yellow + air-brushing lines to guide in the final decoration during class.

So these components were all we needed to attack the decoration with Marlyn…

It went by super fast, and again I learned a lot. This basic design can be tweaked to do all kinds of colors and patterns but I loved the look that Marlyn planned for the set. She puts so much attention to small details, they do elevate a cookie to higher levels. And often it’s not that complicated, but just a little something extra to consider. Like the lighter color on the inside of the shirt, the ruffles on the bottom of the shirt and skirt, the little golden sequins.

There we were, hard at work!

Marlyn and Hani, thanks for another great live session on Facebook! I am not sure there will be more of this kind, but I had fun with every single one of them so far…

ONE YEAR AGO: For the Love of a Golfer

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE SNOWY VILLAGE!

This set of cookies was fun to make but a little challenging in some ways. You must be attentive to the dimension of the roof components, particularly the thickness of the cookie. Those parts cannot be rolled too thick, they won’t look good and won’t assemble properly. The whole design was conceived and demonstrated by Marlyn (livestream video available in two parts, here and here). I simplified mine a bit, eliminating wafer paper decorations on the edge of the roof. One of my favorite parts of this set was making the rocky path in front of the door. Check out Marlyn’s version to be amazed!

When I first made the cookies, the roof components would not align properly on top of the house, bringing back nightmares of what happened to me in a certain tent. Catastrophic developments that later were broadcast to a few million viewers. Family members and friends included. I quickly donated those roof parts for three very happy pups, and re-made them with more attention to overall dimensions. I used my roller cutter the second time around, and it worked like a charm.

Another component I had to re-make was the snowman. First I used a mini cookie cutter from Sugarbelle, but it ended up too big. The snowman looked like a giant in front of the house. I decided to cut the shape by hand instead.

Each set then takes a base (I used a tumbstone shape), a big triangle for the face of the house, two sticks for the roof, and either a small snowman or a tree to decorate the front. The pebble path is of course optional, but I loved making it.

The roof parts got painted with a light coating of Royal icing, and the front of the house was flooded in red, leaving an opening for the door that was iced with purple. White and green Royal icing in piping consistency were used for all details.

I hate to sound repetitive, but if you want to take your cookie decorating to a higher place, consider joining Marlyn’s site at Patreon. It is one of the best investments you can make, the only “problem” is that she is so productive and shares so many interesting projects that it’s hard to decide what to do next. So stay tuned for more adventures in cookie decorating as 2022 rolls around… Soon this little baby blog of mine will turn 1 year old!