Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cookie Love Notes: Recipe

I found this really awesome cookie love note stamp kit at Target. {You know how you always end up buying fabulous things you don't need there.} But I really did need it! It comes with pre-made phrases like "Happy Birthday" and "I Love You". But it also has the full alphabet of stamps so you can write whatever you want. That's when I was really sold because it makes it a year round sort of gadget. 

I thought it fitting to stamp in the word "besito" because we use it a lot in our house. It means kissie in Spanish. We are always trying to steal besitos from our littles. 
Target's kit was seasonal and you can't get it anymore unless you happen to run into it. Here is another cookie stamp set by the same brand you can purchase. And it comes with more cutters than mine! 
I could really get into cookie decorating! This was quite enjoyable! 
It also served as a fun spelling activity with my 4 year old who is in the pre-reading stage. 

Recipe: Stamped Sugar Cookies
*Makes about 15 cookies

Cookie Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter - room temp. 
3/4 cup sugar
Food coloring
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Icing Ingredients: 
2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, or lemon extract

Cookie Directions:  
Mix in flour and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. 

Cream butter and sugar on low speed until blended and smooth. Add in food coloring and keep mixing at medium speed. {Make it a little bright bc it will dull when it bakes.} Add the egg and the vanilla extract. Mix well on low speed for a minute. 

Add flour to the mix and mix on low speed for 5-6 minutes. It will look crumbly at first but should shape into a soft ball of dough. Be sure to pause and scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is well incorporated. 

Wrap the ball of dough in seran wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

Remove the dough from the freezer. On a floured surface, roll dough into 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out and stamp on your message. collect dough and re-roll until you use it all up. If the dough thaws too much you can wrap it up again and stick in the freezer to firm up for 3-5 minutes. 

Place the finished cookies on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Put in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up again. Remove form fridge and place in the oven to bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven. Carefully grab the entire parchment paper full of cookies and transfer to the counter to cool. 

Once cooled, decorate with icing. 

Icing Directions: 
Mix 1 cup of powdered sugar and milk for a minute on medium speed. 

Add the extract you choose, either lemon or vanilla. Beat on high for 30 seconds. 

On low speed, mix in the 2nd cup of the sugar. Up the speed to high and mix for 1 more min. 

Transfer to an icing bag with a small decorators tip. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Feature Friday: Heidi's Heart

I want to start a new thing called Feature Friday where someone can be featured for their creativity in everyday life. Because of Valentine's day tomorrow... I thought it fitting to talk about someone with a lot of heart!

My Friend Heidi {who I was friends with in high school and have adored ever since} is one amazing person; artsy, creative, kind, strong, faithful & inspirational. She is a middle school art teacher now and I can only imagine how much her students love her! 
About 3 years ago, Heidi had open heart surgery to replace a heart valve. She shares her very real story on her blog Heidi's Heart. It's about her before surgery, during and after. How it has changed her for the better. Her blog has touched me because of her honesty and her courage. But mostly because her story is one of hope and shows how valuable life is. This is one of my favorite posts from Heidi's blog... it's poetic, captivating, and inspiring! 
Back in November I had the chance to work with Heidi in making her Bridal Shower Invitation. It was a fun little project! She wanted a Victorian Garden Tea Party. Such a great theme... all her idea!
You can find this invitation at the Hooray Shop!

Heidi got married on 12/13/14 and is now enjoying life as a newly-wed. As part of her feature, I asked Heidi if she would tell us about her unique and beautiful wedding dress.

"My mother always made my dresses for special occasions- 8th grade graduation, winter formals, my senior prom- and costumes for Halloween, dress up, you name it, she made it.  
It was no surprise that I would ask her to make the ultimate dress for WEDDING dress.  Now, I am a girl who loves fashion.  I love to be unique.  I love art and history.  Titanic is my favorite movie (random, I know, but will make sense later).  
I asked my mother if she could make my wedding dress and in typicall Heidi fashion, I told her it needed to be black.  Yes, a black wedding dress.  
Along with my cousin and my mother's friend, she and I went to Downtown LA to the garment district in July, bought the silk and lace after about four hours of walking around in circles.  About two months later, it was time to start sewing!  She sewed at my house, even when my fiance (now husband) was around.  He was so great not to look in the "great" room while she worked on the dress.  Beads and thread were found around the house leading up to the big day.  
What was really fun about the process was designing the dress together.  I had an original design which the patterns were bought for, but as we pieced and tried the dress on, the dress transformed into my dream dress.  Inspired by Victorian/1920s era fashion (and, let's be honest here, Rose's dresses from Titanic) my wedding dress became a gorgeous, one of a kind piece of artwork...that my mother and I both designed.  
I felt so beautiful on my wedding day.  And so proud to wear a dress that will become a special family heirloom someday.  I'll be able to tell our children that their grandmother made my wedding dress.  Of course there were some hectic and stressful moments in the process (zippers not working, fabric too loose or not in the right place) but we figured it out!  
I will never forget how special this time was with my mom.  As much as I loved my dress, I loved having my mom around even more.  
Be sure to check out Heidi's Heart. She took a break for her wedding. But will be posting more soon. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Heart Burst Valentine's: Free Printables!

I love Valentine's Day... it's one of my favorite holidays!  
I can tell my little Sophie girl loves it too! She is so excited to hand out her Valentine's this year. 
We just love to share the love! 
As a kid I used to draw a heart bursting like this in rainbow colors. It was my go-to drawing. It was fun recreating this same childhood drawing into a Valentine for my kiddos. I thought I would share it will all of you too! 
It's super easy to assemble:
 Print out the bag toppers on cardstock. 
Fold in half. 
Wedge a baggie filled with Starburst candies in between folded card. {Be sure to squeeze all of the air out of the baggie.} 
Staple the bag topper closed at the bottom on each side.  

I love this little project because you get to spend some quality time with your little ones, while teaching them to do nice things for others. Plus, we all don't mind slipping a few candies into our own mouths while we work! 

I'm throwing in some coordinating cupcake toppers too! Because who doesn't love a good Valentine treat?!!! I used them here as a little banner. But you can otherwise stick them onto a toothpick and use them for cupcakes. 
Click on the picture below to download this Valentine Card & Cupcake Toppers! 
{For a limited time!}

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Valentines Gift Guide

I put together a list of some awesome Valentine's gift ideas for you... It's right around the corner! 

If you are looking for something extra thoughtful... Try making a silhouette of your loved one with this Photoshop Silhouette tutorial. Or buy a custom-made silhouette over at the Hooray Shop
For the ladies...
For the guys...
For the girls...
 For the boys...

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