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New Plaque & Scalloped Oval Cutters (and of course a give-away!) *Giveaway Closed*

9 May

We’ve had an unbelievable response from our square and rectangle fancy frame cutters and we’ve seen some AMAZING things done with them from so many people. So we came up with a couple of new shapes that hopefully will inspire as much creativity. Say hello to our new Plaque and Scalloped Oval cutters!

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Just as before, we wanted to just come up with a basic shape to use as a canvas, and let the creativity flow from there. Also, people have loved the frame cutters for message cookies! So once again, here are a couple of new shapes to allow you to write just about anything you want – or just decorate them up for whatever occasion you’re decorating for.

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So here are just a few ideas I came up with (And, ok— Mike helped!) Can I just point out that the Summers family wasn’t really established in 2000? My head said “1996″ and my hand said “2000″.  By the time my hand caught up with my brain, it was too late. Does that ever happen to you?  But anyway, I digress. I”m so excited to get these cutters out there and see what you uber-creative geniuses come up with!

These cutters are now available on Karen’s Cookies if you’d like to try them out! Click here to see them. We have the Plaque in large and small, and the Scalloped Oval in large and small. To save you some money on them we’ve got a 15% off coupon for you as well! Just type in may2013 in the coupon code box on the shopping cart page and the coupon will be applied.

Ok, so let’s give a few of these away shall we?

Reply to this post by the end of the weekend (By end of day Sunday, May 12th) and we’ll randomly draw 5 of you to win a complete set of these four new cutters (Plaque in two sizes, and the Scalloped Oval in two sizes).

Since it’s Mother’s Day weekend, go ahead and tell me what you love about your mom. I’ll go first– My mom is my number one fan. She has always encouraged me to grow my talents and go after my dreams, (even if they’re a little looney), and she always tells me how proud she is of me even if I don’t deserve it. Thank you, Mom. I love you!

Good Luck!

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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Frame Cookies Winner

21 Oct

Ok, I just LOVED LOVED LOVED looking through the links to the beautiful frame cookies everyone posted!  We are still very excited to have these new designs!  We ran all entries through a random number generator and it picked…. (drum roll)
Tatyana!
She made these beautiful cookies here:

https://secure.flickr.com/photos/88915337@N04/8103998939/in/photostream/
Congrats on the $100 Gift Certificate Tatyana!  I’ve already decided that we’ll be having another contest in the future.  We should be getting in a new (and much larger) batch of these cutters in within the next few days!

Thanks so much to all who entered!

Fancy Frames *Giveaway Closed*

26 Sep

So remember when we unveiled our first custom cutters?  We had such a great response, and we were blown away by your enthusiasm. In that post, we asked what other cutters you would like to see, and MANY of you said you would like to see some fancy rectangle and square cutters for messages and filler cookies. That was back in April, and later that month we were in Louisville with many of you, and the request was (strongly!) reiterated.

Please fast-forward 5 months.

Guess what we have? (finally)

Fancy Frame cutters!!

Yay! We have two sizes of squares, and two sizes of rectangles.

Large rectangle.

Small rectangle.

Big square.

Little square.

There are seriously ENDLESS ways you could decorate these. I did just a few examples to get your creative juices flowing.

Are you seeing some potential?


I left most of them blank so you could imagine different things written on them.

Oh, and because I ruin them when I write on them.

But imagine what YOU could write. Maybe a wedding monogram?

Or a regular old everyday monogram?

Or a big THANK YOU for being awesome.

You need these. Comment below for a chance to win one of 10 (TEN!) sets of our four new cutters. Please include your name and email address (use the email address box in the comment form so it’s hidden. Otherwise all kinds of crazies might email you) so we can contact you if you win.  Please comment by Friday, September 28 by 7pm Pacific time. I will use random.org to pick 10 winners. International entries are accepted.

For those of you who want to place an order, we have a coupon for 15% off your entire order– including sale prices! Use the coupon code happyfall15.

Thanks for reading! Sorry I’ve had a long absence (again). I appreciate you still checking in!

The Best Laid Plans…

22 Jun

You know that quote about the best laid plans…. Hmm. Me either. Something about how they don’t work out so well? Or something. Well anyway, today I am rethinking my blog. I think where I get hung up is that I think every post needs to be AWESOME. Like a huge awesome tutorial that will blow your mind. Or a super-awesome-never-been-done-before series of  50 cookies. Or a big fun giveaway. But you know what? Every post doesn’t need to be like that. So I’m starting today and I’m turning over a new leaf. I will still have the tutorials, and I will still have crazy-fun giveaways, but in between– you’re going to get posts like this.

So I had the best idea. The BEST, I tell you. I wanted to do a post where I showed you 100 things you can do with a rectangle cookie cutter. Yes, you heard me right. ONE HUNDRED. So I sat down with my kids and we made a list. We got to about 85 or 86, and figured it was good. I could think of the rest while I was decorating. I got out my trusty rectangle cookie cutter set and got to work.

I made a name tag:

A lunch bag:

A puppet that you can make when you recycle your lunch bag:

A chalkboard, Green Version:

And black version:

A book:

(Are you sensing a theme here? I told you my kids helped! They’re elementary school students. They do what they know.)

A piece of notebook paper:

French Fries:

A traffic light; Plain version:

Fancy version:

A suitcase:

And a license plate from the great state of Idaho:

And then my life went crazy.

We got about a 10th of the way there!! I would really like to finish it someday, but these pictures have been waiting to be posted for more than six months. So here they are. No fancy fanfare.  Just some rectangle cookies, and a wish for a happy, fun weekend for all of you!  Happy Friday!

New Exclusive Cookie Cutters! *Giveaway Closed*

4 Apr

I have wanted to design my own cutters for… well… pretty much forever. I have a hard time finding cutters that match the ideas in my head, so I’ve always wanted to make my own. I’ve kind of dragged my feet about doing it for one reason or another. Mike has encouraged me to do it for a long time, and a good cookie friend encouraged me recently, so guess what? I finally did it! It’s so exciting to see it go from an idea in my head to a cookie cutter and then on to the actual cookies that I had visualized for it.

Narrowing down the ideas was the hardest part. I have endless ideas, but I could only start out with a few, so I painstakingly narrowed it down to three. I’ve always thought there needed to be a cute baby cutter out there. Not just a baby head, not a crawling baby, not just a baby onesie, but an actual baby wearing the onesie (or whatever…). So my first design is….. (drum roll please!)

A baby! I wanted him/her to be easy to decorate, simple, but customizable. Here’s how I decorated it.

I wanted to be able to do some easy cute toes and NO HANDS. I’m not a fan of drawing hands. This is a super simple design.

You can add some clothes.

Awww, poor baby! What’s the matter? (Mike drew this one for me, and I translated it to cookie)

There, that’s better. Jammies and a binky and all is well in the world.

The second design is one that I’ve wanted for a long time. Wilton used to have a pretty decent one, but it was discontinued a while back, and it just seemed like there was a need for a plain old girl. Not a gingerbread girl, but a GIRL that you could decorate all different ways. So my second cutter is….

A girl! And along the same lines, my third cutter is….

A boy! I had basically the same requirements for the boy and the girl. I wanted them to be very customizable, and like the baby, I didn’t want to have to do hands. Also, I wanted to be able to have them hold things like soccer balls and bouquets. So here’s what you can do with these guys:

These guys are obviously soccer kids, but you could do any sport. Basketball would be very similar. Mike helped me figure out how to do hands without having to do hands. You make them hold something and just put some round circles for fingers. Easy! So it’s not a Rembrandt, but it’ll do for a cookie.

Football, ballet, Karate. Notice how you can just tuck their hands behind them if you don’t want them to hold anything?

Luau! I would just like to point out that that hula girl is a self portrait. ha ha!

And finally (for now!) a bride and groom. I’m going to work on more designs and do some decorating tutorials for these guys, but this will have to do for now. Oh, and sorry about the lack of cultural diversity in these kids. I was decorating late and was lazy so I used all the same color. Next time I’ll be more culturally diverse.

So do you want some of my new cutters?

I’m going to give away a set of all three to 10 lucky blog commenters. Just post a comment (maybe you could tell me what you would like me to do for my next batch of cutters!), and I’ll choose 10 at random using random.org and send you the cutters. Contest ends at midnight Friday, April 6, and I will announce the winners on April 7 (because that’s my Mom’s birthday). :)  OH– and if you are going to Spring Fling, you will be receiving a set there. You can still comment on the blog post, but please make a note that you will be at Spring Fling so that I can choose another winner. Good luck! And thanks for putting up with my long absence!

Twelve Shades of Pink- A Guest Post

14 Mar

Hey guess what? I’m still alive! I’m embarrassed by the huge lapse of time that has passed since I last wrote, and the longer it goes, the more embarrassing it is to get back to it. I was dreading this “Hey, remember me?” first post back, and then I got an email from Anne. First of all, can I just say that I love Anne? I think the first time I talked to her was maybe 3 years ago (ish?) and from the first time I talked to her, I loved her. She is such a sweet lady, and her cookies are ADORABLE!! If you haven’t seen her site yet, do yourself a favor and get on over there. We can wait for you to come back.

So anyway, back to Anne saving my blog— She sent me an email and was gracious enough to offer to share her fun new findings with my readers.  I was so happy and relieved that she could take the burden of my first post back.  Thank you Anne!  You truly saved my sanity and my blog.  I am honored to have you be my very first guest post ever. And so without further ado…. I give you Anne:

Hi, my name is Anne Yorks and I love decorating cookies. So much so, that I have a little cookie shop online called Flour Box Bakery. I do cookie stuff every day…and even if I’m not decorating, I’m still thinking about COOKIES!

But as much as I love to decorate, I hate to clean up icing bags. AND, I really don’t like mixing all those colors. It’s super time consuming. Thankfully, Karen has a solution to the messy piping bag problem. And, I think I have finally found a solution to making color mixing a little easier.

For a long time, I have used Wilton food colors. They are easily accessible and they have a nice selection of color choices. However, I have recently discovered the wonders of AmeriColor gel pastes. I think I will continue to use a few of my favorite Wilton colors, but I am starting to phase my stock to AmeriColor. Here’s why…no toothpicks! Just squeeze and voila! I don’t know that using a toothpick is so unbearable, but squeezing is just so much easier (for me). Plus, I like the quality of the AmeriColor gel pastes.

In order to take them for a test drive I made these…

A dozen flowers in TWELVE different shades of pink. For someone who does not enjoy mixing colors…this was actually a fun experiment. (By the way, I should mention these are chocolate roll-out cookies. I used the amazing and delicious recipe from Georganne of LilaLoa. It is the best. Ever!)

Here is my messy counter from mixing colors. I started with white royal icing (and it was 20-second consistency – an icing consistency I learned from Sugarbelle). I squeezed one little drop of pink food coloring into the white. I then made my first icing bag.

Then, I added a second drop of food coloring. I mixed it up and made my second shade of pink icing.

After that, I added a third drop of pink. I mixed it. I made my third bag of pink icing.

And so on until I had 12 shades of pink. Using the AmeriColor bottle made this process pain free.

The first pink was so pale it almost looked white.

But by the end…the pink was dramatic. I loved this little experiment and I was so thankful to have my AmeriColor gel paste to help me.

I should mention that I wrote this blog post on my own…without any prodding or bribing from Karen or AmeriColor. The opinions expressed here are mine and I think each cookie decorator does things a little differently. This is just my little experiment and my experience.

Happy decorating to you and I hope you’ll visit me next time on my blog at Flour Box Bakery online.

Thank you again Anne!! Your cookies are gorgeous! It makes me want to get in the kitchen and get baking. Hmmm…. I just may do that.

Just a quickie… and a giveaway *GIVEAWAY CLOSED*

16 Nov

I told you I’d show you really quickly how I pieced together my Indians. It’s super easy, and even easier if you have a plain tombstone cookie cutter, which I didn’t have. I need to get one of those…

But since I don’t have one, I used these three sets of cutters:

The rectangle set, oval set, and the medium aspic cutter set. I have recently seen the light about the awesome versatility of the basic cutter shapes. Sometimes there just isn’t the “perfect” cutter shape, and you have to do a little doctoring.

So for for each pair of Indians, I cut one oval, one rectangle, and two teardrops.

Cut the oval and the rectangle in half.

Cut a little bit from the teardrop using the oval cutter.

Then put all your pieces together like a puzzle.

Then bake and decorate. I didn’t do a step-by-step tutorial on the decorating, but it was similar to the pilgrims. I used a 1 1/2″ circle cutter as a template for their heads, then drew on the hair, neck, shoulders and feather. I did the faces just like I did on the pilgrims.

I left the feather off of the girl, so if you have a plain tombstone cutter, she would be easy as can be. You could always add more than one feather too. Be creative. :)

I’ve showed you recently the fun things that you can do with plain rectangles and ovals. And I’m working on a top-secret project right now that I’ll post after Christmas that shows even more versatility with one of the basic shapes (can you guess which one?). It’s turning out to be lots of fun! So stay tuned for that…

But in the meantime, you need your own super-duper set of basic shapes. Comment on this post, and one lucky winner (chosen at random) will get the aspic cutters:

and the rectangle cutters:

And the oval cutters:

And the nylon circle cutters:

and the triangle cutters:

And the hexagon cutters:

and the square cutters:

And the blossom cutters:

AND a cool set of heart cutters that I don’t have a picture of because they’re not even in my store yet. But you’ll like them.

That’s a lot of cookie cutters!

Just comment on this post by Friday, November 18 at midnight (wherever you are!), and I’ll choose one winner using Random.org to win all 9 sets of cutters. Please enter only once. Good luck!

Pilgrim Tutorial

14 Nov

Thanksgiving is just over a week away, and I have a few more cookies to show you so that you can get decorating! What would Thanksgiving be without Pilgrims and Indians?

I’m going to show you how to do the pilgrims. For a great Indian tutorial, go check out Sugarbelle’s blog today!

It’s hard to find cute people cookie cutters. I wanted to do some pilgrims, but couldn’t find a cutter that would work. I had an idea of how to piece together a pilgrim boy (I’ll show you that in a minute), but I had no idea how to do a pilgrim girl.

So I was baking some cookies for my Leaves and Acorns post, and I used the Wilton Leaves and Acorns cutter set. I was cutting out the cookies, and I got to the largest acorn. I thought, “Who needs an acorn this big?? Acorns are small!” But I baked one anyway because I wanted one of each size. As I was pulling the tray of cookies out of the oven, the large acorn was up-side down, and I had an Oprah “aha” moment. I thought it might just make a cute girl pilgrim.

On one of these, I cut off the “stem” of the acorn, and the other I left it on. You can decide which way you like it best when you’re doing it. Here’s how you make her.

Bake some large acorn cookies. Let ‘em cool.

Unless you’re awesome at free-handing circles, find a circle template to trace around. I used the smallest circle from the Nylon Circle set, which happens to be 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Use a boo-boo stick (or some other sharp object) to trace around it on your cookie.

Brush off the crumbs, and you’ll be left with a nice outline to follow.

Trace around the outline with black frosting (I used a 1.5 PME tip)

Next, draw two lines out from your circle towards the outside edges.

Connect the two lines with a swooping arch.

Then finish the hat.

Draw in some hair:

And then draw a collar.

There’s your pilgrim girl outline. Now I’m going to show you how to do the boy, and after that, I’ll show you what to do next.

For the boy, I had a small pilgrim hat cutter that I wanted to use to piece a guy together. So I used that and the second-smallest circle from the nylon circle set (1 7/8″, but a 2″ cutter would do!). Cut one hat, and two circles, and then cut one of the circles in half.

Cut a chunk off one of the circles using the same size cutter you used to cut your circles.

Fit one of the half-circles into the first circle.

Then trim off the top of the circle with the pilgrim hat.

And fit the hat into place.

If you happen to have a large snowman cookie cutter with a top hat, you could chop him in half and it would be the same effect. I just didn’t have one large enough.

Bake him up and let him cool. Use the 1 1/2″ circle template (same one you used on the girl), to mark where is face is.

Outline the hat. It’s super easy to do because you’ll see the lines from where you pieced him together. Go ahead and fill in the hat band while you’re at it.

Then outline the head:

Add some ears:

And some hair. Notice I went outside the lines a little. I wanted his hair to be a little wider than his face. No problem. Nothing a boo boo stick won’t fix.

Scrape out the outlines from inside the hair area. Add a collar.

Now you’re ready to add some color. There is definitely no right or wrong way to fill these sections in. This is just how I did it. First I filled in their faces.

By the way, this is all Meringue Powder Buttercream that has been thinned to the point that it will smooth out at the count of about 8 seconds. Royal Icing would also work. This flesh color was Copper Americolor with the tiniest drop of Warm Brown.

Next, fill in their hair. I did these two different shades of brown, just because I happened to have it, but no need to make two different colors. They’ll look cute all matchy-matchy, too.

Next fill in the girl’s hat, and their collars.

Fill in the guy’s hat with gray (mostly Bright White, with a little drop of Super Black), and the bitty parts of their shirts black.

After it dries for a bit, go back and add some outlining to their hair to give it some texture. I just used the same color, and small tip (#1).

This next step is totally optional. I actually really hated it after I did it, and wished I hadn’t. But then it started to grow on me. So it’s up to you! If desired, add some pleat marks to the girl’s hat. Or not.

  Also add some white buttons to their shirts.  And a yellow buckle to the boy’s hat.

Then the faces. OHHHHH the faces! I really hate doing faces. This is how I did it the first time, and I really, truly hated how they looked. I think maybe it was the nose. I don’t know.  Noses are hard. So before you put a face on your pilgrims, practice a little, and also maybe check out how Sugarbelle does faces, because they’re totally cute.

On the next ones I did, I stole the Sugarbelle nose, and they were much cuter:

The way I make eyelashes is really easy (but I didn’t get a picture). Pipe on some black ovals in pretty thin frosting. Then, working quickly while the frosting is still wet,  use the tip of a sharp boo boo stick to pull the eyelashes outward (sometimes boo boo sticks can get a little dull with use. Keep one sharp for jobs like this).  It might take a few tries, but you’ll get the hang of it.

After you’re done, add a little dot of white frosting to the eye to give it some sparkle. And you’re done!

The girls:

The boys:

And here they are with their Indian friends:

Coming up, I’ll show you how I pieced my Indian together. But don’t forget that Sugarbelle has an Indian tutorial TODAY if you want to get decorating.

Happy week-before-Thanksgiving!

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