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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Star Wars Lego Cookies!

December 23 - Our little Padawan celebrated his 9th birthday. With a winter storm raging outside we felt as though we were on the planet Hoth. Conditions forced distant and elderly family members to remain at their base camps. Only Master Grandpa, Master Grandma and a youngling from a neighboring camp were able to attend. Spirits were high though as warm soup (in bread bowls!) and cookies and cupcakes were enjoyed by all.

Christmas Eve - The winter storm continued to rage and our datapads warned of an impending blizzard with white-out conditions. Our mission, to carry out Christmas Eve traditions with Master Grandma and Master Grandpa, seemed doomed. However, the Force was with us and a break in the weather provided the opportunity we needed to travel the short distance to their base camp. While there, we were able to locate the pickle ornament hidden in the tree and enjoy chili and cinnamon rolls. With our mission completed we returned home safely.

Christmas Day - Conditions forced us to alter our original plans. We would not be able to complete a journey to visit family on a distant planet. However, Master Grandma, Master Grandpa, Master Great-Grandma and Master Great-Grandpa were able to join us for our gift exchange and dinner. We felt very lucky to be able to enjoy the day with them and glad that they made it back to their own homes safely before we had total white-out conditions later that afternoon.

I hope all of you had a safe and merry Christmas. May the Force be with you!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Faithful Friends Who Are Dear to Us… Dog Treats

We were looking through the dog food aisle for some special treats to put in our dogs' stocking and to give to my sister in-laws' dogs, who always join our Christmas celebration. That's when my daughter said "Why don't we just make them some treats?"

Why didn't I think of that? We're a DIY family after all!

So… that's what we did yesterday. Baked and packaged cookies to share with all our canine companions. I have to say… making dog cookies was almost more fun than making people cookies!

Here's the recipe I used:

2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. cornmeal
1/2 c. unbleached flour
1 tsp. salt
2 T. oil
1/4 c. molasses
2 eggs
1/4 c. milk

Mix all ingredients. Roll out on floured surface, to 1/2" thickness. Cut with desired cookie cutter. Bake on cookie sheets at 350ยบ for 30 minutes, until lightly toasted.

We decorated these with a little white chocolate.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

How to Decorate Christmas Cookies

Photos not adjusted, text not proofread, layout a little wonky…

But it's done!

I've been meaning to post a "How to decorate cookies" tutorial forever and here it is finally, imperfect though it may be. So let me know if it doesn't make any sense. I'm happy to answer questions if I can!

Last weekend my best friend (who lives 2 1/2 hours away) came for my birthday. We went to our favorite junk shop and bought tons of vintage Christmas decor.

This weekend my cousin (who lives all the way in Spain!) came over for a lesson on how to decorate cookies. Here's the angels she decorated. With a little practice I think she'll be a great cookie decorator!

Next weekend is the first of 3 family Christmas gatherings for us.

Christmas parties, programs & shopping fill the time in between.

So… like everyone else I know… I barely have time to think. But it's a very happy state of stress. I really love the flurry of activity this time of year and I feel very lucky to get to spend some time with family and friends.

So… in case I don't have time to write again before Christmas…


Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's Beginning to Look Alot LIke Christmas!

• Cookies Baked √

• House Decorated √

• Presents bought (almost done!)

Before this weekend I was feeling pretty stressed about getting everything done. Since I work full time most of my holiday preparations have to be done on weekends and this weekend was the last free weekend I had to get the bulk of my shopping, decorating and baking done. Actually… my mom came and helped with the cookie decorating last weekend so that was taken care of. (Thanks Mom!) But I still had lots of things to do. Thankfully… after a nice Thanksgiving with my in-laws, I was able to finish my decorating and get most of my gifts bought. PHEW! Feels good to start the work week with some big things checked off the old "to-do" list.


I GOT A NEW KITCHENAID MIXER!!!!! Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas to me! My 18 year old Oster mixer was falling apart. I literally had to hold it together to use it. So… I braved the early morning Black Friday crowds and got myself a new Kitchenaid! Totally worth getting up at 3:00 am!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and that your Holiday preparations are coming along!

Happy "Cyber Monday"!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Makin' a List, Checkin' it Twice

Download the Holiday Baking Planner

Handmade'ns is over. Thank goodness! Now I can focus on baking and blogging and start getting ready for Christmas.

Getting everything done for Christmas requires extreme organizational skills and that's not something I come by naturally. For me… organization takes a huge effort and I don't like it. But… if I can make something pretty to keep track of everything… it helps a little. So I designed these pages to go in a 3-ring binder. You can use them too if you want, just download the PDFs here.

Making lists of everything I need to bake for helps me figure out what kind of supplies I need to order too. Look at all these fun things I found in my favorite shops.
Makes me so anxious to get started!

Next weekend… the baking begins! Time to blast the cheesy Christmas Carols, put on comfy slippers, pull out the rolling pin and cookie cutters and let the flour fly!

Blue Sugar and Deer Toppers from Layer Cake Shop, Mushroom Picks & Red Spotty Baking Cases from Bake it Pretty, Pink and Gold Cupcake Liners from A Cupcakery, Metallic Gold Edible Glitter from Sugarcraft

Urban Floral Brushes by Rawox, Dyspepsia from Larabie Fonts, League Gothic from the Leauge of Moveable Type

Monday, October 26, 2009

A dimension of Imagination…

You're traveling through another dimension – a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination.

I've been off in another dimension lately. A dimension of paper clay and paint. A dimension of wool roving and felt. A dimension of fabric and thread. I've crossed over into… the Crafty Zone. Every November I take part in a craft boutique with some friends. So… October is always devoted to crafting. I make little doodads with paper clay and a few needle felted critters.

I've let a lot of things slip while I've been busy with my crafting. I forgot to tell you that I had the honor of writing a guest post for Connie at The Constant Baker. Connie is a pastry chef in San Jose. Her blog is full of great ideas and information. It was very flattering to be asked to contribute to it!

I'll be spending my Halloween helping to "Save the World". The "World" is an old theater in our town that was built in 1927. The World Theatre Foundation is trying to raise money to restore the theater and turn it into a non-profit movie house run by volunteers. They're having "Candlelight Ghost Tours" for Halloween. The speech team is helping with the event and since I'm a speech mom… I guess I'll be helping too. I think it'll be pretty fun!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009



The Nebraska Junk Jaunt

A weekend with my best friend

Beautiful Fall weather

A scenic drive through the country

A bakery getting rid of old cake and cupcake toppers!

Enough mid-century modern furniture to refurnish my living room for only $30!


A mention in the book Blogging for Bliss as one of Happy's (Happy Loves Rosie) favorite blogs!

perfect happiness

thank you!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Birthdays & Bursting Bubbles

Both of my girls celebrated their birthdays last week. The poor kids are my guinea pigs… if I want to try a new cupcake design or flavor I usually end up making them for one of their gatherings. The cupcakes in the photo were for a small family shin-dig.

Truth is… my girls aren't all that crazy about decorated cake. (perhaps they've O.D.ed?) They prefer a cheesecake or a plain angel food cake. I'll make the angel food cake for them today.

Other birthday traditions include choosing a special dinner. My oldest daughter chooses something different every year. My youngest always requests fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. mmmmmmmmmm.

It's also time for peaches from the farmers market and vegetables from the garden. I'm not crazy about peaches but my family eats them and I love the way they look in my old bowls. Mom's canning tomatoes today so as soon as I get this post published, I'll head out to the garden to pick some for her.

In other news…

Have you read this article from Slate?

The Cupcake Bubble

Cupcakes are now showing every sign of going through the bubble cycle. The first-movers get buzz and revenues, gain critical mass, and start to expand rapidly. This inspires less-well-capitalized second- and third-movers, who believe there's room enough for them, and encourages established firms in a related industry to jump in.

Cupcakes are having their moment, no question, and many could make sweet profits. But remember what always happens after a sugar rush: a crash.
Does this spell doom and gloom for those of us who want to start a baking business? I don't know… here's my take on the article…

Someone started a unique, cool cupcake shop. It was successful. Others copied the idea, added their own twist and were also successful. Now everybody's jumping on the bandwagon…
And while cupcakes doubtless offer good margins, a baker has to sell a lot of them to make real money. That will surely tempt many entrepreneurs to start mass production. But the minute you start baking at a central location and trucking to the goods over long distances, the value proposition inherent in the product can grow stale, as Krispy Kreme found.
I'm not planning to jump on the cupcake bandwagon. I like making pretty little cupcakes, but my plan for Sugar and Meringue has never been all about starting a cupcake bakery. My focus is on creating artful cookies and cupcakes that can be presented as gifts. I've always thought my business model was a little more like that of a florist than a bakery. I imagine people buying my cookies as gifts for some of the same occasions they might buy flowers and using my cookies as favors and table decor (kinda like flowers).

Anyway… that's my 2¢. I think there's a place for our baking businesses as long as we offer something unique and there's some sincerity behind what we do. We'll see what happens!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ergonomic Secrets for Cookie Decorating Success!

How do ya like that title? I just read a tutorial on "Writing Blog Post Titles that Grab Attention" at buildinternet.com. So that's my attempt at a title that "creates curiosity".

So what's my "Ergonomic Secret for Cookie Decorating Success"?

Get a taller chair.

It's helped me anyway. I'm short, about 5'3". My kitchen table chairs just aren't quite tall enough. I end up sitting on my feet to get that extra height, then my feet fall asleep… it just doesn't work. So on my last junking trip I found a vintage Cosco stool. I sat on it while decorating these house cookies. It seems a bit more comfortable…

Whatever… just get comfortable when you're decorating. I just wanted to use that oh-so-clever title and tell you about my new chair.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sassy Pink Boutique

I'd like to introduce you to my friend Amy.

Amy is the owner of Sassy Pink Boutique and Amy Sheppard Web Studio, a blogger and part of Mammalicious Finds. She's also a very busy wife and mommy. WOW! I'm worn out just listing all the things she does!

Here's a peek at a few of the fun things you can find at Sassy Pink Boutique.

Top to bottom- baby cupcakes, bath bomb & jumbo cupcake candle
Below- pink cupcake apron

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Stuff in my Etsy Store!

Didn't get any baking done this weekend. I spent my time updating my etsy shop. Just wanted to show you some of my new listings.

Fun things for girls…

Fun things for boys…

Have a great week!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Somehow we pulled it off!


My first wedding reception cookie/cupcake order

Biggest order I've ever taken

Of course… I wanted them all to be perfect

I'll admit I was a bit nervous


Thanks to my mom's helpful assistance everything went just fine!

I've been told they were a huge hit! (Thanks Claudia!)

I need to give credit where credit is due and say that the design for the square cookies with the cake design was inspired by some that Rosey Sugar made. LOVE HER WORK!

Monday, August 10, 2009


Thanks for all the nice comments about my bake sale cookies. I'm totally over it and feeling guilty for whining. It was nice to have you commiserate with me! If you've ever sold your creative work, you've probably been there.

This weekend was much better. I spent all day Saturday decorating cookies for a wedding reception. The reception is this coming weekend (the 15th) and I'll be making cupcakes for them too. So, I'll be taking this Friday off to get that done. I'll show you the pictures when the whole sha-bang is ready to go.

Yesterday was spent in my craft room. I'm trying to get a few things made for a craft show that I do every November. I have a thing for hot pads in the shape of something with embroidery and stuff (if that makes any sense). My mom found some fun hot pad patterns she had stashed away from the '70s and I couldn't wait to adapt them. The cupcake potholder in the photo was one of the patterns.

I also spent a little time staging some photos of some things I need to get listed in my etsy shop. My poor little etsy shop has been badly neglected lately. I'm hoping to spend some more time there this month getting new things listed and hopefully designing some new fun things to sell. We'll see…

Truthfully… I feel like lots of things have been neglected around here. I stayed up way too late last night trying to get caught up then woke up at 4:00 a.m. thinking about every thing that I need to get done. Late summer through Christmas tends to be that way. Way too many things I want to do and not enough time. Not looking for any sympathy though… I don't have to sew cupcake potholders, write blog posts, list stuff in my etsy store, shop for fabric to use for photo staging, go junking with friends, make new potholder patterns, design new recipe cards, paint my hallway, blah blah blah… I just really, really want too! Ohhh woe is me…

Hope you are finding time for all of your projects! Take care!


Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day

I made these last minute… kind of in a hurry… not my best work ever… But still…

25¢ each???? SERIOUSLY????

I donated 2 dozen of these cookies to the speech team's bake sale. I thought it was a worthy cause and I'll admit, I thought it might be a little bit of good advertising. I packaged them neatly in little cellophane bags. I actually felt like I was making a pretty nice donation. All the bake sale items were marked when they arrived (not by the people who baked them). Anyway… I couldn't be there for the bake sale but my daughter told me they were marked at 25¢ each. Individual brownies (made from a mix and packaged in saran wrap I'm sure) were marked at 50¢ each.

I'm hurt, insulted and discouraged. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother.

Oh well… I guess some days are like that, "even in Australia".

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Winner!

Congratulations to Sweet Sugar Belle! She is the winner of the National Sugar Cookie Day Competition! Please visit her blog to see more photos of all her fantastic cookies I'm amazed by her talent!

All the photos uploaded to the flickr photo group were very impressive. I was definitely inspired after looking at them. So many of them were extremely detailed and original. WOW! Thank you so much for sharing and for joining the National Sugar cookie day celebration!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Better late than never?

So sorry I didn't get the finalists for the sugar cookie contest posted on Saturday. I'm embarrassed by how long I've been letting this contest drag on but happy to report that this week's delay was due to baking-related priorities.

So here are the finalists:

Sugar Sugar Gal

Rosey's Sugar Palace

The Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle


There were so many other really cool cookies uploaded to the flickr group that it was practically impossible to pick these finalists. (another reason I was so slow to get this post out).

I'm putting a poll button in the right column so you can help me pick a winner. Come heck or high water, I WILL announce the winner this Saturday.

Thanks for helping me celebrate National Sugar Cookie Day!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


9 days

60+ hours of driving through deserts, mountains and cities

Maybe 2 hours of sleep every night

Too much junk food

Lots of beautiful sights, laughs & great memories

Our vacation was very fun but I'm glad to be home where the roads are all flat, straight and only 2 lane, the grass is green and life is relatively simple.

Although…choosing finalists for the sugar cookie contest has been anything but simple! So many really awesome cookies were uploaded to the flickr group. These are just a few that I chose very quickly to show you.

I'll try to narrow these down to 4 or 5 and have a poll so you can pick your favorites by Saturday.



Thursday, July 9, 2009

Happy National Sugar Cookie Day!!!!!

Cookies Galore… indeed! Lots of very very beautiful, cookies have been uploaded to the National Sugar Cookie Group! I don't know how we'll ever decide on finalists for the prize. I'm glad you'll be helping me select a winner! I wish I could offer a prize worthy of the talent I've seen in this group. If only I were a millionaire…

Thank you so much for participating in the National Sugar Cookie Day Celebration!

I'll be back after my vacation to wrap up the contests and share some packaging ideas and resources.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Do things ever go as planned?

I intended to write a cookie decorating tutorial for National Sugar Cookie Day but there just hasn't been time. We're leaving for vacation tomorrow so it's clearly not gonna happen.

However…When I was browsing through the cookies posted to the National Sugar Cookie Day Flickr group I found this awesome turorial by Marian from Sweetopia. She gives great, detailed instructions along with some fantastic resources. Thanks Marian!

Here are a few of my favorite places to find cookie decorating supplies:

Fancy Flours
Country Kitchen Sweetart

And here is a great tutorial for making gumpaste flowers by Mare from Meet Me in the Kitchen

Happy decorating!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Ingredients

It's all about the ingredients…

Although I'm sure there's lots of debate about which ingredients make the best Sugar Cookies.

I believe real butter and PURE vanilla extract are the key ingredients to a good sugar cookie. I would like to say that I always use the finest vanilla, eggs straight from the farm, organic flour… all that fancy stuff. The truth is… I buy the best that I can afford and that is readily available. Occasionally, I'll splurge on a nice bottle of vanilla from a gourmet shop. Sometimes I'll get eggs from an uncle who has chickens. Usually… I go to my local supermarket to get both. Fancy ingredients or basic supermarket ingredients… either way, I'm happy with the taste of my cookies.

Here's my recipe:

3/4 c. butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2/3 c. shortening
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 TBS. milk
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Beat butter, shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, milk and vanilla. Beat well. Add flour baking powder and salt and beat until mixed well. Chill for at least 3 hours. Roll dough to 1/8" thickness. Cut with your favorite cookie cutters. Bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cookie Making Supplies

So… I planned on getting this post out last weekend…Tuesday at the latest. I've been looking for some fun "sugar cookie equipment and supply" resources to share with you. Well… I found lots of fun things… one link lead to another and… it's Friday night and I'm just now writing this post.

There are so many supplies to talk about, I decided to focus on non-edible equipment this time. I'll share resources for sprinkles and sugars and things like that later. I also plan to share sources for packaging supplies in another post.

Cookie Cutters:

I love cookie cutters! I used to collect them and only quit due to a lack of storage space. They're cheap and it's always fun to find a new shape

Bake it Pretty - (shown above)

Into the Oven - They have a few really fun shapes of copper cookie cutters including a Spaceman, Robot, Alarm Clock, Tricycle and Little Red Wagon. I might have to find a place to store these!

Off the Beaten Path - They have a huge variety of shapes and they're cheap! My favorite category is their "Old Fashioned" cookie cutters.

If none of these sources have the shape you're looking for, I found a tutorial at Juggling Frogs for making your own cookie cutters. I think I'll try it one of these days.


I love these handcrafted aprons made by Kerry of Practically Necessary.

I also found some great vintage aprons at Plaid Pony Vintage.
And here's some great directions for making your own apron at Bari J. (scroll down for a link to the PDF in the side bar)

Other fun stuff:

I can't bake without setting a timer and I would love to have these magnetic timers from

I can't believe all the amazing cookie photos that have been added to the National Sugar Cookie 2009 Flickr group! Check out the badge I just added to the right side-bar! WoW!

Happy Baking !

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

National Sugar Cookie Day – 2009 Kickoff!

July 9 is National Sugar Cookie Day. Last year, I created a flickr group and posted some of the photos that were submitted. This year, I'm a little more organized and, in addition to a new 2009 National Sugar Cookie flickr group, I've planned a month-long celebration including:

  • my favorite sugar cookie recipe
  • a cookie decorating tutorial
  • lots of supply resources for cookie baking, decorating and packaging
  • a cookie blogging & decorating contest & prizes
  • special discounts at Sugar and Meringue

I'll start by giving you the contest details…

I'll be hosting 2 contests:

Contest #1

• Write a blog post about sugar cookies. Share a recipe, a memory, a decorating idea, your cookie cutter collection… whatever you want as long as it has something to do with sugar cookies. I'll be looking for the most interesting, touching, inspiring or prettiest post.

•. leave a comment or e-mail me at em_reiman@yahoo.com to let me know about your post.

• Your post must be written (& I must be notified) by July 12th

• The winner will be announced on July 18th.

The winner will get this vintage cookie cookbook, a decorating bag, two decorating tips with a coupler, a bag of fun multi-colored sugar, a set of Kitchen Aid measuring spoons, 2 vintage cookie cutters, some packaging supplies and a set of my recipe cards (NOTE: These prizes will only be shipped to US residents. If you're from another country, you can still enter. I'll try to come up with an alternative prize to send you if you are the winner.)

Contest #2

•Join the National Sugar Cookie Day 2009 flickr group and upload your best sugar cookie photos. Or, if you don't have a flickr account e-mail them to em_reiman@yahoo.com. My family and friends and I will choose our favorite photos. Then I'll let post a poll and let you decide the winner.

•Photos must be uploaded by July 12th to be considered for the contest.

The winner will recieve some recognition and a small prize.

How will I be celebrating National Sugar Cookie Day? I'm going to "The Cookie Jar". I'm not kidding… My great-grandparents' last name was Cook. They bought a cabin in the mountains in California back in the 50s (or maybe the 60s?) and named it The Cookie Jar. We've been planning this trip for a while and it's just coincidence that we'll be there for National Sugar Cookie Day but what an appropriate place to be! Anyway… the Cookie Jar has no phone service, let alone wi-fi so I'll be off-line from July 2 - July 12. I'll have something set to auto-post while I'm gone, I just won't be able to respond to any comments or e-mails until I get back.

I'm so excited to see how you celebrate National Sugar Cookie Day!

Join the National Sugar Cookie flickr group!