Monday, April 19, 2010

Everything's Coming Up Roses...

Everything is coming up roses....well sort of. My Paris flight cancelled Friday due to the volcanic ash plume, which left me at home on a rainy weekend. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade right? So when life gives you volcanic ash and rain, you make roses! OK, that may be pushing it but it sure helped me forget about it all. Since seeing Valentiono's Rose Bags at the Paris Ritz last fall, I have been longing for one. Bonne chance....the price tag is about $1,500. I finally recycled the brochure from the Valentino shop last month after realizing my Fairy Godmother wasn't going to be paying me a visit anytime soon. But, reminiscent of the Fairy Godmother herself, I had some fabric remnants in my stash and dusted off the sewing machine and thimble.Like a mad tailor, I whipped up a rosy, rose bag with a spring green with pink polka dot silk lining. I made a rose for another bag I had made previously, as well. All the while, it is still raining and the European airspace is still closed. I needed more roses, and a little something sweet. Rose and pink and green polka dot cookies emerged from my oven. Rose therapy worked for a few days. (I never uncorked a bottle of Rosé, but thought about it!) The sun is out now, but my Paris flight just cancelled again today, and I'm hoping this dratted plume clears before I start pushing up daisies.During this standstill of air traffic, I'm wishing for people to have the care and support needed until the dust settles and things get back to normal. Can't wait to hear the stories either ;-)

Rose and Polka Dot Sugar Cookies

Basic dough:
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract

In large bowl or food processor, cream sugar and butter together until fluffy. Add egg, and almond extract until well blended. Add the flour and salt and mix until it begins to form a ball, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed. If the dough is too dry, add a few drops of water. Scrape dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press together to form a thick flat disc. Wrap well and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a baking sheet.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick, or
desired thickness. The dough needs to be just the right temperature to roll and cut properly. If it is too cold, it is hard to roll, and if it is too soft it becomes difficult to cut and pick up. Roll any scraps back into a ball and chill again. Use as little flour as possible to roll out, so they don't get tough. After cutting, place on a baking sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes or until just lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. I use an insulated baking sheet to prevent the edges from getting too brown.*

Makes 4 dozen, 3 inch (1/8 inch thick) cookies. (makes fewer Rose and Polka Dot cookies.)

*My tips: Keep dough chilled just enough so it is easy to roll and cut, but not so cold that it is hard and cracks. I like to roll between 2 layers of plastic wrap. This keeps the dough from sticking without extra flour that makes the dough tough. I even roll it to desired thickness, between 2 layers of plastic wrap before chilling. Then when it comes out of the refrigerator, you won't have to roll and you'll be ready to cut. If the dough warms up too much while working with it, you can slide the whole layer onto a cookie sheet and chill, without disturbing what you've already done. Also, bake sugar cookies in insulated pans for even browning.

For the Rose and Polka Dot Cookies, separate dough into desired proportions for the type of cookie you'll be making. Then add the desired color using a toothpick, a little at a time until you get the color you want. I used Wilton Pastel Food Coloring, Rose petal Pink and Willow Green. Blend the coloring thoroughly into the dough, wrap and chill for up to 2 hours.

For the Rose Cookies, roll chilled dough to 1/8 inch thick rectangle, 12 inches long. Cut in half horizontally, and then cut into 1 inch strips lengthwise. This will give you 6x1 inch strips to roll. Roll the strips into a rose shape. Experiment with the technique until you like the shape of the flower. Just as in nature, no two will be the same and it adds to the charm. Flatten the bottom slightly so they stand straight up and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar if desired and chill for about 15-20 minutes before putting in a preheated 350 degree oven. Make sure they don't brown around the edges. The baking time will vary, but should be about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
For the Polka Dot Cookies, roll out the dough about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Cut into 2 inch circles and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Make 5 indentations into the cookies using the flat end of a clean ball point pen or chopstick. Roll 1/8 inch balls of pink dough for the green cookies and roll green balls for the pink cookies. Place them into the indentations and chill for 15-20 minutes. Then put into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake about 15 minutes. Do not let them brown. Cool on a wire rack when done. Rose and Polka Dot Sugar Cookies recipe, click here

For the bags:

To make a simple rose, I took a 31"x3 3/4" strip of fabric. I then folded it in half lengthwise, make a running stitch, slightly gathered it, rolled it into a rose shape and tacked it down.

The pink rose was just tacked down free form as I worked. I want to experiment with a more free form rose, as well. It is more involved, but I really like the results.
I'd love to see what anyone else does or thinks about the style.

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Anonymous said...

Absolutely adore the bag - what a knack you have - have you done any wet felting with merino wool? You could make a very cool rose. Karen

linda said...


you are very talented & your creativity knows no bounds.

first...the origami boxes & now these fabulous bags...

the roses are quite beautiful...
i love the free formed rose on the pink "shopper!"

thank you for the rose cookie tutorial...reinforcing for me!

when you get back in the travels... :)

Karen @ Mignardise said...

What? You sew too?
I shouldn't be surprised. Seems like your talents just keep popping up! Hope you're (and everyone else) back in the air soon.

Barbara said...

Well, as long as life is handing you lemons in the form of ash right now, you might just as well make roses!
And so you did. The bags are so adorable. You are very talented!

And the cookies look delish; you've decorated them beautifully and I love the soft colors matching your bags!

Trissa said...

What a great attitude you have! I would have been fuming if my Paris trip was cancelled... and to top it all off you had the creativity and motivation to make such pretty roses!

La Table De Nana said...

What a perfectly pretty post...From petal to purse..all sweet~

Thank you for sharing the recipe..the techniques..your pretty photos:)

How cute is everything?

So feminine..

It's sew nice that you play and let us watch.
I am happy about that.
Thank you.

Paris soon i hope for you again..

Meanwhile..look what you accomplished!You're so talented.

♥ Kathy said...

You are so talented! I'm impressed :)

Zurin said...

now youve made me want to make the bag so pretty ..tq for sharing your talent and seems now ill be thinking about the bag for the next few days and nites. :))

Kathy Walker said...

Lovely post! This is a great way to use the "gift of time"! Beautiful purses and are ready for a tea party.

2 Stews said...

Karen..the felted rose would be beautiful. I haven't done any felting but have a friend who is a whiz at it...I'll plant the seed!

Linda..thanks for your kind thoughts. I love making something out of nothing, especially when I need a diversion like I did over the weekend. So far I've had 2 Paris trips and 1 London trip cancelled due to the volcano. Tomorrow I go to Paris and it looks like the ash has cleared enough. We'll be the first flight from Boston to Paris :-)

Karen@Mignardise...I've sewn since I was young and made doll clothes...and that's a long time!

Barbara...thanks! The colors were just happy colors for me. Rose therapy!

Trissa...oh, I was upset alright. My friend and I had big plans in Paris, that's why I had to divert my attention. I'm hoping to get to Paris tomorrow, with different plans.

Monique...I love that, "from petal to purse." It makes me happy to look at it. You have made some wonderful bags, all unique and handcrafted. Real beauties.

Kathy...thanks, it's fun to see what evolves with a little fabric and an idea:-)

Zurin...oh, please share if you make something. You are so creative all the way around! have it right...all of a sudden I had a few days that became empty and I had an idea and ran with it. Then I couldn't think about being in rainy Boston and not in sunny Paris!

Thanks for stopping by...have a great week!


tasteofbeirut said...

One of my regrets is not learning to sew; what you did is so fun! Love that bag, O would wear it in an instant! and the cookies have a Marcel Proust, retro look about them!

Thibeault's Table said...

Beautiful. I love how you coloured coordinated your cookies with your purses.

Deana Sidney said...

What a beautiful job you did, Diane. I am remarkably impressed. I am the girl that sews a pillow instead of a skirt... all thumbs when I get near a sewing machine. Yours must be better than the original...and she cooks too!

Noemi said...

What a great post. I adore the way you wrapped up the cookies. Thanks for sharing your recipe for the cookies as well, this will be a wonderful "Wutcha gonna do Wednesday" thing to do with my kids :)

zoom yummy said...

Hi! I love your pictures! Especially the pink rosy bag - I love, love, love that! Cheers! Petra

Kate at Serendipity said...

How adorable are these? The bags AND the cookies! I would never have thought to make roses from cookie dough.

Sigh...I guess your gift of time is used up now. Mais il me semble que tu en as bien profitee!

Anonymous said...

Is there anything you can't do? What a pretty post...loved the "pushing up daisies" you clever girl.

Kitchen Butterfly said...

Love the cookies and thanks for the tips..........I've found heaven now that I can make cake decorations from dough!