Monday, March 31, 2014

Easter "Bunny" Gifts | Easy Applique T-shirts + Vanilla Glazed Sugar Cookies

Inspiration is a wonderful thing.  It's one of life's little gifts, nothing you can plan for, but when you are hit, you are hit.  The inspiration for these gifts for my nephews came last week.   I couldn't stop thinking about the sweet little bunny sugar cookies I spied in the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine that were used for a woodland themed baby shower.  I loved the way the icing, or glaze rather, looked so simple and delicious, like they would melt in your mouth. Unfortunately, no recipe, just a bakery name was provided.  I was determined to recreate my own version.  Then my second source of inspiration  came when I saw my girlfriend's daughter wearing a cute flower T-shirt and she told me how easy it had been to make on her own.  Done.  Inspiration runneth over.  Now for how I went about it....

For the cookies.  I used my current favorite cardamon sugar recipe and created a vanilla glaze.  Since I wanted to share these cookies with my nephews, I needed to avoid raw egg because one has a food allergy to uncooked eggs.  So, royal icing was out.  I really liked the vanilla buttercream glaze I made on last year's bunny cookies but didn't like the idea of using butter in an icing that was being shipped.  I made an icing a couple years back that had a touch of corn syrup (no idea what I did with that recipe) in it and I liked the finish it gave to the cookies, so I tinkered a bit with flavor and consistency till I had a keeper.  It is so simple and doesn't even require a mixer!  I let them sit out overnight, uncovered, to let the icing completely set up.  It firms up well, not quite as hard a royal icing, but sill very stackable.  This glaze made just enough to cover an entire batch of the above sugar cookie recipe.

Vanilla Sugar Cookie Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar (sift if it is lumpy)
2 TBS milk to start, add more as needed (I used 1% milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla (use clear if you plan to add food color or want a bright white, otherwise regular vanilla is fine. I like the way natural vanilla makes the icing look)
2 tsp light corn syrup

In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar and 2 TBS milk with a spoon.  Slowly add more milk, 1 tsp at a time, till you get a thick glaze consistency.  You want it spreadable so that it covers the cookies easily, but not so runny that it is dripping off.  If you feel you went too far, just add more powered sugar.  Very forgiving recipe! When you get the consistency you like, use a whisk and add in the corn syrup and vanilla.  Spread on cookies and let them set up for 45 minutes before eating. (This is when I piped on the tails! Same icing, just thicker and without vanilla so they would be very white!) I recommend leaving them out overnight to set up completely.

^^How cute do these look rolled up?  I love that the bow is tied around the bunny's neck.  The fabric gift tags are from Michael's, I stamped on the bunny (also from Michael's) in a charcoal colored ink. These would be so sweet in an Easter basket too!^^

After 18 months of age, it gets challenging to find cute boy themed T-shirts for holidays, without all sorts of crazy graphics and text.  Charlie loved these, so I made a third for him.  It will be cute with a long sleeve t shirt underneath and lots of fun to wear to his Easter party at school!  

To make the T shirts:
Supplies needed: T shirts (mine were bought at Wal-Mart), fabric for applique, fusible web lining, applique shape (I found mine off a Google search and then resized it), fabric scissors, pen, iron, sewing machine.

Step 1: Cut out an applique shape.
Step 2: Trace shape onto fusible web sheet.  One side has a peel-off paper, the other doesn't, trace the shape on the side that doesn't.
Step 3: Peel off the removable backing and stick the shape on to the wrong side of your applique fabric.
Step 4: Follow the directions on the packaging for how to iron on the applique.
Step 5: Stitch around the edges.  I purposefully chose a simple stitch in the hopes the edges would fray a little, making the shirt feel a bit more boyish.

^^wrapping paper from Target, kraft boxes and ribbon from Everyday Occasions (my favorite source for ribbon, I love her generous roll sizes!  It is nice to shop from someone who appreciates beautiful gift presentation as much as I do. :))^^

^^gift tags made by me, full tutorial here.  I attached them with Glue Dots to the package.^^

I hope my little nephews in Chicago are as excited to open these Easter boxes as much as I am to send them in the mail.  Who doesn't love a surprise package?! 


  1. These are BEAUTIFUL! I absolutely love that paper, have mercy. Your nephews will be very excited to receive those!!

  2. Absolutely beautiful Tessa. No detail was sparred. Such beautiful inspiration, thank you!! I might just have to try the t-shirt idea for my nephews - they live in Belgium so if I'm going to do this for Easter, I gotta start asap!!

  3. Tessa, I love the thoughtfulness and attention to detail that went into your package......the check paper matches perfectly the check fabric, the tag is shaped like an Easter egg. This made me smile and I'm not even a recipient!

  4. I love everything about this post! The cookies, gift wrap, shirts, and tags are all adorable. I think my favorite part is the love and time you put into making such thoughtful gifts. :)

    My almost 11 year old son would love one of your bunny shirts!

  5. Very very cute! Where did you find the check fabric? The cookies look great. Did you use a knife to spread the glaze? They look SO perfect! LOVE all the you do....I enjoy making cute packages also. I had those same tags in my hand at Michaels and did not purchase them as I couldn't think of what I would make them for! LOL have to go back now! Thank you for all you do!

    1. Thanks so much! Fabric is from Jo-Ann, it's right next to our Michaels! :) it was only $5/yd and I only needed about a 1/4 yd to make 3 shirts. To spread icing I used a small flat metal icing spreader. Same one I used to spread icing on last year's bunny cookies. There is a picture in that post. It probably has a proper name but it's not off set and calling it a spatula feels misleading.

  6. toooooo cute!!! loved it all. I'm with Bravehearted Beauty above and want an Aunt Tess package too. :)

  7. Love this! I have bought way too many boden tees for Emma - never thought of making my own. Officially on my list. Thanks for sharing the link to my store! The bunny tags look so much like my Easter tags coming out later this week! Great minds... :)

  8. I love this post. The shirts, gift wrap, tags, and cookies are all adorable. My favorite part is the love and thought you put into gift giving Tessa! :)

    BTW- My 11 year old son would love a bunny shirt.

  9. Doesn't get any cuter...everything is just adorable! Now I have some applique ideas for my two new nieces for baptism gifts. Gonna have to find that EZ Steam, which sure would have come in handy this week, working on a monogrammed shower curtain for Cecilia. Tessa, you never fail to inspire me...thx for always sharing such great ideas!!! xoxo, M

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