journey of doing »

So, here we are – Labor Day. My boyfriend is laboring away at the office and I’m laboring away at home. My intent was to have these favors DONE by today, but life has gotten in the way this weekend. I’m not complaining though – we worked hard and we played hard… and this morning, I tried to hold him hostage. But failed. Miserably.

This afternoon’s first step was to get the cookies outlined and prepared to flood. Usually, I use a stiffer royal icing or buttercream to do this, but today I decided to try Wilton’s piping gel. Perhaps I should have read the reviews on this first, because I’m not entirely sure it’s going to do what I need/want it to do, but I decided to try it. Really, I just need it to act as a barrier so I can flood the cookies with royal icing and not have a giant mess.

Here goes nothing.

Update: So, it appears to have worked, but the piping gel is pretty sticky.

I used Wilton tip 3 for the piping in traditional icing bag. We’ll see if it hardens at all… I think I learned my lesson though – glace piping icing for outlining. HOWEVER, it did stand up to the flooding, so I’m pleased today. Mission accomplished.

journey of doing - monogrammed bridal shower cookieP I N I T

This afternoon’s second step was to flood the cookies with glace icing. Glace icing is like royal icing, but it doesn’t use egg whites or meringue powder. This was one of the main lessons of Toba Garrett’s class – how to use this icing to make beautiful cookies… Her book has beautiful and inspiring ideas. You can also thicken it to make outline icing, which would probably be a much better idea than my piping gel plan…. details on that below.

Toba Garrett's Glace Icing
  • 1 lb (454g) - 10x confectioner's sugar (10x - 3% cornstarch)
  • 3 oz (4.5oz or 128 g) - light corn syrup
  • 3 oz - milk (water, soy milk, evaporated milk - whole has better flavor)
  • *Flavor options: 1 tsp concentrated extract OR 1tbsp alcohol or liqueur OR 2-3 drops of concentrated candy oils
  1. In mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the sugar and milk first. The icing should be very soft and have a heavy cream texture before adding the corn syrup.
  2. Add the corn syrup all at once and mix until just combined.
  3. Divide icing into several bowls. Flavor each bowl with extracts, alcohols, or candy oils.
  4. Color each bowl of icing as desired (gel colors work best.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap to prevent drying.

Toba Garrett’s Glace Outline Icing

4 oz (114g) – Glace Icing
6-8 tbsp (37g-56g) – 10X confectioners sugar

Mix until combined. This icing should very stiff. If it’s not stiff enough, add additional confectioners sugar until you have medium-stiff consistency. Wrap the icing with plastic wrap to prevent drying.

Tips to Make It Easier:

  • Instead of using an icing bag for flooding, buy squirt bottles. (I bought mine at Sally Beauty Supply) This allows more control over flooding and cleaner work. I MAKE HUGE MESSES trying to use glace icing in icing bags. When I took the class at ICE, I literally had icing all over my hands, clothes, parchment, and my cookies were REALLY ugly. I felt like a 5 year old in a class of professionals. Squirt bottles = heaven.
  • Fill squirt bottles using a funnel on a covered surface.
  • To fill cookies, start from the edge you piped and work your way in to the center. You don’t have to make each line right next to each other – the icing will naturally spread and you can fill the other parts in if they don’t fill completely.

There are all kinds of nifty things you can do with this icing, but for my purposes, I just needed to fill my cookies with a single color.  You should let the glace icing sit for at least 24 hours before it’s considered “done”.  These will have a pretty sheen on them… no pearl sheen because I forgot to put it in the mix.  Oh well. 🙂  Oh -and my pretty robin’s egg blue? It’s a combination of Wilton’s sky blue and cornflower blue.  A little more sky than cornflower, but I think it’s pretty.  For flavoring, I used raspberry candy oil… blue raspberry, duh. (The ICE class focused on matching colors with flavors… like orange is orange… and lemon is yellow… and Godiva Chocolate Liquor is brown (and TO DIE FOR!)…

journey of doing - monogrammed bridal shower cookieP I N I T

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  • erin vancura - they are SO CUTE!!! i want to eat them likerightnow. you’re such a cute little domestic goddess. . .ReplyCancel

A few years ago, I spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day in New York City. Being that it was SO cold, I looked for indoor activities to occupy my time, and preferably ones that didn’t involve shopping. I do enough of that in NYC as it is.

I ended up taking a cookie decorating class one afternoon with Toba Garrett at the Institute of Culinary Education. As soon as I got home, I bought her book. She taught us about using royal icing and innovative decorating techniques. She also taught us about flavoring royal icing to match the colors because people expect things to taste like what they look like. It was GENIUS. If you ever find yourself in NYC, try to take one of her classes. She’s brilliant. It’s fun to meet people, too. (Really, all classes I’ve taken there were spectacular. I highly recommend the entire experience.)

At any rate, next week is my friend Kristin’s wedding shower. Morgan and I have been conspiring with Kristin’s mom’s friends to make the shower a memorable experience for her. One of the things I’ve been charged with is favors. I pinned all sorts of ideas, but at the end of the day, I have to fly to Lubbock for the shower. So, I’m planning on using my skills learned at Toba Garrett’s class… Because these things are multi-step processes, this afternoon I carried out step one – making the cookies. I decided on a simple butter cookie – a recipe given to me during Toba’s class. It is easy, simple, and perfect for cookie cutter cookies, so I’m going to share it with you.

Butter Cookies (for cookie cutters)
  • 1 cup (8 oz) - unsalted butter (let set out for 15 minutes before using)
  • 1 cup (8 oz) - granulated sugar
  • 1 - large egg
  • 1 tsp - baking powder
  • 1 tsp - pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (12 oz or 340g) - all purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out dough.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar with mixer for 2 minutes. Stop and scrape bowl. Cream for an additional 60 seconds. Butter and sugar should not be emulsified.
  3. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Beat until well combined (15-20 seconds).
  4. Sift together baking powder and flour. Add flour mixture 1 cup at a time to the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Mix thoroughly after each addition. Dough will be stiff. Avoid over mixing.
  5. Divide dough into 2 balls. Wrap one ball in plastic wrap until ready to use. (Could be frozen for 3 months.)
  6. Divide remaining dough in two. On floured surface, roll out one of the halves to about ⅛-1/4 inch thick. Use a large offset spatula to run under the dough to prevent sticking.
  7. Cut out cookies with cookie cutters, dipping cutters into flour before each use.
  8. Place onto ungreased non-stick cookie sheet or a parchment lined half sheet pan. Bake 6-8 minutes or until edges slightly brown. Let cookies rest on cookie sheet until ready to use.


  • Toba taught us that we shouldn’t use Tupperware to keep cookies fresh. A cardboard box is the best way to store them – and they will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks at 70F. No refrigerators either.
  • Make sure you have your cookie cutters before you start. I couldn’t find my heart, so I had to abandon ship to go to TWO STORES, and I still didn’t find one. (There was apparently a run on hearts this week?) So, you’ll see my round cookies. Erin tells me she likes that better. Hrmph.) Once again, look before you leap?
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I, like so many of my creative friends, am addicted to pinterest. It’s pretty much amazing, and it’s one of the things that recently got my creative juices flowing.  This week’s PINspiration?  A Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcake recipe.  I don’t even know what that means but it just sounds good, right?!

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes from Your Cup of Cake

Note: I usually avoid cupcakes. They always seem like more work. I’ve made two of Your Cup of Cake recipes now, and they are insanely easy. They might be easier than cakes for me.

Note: Ignore my messy kitchen. We’ve been dishwasher-less for a week. UNTIL TODAY. I got a new dishwasher. Oh happy day


Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcake Recipe!!
Recipe type: Dessert
  • Cinnamon Chocolate Cake:
  • Devil’s Food Cake Mix (I used chocolate fudge. Target didn't have a single Devil's Food cake mix this weekend. I KNOW?!)
  • Eggs (amount specified on cake mix box - 3 for me)
  • Oil (amount specified on cake mix box - 1-1/4 cup for me)
  • Milk (amount specified for WATER on cake mix box - ½ cup for me)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used Mexican Vanilla)
  • 1-½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • Whipped Topping:
  • ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar (I used 3)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs, oil, milk and vanilla.
  3. Add cinnamon and cake mix (you can sift the cake mix in to make for easier blending.) Stir well.
  4. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
  5. Place immediately into airtight containers to seal moisture.
  6. Whipped Cream Topping: Whip heavy cream (took me about 3 minutes), then remove from bowl. Beat butter for 5 minutes, then add whipped cream.
  7. Add cinnamon, vanilla and powdered sugar slowly. If it clumps, be patient and keep beating. Add as much sugar until you get the taste you want.
  8. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with cinnamon. (I used Wilton tip 1M.)


A few notes from my experience:

  • Put your cupcake batter in a gallon ziploc bag and cut off the end. Drizzle into cupcake liners. No muss, no fuss. It’s seriously so much easier to get them properly filled AND not make a mess. Toss the bag and move on.
  • I ran out of the whipped topping and I was only about to do about 15 cupcakes with this recipe. Next time, I’ll probably make two batches to be safe.
  • My topping isn’t as white as hers – it’s more of a light cinnamon. I think it’s pretty either way. No big thing.
  • My topping doesn’t look as stiff as hers – probably leaving the whipping cream in the fridge until ready to whip is a good idea. (So is living somewhere that isn’t on Day 64 of days over 100 degrees.)
  • Don’t take the mixing bowl off the Kitchenaid until you wipe the beaters clean. It dropped all over the base. Maybe that’s where some of the topping went? Oops.

Juries Say:

Update (11:01pm): Several cupcakes have disappeared.
Update (12:51pm): One plate of them disappeared from the office this morning. One left.
Update (3:01pm): The lady who makes and sells her cupcakes in the office gave me an A+++.
Update (4:30pm): One left. Who is it going to be?
Update (11:19pm): The plate of cupcakes I left at home were gone. Not sure when, but I didn’t get one.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcake RecipeP I N I T

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Okay, I’ll be honest. This wasn’t my first attempt at sewing handmade Bucilla Christmas stockings. It’s my second. I abandoned my first stocking kit when I was disgusted with my inability to match things up, and then it got stuck behind some furniture temporarily being stored in the living room of our tiny apartment…

A few weeks ago, I decided I was ready to try again. (Amanda’s hashtag of #nostockingforyou! on Twitter last week made me giggle. Incessantly. For a week.)

journey of doing - handmade Bucilla Christmas stockingsP I N I T

Handmade Bucilla Christmas Stockings – Tips for the Newbie!

1. Do yourself a favor. Get a compartmental storage container with a lid. Sort your beads and sequins into the compartments. You’ll thank me later, I promise.

2.. Use straight pins to pin your pieces before you begin trying to applique them. It works!

3. Buy true polyfill. Don’t try and stuff it with cotton balls. It doesn’t work the same. I know.

4. Buy a needle threader.

5. Do all of this before you start. Again, you’ll thank me later.

I won’t lie. I think I might have been too ambitious. See those tiny parts at the to? They almost drove me mental on Saturday night. But, I think it’s coming together quite well…. It’s amazing how much easier it is when I have everything I need BEFORE I START.

(Clearly, my embroidery needs help.)

journey of doing - handmade Bucilla Christmas stockingsP I N I T

Stages of Making Handmade Bucilla Christmas Stockings:

Excitement (!): I’m excited to see the Snowman. I think his jacket is adorable. It’s about the extent of my embroidery skills though. Is there a machine that can do this? Just kidding… maybe.

Pride (!!): My snowman has a head!!! Isn’t he cute?! I kind of love him. Notice the embroidery on his nose? I did that. All on my own. I’m pleased with him. 🙂 He’s so cute!!

Impending doom (…): …I have a ton of tiny pieces that are going to have to be embroidered and ornaments and lights to put on very soon. I know it’s coming…

Elation (!): Operation Stocking is DONE! (Well, aside from the backing and the name tag… but all of the details are DONE.) I can’t believe it.

Joy (!!): I LOVE it. I can’t wait to finish it up and use it this year!! Also, MLo was asking me about it this morning – she LOVED it. And Tom is pretty impressed with my skills, too.

Finals Tip from a Genius:

-Don’t up-end your organizer. It doesn’t work out to your benefit… I’m not sure how mine got flipped upside down, but it did, and it’s a mess. And the pieces are too small for me to REALLY want to sort out. Doh.

-If you lose a piece (and I did), contact Plaid and ask them for a replacement.  I lost an elf head and knew it would be a disaster if I tried to freehand it.  I tweeted them and received a replacement within a week.  BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE EVER.

I don’t think this is perfect by any means, but it has character… (Pretty I sure I used that excuse when my babysitter in 2nd grade commented on my wrinkled clothes. I got it from a Sweet Valley High book. She thought it came from my mom. I realize now that was not a compliment. Rude.)  It does make me incredibly happy though… and it’s a way to carry on some of the traditions of my childhood while incorporating others into them, too!

Operation Stocking 2P I N I T

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  • Countdown to Christmas: Holiday Crafts » my journey of doing - […] keeping with my #TBT (Throw Back Tuesday) tradition, I’m pointing to you #OperationStocking. One of the traditions in my family is these amazing stockings.  My mom made hers, my dad’s, […]ReplyCancel

  • Kayla M Gelman - hi! i am working on the same stocking you have completed, with the tree and snowman/santa/elf… Question: How did you work out the string of lights? Did you wrap the cord stitch all around the front and back? or just a few stitches to tack down? and then with the sequins- did you just do one thread and ‘loop’ it around the cord?


  • Countdown to Christmas: peppermint cookie plate » journey of doing - […] keeping with my #TBT (Throw Back Tuesday) tradition, I’m pointing to you #OperationStocking. One of the traditions in my family is these amazing stockings.  My mom made hers, my dad’s, […]ReplyCancel

  • Fall Goals / Summer Goals Recap » journey of doing - […] Finish the homemade Bucilla Christmas stockings that I have already made in time for holiday decor… see if I can make some progress on the tree skirt… lolz. […]ReplyCancel

  • 5 on Friday: on the blog » journey of doing - […] so I started this blog as a way to force myself to do things besides work – whether that was #OperationStocking, baking cupcakes, or trying to make dinner every once in a blue moon… I started this blog to […]ReplyCancel