A Cookie Nativity: Behind the Scenes on the Martha Show

Sweet Dani B with Martha Stewart

Dani Fiori & Martha Stewart are seen in this photo from”The Martha Stewart Show” in NYC on Thursday December 15, 2011. Photo: Rob Tannenbaum/The Martha Stewart Show

If someone would have told me back when I was getting C’s in my life drawing classes at RISD that someday I’d be “a frequent guest” on The Martha Show using my illustration skills, I would have never believed them. Especially if they mentioned I’d be illustrating in royal icing (I guess pencil and charcoal really wasn’t my thing)! Here’s a behind the scenes look at my latest visit to Martha’s set in Chelsea Studios, NYC…

Designing and icing the cookie Nativity scene for Martha was very illustration heavy- after all, many of the cookies are people. I did a very rough sketch in the beginning and also showed photos of Copper Gift’s amazing nativity cookie cutters… lucky for me the producers at Martha, who I have worked with for a few years now, “get” my drawings and the project was approved from there.

Sweet Dani B's sketch of nativity scene

My initial sketch… Come to think of it, maybe those C’s were warranted!

Since the show is taped live, you are asked to be on set EARLY. Esp if you want hair and makeup (yes, please!). I LOVE how Deb Jones does my makeup every time!

Sweet Dani B's Tinsel Christmas Tree

A gold tinsel tree is my co-pilot on the sleepy 6:45 a.m. tunnel drive

Sweet Dani B having make up done for Martha Stewart Show

Deb Jones working her magic

My bestie, Tamara, has been helping me bake all season (thank you Tam!) so she met me there to help and cheer me on. (She also totally lucked out by scoring an audience seat!)

Sweet Dani B on set on Martha Stewart Show

Tam and I “on set” in the kitchen

Kait on set of Martha Show for Sweet Danib

Kait had the idea for the stars on the back wall- I happily obliged!

The time goes by really fast. Just as Tam and I finished setting up the Nativity with Kait Taylor, (our friend and assigned Martha Show set stylist) I was whisked in to get my hair done. Not so long after I was called to set for rehearsal where we do a full read thru of the segment.

Set of Martha Stewart Show for Sweet Dani B

The set looks so gorgeous all decked out in Holiday green!

Next, into the prep kitchen to record my bump shot… I always love to see what they are cooking!

Jalapeno Peppers on Martha Show for sweet dani b's cookie nativity scene

Speaking of green, I thought about putting this jalapeño platter in my handbag…

Sweet Dani B on set of Martha Show

The “bump shot” is the teaser for what’s up next on the show

Sweet Dani B's Icing Bottle Kit Cart

My kitchen cookie cart with icing bottles, swap cookies and a log for faux bois reference!

After another quick makeup touch up, I headed back to the greenroom to watch segment 1. This is when I’d normally start to get nervous but this time I was fairly calm. Kyle, the stage manager came to get me and we gathered in the set alley as segment 1 came to a close. The doors open as soon as they cut to commercial and I’m up!

Sweet Dani B backstage on The Martha Show

Backstage, Jennifer, Kait, Mary, Kyle and Joanne wish me luck! They are the amazing Martha team that made my segment happen! (You guys are the best! Xo)

Action shot for sweet dani b on Martha Show

I snapped this action shot right when I walked out- its always bustling during commercial break!

The segment went very well- I always have fun decorating cookies with Martha. She loves cookie decorating and really enjoyed decorating the faux bois manger walls as well as the Nativity animals inspired by some of her own furry and wooly farm friends!

Sweet Dani b's cookie nativity scene for the martha show

The Nativity Cookie Scene Photo: Rob Tannenbaum/The Martha Stewart Show

At the end of a segment I congratulated Martha on becoming a Grandma and presented her with a cookie box for the adorable Baby Jude. I also gifted her one of my partridge in a pear trees cookies.

Sweet Dani B cookies on Martha Show

SDB First Christmas Cookie box for Martha’s Grandaughter

After the segment, I went back to pack up our greenroom, change my shoes, and waited till the show was over.

Sweet Dani B with Joey Kola backstage on The Martha Show

Joey Kola, Martha’s amazing and hilarious warm up artist is the sweetest!

Twitter Sign backstage at the Martha Show

I love that they encourage guests to tweet- Don’t mind if I do!

On set with Sweet Dani B on the Martha Show

Tam in the audience with one of the amazing giveaways from the show that day! (She got me one too- Yes!)

Thank you to Martha Stewart for having me on for another fabulous Holiday Cookie Week! Thanks to the team I worked with- especially Producer, Mary Forrest!

I hope you enjoyed the JUICE from behind the scenes! It was a really fun day. Life is Sweet!  Xo Dani

Clickable shopping list for the cookie cutters mentioned in this post:


Wooly Sheep

Partridge in a Pear Tree 


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