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Happy 1st Birthday Giveaway!

It's hard to pinpoint the exact birthday of this (my beloved) site. It launched "softly" into cyberspace in Spring 2013 with different people getting introduced to it at various stages of development.


About a month before I announced its birth on Facebook, a small cadre* of members were already testing the site's various features and functionality while I was furiously adding content so it wouldn't be naked upon official arrival. (Naked might be normal for most babies, but it wasn't acceptable for this one!) A month or so before that, the lovely Jaci Baynes Harper of Ali's Sweet Tooth was the one who gave me the idea and encouragement to start this community. It took some coaxing, but she eventually convinced me!  She looked at early versions of the site, provided input on possible names, and also joined the team doing the early testing. Around this same time, Elizabeth Watt of Pretty Sweet Designs stepped in to offer advice on my color and font choices and to work on banners, backgrounds, and other necessary graphics. I am deeply indebted to all of these people; for without them, Cookie Connection would have never come into being.


While the history is a little fuzzy, I do know this: it was a quick gestation period (no more than two months). Testing on the site was still underway at the end of May and into early June 2013, and one of my first official welcome posts on the site was dated June 7. 


That said, I'm splitting the difference and declaring June 1, 2013 as Cookie Connection's official birthday! I hope you'll celebrate with me by taking part in this giveaway!




(Another great graphic by Pretty Sweet Designs, BTW!)


In one short year, we've grown to over 3,700 members (from nearly 50 countries)! We've brought on six (now five) incredible contributors, and we're experiencing an average of about 1.4 million views per month. What's more, some amazing sponsors, including Designer Stencils, Fancy Flours, BRP Box Shop, The Classic Cookie Cutter, and Craftsy, have consistently supported us along the way.


But more important than any of these numbers are the warmth, energy, and wonderful artistry that members of this community share so generously with one another each day. It's been immensely gratifying to see the world of cookie decorating come closer together and to get to know many of you through your cookies and comments on this site. Thank you, everyone, for making this year one of the most rewarding ones that my sieve-like brain can remember!  I look forward to many more years of cookie fun together!


Enough waxing poetic about the site's birthday . . . about that giveaway!


What's Up For Grabs


We've got three great prizes, all for one winner:


1. First, a Kalorik volumetric kitchen scale (retail value: $50), a never-used gift to me from sponsors of the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show. It automatically converts various things from grams/ounces to cups to take the guesswork out of your royal icing mixing!

2. Second, another lovely custom-embroidered Cookie Connection apron straight off the plane from Italy, this time in blue (retail value: $40).




 3. And, last but certainly not least, this set of nine gorgeous and super well-crafted (I know, I'm lucky to have some!) Tiffany blue cookie cutters from Tracy Hicks, owner of Whisked Away Cutters (retail value: $65). PLEASE NOTE: The cutters can only be shipped in the domestic US. But should there be a non-US winner, the other prizes will be shipped anywhere.


Giveaway_Julia_Larger Text_3


Yeah, I just did the math - that's a combined $155 in cookie value! Ka-ching!  


How to Enter


Just tell me what you'd most like to see happen on Cookie Connection in its second year in the comments area below. All comments must be received no later than June 15, 2014, 5 pm central, when the giveaway closes.


Other Giveaway Details:

  • Only one comment per person is permitted. Duplicates will be deleted.
  • Remember, you must be a Cookie Connection member to comment on this site. To join, just click on "Join Community" in the upper left of our home page and follow the sign-up prompts.
  • The winner will be determined by random number generator at the close of the giveaway. The person whose comment position matches the number drawn by the random number generator will win!
  • The winner will be announced on this site and also contacted directly via email shortly after the close of the giveaway.

I think that's it. Please email with any questions. And, again, my sincerest thanks to all of you and to . . .


*The Cookie Connection Start-Up Team

Jaci Baynes Harper (Ali's Sweet Tooth), Elizabeth Watt (Pretty Sweet Designs), Liz Adams (Arty McGoo), Glory Albin (Glorious Treats), Penny Knapik (Lucky Penny), Marian Poirier (Sweetopia), Michele Shoup (Bakeskool), Kip Simpson and the BRP team, Pam Sneed (CookieCrazie), Amber Spiegel (SweetAmbs), and Mike and Karen Summers (Karen's Cookies).


***** AND WE HAVE A WINNER! *****


The random number generator has spoken!


Random Number

This means that comment #181 (or lttlemad) is our lucky winner. Stay tuned, lttlemad, I'll be contacting you shortly about how to redeem your prizes. Congrats!



Thanks to everyone for participating, especially for sharing your thoughtful feedback! Read all about how we're acting on your advice here. And a super special thanks to Whisked Away Cutters for her generous donation of the nine-piece cutter set shown above. If you weren't lucky enough to win it, there are plenty more in her Etsy store.


Images (5)
  • Cookie Connection Birthday Giveaway Banner: Graphic Design by Pretty Sweet Designs
  • Giveaway Prizes 1 and 2!: Photo Courtesy of Julia M Usher
  • Giveaway Prize from Whisked Away Cutters: Photo and Cutters by Tracy Hicks
  • Random Number Generator Results: Courtesy of Julia M Usher
  • The Winner - lttlemad!: Courtesy of Julia M Usher

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Comments (300)

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We would like to see more natural colored cookies! Of course that is something the "Natural Color Guy" would say!  How about a cookie decorating contest with cookies made with TruColorNatural Colors and color sets donated to Cookie Con for prizes!  We really would like to see that!

     Firstly a very Happy Birthday. Julia , what more can I say then "Thank You".


     I would love to see the chat get off the ground this year and have more people see it as a check in point to CC. With one "Good morning" or "Hello" there are tens of fellow cookiers out there that we could reach at any given time "LIVE"; emergencies, recipes, advice or friendship. That would be something I would like to see evolve on this site.


     So Happy Birthday CC!


     OH, and I would love to see you, Julia throw in a "cookie" as a prize. That is something I would also love to have and cherish!

More information on the pros and cons of owning a store front from people who have failed and succeeded by expanding out of their home.   Tips for advertising and networking for our business is also very handy info.

Dear Julia and other team members, thank you so much for starting the CookieConnection!! I think this community has done an excellent job in its first year!! In the coming year, I'd love to see more how-to cookie decoration tutorials, experience sharing in terms of "starting your own cookie business" and hope the "Cookier Close-Up" will bring us more fun & informative interviews Thanks again<3

First off, I would like to wish Cookie Connection a very happy 1st birthday. I would like to see more tutorials on the site, and also tips and tricks. Tips and/or tricks to solving some of the nightmare cookiers face when decorating. Like a tip/trick to avoid color bleeding, etc. Or what to do after color starts bleeding. Again, happy birthday!!

Feliz Cumpleaños CC!!!

Me gustaria saber el tamaño de la galleta, el color que usan...

El resto de la pagina esta perfecta para mi.

Gracias por crear una pagina donde estamos reunidas personas del todo el mundo.


Happy Birthday CC!

I would like to know the size of the cookie, using the color ...

The rest of the page is perfect for me.

Thank you for creating a page where people are gathered all over the world.

Happy Birthday!  I would love to be able to view video tutorials on how to do all the different techniques and effects that the decorators are so creatively applying to these beautiful cookies. They are such masterpieces!  I want to be able to create them as well!

A very happy 1st birthday to cookie connection. I absolutely love your work julia. For the second year of cookie connection, I'd love to maybe have meet-up's between members, like maybe a city-wise plan to start off with so that we get to meet fellow cookiers, and also have more tutorials as we can never have enough of your work  

I agree with everyone saying more tutorials I love learning new techniques! Also I like the idea of having challenges where an idea for a cookie is shared and people show what they made from the idea.


Hi, Peggy, Rebecca Weld of The Cookie Architect is conducting monthly challenges (of the very sort you describe) here on the site (just look under the blog for the name of her column, Practice Bakes Perfect). Her first challenge is concluding tomorrow and we'll get the second one announced soon after the recap of the first is posted. I hope you enjoy them! ~JMU

Last edited by Julia M. Usher

Happy 1st Birthday - thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us. I would love to see more tutorials (either youtube or step by step) and tips on how to make "perfect" cookies/biscuits. Some recipes would also be great. Your biscuits/cookies are amazing and inspire us all.

I would love to see more on creating end. Like how do you come up with the ideas and then make them into cookies. Also recipes and how to adapt some of them, like how to make a plain sugar cookie into a great sugar cookie. 


I love the chats with other cookiers and would really like to see more tutorials. I really like the challenges and would love to see them once a month. 


Thought you would want to know: the Practice Bakes Perfect challenges are monthly. Rebecca already has the next one lined up; we're just waiting to post the results of the first one on June 7. ~JMU

Last edited by Julia M. Usher

Lots of happiness for Julia page. The truth is that I have little to say, the OAR seems perfect and I love watching the cookies as nice people do. I'm loving the tutorials are perfect for people who can not attend courses. Now for the two years. Congratulations!

Happy Birthday!  I love this site. I am a newbie so I like some ideas catering toward basic problem solving ie...when icing takes forever to dry etc... I love the intricate cookies but feel they are beyond my capabilities at this point. I will get there though .

I would love to see more of the same!! Keep it coming I say!
I love Cookie Connection... I am a bit of a Cookie Connection nerd, its one of the first sites I look at in the morning and one of the last I look at, at night! I love it!


Thank you for COOKIE CONNECTION! I have learned so much and have enjoyed looking at all the cookies . I would love to see more recipes and more tutorials . But I love it anyway! Thank you for all that you do!


Congratulations!  It's hard to want more, this site is so complete and full of information, creativity and ideas.  I love that you can find answers to your questions.  I like how people all world is sharing.
1-More tutorials.

2- Creative uses for cutters

3- Original and creative new ideas for cookies like the 3D and the molded.  I believe this is a new tred in cookies. 

4- Small changes in recipes so you can have other cookie flavors of your favorite cookie récipe. (like in your books)