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!
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#IKEACOOKIECONTEST @IKEAUSA

 

 

A quiet moment to reflect.

   The house is quiet.
Cranberry bread is baking in the oven.
The last few touches of the decorations have been made.
Christmas 2014 at The Merry MakeryAs each Christmas passes, I realize
that my children haven’t always remember the presents under the tree.
Instead they remember the moments leading up to
the grand unveiling and the excitement in the home.
Christmas 2014 at The Merry MakeryThey remember the decorations that
dance around the house each year
on shelves, the mantel, and countertops.
I remind my children of their history each year
as I bring out each piece
so that they appreciate their presences.
Christmas 2014 at The Merry MakeryChristmases build upon each other.
Each year, is another link to the total memory
in a child’s mind and heart.
It is a creation of magic through LOVE.
Christmas 2014 at The Merry MakeryPure Magic!
Christmas 2014 at The Merry MakeryThe smell of favorite recipes
baked in Mother’s familiar pans,
create some strange magic
that they often won’t know exists
until they are grown.
Christmas 2014 at The Merry MakeryWishing you all…
A Very Merry Christmas,
Blessed by the Love of Jesus.

All The World’s A Stage! DIY How to make a stage for your vintage Lefton Napco figurines!

In the midst of all of the hustle and bustle, I sat down this evening and slowly began to work on another little project.  I have these cute little vintage Lefton Christmas figurines that are top-heavy and rock quite a bit.  The boy has been to the hospital three times to be mended.  This year, they are coming out for décor but they need a stage to perform on first,  to add stability.
Vintage Christmas Stage At Merry Makery

From the dollar store, one 2 pc package of Craft  floral foams.

Vintage Christmas Stage At Merry Makery

I opened the package and glued them together.

Vintage Christmas Stage At Merry Makery
The two together are the perfect size for what I want!

Vintage Christmas Stage At Merry Makery
Red and white striped paper collected from last years “After Christmas Clearance Sale” was picked out.
A very uneven circle of the paper was cut to overlap the sides of the foam.  No tracing or pattern used, I eyed it as I was cutting.

Vintage Christmas Stage At Merry Makery

Thinking that hot blue would be bumpy, I used Mod Podge to adhere the paper to the foam.
On the bottom half, I tried the glue gun just to see what would happen. There was no difference and the hot glue was much faster.
If I had used a thinner piece of paper, it might matter but the paper here is heavy weight cardstock.

Vintage Christmas Stage At Merry Makery
Several slits were made around the circle edge to allow the paper to lay more evenly.
The weight of the Mod Podge bottle was used to add pressure to the paper while it dried.

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With a glue gun, the tabs were adhered, just a few at a time.  Easy.

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The process was repeated for the bottom of the stage, just in case someone flipped it over…I don’t know why.  It just seemed proper.

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With a little added trim, it is ready for the performers to take center stage.

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I can’t want to share the finished project!

Pantone Color of The Year Announced and it’s chicken liver to me.

I have exhausted my brain from pondering the new color this morning while reliving my color theory studies all over again.  Do I admit the truth or do I go along with the flow?  Maybe my perspective is incorrect and the color will dance in projects when it is utilized.  My brain gives in to my perspective and I have to admit that when I viewed the color my first thought was…chicken liver.  Pantone wants you to see pomegranates.  You decide:

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That color isn’t even remotely connected to a wine.  Am I wrong here?  The picture above has a link that will take you right to the “Color of the Year” website.  I really am not a color snob but I found myself befuddled by this revelation.  We designers wait each year just to be in the know and this is what they served to us.  It occurred to me that maybe my eyes were playing tricks and so I even retested on my color perception.  I am down one point but still high on the chart as a designer should be.

The Pantone Color of the Year for 2013 and 14 were fine with Emerald and Radiant Orchid, but it was nothing that knocked my socks off.  The last time that I felt pumped up from their color choice was in 2012 when they announced Tangerine Tango.

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A panel of people come together in an uncolored room to choose the color that best represents the Zeitgeist of the people of that time or era.  ‘Zeitgeist: noun, German. 1. the spirit of the time; general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time.’  As a human being, I feel misrepresented.

On a happier note, this year I was introduced to Benjamin Moore’s Color Trends, which I tend to lean towards much more effortlessly.  The difference is that one color is chosen by a small group of people for the entire world, while the other is decided upon by us, the consumer.  Some may view my opinion as appalling but I ask you to decide for yourself:

This:

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Or This:

banner_imageTheir insertion of Caponata AF-650 for 2015 happens to be a very beautiful wine color that I can envision many people being drawn to.  In the end, it is a matter of personal taste and I am honestly curious as to what you think?

Vintage Paper Cupcake Toppers Free to use

Busy…busy…busy!  We are sending out more Christmas treats this week and so I quickly threw together some tags to top our gifts with.  I am all kinds of stuck on Kitschy Vintage Christmas so I used snips from vintage greeting cards to create my frippery!

Kitschy Vintage Paper Cupcake Toppers Free at Merry Makery

Never is the paper complete without a little glitter but I will tell you that these looked great even without it!  Here I am using Martha Stewart’s Blue Topaz and Red Corundum glitter.  Her glitter is very high quality and a little goes a long way with great coverage so about 3 or 4 taps of each color into a small bowl is appropriate for this project.
Kitschy Vintage Paper Cupcake Toppers Free at Merry Makery

I am starting to envision these on other projects already since they are so darned cute!   I would love to feature your crafts made with these tags if you decide to use them too!

BEFORE YOU PRINT:  I have tried this two ways and the only way that print comes out clean is to click on the picture and then save it.  If you save the picture directly from this post, you will get a fuzzy mess!  For personal use only, be nice and please do not resell.

As Promised:

christmas cupcakes2

AGAIN BEFORE YOU PRINT:
I have tried this two ways and the only way that print comes out clean is to click on the picture and then save it.  If you save the picture directly from this post, you will get a fuzzy mess!  For personal use only, be nice and do not resell.

I am linking up at: button

Christmas Blessings to you ALL!

The only Candy Crush I enjoy playing!

We make a lot of cupcakes around here.  The recipes have been mastered and we can knock out a batch in record time when needed.  My child’s friend had a birthday and her request was a nice box of frosting towered, handheld mini cakes!  College kids love the excitement of opening their very own box to share with others.

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Gifts really do not need to be expensive.  With a little planning and a few coupons, we were able to knock this gift out of the park for less than $7.00 which totally beats the price of $25.00-$35.00 for gourmet bakery made! The trick is all in the final presentation.  The cakes were pennies to make and candy canes are available at the dollar store.  The canes were placed in a Ziploc and whacked with a rolling-pin.  Our recipient loves peppermint so we used larger pieces.  This looks great when you use multi-colored canes as well!
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Here is the SECRET to towering store-bought frosting!  Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar to the container and whip it well.  Investing in the proper Wilton tips is a must.  You can use freezer baggies for piping in a pinch.  Magnifique!

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Bakery boxes complete the presentation and are available at places like Wal-Mart for just a few dollars each.  It gives the impression of “investment” to the gift of homemade foods.

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Top it off with complimentary ribbons and you have a beautiful gift that is worthy to bestow on any loved one who can endure the calories!

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On to my next project!