Blog: Parties

Julia might seem demure, but she can party with the best of them! Aside from cookie decorating, there’s little she enjoys more than setting a stunning dinner table filled with sensory surprises for her guests. Explore this section of the blog for Julia’s seasonal party designs, complete with ideas for everything from invitations to take-home gifts.

Julia M. Usher

My Top 10 Holiday Table-Setting Tips

Still recovering from Christmas? Weary of party after same-old party? On the verge of drafting a New Year’s resolution vowing never to entertain again? Hold on – don’t be rash! I know all too well the consequences of holiday party-planning

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Julia M. Usher

Color Me Christmas

You might be dreaming of a white Christmas, but I prefer the traditional red and green – for decorating, that is! These colors cheer up even the dreariest of winter days; they’re naturally found in nature, which often means cheaper,

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Julia M. Usher

A Cookie Coming-Out

Ka-ching! Ka-ching! Not familiar with that sound? Well then, you’re as lucky as a kid in a candy shop, because most of us can recognize the sound of the cash register tallying up party damages from miles away. There’s no

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Julia M. Usher

Teatime with Where Women Cook

Even though I’ve been food-styling for publications for a few years, it’s not everyday that a national magazine emails to say they want to photograph me doing my cookie thing. Usually I’m hired to make someone else’s food or space look camera-ready.

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Julia M. Usher

Celebrating the Everyday

OK, so this feature isn’t my usual special party, but it is a celebration in its own right – of the smaller things in life that we (or at least, I) too often take for granted. After a whirlwind winter

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Julia M. Usher

Holiday in a Hurry

My husband often questions my habit of collecting throughout the year. In fact, my last antiques mall-find elicited a frown and dismissive, “What is that @#%*$?!!” Granted, I rarely return from my foraging with anything of real monetary value or

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Julia M. Usher

Field of Dreams

Alfresco is one of my favorite ways to entertain. Late September into early October, after the summer swelter has passed, is usually the best time to do it here in Missouri. Fortunately, June was unseasonably cool when this farm-to-table dinner

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Julia M. Usher

Good as Gold

Once upon a time, long before I ever wrote about cookies, I owned and operated a bakery. There in my humble South St. Louis shop, I happily crafted all manner of fancy wedding cakes, from modern mosaics and sculptural suspensions to more romantic chocolate-wrapped and

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Julia M. Usher

Mother Deserves Best

The topic of mothers has been on my mind lately, and not just because Mothers’ Day is right around the corner. After a year of non-stop work on my next book Ultimate Cookies, I finally submitted the manuscript a couple of

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Julia M. Usher

Home for the Holidays

Like it or not, we’re homebound this holiday. My husband is on call through Christmas, and I’m between photo shoots for my next cookie book, struggling to see my way past the latest blizzard of powdered sugar. Cookies in various

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Julia M. Usher

Back-to-School Bonanza

OK, I admit it, I was and always will be a nerd. While other kids were cajoling their parents into taking them to Bob’s Surplus, where new stand-on-their-own stiff Levi’s could be bought for ten dollars or less, I was

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Julia M. Usher

Hello, Summer

Normally I’m not one to relish the unexpected house guest, but when summer descended on my little island home-away-from-home of Stonington, Maine fully three weeks ahead of schedule, I embraced the convergence of seasons with a giant bear hug –

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Julia M. Usher

Bring in Spring

Around about mid-March last year, I caught a serious case of spring fever. No surprise really, considering the season’s painfully long St. Louis winter. Plus, there was only so much swaddling in sweaters, socks, and blankets that I could take.

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Julia M. Usher

An Affair of the Heart

We all have that certain someone for whom a box of chocolates doesn’t seem quite enough . . . that person who’s been there, done that, and seen it all! Am I right? . . . OK, now that we’ve

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Julia M. Usher

Bling in the New Year

Tick tock. Tick tock. Before you know it, this year will be a distant point in history. If you’re spinning your wheels on New Year’s resolutions or otherwise counting the passing of time, I urge you to stop. The few

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Julia M. Usher

Dreaming of a Green Christmas

If the flurry of malls and mass consumerism overwhelms you during the Christmas season, then do as I do and avoid the excess by delivering holiday cheer with handcrafted party invitations, favors, and gifts. Or go the extra distance and

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After nearly six months in development, my new Kitchen Club Collection has arrived! Here’s an overview of some of the cookies you can make with my first kit in the collection, which released just in time for Halloween. Complete with stencils, cutters, and even an instructional video, each kit will provide all you need to make wonderfully rich and layered 2-D, and often 3-D, stenciled cookie designs. 

Stay tuned for more holiday releases in October and November! I hope you love my new club and kits as much as I loved designing them for you! – Julia