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Seattle or Bust (part 2)

posted Sunday May 09, 2010 at 09:38 PM by Anne Yorks — 7 comments

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mom's in the world - especially all the moms in my family!!! I had a fantastic day with my sister and mom! They are the BEST!

This is the message on my Mother's Day card from my mom:

Dear Anne,

I'm sorry I couldn't send you the cutest, sweetest present on earth. But I didn't want you to have to make and send cookies to yourself! Happy Mother's Day to a great mother and daughter.

Love,

Mom

I have the best mom ever. She is so amazing. I just love her with all of my heart!

Speaking of hearts, I wanted to follow up on my promise to show you a behind the scenes look at the making of these cookies, the bon voyage bridal shower cookies made for the bride-to-be moving to Seattle:


Did you see yesterday's blog post? Seattle or Bust (part 1). This post gives you the design perspective of the cookies. Check it out by clicking here

So let's start with the luggage tag...


I think the challenge with this cookie was making sure the tag looked consistent. I was making around 20 of this particular cookie, and I wanted to be sure the white area would be about the same size. I decided to cut a small rectangle out of paper and use a toothpick to mark the corners. These marks would then serve as a guide for my piped white line. The icing used for outlines, details, and writing is thicker than the icing used to fill in large areas - or flood in large areas.


From there I was able to pipe the black and pink outlines. Plus, I added the little circle grommet. I usually use a #2 tip with a decorating bag for all piping. Once I had all the outlines piped...I started to flood in the colored icing. Flooding is the thinner icing that flows into an outlined area. It then dries smooth and hard, making it easy to add another layer of decoration on the top, for example, words, dots, lines, etc. 

When the icing is still wet, it tends to bleed together. It's important to allow drying time between the layers to avoid this from happening. I find it especially visible when black and white are next to each other. I don't like to rush the drying time. Haste makes waste. So instead of flooding the black, I skip to the pink.


Now I let both colors dry and get set up. Once they are nice and dry...I can go back and add the black icing in between. Then before I pipe any extra detail, I must let that area dry as well.


So while those are drying, I move onto the hearts. 


First I outline the pink heart using the thicker pink piping icing.


Next I flood the heart with the thinner pink icing. I use a squeeze bottle for this part. 


Using a toothpick, I gently tap the flooded icing to the edge. I like a nice full cookie :)


While this layer is still wet, I add the polka dots.

In my experience, it is best to let the pink sit for a few minutes. I usually do 3-5 cookies with pink and then come back and add the dots. I do them in batches because I have found that if I add the dots immediately they have a tendency to 'spread'. By waiting a few minutes, they stay nice and crisp. I just don't wait too long. Otherwise they will sit on top of the pink making it very difficult to add other details or writing.

See how the dots look a little raised. They eventually 'melt' into the bottom layer creating a smooth surface.


I let them dry for at least 8 hours... preferably overnight. So once these hearts are in the drying phase...I move onto the suitcases.


The initial phase of these cookies involves the outline of the two areas for the black and pink icing. 


And just like the luggage tags, I let the pink dry a bit before I add in the black. 

Once the black is flooded. I wait for everything to dry.


Then it's time for the detail. Since I sketch the cookies in advance, I know how I want them to look. I add the lines, dots, and text to the luggage tags. I also add an outline to the black edge to give it more of layered look.

Then I add the text and black outline to the polka dot hearts. These layers, because the icing is thicker, take much less time to dry.


Then I tackle the suitcases. I really wanted the plaid to have an intertwined look. 


So it took a little more effort, but this is how I achieved it. First, I added the black lines. I decided they should be on the bottom. 

Then I alternated the layers. I did about 20 cookies of this style. So this part took me a little while. I did pink first. Then I layered white over that. Then back to pink. And then, I finished up with one last layer of white.

    

    

I let these lines dry before I added the handle over top.


Then Toph took a few pictures of the finished product before they got wrapped up.

Thanks for reading. I just love making cookies so much. I am always excited to share my projects on this blog. I do have a few other custom projects to show over the next few weeks. Plus, I'm researching a very interesting project for my mom. She wants me to make her friend something very custom and unique. For my mom, I'll do anything. I'm up to the challenge.

Have a sweet day,

Anne

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Seattle or Bust (part 1)

posted Saturday May 08, 2010 at 03:31 PM by Anne Yorks — 3 comments

It's naptime in the Yorks household, this week's orders are complete, and a fresh pot of coffee is brewing. Ahhhhh...it's blog time! It's been a very busy week of baby shower cookies, nurse cookies, fire fighter cookies...and lots and lots of MOTHER'S DAY cookies!! I'll be posting pictures soon! Thank you again to everyone that ordered this week! I just loved meeting you and being a small part of your holiday or event. It's really so cool how this business is tying me into all these new friendships.

Toph is working this weekend...bummer...since it's Mother's Day tomorrow.  But, he decided we are celebrating Mother's Day weekend. Woo hoo! Yesterday he spoiled me with a new pair of tennis shorts and a great shirt. Today I got a new Tupperware set. What? You don't think that's cool? Well then maybe you aren't a mom. Am I right on this? I think all moms like good storage containers for leftovers. We have a ton of old Chinese take-out containers. They are pretty ratty and we are starting to lose the lids somehow. I'll update you on tomorrow's present. But, that's assuming I'm going to get another one. My tennis racket is missing. I suspect it will reappear tomorrow with a few updates *fingers crossed*.

I have a super cool cookie project to share with you today. I did cookies for a 'bon voyage and travel' themed bridal shower last week. I took lots of pictures throughout the cookie-decorating process. Today, part 1, I want to show you the pictures. Tomorrow, part 2, I'm planning to post a little behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of these cookies. I love showing how I do things. I think it gives customers and friends an appreciation for the amount of detail that is required to making each cookie special.

Here are the cookies ... My client told me she wanted a travel theme with a pink and black color scheme. She left the details up to me. I am always excited when a customer trusts me to 'design' the cookie on my own. But there is a certain amount of pressure that comes with that privilege. The bride-to-be is moving to Seattle (from Pennsylvania)! That's quite a move, but she is marrying an army doctor and he is being re-located to the west coast. We chatted briefly about doing Seattle themed cookies (space needle, starbucks, grunge band, coffee mug, etc), but in the end we decided on cookies that fit with the theme AND the party colors.


This pink and black luggage / suitcase cookie is inspired by a Burberry Tote. I just liked the plaid pattern and the handle style. 


Making plaid anything is a time-consuming endeavor, but I loved the end result...

Here is an even closer look at the plaid detail. It's actually intertwined. 


Next, I searched high and low for interesting luggage tags. After all, this is one hip bride. I'm sure she travels in style.

I found so many cute tags...

from www.allthingscupcake.com


from www.funkychunkyhandbags.com


from www.cloth-ears.co.uk


I thought polka dots and stripes would make an adorable tag...so here is my creation. I originally planned to poke a hole in the cookie. But when I was baking, I was so focused on the cookie making that I totally spaced on the whole idea (pun intended!). So I just had to pipe the hole with icing. That's ok. I think things turned out cool.


The heart cookie was inspired by another cookie blog post that I read recently. I found the blog through the Cookiers R Us yahoo group and now I can't find her again. I hate it when I do that. Normally, I add the address to my Google reader right way. I looked for it again and again, but I can't find it. If it's you, please email me and I'll be sure to give you credit. There are so many pink and black hearts in this world. I found this great Hershey's box of chocolate. 


I added the Seattle or Bust to the heart cookie to make it more personal to the bride.


Aren't these pictures great? I wish I could take the credit, but it was Topher that took them for me. I was in a rush to pack for my NYC trip that I did not have time for the photo shoot. I have more great pictures to share with you tomorrow. He did some interesting things with the cookie placement. I have such a talented, creative husband!

So are you interested in learning how I made the plaid suitcase? Or the luggage tag? Maybe you want to know how the polka dots get added to the heart cookies. Tune in tomorrow for a complete, unedited, look at how I made these cookies. It'll be fun, I promise!

Until then, Have a very sweet Mother's Day weekend!

Anne

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Paisley & Company - Bath Boutique

posted Friday May 07, 2010 at 09:43 AM by Anne Yorks — 3 comments

I got my first Mother's Day gift on Wednesday. My thoughtful sister-in-law and my two nieces made me lavender bath soap and a jar with bath salt. (And in case anyone is following this blog regularly, this is the same SIL that made me the beautiful cake plate centerpiece and the handmade picnic set for my daughter. There was talk on Wednesday that an Etsy store *could* be in the works.Oh baby!)

This gift reminded me that I love scented gifts...soap, body spray, moisturizer, you get the idea. As a baker, I wash my hands 1000 times a day. You cannot imagine how dry my skin gets with all that washing! So I had to do something drastic. Enter my favorite little shop ever...Paisley & Company in Kutztown, PA or on the web at http://www.paisleyandcompany.com/.



This is their storefront. I love their logo! It's so cute. And, I know it's hard to see, but look closely at their front door. It looks like an wooden Victorian screen door. It's a customer's first impression of this adorable bath boutique.

A friend of our family works at Paisley & Co. So for some time my mom has splurged on a few gift items for me over the years. But then, when I started having my dry skin crisis, I decided I needed to start ordering my own products. I just feel so spoiled every time I use it. Everything is just so luxurious. And there is so much to choose from.


I could get lost investigating all their wonderful products...handmade products! Wow! They offer 100 scents, or you can create your own. Their website states that, "Our customers compare Paisley & Company with a trip to their favorite bakery, where enticing aromas fill the air and there's always something fresh being made in the kitchen. In our charming Victorian bath shop we create fresh and custom-made lotions, soaps, perfumes, bath & shower products, foot care products, mama and baby goods, natural butters, and gift collections."

Hmmmmmm. No wonder I love this place so much!



So this is what I love from Paisley & Co.


I love the 'frothie' handsoap and the 'mousse' moisturizer. I use the soap on my hands and the moisturizer on my hands and face. 


Here are two of my Frothie's. I ordered brown sugar (right) and brown sugar vanilla. So here's what's cool about Paisley & Co. They can customize scents and colors on their products. Since I like to smell like a cookie, I asked if they could make me the sugar and vanilla scent. Then, since I love everything pink, I asked if they could tint my soap. I love it so much!

Last year I ordered a grape scented soap and moisturizer tinted aqua! The owner told me a customer ordered banana scented shampoo tinted purple. I just love these color and scent combos. It's so unique and fun!


So much that I ordered a refill for my Frothie. This should last me a little while. 


I also ordered the largest size mousse they make. There are three sizes. I was using a smaller jar, but  this time I took the plunge on the big guy. For a little perspective...this is the big guy next to a quarter. 


True Story: The last time I got a haircut, my stylist asked me if I was baking that day. I said, nope, not today. Why? She said, because you smell like your cookies!! Then we laughed because it was my moisturizer!

So you don't live near Kutztown (maybe you haven't even heard of Kutztown), don't sweat it! They ship! Check out all their products online at http://www.paisleyandcompany.com/. You can also 'Like' them on Facebook. Click here.


Their products make GREAT Mother's Day gifts! *wink* *wink*

Have a very sweet weekend!!!
Anne


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Luau Bridal Shower

posted Thursday May 06, 2010 at 08:16 AM by Anne Yorks — 6 comments

 A luau is a Hawaiian feast. So I guest this post is all about a cookie feast at a bridal shower.

A few months ago, a customer contacted me about a bridal shower she was throwing for a friend. This was one organized client. She already had a theme, party colors, and a few games planned. I loved her! Plus she called 3 months in advance. It was good she did, because she wanted some specific cookies and it allowed us the time to plan out each one. 

She wanted to order a little something special for the guys that would be at the party. So we decided to make the blue and white Hawaiian shirts. I was able to 'double flood' the white into the blue to create the flower look. I think this was my customer's favorite cookie. I really liked it too. Here's a closer look. How fun!

My client gave me stationary that showed the theme she was looking to create. From that, we got the idea to incorporate a hibiscus flower into the cookie scheme.


I actually didn't have this cookie cutter, but since we were planning so much in advance, I was able to order it.  It wasn't easy to find, but I finally did get onto a site that carried the shape i was looking for. I had not ordered from this site before, and I don't think I will order from them again. After three weeks of waiting, no cutter arrived. I called to check in and they said they were having problems with their system. They asked me to call them back three separate times. And they were SOOOOOO cranky. Ugh. I am not a fan of the crankies. So, finally they tell me it never shipped and it was going to be a while until it was going out. Not good news since I needed it the next week. I finally insisted on talking to an owner or manager. The owner got on the phone and told me that he would send it. Did I mention everyone was so cranky. I felt like being cranky too. But I didn't go there.

Two days later the cookie  cutter arrived, but they did not pay for the postage completely. I had to pay more postage!! Did I mention that I had already paid (with shipping) more than $20 for this one cookie cutter? I wasn't happy at all. 

This is why I try to stick to my regular sites: www.karenscookies.net, www.foosecookiecutters.com, www.coppergifts.com, www.annclark.com. I have NEVER been let down by any of these companies. As a matter of fact, they continue to inspire me with their excellent order process. It's a pleasure working with them.

After all the hub-bub, I was really pleased with the hibiscus flower. It was a fun cookie to make ... and anything bright pink is good in my book.

The next cookie I did for the shower was a flip flop. I had done these before. They are a part of the 'Life's a Beach' cookie collection. I just love making flip flops. 


The other cookie in the order was a starfish. Each starfish cookie was decorated with edible pearls, 16 to be exact. I use a tweezers to place the pearls on the cookie.  It's a time consuming process, but I think the results are wonderful. I also use a lot of these pearls on wedding cake cookies. They just really dress things up.


I have saved my favorite cookie for last. The Lei Cookie.


I premade the candy flowers for the lei in advance. I then made a round cookie and decorated it with with white icing. I really wanted the flowers to pop out from the cookie. My customer wanted this cookie for the prize for the games. This 'Zack loves Stephanie' cookie was just an extra. The actual cookie for the client read, 'You Got Lei'd at Stephanie's Shower'. 


I hope you enjoyed this collection as much as I enjoyed making them! I'm actually in process of creating a few 'summer' items for the Flour Box website as a regular item. I definitely think I'm going to add a few of these cookies!

Have a sweet day,

Anne 

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There's No Place Like Home

posted Sunday May 02, 2010 at 10:36 PM by Anne Yorks — 4 comments

I'm so happy to be back in Happy Valley. In case you're just tuning in, I spent the past week in New York City. The City. It's a wonderful place to visit, but there is no place like home.

All in all it was a great trip for our family. We accomplished what we set out to do. Plus, I did work in a little time for cupcakes! My cookie trip got postponed. Due to heavy, standstill, car honking traffic, we cancelled the trip to the cookie shop.

We were stuck behind this...a big ole pig butt. 


And, I'm not kidding, just moments before I snapped this picture, there was a rickshaw in front of us. I was just too slow to get the photo with the both of them. The rickshaw sped up faster than the car traffic. Only in NYC, I guess.

So with a big pig butt in the way, our trip to the cookie shop was pushed off to another day. I wasn't all that disappointed to miss the cookie shop because I had already enjoyed the best cupcake ever.

It came from Two Little Red Hens. 


I picked out a red velvet cupcake (upper left), carrot cupcake (upper right), and a vanilla  with buttercream icing - tinted pink. Each cupcake was $2.75. What a deal!

I got the pink cupcake for my little girl. 


It was so rich and dense that I only gave her a small sliver. Then I thought I'd better try it for 'quality control'. It was AMAZING! I hate to admit it, and this might put me in the running for worst mommy ever, but I ate the rest of her cupcake. It was that good. I felt a little bad afterwards. But did I mention how good it was?

My mom enjoyed the carrot cake cupcake and gave it two thumbs up. Toph devoured the red velvet and said it was great! I want to go back to Two Little Red Hens everyday. Plus, did I mention I got to witness a legitimate NYC argument? It wasn't soup nazi or anything. A customer wanted to order a cake for the same day. She just didn't get the 3-day advance rule at the shop. She went around and around and around. I enjoyed every moment. I smiled just like a good tourist does. I wished I had taken a photo. It was good stuff. 

So lots of traffic and a few cupcakes later, it was time to head back to Happy Valley.

Upon returning home, I was greeted by a package from Reigh Enterprises. Sharon and Ted Reigh run the business providing all sorts of printed and embroidered items. 


I had ordered a few things with the Flour Box Bakery logo. I am not disappointed! I loved EVERYTHING! I'm working on getting some photos to share with you...but I did take one to show you. Sharon popped a little surprise in the box for my little girl.

I can't even tell you how excited we were to meet the newest family member. My daughter named her new bear Flower.

Here she is with Flower in her big girl bed on our first night home. Ahhhh. There's no place home.


Okay...I've got a serious amount of cookies to decorate. So this post is ending. But, I promise some great cookie pics are coming. 

Don't forget, Monday, May 3rd, is the Mother's Day order deadline. You can check out the cute collection of teacups and teapots here.

Have a sweet day,

Anne

P.S. I'm pretty sure we could solve the world economic crisis if the following fine was actually enforced. Don't Honk. $350 Penalty. Ha. Someone has a sense of humor.


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