Wow - where did 2020 go? As much as I don't like how time flies faster with each passing year, I must say I'm eager to celebrate the conclusion of 2020. And what better way to usher it out than with a merry holiday party (or two or three!) loaded with special Christmas cookies?!
To help you hasten 2020's departure and stock your cookie larder for the season, I've got just the stencil release for you this month. Called "To All A Good Night", it's a cozy fireplace mantel scene that can be decked with stockings, gifts, evergreen garland, and even a darling reindeer statuette - all the trimmings to make Santa feel extra welcome when he descends the chimney this year!
And where can one find all of these festive stencils? Glad you asked! Just click on these links:
- To All A Good Night Dynamic Duos™ Background Set (upper left),
- To All A Good Night Dynamic Duos™ Message and Frame Set (combined with the Duos™ background set; upper right),
- My partner Confection Couture Stencils' Wrapped Presents Accent Stencil (lower right), and, last but not least, a reminder of last year's super popular Christmas release, my . . .
- Peace, Love, and Joy Dynamic Duos™ Sets.
Also, heads up! My partner and I recently started to once again sell the background stencils in my sets separately from all the other stuff. (My partner unbundled my sets when I first launched, but then stopped doing so for a while . . .) Anywho, if you're feeling at all intimidated by the full sets, then a solo background stencil might be just the thing to ease you into my layered designs. All of my background stencils can be found here, and the background stencil corresponding to this particular release (aka Holiday Parlor Background Stencil) can be found here. Use of that stencil alone will create a look something like what you see immediately below. (I over-piped the ornaments, and added a gold dragée atop the tree and some pixie dust on it, but, otherwise, what you see is the background stencil largely unadulterated!)
You could leave this cookie as is, or add your own sweet embellishments to the fireplace, mantel, or wall. In fact, in a bit, I'll be adding some do-dads made with this month's Duos™ sets. But first . . .
Don't forget my Stencil of the Month Club! If you love my stencils, then why not get them automatically sent to you each month at great savings? YES, 20% savings is what my club can do for you! Each month at that terrific low price, you'll receive a specially curated set of stencils that always includes the month's Duos™ background set and the single stencil designed by my partner. For instance, this month, club members will get:
Pretty neat, eh? To learn more about the club or to sign up, just click here.
This month, I've decided to preface my usual in-depth discussion of the background and message and frame sets with a video showing several of the design variations possible with these two sets. If, after viewing the video below, you still have any questions about how I did things or what's possible, then, by all means, read my detailed explanations below. Now, for that video! (Be sure to listen to the end for a message from a surprise visitor!)
Still got an appetite for more info about how these sets work? Then, let's proceed to the details of this month's background set! First, a look at what it contains . . .
To All A Good Night Dynamic DuosTM Background Set (8 pieces)
With just these eight pieces, you can make myriad designs - literally so many that no two need look alike. To show you what I mean, let's start by layering a single foreground element (the evergreen garland) onto the cookie shown above made with just the background stencil . . .
Too plain? I thought so, so I pushed the garland lower on the mantel and added a set of gifts perched on top . . .
Wondering how it's so easy for me to move around design elements?! Simple - with the exception of the tree and mantel, the other two elements are pre-shaped fondant appliqués - i.e., thinly rolled and airbrushed pieces of fondant that are then painstakingly trimmed and air-dried until rigid. Until I commit appliqués to a cookie with royal icing "glue", they can be shuffled around indefinitely to help settle on the best possible layout. While appliqués can be a little time-consuming to make, I absolutely love the flexibility that they bring to the design process, not to mention their added dimensionality! (Pssst! I still thought the above layout was a bit too spare, so I shuffled some more using messages and frames in the other set, as you'll see in a bit.)
But first, here's another design with the two stockings and reindeer airbrushed and stenciled directly on the cookie . . .
However, I felt the void to the right of the mantel needed some filling, so in came more fondant appliqués. First, another green garland to break up the browns in the mantel . . .
Or maybe the garland would look better hanging off the crown molding up top? . . .
Or what about some green gift packages instead!
Oh, so many options; so hard to decide! On a side note, this stencil set is particularly amenable to over-piping. Note how I added dimension to the trees by piping over the baubles with royal icing. More interest was also added to the stockings and gifts by piping teeny defining dots on top. I could even see piping a delicate garland on the tree, but I drew the line at mini gold stars (from Wilton) and iridescent pixie dust. In the right light, the tree truly sparkles!
I imagine you know how much I love that Corner Plaque cutter used on all of the cookies to this point! (After all, I do use it A LOT.) Let there be no love lost, but these sets are especially suited to taller cookie shapes, such as the one below, that really show off the full extent of the Christmas tree!
Note that the mantel on the above cookie is also a fondant appliqué, as I wanted to give it extra height. It also allows an added garland appliqué to truly hang off of it. See how the garland is seemingly suspended in air here . . .
And, before we leave this section, just a quick zoom-in on the tree so you can see how I used the stencil as a guideline for over-piping the ornaments. Once dry, the ornaments were also given additional sheen with a sheer painting of corn syrup commingled with pixie dust!
As you probably know by now, I'm a more-is-more person. It should then come as no surprise that I think the designs get exponentially more interesting as one starts to layer in messages and frames from the second complementary set. So let's segue into that very set!
It's got eight pieces as well, three of which are individual masks for each of the letters in "JOY".
Let's start with the basics of adding a message to one of the cookies at the very top of this post. "Deck the Halls" fills that righthand void rather nicely, I think!
But, hey, so does "NOEL"!
But wait! I think I like this re-shuffling of the same three foreground elements even better!
"NOEL" looks equally nice on this stocking-studded and deer-topped mantel . . .
And let's not forget how great these elements look on taller cookie shapes . . .
In the examples on the Corner Plaque-cut cookies (before this last image), all of the messages were separate fondant appliqués. But in the side-by-side image above and the close-ups of those cookies (below), all of the message and frames were airbrushed and stenciled directly on the cookies. In so doing, these elements recede into the background a bit more, allowing the garland and layered gift box elements to take center stage.
Just to underscore this same point, consider the image below. The message/frame on the left is a fondant appliqué and the garland is airbrushed/stenciled directly on the cookie, whereas, in the righthand image, exactly the opposite is the case. Just by elevating the appliqué on the former cookie, the message/frame becomes a more prominent focal point.
And, last but not least, my favorite cookie of the bunch! The letters "J", "O", and "Y" could surely have been airbrushed and stenciled directly on the cookie, but, by making them as separate fondant appliqués and "stringing" them on an extruded fondant cord, I brought more movement and dimension to the cookie.
Here's a closer look . . .
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. Please, however, direct all ordering and Club questions to my stencil partner, Confection Couture Stencils, at email@example.com. Thank you!