Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hello Stranger!

What's up!??  I feel like a stranger on my own blog...yes, it's been 16 months since my last post, but who's counting, right?  There's still knitting and cooking going on around here, as well as a fairly new-to-me hobby: making sugar cookies with royal icing. 

Before I get into those fun topics, though, I should mention that my foot injury from October 2011 healed completely, thank God.  The combination of the bones fusing together correctly, albeit slowly, and physical therapy were just what the doctor ordered for my type of injury.  And another update you might not already know about is that I'm currently in graduate school.  Yes, after 20 years of working, who knew I'd want to step back in the classroom again?  Perhaps the biggest encouragement is working in higher education day to day with some of the nicest faculty around.  Their passion for teaching really inspired me to want to go back for an advanced degree.  Other colleagues had gone through Master's in Public Administration programs at CSUN and CLU and had positive experiences there, and recommended the programs to me.  Looking at the curriculum for the program seemed appropriate for my career path because I was already familiar with quite a few of the course topics.  So the big question was:  could I commit two years to school?  It's worth a try.  I'm certainly not getting any younger, so here I am.  Back in school.  You won't see me around the blog on a regular basis, but I will do my best to stay in touch!

Now onto the fun stuff:  sugar cookies.  Since January (three months now) I've been making sugar cookies.  It all started with the fact that hubby and I both love sugar cookies from Royal Bakery.  They have this wonderful thick royal icing, and they keep things simple by making only round ones with yellow smiley faces.  Well, I got to thinking that $2 for a sugar cookie is worth it, but could I make one just as good here at home?  Why not give it a try?  My baking years were pretty much limited to high school and college, so I haven't baked very much since then.  I really didn't know where to start, so off to Google searching "sugar cookies with royal icing."  There's a whole world of blogs and fanatics out there, just like the knitting world, complete with its own convention called  CookieCon...just like Stitches West and ComicCon.  So there I go on YouTube to watch all the tutorials I can learn from, and you know there are some wonderful and brilliant gals out there who are patient enough to photograph, video, and share their knowledge to curious folks like me.  I especially owe thanks to the Dean of Cookies and Visiting Professors over at University of Cookie.  I follow each of their blogs because I learn so much from them!  Next trip to Michael's Arts and Crafts, go buy yourself a copy of Bridget Edwards cookie book:  Decorating Cookies: 60+ Designs for Holidays, Celebrations & Everyday.  With these resources I've been able to make some pretty cute cookies.  Take a look:
My personal favorite cookie because of my nickname Bea (pronounced Bee) and because they fit perfectly into little small hands like my nieces and nephews.  Now these I made for hubby's co-worker upon request:
And the knitter in me just loved making these adorable sheep cookies.  I've made them with gray feet and head before but this particular time didn't feel like making more icing.  So they got purple head and feet.
Here's a close up of the sheep.  Did you know that there is actually an icing color for white?  These were made white white Americolor gel.  So make sure you take the time to use white color gel.

The reason why these cute little sheep got purple head and feet is because I made them the same weekend that I made these purple owls.  I was inspired by a cute little dish at Michael's.  You know the bins that are strategically placed along the front registers so that you have something to contemplate on purchasing while you've already made your purchase selections?  Yeah, I fall for that way too often even though I'm fully cognizant of these marketing ploys. 

I'll have to practice a bit more on my giving him some feathers on his chest and some wing details.  It's a tulip cookie cutter with the center petal removed.  What a great idea, right?  Not my idea, so I can't take credit.  This last week, I made some miniature teddy bears and cupcakes with polka-dots because I've been itching to practice on flat polka-dots.  Flat polka-dots are pretty neat.  I'm already thinking of other shapes to make with flat polka-dots.
So much fun putting all of those dots on.  This minature teddy bear, much like the bumble bee, is the perfect size for tiny little hands.  Take a look:
And yesterday I made these Star Wars Stormtroopers.  I was inspired by Callye Alvarado from Sweet Sugar Belle and how she accomplished the perfect Batman eyes.  I still have to work on keeping the black icing coat from showing on the edges.
Here's a close up with more detail.  I tried adding the stripes along the sides like other cookies I've seen, but it didn't look good so I skipped it altogether.
So that about wraps up what I've been doing the last 3 months...besides working, studying and all the other stuff in between.  Who would have thought I'd take an interest in anything other than knitting?  Why would I want to take up another hobby?  Really?  There are only so many hours in the day.  These are questions that I've been asking myself, and the only honest answer I have is that it takes a bit of practice and technique so I'm enjoying the challenge.  And it involves sugar cookies, so my family and I have something to enjoy when it's all done (can't do that with knitting as quickly).
Hope you're doing well, and glad to see you stopped by to say "Hello Stranger!"


Willow said...

Hello Beatrice~ So good to see you here, stranger! Don't be gone so long again :)

anne lecrivain said...

YUM YUMMY! Your cookies are so gorgeous and clever. The stormtroopers would be a huge hit at my house. (p.s. they are yum yummy.)