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"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


Jul 06, 2019 8:48am

Julia Usher baking in her home kitchen
Noshes and Notions

Lavender Luxe :: Susan Jackson

Field of Dreams:
A No-Fuss Farm-to-Table Fête

Alfresco is one of my favorite ways to entertain. And late September into early October, after the summer swelter has passed, is the best time to do it here in Missouri. This farm-to-table dinner party took place at precisely this transition of seasons a few years ago, at Winding Brook Estate, a 16-acre lavender farm tilled into tidy, fragrant rows by my friends Deborah and Steve Nathe. The occasion: a simple respite from the rigors of tending 7,000 lavender plants!

I was honored that Deborah asked me to plan and style her event (one that would be featured in a local magazine, no less). But I also recognized the challenge of adapting my “more-is-more” approach to her minimalist aesthetic. She wanted to keep the party down-to-earth, yet still give guests that ah-ha experience they’d never forget. Hmmmm . . . simple, yet over-the-top? Subtle, but showy? What had I gotten myself into, and was it even possible?

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Jumble of Julia's Jewelry :: Photo by Julia M. Usher

Celebrating the Everyday:
A Study in Repurposing, and Taking Time to Breathe

OK, so this feature isn’t my usual special party, but it is a celebration in its own right - of the smaller things in life that we (or at least, I) too often take for granted. After a whirlwind winter of event-hopping to promote my latest book, I finally returned home earlier this month. My first obsessive-compulsive impulse upon “landing” was to tend to the many home projects that have been calling out for attention for months - like taming the dust bunnies bouncing in every corner and the honeysuckle that’s choking my backyard. Alas, I couldn’t muster the strength. My next impulse was to start my equally large number of neglected work projects - instructional videos, assorted TV pitches, a new book proposal . . . the list goes on. Yet again, no taste for this stuff. I waffled for a while with no sense of purpose. Then I did what I rarely do . . .

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

Spring Cookie Stencil Roundup:
Many Layered Lovelies from Which to Choose!

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 . . .

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Chat with Julia News From Julia's Kitchen
  • Check out Julia’s one-of-a-kind stencil line, designed in partnership with the amazing Confection Couture Stencils! Julia M Usher, Recipes for a Sweet Life, new stencil line
  • A first for cookies! The 3-D category in Julia M Usher’s Cookie Art Competition will be filmed for an upcoming TV documentary, and all 3-D entrants have a chance to be featured. Learn more here!
  • See Julia’s exciting lineup of 2019 cookie classes and events - Kuwait, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, and even several spots in the US!
  • Woo hoo! In late 2016, Julia was named both Artist of the Year USA and International Artist of the Year by EAGA (Edible Artists Global Awards)! She also received Cake Masters Magazine‘s “Cookie Icon” distinction in their July 2018 issue. Read that interview here. Julia M Usher, Recipes for a Sweet Life, sugar art awards, EAGA, 2016 Edible Artists Global Awards
  • Explore the world of cookie decorating! Join Cookie Connection, Julia’s free cookie community. Then grab a badge! Julia M Usher, Cookie Connection, online cookie decorating community