I did it! I finally made my own blog background! I've been trying for a couple weeks now and it just wasn't working. I tried on several different programs and found several different tutorials, but the sizing was always off. Dimensions of the blog background, sizes of the clipart, size of the middle text section, the decorative elements, all of it was askew once it was uploaded to the blog and it was making me crazy that I couldn't figure it out.
Well tonight I taught myself how to use Photoshop Elements for this specific purpose. Thankfully my son put up with my really silly questions like "hey honey, any idea where I'd find the rectangle tool?" and he didn't know either, but you know teenagers, they aren't afraid to click on every item and the possibility of completely wrecking how far you've already gotten on your project! Long after he went to bed, I kept working on it. There's one part I still haven't figured out (even with reading the help section... yes I'm one of those that reads directions and manuals), but I worked around it and will continue to learn. I'm SO excited (and relieved) to finally figure out how to make my own blog background and excited for the possibilities. So leave a comment and let me know if it works on your screen. I have a large monitor, so I'm curious how it looks on others.
Okay, ready for some cookies? I made hockey puck cookies and made it into a tutorial for you. Are you excited? Well then lets get started...
Step 1 - make the cookie dough, let it chill for several hours or even better, over night and then roll and bake. I generally also like to outline the cookies after they've cooled, but my friend's son is allergic to eggs so I couldn't use Royal Icing (meringue powder = egg whites) so these babies are ALL glaze icing. Let them sit over night to cool completely and smell up your house super yummy. Since glaze icing doesn't stand up as pretty as Royal Icing does, I didn't want the outline to show on these. So I outlined one cookie and let it sit for just a moment while I filled the other cookie and then came back to the first cookie. This way the outline acted as a slight dam to hold the icing in, but smoothed over as soon as it was filled. Does that make sense?
Step 2 - After step 1 was completely dry, I then used the image that I wanted for my hockey puck cookies and I projected the image onto each cookie and made the shield. This is completely unnecessary unless you have a crazy perfectionist part of you that insists on it so that each shield is exactly the same size. Be glad you aren't in my head ;-)
Step 3 - Fill each shield and let them dry completely.
Step 4 - Draw the cross lines on the shields. Let them dry completely.
Step 5 - By now it's a couple days into this project and you're fighting your kids to stay away from the yummy smelling cookies... then use your white icing to draw the hockey sticks. I used a #1 tip for these. I know most people despise #1 tips because they get clogged and are hard to work with, but glaze is more runny than royal icing and using a #2 tip made the hockey sticks too thick. So yes, I dealt with clogged tips to get the look I wanted.
Step 6- When the red and black are COMPLETELY dry (keep in mind these are the worst colors for bleeding!), then you can add the letter detail to the shield. This is a W for Will's birthday :-)
Step 7 - When the white on the sticks is completely dry, add the detail to the hockey sticks. I started by using icing and a #1 tip, but again it was too runny for the teeny tiny lines that I wanted, so I decided on a black food coloring marker for this detail.
Here are some of the completed cookies on a platter before bagging.
Bag and tag the cookies with a heat sealed bag for freshness.
And package up the cookies to ship to your friend using more bubble wrap and other packing materials than you could possibly imagine. The last step and by far the most important step, is to PRAY and then pray some more. Hope that the mail carrier isn't having a bad day and is gentle and kind to your cookie boxes :-)
We've had a lot going on in our little house. We had a house guest for just over a month and he just left last weekend. For a short bit I had the opportunity to play guardian angel to another 18-year old boy and it was such a joy and a blessing. My heart was very sad to see him go and for me to let go, but it worked out to be the best solution for him, so I'm very happy for him. I was incredibly proud of my son for sharing his room and all his belongings with our guest while he was here. My heart was so incredibly full!
In addition to that, yesterday would have been my dad's 73rd birthday if we hadn't lost him to Cancer a couple years ago. I miss him terribly, but I'm beyond thankful and truly blessed for the time we had together. Today I met my fundraising goal for the 100-mile LiveStrong Challenge coming up in June for the fight against Cancer. Thank you so much to all my supporters and becoming a part of Eddie's Angels!
And we have one more thing coming up in our little family tomorrow. It's a huge big deal and I don't even want to say it for fear of jinxing it. Please just say a prayer for my son, Nick!