It's almost Valentine's Day, and I love all the fun baked goods and silly cards that come with it. Last year I made a four layer cake with a cake heart hidden inside, and this year, too, I wanted to tackle something that I've always been afraid to try. I wanted to use royal icing, and I wanted to make realistic flowers. I spent some time at Sweet Sugar Belle's website, and that's where you can go for recipes and in-depth tutorials.
First, I mixed up a small batch of royal icing. Royal icing differs from standard icing by incorporating meringue powder. It hardens overnight and you can stack your cookies without fear of icing smudge...a big benefit when you're mailing or giving away packages of cookies.
Royal icing is beaten until it's very stiff.
I took a portion of the completed icing and added some color. Be sure to cover the royal icing you aren't using...it dries quickly!
I put my icing in a Pampered Chef squeeze bottle and used a tip that was wide at one end and narrow at the other.
The directions for making icing roses called for this odd, flat tool that came in my Wilton decorating kit. Ah...so that's what it's for!
Place a dot of royal icing in the center of the tool and press a small square of wax paper onto the top.
Squeeze out a dab of icing, and then use your fingers to twirl the tool in a clockwise motion, simultaneously pushing out a steady stream of icing. Voila! A tiny bud.
Pick a random spot on the side of the bud and lay your tool against it, narrow edge up. Continue twirling and pushing out frosting. Soon, unbelievably, you'll have a rose.
I made pink roses. I made yellow roses. I made blue roses. I made more roses that I could possibly use...but they were so fun and easy to make, I couldn't stop!
Let your roses dry for at least 4 hours. Meanwhile, bake your sugar cookies. Take some royal icing and give the shape a nice outline.
Now you need to water down the icing for the next part. Just enough to give it a "shampoo" consistency. "Flood" the center of your design and use a toothpick to spread out the frosting to the edge. Your edge piping has already hardened and will hold the fluid frosting in nicely.
I was a little stingy with my flooding, because I was afraid that I'd run out. However, I had plenty. Fill in all your cookies and let them dry at least 4 hours. If the icing is really thick, let them sit out overnight.
I decided to try a lace technique with some of the cookies, in addition to the roses.
It didn't turn out like I'd hoped, so I decided to do random designs.
I think they look very festive!
Especially, I love how the roses turned out. I used a dot of royal icing to affix them to the cookies and piped on some leaves.
The big hearts had three roses, but the smaller hearts had just one.
Even the teeny tiny hearts got roses!
My original intention was to make a huge batch of cookies last week, so I could mail them to friends and family who lived out of town. However, with the new dog, my schedule was a bit off, so I had to be content with making a few boxes up for local friends. They looked so pretty, all boxed up.
I stamped a quick greeting (WalMart...$1!)...
...and tied up the boxes with yarn.
It was so fun to do and I'm really happy with the results!
Google Calendar reminded me in early January to start thinking about Todd's Valentine's Day gift. I'd seen a really creative idea online and decided to try it. I'd read about Artist Trading Cards before - decks of cards utilized to make miniature works of art. It went hand-in-hand with the idea I'd read about, which was using a deck of cards to list 52 things that you love and appreciate about your significant other.
I knew this was going to be a time-intensive project, but I had no idea that it would take five weeks to complete! It was a labor of love, though.
I hole-punched each playing card and used a different color of scrapbook paper to cover the face of each one. Two metal rings held the whole thing together. It is one big book!
Each card is a different "work of art"...and I use that term loosely! Sometimes I used magazine clippings to praise an attribute in a silly way, like when I made a card for "your bristly ears"...
...or "your beautiful eyes".
This alligator was made for laughing!
I loved having the chance to tell him how I appreciated the little things, like his dedication to his work...
...or how he did little things for me that I am always grateful for, like making trips to the post office for me.
I complimented his brain...
...and his love of board games.
How could I forget his love of road trips, which I also share?
It was fun to use the little scrapbook things I've picked up over the past year, like this ticket that I made "ADMIT ONE" letters for.
Many cards had free-swinging parts.
And how could I forget Spock?
I made sure to give thanks for his help with the animals...
And so on, and so on. Fifty two cards! The last card, of course, says it all. What else do I love about him?
I am so grateful for him and I appreciate everything he does for me on a daily basis. I never imagined that I'd have such a wonderful husband and I was happy to have the opportunity to let him know exactly how I feel, and how much I love him!
You don't have time to make this for Valentine's Day this year, of course, but this could be a great birthday present! Pick up a pack of cards this week and get started. Have a great Valentine's Day!