Birthday Cookies

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This little darling is my friend's daughter and my daughter's friend.
And she's a girl after my own heart, because she requested birthday cookies instead of birthday cake for her birthday (last year).  So this is when my friend called and left a message, "cookie 911, can you help?"  Cookie 911's are my specialty and I was happy to help these besties out!  I wanted to make something cute and hip like this brand new teenager is!
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I took lots of pictures way back when I did these, so I've got some step by step instructions for you!
For both of the "cake layers" I did an outline in a thick consistency icing, then flooded with a thinner about 7-8 second) consistency icing.  For the wet on wet technique, I used the same  thin consistency as the fill, in a different color.  And as always, I used my trusty squeezie bottles.  (For more on getting your icing just right, refer to my "basics of sugar cookies and royal icing" post.
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For the bottom layer of the cake, I did some marbling.
1- I started with a 3-tiered wedding cake cookie cutter.  (Thanks to the ever-genius Bridget for showing me this could be turned into a 2-tiered cake).
2- Outline
3- Fill and pop any annoying bubbles.
4- While it's wet make some horizontal lines.  They don't need to be anywhere near perfect!
5- Run a toothpick up, then down and so on.  You decide how close together you want your drags to be.  I wasn't going for chevron, or zebra, just some crazy/fun stripes.
6- Let this layer dry for several hours before starting the next to prevent bleeding.
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For the second layer of cake...
1- Outline
2- Fill and pop the bubbles.
3&4- While they're wet, make some colorful polka-dots.  I chose the colors for this cookie based on her paper products for the party.
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I trimmed out the cake with a layer of pink frosting.  I used a #16 tip and used the touch, up and over, and drag...repeat technique.  I don't know what it's called but my mom taught me it when I was a wee child.  And I still call it touch, up and over and drag.  Maybe I should've gone to cake decorating classes.  It would help my lingo.  Anywayzzzz,
1- Don't do this step till your other layers have dried for almost 24 hours.  Right after I did the trim, I sprinkled rainbow disco dust on it.
2-  After that dries, wipe away the excess glitter with a paint brush.
3-  If the rest of the cookie was dry enough, it should wipe away clean!
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1- For the candles, I took the tip off my pink icing and put a #2 tip on.  I made thirteen little lines.
2- Then for the candle flames, I made a little yellow dots with a #2 tip and dragged them up a bit.
3- I wanted the flames to sparkle, but my candles hadn't dried long enough, so I covered them with a piece of paper and then sprinkled my disco dust.
4- After it was all dry, I could brush away any excess.
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And to make the birthday girl's a little extra special, she got number shaped candles.
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Between the colors and the glitter, this little group of cookies really pops!
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And when it was time for birthday cake, these cookies did the trick at the restaurant!
Thanks to my good friend Allison (who you know as the Crazy Hair Day Genius) for giving me pictures to share with you.  To me, cookies are a lot cuter when they are tied to a story and a person.  And this little person teenager is one of my favorites!
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Royal Icing Cupcake Garnishes

Let's put your royal icing skills to work...on cupcakes!


I'm teaching you how to make royal icing cupcake garnishes over on somewhat simple today!


Girls Just Want to Have Fun!

We can't contain our excitement.  Kathryn and I have some partying to do!

First of all... this weekend is our girls getaway (scrapbook/sew/paint/craft/stay in yoga pants for 3 days/eat good food/or just chat and get nothing done) weekend!!!  The husbands handle the kids and we take turns cooking meals. We've been doing this with old and new friends for I think about 8 years now.  We have a fab friend who organizes this and this year I'm especially excited.  Since Kathryn moved, it will be an extra bonus that she is coming up to hang out with the old cronies.  AND we're making a movie night part of the fun, because it's Hunger Games time folks!  I'm a little late to the party, (meaning, I'm reading it this week) but I'm about to finish and I'm stoked!

Second best news ever is that we (Kathryn and I) are going to SNAP!!

It just so happened that we were already planning a Utah trip that weekend.  We have one brother who is graduating BYU and another brother expecting a new baby that will be brand new when we get there.  Two perfect reasons to make the trip.  Then when we found out about SNAP, and we figured we must fit that into our trip.  We can learn more about blogging, meet some inspiring women and go to like the best craft fair ever?!!!   This was a no brainer!

I'm excited about SNAP for lots of reasons.
*I'm in love with the location, Thanksgiving point.  
*I'm beyond excited about the list of speakers.  I mean almost all of the blogs I stalk are run by these creative geniuses.
*I'm excited to get motivated!  As of now, I have about 25 posts/projects to share that I just haven't gotten to for one reason or another.  I need to take a picture, or I need to write down the recipe...  I need an extra kick in the pants to put in the time it takes to share these projects!
*I'm excited to learn.  I want to blog a little bit smarter.  But where I live there aren't any classes to take or resources to learn from, so I've just been winging it.  I'd love to hear from the experts how to do much of the technical side of blogging.  Like um... what's SEO?  
*And even more thrilling is that the The Queen Bee Market will be a part of that weekend!

Taking one look at the vendors, I think I'm going to spend my birthday money (it's in August) there!  :)  The market is open to the public, so come along if you're in the area!

We owe all of this excitement to husbands who understand that Girls Just Want to Have Fun!
So thankful, so excited!

T-shirt Quilt

I realize this is not a new idea.
And frankly, Twilight ruined it for all of us that were already saving t-shirts and now it just looks like we copied.
But, copying is ok when it's a really fun idea and you give credit to the source.
My source was the nurse at our girls camp who had a fantastic quilt made from all of her camp t-shirts.
Once I saw her quilt, I knew that I would be hoarding my children's t-shirts from now until the end of time.

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You know by now that Ashleigh is a labeled, straight, clean lines, organized kind of girl. I am the kind of girl that gave up on clean lines long ago and sometimes too much symmetrical makes me nauseous. So I knew my t-shirt quilt would not be made of even sized pieces. I'm happy with the way it turned out but the process of lining things up also made me nauseous. And mad. I was already a little over-emotional looking at my daughter's whole life summed up in t-shirts and realizing she's graduating and leaving for college. So, it was a little rough there for a bit.

I cut the t-shirts up with a mat and rotary cutter leaving plenty of space around the design of the t-shirt. I experimented with placement and then started sewing. I did have to make some alterations to the placement as I went. I used some sentimental fabric as "filler" for when there was an awkward space like fabric from her lime green satin bedding, a swatch from the skirt she made for the pioneer trek, and ballerina fabric. I used her old jeans to make a border around the outside. I used purple (her favorite color) flannel on the back and bound the quilt in zebra print, (a long term obsession).

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To quilt it, I used the stitch in the ditch method and sewed around each t-shirt. When I finished the quilt I had some, shall we say, imperfections. T-shirts stretch. Lets just leave it at that. So, I added a few other patches over some particularly bad seams like a zebra fabric heart, a pocket from her jeans and a patch on which I stitched her nickname. I'm still looking for a few golf ball appliques that I can also include.

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I didn't set out to make it a certain size but I did want it on the big side. There's nothing worse than snuggling up with a blanket and getting a cold draft on your bootie. So it's big, soft, and yummy. The quilt is far from perfect, in fact, you can never enlarge that picture or come to my house to see it in person. But, I only made it to show lots of love to one of my favorite people. And, when she's at college (sniff!!) she will know that quilt is a long distance hug from me, imperfections and all! :)

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St. Patty's Day Parfaits

This was my daughter's idea.  She loved the Valentine's Day Parfaits we made a couple of years ago.
So when we had some leftover vanilla cupcakes, she requested we make parfaits for St. Patrick's Day!
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My kids' favorite part of making seasonal parfaits is decorating their clear tumbler with foam/felt shapes or stickers.  I had a little trouble finding them so close to the 17th, but eventually found some at JoAnn's.  These things were on clearance for 25 cents and totally worth the investment!
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Below is the list of what we threw together.  If I was doing these in kids' classrooms, I would probably dye my cake batter too!  With a little green food coloring, you can almost choose anything to layer in your festive cup.
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I was thinking that I wanted one with brownies, mint chip and green cool whip.  But when working with kids, (who take their time to decorate and layer) it's easier to use non-melty things like pudding.

Yep, kid-made and kid-inspired parfaits are a hit in our house!  I saw the cutest foam flower stickers that made me want to skip right to spring parfaits... and 4th of July parfaits are about my #1 favorite!

Frog Cookies

Happy Leap...Year.
I know I'm not sharing in time for Leap Day, but I had to share anyway!

I made these frog cookies for my good friend (since Preschool).
Her son's birthday IS on Leap Day, so she naturally threw a darling frog party!
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To make these, I relied on a little sketch and my kopykake projector.
For the sketch, I simply traced the cookie cutter I found a few times on paper.  Then I drew out a few versions of a frog and picked my favorite.  I decided to do one big yellow belly instead of 3 sections of yellow.  This would mean piping the legs over the the yellow but for such a small area, I don't mind doubling up on icing layers.  Then I placed my sketch into the projector and piped my outline.  You can do this without a projector and just eyeball it, but it is just so much faster and less stressful to have the image right there on the cookie.  (See this post about decorating with a projector).
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I had made all of my frog eyes the night before.  (See this post for more about making eyeballs).
So after my outline dried, I filled with a slightly lighter green.  Then while it was wet, I placed the eyes right on the wet icing.  I also piped my yellow spots right away, so they would meld into that layer ("wet on wet" technique).
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These frogs were a great fit for the creative party that my friend planned.
I wish I had pictures of all of it to share. :/  (Actually, I wish I had pictures of the last 5 or so projects I did.  That's the problem with edible projects, they get eaten!  I will try to recommit to being a better picture taker/blogger because I hope to accomplish a lot this week!)
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I enjoyed the extra day that Leap Year gave us, but right now I'm really feeling that hour that Daylight Savings stole from me!  Come back Leap Day!
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