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Backyard Planter and Bird Bath
Watch-Learn-Create Challenge #51

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This project has been in the planning stages for a very, very long time!! My inspiration was a picture of a backyard fountain (see attachments for inspiration, process and various angles of project). Engineering the curve for this was a huge challenge as I couldn't see how it would hold together and be strong enough. Making a  steel "mold"  was the the solution hubby came up with (and made) so that I could create the curved cookie pieces. I could have used aluminum foil but baking the cookie shapes on this nice, smooth surface was easier. After one broken cookie I finally thought of cutting out a piece of silicone to lay on top of the mold to make the cookie pieces release more easily. Worked great.

The waterfall...oh yes, the waterfall! Ugh. I spent a full week (when I could work on it) trying to make isomalt work as a medium to create the effect of falling water. Couldn't figure it out. It bugs me even now!! Rather than give up (Never) I compromised by creating a (stone-effect) backyard planter with a bird bath. I like the result.

Putting the curved pieces together was humorous (I should have recorded this part. LOL), frustrating and difficult. In some of the pictures you'll see how one side doesn't line up perfectly as it should have...far from it! I a added cookie "support" to the inside "seam" where the pieces fit together. The outside looks messy. I'm sorry you're seeing this part but I wanted to show the whole thing. I now know how I could make this again so that it would fit perfectly and not look messy on the outside seam where the cookie pieces come together.

I made a lot of drawings and, of course, can't find them all now that it's finished. I'll show you pics of the drawing I do have and the 3D model I made out of construction paper.

Attachments

Images (11)
  • Curve steel mold with silicone piece on top.
  • Steel mold
  • Back with the messy seam with the extra cookie support
  • Top View
  • Close up of bird bath
  • View of Curve
  • Side Angle
  • Inspiration Image
  • Drawing
  • Construction Model
  • Baked Cookies

Wow, very cool, Carol! The overall tone-on-tone effect is very striking and very concrete-like!

Can you describe how you did the concrete effect? And how you made what looks to be a molded icing piece at the very top, and the gray flowers at the bottom? Are the birds and flowers molded cookies or molded fondant? Also, what type of dough did you use, and did you have to modify your recipe to get the contoured cookies to work?

P.S. You did not put your entry in the "Cookie Connection Challenge" clip set, so I did. Otherwise, Manu might have missed it. Please be sure to select that set to officially enter your entry next time.

Last edited by Julia M. Usher

Wow, very cool, Carol! The overall tone-on-tone effect is very striking and very concrete-like!

Can you describe how you did the concrete effect? And how you made what looks to be a molded icing piece at the very top, and the gray flowers at the bottom? Are the birds and flowers molded cookies or molded fondant? Also, what type of dough did you use, and did you have to modify your recipe to get the contoured cookies to work?

P.S. You did not put your entry in the "Cookie Connection Challenge" clip set, so I did. Otherwise, Manu might have missed it. Please be sure to select that set to officially enter your entry next time.

Thank you for your comments Julia!! Thank you as well for putting my entry into the appropriate clip set...missed that one!!! Ugh. I didn't mention the molded fondant birds, topper and flowers inside my long comment . I did add tags at the top about the fondant topper, flowers and birds. But, I should have mentioned them in my comment as well. I will next time . I used a brown marbled fondant in the bird molds and did a little dusting and painting to add the shades I wanted. I also added black icing for the eyes.

The concrete effect was achieved by crushing dark cookies, adding white non-perils and then sprinkled that mixture strategically onto the rolled out fondant of marbled tones of gray and white. I then rolled the crumbs and non-perils into the fondant,  turning the fondant over a couple of times to make sure I had embedded the crumbs.. In addition to adding the dark cookie crumbs and non-perils I also created some "scratches" once the fondant was put onto the cookies. I did that by using fondant tools to make indentations and then dusted dark gray and black into those indentations. When I made the fondant mold for the topper, I used my fondant that was treated with the cookie crumbs and non-perils. I didn't use that fondant when making the flowers or the inside of the curve (just the gray and white marbled fondant). I dusted the flowers with gray and black to add shading. On a few of the flowers I used black non-perils in the centers to create a different look.

I used an extruder with darker gray tones to make the bordering (horizontal and vertical) on the top and bottom.

The bird bath is filled with blue tinted piping gel. I added a "stitching" effect to the top piece of fondant that I cut and put around the edge of the bird bath.

I used the PME glaze spray once everything was completed. I was a little hesitant to do this because I was afraid it might come out looking shiny. But what I got was a smooth effect that helped to make the gray flowers look like a part of the "stone".

I slightly modified my sugar cookie recipe by removing the baking powder to keep the cookies from spreading and I rolled my dough to 1/8".  It's amazing what intricate steps I am now remembering...after the work is done. Thank you for all the questions...it helped a lot

Really interesting texturing effect with the fondant (working the other textural things into it) - how clever! Apart from the stippled base, are there other iced parts on this piece? Or did most get covered with the textured fondant? Such a realistic effect.

Really interesting texturing effect with the fondant (working the other textural things into it) - how clever! Apart from the stippled base, are there other iced parts on this piece? Or did most get covered with the textured fondant? Such a realistic effect.

Hi again! Yes, there is the dipped hemisphere for the bird bath and two cookies on the top that are flooded with the same dark gray icing. The smallest cookie is covered by the bird bath hemispheric cookie. But most of the planter is covered in fondant.

It was an incredibly challenging project for me. After making it I can see different ways to make it better and easier. I loved making it. Thank you for your supportive and kind words about the process and effect. I was really happy with how realistic the stone effect worked.

Oh, wow! This is so incredible, Carol. It's obvious that so much work went into this stunning creation. Thank you for sharing how you accomplished it - everything is gorgeous. If this were me, I would probably have it on display!

  • Amazing, Carol! Love the texture, the palette, and the swirling structure!

Thank you so very much dear Samantha @Aproned Artist!! Your comment is beyond kind. Yes, this was a bit more ambitious than I originally thought.  I, too, love the color 😍

Oh, wow! This is so incredible, Carol. It's obvious that so much work went into this stunning creation. Thank you for sharing how you accomplished it - everything is gorgeous. If this were me, I would probably have it on display!

Thank you dear Christine @Sweet Prodigy. Didn't think I'd EVER finish it. So much more involved than I originally thought. But I'm happy with the result.  The cookies must be quite stale. LOL.  Thank you again for your sweet comment  😊 ❤️

@Zeena posted:

This is absolutely beautiful Carol @Cookies Fantastique. Love the colors and the overall cookie.

Thank you very much dear Zeena @Zeena!! You are always so kind.  This was fun to make.. at least most of the time.  LOL. Take care my dear cookie friend!!!

Wow. Carol this is amazing! It looks both incredibly realistic and a work of art. Thank you for sharing so many details about your process and the techniques used. Very interesting. Wonderful work.

@LisaF posted:

Wow. Carol this is amazing! It looks both incredibly realistic and a work of art. Thank you for sharing so many details about your process and the techniques used. Very interesting. Wonderful work.

Thank you so much dear Lisa @LisaF!!! I really appreciate your kind words... hard to imagine reading through all I wrote. Lol. Yes,  it was quite a process!!!

@lulubakes posted:

This is gorgeous Carol!  So creative and lovely, wonderful!  Hope you're well! xx

Thank you my dear @lulubakes!! You are always so very kind. I appreciate that you took the time to comment

This is absolutely stunning dear CarolLove it❤️

Thank you so much dear Petra @Petra Florean!! You are always very kind to comment. I really appreciate you taking the time to look at my work and comment. This was truly the most challenging and difficult cookie projects I've ever made. But so much FUN!!! I love that about cookie decorating, don't you?? ❤️❤️❤️ Hugs...

Wow, Carol, that’s a work of art! You definetly put your own spin to the inspiration fountain. I appreciated to see your paper model and your sketch. I smiled when I read that your husband made the steel mold (just when I was about to aske you where you purchased it!) and thanks for your tip about the silicone to lay on top.
I loved to read about the whole process and of how many things came back one by one to your mind after Julia’s questions. The concrete effect using cookie crumbs and nonpareils is so clever and looks great. Thank you so much for participating to this challenge!

This is stunning! Wow! Love it❤️

Thank you dear Evelin @Evelindecora!! I can't begin to tell you how much your encouraging and supportive words mean to me ❤️. Throughout my years on CC your work has been such an inspiration of what can be done on cookies . But most importantly, your encouragement, support and kindness mean the world to me. You have truly become a very dear cookie friend ❤️❤️❤️ Hugs...

Last edited by Cookies Fantastique

Absolutely stunning!

Dear Tina @Tina at Sugar Wishes, thank you for your kindness to me...I should say your MANY kindnesses to me over the years ❤️. I think of you as a very dear cookie friend who I admire for your talent. The support you give to other cookiers no matter how long we've been decorating cookies is an example of what it is to be kind and considerate. I know everyone else (on CC, FB and Insta) would join me in saying "thank you" for all you are to the cookie community!!!  You are absolutely delightful ❤️❤️❤️ Hugs...

@Manu posted:

Wow, Carol, that’s a work of art! You definetly put your own spin to the inspiration fountain. I appreciated to see your paper model and your sketch. I smiled when I read that your husband made the steel mold (just when I was about to aske you where you purchased it!) and thanks for your tip about the silicone to lay on top.
I loved to read about the whole process and of how many things came back one by one to your mind after Julia’s questions. The concrete effect using cookie crumbs and nonpareils is so clever and looks great. Thank you so much for participating to this challenge!

Thank you so very much dear Manu @Manu!! I love the format for our new challenges on CC. Your involvement and help have encouraged many to participate when they might not have done so...for many reasons! The generous amount of time for this challenge is what enabled me to participate!! I am busy, as we all are, and have not participated in many previous challenges due to my schedule. This was a  project I could pick up whenever time allowed. Yay! You bring so much to the cookie community, apart from your obvious love and dedication to the art of decorating. I have to say that I envy your mind in understanding the technology of recording and editing videos. In spite of many efforts I just can't seem to understand how to use editing software. I will not give up!!!

Thank you for your thoughtful and encouraging comment on my project for this challenge . It has to be one of the most difficult cookie projects I've ever made. I see SO many ways where I can make improvements...but overall, I'm happy with the outcome ❤️❤️❤️ Hugs...

Thank you so much dear Petra @Petra Florean!! You are always very kind to comment. I really appreciate you taking the time to look at my work and comment. This was truly the most challenging and difficult cookie projects I've ever made. But so much FUN!!! I love that about cookie decorating, don't you?? ❤️❤️❤️ Hugs...

Definitely most challenging becouse of difficulty of your project,so so different that you use create,I mean other style,many techniques,very creative and unique stunning special creation!!BRAVO

Last edited by Petra Florean

Definitely most challenging becouse of difficulty of your project,so so different that you use create,I mean other style,many techniques,very creative and unique stunning special creation!!BRAVO

Thank you  my dear Petra @Petra Florean!! Your kind words mean so much to me my friend .  Yes, this was so challenging for me. I've been thinking about this design for a very long time now. I finally  decided the challenge was the perfect opportunity for me to finally get busy and make this. Even though everything is edible, it took me so long to finish it when I had orders that I needed to do. I think the cookies must be stale by now. LOL. Thank  you again my dear for your many kindnesses to me!! ❤️❤️❤️ Hugs...