KristinaKristina Mattson

All articles by Kristina

 

Sweet Little Spaceman

Oh dear, the summer definitely came, and in a blink turned into crinkly yellow leaves flitting around the sidewalk. Darn it! There were so many bright, hopeful happy color creations I could have blogged about, if only the manufactured “beach” smell of off brand sunscreen and preschoolers running too close to the pool weren’t distracting me…. So I come to you now a few projects behind but I can affirm that this little spaceman set is right off the presses! Just as soon as school started, a friend asked for help celebrating her 5-year-old son’s mid-September birthday with a blast
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Too cute to care about sugar dental care cookies

My daughter’s preschool has a fundraising auction every year about this time.  A friend whose daughter’s class was putting together a dental care basket (full of real dental care items like electric toothbrushes and such) asked that I make some dental themed cookies to throw in for fun.  Or maybe just to ensure that the basket winner would indeed have teeth to clean! I started with the teeth – so cute – all animated and cavity free!  Also, can you believe that they actually make tooth cookie cutters?  Apparently, dental care cookies are a thing.   Cookies to actually bake,
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Mediterranean Lifestyle Lemon Cookies

This time of year, when it’s still a little too chilly in the mornings to go out without a coat (puffy down, in my case), I pour over those glossy home-scape magazines like Pottery Barn, West Elm and Wiliams Sonoma that feature sun dappled and cobalt blue patterned dishes, freshly reproduced from a seemingly archeologically significant dig. The dishes are casually displayed on a teak wood table, worn from sea wind and years of casual cocktails and sparkling lemonade on the patio of a palazzo on an Italian coast, reflecting an elusive Mediterranean lifestyle. If the picture expanded beyond the
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Late Easter bunnies and friends cookies

Oh dear, I’m late, I’m late…to a very important date!!!  I wish it were just a spring tea party that could happen any old weekend, but alas, it was last weekend, Easter weekend. I made these cookies for a good friend’s family Easter celebration.  They were photographed and delivered on Easter Sunday (because I’m whirlwind like that) and then I had to figure out what to say about them and how to post them to my new fancy site.  So here we are, four days late. For these, I kinda just went with the flow.  I spent some zen moments
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Closer to my peeps – Cookie Con 2014!

   I’ve crossed off an item on my bucket list that’s susceptible to crumbling, a link to new friendships and can serve as the canvas for all kinds of creative inspiration!  This item is Cookie Con – a conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah that hosts sugar cookie decorators from all over the globe.  Seriously.  I heard all kinds of Australian and Eastern European voices this past weekend! Along with all that geographic diversity is a deep well of baking and artistic talent, all wound together by confectioner’s sugar and the amazing stuff you can do with cookies and
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Oh, Sunny Day cookies!

This St. Pat’s is bright with sun and lucky hope!   While I didn’t have opportunity this year to paint a cookie clover, the whimsy of the day with its streams of sunshine remind me of a set I did a little while back to celebrate a dental office employee picking up stakes and moving south to sunny California! May the road rise to meet her…and you as you travel through your own sleet, snow or sun!

 

Woodland baby shower cookies

The cookies in this trending baby shower theme were for a little boy, due to arrive this coming Monday, March 17th.  He’s one of the lucky few that actually has a shot at red hair and a St. Patty’s Day birthday.  But I digress.   This set is all whimsical woodland wonder and the pretty ways we can present shy forest animals in sophisticated orange-reds and navy blue. The shower itself was a classic affair, held in a well-appointed wainscoted room, complete with pewter candlesticks and a crackling fire for cozy winter ambiance.  These cookies, individually wrapped and tied with
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Big steps for baby elephant

This little peanut muncher marches forward with big elephant strides to celebrate the coming arrival of a baby girl!  For this set, I was asked to make plated cookies, using pinks and grays for an evening baby shower.   I went with a modern theme, starting with the elephant and a collection of abstract flowers and leaves, including a dark gray polka dot accent leaf. All in all, a fun set.  It feels fresh and modern and full of spring.  Something my little corner of the world needs right now, as the snow falls all day in a persistent flurry.
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Black and white Valentine hugs

Par for the course this year, I’m a couple days late and at least ten bucks short.  While there’s been some baking projects in 2014, I just can’t get them posted timely. But I just couldn’t pass on these little guys, a tiny prints knockoff, piped onto simple egg shaped cookies.  They’ve got their heart in their hands and they are ready for love. Now that’s a message worth passing on, even if it’s a little postage delayed. For these cookies, I drew the design on paper within the shape of the egg cutter.  Then, using a Kopy Kake to project
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Finally! Some Christmas cookies!

Although the snow has yet to really fly this Christmas season for us, I couldn’t wait to break out the snowflake and mitten cutters. The boundless options for snowflakes are always appealing.  So many designs – all unique!  Also, there’s a simplicity to making snowflake cookies.  Usually, I decorate with white on white, with a little snow shimmer to finish.  The cookies are flooded in white the night before and the next night, creativity can step right in without a stop at the icing color mixing station. The mittens didn’t take too much more thinking, just a bit of red
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Still squirreling away nuts cookies

I know, I know, I’m late for that very important date when nuts and leaves and a menagerie of fall colored sprinkles are still very much in vogue.  But then there was turkey to roast and gravy to not mess up, and all the other Thanksgiving fixins’ and accompanying fellowship that kept me from posting these little turkeys in time. We have happily hosted Thanksgiving for the past few years.  Last year, I decided that my guests needed a shot of gingerbread to kick off the holidays, so I made placards for each guest.  To encourage sweets before dinner, I
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Chocolate Silk Pie With Salted Caramel Ribbons

A perfect past time for me is to dig into a new baking cookbook.

 

Chocolate silk pie with salted caramel ribbons

A perfect past time for me is to dig into a new baking cookbook.  My latest find, The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl and Griffith Day, featuring treats from their bakery of the same name in Savannah, GA, is a true gem.  While perusing this book at my children’s gymnastics class last week, I felt inspired to bake a cream pie with ingredients I had at home. Before we begin, let me just say with pride that – yes – I do generally have chocolate chips, heaving whipping cream and a can of sweetened condensed milk just
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Looking forward sun cake

I thought this post would work for today, a day we fall back an hour for daylight savings.  The gesture reminds me of a cake I did for a gal’s 40th birthday party a few months ago.  It was a surprise couple’s party at a bar, hosted by the birthday girl’s best friend.  After finding a boat load of golden streamers, plates and other party stuff at the dollar store, the host landed on the theme “40 is Golden.” When she first presented the theme to me (to translate into a cake on a budget), I couldn’t get past images
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Halloween grab bag!

This little set came together as  favors for a Halloween themed birthday party.  Cute stuff for a cute kiddo!  We started with classic jack-o-lanterns – those bug-eyed bats from last year (still searching for their anxiety meds) – and some giant candy corn, gone cute. I just can’t get enough of those wide set eyes and a little turn of a mouth on cookies.  It must be my affection for pop art with a Hello Kitty sensibility.  Nothing says Halloween like Hello Kitty’s cousin –  a saucer-eyed candy corn – right?  Who needs skulls and gore and haunting when the
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Easy chocolate swirly stuff for swirly, busy seasons

There’s a great big part of me that can’t believe we’ve already hurled ourselves through the first month of school, with all of its morning bells, fill-in-the-sport practices x-times a week, dog-eared music books and homework logs.  And the lunches.  Endless boxes full of snatches of things like half an apple (sliced), a handful of crackers and a few dried cranberries (never to be mixed) with toasted sandwiches and a little something sweet.  Sweet because I’m the mom in this scenario and life just cannot continue hurling away without some sugar, as thoughtfully presented as possible.  These days, that usually
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Chocolate adorned raspberry cheesecake

I’ve been waiting to post this cake since last spring.  And today – maybe because the pictures evoke an autumnal tone, or because I just celebrated a birthday myself – I’m feeling happy and energized and ready to type up a recipe for you. This is a cake I made for my friend Elise, whom I am coming to believe is my “dessert twin.”  Everything sweet that she likes, I like.  Accordingly, the cheesecake with a handful of fresh raspberries and a hint of chocolate garnish that she chose for her last birthday is the cake that my mind wanders
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Classic children’s books, now in butterback

I think I might have really fooled her this time – that almost 20-month old of mine. As I was photographing these cookies, she cried and cried when I wouldn’t give her a Very Hungry Caterpillar cookie, despite her repeated chest pumps and screams for “me, ME!!!,” which translates simply to “mine.” As in, “that’s mine. Give the book to me immediately or the screaming torture will continue indefinitely.” Unfortunately for Ren, these cookies were not painstakingly piped and painted for her, but for two little twin babies yet to be born – a boy and a girl – as
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Let’s go SAINTS! cookies

Who dat said they gon bake dem Saints cookies? Who dat? Me, me! A work associate of my husband’s and a really great guy is a die hard New Orlean’s Saints fan. For his birthday this year, he asked for Saints cookies and I couldn’t wait to dive into the black and gold. In honor of the Saint’s 2013 season opener today and their late possession WIN over the Falcons (go defense!!!), I thought I’d post this Saints set. Before this little post is over, I must admit that while I spent a couple wonderful years in Louisiana in my
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Sunny sunflower wedding cookies

What could possibly improve a lush, mid-summer day, buzzing with love and anticipation for a shared life ahead? Sunflowers! Sunny, happy, message-bearing sunflowers!!! Ones that say, “Hey! We’re a thing now – a long time, love is kind, sickness and health – kind of THING now….  So, how about you have a cookie and maybe some other stuff later…to celebrate all these WONDERFUL THINGS!” Here’s one of the happy couple’s most enthusiastic celebrants, polishing off her third sunflower cookie!  Definitely a good thing!

 

Summertime cakes!

Before the days of swimsuits drying on the back deck and homemade popsicles slip into school hours and talk of Halloween costumes, I wanted to share a couple of my “summertime cakes,” made to celebrate little girls who were lucky enough to be born in the summer, when a pool party will always make the short list…. The first cake was made for just that – a pool birthday party –  with (you guessed it) a BEACH BALL theme! Everything was done in bright primary colors and the birthday girl bounced into age 5 with a fondant enrobed chocolate cake,
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Flowers on fondant

  This might be what happens when a cookier who’s always dabbling in royal icing makes a chocolate cake covered in that smooth canvas called fondant. This was a grown-up chocolate cake for a gal who likes blue flowers. To change things up a bit, I made the cake, applied a crumb coat and covered the separate layers with blue tinted fondant. Then, I assembled the cake and began the fun part:  painting! For the paint, I made royal icing and tinted it three shades of blue. Then I painted blue on blue flowers over the cake and added a
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Toys on the move for baby boy

These little motorized toy cookies are buzzing in to welcome baby Mac into our busy world. As he’ll soon see, there are lots of ways to get around, by boat: By truck: And by plane: May he find many fluffy clouds for landing and lots of exciting destinations!

 

Little dreamer sleep masks and bunny slippers too!

What’s better than sleeping in on a lazy summertime morning? Staying up late on a weeknight with your besties for a slumber party birthday bash! I recently had opportunity to make some sweet birthday favor cookies for a seven-year-old. Lucky me, her mom said that the birthday girl was well familiar with Pinterest and all the wonderful cookie inspiration a girl could hope to find. This time, Pinterest brought on dreams of sleep masks, complete with ribbons. We finished the theme with teeny-tiny bunny slippers, inspired by cute cupcake ideas.  I wanted to keep things simple, so I made the
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Little bitty house cookie

As demonstrated by my childhood afternoons spent rearranging the miniature furniture in the doll house my Dad made in his spare time, I have always loved all things little bitty (kind of like Alan Jackson), especially if the collection of little things depicts a past I never knew, like a Victorian manor – or something magical – like a tiny fairy home carved out of a bright red toadstool, nestled safely in a grassy nook. This little cookie set (mushroom house with tiny winged homeowner) were wrapped cookie favors made to celebrate a 5 year old’s birthday.  I loved figuring
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A favorite stripey monogram cookie

Let me just begin with a hearty, Happy Sugar Cookie Day, everyone!!! While I get that this is a manufactured holiday of unknown origin, I can hardly let a day devoted to the subject of my dreams (and virtually every waking hour) pass by without a sugar cookie post.  So here we go. (; At some point in the process of having and acquiring kids, a family finds that its baby stuff-o-meter is plumb full and there just isn’t room among the already well appointed collection of baby gear to add another teensie-weensie onesie, jungle teething toy or baby bouncer,
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Quick garden cookies

This was just a quick little set of cookies I did during the hectic run up to the end of school. One of the last events of our year included a violin recital.While I had hoped to make music related cookies, I didn’t ever really believe I could manage it under the time and other pageant restraints. I already had the cookies on hand in my freezer; extras from a past set. All I needed to do was revamp the leftover colors from my last cookie project a day prior. One evening and a few hours later, we were ready
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Dahlias in plum and gray for baby k

My sweet friend Sally asked if I could make some cookies and help set the theme for a baby shower she was hosting for  a friend. Baby girl Kennedy is due to arrive soon and so we were hoping to strike a light, summer theme. As often happens, I didn’t need to look further than the mom’s baby registry at Pottery Barn and the Dahlia Nursery Bumper Bedding Set in Plum for inspiration. Ultimately, I did three cookie designs. The featured two were a monogram cookie with a gray and white background, to match the crib bumper. The second was a perfect replica
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Batman is back!

With all these aspiring super heroes inhabiting the neighborhood, it was only a matter of time until I had opportunity to revisit  Batman cookies and all the dark themes and power the man represents. I made these cookies for a 5 year-old’s birthday party. The only new twist was that I relied on the “comic strip” font on my Microsoft Word program to come up with the lettering. The Kopy Kake projector was instrumental in piping the text and the detailed images. Definitely a step up from my basic black on yellow symbol cookie. I can’t wait to see what
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A cookie encounter with Johnny Depp

When I became cookie addicted a couple of years ago, who knew that Johnny Depp, in all his Captain Jack Sparrow regalia, would become a part of my cookie collection? I’m thrilled (and relieved) because I think this is the closest I’ll ever get to a pirate. Plus, I’ve heard he’s sweet…. I made this set for a fundraising auction for my son’s preschool. You guessed it, the theme was Pirates of the Caribbean, so I made a wrapped cookie set full of all the pirate-y things I could imagine. Including: A palm tree (on a tiny deserted island), a
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Cookies so fast…

you almost miss them! I made this set for my cousin’s birthday party. Before the cookies whizzed by in a lightning flash of speed and pre teen enthusiasm, could you tell the kiddo’s name, age and party venue? Yes? Hopefully yes? These cookies incorporated the logo of the Fast Kart Speedway where Max and his friends adeptly made their way around the track (numerous times, I believe) before pizza and pop. I copied the image and then drew out his name and age to match the lettering of the original logo. The icing process began with 12-14 second flood icing.
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Rubber ducky you’re the…cookie!

There’s something about the synergy created when you put a lemony-orange yellow next to a deep bright blue. It just makes me happy. Calmer. Pleased to be alive. Even now, as I review and edit these photos of a gaggle of rubber duckies, floating along in serene, blue pools of royal icing, I am happier. It’s no surprise, then, that these cookies were made to celebrate a happy occasion:  the first birthday of our friends’ son, William. Back when my seven year old baby turned one, we celebrated with a rubber ducky theme. As I recall, Linnea didn’t want anything
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New beginnings spring cookies

It’s been a week of record breaking hot temperatures, appreciation for the wonderful teachers in my kids’ lives and lots of blooms. Last Sunday, my little city hosted it’s annual Lilac City Bloom’s Day Run. While kid duty kept me from running it myself, I was able to enjoy the weather and this unusually warm spring that’s causing the grass to get a little greener and the tulips to pop more vividly. I made this set for the party to wish Ms. Molly D., the student teacher in Linnea’s first grade class, a fond farewell as she graduates and journeys
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Sweet baby gray cookies

I was waiting for the message in my email or Facebook message boxes as soon as I learned one of my New York cousins was having her first baby. A boy, a sweet baby boy! He is due to arrive in late May and will join two (ever so slightly) older baby boy cousins in the baby chain my extended family is building in 2013. The request finally came from his Grammy, my aunt and wonderfully enthusiastic fan of my cookie work. Aunt Laura’s compliments and attention help me to keep up the blog thing while the rest of life
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Copycat Easter cupcakes

This Easter, there was only time for one dessert. So I split a batch of yellow cake cupcakes three ways and proceeded to blatantly copy some cute ideas from… Pinterest… Martha Stewart Cakes and Cupcakes… and Parade Magazine from last week… Happy Easter!!!

 

Flowers in the snow cookies

For the moment, pretty darn far up north – where I live – most of the snow has melted into barely green lawns dotted with brown, wet leaves from the prior fall and the expected – but still always surprising – clusters of crocuses in violets, lilacs and deep yellows. Every spring, these beauties peek out from a thinning blanket of snow and call out to weary passerby that warmer weather will come soon. Maybe not today, or even for a few more weeks. They seem to say, “Don’t slip from the rock face, the ice will not pull you
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Matzo-a-must Passover treats

Happy Passover! This is what greeted me at my kitchen table this morning: chocolate and caramel matzo crackers perfectly set and waiting to be cut into little squares of Passover goodness to share with friends. If a love of the perfectly thin, delightful crunch of that canvas of a cracker – the matzo (or matzah or matzoh) – mattered a crumb in determining Jewishness, I’d be hosting the Seder right now. Alas, I am not and continue – on occasion – to be the gracious non Jew Passover guest, soaking up the message, community – and food – of it
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Last minute St. Patrick’s Day cookies

Here I am again, coming to you live on the actual holiday to make a quick cookie presentation. I made these St. Pat’s themed cookie boxes to accompany made-to-order cookie items for a my daughter’s school auction. I also made a couple of cakes (not pictured) with plenty of taste tests along the way (don’t tell my long ago donated bikini). Hope you’re having a magically delicious day full of lucky shamrocks and “gold” (in any form)!

 

Shamrock snowflake cookies

Somewhere very close to where I live, about and hour or so up, there’s still snow enough to ski, snow enough to walk lightly on snowshoes through the hush of a forest at night. Recent temperatures in the 50’s feels near balmy and it’s drawn people to tap their springtime dreams with a weekend spent clearing fallen brown pine needles from lawns and biking to the coffee shop near the park. But for a group of 12 who remember that winter still thrives in higher elevations, a winter picnic and evening hike are on the agenda. These cookies were made
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Belle of the Ball Cinderella Cookies

So many of us have them, little balls of flyaway hair, polyester lace and shiny fabric draped with neon beads and Hello Kitty necklaces. They greet us in the mornings with bright, Disney princess p.j.’s, ready to fight for the cause:  I am princess, hear me ROAR (or in very rare cases, delicately address my devoted subjects). Hear me wave sequin wands with spells that make beloved stuffed animals come to life. Hear me stumble on plastic heels and don’t mind the peanut butter and jelly on the tutu. I’m not taking it off, EVER.  At least not until bedtime,
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Ready to PAR-TAY owl cookies

Soft pink, bright pink, pale green, white and chocolate brown. Put it all together for a first birthday and you’ve got a baby well on her way to little girl. This particular pumpkin – Emmy’s – first birthday party came with the whisper from a whimsical little owl, perched on tiny tree branch and all dressed up for the party. I made these cookies as favors for my cousin’s daughter, on the one year marker for the quilted birds and bottle cookies I did for her baby shower last January. These cookies tapped the same pastel palate. The owl’s wrapped
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Silly sweet treat Valentine cookies

It was right there in my old-fashioned mini paper calendar, all along. Already pre-marked and everything: Valentine’s Day, February 14th. It was even the number I’ve come to expect since, I don’t know how long:  when I learned to count. Nonetheless, it creeped up on me to the tune of 2:00 a.m. last night. I had promised – or more accurately – my mental heath insisted that I offer to make Valentine cookie favors for my children’s first grade and Kindergarten classes. It was all intended in the vein of sweet fun and silly faces. And the task was accomplished, just
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Fishy facsimile cookies

Cookies are my number one birthday party favor, for obvious reasons. (;  While my six year old daughter is tiring of this practice – fortunately for me – my friends are just getting attached to the idea. Hopefully, the “craze” will catch on and they’ll tell their friends, who will turn around and tell their friends and then maybe a few mother-in-laws and a teacher or hairdresser or two.  And then I’ll live happily ever after in cookie making heaven. The End. This first little link  in the chain comes by way of the great domestic diva, Martha Stewart, and
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Almond Poppy Seed Awesomeness Cake

If you know me, you know that I’ll beg you to make your birthday cake. Or your neighbor’s birthday cake. Maybe even your little pet hamster’s cake, if I have the ingredients on hand (what is that exactly, wood shavings?). But this cake – this particular people cake – is one of my all time faves, made every mid-January for my cousin’s birthday. It’s a recipe from a dear friend – Pat – a coworker from his YMCA camp directorship days. This moist, yummy bundt cake provides the lingering subltey of almond extract balanced with the snap of a generous portion
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Blueberry Muffin Birthday Cake and a time saving tip!

My last little baby – precious Ren – turned one this past week. There’s just a few things to report about the going’s on of a one-year-old: 1.)  Ren’s healthy, but she doesn’t move from her perfectly content sitting position. Hopefully, crawling and walking are on her bucket list. 2.)  When Ren’s ready to sleep, she reaches for her blankie and the fingers on her left hand. They’re like sleep lollipops. 3.)  Ren loves blueberries. The list looks short, but it’s pretty complete. Babies are not over sharers (they leave that to their older siblings). So…Ren loves blueberries. The jury’s
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The winter cookies a/k/a holiday stragglers post

There were times in December, when I felt like a piping machine, accompanied by powdered sugar puffs all over my kitchen (and self) and an arthritic future to boot. While I was definitely dreaming in cookies, I could barely get them baked, frosted and dried before it was time to send them off to their little holiday destinations. Sometimes, I’m amazed I ever get pictures at all, because I usually allow no more than 10 minutes to find the camera, pick some good ones and shove the plate as close to a south facing window as possible. Just thinking about
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Cake and cookie decorating bridal shower – holiday style!

Something really fun and wonderful happened to me this month.  A cool lady – Barb – emailed me out of the blue to ask if I’d like to “act the chef” at a holiday themed bridal shower she was hosting for her daughter’s best friend. Reading the email that night, I was stunned.  Someone was actually asking me to do what I love.  Chat with lovely people while talking about cake and cookies.  How could I resist? The party included a 12 inch coconut cake (one of my all time faves) and 6-8 gingerbread cookies per guest in mitten and snowflake
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Santa on the half shell with a cupcake for dessert and a reindeer chaser

I really should be asleep now, preparing for a day full of children  and…well, I guess that’s enough. The thing is, I have Christmas cookies on the brain, including these Santa cookies that wedged their little Christmas personas onto some unlikely cutters (as if I didn’t already have enough Santa cutters). Santa on the half shell, of course. Followed by a sweetheart of a guy, his cupcake cousin. And, finally, Cupid and Vixen.  Are they feuding again? Merry Christmas, everyone! Kristina

 

Christmas ornament odds n’ ends

I’m currently sitting pretty in my in-laws home, enjoying some of the best parts of the season:  leisure time with family. The rush of cookie projects, cards and present wrapping is behind me and all that’s left to do is monitor my kids’ candy cane intake and make important Saturday night movie decisions, like Elf or Santa Claus 2. Elf is the clear winner for me. Before I landed on this easy chair, I spent some time with these roll outs: Silly star ornaments with dazzling lights. Wreaths. Shamrock baubles… and cross cookies for the best little Irish Catholic family
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Scandinavian Santas and some socks

Early this December, like many before, I traveled to a Scandinavian Christmas shop with my relatives, to pick something that reminded me of my Swedish (but not real blonde) roots. (; The shop is full of red and white decorations in simple, bold designs. The tomte (or tomten), the little Swedish elf that brings presents on Christmas eve, is one of my favorites. Some of the crafted tomtes I’ve seen, including the ones my Swedish Grandma used to bring to me, are made of wooden balls painted red and dotted with black for buttons. On top is another ball, dabbed with a
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