CookieCon Wrap Up

CookieCon Wrap Up 

The frenzy surrounding CookieCon began back in the spring. There were rumblings popping up on facebook and the big question was, “Are you going to CookieCon?”  Mike and Karen , from Karen’s Cookies, were overwhelmed by the response to this newly created cookie convention.  Tickets were sold out in a blink of an eye and there were cookiers coming from all over the world. My husband thinks it’s hilarious we have made a name up for ourselves but mark my words “cookiers” will be in the dictionary soon.  Australia, Brazil, England, Mexico and America, were all represented at CookieCon. Who says cookies can’t bring world peace? Count down calendars began to pop up, announcing how many days we had left until CookieCon or if you were having a bad day a friend would chime in and say, “Just 63 more days!”  The cookie world is a very unique place. Some of us decorate cookies as a hobby, some of us sell for profit, and others sell to raise money for their charities; yet many have reached out to one another to encourage each other along this crazy journey. Oh yes, it is a tad crazy.  And trust me if you are thinking about decorating cookies, you to will need a support group soon too.

Last week 200 women from around the world began to pour into Salt Lake City. I can tell you this, the hotel noise level got louder and louder as the evening went by on Thursday. There were so many women I wanted to meet when I left home, and I honestly thought I would get to meet everyone. But I did’t. It was just to hard. I thought long and hard about how to rectify that problem. Since you can’t change the past, let’s have a link up party. A place where people can link up their favorite moments and pictures from CookieCon to share with those who and those who unfortunately couldn’t go.  But before we go any further I have to share with you a little bit about my rocky journey to CookieCon.  First step to making it to Utah is to put on my traveling shoes. I am not a superstitious person, but I always wear my favorite shoes when I have to get on a plane. I tried clicking my heels, thinking I might magically appear in Utah but it didn’t work. Anyways, much more fun awaited me at the airport.


I knew my schedule was going to be a tad hectic leading up to CookieCon. I had a massive wedding cake that I had to do that weekend and harvest cookies due the week of the convention. What was I going to do? How was I going to fit the sugar show in and make swap cookies? I had settled on two ideas for the sugar show. I was going to do a rubix cube for the “Good Ole Days” category and I was going to paint my favorite picture of my brother’s for the holiday category.  When you see the picture below, are you wondering, “I didn’t see that cookie in the sugar show.” Well, the night before the convention I went in my office to begin packing my cookies. In the two years that I have been making cookies I have never  had one go missing. At first I thought my husband and son might be playing a joke on me. But they weren’t. I started frantically looking through the house. I could not find it anywhere. Are there special milk cartons that you can put missing cookies on to find them ASAP? Well in the process of frantically running around the house I kept stepping on crumbs. Odd…Then I saw a guilty dog. I had not put my cookie in a special place because it was not going to be eaten. I didn’t have to worry about any safety precautions, right? Um, WRONG. So, I can honestly say my dog ate my CookieCon HOMEWORK!!!

Once Blind Studios

Oh well! While I wanted to cry, it didn’t matter. Plus, there is no crying in baking, man! Come to find out, my peeps at The Smart Baker just made a shirt just in time for my debacle. The cookie is gone and it is time to move on.  I couldn’t wait to meet my cookie buddies in the morning.  I didn’t have time to do swap cookies but everyone is always asking for my cake. Since I can’t ship my cakes to my friends, like I can ship my cookies, I decided to make some of my mason cake jars. I called Southwest and asked if I could take cake on the plane. They assured me cake is absolutely ok to take aboard an aircraft.  I thought what a fun surprise, I will take some of my salted chocolate caramel cake jars. Um no, the surprise will end up to be on me.


As I begin to make my way through security  all of a sudden a bag sets off an alarm. I start thinking to myself, shoot I got in the wrong line. Um, no, I didn’t get in the wrong line. It’s my bag that is setting off the alarm and making everyone behind me a tad angry. TSA takes me to the side and asks me what is in my bag. CAKE! Cake is what is in my bag. The TSA officer says, oh no problem, I just have to test it and then you can be on your way. The officer tests the cake jar and another alarm goes off. Oh nuts!  Next thing I know they are calling in a military explosives expert.  Oh yes, be jealous,  it’s not every day you get to spend an hour of quality time with a weapons expert. Awesome! So there is good news and there is bad news. You can take cake on a plane but if you are lucky enough to set off two alarms, you get to have everything tested including yourself.  Oh the swabbing fun begins.  Good times. Now I must say the 4 TSA agents and the explosives expert that got to deal with the “situation” were very nice and we had quite the time laughing about this whole ordeal. This gives new meaning to, “for the love of cake!”CookieCon

Yup, there they are, the explosive cake jars. But it was all worth it when I delivered it to some of my most treasured friends.


Cake jars have now been delivered and I can relax.  But then I look down and wonder, “Where is my suitcase?” I was so excited to meet the women I have interacting with for months that I left my suitcase in the lobby. Seriously? You have to be thinking what is wrong with this girl. Well I ran to the lobby and there it was right where I left it. Nobody touched it or moved it. Relief.

CookieConThe Presenter’s

Alison Stinnett from Ali B’s Bake Shop:  Piping and Royal Icing Transfers

Glory Albin from Glorious Treats:  Fondant on Cookies, Photography and Food Styling, Blogging

Pam Sneed from CookieCrazie:  De-mystifying glaze, Packaging

Callye Alvarado from Sweet Sugarbelle:  Cookie Think, The Cookie Business

Elizabeth Adams from Arty McGoo:  Painting on Cookies

Lisa Snyder from The Bearfoot Baker:  Airbrushing

Julia Usher: Stenciling and Adding Dimension to Cookies

Maryann Rollins from the Cookie Artisan:  Platters, Message Cookies, Layering

Mike and Karen from Karen’s Cookies: The most gracious hosts at CookieCon.

As you can tell the schedule was jammed packed and filled with topics that hit home for beginners to the more advanced.  Some of the presenters we were not able to get pictures of during their presentations because the room was dark. One of the neatest things about watching the presenters live is realizing that they are human. Some times I think we read blog posts and see pictures and think they are super human. Each of these amazingly talented women was candid and honest about their journey doing cookies. Sharing the successes and pitfalls to avoid in your cookie adventure.  I was so thankful to meet these women. I have poured over the blogs and tutorials. I have started blogging myself and I have realized that it is HARD WORK. It was nice to be able to thank them in person. Now while there was lots of chatter at the conference, the room went dead silent when this VIDEO played by Arty McGoo. I would upload it but I am technically challenged. So just pop over to the video link and watch. {Bring tissue}

While this wasn’t a cruise, there was definitely an excursion that everyone took. Everyone at some point or another headed to the Orson Gygi store. I order all my milk glass cake stands from them, so I was really excited to be able to go to the warehouse in person. How could a cookier skip Orson Gygi? They answer is they can’t.  Orson Gygi is a giant baking warehouse that boasts of a wall of cookie cutter, it has every color sprinkle under the rainbow, pattterned bags with no end insight and an 11 lb. chocolate bar that Laurie from Cookie Bliss just couln’t say no to.


Seriously, right? ^^^It’s like a baker’s Disneyland.

These are just a snippet of the sugar show entries. I am hoping many people will post some of their favorite entries in the link party.


Aren’t these cookies amazing?  Voting was not easy.  See the cookies in the up right hand corner. The cookies that say Snow and Noel. I fell in love with them the first time I saw them.  On Friday evening, I got to spend some time with Michelle. She traveled all the way from England for CookieCon and she is absolutely lovely.  She confided in me that she would like to improve her skills but she is just a beginner. While we were chatting someone came and told her how beautiful her sugar show entry was.  Come to find out her cookies were the exact one’s that I voted for.  I just about died. Beginner?? Wow. I can only imagine the cookies you will create next Michelle.


Now I want you take a moment and check out the “mystery shape” cookies. Can you guess what the cookie shape is? It’s a turkey. Now, these were some of the winners and some of my favorites. I could only fit so many in one collage. How amazing are these? What is even more impressive is that these were created in just a couple of hours. Normally, it takes me a couple of hours just to figure out what I am doing, let alone create a masterpiece.  Monica, from the Cookie Cowgirl  won top honors for her vintage girl with the red hair and purple hat. So amazing! Have I maxed out on saying the word “amazing?” But not only did she make an awesome cookie, her apron was just about the cutest thing I have ever seen. She even had piping bag holsters. I definitely won’t be messing with this Texas girl.


Showdown: Cookie Cowgirl vs. Cookie Artisan 



So thankful that I got to meet some of my most treasured friends.

So thankful that after a weekend with me, they still LOVE me!

Thankful for the random conversations, with people I have never met, that turned into people I now call my friends.

Getting to meet so many people that you admire.

Seeing Julia Usher’s cookies in person. They are stunning.

Talking about style, blogging and the art of how you handle a cookie business.

Getting to meet BRP Box Shop in person. I am horrible with figuring out the right dimensions when ordering online. I loved seeing the samples.

Getting to meet the presenters who I have admired and followed their blogs for so long.

Getting to meet my roommate in person, Tara, The Shaky Baker. She was the first “real” person to follow me on Twitter. I was so excited. I no longer had to talk to myself!

That cookie peeps are probably the nicest PEOPLE ON THE PLANET!


While so many amazing things happened at CookieCon I do have some regrets.

Shannon, from Artfully Delicious and I tried and tried to have breakfast or lunch but there just wasn’t enough time. Next time, I will make time.

There are so many ladies I wanted to meet. I even had a list. I even checked it twice. But time flew by like a whirlwind.

And I did not get to meet them all. 🙁

Christy, from The Cranberry Cookie Shop emailed me when I got home. Were you sitting in the airport this morning, around 7?

Yes! You were there too! Ack!!!

I have always wanted to meet Pam, from CookieCrazie. She makes cookies to raise funds for the mission in Ukraine. I remember the first time I read about it. I make cookies to raise money for

our charity, Micah 6:8 Sudan.  We are building a farm in the Sudan where we are training pastors and hopefully providing food and jobs for the villagers we work with.

But we didn’t get a chance. But next we will.

While I realize that you can’t do it all, and that you can’t always meet everyone. I want to!

Yes, that may be a tad toddlerish, but I do! {can you see me stamping my feet}

Finally, my last regret: not hoarding Anita’s amazing cinnamon roll cookies, from Sweet Hope Cookies


Thank you Mike and Karen for putting an amazing weekend together.

Thank you to all my amazing friends who wrote me such precious notes on my “yearbook apron”

Thank you to so many wonderful women. You are truly an inspiration.  It was so great to hear your story.

Now it is time to share yours!

Link up your favorite moments for CookieCon! I can’t wait to see.

If you wrote a blog post about your Cookiecon adventure. Leave me a message with the link. I would love to include it!


CookieCon Blog Posts:

Glorious Treats: Home from CookieCon

CookieCrazie: CookieCon: Cookie Event of the decade

Arty McGoo:  CookieCon and On and On

Sweet Hope Cookies: CookieCon Through My Eyes and Heart

The Bearfoot Baker:  CookieCon 2012

Football Cookies and More

Football Cookies and More

Yes, it’s that time of year where the requests start rolling in for custom football cookies and desserts with your favorite teams. Is it just me or is there a song that becomes so familiar around this time of year?  You know the music I am talking about. Whether it is the College Game Day intro or the NFL theme song you can hear it playing in your head.  It’s that song you will hear over and over till January. Or do you have an obnoxious co-worker that likes to call you in the morning playing their team’s fight song or am I the only this happens too? Not only that but the trash talking begins.  Even if you have no interest in sports, I guarantee you someone in your home, office, or your next neighbors are passionate about football. I mean, even my roommate, The Shaky Baker, for CookieCon, is not so sure she can room with a USC Football fan.

Football Cookies

Football Cookies

 Who is your favorite team? If you could have football cookies made for you, who would you choose? College or Professional? We are quite the divided household. Jude and I love USC; the husband loves Georgia when it comes to college teams.  My grandfather graduated from USC and I grew up going to the games. Now I continue on that heritage with my son which has been so much fun.

Football Cookies

Professional football on the other hand is different. My son is a die hard Seahawks fan, and my husband and I are Cardinals fans. It’s going to be a sad year for us but sometimes rebuilding has to happen. While my team is rebuilding I can keep myself busy by creating football cookies, cakes, mini cakes and cupcakes.

Custom Cakes

I thought I would share with you some of our cakes and cupcakes we created last season.

Custom Cakes


The cake below was a ton of fun because the mom wanted to be a part of creating the cake for her son’s birthday. I began by putting her to work on the basics:  star pipping. It’s a great idea. Not only can you learn cake decorating basics but you get to be apart of creating your child’s cake. I think she did a great job!

Custom Cakes

I figured I would end my blog post with the football cookies that we ended the season with last year. A game quite painful to my blogging friend Lynne, over at 365 Days of Baking. But here is to a new year. We hope you have a fun season cheering your team on.

Football Cookies

Planning a party? Don’t hesitate to drop us a line. We create everything from custom football cookies which we ship all over the United States to custom cakes, mini cakes, and cupcakes delivered locally. Let us know if we can created anything this season for you.

Amazing Cake Decorating Class

I travelled out to California this week to take an amazing cake decorating class to learn how to work with intricate sugar flowers, molds and sugar paste. Who better to go to than, Melody Brandon, and her wonderful staff at Sweet & Saucy Shop, in Long Beach? Some people window shop looking at shoes, purses and jewelery but I go online and I love to window shop for cakes and cookies.  I absolutely love Melody’s blog. Her cakes have beautiful clean lines, gorgeous accents, amazing sugar flowers, and a wonderful sense of style. So a couple of months ago I reached out to her about coming out for a class. In six hours I gained more knowledge on certain aspects than months of reading.


So I started off the day working with Sara, she was super nice and knowledgable.  She taught me how to make peony’s.  I adore peony’s!  When I got married my bouquet was full of them. The fact that they are considered the poor man’s rose in England is funny to me.  One of the coolest things that I learned is which tools are really worth buying. Many times when you decorate cakes, you wonder is that tool really worth it? Should I get it? I have many tools in my bin that I never use.  The first tool being added to my “must have”  list is a motorized pasta roller.  I had always thought what would I use a pasta roller for since you can never get a piece big enough to cover a cake.  But it’s not used to cover a cake. It is used to make smaller pieces, like flower petals (light bulb goes on). Sara walked me through step by step how to use the different tools and what products work the best.  I furiously wrote notes but it is always fun to read your notes the day after.


Molds have always been mystifying to me. I bought one a while back because I was so excited about the detail in buttons and broaches that could be put on cakes only to end up frustrated.  Sara helped end my frustration of sticking molds and gumpaste coming out with a lack of detail.  I used to stare at Sweet & Saucy’s cakes, saying to myself, how on earth do they get that detail? Well, my friends, they use CHOCOLATE!!!! It all makes sense now.  Chocolate comes out beautifully with the lines and details of the mold.  So, tool number two that is being added to my “must have” list is mold making stuff. I learned a couple of different ways that you can set it up to make a successful mold with broaches, jewels, and baroque pieces.  Look at how beautiful the chocolate comes out and then you can apply different luster dusts for color.  Look at the difference in the picture below of the two gold pieces. One was made with sugar paste and the other was made with chocolate. What a difference?


The next part of the day I worked with Irene on buttercreaming and stacking. It’s always good to go back over the basics because there are new things you can learn to help refine the process.  I had always learned to pop air bubbles in my fondant but I had not given much thought to air bubbles in my swiss meringue buttercream. I would do my best to smooth the cake but I wouldn’t worry about the air in the buttercream because it would be covered with fondant, right?  Well I found out this is probably the culprit of my pockets that would develop after my fondant covered cake would sit out for awhile. It was air from the buttercream.  Well, I found out that  I am in good company.  Cake pro,  Irene, has to smooth out the buttercream many times with a scraper as well.  Sometimes, I wonder, am I the only one who has to go around a cake 50 times to get it smooth? Once again, I learned don’t believe everything you read. Just about everything you read about fondant tells you not to refridgerate but I learned that refridgerating the fondant after it is put on the cake helps it set. Make sense to me!


The last part of my day, I worked with Melody on different techniques with fondant on my dummy cakes. For being a dummy cake, they sure smell delicious. All the way home in the car I could smell the sugar in the fondant! Yum! I have been dying to learn how to ruffle.  Many tutorials have you use a tool that looks like a pencil and I would just end up tearing it. She showed me how to do the simple ruffles with the ball tool.  We went over ruffling, crimping, lace molds, and different quilting patterns to put on cakes. She shared with me many ways you can take the same idea but dress it a different way to give it a new look.

Well my 6 hours of training flew by yesterday. Melody and her staff were phenomenal.  They are a great team, so if you are in California and are looking for an amazing dessert studio, Sweet & Saucy is awesome.  Ok, so down to the yummy details, right? Of course I am not leaving the shop empty handed.  I brought home a variety of cake pops and cupcakes for friends and family.

Cake Pops– Red Velvet, Peanut Butter, Lemon

Cupcakes – Caramel Apple Cupcake (wish I could remember the exact name), Candy Bar Cupcake, Pumpkin with Cinammon Cream Cheese Frosting and Salted Caramel, Vanilla Cupcake (of course for Jude, my vanilla freak)

So her cakes are not only beautiful but they TASTE AMAZING!  The caramel apple cupcake is phenomenal! My husband loves caramel apple cake, so I gave him the cupcake. He let me try it, and then couldn’t pry it out of my hands.  He looked at me and laughed, “thanks for the cupcake.” So I sheepishly said you want the pumpkin one?

So the only bad part about my trip? Here it is….I always do better when I have no idea about something.  I really would like another caramel apple cupcake but I can not exactly jump on the freeway and drive 7 hours to get it!