Cookie Swap - It's Pretty Sweet Cookie Book Cover Buy it! Cookie Book Cover Buy it!

"This really is the ULTIMATE cookie book. Whimsical, elegant, colorful, and creative!! What more could you ask for? You will not be disappointed.”

Colette Peters

Celebrity Cake Decorator; Owner, Colette's Cakes

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Mar 17, 2019 1:14am

Julia Usher baking in her home kitchen
Library

Oooh, my favorite cookie holiday – Valentine’s Day – is nearly upon us, and I’ve got two new and very romantic Dynamic Duos™ sets that are designed to evoke gorgeous layered Victorian valentine cards, but on cookies! In this video, I show how to use these two sets with airbrushing techniques, as well as how to create dimensional layered effects using a variety of mediums, including royal icing, fondant, modeling chocolate, and wafer paper. There are so many design possibilities with just these two sets; but, no matter which way you go, your Valentine is sure to swoon over the results. Happy Valentine’s Day!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


Oooh, my favorite cookie holiday – Valentine’s Day – is nearly upon us, and I’ve got two new and very romantic Dynamic Duos™ sets that are designed to evoke gorgeous layered Victorian valentine cards, but on cookies! In this video, I show how to use these two sets with airbrushing techniques, as well as how to create dimensional layered effects using a variety of mediums, including royal icing, fondant, modeling chocolate, and wafer paper. There are so many design possibilities with just these two sets; but, no matter which way you go, your Valentine is sure to swoon over the results. Happy Valentine’s Day!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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I’m back with a follow-on to my recent 3-D Christmas candelabra cookie! The goal of this “companion” video is to show you exactly how I made the very lifelike, but completely edible decorations on that candelabra, including (1) the curved royal icing and fondant holly leaves; (2) the fondant (or modeling chocolate) holly berries; and (3) the pièce de résistance, the royal icing pine cones! While I’m terribly sorry I didn’t get this video to you in time for Christmas, the good news is: these decorations make great additions to any winter-themed cookie, so you’re sure to get plenty of mileage out of them!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


I’m back with a follow-on to my recent 3-D Christmas candelabra cookie! The goal of this “companion” video is to show you exactly how I made the very lifelike, but completely edible decorations on that candelabra, including (1) the curved royal icing and fondant holly leaves; (2) the fondant (or modeling chocolate) holly berries; and (3) the pièce de résistance, the royal icing pine cones! While I’m terribly sorry I didn’t get this video to you in time for Christmas, the good news is: these decorations make great additions to any winter-themed cookie, so you’re sure to get plenty of mileage out of them!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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OMG, it’s almost 2019! Where has 2018 gone?! Time always has a way of flying by, which is why my Dynamic Duos™ stencil sets come in so handy, especially during the super-busy holiday season. They eliminate the need for time-consuming piping on cookies, and allow you to create lavish designs in mere minutes. Just in time for the New Year, this video shows how to quickly make gorgeous layered cookies using my new “Ring in the New Year” sets. First, I demo the use of the background set all by itself, and then I demo how to layer on messages and frames with the complementary Duos™ set. And, last but not least, I show that these stencils needn’t be used just to stencil directly on the cookie icing – they can be used to make dimensional royal icing and fondant elements, both of which give unexpected depth and pizzazz to otherwise flat cookies!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


OMG, it’s almost 2019! Where has 2018 gone?! Time always has a way of flying by, which is why my Dynamic Duos™ stencil sets come in so handy, especially during the super-busy holiday season. They eliminate the need for time-consuming piping on cookies, and allow you to create lavish designs in mere minutes. Just in time for the New Year, this video shows how to quickly make gorgeous layered cookies using my new “Ring in the New Year” sets. First, I demo the use of the background set all by itself, and then I demo how to layer on messages and frames with the complementary Duos™ set. And, last but not least, I show that these stencils needn’t be used just to stencil directly on the cookie icing – they can be used to make dimensional royal icing and fondant elements, both of which give unexpected depth and pizzazz to otherwise flat cookies!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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I love crafting non-edibles just as much as making cookies and other sweets! I’m also a huge fan of those big retro Christmas wreaths adorned with tinsel and then jam-packed with vintage Christmas ornaments! In this video, I do a much smaller spin on those wreaths that doesn’t require as many ornaments – or as much time – and which also makes use of my large stockpile of salvaged costume jewelry! In addition to being a festive way to deck the halls (or bling in the New Year!), my wreaths are sized so they can easily do double-duty as chair tie-place cards, as welcome greetings on guest room doors, or as hostess gifts. The other great thing about them is that they’re incredibly versatile. In this video, I’ll show you ideas for wreaths in several color palettes and styles.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


I love crafting non-edibles just as much as making cookies and other sweets! I’m also a huge fan of those big retro Christmas wreaths adorned with tinsel and then jam-packed with vintage Christmas ornaments! In this video, I do a much smaller spin on those wreaths that doesn’t require as many ornaments – or as much time – and which also makes use of my large stockpile of salvaged costume jewelry! In addition to being a festive way to deck the halls (or bling in the New Year!), my wreaths are sized so they can easily do double-duty as chair tie-place cards, as welcome greetings on guest room doors, or as hostess gifts. The other great thing about them is that they’re incredibly versatile. In this video, I’ll show you ideas for wreaths in several color palettes and styles.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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For me, the holiday season is the time to impress – to pull out all the stops and really wow your holiday guests. That being said, in this video, I show how to make a spectacular 3-D cookie candelabra, which I plan to be the star of my holiday dessert table. If you’re short on time this season, remember that this piece can do double-duty, serving as both décor and dessert. Further, you needn’t make the whole 3-D piece. Feel free to pick and choose from among the design elements shown in this video to create smaller scale (and quicker) cookie creations. For instance, a single side of the bottom cookie box would be gorgeous with a few royal icing holly leaves and pine cones on top!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


For me, the holiday season is the time to impress – to pull out all the stops and really wow your holiday guests. That being said, in this video, I show how to make a spectacular 3-D cookie candelabra, which I plan to be the star of my holiday dessert table. If you’re short on time this season, remember that this piece can do double-duty, serving as both décor and dessert. Further, you needn’t make the whole 3-D piece. Feel free to pick and choose from among the design elements shown in this video to create smaller scale (and quicker) cookie creations. For instance, a single side of the bottom cookie box would be gorgeous with a few royal icing holly leaves and pine cones on top!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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Magazine Feature
Hannaford Fresh, December 2018

Widely proclaimed as a cookie swap expert ever since her first book on the topic, Julia was one of six women interviewed for this feature all about Christmas cookie exchanges. For the article’s primary sidebar, Julia lent many tips, some new and others updated since her book Cookie Swap. Hannaford Fresh, a publication of John Brown Media, is the culinary magazine associated with Hannaford grocery stores in the northeastern USA. For the complete article, click on the “Look Inside” link to the left.

Julia’s bit: Interview.


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Eek! Happy (early) Halloween! This week, I’ve got a wonderfully easy spider cookie for you – it’s so easy, in fact, that you should have no trouble whipping up large numbers for your kids’ Halloween treat bags! What makes it so easy, you ask?! Simple - my “Along Came a Spider” Dynamic Duos™ stencil sets, designed in partnership with Confection Couture Stencils!

In this video, I show how to use the background set all by itself, as well as how to layer it with the complementary message and frame set to create myriad Halloween designs. And if you want to go “more is more” as I am prone to do, I also show how to create interesting dimensional effects - including a wafer paper banner and piped spiders – all with these same sets.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


Eek! Happy (early) Halloween! This week, I’ve got a wonderfully easy spider cookie for you – it’s so easy, in fact, that you should have no trouble whipping up large numbers for your kids’ Halloween treat bags! What makes it so easy, you ask?! Simple - my “Along Came a Spider” Dynamic Duos™ stencil sets, designed in partnership with Confection Couture Stencils!

In this video, I show how to use the background set all by itself, as well as how to layer it with the complementary message and frame set to create myriad Halloween designs. And if you want to go “more is more” as I am prone to do, I also show how to create interesting dimensional effects - including a wafer paper banner and piped spiders – all with these same sets.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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I’m back this week with a more adult spin on last week’s baby cookie – a lovely still life cookie, perfect for weddings, birthdays, late summer garden parties . . . heck, just about any occasion! For the foreground elements (vase and butterflies), it relies on the same fondant appliqué technique used on the baby cookie. But, for the background, I’ve mixed things up a bit. Instead of rubber-stamping like last time, I show how to make custom patterns by combining two different stencils and then airbrushing. This same, very simple “dual-stencil” approach can be used to make one-of-a-kind two-part background patterns of almost any design! Happy cookie-ing!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


I’m back this week with a more adult spin on last week’s baby cookie – a lovely still life cookie, perfect for weddings, birthdays, late summer garden parties . . . heck, just about any occasion! For the foreground elements (vase and butterflies), it relies on the same fondant appliqué technique used on the baby cookie. But, for the background, I’ve mixed things up a bit. Instead of rubber-stamping like last time, I show how to make custom patterns by combining two different stencils and then airbrushing. This same, very simple “dual-stencil” approach can be used to make one-of-a-kind two-part background patterns of almost any design! Happy cookie-ing!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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Because my recent “underwater ephemera” cookies made such a splash (pun intended!), I decided to use the same fondant appliqué technique in this video, but apply it to a cookie of a completely different theme – a baby shower! I think you’ll see just how versatile and easy this technique can be! One technique note: whereas the background on my underwater cookie was airbrushed and stenciled, this one is rubber-stamped just like the foreground fondant elements. Enjoy!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


Because my recent “underwater ephemera” cookies made such a splash (pun intended!), I decided to use the same fondant appliqué technique in this video, but apply it to a cookie of a completely different theme – a baby shower! I think you’ll see just how versatile and easy this technique can be! One technique note: whereas the background on my underwater cookie was airbrushed and stenciled, this one is rubber-stamped just like the foreground fondant elements. Enjoy!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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It’s hard to believe that summer is on its way out, and that kids will be headed back to school in a few weeks. But, fortunately, I’ve got just the cookie treats to ease kids (and teachers and parents!) back into the school spirit. They’re made with my new “School Rules” Dynamic Duos™ stencil sets – which include one set of background (and foreground) elements, and another set of complementary messages and frames. I’m especially fond of these sets, because they contain more elements (six and seven, respectively) than most of my other Duos™, making the design possibilities even greater!

In this video, I show how to use the background set all by itself, as well as how to layer it with the message and frame set. What’s more, I demonstrate that stencils needn’t be used just to stencil – they can be used as guidelines for other techniques, such as dusting and piped royal icing transfers, which I use to dress up these cookies even more. 

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


It’s hard to believe that summer is on its way out, and that kids will be headed back to school in a few weeks. But, fortunately, I’ve got just the cookie treats to ease kids (and teachers and parents!) back into the school spirit. They’re made with my new “School Rules” Dynamic Duos™ stencil sets – which include one set of background (and foreground) elements, and another set of complementary messages and frames. I’m especially fond of these sets, because they contain more elements (six and seven, respectively) than most of my other Duos™, making the design possibilities even greater!

In this video, I show how to use the background set all by itself, as well as how to layer it with the message and frame set. What’s more, I demonstrate that stencils needn’t be used just to stencil – they can be used as guidelines for other techniques, such as dusting and piped royal icing transfers, which I use to dress up these cookies even more. 

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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This week I’ve got another companion video for my “JULIA” airbrush system. Here in this video, I explain the conditions under which moisture might accumulate in ANY airbrush hose and how to clear or contain it in the “JULIA” system. One option (which is my preference) involves the easy installation of an inexpensive “JULIA” moisture filter (Part #JU50-2012), which will trap 100-percent of any moisture. For those of you who operate in cool, dry environments, this video may never be necessary, but for those of you who don’t, I wanted you to have some simple options at your fingertips.

As part of my ongoing re-branding process, I’m also debuting some snazzy animated video graphics using my new-ish “JULIA” logo. Enjoy!

To purchase the JULIA airbrush system and moisture filter, visit: www.confectioncouturestencils.com.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


This week I’ve got another companion video for my “JULIA” airbrush system. Here in this video, I explain the conditions under which moisture might accumulate in ANY airbrush hose and how to clear or contain it in the “JULIA” system. One option (which is my preference) involves the easy installation of an inexpensive “JULIA” moisture filter (Part #JU50-2012), which will trap 100-percent of any moisture. For those of you who operate in cool, dry environments, this video may never be necessary, but for those of you who don’t, I wanted you to have some simple options at your fingertips.

As part of my ongoing re-branding process, I’m also debuting some snazzy animated video graphics using my new-ish “JULIA” logo. Enjoy!

To purchase the JULIA airbrush system and moisture filter, visit: www.confectioncouturestencils.com.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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I’m back with a follow-on to my recent 3-D sugar bowl project – it’s the crown jewel of my teaset-themed cookies that started many months ago with 3-D cookie teacups and teaspoons! Yes, it’s the teapot! The construction and styling are very similar to what was done for my sugar bowl – after all, they’re supposed to be a set. So, in this video, I move quickly through similar parts and focus on the primary differences, such as shaping and decorating the teapot spout and constructing its more dimensional base. Enjoy!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


I’m back with a follow-on to my recent 3-D sugar bowl project – it’s the crown jewel of my teaset-themed cookies that started many months ago with 3-D cookie teacups and teaspoons! Yes, it’s the teapot! The construction and styling are very similar to what was done for my sugar bowl – after all, they’re supposed to be a set. So, in this video, I move quickly through similar parts and focus on the primary differences, such as shaping and decorating the teapot spout and constructing its more dimensional base. Enjoy!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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Hi, everyone! Today, I have a video designed for those who have purchased my new JULIA airbrush system or who are contemplating doing so. In previous JULIA airbrush videos, I focused on the airbrush (aka, the gun) itself. In this video, I turn to the JULIA compressor, the workhorse of the JULIA system in that it’s what supplies air to the airbrush. Among other things, I explain why it’s important to pair a dual-action gun, like the JULIA, with an on-demand compressor, like the one in my system. I also demonstrate how to control the air flow through a handy inline flow regulator located on the hose.

To purchase the JULIA airbrush system, visit: www.confectioncouturestencils.com.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


Hi, everyone! Today, I have a video designed for those who have purchased my new JULIA airbrush system or who are contemplating doing so. In previous JULIA airbrush videos, I focused on the airbrush (aka, the gun) itself. In this video, I turn to the JULIA compressor, the workhorse of the JULIA system in that it’s what supplies air to the airbrush. Among other things, I explain why it’s important to pair a dual-action gun, like the JULIA, with an on-demand compressor, like the one in my system. I also demonstrate how to control the air flow through a handy inline flow regulator located on the hose.

To purchase the JULIA airbrush system, visit: www.confectioncouturestencils.com.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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This week’s video picks up on the tea party theme I started several months ago with my now popular 3-D teacup cookie video. We all know that no tea set is complete without a sugar bowl, which is why I just had to make this one! Throughout this lesson, you’ll get exposed to more cookie baking and decorating techniques than you can count, including contouring and embossing dough; dipping; outlining and flooding; spraying and sponging; royal icing transfers; piping details; rose-making; and 3-D assembly. Enjoy!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


This week’s video picks up on the tea party theme I started several months ago with my now popular 3-D teacup cookie video. We all know that no tea set is complete without a sugar bowl, which is why I just had to make this one! Throughout this lesson, you’ll get exposed to more cookie baking and decorating techniques than you can count, including contouring and embossing dough; dipping; outlining and flooding; spraying and sponging; royal icing transfers; piping details; rose-making; and 3-D assembly. Enjoy!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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Magazine Feature
Cake Masters Magazine, July 2018

Julia was selected to be interviewed for Cake Masters’ coveted “Cake Icon” (or, in this case, “Cookie Icon”) feature, which celebrates those who have shaped the sugar arts industry not only through their groundbreaking designs, but also through their leadership. For the complete interview, click on the “Look Inside” link to the left.

Julia’s bit: Interview, cookie designs and photographs.


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The New JULIA System :: Designed by Me with Badger Air-Brush Co.

The last several months leading up to this release have been a lot like the road trip my family took each summer to get to our vacation spot in Maine. Every few minutes, a chorus of kids would ring out from the back seat, asking my Dad, “Are we there yet?!” When he shook his head “no”, we’d sound off in unison with the predictable refrain, “How much longer?!” It was a 9-hour drive from Connecticut to Maine, and, for my sibs and me, that was an interminable amount of time to be penned up in the car with each other, especially when we were bursting with excitement about the vacation that lay ahead.

And so it was with this release. It was extremely difficult for me to keep a lid on my new airbrush system for as long as I did. Soon after Ken Schlotfeldt, CEO of Badger Air-Brush Co., asked if I’d be interested in partnering with him, which was over a year ago, the initial design began to take shape. And, ever since then, I’ve been bursting with excitement too. You see, I knew early on that certain features of this system were going to revolutionize airbrushing for many of you.


The last several months leading up to this release have been a lot like the road trip my family took each summer to get to our vacation spot in Maine. Every few minutes, a chorus of kids would ring out from the back seat, asking my Dad, “Are we there yet?!” When he shook his head “no”, we’d sound off in unison with the predictable refrain, “How much longer?!” It was a 9-hour drive from Connecticut to Maine, and, for my sibs and me, that was an interminable amount of time to be penned up in the car with each other, especially when we were bursting with excitement about the vacation that lay ahead.

And so it was with this release. It was extremely difficult for me to keep a lid on my new airbrush system for as long as I did. Soon after Ken Schlotfeldt, CEO of Badger Air-Brush Co., asked if I’d be interested in partnering with him, which was over a year ago, the initial design began to take shape. And, ever since then, I’ve been bursting with excitement too. You see, I knew early on that certain features of this system were going to revolutionize airbrushing for many of you.

But, there were other important details to work out before the system could be released - pricing, packaging, instructions, and distributor relationships, to name a few! It’s not enough to have a great product; all of the other elements that define the customer experience have to be as wonderful as possible too! So, long story short, “Are we there yet?” became a familiar tune sung by both me and Ken over the last few months. Likewise, I received a lot of eager “How much longer?“s from many of you! I thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for sticking with me and waiting so patiently. I sincerely believe this system will be worth your wait. Also, a HUGE thank you to my partner Badger Air-Brush Co. for working so tirelessly with me over the last year to turn this dream into a reality!

Before I tell you why this system is so special, let me first tell you what it contains and where you can purchase it.

System contents:

  • JULIA airbrush (105-JU) with quick-connect adaptor (51-038) and barbed fitting (50-026)
  • 5-foot clear quick-connect air hose with inline air regulator (JU-5018)
  • JULIA on-demand air compressor, both 110V/220V options and 43 psi maximum operating pressure (JU-180)

Where to get the JULIA: We’re launching on my stencil partner Confection Couture Stencils’ site, here, but we’ll be expanding our distribution to more sites in the coming months. Please note that Confection Couture Stencils will ship the system anywhere; they are also selling the airbrush separately from the compressor.* Please email them (service@confectioncouturestencils.com) for shipping estimates, especially if shipping outside of the US. Please also note that they currently have only 110V systems. Another site will be selling 220V systems very soon, so stay tuned!

* Important note about compressors: The JULIA airbrush has been specially configured and tested with the JULIA compressor to ensure optimum system performance, and so I strongly encourage you to get my full system. Because the JULIA airbrush has a dual-action trigger, which doesn’t release air unless depressed, it is best used with an on-demand compressor (like the JULIA compressor) as opposed to a continuous-flow compressor (which pushes out air constantly). The JULIA airbrush will work with either type of compressor, and comes with fittings to adapt to either type, but a continuous-flow compressor is more likely to overheat with heavy use.

Now, why is the JULIA system so special? In short, it’s a dual-action airbrush, which inherently offers more control than the single-action airbrushes currently marketed for cookie decorating. It also resolves many of the typical headaches often involved with other airbrushes - overspray, speckled spray, and clogging with white and metallic colorings. You won’t experience any of these things if you handle and maintain your JULIA airbrush system properly. Plus, routine cleaning of the airbrush can be done entirely from the outside, without taking anything apart.

Let’s look more closely at the JULIA airbrush (just the “gun”, if you will). (See third photo to the right.)

I’ve summarized the key airbrush features in bullet-point format below, but, if you’re more the visual type, please check out this video that explores ten key JULIA airbrush features, as well as essential dual-action airbrush operating tips:



Key airbrush features:
1. Dual-action (vs. typical single-action) trigger, for better control and fewer spraying mishaps
2. Finer spray, due to smaller needle tip
3. Less overspray, due to small (0.3 mm) nozzle opening
4. Works well with all mediums, including white and metallic food colorings, due to unique nozzle configuration
5. Large (1/4 oz/7 ml) coloring cup, for everything from small to large jobs
6. Easy-to-remove coloring cup cap, to avoid coloring spills
7. Quick-connect adaptor, to quickly and easily swap in different airbrushes
8. Easy to clean - minimal to no disassembly required! There is no airbrush simpler to clean - I guarantee!
9. No tools required after any initial disassembly
10. Ergonomic weighting toward nozzle end
11. Reversible nozzle guard for greater needle visibility or more needle protection – the choice is yours!

If you’re in doubt about point 8 (ease of cleaning), you’ll doubt no more once you watch this JULIA airbrush cleaning video:



And, last but not least, onto the too often overlooked compressor. (See fourth photo to the right.) It’s a vital part of any system, as it’s what supplies air to the airbrush. If a compressor doesn’t deliver the air with enough force, as is typical with some smaller compressors, you’re more likely to see speckled results. And, of course, you won’t be able to quickly and uniformly cover larger products, like cakes. The maximum operating pressure of the JULIA is almost double that of most cookie compressors on the market, so you’re always assured of having enough pressure for any job. Further, the air flow control is fully variable, allowing you optimum control for areas large and small!

Key compressor features:
1. 43 psi maximum operating pressure - not just for small jobs!
2. On-demand activation, meaning it operates only when the airbrush trigger is depressed, which also means it’s very quiet!
3. Fully variable air flow control, for everything from close-range detail work to broad coverage
4. Air flow controlled with an inline air regulator (dial), conveniently located on the air hose rather than the compressor
5. Clear air hose, to easily detect any moisture accumulation
6. Long (5-foot) air hose, for flexibility in setup
7. Convenient carrying handle

And that concludes my intro to my new JULIA airbrush system (barring my recap of key links below)! I hope you love my system as much as I loved designing it for you! If you have any airbrushing technique questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me at any time. (Just email sweetlife@juliausher.com.) Service and warranty questions, however, should be directed to Badger Air-Brush Co. at CustomerService@BadgerAirBrush.com.

Again, thank you to my partner Badger Air-Brush Co. for making this product a possibility!

Recap of key links:

Thank you for reading to the end, and happy airbrushing!

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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Noble Needlepoint. Julia wanted to challenge herself with a Herculean piping project (a noble goal, and thus the title of this photo!). So she did, and here’s the glorious result. Each panel of this box took Julia close to two or three hours to pipe! For a video how-to about this labor of love, check out Julia’s YouTube channel here.


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Garden Grandeur. Every element of this grand garden scene is edible, from the cookie and fondant arbor down to the teeniest royal icing flowers along the garden path. For the complete how-to, see Julia’s arbor assembly video here.


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

No Detail Too Small. From its hand-cut fondant slats to its hand-piped canopy of climbing roses, this edible arbor is a treasure trove of rich details. To learn how to make this edible garden accent piece, check out Julia’s YouTube video here.


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Three-Tier Topiary. All of the edible details in Julia’s 3-D cookie garden vignette are spectacular, but this three-tier topiary, complete with handpiped royal icing roses on every level, has got to be one of Julia’s faves. For info about how this topiary and other details of Julia’s garden project were made, check out this video tutorial.


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Pretty in Pink. There is certainly no shortage of cookie topiaries in Julia’s edible garden scene. But each is distinct - and gorgeous - in its own right, as this pink rose version proves. For info about how to make this topiary and other elements in Julia’s cookie garden, click here!


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March 2018 Stencil Release :: Designed by Me with Confection Couture

As you may or may not know, I’ve been designing cookie stencils for about a year and a half now with the help of my design and manufacturing partner, Confection Couture Stencils, formerly Stencil Ease. In addition to my Prettier Plaques stencil series, which was my first line at launch, I’ve now got a second line called Dynamic Duos. Both lines involve multi-stencil sets that allow cookiers to create luscious layered looks, but they’re different in some key ways. Each Prettier Plaques set consists of five elements (stencils and masking pieces) that basically allow you to create one layered - and gorgeous - message cookie design. By contrast, each Duos monthly release consists of two coordinated multi-stencil sets (one with background stencils and the other with messages and frames) that, taken together, allow you to create myriad layered designs with multiple messages and backgrounds. My goal with this new line was to give my customers as much design flexibility as possible, all in two small packages each month! And, I dare say, I think I’ve done that!

Anywho, I’ve been releasing lots of Duos sets lately, and wanted to share those designs with you, just in case you missed them when first announced. What follows is a quick pictorial overview of recent releases, all of which have a definite spring-y flair . . .


As you may or may not know, I’ve been designing cookie stencils for about a year and a half now with the help of my design and manufacturing partner, Confection Couture Stencils, formerly Stencil Ease. In addition to my Prettier Plaques stencil series, which was my first line at launch, I’ve now got a second line called Dynamic Duos. Both lines involve multi-stencil sets that allow cookiers to create luscious layered looks, but they’re different in some key ways. Each Prettier Plaques set consists of five elements (stencils and masking pieces) that basically allow you to create one layered - and gorgeous - message cookie design. By contrast, each Duos monthly release consists of two coordinated multi-stencil sets (one with background stencils and the other with messages and frames) that, taken together, allow you to create myriad layered designs with multiple messages and backgrounds. My goal with this new line was to give my customers as much design flexibility as possible, all in two small packages each month! And, I dare say, I think I’ve done that!

Anywho, I’ve been releasing lots of Duos sets lately, and wanted to share those designs with you, just in case you missed them when first announced. What follows is a quick pictorial overview of recent releases, all of which have a definite spring-y flair. Starting first with my January release . . .

(1) January Release: While clearly designed with Easter in mind, this release can work wonderfully for spring birthdays and garden parties too if you just bypass the Easter-specific messages, or swap in more generic ones from some of my other sets below. (See second and third photos to the right.)

Purchase here:

(2) February Release: Brimming with birds and blossoms, these sets are perfect for a wide range of spring celebrations. (See fourth and fifth photos to the right.)

Purchase here:

(3) March Release: An abundance of hydrangea blooms and a lovely sentiment in French form the backdrop of this relaxing and restorative teatime release, ideal for Mother’s Day and get well and thank you gifts. (See sixth and seventh photos to the right.)

Purchase here:

(4) April Release: Festive floral garlands and stately stacked cakes make this release an obvious pick for weddings, anniversaries, and birthdays. (See eighth and ninth photos to the right.)

Purchase here:

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick recap of my recent designs! BTW, I also have a Stencil of the Month Club that gives members substantial discounts on newly released stencils, as well as a 15% discount on everything on Confection Couture Stencils’ site, at any time! If you think you might be interested in joining, you can find more info here. Last but not least, for in-depth video tutorials showing how to use both my Prettier Plaques and Duos sets, please visit my YouTube channel here.

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With Valentine’s Day already over (yikes, I can hardly believe it), it’s not too soon to start gearing up for the next big cookie holiday - Easter!

In this video, I show several stunning, but quick Easter cookie designs, all of which are made using just one or two of my new “Egg Hunt” Dynamic Duos™ five-piece stencil sets - one with background/foreground elements and another with messages and frames. I also show how to use an element in the background set to create dimensional royal icing egg transfers that give extra depth and interest to the designs. Happy early Easter!

BTW, all of my Dynamic Duos™ sets can be purchased here, and all of my stencils, including my earlier Prettier Plaques™ series, can be found here.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


With Valentine’s Day already over (yikes, I can hardly believe it), it’s not too soon to start gearing up for the next big cookie holiday - Easter!

In this video, I show several stunning, but quick Easter cookie designs, all of which are made using just one or two of my new “Egg Hunt” Dynamic Duos™ five-piece stencil sets - one with background/foreground elements and another with messages and frames. I also show how to use an element in the background set to create dimensional royal icing egg transfers that give extra depth and interest to the designs. Happy early Easter!

BTW, all of my Dynamic Duos™ sets can be purchased here, and all of my stencils, including my earlier Prettier Plaques™ series, can be found here.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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So why am I making this underwater cookie scene in the middle of one of the coldest winters on record?! Good question! It’s because I just went on a cookie cruise to Cozumel for a week, where the organizer told me I had to teach a “steampunk under the sea”-themed cookie, and, well, this is my take on that cookie.

Admittedly, it’s more of an underwater ephemera cookie with lots of little sea-themed edibles (that won’t last long around anyone with even a mild penchant for sweets)! But there’s a clear nod to steampunk in the metallic cookie gears on top!

In addition to molding and spraying cookie gears, I hit on many techniques with this cookie, which is what makes it such a good teaching tool. In this video, you’ll learn about airbrushing, stenciling, dusting, stamping, fondant appliqués, royal icing transfers, and isomalt, as we make everything from sea glass and mermaids to sea urchins and sea anemone! I also talk about 3-D layering methods for assembling this collage-style cookie.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


So why am I making this underwater cookie scene in the middle of one of the coldest winters on record?! Good question! It’s because I just went on a cookie cruise to Cozumel for a week, where the organizer told me I had to teach a “steampunk under the sea”-themed cookie, and, well, this is my take on that cookie.

Admittedly, it’s more of an underwater ephemera cookie with lots of little sea-themed edibles (that won’t last long around anyone with even a mild penchant for sweets)! But there’s a clear nod to steampunk in the metallic cookie gears on top!

In addition to molding and spraying cookie gears, I hit on many techniques with this cookie, which is what makes it such a good teaching tool. In this video, you’ll learn about airbrushing, stenciling, dusting, stamping, fondant appliqués, royal icing transfers, and isomalt, as we make everything from sea glass and mermaids to sea urchins and sea anemone! I also talk about 3-D layering methods for assembling this collage-style cookie.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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Apart from decorating sweets, there’s little I like doing more than breathing new life into old things. There’s something about seeing underappreciated objects turn up in unexpected ways that puts a smile on my face, and a fresh sparkle on those things. Here, in this video, I try to do just this by dressing up plain paper containers with pages from old magazines, costume jewelry, and other salvaged items to make unexpected gift boxes for Valentine’s Day. The boxes are a gift in their own right – considering the jewelry and other collectibles on top – but they also make lovely “wrappings” for other Valentine’s Day presents.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


Apart from decorating sweets, there’s little I like doing more than breathing new life into old things. There’s something about seeing underappreciated objects turn up in unexpected ways that puts a smile on my face, and a fresh sparkle on those things. Here, in this video, I try to do just this by dressing up plain paper containers with pages from old magazines, costume jewelry, and other salvaged items to make unexpected gift boxes for Valentine’s Day. The boxes are a gift in their own right – considering the jewelry and other collectibles on top – but they also make lovely “wrappings” for other Valentine’s Day presents.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, and, if you’ve been following my videos over the years, you know that I also like all things vintage and repurposed. There’s something about an eclectic, time-worn look that exudes the romance of bygone eras! And so, in this video, I’ll be giving a Valentine’s cookie one such vintage look, all with the help of some modern-day decorating tools – my new Dynamic Duos™ stencil sets!

In addition to showing you how to use my Dynamic Duos™ sets straight up, simply airbrushed with no embellishments, I’m going to show you four other techniques to turn these cookies into vintage-style edible collages. Those techniques include: (1) stamped wafer paper postage stamps, (2) 3-D stenciled and airbrushed wafer paper mums, (3) gilded modeling chocolate ribbons, and (4) stamping directly on the cookie.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, and, if you’ve been following my videos over the years, you know that I also like all things vintage and repurposed. There’s something about an eclectic, time-worn look that exudes the romance of bygone eras! And so, in this video, I’ll be giving a Valentine’s cookie one such vintage look, all with the help of some modern-day decorating tools – my new Dynamic Duos™ stencil sets!

In addition to showing you how to use my Dynamic Duos™ sets straight up, simply airbrushed with no embellishments, I’m going to show you four other techniques to turn these cookies into vintage-style edible collages. Those techniques include: (1) stamped wafer paper postage stamps, (2) 3-D stenciled and airbrushed wafer paper mums, (3) gilded modeling chocolate ribbons, and (4) stamping directly on the cookie.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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Oh my, it’s hard to believe that another year is nearly over. But it is, and no amount of hoping for more time to fulfill last year’s resolutions is going to slow down the arrival of 2018. So what are we waiting for?! Let’s get this party started!

I’m ringing in the New Year with this 3-D cookie ball. Designed with 40 individual cookie pieces, it mimics the multi-faceted real deal that drops on Times Square each New Year’s Eve. But I’ve jazzed it up even more by filling it with candy, and airbrushing, stenciling, and piping on the outside. If admiring and eating this project isn’t enough, I’ve also given you two options for using the orbs as functional party décor. First, string a few candy-filled ones from your chandelier and then break them apart (piñata-style) at the stroke of midnight. Or, second, mount them on a single rod instead of a long string, and turn them into noisemakers, for use all night! No matter which way you go, I hope you enjoy this project, and have a wonderful New Year!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


Oh my, it’s hard to believe that another year is nearly over. But it is, and no amount of hoping for more time to fulfill last year’s resolutions is going to slow down the arrival of 2018. So what are we waiting for?! Let’s get this party started!

I’m ringing in the New Year with this 3-D cookie ball. Designed with 40 individual cookie pieces, it mimics the multi-faceted real deal that drops on Times Square each New Year’s Eve. But I’ve jazzed it up even more by filling it with candy, and airbrushing, stenciling, and piping on the outside. If admiring and eating this project isn’t enough, I’ve also given you two options for using the orbs as functional party décor. First, string a few candy-filled ones from your chandelier and then break them apart (piñata-style) at the stroke of midnight. Or, second, mount them on a single rod instead of a long string, and turn them into noisemakers, for use all night! No matter which way you go, I hope you enjoy this project, and have a wonderful New Year!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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As I promised last week, this week I’m showing you all the secrets behind the mini edibles that decked the halls of my 3-D Christmas fireplace vignette. Here, you’ll learn how to make five key accessories: (1) stamped and airbrushed fondant or royal icing rugs, (2) a royal icing candelabra, (3) a dimensional royal icing fireplace screen, (4) framed cookie pictures, and (5) a 3-D Christmas tree cookie. Along the way, I’ll also give pointers for making the Christmas stockings and evergreen garlands, both of which are royal icing transfers. For more information about how to make Santa’s plate of goodies and the fire and logs, please see the links to previous videos in the video description on YouTube. And, remember: even if you don’t make the full 3-D fireplace vignette, any of these accessories can be used on other 3-D or 2-D cookies or cookie projects.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


As I promised last week, this week I’m showing you all the secrets behind the mini edibles that decked the halls of my 3-D Christmas fireplace vignette. Here, you’ll learn how to make five key accessories: (1) stamped and airbrushed fondant or royal icing rugs, (2) a royal icing candelabra, (3) a dimensional royal icing fireplace screen, (4) framed cookie pictures, and (5) a 3-D Christmas tree cookie. Along the way, I’ll also give pointers for making the Christmas stockings and evergreen garlands, both of which are royal icing transfers. For more information about how to make Santa’s plate of goodies and the fire and logs, please see the links to previous videos in the video description on YouTube. And, remember: even if you don’t make the full 3-D fireplace vignette, any of these accessories can be used on other 3-D or 2-D cookies or cookie projects.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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Better late than never, as they say! I love to go all-out at the Christmas holiday season, and this project is an example of one of those all-out cookies that took on a life of its own! But it’s finally done, and I hope it serves as a special, albeit last-minute, Christmas gift to you. Everything on this 3-D cookie fireplace scene is edible, with the exception of the strings on the stockings, so it’s intended to be eaten, of course! But, if you’d like to put it on display, that’s fine too. It would make a charming centerpiece or focal point on any holiday side table.

As the length of the video suggests, this fireplace scene is a marathon of a project. But the good news is: its many details can be made well in advance, and can also be applied to smaller, 2-D cookies if you haven’t the time to go all-out with this project. I’ve also broken the project into two videos. In this first part, we’ll focus on making the primary fireplace pieces and the assemby. In the second “companion” video, coming in a week, I’ll demo many of the edible details that make this scene so lifelike, such as the rugs, framed pictures, candelabra, fireplace screen, and Christmas tree.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


Better late than never, as they say! I love to go all-out at the Christmas holiday season, and this project is an example of one of those all-out cookies that took on a life of its own! But it’s finally done, and I hope it serves as a special, albeit last-minute, Christmas gift to you. Everything on this 3-D cookie fireplace scene is edible, with the exception of the strings on the stockings, so it’s intended to be eaten, of course! But, if you’d like to put it on display, that’s fine too. It would make a charming centerpiece or focal point on any holiday side table.

As the length of the video suggests, this fireplace scene is a marathon of a project. But the good news is: its many details can be made well in advance, and can also be applied to smaller, 2-D cookies if you haven’t the time to go all-out with this project. I’ve also broken the project into two videos. In this first part, we’ll focus on making the primary fireplace pieces and the assemby. In the second “companion” video, coming in a week, I’ll demo many of the edible details that make this scene so lifelike, such as the rugs, framed pictures, candelabra, fireplace screen, and Christmas tree.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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I’m back this week with another of my Prettier Plaques stenciled cookies using what I think is my new all-time favorite stencil set – “Thank You”! In addition to showing you how to use this set, I demonstrate the concept of “conscious color commingling”. (LOL, say that three times fast!) By this, I mean purposeful overspraying beyond stencil boundaries to encourage the blending of neighboring colors. Overspray creates unexpected shades where colors overlap, especially when using water-based colorings, and results in a more natural and nuanced look, particularly in stencils with organic designs. I also show how to extend this concept onto wafer paper to make dainty butterfly embellishments for use on cookies, cupcakes, and even cakes!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


I’m back this week with another of my Prettier Plaques stenciled cookies using what I think is my new all-time favorite stencil set – “Thank You”! In addition to showing you how to use this set, I demonstrate the concept of “conscious color commingling”. (LOL, say that three times fast!) By this, I mean purposeful overspraying beyond stencil boundaries to encourage the blending of neighboring colors. Overspray creates unexpected shades where colors overlap, especially when using water-based colorings, and results in a more natural and nuanced look, particularly in stencils with organic designs. I also show how to extend this concept onto wafer paper to make dainty butterfly embellishments for use on cookies, cupcakes, and even cakes!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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I recently prepared this richly textured mixed media cookie for a hands-on class, and because it incorporated so many fun techniques and teaching points, I decided to turn it into a full-fledged video for you! In this video, you’ll get exposed to airbrushing, stenciling, rubber-stamping, wafer paper embellishments, royal icing roses, and more! Plus, it provides the perfect backdrop for my latest “innovation” - royal icing shards - and uses one of my favorite Prettier Plaques stencil sets - “Vintage Bon Voyage”! Happy decorating!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


I recently prepared this richly textured mixed media cookie for a hands-on class, and because it incorporated so many fun techniques and teaching points, I decided to turn it into a full-fledged video for you! In this video, you’ll get exposed to airbrushing, stenciling, rubber-stamping, wafer paper embellishments, royal icing roses, and more! Plus, it provides the perfect backdrop for my latest “innovation” - royal icing shards - and uses one of my favorite Prettier Plaques stencil sets - “Vintage Bon Voyage”! Happy decorating!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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This week, I’m taking a break from all of the stenciling I’ve been doing lately with my new product line to stretch my skills (and yours) with a piping-intensive project! Whilst showing you how to replicate this impressive box, I’ll be describing all of the ins and outs of the needlepoint technique used to pipe the intricate grid-like patterns on the box sides. Decorated as in this video, each box side took over an hour and a half to pipe! But, remember, the important thing here is to understand and master the technique; then you can pipe needlepoint on anything, including single cookies or small “statement” pieces that will deliver the desired a-ha effect in much less time! Enjoy!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


This week, I’m taking a break from all of the stenciling I’ve been doing lately with my new product line to stretch my skills (and yours) with a piping-intensive project! Whilst showing you how to replicate this impressive box, I’ll be describing all of the ins and outs of the needlepoint technique used to pipe the intricate grid-like patterns on the box sides. Decorated as in this video, each box side took over an hour and a half to pipe! But, remember, the important thing here is to understand and master the technique; then you can pipe needlepoint on anything, including single cookies or small “statement” pieces that will deliver the desired a-ha effect in much less time! Enjoy!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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Once I began using lots of colors with my new Prettier Plaques cookie stencil sets, I also started to get lots of questions about how to apply multiple colors with maximum speed and efficiency. After all, time is money, and even a few minutes saved per cookie can amount to a substantial increase in profits over time (that is, if you’re selling your cookies)!

Of course, adding colors will slow down any stenciling process, but there are definitely ways to speed up the process without minimizing the quantity of colors in your cookie designs. In this video, I explore three such ways (which I call: (1) minimal tools, (2) multiple stencils, and (3) multiple stencils and airbrushes), each involving a different level of equipment investment. My hope is that, after seeing the results of these three timed tests, you’ll have all the info you need to decide which option best suits your budget and production needs!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


Once I began using lots of colors with my new Prettier Plaques cookie stencil sets, I also started to get lots of questions about how to apply multiple colors with maximum speed and efficiency. After all, time is money, and even a few minutes saved per cookie can amount to a substantial increase in profits over time (that is, if you’re selling your cookies)!

Of course, adding colors will slow down any stenciling process, but there are definitely ways to speed up the process without minimizing the quantity of colors in your cookie designs. In this video, I explore three such ways (which I call: (1) minimal tools, (2) multiple stencils, and (3) multiple stencils and airbrushes), each involving a different level of equipment investment. My hope is that, after seeing the results of these three timed tests, you’ll have all the info you need to decide which option best suits your budget and production needs!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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So it’s finally time to learn how to deck out my 3-D arbor cookie with all the little details that make it so delightful! In this video, I show how to make the following edible miniatures:

1) Moss-lined brick walk cookie (02:10)
2) Cookie pots and urns (12:34)
3) Fondant sundial and royal icing slate (31:15)
4) Assorted royal icing flowers (42:25)
5) Hydrangea shrub on brick walk cookie, aka putting it all together! (1:00:38)

The numbers in parentheses refer to the video time stamp marking the start of each section. Since this video is long and detailed, the time stamps are there to help you quickly isolate the content you’re seeking! Enjoy, and please refer to “Related Videos” in the video description on YouTube for videos that detail some things not covered in this video, i.e., the making of cookie moss, mini roses, piped shrubs, and mounted topiary globe cookies.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


So it’s finally time to learn how to deck out my 3-D arbor cookie with all the little details that make it so delightful! In this video, I show how to make the following edible miniatures:

1) Moss-lined brick walk cookie (02:10)
2) Cookie pots and urns (12:34)
3) Fondant sundial and royal icing slate (31:15)
4) Assorted royal icing flowers (42:25)
5) Hydrangea shrub on brick walk cookie, aka putting it all together! (1:00:38)

The numbers in parentheses refer to the video time stamp marking the start of each section. Since this video is long and detailed, the time stamps are there to help you quickly isolate the content you’re seeking! Enjoy, and please refer to “Related Videos” in the video description on YouTube for videos that detail some things not covered in this video, i.e., the making of cookie moss, mini roses, piped shrubs, and mounted topiary globe cookies.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.” – Claude Monet

Well, I certainly can’t claim the same of my real garden, where weeds sprout more often than blossoms! But thank goodness for cookies and royal icing! With them and little else, I’ve been able to craft a garden much closer to my dreams – one with nary a weed and with flowers that never go by, and one that can be eaten as well as admired!

Heads up! This arbor scene is a marathon of a project. But the good news is: its many tiny flowers and details can be made well in advance, and can also be applied to smaller, 2-D cookies if you haven’t the time to go full tilt with this project. I’ve also broken the project into two videos. In this first part, we’ll focus on making and assembling the arbor, and “planting” the garden with pre-made parts. In the second video, coming in two weeks, I’ll make many of those parts: flowers, shrubs, and other details (garden urns, sundials, and so forth).

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.” – Claude Monet

Well, I certainly can’t claim the same of my real garden, where weeds sprout more often than blossoms! But thank goodness for cookies and royal icing! With them and little else, I’ve been able to craft a garden much closer to my dreams – one with nary a weed and with flowers that never go by, and one that can be eaten as well as admired!

Heads up! This arbor scene is a marathon of a project. But the good news is: its many tiny flowers and details can be made well in advance, and can also be applied to smaller, 2-D cookies if you haven’t the time to go full tilt with this project. I’ve also broken the project into two videos. In this first part, we’ll focus on making and assembling the arbor, and “planting” the garden with pre-made parts. In the second video, coming in two weeks, I’ll make many of those parts: flowers, shrubs, and other details (garden urns, sundials, and so forth).

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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Photo by Julia M. Usher

All-Chocolate Eggs-travagance. What could be better than a big, solid chocolate bunny at Easter?! A big, solid chocolate bunny AND a big all-chocolate, egg-shaped Easter basket to fit the bunny and other Easter goodies. Yes, quite the extravagance, but well worth the time to make it. For the step-by-step details, please check out Julia’s YouTube video tutorial here.


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Vintage Vases. Yes, folks, they’re all edible! These vintage vases, loosely inspired by antique Roseville, are all cookie and icing. To understand how Julia worked this magic, check out her YouTube video tutorial here.


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

3-D Mother’s Day Cookie Box. Any mom would feel like a queen if given one of these gorgeous - and completely edible - cookie boxes on Mother’s Day (or any day, for that matter)! These stunners make use of several decorating techniques, including airbrushing and stenciling with Julia’s new “I’m Yours” and “To: Mom” sets from her Prettier Plaques cookie stencil series. For the complete how-to, check out Julia’s instructional video, and, for her stencils, visit her partner Stencil Ease’s site here!


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Birthday Wishes Prettier Plaques Stencil by Julia. It’s hard to go wrong with this stencil set from Julia’s new Prettier Plaques cookie stencil series! She’s tried it in countless color compositions, and it always looks great! To see exactly how Julia created this cookie and others using her stencil line, visit her stenciled cookie playlist on YouTube. And, remember, all of her stencils can be found on her partner Stencil Ease’s site here!


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Baby Prettier Plaques Stencil by Julia. Julia has a plethora of adorbs baby-themed stencil sets in her new Prettier Plaques cookie stencil series, but this charming scene has got to be one of her favorites! For tips on how to create this look, check out Julia’s stenciled cookie playlist on YouTube. And to purchase her stencils, please visit her partner Stencil Ease’s site here!


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Easter Prettier Plaques Stencil by Julia. You can use as many or as few colors as you want with Julia’s new Prettier Plaques stencil sets, and this Easter set is a perfect example of the former! Please check out Julia’s stenciled cookie playlist on YouTube for tips on minimizing overspray and underspray in tight areas, which is especially important when working with multiple colors. And, don’t forget to check out her entire stencil line here!


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You’ve been asking, and so here it is: a full-blown tutorial about how to make my Cutout Cookie Gingerbread, the dough I typically use in all of my 3-D cookie construction projects! In addition to taking you through the dough-making process (which is super simple, BTW), I get a little geeky on you by sharing some food science to help you tweak your own recipes for 3-D and contoured cookie work. You’ll learn about four recipe- and process-related variables that, in my opinion, most contribute to the spreading of dough, and how to control them to minimize spreading (naturally!), cracking, and misshaping. Last but not least, I share some substitutes for the molasses and shortening in my recipe, so that, if you can’t find these items in your area, you can still make 3-D and contoured cookies with success!

Note: For an in-depth analysis of the “Cookie Comparisons” photo to the right, please see the video!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


You’ve been asking, and so here it is: a full-blown tutorial about how to make my Cutout Cookie Gingerbread, the dough I typically use in all of my 3-D cookie construction projects! In addition to taking you through the dough-making process (which is super simple, BTW), I get a little geeky on you by sharing some food science to help you tweak your own recipes for 3-D and contoured cookie work. You’ll learn about four recipe- and process-related variables that, in my opinion, most contribute to the spreading of dough, and how to control them to minimize spreading (naturally!), cracking, and misshaping. Last but not least, I share some substitutes for the molasses and shortening in my recipe, so that, if you can’t find these items in your area, you can still make 3-D and contoured cookies with success!

Note: For an in-depth analysis of the “Cookie Comparisons” photo to the right, please see the video!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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My Prettier Plaques cookie stencil series is back this week, and I’m featuring one of its darling baby shower sets. In addition to showing you how to create a fully layered look using all five stencils in this set, I provide tips here for airbrushing always-tricky stripes and for embellishing with royal icing and wafer paper bows. Remember: all of my Prettier Plaques stencil sets can be purchased on my partner Stencil Ease’s site at www.stencilease.com/juliausher.htm.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


My Prettier Plaques cookie stencil series is back this week, and I’m featuring one of its darling baby shower sets. In addition to showing you how to create a fully layered look using all five stencils in this set, I provide tips here for airbrushing always-tricky stripes and for embellishing with royal icing and wafer paper bows. Remember: all of my Prettier Plaques stencil sets can be purchased on my partner Stencil Ease’s site at www.stencilease.com/juliausher.htm.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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Just in time for Mother’s Day, I’ve got a lavish 3-D cookie project for you today that’s sure to make your mom feel ultra special! It employs a wide range of decorating techniques, from stenciling to detailed piping, none of which is very hard, but when taken together, really make this project sing. Ultimately, the key to this project is having patience and allowing adequate drying time between decorating and assembly steps.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


Just in time for Mother’s Day, I’ve got a lavish 3-D cookie project for you today that’s sure to make your mom feel ultra special! It employs a wide range of decorating techniques, from stenciling to detailed piping, none of which is very hard, but when taken together, really make this project sing. Ultimately, the key to this project is having patience and allowing adequate drying time between decorating and assembly steps.

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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Ta da! I’ve got another great stencil set from my Prettier Plaques cookie stencil series to share with you today. In addition to showing you how I use all five pieces of the set to create a fully layered look, I explain different gun-cleaning techniques that lead to two distinct color-blending effects. Don’t forget: All of my stencils can be purchased on stencilease.com/juliausher.htm!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


Ta da! I’ve got another great stencil set from my Prettier Plaques cookie stencil series to share with you today. In addition to showing you how I use all five pieces of the set to create a fully layered look, I explain different gun-cleaning techniques that lead to two distinct color-blending effects. Don’t forget: All of my stencils can be purchased on stencilease.com/juliausher.htm!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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With Easter and spring weddings fast approaching, we’re on the cusp of entertaining season! Yay! But if you entertain as often as I do, your usual dishware can start to feel tired and drab. Boo!

The good news is: it’s easy to change up your china and to customize place settings using the simple stenciling and decoupage techniques shown in this video! Plus, guests will revel in knowing you made something special just for them!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


With Easter and spring weddings fast approaching, we’re on the cusp of entertaining season! Yay! But if you entertain as often as I do, your usual dishware can start to feel tired and drab. Boo!

The good news is: it’s easy to change up your china and to customize place settings using the simple stenciling and decoupage techniques shown in this video! Plus, guests will revel in knowing you made something special just for them!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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Why settle for just chocolate bunnies this Easter when you can have chocolate bunnies AND an all-chocolate Easter basket! In this video, I show how to make the latter using solely chocolate and modeling chocolate – yum!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


Why settle for just chocolate bunnies this Easter when you can have chocolate bunnies AND an all-chocolate Easter basket! In this video, I show how to make the latter using solely chocolate and modeling chocolate – yum!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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Loosely inspired by my antique Roseville collection, these 3-D cookie vases make great keepsakes - or edibles, if you dare to eat them! While they may look intimidating, none of the techniques used is particularly difficult; the key to success is being patient and allowing adequate drying time between steps!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


Loosely inspired by my antique Roseville collection, these 3-D cookie vases make great keepsakes - or edibles, if you dare to eat them! While they may look intimidating, none of the techniques used is particularly difficult; the key to success is being patient and allowing adequate drying time between steps!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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I know it’s been a while since my last video post, and I am SO sorry - but the reason is all good news! I’ve been super busy teaching classes all over the globe! I’m back home now for a bit, so expect an onslaught of videos from me over the next several weeks!

In this video, I’m proud to present another how-to of one of my Prettier Plaques stencil sets - “Easter”, just in time for the holiday! In addition to showing how to create this fully layered stencil look, I also demo the right and wrong ways to successfully airbrush closely spaced and overlapping designs like these. Enjoy!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!


I know it’s been a while since my last video post, and I am SO sorry - but the reason is all good news! I’ve been super busy teaching classes all over the globe! I’m back home now for a bit, so expect an onslaught of videos from me over the next several weeks!

In this video, I’m proud to present another how-to of one of my Prettier Plaques stencil sets - “Easter”, just in time for the holiday! In addition to showing how to create this fully layered stencil look, I also demo the right and wrong ways to successfully airbrush closely spaced and overlapping designs like these. Enjoy!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

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Magazine Feature
Torty od Mamy, March 2017

Julia and her 3-D cookie work were featured in a three-page spread in this leading cake and sweets decorating magazine serving Slovakia and the Czech Republic. To see the entire interview, click on “Look Inside” under the image of the magazine cover, left.

Julia’s bit: Interview, cookie designs and photographs.


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A companion to my recent chocolate dome made for Valentine’s Day, these modeling chocolate roses and leaves are lifelike (enough), but also fast and easy. Make them the size shown in this video for the dome dessert, or scale them down for cookies or up for cakes! Made with real chocolate, they’re delicious too!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU - AGAIN!


A companion to my recent chocolate dome made for Valentine’s Day, these modeling chocolate roses and leaves are lifelike (enough), but also fast and easy. Make them the size shown in this video for the dome dessert, or scale them down for cookies or up for cakes! Made with real chocolate, they’re delicious too!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU - AGAIN!

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Happy (early) Valentine’s Day, everyone! This week, I’ve got another stencil set to show you from my new Prettier Plaques series, designed in partnership with Stencil Ease. It’s my “I’m Yours” set and it’s perfect for the upcoming holiday! At the end of the video, I also reveal my January Stencil of the Month, another Valentine’s stunner, which is part of my special members-only club.

What’s this club-thing all about? Glad you asked! If you subscribe to my new Stencil of the Month Club (link to sign-up below), you’ll get a surprise Julia Usher stencil set each month for nearly 20% off normal retail value. What’s more, as long as you stay a member, you’ll receive an exclusive members-only 15% discount on other stencils and accessories on the Stencil Ease site.

As for the details of this video, I’ll show you how to use “I’m Yours” exactly as intended, along with options for (1) adding shading around the message with petal dust and (2) selecting areas of other stencils to create embellishments.

SIGN-UP FOR MY STENCIL OF THE MONTH CLUB: http://tinyurl.com/jcdggvs

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU - AGAIN!


Happy (early) Valentine’s Day, everyone! This week, I’ve got another stencil set to show you from my new Prettier Plaques series, designed in partnership with Stencil Ease. It’s my “I’m Yours” set and it’s perfect for the upcoming holiday! At the end of the video, I also reveal my January Stencil of the Month, another Valentine’s stunner, which is part of my special members-only club.

What’s this club-thing all about? Glad you asked! If you subscribe to my new Stencil of the Month Club (link to sign-up below), you’ll get a surprise Julia Usher stencil set each month for nearly 20% off normal retail value. What’s more, as long as you stay a member, you’ll receive an exclusive members-only 15% discount on other stencils and accessories on the Stencil Ease site.

As for the details of this video, I’ll show you how to use “I’m Yours” exactly as intended, along with options for (1) adding shading around the message with petal dust and (2) selecting areas of other stencils to create embellishments.

SIGN-UP FOR MY STENCIL OF THE MONTH CLUB: http://tinyurl.com/jcdggvs

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU - AGAIN!

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It’s never too early to start thinking about Valentine’s Day and spreading love to family and friends! That said, this week I’ve got an all-chocolate project – from dome to pedestal - that’s perfect for your special ones on that special day! Don’t delay - Cupid will be here before we know it!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU - AGAIN!


It’s never too early to start thinking about Valentine’s Day and spreading love to family and friends! That said, this week I’ve got an all-chocolate project – from dome to pedestal - that’s perfect for your special ones on that special day! Don’t delay - Cupid will be here before we know it!

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU - AGAIN!

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Industry Award
TASTE Awards, December/February 2016

Julia was nominated for four (yes, four!) TASTE awards in 2016, in recognition of her outstanding video work on her YouTube channel, Recipes for a Sweet Life. Award winners in the Viewers’ Choice categories will be announced in February 2017, so keep your fingers crossed!

Julia’s bit: Award finalist.


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Happy New Year, everyone! This week, I’m featuring another of my favorite sets in my new Prettier Plaques cookie stencil series – “Peace”! It not only conveys a great message for the New Year, but it also happens to be my December Stencil of the Month.

And what exactly does that mean?! Well . . . if you subscribe to my new Stencil of the Month Club (link to sign-up below), you’ll get “Peace” (and other surprise stencil sets each month) for nearly 20% off. What’s more, as long as you stay a member, you’ll receive an exclusive members-only 15% discount on other stencils and accessories on the Stencil Ease site.

As for this video, I’ll show you how to use this set “straight up” exactly as intended, but I’ll also demonstrate its versatility by (1) mixing and matching it with parts of my “Merry” and “Baby” sets and (2) using the background stencil to create dimensional royal icing transfers!

SIGN-UP FOR MY STENCIL OF THE MONTH CLUB: http://tinyurl.com/jcdggvs

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU - AGAIN!


Happy New Year, everyone! This week, I’m featuring another of my favorite sets in my new Prettier Plaques cookie stencil series – “Peace”! It not only conveys a great message for the New Year, but it also happens to be my December Stencil of the Month.

And what exactly does that mean?! Well . . . if you subscribe to my new Stencil of the Month Club (link to sign-up below), you’ll get “Peace” (and other surprise stencil sets each month) for nearly 20% off. What’s more, as long as you stay a member, you’ll receive an exclusive members-only 15% discount on other stencils and accessories on the Stencil Ease site.

As for this video, I’ll show you how to use this set “straight up” exactly as intended, but I’ll also demonstrate its versatility by (1) mixing and matching it with parts of my “Merry” and “Baby” sets and (2) using the background stencil to create dimensional royal icing transfers!

SIGN-UP FOR MY STENCIL OF THE MONTH CLUB: http://tinyurl.com/jcdggvs

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU - AGAIN!

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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Peace Prettier Plaques Stencil by Julia. Yet another gorgeous stencil set from Julia’s new cookie stencil line! See Julia’s stenciled cookie playlist on YouTube for all of the details behind creating this look - including the delicate snowflake icing transfer perched on top.


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Industry Award
Edible Artists Global Awards, December 2016

In 2016, Julia received two of the highest honors available to sugar artists, both from Edible Artists Global Awards (EAGA): Artist of the Year USA and International Artist of the Year. In the case of the latter award, Julia was selected from among artists all over the globe for her outstanding 3-D cookie art and her contributions to furthering cookie art through her online cookie community, Cookie Connection.

Julia’s bit: Award recipient.


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Online Feature
Epicurious, December 2016

Eager to understand the online allure of cookie art, Epicurious interviewed Julia about trends, both past and projected, in the cookie decorating community. Julia’s site, Cookie Connection, was also lauded as the world’s largest online gathering place for cookie decorators.

Julia’s bit: Interview, embedded video.


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Still wondering how I made all the mini edible accessories in my recent retro oven cookie video? If so, in this week’s video, you’ll find all the details for everything from teeny pies and plates to cookies on cookie sheets, roasted turkey, and even oven clocks! All made with cookies and icing, of course!

While on the subject of clocks, just a few words about my “timeless timepiece” giveaway announced in the video. It’s just in time (pun intended) to ring in the New Year! From now through January 7, 2017, just follow the steps in the link below to enter to win a JORD Cora series watch ($275 retail value). One lucky winner will be randomly drawn and notified on January 8, 2017. Best of luck, and Happy New Year!

JORD WATCH “TIMELESS TIMEPIECE” GIVEAWAY LINK: http://tinyurl.com/hf6yfe3
VISIT THE JORD SITE NOW: https://www.woodwatches.com/#YT57139

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU - AGAIN!


Still wondering how I made all the mini edible accessories in my recent retro oven cookie video? If so, in this week’s video, you’ll find all the details for everything from teeny pies and plates to cookies on cookie sheets, roasted turkey, and even oven clocks! All made with cookies and icing, of course!

While on the subject of clocks, just a few words about my “timeless timepiece” giveaway announced in the video. It’s just in time (pun intended) to ring in the New Year! From now through January 7, 2017, just follow the steps in the link below to enter to win a JORD Cora series watch ($275 retail value). One lucky winner will be randomly drawn and notified on January 8, 2017. Best of luck, and Happy New Year!

JORD WATCH “TIMELESS TIMEPIECE” GIVEAWAY LINK: http://tinyurl.com/hf6yfe3
VISIT THE JORD SITE NOW: https://www.woodwatches.com/#YT57139

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU - AGAIN!

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Step aside, Santa! Mrs. Claus has arrived! In this video, she dazzles in an all-cookie outfit that’s perfectly accessorized for her holiday appearance at your dessert table! You can make her as is, or, for added wow-factor, fill up her skirt and bodice with candies or other mini sweets!

ASIDE: I am a finalist in the annual TASTE AWARDS. If you like my videos, please consider voting for me in categories #3 and #13 before December 20, 2016! Vote here under “Viewers Choice Category Voting”. THANK YOU!

And . . . if you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU - AGAIN!


Step aside, Santa! Mrs. Claus has arrived! In this video, she dazzles in an all-cookie outfit that’s perfectly accessorized for her holiday appearance at your dessert table! You can make her as is, or, for added wow-factor, fill up her skirt and bodice with candies or other mini sweets!

ASIDE: I am a finalist in the annual TASTE AWARDS. If you like my videos, please consider voting for me in categories #3 and #13 before December 20, 2016! Vote here under “Viewers Choice Category Voting”. THANK YOU!

And . . . if you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU - AGAIN!

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Hello! I’m back this week with a video featuring “Noel”, my favorite set from my new Prettier Plaques cookie stencil series – just in time for the holidays! As a reminder, I launched this new product line just a couple of weeks ago, in partnership with the fabulous team at Stencil Ease! Each of the sets in this particular series is designed to make cookie message plaques prettier than ever by eliminating interference between backgrounds and words through the use of an innovative masking piece!

In this video, I not only show how I use my Prettier Plaques sets to create fully layered looks, but I also demo how to create partial background effects by using other masking techniques.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL . . .

To celebrate this launch, all Julia Usher stencils and stencil accessories are 20% off through December 22, 2016. Just apply the coupon code 112216 at check-out when you purchase here.

ASIDE: I am a finalist in the annual TASTE AWARDS. If you like my videos, please consider voting for me in categories #3 and #13 before December 20, 2016! Vote here under “Viewers Choice Category Voting”. THANK YOU!

And . . . if you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU - AGAIN!


Hello! I’m back this week with a video featuring “Noel”, my favorite set from my new Prettier Plaques cookie stencil series – just in time for the holidays! As a reminder, I launched this new product line just a couple of weeks ago, in partnership with the fabulous team at Stencil Ease! Each of the sets in this particular series is designed to make cookie message plaques prettier than ever by eliminating interference between backgrounds and words through the use of an innovative masking piece!

In this video, I not only show how I use my Prettier Plaques sets to create fully layered looks, but I also demo how to create partial background effects by using other masking techniques.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL . . .

To celebrate this launch, all Julia Usher stencils and stencil accessories are 20% off through December 22, 2016. Just apply the coupon code 112216 at check-out when you purchase here.

ASIDE: I am a finalist in the annual TASTE AWARDS. If you like my videos, please consider voting for me in categories #3 and #13 before December 20, 2016! Vote here under “Viewers Choice Category Voting”. THANK YOU!

And . . . if you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU - AGAIN!

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Get your holiday baking groove on with this 3-D oven cookie, complete with cookie turkey and edible sugar pies and cookies! In this video, I show how to make and assemble the oven itself. In an upcoming video, I’ll delve into the details of the turkey, pies, cookies, plates, bowl of peas, and other accessories, so please stay tuned!

ASIDE: I am a finalist in the annual TASTE AWARDS. If you like my videos, please consider voting for me in categories #3 and #13 before December 20, 2016! Vote here under “Viewers Choice Category Voting”. THANK YOU!

And . . . if you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU - AGAIN!


Get your holiday baking groove on with this 3-D oven cookie, complete with cookie turkey and edible sugar pies and cookies! In this video, I show how to make and assemble the oven itself. In an upcoming video, I’ll delve into the details of the turkey, pies, cookies, plates, bowl of peas, and other accessories, so please stay tuned!

ASIDE: I am a finalist in the annual TASTE AWARDS. If you like my videos, please consider voting for me in categories #3 and #13 before December 20, 2016! Vote here under “Viewers Choice Category Voting”. THANK YOU!

And . . . if you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU - AGAIN!

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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Mesmerizing Miniatures. If you were wondering how Julia created all of the mini edibles on her 3-D oven cookie project, you’re in luck! Here’s how, fully detailed in her recent YouTube tutorial.


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Move Over, Santa! Mrs. Claus has arrived, and she’s made completely of cookies and icing! She’s sure to be a showstopper on any holiday table, with or without her famous husband in tow. Check out Julia’s in-depth instructional video for all of the step-by-step details!


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Noel Prettier Plaques Stencil by Julia. Julia’s fave (so far!) in her new cookie stencil line, “Noel” can take on many different looks depending on how you handle the background and masking stencils. Again, visit Julia’s stenciled cookie playlist on YouTube to see how she created this lovely layered look and others!


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Sizzling Hot! Yes, this 3-D oven cookie by Julia is nothing less than sizzling hot, with its incredible attention to all-edible details. Use it for a Thanksgiving or holiday centerpiece, or as a pregnancy gift outfitted with “buns in the oven”, of course! For the complete how-to, visit Julia’s YouTube channel here.


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

New Prettier Plaques Stencils by Julia! In November 2016, Julia introduced her very own stencil line, produced in partnership with the country’s largest craft and household stencil manufacturer, Stencil Ease. “Give Thanks” is the first set in that series. Check out Julia’s stenciled cookie playlist on YouTube to see how she created this lovely layered look!


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Magazine Feature
Bareca, November 2016

During her recent teaching trip to Jakarta, Julia was interviewed about her signature 3-D cookie work by this leading Indonesian bakery magazine. See the cover in larger-than-life form by clicking on “Look Inside” to the left.

Julia’s bit: Interview, cookie art on cover and inside.


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Sampling of Stencils :: Designed by Me with Stencil Ease

Well, well, the day has finally come! After nearly a year in discussion, design, and development with my new partner Stencil Ease, I’m thrilled to announce the official launch of my new Prettier Plaques stencil series, along with a host of other stenciling accessories and general-purpose stencils from Stencil Ease’s Confection Couture line all to be found on the Stencil Ease site!

I couldn’t be more thrilled about this partnership (the Stencil Ease team is terrific) and how the initial launch designs have shaped up. Thank you to Jim, Stephanie, Catherine, and everyone else on the Stencil Ease team! You are amazing!

Of course, I’ll be adding new stencils to this series each month, and additional series over time, but there’s already lots from which to choose - 16 five-stencil plaque sets, all 80 stencils that make up these sets (sold as separates), 22 general-purpose stencils in the Confection Couture line, and several other stenciling tools including airbrush coloring, offset spatulas, cookie cutters, and stencil holders. The photos here show one small, but sweet sampling of the Prettier Plaques sets that you’ll find, with designs for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year, all coming just in time!


Well, well, the day has finally come! After nearly a year in discussion, design, and development with my new partner Stencil Ease, I’m thrilled to announce the official launch of my new Prettier Plaques stencil series, along with a host of other stenciling accessories and general-purpose stencils from Stencil Ease’s Confection Couture line all to be found on the Stencil Ease site!

I couldn’t be more thrilled about this partnership (the Stencil Ease team is terrific) and how the initial launch designs have shaped up. Thank you to Jim, Stephanie, Catherine, and everyone else on the Stencil Ease team! You are amazing!

Of course, I’ll be adding new stencils to this series each month, and additional series over time, but there’s already lots from which to choose - 16 five-stencil plaque sets, all 80 stencils that make up these sets (sold as separates), 22 general-purpose stencils in the Confection Couture line, and several other stenciling tools including airbrush coloring, offset spatulas, cookie cutters, and stencil holders. The photos here show one small, but sweet sampling of the Prettier Plaques sets that you’ll find, with designs for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year, all coming just in time!

To celebrate my launch, Stencil Ease and I are giving away $200 worth (!) of these stencils (or other related products on the Stencil Ease site). But, before I get to the giveaway details, let me share a little background about this series - i.e., how it came about, how the pieces work together, and some other cool features.

Bit of Background

You can read about the entire genesis of the Prettier Plaques idea, starting back in May 2014 (yes, it was that long ago, folks!), here, and about how they’re laser-cut at the Stencil Ease facility here. But, suffice it to say that the concept was born from my desire to make stenciled message plaques easier to do and more elegant than ever.

Each of the sets in my Prettier Plaques series contains four stencils and one masking piece. Thanks to the masking piece, backgrounds no longer have to compete with words. Plus, all sets fit the most popular 3- to 4-inch plaque cutters, allowing the backgrounds to display beautifully!

In the video below (and also in instructions here), I show how I typically use these sets to create a fully layered look, but feel free to get creative! All stencils can be used on their own or with others in the set; messages and frames can be mixed and matched with backgrounds in other sets; and all stencils work with both royal icing and airbrushing. In short, it’s all very versatile!


Here are those other cool factoids to know:

  • All stencils are made in the USA with 10 mil food-grade Mylar. Mylar is more durable than the standard plastic used on most other cookie stencils, yet still flexible enough to conform well to cookie surfaces.
  • All stencils are laser-cut, allowing for finer designs that can be cut more quickly.
  • I’m building a how-to video library, where my stencil designs and methods will be fully explained. So bookmark this YouTube playlist pronto! 
  • We’ll be introducing a Stencil-of-the-Month Club in mid-December, which will allow you to get the latest designs ($20 retail value per month) at roughly a 20% discount! Stay tuned for more details!
  • Last but not least, we’ll also be creating an area on the Stencil Ease site where you can upload images of your cookies that use our stencils. But for now, please share them on the Stencil Ease Facebook page, where we’ll then spread them throughout social media if you’d like!

Now, for what you’ve all been waiting for . . . that giveaway!

Giveaway Details

All of the details will be spelled out when you click on the giveaway link below, but, in short, we’re giving away $200 worth of stencils (or stencil-related products)* to one lucky winner, whose name will be randomly drawn after the giveaway close on December 6, 2016 (12 am CT). Anyone, anywhere can enter! 

Best of luck, and thanks in advance for helping to spread the word about my most recent labor of love. (Sharing buttons can be found in the giveaway link and also at the end of this post! )

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE

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Hi, everyone! If it seems like I’ve been hiding lately, that’s partially true! I’ve been in the throes of final design testing of my new cookie stencil line and the premiere of my first layered stencil series, which I am affectionately calling (for now, anyway), the Prettier Plaque series! This series is aimed at resolving the persistent and pesky issue of backgrounds getting in the way of words on message cookies, while making plaque cookies prettier than ever before!

Below is a quick video of how they are designed to work, including some of my latest design samples.

The line and plaque series have been designed in partnership with Stencil Ease, the US’s largest producer of craft, household, and other stencils, and are targeted for release later this fall, so please stay tuned! In the meantime, spread the word! Thanks again to my wonderful partners at Stencil Ease.


Hi, everyone! If it seems like I’ve been hiding lately, that’s partially true! I’ve been in the throes of final design testing of my new cookie stencil line and the premiere of my first layered stencil series, which I am affectionately calling (for now, anyway), the Prettier Plaque series! This series is aimed at resolving the persistent and pesky issue of backgrounds getting in the way of words on message cookies, while making plaque cookies prettier than ever before!

Below is a quick video of how they are designed to work, including some of my latest design samples.

The line and plaque series have been designed in partnership with Stencil Ease, the US’s largest producer of craft, household, and other stencils, and are targeted for release later this fall, so please stay tuned! In the meantime, spread the word! Thanks again to my wonderful partners at Stencil Ease.

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You asked, and I answered! In this companion video to last week’s baby cradle cookie tutorial (link below), I show exactly how to make the cute little teddy bears that I received so many questions about. The icing pillows are also thrown in – and not just into the cradle! A pillow demo is included at the end of this video as a special bonus!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!


You asked, and I answered! In this companion video to last week’s baby cradle cookie tutorial (link below), I show exactly how to make the cute little teddy bears that I received so many questions about. The icing pillows are also thrown in – and not just into the cradle! A pillow demo is included at the end of this video as a special bonus!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!

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It’s been a while since my last baby cookie video, but with another grand-niece or grand-nephew on the way (we don’t know which!), I thought it was high time for another baby cookie – and one with a gender reveal twist! Just tuck appropriately colored candy (either pink or blue) into the bottom of this 3-D cookie cradle, and you’ve got a cute-as-a-button baby shower favor that any new mom will love!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!


It’s been a while since my last baby cookie video, but with another grand-niece or grand-nephew on the way (we don’t know which!), I thought it was high time for another baby cookie – and one with a gender reveal twist! Just tuck appropriately colored candy (either pink or blue) into the bottom of this 3-D cookie cradle, and you’ve got a cute-as-a-button baby shower favor that any new mom will love!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!

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In this companion video to my recent 3-D grill cookie video, I show how to make five of the more unusual icing and fondant “accessories” on those grills, including the hamburgers, daisies, plates, spatulas, and grill grates. I also explain how to make many of the others - cheese, grill vents, hamburger and hot dog buns, grass, and more! To see all of the accessories in action, please be sure to check out my 3-D grill cookie video if you haven’t already!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!


In this companion video to my recent 3-D grill cookie video, I show how to make five of the more unusual icing and fondant “accessories” on those grills, including the hamburgers, daisies, plates, spatulas, and grill grates. I also explain how to make many of the others - cheese, grill vents, hamburger and hot dog buns, grass, and more! To see all of the accessories in action, please be sure to check out my 3-D grill cookie video if you haven’t already!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!

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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Light Your Fire! Don’t these mousse-filled chocolate firecrackers do just that? Make them exactly as pictured, or streamline the project by making just the cylinders. Either way, they are a most festive Fourth of July dessert! For the detailed how-to, click here!


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Chocolate in Style. Planning a super special dinner party?! Then serve your dessert in style with Julia’s elegant stenciled chocolate dessert cups. For all of the details in video form, click here!


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Lid-less and Lovely! Even without their lids, Julia’s stenciled chocolate cups are stunning. Again, for the detailed video tutorial, click here!


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Oh, Baby! Talk about adorable-overload! Hop on over to Julia’s YouTube channel to see how to make everything from the distressed wood finish to all of the trims on this 3-D cookie cradle!


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Adorbs, Revisited! To find out how to make the equally adorable teddy bear cookies and icing pillows for this cradle, check out this cradle companion video on Julia’s YouTube channel!


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Smokin’ Hot! OMG, yes! This 3-D BBQ grill lookalike is entirely cookie and icing! See Julia work her magic here.


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

A View from the Top. Believe it or not, the details on this grill are all various forms of icing - from the piped royal icing grate right down to the hand-formed hamburgers made of royal icing “putty”. For all of the details about how to make these mini “accessories”, please check out this companion to Julia’s 3-D grill video.


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

A Trio of Tuiles. Believe it or not, these fancy dessert cups are all tuile, a delicate cookie that can be bent into all sorts of shapes when still hot from the oven. To learn how to shape and stencil them with cocoa, as shown left, check out Julia’s instructional video here.


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Chocolate Leaf Cup. Wonderfully realistic, the leaves on this all-chocolate dessert cup are molded from the actual thing! For the how-to on Julia’s YouTube channel, click here!


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Stenciled Elegance. Julia’s tuile cups are delicious just plain, but don’t they look all the more fabulous when stenciled with cocoa?! Again, for the complete how-to, please visit Julia’s YouTube channel.


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Another Twist on Tuiles. And that’s “twist” both literally and figuratively! Here, Julia’s same tuile recipe used previously for dessert cylinders is twisted into the cones for these fanciful lookalike cookies. BTW, the soft-swirl topper is a meringue. To learn how to make these ice cream cone cookies, check out Julia’s YouTube video.


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Who says summer picnics have to be all about hamburgers and hotdogs?! Cookies – especially these lookalike grills - make great picnic food too! (Not to mention fabulous summertime party favors!) Scale them down into Hibachi-style grills by eliminating the legs, or jazz them up by placing candy inside the grill before applying the grate.

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!


Who says summer picnics have to be all about hamburgers and hotdogs?! Cookies – especially these lookalike grills - make great picnic food too! (Not to mention fabulous summertime party favors!) Scale them down into Hibachi-style grills by eliminating the legs, or jazz them up by placing candy inside the grill before applying the grate.

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!

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Happy Fourth of July! To celebrate, I’ve made a fun and festive all-chocolate firecracker for you! You can serve it filled with whipped cream and sliced berries as I do in the video, or to streamline the prep, forget the filling and serve the chocolate straight up. For another shortcut, skip the tails and nozzles, and cap each cylinder with a single red or white chocolate disk to make simple, but striking holiday dessert cups. Any which way you do it, your guests are sure to get fired up!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!


Happy Fourth of July! To celebrate, I’ve made a fun and festive all-chocolate firecracker for you! You can serve it filled with whipped cream and sliced berries as I do in the video, or to streamline the prep, forget the filling and serve the chocolate straight up. For another shortcut, skip the tails and nozzles, and cap each cylinder with a single red or white chocolate disk to make simple, but striking holiday dessert cups. Any which way you do it, your guests are sure to get fired up!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!

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So this week, I’m combining two cookie types into one that is far greater than the sum of its parts! Take one stenciled tuile cone, fill it with mousse, and add two hard meringues on top, and you’ve got a dazzling cookie creation that looks just like a soft-swirl ice cream cone! Delicious, and without any of real ice cream’s drippy mess, this lookalike treat will fit in perfectly at your next summer fête.

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!


So this week, I’m combining two cookie types into one that is far greater than the sum of its parts! Take one stenciled tuile cone, fill it with mousse, and add two hard meringues on top, and you’ve got a dazzling cookie creation that looks just like a soft-swirl ice cream cone! Delicious, and without any of real ice cream’s drippy mess, this lookalike treat will fit in perfectly at your next summer fête.

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!

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Since my stenciled chocolate cylinders that I recently posted (link below) were such a hit, I decided to give you a slightly stepped-up version this week. These stately chocolate dessert cups (with lid, no less!) are also stenciled, but they make use of four different molds to create their extraordinary shape! I’d love to see your versions of them, so please don’t hesitate to share on my Facebook page!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!


Since my stenciled chocolate cylinders that I recently posted (link below) were such a hit, I decided to give you a slightly stepped-up version this week. These stately chocolate dessert cups (with lid, no less!) are also stenciled, but they make use of four different molds to create their extraordinary shape! I’d love to see your versions of them, so please don’t hesitate to share on my Facebook page!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!

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I’m back with cookies this week, but not the typical decorated ones that I usually do. Instead, I’m talking tuiles (thin cookies that are shaped while hot) – and I’m talking about how to shape them in three different, but equally fun ways! If you’ve never made tuiles before, start with the cones and leave the more difficult stenciled cylinders for last.

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!


I’m back with cookies this week, but not the typical decorated ones that I usually do. Instead, I’m talking tuiles (thin cookies that are shaped while hot) – and I’m talking about how to shape them in three different, but equally fun ways! If you’ve never made tuiles before, start with the cones and leave the more difficult stenciled cylinders for last.

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!

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Thanks so much for your patience over the last few weeks. I had a brief video hiatus due to an extremely busy teaching schedule, but I’m back, and with one of my very favorite things - chocolate! In this video, you’ll learn how to make these elegant dessert cups with little more than high-quality chocolate and real leaves (not to eat, but to mold the chocolate)! Enjoy!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!


Thanks so much for your patience over the last few weeks. I had a brief video hiatus due to an extremely busy teaching schedule, but I’m back, and with one of my very favorite things - chocolate! In this video, you’ll learn how to make these elegant dessert cups with little more than high-quality chocolate and real leaves (not to eat, but to mold the chocolate)! Enjoy!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!

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Photo by Julia M. Usher

A Spoonful of Sugar?! Well, they’re spoonfuls of cookies, to be exact! Every ounce of these shimmering teaspoons, the companions to Julia’s recent 3-D teacup project, is either cookie or royal icing! For the step-by-step how-to, check out Julia’s latest YouTube video, here!


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Just call me Julie (Andrews) Usher, as I’m pushing spoonfuls of sugar this week! (Well, spoonfuls of cookie, to be exact!) In this video, I show how to make a super easy, but very realistic cookie teaspoon to go along with my 3-D cookie teacups from last week! Enjoy!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!


Just call me Julie (Andrews) Usher, as I’m pushing spoonfuls of sugar this week! (Well, spoonfuls of cookie, to be exact!) In this video, I show how to make a super easy, but very realistic cookie teaspoon to go along with my 3-D cookie teacups from last week! Enjoy!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!

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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Spot of Tea - and Cookies - Anyone? Yes, as lifelike as these cups and saucers might appear, they are 100 percent cookie and icing, with a touch of isomalt for the “tea”. For all of the beautiful details, be sure to watch Julia’s how-to video on YouTube, here!


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Care for a spot of tea – and cookies?! If the answer is “yes”, then you’re in the right place! This week’s project is a 3-D cookie teacup and saucer with isomalt doubling for tea. Stay tuned for my next video, which shows how to make the all-cookie teaspoons in this edible set!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!


Care for a spot of tea – and cookies?! If the answer is “yes”, then you’re in the right place! This week’s project is a 3-D cookie teacup and saucer with isomalt doubling for tea. Stay tuned for my next video, which shows how to make the all-cookie teaspoons in this edible set!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!

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Okay, so these Easter treats aren’t cookies, but they do require cookie cutters! They also look extra sweet embellished with any number of cookie decorating techniques. While the making of the sugar syrup for the marshmallow requires adult supervision, your kids will love cutting out and personalizing their own bunnies and peeps!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!


Okay, so these Easter treats aren’t cookies, but they do require cookie cutters! They also look extra sweet embellished with any number of cookie decorating techniques. While the making of the sugar syrup for the marshmallow requires adult supervision, your kids will love cutting out and personalizing their own bunnies and peeps!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!

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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Bunny Photo Bomb. Completely cute and very easy to boot, these marshmallow treats are a perfect family project for Easter. For the complete how-to, see Julia’s YouTube video here.


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Eggs-traordinary Baskets. For sure! Made entirely of cookies, SugarVeil lace, and royal icing, these baskets aren’t just unusually beautiful, they’re also 100 percent edible! For all of the how-to details, watch Julia’s latest video here.


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Photo by Julia M. Usher

Eggs-tra Close. To put this basket’s details into perspective, here are some stats: the basket is only 2 3/4 inches in diameter, and the grid on the sides has roughly 10 teeny squares per inch! It takes a fair bit of concentration to make sure each color lands in the right spot! Again, for the step-by-step tutorial, click here.


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It’s already Easter in the Recipes for a Sweet Life kitchen! This week, I return to cookies with an all-cookie and icing Easter basket dressed with SugarVeil’s new needlepoint lace and a tiny fondant “Happy Easter” plaque. In this video, I’ve filled my baskets with candy eggs and sanding sugar, but you could also fill them with an iced cupcake and/or my marshmallow bunnies, which will debut on YouTube next week!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!


It’s already Easter in the Recipes for a Sweet Life kitchen! This week, I return to cookies with an all-cookie and icing Easter basket dressed with SugarVeil’s new needlepoint lace and a tiny fondant “Happy Easter” plaque. In this video, I’ve filled my baskets with candy eggs and sanding sugar, but you could also fill them with an iced cupcake and/or my marshmallow bunnies, which will debut on YouTube next week!

If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Or help support my channel by making a small donation (just click on the button on the right of my YouTube channel home page). It is only through your support that I can afford to make more videos. THANK YOU!

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