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.)

 

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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

 

 

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!

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!

Rustic Stick Stars!

framed-starMy dear friend in Texas has been spending some of her extra time helping me proof read my work and I really wanted to send her a thank you.  Her taste is never frilly or too ornate instead she enjoys a more primitive décor.  So, I have been working on a rustic rag festooning for her.  Since she is in Texas, that means a star should be incorporated into the project.  Enter the making of a stick star or wicker star as others have called them!  They are popping up everywhere, big and small, floating over fireplace mantels and swinging from front patios.  Beauty is in the detailing.

It is the perfect season to make them here in the Rockies.  The leaves have fallen, showing the bare bones of the trees which makes it very easy to spot a perfect branch for this project.  What you want to avoid is a dry stick.  They break easily and are a waste of time.  You are looking for a branch that is thick enough to be sturdy but still has some bend to it.

If you look closely, in the center of my tree, you will spot a small group of branches that have grown straight.  This is just what we are looking for.

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Cut five pieces of branch to match in size

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Band two sticks together at the top

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Add two sticks to either side and band at the bottom

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Now, rotate the two outer sticks so that they go behind all of the other sticks.
(I missed a picture here so only one is positioned properly.)
(In fact I am not sure how I even got this shot.)

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The last stick is tied across the front, meeting up with the two back sticks.
(It is here that you will be glad your branch has some bend to it.)

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Trim your string and work a bit to position your star to your liking.

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Simple…Yes?

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If you are making larger stars, it might be easier to use rubber bands, then tie your sting over the top, and last cut the rubber bands out.  I use fresh rubber bands and never leave them on because they snap after time.  A quick spray of paint can help you to tie your color palette together and really get your deco on.  I am thinking white on white for front door this year!

Now, I am off to sneak in a burlap bow and some woodland graphics as a final touch on this project.  Wishing you a Merry Making of much!