Crafts from my heart to yours!

Archive for the category “Cookies & Cake”

Site Recommendation: Step By Step – Gingerbread Theme Crafts & Activities for Children

Site Recommendation: Step By Step – Gingerbread Theme Crafts & Activities for Children


Gingerbread is a sweet that can take the form of a cookie or a cake in which the predomiant flavor is ginger.

I’ve visited this site by Janna several times and it popped up again in a recent search so I just have to share it with you.

It appears to no longer be active but there is so much FANTASTIC INFO here that it’s a shame not to use it!

While there is a lot of great information on the day-to-day operation of a daycare  the pages that caught my eye are the great pre-schooler arts & crafts project.  And you already KNOW how I love anything to do with cookies and the like, so the pages  that jumped right out at me were the Gingerbread Theme “fun stuff to do” pages!

What will you find on these three pages? More fun stuff than you can shake a stick cupcake at.  Here’s a brief rundown of the catagories of information shared there.

  • arts & craft projects,
  • books,
  • games & actitities,
  • links,
  • recipies,
  • songs,
  • stories,
  • worksheets

Stop by and take a look at all the great gingerbread themed stuff.  I love the “Gingerbread House” card, the gingerbread molding dough, the sandpaper gingerbread candy cane holders, and the tons of links to other sites.

Thanks so much for dropping in.  I hope you stop back again soon.  And as always please leave a comment don’t make me beg for a comment!

buggalcrafts a.k.a. melba

My Granddaughter’s Luau Birthday Party!

My Granddaughter’s Luau Birthday Party!

I love planning parties and all the stuff that goes along with them.  My granddaughter will be 11 soon and her party was yesterday.  This year’s theme was “Luau” with a whiff of tropical island, pirate, beach party, etc. (wouldn’t want to miss a genre!).   We had a great time (ha!) getting this all together and only had one major blow-out!

We did run into a minor, maybe major, problem in the midst of all the planning, shopping, cooking, decorating, etc. that goes along with a party.  My foot had been sorta hurting for a while – felt like I was stepping on a rock and had told my docs that this was happening but never really pinned it on a cause other than the fibro.  Then about 3 or 4 weeks ago starting hurting down-right BAD! So I BEGGED for and got an appointment with my internal medicine doc and he finally was able to give me a diagnosis – PLANTER FACISITIS.  So, while I was supposed to be resting my tootsie I was busy doing all this!  You’ll be glad to know that today I stayed off it except for a brief excursion to teach my Sunday School class and it hurts a LOT, A LOT less!

My hubbie jumped into the deep end and had to do a lot of the legwork for the party while I got to be a backseat driver for the event!  And while we did have to scrap a few things I had planned along the way the kids and even the parents seemed to have a great time.  Of course hubbie has prohibited any party talk for a good while – maybe even forever???

So now the party is over and we even weathered our first time hosting a slumber party well.  I thought I’d share some photos and things I learned along the way with you.

Forgive the order of the photos for this gallery shot (click on a photo to open a slide show with bigger photos).  No matter what I do (re-name, etc.) I cannot make it show in order!  Any help?  T.I.A.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy!  Please leave a comment – I live for them!  Especially now that I’m chair and couch bound for some time!

A Little Bit About Mardi Gras PLUS a GIVE AWAY!

WIN THIS: Mardi Gras In A Box

A Little Bit About Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday”, the last day of the Carnival season, always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. The date varies dependent upon when Easter occurs. This year the date is Tuesday February 21. The Carnival season, a weeklong celebration, is all about cramming in as many good things as can be eaten or done before a season of fasting or as it is put in south Louisiana, “Laissez les bons temps rouler” or “Let the good times roll!”

What to Know More About Mardi Gras?

This a great site where you can find out about all things Mardi Gras – from a history of the doubloons to how to make an imitation king cake!


So, you don’t live or are not going to visit on of the places where Mardi Gras is celebrated. How can you host your own Mardi Gras celebration?  You will find out everything from how to make your own float to how to make an imitation king cake!


You may know that there is a tiny baby inside and whoever gets is brings the next King cake, but what is the significance of the King Cake? The site also has a great explanation.


How Will You Celebrate Mardi Gras?

Design your masks from construction paper, pull some plastic beads out of the toy box, eat your imitation king cake and have a great time with your family!

Win a “Mardi Gras Party for One in a Box”

To help you out I am going to have a It’s a Mardi Gras Party Give-Away.  To enter comment below about how you are going to celebrated Mardi Gras.   On February 13th at 9:00 pm CST I will select one lucky winner a “Mardi Gras Party for One in a Box”. This “kit” will have beads, a half face mask to decorate, confetti, temporary tattoo, a baby & beads for your imitation King Cake and MORE!!!

Thanks For Taking The Time To Read This!

Thanks so much for reading my post. I hope you will comment and enter the Mardi Gras give-away.

Don’t Miss This Upcoming Post: My Mardi Gras Wreath & Ornaments

Cookie Cutters, Not Just For Cookies Anymore: Valentine Versions

Valentine Versions of “Cookie Cutters: Not Just For Cookies Anymore” Crafts

A garland hanging on the wall is my answer to having a seasonal tree.  I can have my “tree” AND not have my furniture crowded right out of the room!  And my two bull moose-es (meeses?) and one girl moose (moosessa?) can actually walk by it without knocking off a dozen things!  An added bonus is that it is safe from the tree eating cat!

Hanging the garland was the easy part, finding something special to put on it was another story all together!.  So I turned to my “Cookie Cutter Craft” tutorials for inspiration.   It was so super easy to alter the end product simply by changing the cookie cutters templates and the paper, fabric &embellishments used to seasonal patterns and colors.  Then follow the tutorial instructions and you have the perfect seasonal ornaments for your tree, wreath or garland!

I would like to share photos of the Valentine Versions of my “cookie cutter crafts” I created that with you today. The link for each tutorial is listed below each photo. Any special tips, instructions, etc. for creating the Valentine craft project are listed in the photo caption or in the description of the craft.  There are a couple that the tutorial will be published soon.  Please stay tuned!

Valentine Versions of My Cookie Cutter Crafts:

Photo 1 Heart Cookie Cutter Graland

Photo 1: Heart Shaped Cookie Cutter Garland:  Change the cutters to hearts, cupids, etc. and you have the perfect garland for your wall or seasonal tree.  The added bonus is that with this craft if you’d later like to use the cutters all you need to do is cut them apart!


Photo 2 Cinnamon Dough Ornaments

Photo 2: “Cut-Out Cookie” Applesauce, Cinnamon, Salt, or Bread Dough Christmas Ornaments: The cinnamon ornaments smell wonderful for years!  And last forever (or at least 20 years)!  The applesauce ornaments are fragile if you make them thin.  Use seasonal cutters to make great ornaments, package decorations, etc.





Photo 3: Quilted heart. I braided a fabric hanger for this ornament.

Photo 3; “Quilted” Cardboard Cookie Cutter Shape Valentine’s Ornament:  this ornament gives you the appearance of a sewn crazy quilt without the needle and thread!  All you need to make this ornament is a bottle of white glue, cardboard, and fabric scraps.


Photo 4: Scrapbook Paper Backed Cookie Cutters

Photo 4: Scrapbook Paper Backed Cookie Cutter Valentine’s Ornament:  Enhance a plain cookie cutter by backing it with seasonal scrapbook paper and adding embellishments if desired.


Photo 5 Valentine’s Baking Wreath

Photo 5B: Close-up of baking utensils.

Photo 5: Valentine’s Baking Wreath:  This wreath just came together once I realized that I had all the elements already made and I just needed to put it all together.  It’s perfect in my kitchen!


Photo 6: Cookie sheet with homemade foam cookies.I pnched a white foam heart, then glued it to tan craft foam and cut it out with decorative scissors and glued a pink or red small heart punch to the center.

Photo 6: Heart Shaped Valentine’s Cut-Out Cookies on Copper Cookie Sheet:  Simply by using homemade heart shaped cookies and lace for a hanger & bow this ornament just screams Valentine’s Day!


Photo 7: Heart Shaped Stuffed Felt Ornament

Photo 7; Fabric or Felt Cookie Cutter Shapes Valentine’s Ornament: I don’t sew but this is an easy ornament to make simply using glue.  You can use fabric glue, but I just used white craft glue!


Photo 8: Heart Shaped Paperbag Backed Felt Ornament

Photo 8: Ladybug Paperbag Backed Foam Ornament

Photo 8: Paper Bag Backed Foam or Felt Cookie Cutter Shapes Valentine’s Ornament:  Create ladybugs or hearts for your tree from craft foam or felt.


Photo 9: Heart Shaped Paper Bag Ornament

Photo 9: Paper Bag Valentine’s Cookie Cutter Shapes Ornament:  Use a plain brown wrapper to make a really cute heart (or other seasonal shape) to decorate with fabric or paint.  Hang on your tree, in a window, or use the shapes to make a wreath.  To make the fabric covered heart shown above make a pattern with a large heart cookie cutter.  Cut out a heart shape from red fabric and glue to a paper bag.  Double the paper and trim around heart leaving a two inch boarder.  Stuff and glue or sew together.  When dry, pink around the edges.  Add “stiches” with a marker or glitter glue.  Embellish as desired.


Photo 10 Paper Cut-out Cookies

Photo 10: Paper (Scrapbook, Construction, Wrapping, Etc.) Valentine’s Cut-out Cookies:  This is a great craft for kids.   A great use for old greeting cards or kid’s Valentines.  This craft is very inexpensive too if construction and “found” paper are used.


Photo 12 Play Box Decorate box to resemble a stove

Photo 12B: Fill box with baking utensils.

Photo 12: Cookie Cutter Crafts For Kids:  The sheer range of crafts that kids can make with cookie cutters is staggering.  Take a minute (or three!) and take a look at these crafts that are kid friendly.  This is a busy box I designed and made using a photo storage box (substitute a shoe box) and a kid’s baking set from Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Keep this box in the kitchen to entertain your little one while you cook.  You can also put together your own baling set with a small rolling pin, felt with “cookies” cut out & mini cookie cutters, cookie sheet made from a silver metallic poster, and wooden spoon.  Customize the kit for the season with seasonal cookie cutter shapes.

Tutorial pending.

Photo 13: Food Shapers: Your cutters don’t even need to leave the kitchen for this “craft”.  Craft with food!  Cut decorative shapes from food to serve as accent pieces.

Tutorial pending.

Photo 14: Hand-decorated Greeting Cards

Photo 14: Greeting Card Decoration:  Add a few extra special touches to blank greeting cards and you have a beautiful handmade gift for your child’s teacher or a good friend.

Tutorial Pending

Photo 15: Cookie Cutter Shaped Note Cards

Photo 15: Cookie Shaped Note Cards: An alternative to making a hand decorated card is to make a shaped note card.  Trace a cutter that “fits” the recipient (ex: football for a sports fan, rooster for chicken lover, etc.), trace it on a note card, then cut out the shape and embellish.

Tutorial pending.

Photo 16: Cookie Cutter Shaped Note Pad

Photo 16: Cookie Shaped Note Pad: Make a cute notepad as a little special gift for someone special.  Add some favorite saying or scriptures for that extra special touch.

Tutorial pending.


Photo 17: Heart Shaped Cut-Out Cookies

Photo 17  Cut-Out Valentine’s Cookies:  Don’t stop with crafting up a batch or two of foam cookies – break out your favorite recipe (or try mine) and roll out some edible cookies.  Don’t have time to make up the dough?  Then add a couple of ingredients to refrigerated cookie dough and get RAVE REVIEWS!



Here is a “sneak peak” (sneak tell?) at my upcoming Cookie Cutters: Not Just For Cookies Anymore tutorials.  Look for these posts within the next month.

Package Decoration & Name Tags: Make these little for your next event to get custom made themed name tags!  Great for any occasion!  To add a little pizazz to your gift wrapped package or gift bag, make a custom combination package decoration and name tag.  You can make seasonal shapes or select a shape that “fits” the recipient. Example: For a crafting supply basket use a pair of scissors cookie cutters.  For a new baby use a ducky cutter and some of the gift wrap leftover from wrapping the package.  For a end-of-the-year gift for your child’s teacher use an apple cutter.  Go a step further and tie a cutter and several die cuts made using the cutter in coordinating colors to serve as a package decoration and bonus gift!

Party Favors: Give cookie cutters as party favors for a wedding or baby shower for a gift your guests will use for years to come!  Combine them with a blank card to make a place tag.

Souvenirs & Special Occasion Reminders:  Instead of collecting thimbles on vacation, stop by a shop that sells baking supplies & cookie cutters and get a unique cutter.  This is something you can use and will remind you of your vacation every time you make cutter with that cutter.  Cookie cutters are inexpensive to collect.  Most are less than $5 each.  So each year around Christmas add a cutter to your collection that represents a special event from that year: baby rattle for a new baby in the family, pair of bells for a wedding in the family, school bus for a child’s first year in school, ect.

Stencils:  Before you buy a stencil or if you can’t find the stencil you need, take a look at the cookie cutters you have on-hand.  Simply place the cutter on paper and trace.  Or to make a durable template, trace the cutter on a thin piece of plastic (I found a package of five plastic binder dividers for 50 cents around the start of school.  This could make a ton of stencils.

Thank you for reading my post. I hope you enjoyed the links to my Valentine’s craft projects.   If you have any questions or something is not clear, please let me know so that I can improve the tutorial.   

Please take a moment to leave a comment and rate this post.  I really LOVE comments!

Thanks again. 


Cookie Cutters: Not Just For Cookies Anymore! Post # 12: Cut-Out Cookies, Holiday or No Occasion At All & Make Your Own Cookie Cutters

Making fall cookies with MeMe. Bake these for all seasons: Valentine's, Mardi Gras, St. Pat's, Easter, and so on...

Cookie Cutters:  Not Just For Cookies Anymore! Post # 12: Cut-Out Cookies, Holiday or No Occasion At All & Make Your Own Cookie Cutters

by an invertebrate cookie cutter collector!

 The traditional cookies people think of when you mention Christmas Cookies are usually cut-out sugar cookies or gingerbread cookies.

This is a great project to do with your children – young and old.  I am including my family’s recipe for sugar cookies below with tips based on over 200 years of cumulative baking experience.  And check out my tips for improving store bought sugar cookie dough too!

Did you know cookie cutters can be handmade simply if you don’t have the cutter you want?

Handmade Cookie Cutters

 No one (Not even me and I have collected cutters for more than 20 years!) can have every cookie cutter they need on-hand when they need it.  Here are 2 simple ways to make that “cutter” yourself!


Cardboard Template: One quick and easy way is to use simply make and use a cardboard template.

  • Find a large, simple picture of the shape you would like (for example; in a coloring book) and cut it out.
  • Then trace the shape onto cardboard and cut that out too.
  • Place the cardboard on the rolled out cookie dough and trace around the shape using a knife, then lift carefully and place on a baking sheet to bake.

Disposable Aluminum Pan: To make a cookie cutters with a more complex shape use a disposable aluminum pan to make a temporary cutter.

  • Find an image that fits your need.  The more detailed the harder it will be to make this cutter.  Cut the image out.
  • On the bottom surface of the pan trace the shape desired and cut it out.
  • Smooth out the aluminum with the blunt side of the scissor’s blade.
  • Cut one half inch strips from the remaining part of the bottom of the aluminum pan.
  • Flatten out the strips with the blunt side of the scissor blade and then mold them around your shape. Caution, edges are sharp.
  • Glue the strips to the edge of the aluminum shape.  What glue you use is dependent on the use of the cutter.  TO cut clay then the type of glue does not matter.  If using them to cut cookie dough, then use something that has a  “food safe” claim (like Gorilla glue).
  • When properly dry, your cutter is ready to use.
  • Place your homemade cookie cutter on rolled out cookie dough and press down lightly to cut your shape out.  Then bake cookies per recipe.

Aluminum Flashing:  The web site below has a great tutorial by suganspyyce on Craftster.org about making your own cookie cutters from a roll of aluminum flashing found in the roofing section.  The tutorial is concise and very easy to follow.  It is definitely something I’d like to try.

Drinking Straws & Foil Pans:  Another great resource is this site on making miniatures for doll houses and other uses by Lesley Shepherd on About.com!  Meticulous attention to detail is paid in making these custom cutters.  The photo tutorial is great and really helps you to understand the steps to take.  Again a method to try out for the future!

Drinking Straws & Foil Pans:  Another great resource is this site on making miniatures for doll houses and other uses by Lesley Shepherd on About.com!  Meticulous attention to detail is paid in making these custom cutters.  The photo tutorial is great and really helps you to understand the steps to take.  Again a method to try out for the future!


Now, on to the main part of the show or:

 How to Make Cut-out Sugar Cookies:

A Recipe with Tips & Insights from Over 200 Years of Combined Baking Experience

as told to me by my Grandmother, Great-Aunt & Mother

Some of my earliest, and most treasured, memories are of us all girls gathered around the kitchen table cutting out and decorating sugar cookies with my mother, grandmother and my grandmother’s sister.  It just wasn’t Christmas (or any other holiday) without these wonderful sugar cookies.

The best tip I can give you to make cut-out sugar cookies successfully is to make them often with your children – borrow some if you have too.  No matter how the cookies turn out – – – lopsided, with enough decorations on each for twelve cookies, or slightly burnt – – – you will be baking memories that will last a lifetime!

Don’t forget to take lots of photos for your scrapbook.  While you have the cutters out trace them on acid free scrapbook paper or cardstock to make die cuts for your cookie baking scrapbook page!


  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups shortening (Crisco)
  • 1 TBS each of vanilla & one of almond flavoring (Add more, I usually do!)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 pounds of self-rising flour (Yes, FIVE pounds!)
  • Cookie decorations:  colored sugar, cinnamon sugar, sprinkles, red hots, M&M’s, frosting, etc.

Also Needed

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Several cookie sheets
  • Pancake turner
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups & spoons
  • Mixing spoon



1)  Make the dough the day before & refrigerate it overnight (or for at least 2 hours).  It rolls out much better cold.  Take only half of the dough out of the refrigerator at one time.  This dough can be refrigerated in a tightly sealed zip lock bag for up to one week. Do not freeze.

a)    If you don’t have time to make the dough from scratch, you can dress up store-bought sugar cookie dough.  I have found store-bought sugar cookie dough is not stiff enough to make roll & cut out cookies on its own.  It just sticks to everything!  But with a couple of additions you can make some great “homemade cookies”.

b)   Let the dough come to room temperature. Then add 1 tsp. each of vanilla & almond flavoring. Mix the flavoring in with your CLEAN, floured hands.  Next add flour until the dough is stiff (see step 4).  Then refrigerate for at least 2 hours and then prepare and bake per the instructions below.

2)  Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees while allowing all the cold ingredients to come to room temperature.

a)    When all the ingredients are at room temperature; cream the shortening and the sugar.  Next add in eggs, milk, & flavoring.  Don’t skimp on the vanilla & almond flavoring, it’s the key to this cookie’s great taste.

b)   The ingredients will mix more evenly if at room temperature.

c)    Use Crisco sticks, they look like fat butter sticks & are found in the baking aisle.  These are so much easier & less messy to use than solid shortening in a can.

d)    If you use Crisco in a can fill the measuring cup with boiling water first & allow it to warm the cup.  Then drain & measure the solid Crisco.  The Crisco should slide right out of the warm cup.

3)  You can also tint the dough different colors by adding food coloring drops or paste to the mix before adding the flour.  Make green shamrocks for St. Pat’s Day or pink hearts for Valentine’s Day.

4)  Add flour slowly using your CLEAN hands to knead the dough into a smooth ball.  Do not over mix.  The dough is ready to roll when it is stiff.  You should be able to roll a pinch into a ball with your fingers without it sticking to your fingers.  If it does add more flour.  This recipe takes more flour than you would think.  Then divide it into two portions and refrigerate.

a)    These are crisp cookies. To make them soft-baked, add more milk & use less flour.  You may not be able to roll them out, but can drop them on the baking sheet by spoonful & then decorate with colored sugar or sprinkles.

5)  Take one portion of the dough out of the refrigerator when you are ready to bake. Take a softball size amount of dough and roll this out on a floured surface (or pastry cloth) to a 1/4 inch thickness.

6)  Cut cookies out with floured cookie cutters.  Place cutters carefully on the rolled out dough to get the most cookies out of one rolling as possible.  Re-rolling makes the dough tough.

a)    This dough also works great with cookie presses.  Cookie presses are very easy to use. My son & granddaughter easily made these at age 2.  Give your little ones a full soda can (flour it) & let them roll out their own dough & make memories.

b)   Take a bouncing ball size amount of the dough and roll it into a smooth ball.  Then press the floured stamp down on the ball “squishing” it to make semi-flat cookie with an impression on top.

7)  Place cookies carefully on a baking sheet sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray.  I like Air-Bake insulated baking sheets as the cookies will bake more evenly & not burn on the bottom.   It helps if you have 3 or 4 baking sheets so the sheets can cool before you place the raw dough cookies on it (if the sheets are hot the dough will “melt” slightly & the cookies will lose their shape).

8)  Sprinkle with colored sugar, cinnamon sugar or other cookie toppings before baking.  This is the fun part!  Sprinkle a reindeer shape with cinnamon sugar & add a red hot nose to make a cute Rudolph!  Let the kids use their imaginations.  Or plan to frost the cookies after baking & cooling.

a)    Make your own colored sugar:  Pour sugar in a glass bowl then add food coloring or paste drop by drop mixing it in the sugar thoroughly with a spoon.  Add tint slowly until you reach a shade slightly darker than the desired color.  Let dry thoroughly.  It will dry a lighter shade.  Make it darker than the shade you want as it is very easy to add more sugar when it’s dry and lighten the color.  Make this the day before so it will be very dry and sprinkle easier.

b)   Make your own cinnamon sugar:  Mix powdered cinnamon in sugar to desired taste (I like a lot of cinnamon, so my cinnamon sugar is dark.  But don’t add too much cinnamon as it won’t’ sprinkle well.).

c)    Store both in an airtight container.   I like to save my empty spice bottles for this as you can sprinkle from the container.

9)  Bake cookies 10 to 12 mins. or until lightly brown.  If you are using a dark cookie sheet, it will take less time.  On your first batch keep a close eye on the cookies & adjust the time for your oven.  Remove cookie sheets from oven & place cookies on a cooling rack

10) After cooling you can top plain cookies with icing or frosting.

a)    To make icing mix powdered sugar, food coloring & a few drops of water at a time until a smooth consistency is reached.  The icing will harden as it dries.

11) This recipe makes a LOT!  Third the ingredients to make fewer cookies.  These cookies freeze well.  I have kept them up over six months in an airtight container (so the cookies do not absorb odors) in the freezer. Freeze them unfrosted.

Thank you for reading my post. I hope you enjoyed the tutorial.  If you have any questions or something is not clear, please let me know so that I can improve the tutorial.   

Please take a moment to leave a comment and rate this post.

Thanks again. 

I love to decorate cookies!

Link up to Lisa’s Linky Party!

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: