How To Make Valiant Cookies

For Father’s Day this year, I decided to make my dad some cookies. I didn’t want to do the traditional necktie or mustache  cookie…even though they’re adorable, I thought I’d go for something different and unique. I didn’t have the proper cutters, and me being a repeat winner of the Procrastinator of the Year award, I’d waited too late to order them in time for Dad’s Day. I was forced to dig around in the cookie cutters I already own and get creative…

So as the basis for my design is described in the card/topper that I made for dad:

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To get thoughts from my head into the oven, this is what I had to work with:

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A tie and a tulip. Can’t really say there’s a real valiant vibe to that, but we’re going with it…

So the first thing, roll out your cookie dough, and place the cutters. Not really any magic to it, but make sure that you have enough space on the bottom part of the tie to make your handle for the sword.

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To make the shield, the next step is to de-stem it…ie. cut off the part you won’t need. Simply using a non-serrated knife should be fine.

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Making the handle of the sword is a little more involved, but still not very complicated at all. I free-handed the design, but if you’re not comfy with that, using a ruler or template is cool too 🙂 Make sure that you cut out the space to reinsert the handle and that it fits properly so that your cookie will bake together and close the gaps. If you reassemble the sword on your parchment paper before trying to move it, it will certainly save you some frustration…

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Bake your cookies according to the directions for the recipe you’re using and let them cool completely before decorating.

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Most decorators will tell you to wait a day so that the oils don’t leach into the icing, but I’m certain that they don’t have nearly as many Procrastinator of the Year awards as myself, so 30 min later…

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Depending upon the consistency of your icing, you can outline and flood at the same time, which is what I choose to do…you know, with it being the Saturday afternoon before Father’s Day and all… I did the same technique when making the shields. I got so giddy coloring in the shield/rushed for time that I forgot to take pictures of these steps, but here’s the outline that I started with:

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The one on the right reminded me of a police badge

Before the handle on the sword dried completely, I thought it would be fancy to add some pearl inlay:

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While that was drying, I decided that I wanted to make an ornate emblem to put on the shield. I’m not that good of an artist so I have to compensate and get creative in that area too. My dad’s zodiac sign is Leo, so I thought. “Man, I’m gonna make a lion to put on his shield!” I found an image online, re-sized it to an inch to fit the shield and used my tracing prowess, a #1 and #2 tip and went to town!

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Despite the perceived awesomeness of my idea, I have to be honest and say this next step was a pain in the butt! Transferring a 1″ piece of really delicate sugar is not the most fun process on the planet. I’m sure there are worse things, but after breaking this thing twice, it’s highly debatable. Carefully lift the image from the wax paper and place it gently on the shield. Try really hard not to swear if, and when, it comes apart. Use some wet icing to fix it to the shield and let it dry.

If you’re doing the tracing technique, make sure that you use plenty of shortening on your wax paper so that the design can be more easily peeled/slid off onto wherever it’s final destination happens to be. To get the shimmer, I just brushed them with luster dust.

So after all is said and done, I made my dad’s Father’s Day cookies and he loved them! It was amazing to see his reaction and then watch him devour them, just after stating that they were too pretty to eat. In all honesty, I might have been slightly offended if he didn’t eat them!

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In retrospect, I think this would be a really cool technique to make shield for other themed parties…Princess Merida from Brave was just crowned as the 11th Disney Princess, so it may come in handy one day!

awesome tag

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Sugar and Spice, and Everything Nice…

The pictures are in!

In early December 2012, I had the honor of hosting a co-ed baby shower for parents expecting a sweet little girl. The theme was Sugar and Spice; the colors were pink, bronze, and chocolate; mom, aunt-to-be, and almost everyone there are members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. I was just thankful they didn’t opt for pink and green… 🙂 Mom’s style is very simple and minimalistic and I was thrilled that she loved the way that everything was set up. It was a small challenge for me, only because I like a lot of stuff and for things to be full and busy, but she was very pleased. The best compliment was that the shower guests walked in and said they immediately recognized her taste and style.

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We had close to 80 guests and I must admit, despite all the pink, I had a blast! The guests were wonderful to attend to and we enjoyed hours of laughter. The shower was held at the Westin Beale Street. We played some of the traditional games and threw some newer ones in the mix, just for the guys…

The Westin catered the shower and the guests enjoyed 4 types of spicy chicken drummettes, coconut shrimp with peach mango salsa, ginger chicken salad on crisp wonton, BBQ shrimp shooters, and pulled pork and chicken nachos.

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So the games…

The running games of the day were the traditional Don’t Say Baby, Guess the Celebrity, and Guess the Number of Candy Hearts. Instead of using clothespins, all the guests were asked to wear pink pearls as an homage to one of the sorority’s traditions.

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The celebrity’s baby pictures were set up for the guests to postulate over. Can you guess who any of them are? I had to look them up again before the shower and I put the thing together…I counted the candy by hand and learned a very important lesson in the process: use bigger candy.

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The first active game on deck was Shake Your Groove Thang. The object of the game was to be the first person to get all of the golf balls out of the box. Pure hilarity ensued. The dad-to-be had some moves on him, but he didn’t win. The guys were such good sports about participating and I really appreciated that. My husband told me later that men don’t like coming to showers because women have a tendency to make them play silly games. Oops. I just wish I had a copy of the video…

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Next we played the traditional shower games…match the baby animals, unscramble the baby related words. One lady knocked it out of the park! We also found out that she was a new mom, and she graciously proceeded to school myself and the audience on exactly what a layette is. I shall henceforth refrain from calling it the footie pajama body suit thing…

This table was busted for Googling...lol

This was not the table was busted for Googling answers…lol

We also played the game where you had to bring out your inner artist by drawing your most fabulous rendition of a baby. On a paper plate. Whilst said plate is atop your head. I played this game at a bridal shower and rocked it! I didn’t even bother to submit my attempt to the mom-to-be…I left it to the real artists.

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A true pack of Picasso’s I tell ya!

After all these games concluded and the prizes were awarded for the guessing games, the guests got into the dessert station and prepared to watch parents-to-be open the gifts. The dessert station consisted of a candy bar and cupcakes made by myself: chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, banana with honey cinnamon frosting, apple spice, pumpkin spice, cinnamon spice with butter cream frosting, and ginger spice; I can assure you that it was no easy feat making sure all of them made it to the shower.

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There were so many gifts. They and their baby girl are blessed to have so many people to love, care for, and support them…we ran out of room on 12’ worth of tables!

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That little girl doesn’t even know she hit the shower jackpot!

All in all, everyone had a great time. I truly enjoyed working with this family and wish them all the blessings they can handle with their little girl, who made her way into the world on December 28th. Welcome to the world baby girl!

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And I extend a special and truly sincere thank you to the wonderful photography team of Lyndsi Metz Photography. They are truly an amazing and supportive couple! It’s not everyday that the photographer volunteers to shake his groove thang in front of strangers!

As always, I have to thank the hubby who was there to support me and decided to have a little fun himself and agreed to bust out some baby shower mood music. I really love that guy 🙂

Make It Awesome!

A House Full of Sugar

A few weeks ago I had one of the best nights of my life.

My friend called at the last minute looking for a babysitter for her two little ones. Since I’m having the baby cravings, I was delighted to help her out. Since I’m crazy, I suggested inviting my niece and nephew over to make some new friends. So on a spontaneous babysitting gig, our home was filled with the pitter-patter of 4 sets of feet belonging to minis ages 3, 4, 5 and 6.

I don’t try to fully ascertain how my hubby felt about it, but at one point amid mass screaming, I realized that he’d disappeared and that an adult beverage was missing from the fridge. All I could think was that this very well could be real life…

The kids came over. They played Twister. They played Connect 4 Launchers. They laughed. They ran. They screamed…and remembered to say “excuse me” on their laps through the kitchen. They watched Finding Nemo for the bajillionth time. They put Guitar Hero stickers all over themselves and each other.

I promised them that if they were good, we’d paint sugar cookies. This led to the tribal chanting of “Are the cookies done yet? Are the cookies done yet?” Those were the longest 10 minutes on the planet.

Since this was a spontaneous babysitting gig, I didn’t have time to make the canvas sugar cookies for them to draw upon, which would have been pretty sweet to see the little artists work. Aunt KC decided to wing it and just make sugar cookies from the package and let them paint straight from the oven with icing and edible markers.

Lesson learned? Drawing in icing with an edible marker is not a good idea. Pretty sure I’ll have to replace that set, but the memories and time spent with the kiddos? So incredibly worth it! Plus they dedicated one cookie each to me. I adore those munchkins…

Can’t say auntie will be jumping at that opportunity again any time soon. Good to realize that I haven’t lost all of my faculties.

Make It Awesome!