Don’t Open…

…until Christmas!

tags for you

What makes me happy?  Graphic Design.  It makes me genuinely happy! It is what I do when I need to focus closely, be creative, and shut out the world for a moment.  I create with this medium often and yet, seldom share it.  I should though, more often.

These took many hours to create; balancing colors and lines, matching fonts, and interlocking pieces.  Studying and then creating some more.  It looks majestically simple yet was quite complex to create.

I created these tags, floating on inspiration, from a very, very vintage piece of Christmas past.  Something about the bubbly wording makes me feel just a little more facetiously festive!  It is tempting the anticipating heart in the sweetest of ways. Telling them to wait…patiently.

WAIT.

Enjoy the moment.

You don’t really know what is in store for you!

dont open

Copyright The Merry Makery Free for personal use!

(Print on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock.  Right click to save.  Created to be vibrant but use low color.  This is saved as a CMYK so it will print slightly different than shown here in RGB.  Test the page.  For personal use only.  Copyright Cherie Bergstrom/The Merry Makery.)

 

Advertisements

Be Merry Be Bright Cookies!

light upIf you feel like it, would you consider visiting www.mycookiecontest.com now through December 21, 2015 and casting a vote there?

I was enamored with this idea of popping some battery operated LED lights through cookies to create a glowing vignette!  I hope that this will be inspiration for someone’s wedding centerpiece or holiday party.  Imagine using them to light up a bunch of Rudolph noses or a poinsettia wreath glittering with lights. I would LOVE to see YOUR creations, please share!

My Cookie Recipe is here:
Making Dough!

and the Sugar Sand instructions are here:
Awwww, SuGar SuGar!

 If you have questions, please feel free to drop me a message and I will do my best to help !

To everyone who has stood by me through this, all I can say is THANK YOU!  I am touched and honored by the love and support as I ventured into not only creating this project but putting myself out to the public.

You have made this learning experience joyful.

Awwww SuGaR SuGar!

sanding
Ready to make some sugars that glisten and pop without spending a ton of money on little bottles of joy?  Me too!  The recipe is really simple and this can make a little or a bunch.  You just adjust your amounts accordingly.  No little baggies and no stained fingers to boot because you won’t have a ton of condensed dye in your sugar!

Ready?

1 tsp. water with coloring to 1 Cup of sugar

Yes, that is IT!

I got up early this morning and whipped up a new batch while taking pictures for you.  It proved to take longer to fight through the media and posting than to create the sugar itself.  I have TONS of pictures for you so that you can understand why I veered away from using baggies and kneading and went right to the mixing bowl.

For the project of the Light Up Sugar Cookies, I started with 4 cups of sugar so that I didn’t have to go back and create more later.  I had a lot left over to say the least.

Here I am using two cups of sugar:1b

& two tsps. water in a cup:
3

Dip the edge of a knife into some gel food coloring:
4

And mix it in with the water:
5
The final color will be MUCH lighter than what you see in your cup so don’t be afraid to use plenty of color!

Add your colored water to the sugar:
6
Whip it Baby!
7
Zoom!

Keep the cup handy to hold your utensils so that you do not get dye everywhere.  It just saves cleaning up an unnecessary mess:
8

Turn off the machine and mix with a spatula.
9
You will see chunks of uneven coloring.  Pet those into the sugar with the spatula.
Yes, pet…like you would your pup. Lightly spreading the color into the mixture.
10
Looking better.  The color is a little dull because of the moisture.  No worries.  It will glisten up when it is dry.

And, whip again:
7
The hardest part is over, now you just have to dry the sugar.  Simple right?  Wondering why we spend so much on little jars?  Me too!

Transfer out onto a cookie sheet:
11
If you leave it like this, it will dry like this.  So, you are going to have to spend a little time fluffing it.
If yours gets away from you and dries, roll it with a rolling-pin.

Spread it out and then chop it to break up large chunks:

13

Create airflow by whisking it around a bit:

14

It is starting to dry and you can see the sparkle returning.
15

Place into oven at 175 for 5 minutes and stir, then again five minutes and stir.
You are just moving it around a bit to allow the air to dry the water out of the sugar.
At some point it will be a bit…uh…crunchy and that is when you will remove it from the warm oven.
16

We are just going to fluff it up by shaking it through a wire sieve:
17
The mixture may be a bit moist still so cajole it with your fingers along the edges.
18

Toss these last few leftover chunks.
They are hardened on the outside and filled with moisture.
Not worth the effort.19

Repeat the process again to add more air:

22

It is done!
20
So. So. Pretty!
1a

Don’t you think?!
24

Making Dough!

The cookie kind!  With all of the excitement about being a finalist in the IKEA contest, I wanted to pass along my recipe and also a few hints that I wish I had known about when I was first trying to make beautiful cookies for Christmas.  Don’t misunderstand, I am no professional baker, I simply have my select few baking projects that I tweak and recreate as needed…over and over.

The whole process is a small ordeal that I usually spend working through a few hours a day, over two or three days.  I will say though that the cookies I created for the IKEA cookie contest were done, start to finish, in about…I’m estimating…3 or 4 hours.  I stepped away from my normal process of artistically piped decorating, painted them instead, then sugared them with homemade colored sugaring.  I will share that recipe with you soon also.

The recipe I am sharing with you today is for my FROSTED rolled-out, cut-out Sugar Cookies.  It is really important to know this and I sincerely wish someone had shared this knowledge with me years ago.  I had to learn the hard way but YOU don’t have to.  Yay You! The recipe that I am sharing which is very balanced but there is one piece of information that is often overlooked.  I am going to suggest that you break a common cooking baking rule.  Ready?

Don’t bring your butter to room Temperature!

TaDa!  Darlings, I promise you this is key here!  When you bring the butter to room temp, it separates into something that is more of an oil.  This creates cake like, spread out, puffier cookies.  You might want that for another recipe but not for this one.  This is the one to use for more precise edges that hold their shape.

I created some recipe cards that you can print out.  Read through them, study them a bit before you begin.  I promise it will make all the difference in the final outcome!

These cookies are a bit bland.
These cookies are a bit harder than normal.
You want them this way.

Don’t bite into one of these cookies after they have baked and without frosting to come to a conclusion that you dislike them.  It is like biting into an onion that hasn’t been caramelized in butter and saying you hate sautéed onions. I hope that makes a point without sounding SnArKy!

Once you have made the cookies and frosted them, a few things happen.  First the sugary frosting is a perfect balance when combined with the bland vanilla cookie.  Second…listen,listen,listen…allowing the frosted cookie to sit over night brings moisture back into the cookie slowly which dries the frosting AND brings some sweetness back to the cookie itself.  It is total CoOkiE MaGic!

Here are recipe cards created just fo ryou.  If you have any questions, I will do my very best to answer you!  Open them up, right click and save.

cookie dough_Page_1cookie dough_Page_2

IKEA LED light up cookies!

It was a few weeks back, the weekend hadn’t been kind to us here.  I flipped through my social media for a few minutes and noticed the IKEA cookie contest.  Exhausted, I laid down for a nap.  As I woke, I was dreaming of sugar cookie trees shimmering with lights on top.

I grabbed some coffee and continued with the holiday cleaning while it occurred to me that I needed to visit Ikea for a few items for the home.  I remembered the contest, I remembered the dream, and BAM…an idea for cookies was born!  In the midst of adversity, I found some form of joy…in cookies!

I wanted to tell everyone about this idea for festive holiday cookies because it was just so darn cute and so easy.  Everyone should be able to have these cookies greeting their loved ones for the holidays.  I had to keep it on the hush though until after I submitted my entry.  That was the hardest part for me since I LOVE to share.

A trip to IKEA was made to grab two very important things from their store;  one was the most recent 3D cookie cutter set and the other was a string of their battery operated LED lights.  I already had all of the other items I needed from them at home.

Here is the crazy thing, I ALMOST didn’t make the cookies.  Life got in the way and my thoughts talked me out of it.  You know we can all be so hard on ourselves at times.  On the cut off day of the contest though, I got some gumption together and decided to try all the same.

Here is the final product!
cookies

#IKEACOOKIECONTEST @IKEAUSA