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!

julia_usher_03

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.

julia_usher_02

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.

julia_usher_01

CookieCon Swag Winners

26 Nov

Thanks to all who entered! And thank you for all of the birthday wishes for Lorene! She enjoyed reading them.  I hope everybody had a happy Thanksgiving!  Here are the winners:

Michele J
wow! such great sponsors and it sounded like a super event. Definitely going to try and make the next CookieCon!!

Jennifer
Great assortment of goodies! Would love to be lucky enough to win some.

Leigh Ann Shaner
So bummed that I missed it, but will definitely make plans for next year!

Abigail Maartens
Congratulations on a successful Cookie Con! The blogging world has been singing your praises, you must be very proud to have brought all the amazing cookie people together. Would love to receive a bundle of goodies – will help cheer up the grey UK autumn!

Lindy
I would have loved to have gone to CookieCon, maybe next time! It is a long way from Australia, so having it somewhere easy to get to (West Coast) and plenty of notice on the dates would be great :) The Homespun Christmas Tree is gorgeous and the pixie dust shaker is just a fantastic idea!!

Glenda Zavadil
Happy Birthday, Lorene!
I wasn’t able to attend CookieCon…bummer! What a great group of people gathering together to make cookies!! I can’t wait until I am able to attend!
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Cookie Making!!

Sarah Reyna
how awesome is that. so nice of you to share…thank you…

Natalie Byrd
Didn’t get to come to CookieCon this year:( Hope to make the next one! Happy Birthday Ms. Lorene!

I’ve sent an email to all of the winners so look for that. If you’re on this list and you don’t see an email, email us at contact at karenscookies dot net with your shipping address.

I hope to see lots of you at the next CookieCon! We have scouted out venues, and will have more information about the next one soon, so keep an eye on the web site (www.CookieCon.net). We’ll put updates there as soon as we have some definite information.

Happy Monday!

CookieCon Sponsors and Giveaway! *Giveaway Closed*

19 Nov

Mike and I recently got back from hosting CookieCon 2012. It was so much fun! We had such a great group of cookie-loving people together for a weekend of cookie decorating and cookie-art appreciating! I will do a post about the actual event soon, but I wanted to give a huge thank you and shout-out to our awesome sponsors. One of the things that made it so much fun was the their amazing and generous support.  Here’s a peek inside the goody bags:

We had a few left-overs from our goody bag assembly, so we’re going to give away some bundles of goodies to those who weren’t able to attend this year. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First let’s talk about what was in the bags!

Mandy Wallington from Kool Cookie Cutters came all the way from Perth, Australia to attend CookieCon , and she brought with her gum leaf cookie cutters, handmade in Australia!  So awesome!

Julia M. Usher came and demonstrated how to use stencils, (among other awesome things! Thank you Julia!!). Designer Stencils is THE place for culinary stencils, and they donated a stencil to every attendee. This one can be used for brush embroidery. So cool!

Along with the donation of one of their awesome projectors as a grand prize, Kopykake donated a gift pack of frosting sheet decals to everyone. We had fun playing with them during open decorating.

American Tradition Cookie Cutters sent cookie cutters for everyone! They are such a great company and have a fun selection of high-quality cutters. Check them out!

Patrick from Plastics in Print sent a cutter for everyone. Their custom cutters are very reasonably priced and they also have some really fun stock shapes.

Fondarific sent a sample of their delicious fondant for everyone to try. Did you know they have fondant in lots of fun flavors? Buttercream, mocha, grape, peppermint…. just to name a few. It is great fondant!

Fancy Flours sent some really fun wafer paper sheets for everyone. The attendees got to play around with them during the open decorating session, and it was so much fun to watch what they did with the wafer paper. Very fun! Have you tried wafer paper yet?

Kip and Connie from BRP Box Shop came and participated in CookieCon. They were such a fun addition, and we were so happy to have them there! In addition to donating an awesome grand prize (A BRP- Branded BIKE!), and a Half-as-Grand second prize (a BRP-Branded UNICYCLE!), they also gave generous gift packs of their boxes and bags.  Look what was in there!

Amazing, right? If you haven’t checked out BRP Box Shop yet, do yourself a favor and head right over there. They are a great company with the prettiest boxes available. They also debuted a limited-edition Ornament Box and gave one to everybody. Go check those out before they’re gone!

Americolor Corp (THE place for the best food coloring out there) donated a bottle of their awesome Soft Gel Paste coloring to everyone.

This one blew everybody’s mind. Nielsen-Massey Vanilla sent a 2-oz bottle of their Madagascar  Bourbon Vanilla to everyone! Such a fun surprise and generous addition to the goody bags.

In addition to a grand prize of a $150 gift certificate, Country Kitchen Sweet Art donated a fondant impression mat to everyone. The attendees had lots of fun playing with fondant and impression mats during Open Decorating.

Sylvia from Foose Cookie Cutters donated so many fun goodies! In addition to an awesome gift basket loaded with cutters, she also donated more than 20 gift sets of cutters to be given away, and a set of adorable mini cutters, note pad, and coupon for the goody bags.

Karen’s Cookies (that’s me!) donated a little gift pack of fun stuff to each attendee. Here’s what was in it:

We included both of Pam (Cookie Crazie)’s new exclusive cutters– the Homespun Christmas Tree and the Cupcake that we are selling through our site. We also included a PME tip, a disco dust, a pixie dust shaker, and a boo-boo stick.

I don’t have a picture of the next one because we used all of them in the goody bags. Kee-Seal donated two of their disposable decorating bags to each attendee, along with some gift packs of their bags to be given as prizes. They are great bags! Definitely check them out.

So that was what was in the bags! Although this post is dedicated to the gift bag items, I want to also mention the other awesome sponsors we had. They were just as generous, and donated prizes that were not in the gift bags:

The Cookie Cutter Company

The Cookie Thing

Spices, Etc.

Copper Gifts

Julia M Usher

Sweet Cherry Gift Shop

A huge thank you to all of the generous sponsors of CookieCon! You helped make it an awesome and memorable event for all those who were in attendance.

Now for those of you who weren’t able to attend, we have a chance for you to win some of this fun stuff! We don’t have complete goody bags left. We just had a few extras of some of the items. So what we are doing is giving away “bundles”– kind of like a grab-bag. Comment on this post and we will randomly choose 8 of you (through Random.org) and send you a fun bundle of  goodies. Please comment by Wednesday, November 21 at midnight (wherever you are!). International entries are welcome. I will try to get the winners announced on Thanksgiving, but I might be too sleepy from all the carbs…. so I reserve the right to announce the winners on Friday. :)

We’d love to offer these prizes to people who didn’t already get this stuff from CookieCon.  So to be eligible, please indicate that you didn’t make it to CookieCon this year.  And you can also feel free to wish Mike’s mom, Lorene, a happy birthday! Have a great week!

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!

Let’s see your Frame Cookies! (Win a $100 Gift Certificate!)

1 Oct

We’ve been super excited about the very positive response to our new Rectangle and Square Frame cookie cutters.  Since we posted about them, we’ve been shipping them out like crazy – to all corners of the globe!

So we are VERY interested to see what you all are doing with them.  What fun designs are you coming up with?

What better way to find out, than with another give-away?

So if you are a blogger, face-booker, or flickr-(um) “flickr-er”? or whatever, you have a chance to win yourself a $100 gift certificate to Karen’s Cookies!  So between now and October 20th (2012) decorate some cookies using our new Frame Cookie Cutters (use any or all of the 2 designs and 2 sizes) and post your decorated cookies!  We don’t care if it’s a blog, facebook, flickr, or anything else, as long as you can provide a link where people can click over to see your work.  Also, provide a link on your post to these cutters.  (This URL will allow them to see them all:   http://www.karenscookies.net/Karens-Cookies-Exclusives_c_112.html  )

After you’ve posted, simply leave a comment on THIS blog post with a link to your pictures.  Please make sure your link goes directly to the picture(s) you are entering, rather than the home page to your blog, facebook, flickr, etc).  After the deadline (Oct. 20th) we will randomly select one of the links to win the $100 Gift Certificate.  (Everyone who posts a link to their cookies has an equal chance!)

If you’re trying to promote your blog or web site, this is also a great chance to get people clicking over to you as well.

So there you go.  We can’t wait to see what people come up with!

UPDATE:

These cutters sold out faster than we could have possibly imagined.  They have beat any other product we’ve ever introduced into our store.  We re-ordered them immediately after realizing how fast they were going.  If anyone would like to enter this contest, please email us through the karenscookies.net web site and request a template.  If you don’t mind printing that out and cutting out your cookies you’re more than welcome to enter that way!

Karen

Fancy Frames Winners!

30 Sep

Sorry for the delay in announcing the winners…. but here they are!

Joyce Scott
These are soooooooooooo cool!!! I would love to have these wonderful cutters!
Thanks ever so much!!!~~~~~

Anna
Wow, they are amazing! I would love to win! And thanks for the 15% I´ve just placed a huge order…

Katie B
I, too, would love to win this set!

Lynn
Love them. They’d be a perfect B-day gift for me. If I don’t win, I’ll have to buy them!

Donna B
Definite “must-haves!!!! Love ‘em! Blessings, Donna B.

Emma Gonsalves
These are crazy gorgeous! I see endless possibilities! Pick me! Pick Me!!!

Rachel
You always make things look awesome, Karen! Even with cool cutters like these, you made them awesomer than stuff I thought up before I saw what you did with them.

Esther
Gorgeous piping work, Karen….don’t sell yourself short! And I absolutely adore these new cutters!

Madri
So excited about these cutters!!! :)

Michele Posey
Oh I would love to have these!

Congratulations everybody! I will send emails to all of you shortly. If you don’t see my email, send me a quick email to contact at karenscookies dot net with your mailing address and we’ll get them sent right out.

Thanks to all for reading and commenting! I loved reading everybody’s comments and appreciate your kindness! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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!

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