I’m sorry about not blogging through all of CookieCon, but I had an accident early on that made it difficult to report while there. That being said, I thought I would do a belated review of my remaining time at CookieCon. The title image shows my apron, filled with the signatures and buttons I received this year. The apron is now too heavy to wear!
Above is a picture of the opening ceremony on Thursday evening. It is a partial shot of the audience. (It's amazing that CookieCon has grown from 200 attendees at its inception to about 650 in 2018!) @Anne Yorks, aka Flour Box Bakery, gave an excellent keynote presentation about the challenges of growing a cookie business, which featured some pictures of her cookie failures. She told us all to let go of "cookie fear". Instead of being hard on ourselves about cookie problems or flaws, we should just accept them and enjoy the process of making art.
Later that evening was Camp McGoo, an activity that sponsor Arty McGoo hosts for those who participate in her online cookie decorating school, McGoo U. We sang her "camp song" and did crafts. Above is a picture of attendees enjoying a photo op. I stayed long enough to earn my new McGoo U achievement badge (an oven mitt).
Friday was a day of speakers and vendor-shopping. Some speakers didn’t want pictures of their work posted. So instead of pictures, I’ll tell you about my favorite presenters: Chris Taylor, Andrea Walters, and Autumn Carpenter.
Chris Taylor showed how piping gel, luster dust, sanding sugar, edible glitter, rainbow dust, royal icing, and handpainting can be used in various ways to add "light" to your cookies. Light gives cookies depth and definition.
Andrea Walters talked about the twists and turns of piping script fonts. Andrea addressed typical problems, such as breaks, spreading, and lumps or bumps in letters. The solution to most of those problems, she said, is proper icing consistency. She showed us a video of the ideal consistency, including the plop the icing makes when it falls. Last, she recommended a wifi pico projector for tracing and some online sources of free fonts.
Autumn Carpenter talked about simple things you can make in advance to add finishing touches to your work. The tools she used are amazing and available at her store Country Kitchen Sweet Art.
Friday evening included a series of "sponsor mixers", designed to get to know the CookieCon sponsors better. For me, the best one was hosted by Kip Simpson of BRP Box Shop. He had music, coloring stations, and photo ops in front of a knife-throwing target. Above is Mr. John (Arty McGoo's husband), left, and Kip. Kip had on the craziest pants with poodles in ice cream cones! Kip also had random drawings for a free KitchenAid mixer, a pico projector, a food dehydrator, and an airbrush. Thank you, Kip and @BRP Box Shop - Boxmaker Ann, for a great time.
Saturday, the last day, felt like a circus with so many events and people. A large ballroom was set up for "open decorating" with many work stations and teachers at tables showing techniques. There were also several speakers, more vendor-shopping, and a cookie tasting event. I don’t have anything more to add about this day than what was already reported by Denise, my fellow Press Team member.
CookieCon has grown into a must-attend event that is well organized and fun. Every decorator should attend it at least once. I learned many things from this year's event, including: I want to upgrade to a wifi pico projector; how to best approach cookie painting and shadowing; the importance of light on cookies; and I need to work on my icing consistency and spend more time playing with cookies!
See you in March for the next CookieCon, I hope!
Kate Sullivan, aka Econlady, is a retired economist who started cookie decorating over a decade ago when her seven-year-old daughter wanted to take a cookie decorating class. While her daughter lost interest, Kate continued to explore cookie decorating, always looking for new ideas and techniques. Kate’s cookies have been featured on a trading card at CookieCon 2015 (pictured left) and also in Cookie Connection’s Practice Bake Perfect Challenge #14. In 2016, Kate took over as Newsletter Editor of the National Cookie Cutter Collectors Club, where her decorated cookies were showcased on the cover of each newsletter. More recently, she was named the club's Treasurer. Kate is a long-time veteran of CookieCon, having attended since the very beginning, so she is sure to bring us the up-to-the-minute CookieCon inside scoop.
Photo credits: Kate Sullivan
Note: This article expresses the views of the author, and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. To read more CookieCon 2018 updates from our special Cookie Connection Correspondents Team, click here, and for CookieCon event photos, click here.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: I am relieved that Kate is back to normal! Thank you, Kate, for wrapping up with this post!]