Countdown – Top Six Posts 2022

It seems we are always keeping an eye on the time.  Busy schedules and ever-growing “To-Do” lists often prevent us from stopping to review our accomplishments.  Let us take a few minutes to look back at the highest ranked posts, as voted by you, the readers. Below is a list of the Top Six posts of 2022, in ascending order:

Number 6: Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice

In Autumn, as the leaves begin to turn, pumpkin flavored items begin popping up everywhere, from coffee shops to fast food restaurants and even the local pub.  To read more, please click here. 

Number 5: Decorating Easter Eggs

Dyed eggs are a staple of any Easter celebration.  To read more, please click here.

Number 4: Collages: Old School vs. High Tech

Collages can be created by two different methods: 1) “Old School” Traditional, or 2) High Tech.  To read more, please click here.

Number 3: Inspiration: Lost & Found – Part 1

Sometimes it feels like inspiration is impossible to find. It hides in plain sight, masquerading as mundane items in our daily lives. To read more, please click here.

Number 2: Halloween: Naughty or Nice?

There are all sorts of Halloween themes and characters to help us celebrate this imaginative holiday.  To read more, please click here.

Number 1: Blogging Vacation

Throughout the summer, I usually take a break, by posting every other week.  This year there were so many inspirations to share I simply kept going. To read more, please click here.

And there we have it – the top 6 posts of 2022.  We have a new year to explore the world of creativity.  There are always new ideas and I’ll be sure to include more of your favorites.  Your opinions are greatly appreciated, and I look forward to so much more this year.  If you have any suggestions for future posts, please let me know. 

Thanks for Reading! 

All the best in 2023 and Happy Crafting! 

Baking with Love for the Holidays

Hot Chocolate & Cookies for Santa
Santa Claus isn’t the only one hoping for some holiday goodies. We all love dessert. If you get a head start on your baking, you’ll have plenty to share with your family and friends throughout the long holiday season. Baked goods make great gifts too.

Assorted Butter Cookies
Butter Cookies
Butter cookies are finger licking good. For variety, dip some in chocolate, fill with fruit, or place a colorful layer of fondant on top and pipe on a few decorative flourishes. If you are pressed for time, many bakeries offer ready-made cookie platters.

Fruit Filled Cookies
Fruit Filled Cookies
All you need to make these festive red and white cookies is two round cookie cutters – one small and one large. Layer two cookies on top of each other, with strawberry, cherry or raspberry filling, to make this sandwich cookie. The bottom cookie is solid, while the top cookie has a small cut out in the center. Shake powdered sugar on top for a beautiful bakery finish.

Fudge Brownies & Cinnamon Chip Cookies
Brownies & Cinnamon Chip Cookies
Brownies are a favorite any time of year, and instead making chocolate chip cookies, try using cinnamon chips and cut the cookies into heart shapes.

Almond Crescent Cookies
Almond Crescent Cookies
This classic butter cookie will surprise you with its unexpected almond flavor and they’re great for dipping in your coffee or tea.

Vanilla Cupcake with Cream Cheese Icing
Christmas Cupcake
The simplicity of a vanilla cupcake contrasts nicely with the rich, sweet taste of cream cheese icing. Safety Tip: Holly and its berries are poisonous. Use an artificial holly garnish.

Coconut Rum Balls
Coconut Rum Balls
These sweet, crunchy delights should be refrigerated overnight for maximum flavor.

Petits Fours & Eggnog
Eggnog & Petits Fours
Petits Fours are the perfect marriage of cake and candy. Fondant icing is actually candy used to cover bite size cubes of yellow, sponge or pound cake. While the fondant is still wet, decorations can be applied using piped icing, or a sprinkling of either candy or nuts. As an added burst of flavor, jelly or butter cream can be spread over the cake prior to applying the fondant.

Gingerbread Stars & Hearts Cookies
Frosted Gingerbread Cookies
These gingerbread cookies are decorated with a thin coat of light green frosting, patterned with white icing and sprinkled with sugar for a frosty appeal.

Traditional Gingerbread Cookies
Traditional Gingerbread Cookies
Gingerbread cookies are very popular treats this time of year. Decorating is easy with the icing tubes, sprinkles and candy pieces available at most grocery store.

Gingerbread House
Gingerbread House
For a more challenging project, gingerbread kits come in a number of varieties, such as cookies, houses, and villages, and include all the necessary candies, icing, and yes the baked gingerbread too. The whole family will enjoy building and eating their creations.

Hanukkah Donuts
Jelly Donuts
Deep-fried jelly donuts sprinkled with granulated sugar are a delicious part of every Hanukkah celebration.

Cherry Cheese Tarts
Cherry Cheese Tarts
Most people love cheesecake. These tarts have the delicious flavor and they’re finger foods as well. You could purchase ready-made mini piecrusts and make your own filling. They can also be made in a cupcake pan. Line the pan with paper cupcake wrappers. Drop a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each cupcake. Pour in your filling and bake. After they cool, top with cherries or strawberries and enjoy!

Christmas Pudding
Christmas Pudding
Also known as Plum Pudding, this traditional Christmas dessert takes 5 to 10 hours to steam. The aromas of the fruits and spices wafts through your home while it cooks.

Pecan Pie
Pecan Pie
With a filling made from eggs, butter and brown sugar, pecan pie is an addictively sweet dessert, which will leave you begging for more. For a rich caramel flavor, use dark brown sugar.

Red Velvet Cake
Red Velvet Cake
In case you didn’t know, red velvet cake is actually a moist rich chocolate cake with lots of food coloring to create that ultra rich shade of red. For those of you who avoid artificial coloring, there is a cocoa available with a natural reddish brown color. The icing and filling is cream cheese.

Yule Log
Yule Log
A spiral design is the hallmark of this impressive dessert, but it’s easy to make, and will melt in your mouth. Bake the cake in a jellyroll pan lined with parchment paper. After baking, lay the cake face down on a towel. If necessary, trim any ragged edges. Starting with a long side, roll the cake in the towel and cool completely on a wire rack. Unroll and remove the towel, and lay cake flat. Spread the filling over the top within 1/2” of the edges. Suggested fillings include whipped cream, pie filling, and pudding. Carefully roll the cake and place it with the seam side down on a platter. Coat the exterior with chocolate frosting and use a fork to create the bark patterns along the length of the log.

There are so many recipes to sample. Don’t worry about gaining that holiday five pounds. There will be plenty of time to work that off shivering and shoveling snow during the cold winter months to come.

Happy Holidays & Happy Crafting!

Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice

Kitten Chewing Pumpkin Stem

In Autumn, as the leaves begin to turn, pumpkin flavored items begin popping up everywhere, from coffee shops to fast food restaurants and even the local pub.  Let’s check out some of the many ways to tempt your tastebuds with pumpkin. 

Beverages:

Pumpkin Beer

Pumpkin Beer

The eye-catching illustrations on pumpkin beers often feature frightening characters, including skeletons, spiders, and this hippo with lots of attitude. 

Caramel Pumpkin Frappuccino

Caramel Pumpkin Frappuccino

Gooey caramel, whipped cream & pumpkin give this chilled coffee drink a delicious seasonal twist. 

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin Spice Latte

A hot latte warms you up after raking the leaves on a chilly autumn day. 

Pumpkin Spice Cocoa

Pumpkin Spice Cocoa

Pumpkin and chocolate are a great flavor combination. 

Entrees & Side Dishes:

Gourmet Pumpkin Salad

Gourmet Pumpkin Salad

Roasted beetroots & pumpkin slices are topped with baked goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. 

Italian Pumpkin & Mushroom Pasta

Italian Pumpkin & Mushroom Pasta

Walnuts give this flavorful pumpkin pasta dish added flavor and crunch. 

Oven Roasted Vegetables

Oven Roasted Vegetables

Pumpkin slices liven up this mixed vegetable dish. 

Pumpkin Risotto

Pumpkin Risotto

Goat cheese and pumpkin are a savory combination. 

Breakfast Items:

Pumpkin Butter on Toast

Pumpkin Butter Toast

Ordinary toast becomes a seasonal treat with pumpkin butter. 

Pumpkin Jam

Pumpkin Jam

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich receives an upgrade with pumpkin jam.  Or forget about the peanut butter and use chocolate spread.  Yum!

Pumpkin Croissant

Pumpkin Croissant

Croissants are a wonderful indulgence and pumpkin is a great addition to this finger-licking-good treat. 

Pumpkin Quiche

Pumpkin Quiche

Regardless of the ingredients, quiche is always a little slice of heaven. 

Desserts:

Pumpkin Apple Cake

Pumpkin Apple Cake

I’m not sure who the first person was to combine apple pie and pumpkin flavors together, but I just want to say, “Thank you!”

Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Cookies

At this Thanksgiving celebration, pumpkin cookies welcome and entice guests.  Decorating them to resemble a sliced pumpkin pie is a clever idea. 

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Cinnamon cream cheese icing in the perfect topping for pumpkin cupcakes. 

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Besides cinnamon and spices, pumpkin ice cream may contain walnuts, pecans, caramel, chocolate, coffee, or bourbon. 

For more pumpkin flavored ideas, including pies, tarts and bread, please read, “Pumpkin – Baking with Seasonal Flavor.”

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

The Art of Cookie Decorating

Cookie Decorating

Designing cakes may be too challenging, but anyone can decorate cookies.  And remember if you make a mistake, eat it and nobody will ever know.  Let’s review our decorating options first, and then see eye-catching photos of delicious cookies.  I’m hungry already.  Let’s go…

Cookie Decorating Options:

Cookie Cutters

Cookie Cutters

Choosing the best cookie cutters is the first step in cookie design.  Easily recognizable shapes and built-in details provide the perfect canvas for your artistic vision. 

Icing

Icing St Patrick's Day Cookies

Chocolates, Candies & Sprinkles

Chocolates Candies & Sprinkles

Melted Chocolate

Chocolate Covered Cookies

Granulated Sugar

Sugar Coated Cookies

Powdered Sugar

Powdered Sugar on Cookie

Fruit Pieces & Fillings

Fruit Filled Cookies

Food Coloring

Colorful Macarons

Stenciling, Airbrushing & Edible Inks

Stenciled Cookies

Easy to Make Decorated Cookies:

Iced Cookies with Candy Pearls

Icing & Candy Cookies

Fruit-Filled Cookies

Jelly Filled Smiley Cookies

Iced Cookies with Sprinkles

Icing & Sprinkles Cookies

Marbleized Icing Cookies

Marbleized Icing Cookies

Chocolate Dipped & Homemade Candy Cookies

Chocolate Fancy Cookies

Themed Cookies:

Seasonal Cookies – Winter

Winter Cookies

Seasonal Cookies – Summer

Summer Cookies

Holidays – Easter

Easter Cookies

Holidays – Halloween

Halloween Cookies

Holidays – Christmas

Christmas Cookies

Special Occasions – New Baby

New Baby Cookies

Special Occasions – Birthday

Birthday Cookies

All Occasions – Oversized Cookies

All Occasion Oversize Cookies

Best of the Best:

Best Thematic Cookies

Best Cookie Design

It all starts with a great cookie cutter, followed by lots of snowflake textures in a wintry color palette.  As in nature, no two are exactly alike.  Granulated sugar simulates the appearance of ice and snow. 

Most Elegant Cookies

Best Elegant Cookies

This looks professionally made but it is a basic sandwich cookie.  The swan cut out in the top layer reveals the raspberry filling inside. Sprinkle powdered sugar for a beautiful bakery finish. 

Most Clever & Humorous Cookies

Best Funny & Clever Cookies

What do you get if you turn a simple gingerbread man cookie upside down?  A team of silly reindeer to pull Santa’s sleigh. 

Best Icing Details

Best Piping & Icing Details Cookies

Multiple decorating elements were utilized to achieve these artistic beauties, including, stenciling, piping, and hand-applied edible ink. 

Best Cookie Presentation

Best Presentation Cookies

Individually decorated cookies have been sculpturally layered, creating a three-dimensional bow of holly.  It just might be too pretty to eat. 

This completes our exploration of cookie decorating.  It’s time to create a few cookie masterpieces of your own.  You might want to take a few photos because this type of art doesn’t last long.  Enjoy!

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

What’s New in the Art Studio?

Artist Painting in an Art Studio

New ideas are always brewing at the arts and crafts studio. Here is a sneak peek at a few of the upcoming projects…

Cake Decorating

Cake Decorating Car Birthday Cake

Cake decorating has been a popular topic on this blog, and I have lots of new cake designs to share.

Crafting with Feathers

Crafting with Feathers

Craft stores always have feathers, and there are many creative ways to include them in your artwork.

Full Color Makeover

Crane Statue

This monotone crane has been standing next to a potted plant for years. It is high time he gets some much-needed attention. Believe it or not this makeover will transform him into a crowned prince.

Cookie Decorating

Decorated Cookies Flamingos

The only time of year my family decorates cookies is Christmas. This post will inspire you to create beautiful cookies any time of year.

Painted Wood Crafts

Floral Unfinished Wood Decor

Wood crafts are inexpensive, easy to color or paint, and quickly produce attractive décor for your home.

Magical Creatures from Harry Potter

Harry Potter Griffin

The world of Harry Potter is inhabited by some extraordinary creatures. With a little creative magic, you can conjure one to adopt into your family.

Art Studio Mascots

Studio Mascots

Speaking of adoption, our foster cats have become permanent members of the family, and they will be popping into the studio from time to time for a visit. Here are a few of their recent comments: “Being an inspiration is exhausting and we’re working for kibble. F.Y.I., the feather projects will be delayed indefinitely…you don’t have any. You’re welcome. Wake us when there’s a big juicy mouse project!”

I hope you enjoyed this brief look into future posts. Comments and suggestions are welcome, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

A Tale of Two Thanksgivings

Thankgiving
Everyone across the United States celebrates Thanksgiving, however this holiday experience varies depending upon geographic location, climate, local customs, and food specialties.

Hawaii & New England
Sometimes it’s nice to see how other people celebrate. It gives you a chance to see the holiday from a fresh perspective. Below is a side-by-side comparison of two Thanksgiving celebrations: Hawaii is on the left and New England is on the right.

Sandy Shores Rocky Coast
Landscapes: Sandy Beaches versus Rugged Rocky Coastline

Rain on Petals Frosty Leaf
Weather: Warm Tropical Showers versus Cool Crisp Air & Snow

Pineapples Gourds
Decorations: Pineapples versus Pumpkins & Gourds

Plumeria & Chrysanthemums
Flowers: Wild Plumeria versus Potted Chrysanthemums

Torchlight & Candle Light
Lighting: Outdoor Torchlight versus Indoor Candlelight

Bird of Paradise & Cornucopia
Centerpieces: Exotic Flowers versus Harvest Cornucopia

Tropical Cocktail & Hot Beverage
Drinks: Cool Tropical Cocktails versus Hot Beverages

Fresh Fruit & Hot Soup
Appetizers: Tropical Fruit versus Hot Hearty Soups

Roast Pork & Roast Turkey
Entrées: Roast Pork versus Roast Turkey

Vegetables
Vegetables: Pacific Rim Blend versus Roast Sweet Potatoes

Chocolate Coffee Cheesecake Pumpkin Pie
Desserts: Chocolate Kona Coffee Cheesecake versus Pumpkin Pie

Fire Dance & Fireplace
After Dinner: Fire Dancing versus Relaxing by the Fire

I hope these celebrations will inspire and enrich your next family gathering. You might want to consider a change of venue or a change of décor to shake things up a bit. Whatever you decide, there are two constants you can always count on: Love and Gratitude shared with Family and Friends

Happy Thanksgiving & Happy Crafting!

“C” is for Cookie

Cookie Monster

If you are a cookie monster, every day is “Cookie Day!”  Yum! 

Assorted Cookies

There are so many varieties – chocolate, butter, sugar, almond, and chocolate chip, just to name a few.  Maybe we could munch our way through the list of the most popular cookies and discover our favorites as we go.  You will probably be hungry before you reach the end of this post, so grab a few cookies and I’ll wait right here.  Okay, let’s begin…

Black & White Cookies

Black & White Cookie

Black & White cookies, also known as half-moons, may have frosting or fondant in those two signature colors. 

Butter Cookies

Butter Cookies

Sweet creamy butter makes these cookies irresistible, with or without decoration. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip is probably the most popular cookie. Chocolate aficionados satisfy their craving by adding chocolate chunks or by mixing cocoa in the batter.  Instead of cake, many people celebrate their birthdays with 15” chocolate chip cookies decorated with icing and candles. 

Chocolate Crinkles

Chocolate Crinkles

To create the unique crackle patterns, chocolate dough is formed into a ball and rolled in powdered sugar.  The patterns appear during baking and no two are exactly alike. 

French Meringue

French Meringue

Egg whites are the main ingredient in this recipe.  The star shape is created with a piping bag. 

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread smells so great while it is baking.  The cookies can be cut into any shape and are often decorated with icing. 

Gingersnaps

Gingersnaps

Gingersnaps can be crunchy or soft depending on how long they are baked.  The crispy version is good for dipping in hot chocolate. 

Jelly Filled Cookies

Jelly Filled Cookies

To make these jelly filled cookies, you will need two cookie cutters – one small and one large.  Layer two cookies on top of each other, with apricot, strawberry, cherry, or raspberry filling.  The bottom cookie is solid, while the top cookie has a small cut out in the center.  To finish, shake powdered sugar on top. 

M&M Cookies

M&M Cookies

Follow the chocolate chip cookie recipe, substituting M & M’s candy instead of chocolate chips.  If you do not like chocolate, add cinnamon or peanut butter chips as a tasty alternative. 

Macarons

Macarons

Almond flour and confectioner’s sugar are the main ingredients in these sweet cookies.  The fillings come in a wide assortment, including fruit, chocolate, and vanilla. 

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Soft and chewy oatmeal raisin cookies are a staple in kid’s lunches. 

Orange Cookies

Orange Cookies

These cookies have orange zest in the dough as well as the icing.  Substituting lemon or lime zest will provide sweet and tart alternatives. 

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanutbutter Cookies

As kids, we eat peanut butter all the time, so it follows that this would be one of the most popular cookies for adults too.  Use either creamy or crunchy peanut butter, and you might want to try adding chocolate chips for that awesome peanut butter cup flavor. 

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles taste like cinnamon and sugar with a bit of a tang from cream of tartar.  The dough balls are usually rolled in cinnamon and sugar prior to baking. 

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies are another classic.  With sugar in the batter and on top, this sweet treat is sure to satisfy. 

Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprint Cookies

As you probably guessed from the name, use your thumb to make a divot in the top of each cookie, and fill it with fruit filling or a Hershey’s Kiss, as shown in the photo. 

So many cookies!  You simply cannot eat just one!  What is your favorite cookie? Let me know in the comments section. 

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

What is for Dessert?

Dessert Collage

Dessert is a wonderful thing.  Do you ever find yourself checking out the dessert menu before looking at the entrees?  I do.  In fact, I had a craving for something sweet while working on this post.  You have been warned!  Proceed if you dare!  Below, you will find lots of desserts to tempt your willpower. 

Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska

Wondering what Baked Alaska is?  Start with a slice of angel or sponge cake, add ice cream, cover it with a thick layer of meringue and bake until it lightly browns. 

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

Chocolate, whipped cream and cherries – does anyone have a fork?

Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie is actually a cake, made with two layers of vanilla sponge cake, a custard filling, and topped with chocolate icing. 

Cake Pops

Cake Pops

Undecided whether to have chocolate or cake?  Have both with chocolate cake pops. 

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

Shredded carrots, raisins, and crushed pineapple are the secrets to making this moist and delicious cake, topped with cream cheese frosting. 

Cherry Cheese Tarts

Cherry Cheese Tarts

Most people love cheesecake.  These tarts have the delicious flavor, and they’re finger foods as well.  You could purchase ready-made mini piecrusts and make your own filling.  They can also be made in a cupcake pan.  Line the pan with paper cupcake wrappers.  Drop a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each cupcake.  Pour in your filling and bake.  After they cool, top with cherries or strawberries and enjoy!

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

Who could resist the rich, creamy taste of chocolate mousse? 

Chocolate Tarts

Chocolate Tarts

Most people love chocolate, and this dessert does not disappoint.  Chocolate whipped cream is sandwiched between layers of cake and piped on top, garnished with chocolate shavings and raspberries. 

Crème Brulee

Creme Brulee

Creamy egg custard topped with a crunchy, caramelized sugar crust is the perfect combination for this mouthwatering dessert. 

Croissants

Croissants

Butter croissants are finger licking good, but they also come with delicious fillings, such as chocolate, almond, or raspberry. 

Fresh Fruit

Fresh Fruit

As the seasons change, fresh fruits appear in abundance, courtesy of Mother Nature. 

Ice Cream

Ice Cream Sundae

Ice cream is an easy dessert to keep on hand for unexpected guests.  Whether it is served in dishes, cones, or sundaes, you can’t go wrong with ice cream. 

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are a popular treat for “kids” of all ages. 

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Sweet and tart are perfectly balanced in lemon meringue pie. 

Napoleons

Napoleon

Napoleons consist of alternating layers of light as air puff pastry crust and vanilla cream, topped with powdered sugar icing swirled with chocolate. 

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

If you like sweet and salty, this is the dessert for you.  The filling is made with eggs, butter, brown sugar, and pecans.  For a rich caramel flavor, use dark brown sugar. 

Petits Fours

Petits Fours

Petits Fours are the perfect marriage of cake and candy. Fondant icing covers bite-size cubes of yellow, sponge or pound cake. While the fondant is still wet, decorations can be applied using piped icing, or a sprinkling of either candy or nuts. As an added burst of flavor, jelly or butter cream can be spread over the cake prior to applying the fondant.

Popsicles

Popsicles

Fruit juice and popsicle molds are all you need to make whip up this cool treat. 

Pumpkin Pie with Homemade Crust

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie has a delicious flaky crust.  There are some great baking tools, such as fluted piecrust cutters for edging, and spring-loaded piecrust cutters to create cutouts like the leaf shown in the photo above. 

Spiced Pumpkin Roll with Orange Cream Cheese Icing

A spiral design is the hallmark of this impressive dessert.  Bake the cake in a jellyroll pan lined with parchment paper.  After baking, lay the cake face down on a towel.  If necessary, trim any ragged edges.  Starting with a long side, roll the cake in the towel and cool completely on a wire rack.  Unroll and remove the towel and lay cake flat.  Spread the filling over the top within 1/2” of the edges.  Suggested fillings include whipped cream, pie filling, and pudding.  Carefully roll the cake and place it with the seam side down on a platter.  Garnish as desired. 

Rice Pudding

Rice pudding, fresh from the oven, is one of life’s great comfort foods. 

Strawberry Shortcake

Fresh fruit garnishes and a little powdered sugar is all you need to top off this summertime favorite.  

Tiramisu

Espresso, rum, cocoa, and creamy mascarpone filling make this dessert out of this world.  

Hungry for more desserts?  Please click here to read part one, “Save Room for Dessert.” 

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

The Art of Cake Decorating

Chocolate Cream Cake

White icing, piped details topped with maraschino cherries and chocolate shavings make this Black Forest cake outstanding, but the real showstopper is the chocolate latticework wrapped around the sides. 

I have a confession to make – researching and writing this post made me hungry for dessert. Before you continue reading, I suggest having a treat ready to eat, or grab the car keys and run to the bakery. Okay, now let us explore cake decorating.

Icing Piping Bags

Icing Decorating Bags

Cake decorating bags can be filled with a variety of icings and each metal tip creates different designs, from flowers, to ribbons, stars and many more.  Piping bags can also be used for fillings in pastries and donuts. 

Piped Flowers

Floral Cupcakes

The piping bags shown in the previous photo produced these unique floral motifs. 

Buttercream Roses

Buttercream Roses

Piped buttercream frosting is a colorful and flavorful choice for cake decorating. 

Owl Fondant Cake

This adorable owl cake is decorated with fondant, which is made from sugar paste, rolled out into sheets, and then cut into any desired shapes.

Glazed Icing

Confectioner’s Sugar drizzled over this cake is quick and easy.  The clustered cherries hint at the fruit filling hidden with this single layer cake. 

Marzipan

Marzipan is made from almond paste and is a favorite candy treat, which adds a bit of whimsy to cakes as well as cupcakes. 

Modeling Chocolate

If you always wanted to try sculpture, here is your chance to create a beautiful art piece and it’s edible too!  While smaller decorations can be made with fondant or gum paste, modeling chocolate is much stronger, enabling the creation of larger figures, such as the Disney characters shown above. 

Rainbow Layer Cake

An easy way to add color to any cake is by using rainbow colored layers.

Orange Cheesecake

This cheesecake has a translucent topping and center filling made from orange juice concentrate and sugar.  An unexpected block pattern is only revealed when sliced. 

Red Velvet Cake

Rich red crumbles hint at the alternating layers of moist chocolate cake and cream cheese icing hidden within this decadent dessert. 

Strawberry Shortcake

Fresh fruit garnishes and a little powdered sugar are all you need to top off this summertime favorite. 

Chocolate Tarts

Most people love chocolate and this dessert does not disappoint.  Chocolate whipped cream is sandwiched between the layers of cake and is also piped on top, garnished with chocolate shavings and raspberries. 

Marbleized Cake

A marbleized effect is achieved by piping chocolate frosting over vanilla and then running a knife or spatula through it. 

Fondant with Piping & Roses

This lovely wedding cake has pink and white fondant, with piped icing details and fresh-cut flowers.

Star Wars Theme Cake – (Fondant & Modeling Chocolate)

Special occasions present perfect opportunities for themed cakes.  Any child would be thrilled to have Yoda at his or her birthday party.  A few “big” kids would love it too! 

Mosaic Fondant Cake

This cake and display tray have been covered with chocolate fondant for a seamless look.  Multi-color fondant sheets are cut into circles of various sizes and individually placed in an intricate mosaic pattern. 

Modeling Chocolate Lego Cake

The figures and Legos are modeling chocolate, while the white icing is fondant.  Isn’t it amazing how realistic the Lego blocks look? 

Designer Cakes

These wintry snowmen are decorated with modeling chocolate, piping, and macaroons.  Sprinkled granulated sugar resembles the snow and ice. 

Designer Cakes

Want to know the secret to making large decorations like the giraffe, the zebra and the turtle’s head and legs?  Rice cereal treats are covered with fondant to seamlessly blend with the cake. 

Designer Textured Cakes

Both of these cakes offer incredible color and texture.  On the left, the ombré effect of the piped roses leads the eye toward the sparkling glass bride and groom topper.  Piping, stamping, gum paste, and candy making techniques have been beautifully combined in this unique garden gazebo.  

Designer Bold Colorful Cakes

Bold colors are certainly eye-catching.  The first, known as a topsy-turvy cake, is wrapped in fondant and decorated with geometric and floral cut fondant.  The floral cake has been hand-painted with edible inks, creating the look of stained glass. 

Designer Pastel Floral Cake

This floral cake is a real labor of love.  Each gum paste flower, leaf and butterfly is made by hand and set in place to create the cascading garden.  As the design nears completion, iridescent edible inks are brushed on to provide depth and realistic details in this incredible wedding cake. 

I hope you are inspired to give cake decorating a try.  A visit to your local craft store will give you additional ideas, and you will see an amazing selection of the candies, pre-mixed fondants, and gel icings, as well as tools of the trade and specialty pans to make your next dessert a masterpiece.  

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Gifts from the Heart

Frog with Heart
As Valentine’s Day approaches, it’s a nice reminder to show appreciation for those who share our lives, including family, friends, and yes even our pets.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot.  In fact, you may already have what you need for the perfect gift.   Here are a few creative ideas to get you started:

Sweets for the Sweet
Homemade Candy & Cookies
Homemade cookies and candy will satisfy any sweet tooth.

Nature Lover
Fruit Hearts
This edible art is delicious & nutritious.

Heart of the Vineyard
Wine Corks Heart
Connoisseurs will appreciate shared memories celebrated with a nice glass of wine.

The Personal Touch
Clay Heart Vase
Gifts made by hand are always the best way to show your love.

Two Hearts Beat as One
Metal & Wood Hearts
Whether you prefer working with wood or metal, this universal symbol of love says it all.

Love is in the Details
Mosaic Heart
Glass, tile, and stones can be used to create mosaic jewelry, tabletops, wall art, etc.

A Rose by Any Other Name
Paper Roses
As timeless symbols of love, these paper roses will forever be in bloom.

Big Bear Hugs
Teddy Bear & Flowers
Everyone could use a hug.  Teddy bears can be sewn, crocheted, or knitted.  If you don’t have those skills, buy one and add a personal touch, such as a bunch of silk flowers or homemade chocolates.

Soft & Dreamy
Watercolor Painting
Watercolor, acrylic or oil paints are the perfect choice for creating beautiful artwork to be treasured for years to come.

Heartfelt Adventure
Pink Stone Heart
Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy taking a romantic walk along a beach or trail on a “treasure” hunt, consisting of well-placed hearts made from stones, shells, or flowers.

Presentation is Everything
Heart Earrings
At the end of the treasure hunt mentioned above, surprise your companion with a little gift, such as a bouquet of wildflowers or handmade jewelry.

Reflective Photography
Black Swan
At first glance, you might only notice the beauty of this black swan but look closer and you will see the perfect heart shape created by his reflection.

Just the Two of Us
Romantic Silhouettes
A sunset photo of a couple is a nice keepsake and posing just right forms a heart.

Your BFF
Dog Wearing Scarf
Our best friends are always looking for affection.  A new scarf or a heart charm for the collar are nice options, but the best way to show your love is by giving them your time and attention.  Works for people too!

Thanks for reading.

Happy Valentine’s Day & Happy Crafting!