Tuesday, March 27, 2012

An Exciting Announcement and Easter Giveaway!

If you've stopped by my blog recently, you may have noticed a new addition on the side bar. It's been there for a few days now, but I am just now getting everything together to share my news with you!
I have a new friend! In the cookie cutter business :)
Just what I need right ;) More cookie cutters! If DH2B were reading this, (don't worry he's not) he'd be rolling his eyes! He thinks I have too many cookie cutters already, but I keep telling him you never know what you're gonna need next!

I had hoped I would have enough time to put together a little Easter cookie tutorial but I am running out of time if I am actually going to get this stuff off to the winner in time for Easter!
So for now, I hope you'll settle for a few pictures, a BIG THANK YOU and a quick giveaway!

I have been blogging about cookies for just over a year now and I am so thankful for all of you who have tuned in to share in my adventure and encourage me along the way!

These are the first set of Easter cookie I made this year! And you can win this sweet egg cutter, to make your very own!

I used a neat trick I learned from my friend Casey from Casey's Confections for these cookies. You can watch her video tutorial right here. Pretty neat!! Isn't she the cutest thing!

If you don't want to fuss with the insert cookie, you can make these simple eggs with the same cutter!

Hopefully you are ready to make some CUTE Easter cookies, and I have a few super awesome cookie cutters just for you! I hand selected them for your cookie making fun! And my new friends over at The Cookie Cutter Company sent them over here to join some other stuff I got just for you! 

You can create a whole lot of Easter cuteness with these six cutters! I LOVE that chick!
And just because I love the colors of Easter so much, I am throwing in a few of my favorite Americolor Gels to get you started! Violet, Soft Pink and Lemon Yellow.

If you want to get your hands one some more fabulous cookie cutters, go check out the Cookie Cutter Company for yourself! You'll find some really cute designs. If you simply can't wait to win these, or you want to add more to your collection because you LOVE cc as much as I do, use code "Promo15" at checkout for 15% off your entire order!

For the giveaway, all you need to do is hop over to their website and tell me what cookie cutter or cutters you would most like to have from them and leave your comment here!
Pretty simple right?
One entry per person on this giveaway just to keep it quick and easy!
GIVEWAWAY CLOSED! Congrats to our winner Maureen!

Winner will be selected on Friday morning, March 30th using random.org and the if you respond quickly I'll get the prize in the mail the same day!

Thank you all again for your continued, amazing support :)

Flour De Lis

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Tip for Cleaning Your Tips

When I first started my cookie adventure, I bought one of those teeny, tiny Wilton brush cleaners. I have no idea what happened to it! I never actually used it. I bought it, brought it home, but it in the drawer by the sink and somehow lost it! Seriously. But I refused to buy another one, because I knew I already had one!
Stubborn yes. I mean it only cost a few dollars if that.  I should have bought another one many times.

Eventually I got tired of holding each tip under the running water and hoping it would all wash out and be clean as a whistle. Somewhere along the line I got smart and I have no idea when it happened, I just remember at some point I started doing things a different way and cookie clean-up became much easier!

It was probably the boys idea. He is full of good ideas! Seriously, I don;t give him enough credit for all the good cookie ideas he has! I mean I take him with me whenever I go cookie cutter hunting because he sees things differently than I do. For instance he sees a cute little girl with a short haircut and bangs when he looks at the football helmet cookie cutter! BRILLIANT!! Go ahead, take a look. I would have never thought of that without him :)
So I am just go ahead and give him credit for this one too :)

This little trick is called my "Tip Jar". I wish it was full of money at the end of a long day of cookie-ing, but it's not.  Just dirty, crusty tips.
I leave it next to the sink and as I work I just toss the used tips into the jar. It's convenient for several reasons. Mainly for the reason I am talking about, cleaning is super simplified and way quicker. But it also keeps any of my tips from ending up down the garbage disposal. UGH! If you've ever lost a PME that way, you understand the pain and heartbreak...

You can pretty much use any plastic jar you have around. 
Here is my collection. I usually just have the little peanut butter jar out on the sink. But I also have a large PB jar and a HUGE whey protein jar. The boy and I work out almost everyday, so we go through quite a few of these in our household. But you don;t have to rush out the store and buy it. The PB jars work great for tips.

I keep the big one because I almost exclusively use decorating bottles. I don't use the bags very often. The big jar is great because I just throw everything into it. Tips, couplers, bottles, EVERYTHING!
 I don't know if you can see the bottles in there, but you fit quite a few. 

Once you're done with your cookie decorating, just throw your tips into the jar, add a little dab of soap and fill the jar about 1/3 full of warm water. 
Make sure the lid is on nice and tight.
Next come the fun part :) Just shake the heck out of it!! Seriously! Shake your tail feathers baby!! Or whatever you do... 
Once the water turns all sorts of crazy colors, you know it's working. It only takes about 3- seconds for this.
Your jar will be full of soapy, sudsy water after a few shakes. Just shake, shake, shake it!
Now you can take the top off and run some clean water in. Pull out a few of the tips and make sure their clean, if not give it a few more shakes. If they're clean just rinse them off with clean water and dry them.
Sometimes I stick them on the little prongs in the dishwasher and let them sit over night to dry, If I need them again right away I dry them off with a paper towel. Or if the oven is warm, I stick them on a cookie try and toss them in for a few minutes until they heat up and dry. No rust, no fuss.

This is the best and quickest way to clean tips that I've learned so far. And it keeps them from getting tarnished or eaten by the dreaded garbage disposal. Which just to clarify, I've never actually done. I have however left them in the sink and someone else ran the disposal and I cried. Or maybe I cursed. It's hard to remember now :)

No more icky, sticky, tarnished, rusted tips!

I am sure there are lots of other ways to do this, what works for you?!?

Flour De Lis

Friday, March 16, 2012

How I Package my Cookies for Shipping

I get asked all the time about what cookies I ship. And I think people are really surprised when I tell them I ship everything.  Even delicate cookies, like champagne glasses, guitars, birthday candles, letters and numbers and yes, even Justin Biebers precious little face :)

If you ship cookies and ever worry about them breaking here is my secret to worry-free, tear-free packaging!

It doesn't really matter how you bag you cookies, sometimes I put one in a bag, sometimes I put four or six minis in a bag. I seal them, I tie them with ribbon. No difference!

So first, you just package them up in the little baggies, however you like. As long as they are laying flat.

Next I take a thin piece of cardboard, a little bigger than the cookies so there is plenty of the board to go around. Shhhhh don't tell the Postmaster I steal the small flat rate boxes and cut them up! But they are PERFECT for this!! I grab them whenever I pick up the medium and large flat rate boxes to ship the cookies in.

Place one bag of cookies on each side of the cardboard. So they flat against the cardboard.  

Wrap the entire thing in a few layers of bubble wrap. You want plenty of cushioning around the cookies to keep them safe.

Finally, place them in your box (which I also line with either bubble wrap or tissue paper) and stand them up. Package them together tight enough so they don't wiggle around during the trip, but not so tightly that they get smooshed!

Once everything is in there top it all off with more tissue paper to keep them from moving around. Plus extra tissue paper makes it look like a super awesome, present and who doesn't like to get super awesome presents?!?

So next time you are at the post office, grab a few of those little boxes (don't tell the postmaster) and keep them around for your next cookie order. I started using them only for the extra fragile cookies, but I use them all the time now. It only takes a few extra minutes to cut them to the sizes I need and I never worry about getting a call or email about broken cookies. I don't even mark my packages as fragile anymore (mostly because I forget! Doh!) because I don't really think worry about them getting damaged this way.

I hope this helps ease a few of your worries when trying to decide if you can ship an order of cookies. I know I sleep much better at night since I've started doing this!

P.S. This is the ONLY way I ship vegan cookies. If you've ever made vegan cut-out cookies you know why! They are so fragile compared to other cookies. I've only made them a few times and only recently, but I can't imagine shipping them any other way. They would all break and I would cry all night :)

Let me know if you have any other useful tips for me! I am always interested in what works for you and how I can improve on my methods!

Flour De Lis