(Sidney asked how these are done...) The technique on the cookies which appear painted is a bit like what you will see here:
(not sure that I can get a link to work tonight....Sigh.)
Okay, in a nutshell, these are FUN. Bake your favorite cut-out sugar cookie in plain simple shapes like circle, star, bell, etc.
Make a batch of regular old generic royal icing, but, after it is properly made, dilute the batch with a tiny bit (teaspoon?) of water. Royal icing has to be able to hold a peak to be properly made, but then I dilute with that one teaspoon of water and it is a bit more runny.....
It flattens when laid on a cookie. It becomes a smooth, white base.
I get icing in colors from a craft store or Wilton store, etc, that are in squeeze tubes. (If you are really a glutton for punishment, dye a bit of the royal icing with strong food coloring, and put in a decorating bag with a tiny hole tip.... but I usually am lazy and buy the squeeze colors.)
(DD1 getting fancy!)
Ice ONE cookie, and only one cookie, at a time with the royal icing. (They get hard fast and you need it to be wet)
Click on picture - hopefully my drawings will give you an idea of what I'm talking about with the direction of the toothpicks!
Immediately pipe onto the cookie some colored lines or dots. For Example, for a round cookie, start with icing a small red circular line in the middle of the cookie, come out about 1/4-1/2 inch and place another circle, etc. Then take a clean toothpick, start in center and gently pull it through the icing to the edge of the cookie. WIPE IT OFF. Repeat in another location, like spokes on a wheel.
If you go out to the edge with one swipe and in to the center with the next, you get a more swirled look.
Pulling the toothpick through a dot creates a heart. Pulling the toothpick through a short straight line creates a pair of teardrops or leaves.
If you put a series of red dots on the white icing, in the shape of a candycane, and then take the toothpick and travel around the imaginary edge of the candycane, grazing the red dots all the way around - you get a gorgeous candycane that is swirled in the traditional way.
It's addictive, in a good way. We make these cookies every year, for the sheer fun of dragging the toothpicks through the colors and making new designs!