Archive | December, 2012

Christmas JOY Cookies

20 Dec

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I’ve had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. I think it’s a combination of being busy,  no snow (really weird for this part of the country), and incredibly sad things going on in the world. Ironically though, I think it may be the saddest thing in the news that pushed me into the Christmas Spirit more than anything. I spent a few days being devastated by the news. It’s such an incomprehensible thing that happened. I have elementary school children so it is impossible to fully to comprehend the pain of those families. But at church this past Sunday we sang “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”, and it really touched me.  Here are some of the words by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

And in despair I bowed my head,
‘There is no peace on Earth’, I said”
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on Earth good will to men.

Then Pealed the Bells more loud and deep
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With Peace on Earth, good will to men.”

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The true Christmas Spirit is about Hope.

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And Peace

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And Joy

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It doesn’t take away the bad things that happen in the world, but it gives me hope that things can get better, and that there is more good in the wold than bad. So I made some joyous cookies to help get me into the Spirit of Christmas.

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And it was fun.  And it made me happy. Did you see Sweet Sugarbelle’s 12 Days of Christmas project this year? She had 12 amazing decorators collaborate and each took one day. They were all absolutely mind-blowingly gorgeous, but I was particularly inspired by the 9 Ladies Dancing post by Sarah of Klickitat Street. She showed some cool ways to make lacy accents, and it made me get out my decorating bags and give it a whirl. I had so much fun with it. Definitely check it out and give it a try.

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I’m giving them to my kids’ teachers this year in (cheap!) tins I found at Wallgreens.

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I think they’ll like finding the layers of joy.

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And I hope that all of you find many layers of joy this Christmas season.

“For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”  Luke 2:11

Merry Christmas!

Julia M. Usher’s Ultimate Cookie Decorating Series

3 Dec

We had the wonderful opportunity to meet Julia M. Usher in person last month at CookieCon. She was there as a sponsor and instructor, and did an awesome demonstration on cookie stenciling and 3D cookie design and construction. On top of that, she’s simply a very nice person. So when she told us she had some lessons available online, we were very excited to watch them.

Well, now that we’ve watched every second of each of her 16 video tutorials we can tell you that they are awesome!

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The lessons are based off of her book “Ultimate Cookies”. But even if you have the book, it’s so useful to actually see the techniques she shows in video format. She covers a LOT of techniques too! She starts with the basics making icing, cutting out cookies, making parchment cones, her favorite tools, and then outlining and flooding. Then she gets into all sorts of fun stuff like marbling, stenciling, using rubber stamps on cookies, applique work, wafer paper, and more.

One of the coolest things about Julia and her decorating philosophy is that she’s a minimalist when it comes to tools. That means that she’ll show you how to get the very most out of very basic and inexpensive equipment. Seriously – you can spend a small fortune on tips, and bags, and couplers, and squeeze bottles… or check out all that Julia does with a sheet of parchment paper. It really is amazing – and VERY encouraging to anyone wanting to learn how to decorate. It really doesn’t take much to do some very beautiful work.

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So these are videos you need to pay for to view, but they are WELL worth the very reasonable price. You can actually just pick and choose the individual lessons for a couple bucks a piece, but the price for the whole set is a meager $12.99. It gives you plenty of time to watch them too, so you can look back and review specific lessons at your leisure.

So yeah, this gets an easy two thumbs up from us. Karen’s Cookies has always been about being the best resource we can to budding cookie artists, so we simply cannot pass up the opportunity to give Julia M. Usher and her Ultimate Cookie Decorating Series our full endorsement and encourage you to check her out.

Julia’s video series can be purchased securely and viewed through Youreeeka.com. Click here or on the image below to check out a free preview.

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