I usually keep things light here at the Clinic but I’m going to get serious just for today. You all know October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, although every month should be BCA month. Suddenly pink pops up everywhere as a reminder to turn our attention to our breast health. Women should perform self breast exams monthly beginning at age 20. A demonstration by nursing students back in my college days was an important lifetime lesson. Since then technology advanced and screenings became available. For years women fought to have the cost of annual 2D mammograms covered by insurance. It finally became law and I urge you ladies over age 40 to take advantage of it every single year. In recent years 3D mammography has come on the scene to provide a clearer image to the technician. If it’s available to you, take advantage of the technology. This may cost additional but it will be the best $50 you ever spent. Screening has saved thousands of lives and it’s so easy. Filling out the paperwork in the waiting room takes more time than the exam. Five minutes and you are out of there. Do it … please!

Although I love the autumn hues of the season, these hot pink pumpkins commemorating BCA month are much more cheerful, don’t’ you think? Try your hand at cookie decorating with these simple pumpkins and give them to friends as a sweet breast health reminder.

Pumpkin Cookies
Pumpkin Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for flooding tinted Hot Pink with AmeriColor Electric Pink and AmeriColor Super Red
Royal Icing for detail tinted Light Pink with AmeriColor Electric Pink
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Wilton Decorating Tip #2, #3
Wilton Decorating Leaf Tip #67

Pipe three sections of pumpkin with #3 tip in hot pink flood icing.

Flood three sections of pumpkin with #3 tip in hot pink flood icing. Let sit 30 minutes.

Pipe two remaining sections with #3 tip in hot pink flood icing. Let sit one hour.

Pipe stem with #2 tip in light pink icing.
Pipe leaves with leaf tip #67 in light pink icing. Let dry overnight.







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Monograms are popular from shirt cuffs to tote bags to baby blankets. They are everywhere and popular in wedding invitations, cakes, etc. In a recent order for a bridal shower the requested design was to include a monogram of the bride and groom's initials. Of course not wanting to disappoint, I replied ‘I can do that.’  I admit I stressed a bit as writing on cookies is one of my weaknesses in cookie decorating. The finished cookies were nice but the monogram lacked the clean, professional look I imagined.

After hundreds of hours of practice with ink and paper I can create pretty calligraphy letters but with a piping bag, well that’s another ball of wax. I finally discovered the tool used by many cookie artists … Stencils. There are stencils for all kinds of designs and lettering stencils were the perfect solution. A professional calligrapher penned the script letters and a machine perfectly embosses the letters to create the stencil. 

1.25 Inch Letter Stencils

I practiced on some iced cookies. The stenciled initials are of family members. You know who you are …. find your cookie and see how pretty it looks!

Every new decorating technique is a learning experience to figure out what works and what does not. The single monograms were easy but the double monograms were a bit more challenging. I like the flourishes of the interlocking monograms, although in applying the second letter it was a challenge to hold the stencil firmly without compromising the icing on the first letter. Sometimes the stencil slipped and the icing smudged or was too thick which is visible in the photos. I waited 20 minutes before applying the second monogram which was not enough time for the icing to dry on the first letter.

My first tip about using stencils would be to apply just a small amount of icing onto the spatula to cover the design. Second, for double letters wait at least one hour before applying the second letter to allow the first letter to harden. These monogram cookies were done with a three-inch heart cookie cutter and it was a bit of a squeeze to fit two letters onto one cookie. Others were done with a four-inch round cutter with ample space. Just last week I spotted a larger, four-inch heart cookie cutter which will be perfect for double monograms.

Monogram Cookies
Heart and Round Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted with Wilton Ivory
Royal Icing for flooding and detail tinted Light Green with AmeriColor Avocado
Royal Icing for flooding and detail tinted Peach with AmeriColor Peach and AmeriColor Brown
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
Script Letter Stencils (1.25")

 Outline and flood cookie with #2 tip in ivory icing.
 Pipe lines with #2 tip in green and peach flood icing.

Using a toothpick, swirl the icing to create design.
Let dry overnight.

Place the stencil on cookie. Apply light pressure so the stencil stays in place.

 Spread detail icing with spatula removing excess. 

Gently lift stencil. (Wait one hour before applying second letter). Let dry overnight.

 View video tutorial by Mary of Emma's Sweets





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Have you watched House Hunters on HGVT? Of course, you have. No doubt America’s realtors wish they only had to show three houses to a potential buyer from which to choose. Selling real estate is one area where I do not possess the patience the career requires. 'No stainless steel appliances … ugh, carpet, I really want hardwood floors … no walk-in closets … ah, electric stove, I want a gas stove … no granite countertops… we can hear the traffic noise from the backyard … the neighbors are too close … not enough bedrooms, the kids need their own rooms … ah, no fireplace in the family room … that’s a deal-breaker.'  Every now and then the realtor talks to the camera and laments ‘I’ve shown over 50 homes and they need to compromise as their budget cannot afford all the items on their wish list.’

In this area there are multitudes of job opportunities in government and the private sector. Add to that political elections and military personnel. So moving vans are a common sight in neighborhoods in the Washington DC Metro Area. Relocating is exciting, challenging and stressful. I recently filled an order of cookies for a realtor who specializes in military families moving from out of town. As a welcome gift at closing she gives the family a batch of personalized decorated cookies to match the colors of their new house. How nice!

See how various accent colors give this cookie its own unique look

New Home Cookies
House Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted with AmeriColor Super White
Royal Icing for detail tinted Dark Green with AmeriColor Leaf Green, AmeriColor Royal Blue and AmeriColor Super Black (just a smidge of black)
Royal Icing for detail tinted Purple with AmeriColor Regal Purple
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
Wilton Decorating Star Tips #24, #16
White Luster Dust
CK White Sanding Sugar
Meringue Powder

Outline window with #2 tip in white icing. 
Outline rest of cookie except chimney with #2 tip in white icing.

Flood cookie with white icing. Let sit 30 minutes.

Pipe chimney and windowpanes with #2 tip in white outline icing. Let dry overnight.
Gently apply white luster dust with paintbrush to window.

Pipe roof with star tip #24 in green icing.
Pipe window shutters with star tip #16 in green icing.

Pipe door and knob with #2 in green icing. Let dry overnight.

Mix 1 tsp Meringue Powder and Tsp Water. Stir until smooth.

Using a paintbrush apply to white icing on house.
Sprinkle with white sanding sugar. Gently shake off excess. Let dry 30 minutes.






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