Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I'VE MOVED !!!!!!

I have decided to move my blog to a different address in an attempt to make it easier to remember the address. Please be sure to update your link list. I would greatly appreciate it and want you to still follow me over! :)

My new address is www.lstonedesigns.blogspot.com

Monday, July 6, 2009

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend. We spent some very needed family time and enjoyed some great fireworks!

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As promised, I finally photographed my FIRST EVER PIPED COOKIES!!! To tell you the truth, I was really nervous! Silly, huh?! They are only cookies! I think it was more about getting it right. I always have really high expectations of myself. I was actually pleasantly surprised! Although the designs are very elementary, I found that I really enjoyed using the piping bag. It is more forgiving than I thought. The problem is that I'm not so great with straight lines :) Well, the lines must have gone straight on their own!

I didn't love making the Royal Icing. I bought and studied an really informative book called Cookie Craft. There is so much wonderful information that I didn't want to let the two authors, Valerie Peterson and Janice Fryer, down! I know that I have to practice more, but I feel like I am not getting the icing quite the right consistency. It takes awhile to mix and bag all of the different colors. And you need both flooding icing and piping icing. I had the most difficulty getting the piping and flooding colors to match. They looked the same to me until I used them and then saw the quite a difference. The most frustrating thing, though, is that the left over icing is really not usable. It begins to separate. I HATE to waste things, so it goes against my grain. I'm sure that I'll learn to deal with it!

First Attempt

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th!

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I know that I promised to record my first ever icing decorated cookie. The truth is that it takes awhile to finish them! I cut them out yesterday and put them aside for a decorating session today. I have been working on the icing today and there is a lot of drying time in between layers. I have no pictures as of yet.

I was really afraid to try my hand at the piping bag. While I am very adept at most things such as this, I do not have the steadiest of hands. I was really thinking that I would not be able to control the icing and draw straight lines. Well, I surprised myself and actually feel very comfortable piping! It feels so "professional"!

Surprising to me, the part that I am uncomfortable with is the icing. I realize that this is only the first attempt, but I thought that the flooding icing and piping icings I made matched colors very closely. When I used them though, they were very different shades. Being the perfectionist that I am, this bothered me. I wish I had someone to help me!

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The day before, I baked little versions of my specialty cookies. I am really enjoying baking. It is so gratifying to me and that is such a good feeling. I'm hoping to bring these "tastes" to try to sell. I will be going to caterers and business that give gifts, such as lawyers and the like. Wish me luck!

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Creative Baking

I've been busy researching. I am working on finding my style with this baking adventure that I am taking. All of my free time has been spent scouring the internet, hopping from blog to blog, taking in all of the styles of baking that are out there. I am in creativity overload! I simply can't believe how many talented people there are in the world.

I have gained so much inspiration in the past few days. It has been both enlightening and even a little overwhelming. I have always baked traditional cookies. This is no surprise. I am a traditional person. I make a mean chocolate chip cookie, and the most delicious giant ginger cookie. My peanut butter cookies with a Kiss in the center are to die for, so I am told. I also bake Rugelach that disappear before they are out of the oven ;)

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Lately, I have been considering adding some different styles of cookies to my repertoire. I am very interested in learning the art of decorated sugar cookies. I am mesmerized by the beautiful colors, patterns and elegant styles that can be achieved. I think my husband is going to kill me though! If I try one more new craft...! These are the demons that us creative artistic people have to contend with ;) Our minds are always working.

Tomorrow, I will attempt my first batch of piped icing cutout cookies and I'm going to post a picture of the results no matter how it looks! This has the potential of being a very funny post, so I'd be sure to check back! I know it will be an awkward event. I've never used a piping bag before, but I am confident that I will master the icing. Let's see how long it will take. I have some beautiful ideas in my head. I can't wait until I am able to implement them.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

2000 Cookies DONE!!!

If I can complete this order, I can take on anything! I never realized just how many cookies 2000 actually is! And better yet, where to put that many of anything! I am very lucky to have a fairly decent sized kitchen and yet, without a commercial baking setup, this order was quite a challenge! I really am proud of myself and it feels good.

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Backing up... I took an order for 1000 bags of two cookies each. These cookies were to be given to each baseball player in our local baseball league. I had one week to plan, bake and package them all. My wonderful husband created the bag toppers and readied them for me to use. I baked more than I ever thought I could bake. I packaged and stapled more than I ever thought that I could staple! But I did it and I am done! I think that they look great and I got great feedback as well.

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Most importantly, I am sure, now, that this is something that I want to go forward with. I love to bake and I never, not for one moment, got tired of the challenge. As a matter of fact, I feel disappointed that it is over. I am sad that I have no orders to fill! It felt wonderful to have a purpose and my children were so sweet and aware of my feelings of accomplishment. Jacob, my youngest, kept coming in to give me shoulder rubs and he even whispered how proud he was of me :) Then he would check for rejects!

I have opened an Etsy shop at www.batches.etsy.com for my cookies and would love it if you would stop by and make me a favorite. Keep in mind that I just opened it and will be doing much more work to make it more attractive and to add many more choices. I have a lot of photographing in the future days and weeks ahead and I will be getting a new logo designed when I can come up with an official name. (I've lost hours and hours of sleep trying to figure out THE name!) I just can't seem to find something that I love and that hasn't been taken. I will and then everything else will follow. Meanwhile, you can request any cookies you like. I will be happy to accommodate your order. I'll just post a custom order for you.

Have a sweet day!
Lisa

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Some Progress and an Interview!

No pictures, just some quick comments. I am proud to say that I was featured on Apples For Poppy Anne, a wonderful blog. Erin interviewed me and I encourage you to go read a little bit about me as designer! It is fun! Thanks Erin, for your support!

I am also excited to say that I just got my first cookie order. I am presently very busy baking 2000 cookies for our local baseball league. I am putting together a "thank you" for each of the players. I am exhausted... I baked 18 batches of cookies today! It isn't the actual baking that is a problem. When you aren't set up with a commercial kitchen, where do you put 2000 cookies?!!! I'm working it out, though, and it feels great to accomplish this feat. I'll show some pictures as I get closer to packaging them.

Meanwhile, I have also entered some more of my new wrap bracelets in my Etsy shop. Please do take a look. Oh, I have a picture!

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Operation Nice

Ok. How did I never come across the amazing blog Operation Nice? I am practically obsessed with being kind. My husband and I pride ourselves in our never ending quest to teach our children this very important quality. The first thing that people always tell me is how wonderfully kind my boys are.

In fact, here is my desktop page that I created using my favorite saying and favorite picture from a recent vacation in Hawaii.

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I think that kindness (and being nice) is something that is done more for yourself than for the receiver of your good intentions. It makes me feel better about myself when I do an act of kindness, and then my interactions with others is always more genuine and enjoyable.

Just yesterday, my husband and I were getting bagels and the young women ahead of us was $1.20 short for her order. Ira gladly handed the girl the money and said to enjoy her lunch. It seems like the obvious thing to do, but acts like these seem to be so few and far between these days...at least where I live they are. I hope that people in other places are more supportive than here.

I have a very large chip on my shoulder about how people act where I live. My husband and I often feel so out of place where we live. The fast pace and "I got mine" mentality is driving us crazy. It really does bother us to the core. My theory is that it is so over populated here, that everyone is in eachother's personal space. People have become so worried about taking care of their own needs that they forget to be courteous.

We were in a car accident a year ago. Someone cut us off at a busy intersection and tried to cross in front of us to cross over two lanes and turn. Sorry we were in his way. It was rush hour. We got smashed on the side and couldn't drive out of everyone's way. Instead of anyone stopping to see if we were ok, everyone began to drive around us and form a new lane. There we were, in shock, and there were two lanes of traffic continuing on both sides of us like nothing happened. It was gut wrenching to me. All I could think about was that I had just been hit from behind a week ago and an old man was very hurt in the car behind us. I sat with him, held his hand, and tried to help him deal with his pain until the ambulance arrived 20 minutes later. I would not leave his side until I had to get out of the way for the help.

This way of living has taken a toll on my nerves. As soon as Jacob is done with school in three years, we are hoping to move to a place where there is a little more of what we, as a family need. Any suggestions? Feel free to suggest!

So I will be visiting Operation Nice for my "nice fix" regularly! I could really use it.