I'm a collector (my husband might say "hoarder" ) of many things, but one of my favorite collections is my vintage holiday cards. Around this time each year, I repurpose them into recipe cards (which are then swapped at my annual cookie exchange), menus, gift tags, napkins, coasters, dish towels (think: hostess gifts), or just general household Christmas décor. You'll see some of my past repurposing projects below . . .
But, I digress . . . all of this waxing poetic about vintage holiday cards was simply my roundabout way of saying I love them so much that I just had to find a way to work them into my cookie decorating. And that's precisely what I did with this month's Joyeux Noel release! The angel, bell, and holly on the foreground stencil are iconic retro card images, and the message stencil sayings are simple, classic, and designed to work from Christmas through New Year's Day! Couple all of that with sepia tones and one or two other muted colors, and you've got an undeniably vintage look. Plus, the green and gold used on my cookies go great with my holiday dining room décor . . .
One other note before I get into the details of this release: these two Joyeux Noel sets are unlike many of my recent releases, in that each foreground element (bell and angel) was designed to stand on its own, or with a single message, but not necessarily with the other foreground element. The idea was to keep this release relatively straightforward and streamlined, as we all know how crazy-busy this season can be! The faster your cookies get decorated, the more time you can spend enjoying the holidays with family and friends!
But again, I digress . . . let's move onto what's actually in this month's release. Here's what it looks like in a single collage . . .
And here's exactly where you can find the stencils used above:
- Joyeux Noel Dynamic Duos™ Background Set (upper left),
- Joyeux Noel Dynamic Duos™ Message and Frame Set (combined with the Duos™ background set; upper right),
- My partner Confection Couture Stencils' Vintage Christmas Tags Stencil (lower right), and, for my usual reminder of a past release . . .
- Winter Wonderland Prettier Plaques™ Set (one of my best-selling Christmas sets, perhaps because it looks easy and quick - which it IS, I might add!)
Of course, my partner and I have myriad other holiday cookie stencils from Christmases past, so don't forget to check them out here. And, while you're on the site, be sure to jump on over to my Stencil of the Month Club! It offers significant savings over normal site prices. Each month, Club members get specially curated stencil bundles like this one for November:
This Christmas-spanning-New Year's bundle is worth $22.99, but Club members get it for only $14.99! What's more, they also get 15% off anything else on the Confection Couture site as long as they stay members! Pretty sweet, right?! If you're interested in learning more or signing up, just click here.
Now, let's review what's in this month's Duos™ Background Set . . .
Again, this set is relatively simple with just five pieces and two primary foreground elements. Even so, there's tons you can do with it. Proof positive - the many photos below!
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to approach this set is to skip the setting and masking of the background stencil and go directly to stenciling one of the foreground elements on a plain white cookie, as shown below . . .
Another way to keep your workflow speedy and streamlined . . . limit the colors to just a few! I did all of these cookies in three to four colors: gold for the background stripes, as applicable, and brown, Electric Green, and Avocado Green for the foreground elements. (Aside: The two greens and the gold are AmeriMist colorings; the brown is Chefmaster Harvest Brown.)
Of course, incorporating the striped background (below left) is fun too, as is swapping in other backgrounds, like the Swiss dot pattern from my Single Monogram Prettier Plaques™ set (below right). To add more dimension to these two looks, I airbrushed the holly leaves (on top of the bell stencil) onto wafer paper, cut them out, and then stuck a few with icing onto the leaves previously stenciled on the cookies.
Now, let's give the other foreground element a try! In the cookie below, I stenciled one angel directly onto the cookie and then elevated the design (literally!) by turning the other angel into a raised fondant appliqué.
Here's a closer look . . .
The cookie below uses the exact same fondant appliqué layering concept, except that the angels are now flying in unison! While I shaded the edges of the cookie above with Electric Green, I shaded with brown below, imparting an even more aged, vintage look.
I love using my vintage postcards as plate liners and table accents too!
I wasn't kidding when I said there were tons of design possibilities, was I?! And, to think, I haven't even layered in the complementary message and frame set yet!
As always, when that set (pictured below) is brought into the mix, the design possibilities grow exponentially.
Just scroll on down to see what I mean . . .
In the cookie above (and also below), I've airbrushed both a foreground element (the angel) and a message-and-frame combination directly onto the cookie, which leads to a really clean, streamlined look . . .
BTW, the bow above is made with modeling chocolate, which was airbrushed with bronze coloring; the big gold disk in the bow center has more chocolate inside!
Here's another even more streamlined look - just stenciling with no modeling chocolate or chocolate embellishments . . .
And a closer view, so you can appreciate the precision with which you can stencil with these sets . . .
Yes, no under-spray (even with stripes) IS possible, but you need to be mindful of your airbrushing technique. (Check out my stenciling/airbrushing videos on YouTube for those tricks of the trade!)
By now, you should have guessed that I'm really grooving on this streamlined look! Here it is AGAIN, on the EXACT SAME cookie, just shot from a more sideways angle to show how truly pristine and smooth this cookie is!
Now, swap the angel for bells and elevate the message with a fondant appliqué, and you get a very different design . . .
Same message, different foreground element, and - ta da! - yet another design spin . . .
Now, back to bells, but combined with a different message on a different cookie shape . . .
And a closer view . . .
And, once again, viewing more from the side, so you can see how much I've elevated the fondant appliqué . . .
Basically, not much . . . there's just a tiny blob of white fondant underneath that's serving as a prop.
Now . . . if I haven't yet convinced you of the versatility of these two Duos™ sets, I probably never will (!), so let's move on to the Winter Wonderland set - that "reminder" set from years past. As a Prettier Plaques™ set, it's even simpler than any of my Duos™ sets, and that's because it only contains five pieces (just one background and no foreground elements). As such, it's a great beginner set, as are all of my Prettier Plaques™. Here it is done up in the same palette that I've used throughout this post (so far, that is!) . . .
The larger trees in the background curve ever so slightly inward, which makes this design fit a heart-shaped cookie quite wonderfully! Of course, you needn't be constrained to play within set boundaries. As you can see in the two photos below, the angel in this month's Joyeux Noel background set looks right at home amidst Winter Wonderland's trees and snowflakes!
And here's that heavenly body in a close-up . . .
Not as smitten with my gold-green-brown palette as I am? No worries, colors can easily be changed up, as the following variation on the above design demonstrates . . .
Wow - a mere color change seems like the difference between night and day, doesn't it? The cookie above uses the same two green colorings in the trees, but a custom-blend of Royal Blue and Violet for the angel, and another of Sky Blue, White, and Pearl for the snowflakes. All colorings, except for the white, are from AmeriMist. For the white, I used Spectrum Flow Matte White, which dries exceptionally fast because it is alcohol-based. (Many other brands of white are too watery, and can quickly lead to too much coloring accumulation and under-spray or spotting.)
But, as cheerful as this cookie is with its vibrant colors, I must say I'm still a sucker for a good muted, vintage palette, and so . . . I leave you with one last view of a host of heavenly angels, decked out elegantly in brown and gold.
Happy holidays, and - pssst - don't forget to review my key links below before you go!
- To purchase my Dynamic Duos™ sets, click here.
- To join my Stencil of the Month Club, click here.
- To see my entire stencil line, including my Prettier Plaques™ sets, click here.
- To view my videos that show how to create layered looks with my stencil sets, click here.
If you have any technical questions about these stencils, just email me at email@example.com or leave a comment below. Please, however, direct all ordering and Club questions to my stencil partner, Confection Couture Stencils, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!