Introducing Our October Site Artist!

Boo! (Did I scare you?!  ) We've got a boo-tiful set of Halloween-themed art for the site this month, but I have a feeling it won't scare you much either. Dubbed "Goofy Goths, Boo Bones, and Candy Curls" by its creator, the very talented @virago, it's more charming and smile-inducing than spooky. Ever since virago submitted this art, now almost a year ago, I've been dying to post it . . . not only are the individual cookies executed to perfection, but the overall composition and color balance also fit our site art specs to a tee, as you can see!

October 2017 Banner - Viragojucc-sitesub-bkgrd_oct16_2850x1800px-314dpi

Since virago's art was also featured last October (you can see that gorgeous set here), we have already done an in-depth Cookier Close-up with her and won't be doing another one so close on the heels of the first. To get to know virago better, please do read that interview in full (it was a fun one). Also, check out her bio below and recent update to it at the very end. Both virago and her husband are veterans and live close to a military installation, so for identity protection and security reasons, I won't be revealing her real name here. And, you'll only get to see her in a goofy Halloween disguise! 

Headshot-virago

In June 2013, virago (which means "female warrior", BTW) mixed, rolled, cut, baked, and decorated her first-ever cookie set, designed for an inspiration challenge on another site. It was a "decent first attempt" in virago's words, but it wasn't until May 2014 that she felt she got her cookie bearings; that's when taste, texture, and technique came together in cookie harmony!

Her interest in decorating sweets actually first started with a cake . . . "a laughably ugly box cake, domed and decorated with tub and tube icing in a Halloween theme." Though that cake was "totally cringe-worthy", she says, it was the spark that lit her decorating fire, rekindled her passion for art (something she hadn’t been able to explore for years), and ultimately led to her current cookie fascination.

Despite the lovely work that she's posted to this site, virago still considers herself a novice cookie decorator. And due to restrictive cottage food laws in her home state of Kentucky, USA, she remains a cookie hobbyist - for now!

On a more personal note, virago hangs out with her husband of 20-plus years in their "little spot of semi-rural paradise in central Kentucky". Her husband is retired military with a background in munitions and aircraft mechanics. She spent a number of years in the military herself, specializing in logistics and communications computers before moving into defense contracting as a civilian. She's now a stay-at-home wife who often subjects her "dear, sweet, occasionally crotchety husband" to spontaneous taste tests. Sometimes he hides from her and tinkers with his cars!

When not focused on culinary pursuits, virago enjoys exploring winding country roads, observing the awesome weather and creatures that visit her property, perusing fantasy artwork, and learning to use Paint.NET (an excellent, free tool for photo manipulation as well as image creation)!     

Bio Update!
(In the words of virago) As you may have noticed, I have not posted anything from 2017 on Cookie Connection. As part of a New Year's resolution for 2017, I became involved with animal rescue and started volunteering with my local county shelter and other local organizations. It has been a fast-and-dirty initiation with lots to learn and even more to accomplish. In the process of "walking-the-talk", I fell in love with two fur babies (pictured below), both of whom needed extra TLC and eventually became permanent family members. I haven't forgotten about cookies and cakes . . . I simply haven't found my rhythm yet. My hope is to get back into the swing of things with baking and decorating before the end of the year! [EDITOR'S NOTE: I am thrilled to learn of your new passion - and your fur babies are absolutely darling! But, selfishly-speaking, I do hope you find your rhythm soon, as I have really missed you and your work here on Cookie Connection! ]

furbabies1-600pxwh

Photo/bio credits: virago

* P.S. If you would like your own cookie art to be considered for use on the site, I would love to see it at any time. Guidelines for submitting cookie art can be found here. We are currently seeking art for every month of 2018 except for January and February. Please also remember that featured art will be in position on the site for a month, and all featured artists get a post like this one plus their very own Cookier Close-up

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@Julia M. Usher - Thank you Julia for featuring my cookie set and for the kind words! I had a wonderful time designing and executing this set! I reshaped a number cheap cutters to create the comical, rounded look to many of the figures; for example the voodoo doll used to be a gingerbread man . This whole set was just plain 'fun' and enjoyed by so many! The senior citizens that I offered them to savored eating the cookies as well as handing them out to their grandchildren. 

I have truly missed perusing all the beautiful artwork and contributing to Cookie Connection! Hope to be back in action in the near future!!!

Evelindecora posted:

Many congrats @virago! This is a super cute set, I love it 

Ryoko ~Cookie Ave. posted:

@virago!  I love the colors you used!  I really feel comfortable with those colors and each cookie is really cute and perfect!!!  I love them a lot.   Thank you for this banner and background.  

Manu posted:

Beautiful backdrop and banner! Yes, you have been missed. Although your cookies will keep us company for the whole month I really hope to see you back. 

Thank you all for the beautiful comments! I have missed you guys too!!!

@virago, thank you for another beautiful set!  For me, they're spell binding, no pun intended. The colors are fabulous and each cookie has its own character, even those that you'd think couldn't have character, the poision bottle, candies, window and brilliant candelabra.   One question, did you create that wonderfully shaped ghost?   Glad ur back.             Pip

 

P.S.  Rescued animals are special. They truly seem greatful that they've been given a home. Their love is boundless. Congratulations on your new little family. 

pip posted:

@virago, thank you for another beautiful set!  For me, they're spell binding, no pun intended. The colors are fabulous and each cookie has its own character, even those that you'd think couldn't have character, the poision bottle, candies, window and brilliant candelabra.   One question, did you create that wonderfully shaped ghost?   Glad ur back.             Pip

 

P.S.  Rescued animals are special. They truly seem greatful that they've been given a home. Their love is boundless. Congratulations on your new little family. 

Thank you Pip! I'm so glad you enjoy the set! To answer your question, yes I 'reshaped' the ghost, as well as a number of other cutters (see attached pic). Some cutters are just plain flimsy and may be poorly bent to start with, plus I always seem to have extra, duplicate shapes. These spare cutters are the easiest to reshape using simple tools (needle-nose pliers, wooden dowels, countertop edges, even just finger strength).

P.S. I agree...shelter fur babies are the best! They have stolen my heart!!! 

halloween-reshape

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pip posted:

Golly gee, but you're good at that!  I re-shaped a few cookie cutters, but you can see all the crinkle marks from the needle nose pliers.  Sigh, how smooth yours are.   Very clever

Oh there's some crinkled spots for sure...but the jagged edges never survive the baking process.  And I'll admit to having mangled a few cutters...those could not be saved.  

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Tina at Sugar WishesLisa AshbyAnne Marie AdamspipviragomyartcookiesBiljana KovacevicRyoko ~Cookie Ave.Evelindecora
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