Monday, December 7, 2015

A Little Background

So, I was looking something up on my blog the other day & had to do a double take.  Ummm has it really been almost a year & a half since my last post?  Nah, I've had so many ideas, written notes, taken pics...  Ugh... yep, it really has been that long... Well, I can't say that life has been uneventful - new job, oldest daughter graduated & is now away at college, new puppy (poor Sadie crossed the Rainbow Bridge last September), to name a few. When the Cottage Law didn't pass last year, cookie-ing slowed down a bit, and everything else kept going at full speed ahead!  So before I blink and another year goes by I wanted to share  a trick I *think* I came up with... I belong to a lot of cookie groups and haven't seen this one before so...for the sake of a long overdue blog post, let's just say it was my idea : )

If you saw my last post, "A Two-Fer", you will notice that there was a background behind my cookies:

Another favorite background of mine were used with these cookies:

What I had done was print a design onto card stock, cut it out, slip it I to a treat bag, and slip that inside of my cookie bag.  For one, I love having a cute background.  And two, I like having a backing to "support" the cookies.  And I had to do it that way since I didn't want the cookies touching non-food-safe ink from my printed image.  Or perhaps having butter bleed onto the image.  Or even due to the fact that the paper may not be food safe.  So regardless that it cost extra for the bag, and took extra time to put the printed image in, and then squeeze the bag into another bag, I did it, all in the name of packaging.

If you don't mind straight white, BRP Boxshop now has grease proof cookie cards that you can cut to size - which I love! Or there's candy padding, but that's a little pricey for me... Or you can continue reading my story...

Anyhoo... the other day I was looking thru my stock of bags to see what I needed for some upcoming cookies, 'cause I wanted a background and therefore would need extra bags.  Yep, a 25-mile round trip to Michaels it was gonna be : /

Feeling tired just thinking about the ride, and after having made a big dinner, later that day I was looking for the lid to an empty yogurt container to use for leftovers from said dinner (trust me, this is going somewhere...)  Anyway, I couldn't find the lid, so I grabbed my Glad Press'n Seal.  Which I never have because I used to hate how it left little tiny dots on whatever I was covering...but which I know a lot of you have, what with icing bullets being so popular and all.  But I did have a really old roll of holiday Press'n Seal way back in the drawer that I use on rare occasions such as this.  And as I'm using the Press'n Seal, and sealing the excess down the side of the container, I thought to myself, hmmm... you can see thru that pretty good.  It's not completely clear but pretty clear nonetheless.  And then, that's when the lightbulb went off...  I grabbed the nearest paper item, which happened to be a Christmas sale circular, and stuck some Press'n Seal over it.  And you know what?  It worked!  It stuck to the paper, and I can see thru it!
And I can now make my own food safe backgrounds, and don't have to put them in bags inside of bags anymore!  I used enough to cover an 8.5x11 printed card stock, and then I used my paper cutter... yes, my paper cutter... to cut them into smaller sizes!  Awesome sauce!  And I covered regular printed paper from Michaels and used that to photograph these cookies... sorry, it's all I currently have on hand : ) I'm excited that I can just wipe it down!  And the fact that it isn't 100% crystal clear?  Well, the slight dulling of the paper makes a nice muted background for your cookies to stand out & be the star! And, I don't care, I just cut my cost ($.04/sqft for Press'n Seal  vs $.05/bag) and packaging time by a LOT, as well as increasing my opportunity for cute packaging by a MEGA-LOT : )

*please excuse my photography... these pics were taken in the weeee hours of the morning, and the lighting is poor...

with Glad Press'n Seal

without Glad Press'n Seal

Just think of the backgrounds... not only scenic but "SAMPLE" or "YOUR LOGO" or "BABY'S NAME" or "INGREDIENTS" or "GLUTEN FREE" or "HOMEMADE" or any theme at all!
Or, just cover white or colored paper for a plain background : ) OR take your favorite Christmas wrapping paper, glue stick it to some card stock, and cover it for holiday cookie backgrounds!
But wait!  There's more!  You could even line your flat platters or trays!  And in a side-by-side slide test, cookies slide 25% less than without!  No seriously... Look!

Cookie on Glad Press'n Seal (left) slid 25% less
than on non-coated paper (right)
in a side-by-side slide test

Oh and BTW and a new roll of non-holiday Press'n Seal was purchased and they must be new & improved - no little dots left behind! Double bonus!

So, I hope my idea was a good one... and hopefully it won't take me another year and a half to post a new one : )

Happy Holiday Baking!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A "Two-fer"

We all know that "the holidays" refers to Thanksgiving through New Year's and most would consider that to be the busiest time of the year.  Until a few weeks ago I would have agreed wholeheartedly.  But May is the start of Communions, graduations, weddings (and anniversaries!), Teacher Appreciation Week and Mother's Day, to name just a few.  So I've been busy, busy, busy...  In order to combat some of the stress, for the bulk of Teacher Appreciation Day and Mother's Day, I combined the two and made the same sets for both.  A Two-fer!
I made a background with some clip-art, printed out a ton of them, painstakingly cut them out to fit treat bags, bagged them, and then stuck those into a second treat bag of the same size.  (I bagged the background separately so that the cookies would not sit directly on the paper.)  I mixed dough and icing, cut, baked, and decorated around 20 dozen cookies - daisies and leaves - and made these sets, changing the labels for each occasion.  (Instructions for the daisies can be found here.)

"Thanks for helping our kids grow!" - Teacher Appreciation

I know these weren't my most creative cookies ever, but time was not on my side this month and I was more than satisfied with the end results. 
Have you ever done any two-fers?
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to all the hard-working teachers that help our kids grow!
And Happy Mother's Day to my mom, my mother-in-law, my sisters-in-law and to all of the other wonderful moms out there!  Have a beautiful day!