Monday, August 22, 2011

Halloween Cookies - Brush Embroidery Tutorial

There are certain things in life, I just do not want to take part of....jogging is one and piping with royal icing is another ;-)  I did, however, want to try and make some elegant Halloween cookies.  I had a master plan and I was going to get on the B.E. bandwagon.  These are the cookies that were the product of that plan.



I spent many hours studying others' work.  The pressure was on, as my predecessors had made stunning cookies using the brush embroidery technique.  Everyone has a different style and various approaches to their work.  I basically gleaned bits and pieces of everyone's tips, tutorials and art to get my results.  I am definitely going to try other methods and will keep you posted on the results that I get with each.

In the interim, I am posting three videos from different sources that show varying methods of brush embroidery.  The first is by Elaine MacGregor.  This is a more traditional approach and the results are exquisite.


The next tutorial is from a Wilton instructor (I apologize, but they did not state her name), using the Wilton Method.


The third video was produced more recently by an exceptional decorator, Ali, from Ali Bee's Bake Shop.  Not only is Ali talented, but she's got "heart"!  She and her family just relocated to Joplin, MO! I encourage you to go to her Facebook page and let her know how much we appreciate her tutorial!


So that, my dear friends is my post on brush embroidery.  As always, if you have any questions, tips, comments or pics to share, please let me know.  I will be happy to post the information.

Be well!
Dana

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Picnik - Before and After Pictures of My Work

Everyone loves a "before and after" picture - right?  I had such an enormous response from my last posting of the results I get with Picnik; that I could not resist to show you some "before and after" pictures of my work.

I feel as if I am showing you pictures of myself without make-up on! I have decided that helping you with the quality of your pictures trumps my vanity ;-).  Here it goes....













If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
Have a great day!
Dana

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Picnik - a FREE online-photo editing tool

I found a treasure!  Perhaps I was not the first to discover it, but now that I have, I wanted to run and blog about it.

I am forever trying to take better photographs of my work.  I read and read on how to take a better photo and have had only a modicum of improvement.  It seems as if everyone else is mutli-talented.  Their art is gorgeous in and of itself, then the photo they post is perfect too!  How do they do it?  Well, I do not have all the answers, but I did find a decent solution for myself, until I get better equipment.

Picnik is an on-line photo editing tool that is genius!  Apparently, it is on par with Photoshop and very user friendly.  The basic program is FREE.  You can also upgrade to a premium membership for more advanced effects, like airbrushing.  As soon as I am able to upgrade, I WILL be airbrushing every photograph of myself that has ever been taken since the age of 10! ;-)  In the interim, I am very pleased with the results that I am able to achieve, for my cakes and cookies, with the free membership.

This is a photograph of a Halloween Cupcake I made last year.  I used a very expensive backdrop at the time the photo was taken - a white paper towel.





Not very impressive.... The next photograph is after I used Picnik.  I took the exact same photo, cropped it, used "auto-fix" to adjust the color and added a "vignette" background.

 Major improvement!!  For a second look, also using Picnik, I took the initial photo, cropped it, used "auto-fix" and then gave it a "matte" finish.

I am totally diggin' the look!


You can use Picnik with your Facebook, Flickr, Picasa Web Albums and more!  I hope I was able to give you some useful information.  As always, I would love to hear your feedback.  Please feel free to send me your "before and after" photos using Picnik and I will be happy to post them.

Have a wonderful day!
Dana

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Beatles: Remembered In A Cookie

I think this is a fabulous way to bring in the new month....a post starting with a cookie silhouetting The Fab Four on their Abbey Road album cover!


Lest we forget the music that inspired the cookie......for your listening pleasure ;-)


These vanilla sugar cookies are hand painted on fondant.  In addition to The Beatles, my inspiration came from http://hanielas.blogspot.c​om/2011/03/beatles-cookies​-take-stage.html Haniela made her own stencil for her cookies (she has more patience than me! ;-)) She has a wonderful tutorial on her blog PLUS she made FAB caricatures of the FAB FOUR!  Apparently, as I am writing this post, I see we have a "word" of the day.  I promise not to use it again, at least not in the next 5 minutes or so.


I hope I did the image on the next cookie justice, thus needing no introduction....


Another icon and musical genius - Michael Jackson!  I actually had the privilege of seeing him perform live at Radio City Music Hall; his performance being nothing short of spectacular.

The last cookies are of birds on a branch.  Again, hand painted on fondant.


I so enjoyed making these cookies and plan on doing more silhouettes soon.  As always, thank you so much for looking.  I appreciate everyone's encouragement and support.  Five minutes has past - so I wish everyone a FABULOUS day! Dana