Well, hello there! I am thrilled and honored to be taking over these challenges from The Cookie Architect, who could not have done a more brilliant job in masterminding these challenges. And many thanks to Julia M. Usher for hosting this site and having enough faith to let me pick up right where Rebecca left off. So, without further ado, let's start the show!
[EDITOR'S NOTE: But first, thank you to Christine for stepping into big shoes without skipping a beat! I am so impressed - and grateful! To learn more about the talented Christine Donnelly, aka Bakerloo Station, check out her contributor's bio and her amazing body of work here on Cookie Connection.]
Those who know me know I LOVE a good challenge, and so I thought I would jump right in and begin with a challenge many of you have called your "kookie kryptonite" (a phrase that I believe was coined, or at least made famous by, Mallory of ButterWinks). Yes, that's right - I am talking about none other than piped lettering.
Fearlessly (or stupidly?), I tend to just freehand-wing-it when it comes to writing on cookies. However, this approach tends to lead to a mixed bag of results. Sometimes they are fairly good:
And sometimes they are not so good. (Photo unavailable, because the not-so-goods were all eaten.)
Now, I think a better, more consistent approach to piping lettering on cookies would be to plan the font you want to use, and then use a device, such as a Kopykake or digital projector, to project your image onto the cookie prior to piping. For example, Aime of The Painted Pastry used her Kopykake to create this fabulous set:
And BAKRGAL Barb used a digital projector (and scribe tool) to produce this amazing lettering:
If, like me, you have a digital projector or Kopykake still in its box from Christmas, then here are a couple of tutorials you may want to check out: this one from Sweet Sugarbelle about how to use fonts with your Kopykake, and then this one from Sweet Hope Cookies about how to use a digital projector. Of course, if you want advice on how to eyeball a font and wing-it freehand (warning: there is some combination of prayer and rain dance involved), I'm your gal.
Make a cookie(s) with hand-piped lettering. They can be individual cookies or part of a set. All I ask is that you create at least three cookies with one or more font styles OR one cookie with three or more font styles. And no painted, stamped, or stenciled lettering, please!
As always, we ask that you make a brand spankin' new cookie/cookie set for this challenge.
When you post your image, please also leave a comment directly under the photo that lets us know if you used a Kopykake or digital projector, or if you went freehand. (Inquiring minds want to know!) Any other comments about your lettering journey are welcome too.
Get creative, take some healthy risks, and HAVE SOME FUN.
Prize for this challenge:
I am VERY excited about the prize for this challenge: a $50 gift certificate to Artfully Designed Creations! Use it to buy stencils and cookie stuff GALORE. And the great thing about this prize is that anyone anywhere is eligible to win (they ship internationally), though combined purchases and shipping cannot exceed $50 USD. Plus, bonus of bonuses, the certificate has NO expiration date.
- Please post an image of your cookie or cookie set to the site under the Practice Bakes Perfect clip set no later than April 19, 2015 at 5 pm central.
- Because these challenges will be ongoing, we ask that you put "Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #9" in your photo caption (subtitle field) AND in a tag, so we can tell the challenges apart from month to month. Please use the title field to uniquely name your cookies as you normally would.
- Please also assign other relevant clip sets and tags to your images, as you normally would. (Meaning don't just use the Practice Bakes Perfect clip set and leave it at that, or your photos won't easily be found with keyword searches.)
- You can enter more than once, but please post only one clip of each distinct entry/cookie set. Multiple clips of the same entry/cookie set are not allowed unless added in a comment beneath the one primary clip.
After the challenge closes on April 19, we will announce the winner in the Saturday Spotlight the following weekend (April 25). The next challenge will be announced after this challenge is closed.
And one last thing . . . This is NOT meant to be a competition. The only person you should be competing against is yourself. Period. These challenges are intended to inspire the artist in you and push you to be the best cookie artist YOU can be at this snapshot in time. Remember, the whole point of this exercise is to get you out of your comfort zone - to "take healthy risks," as my wise-beyond-his-years son always reminds me. Plus, prizes are given entirely at random, so healthy risk-taking has its own rewards!
I would love to chat with you as you journey through this process, so if you have any questions about the challenge, are having trouble getting started, need help bringing an idea to life, or need technical advice (which may or may not include prayer and/or rain dance), please leave a comment below.
Christine Donnelly began her professional baking career at 16, when she was hired on the spot at her local bakery to work the counter and decorate cakes. After detours to college and law school, she worked as a trial lawyer in Chicago for many years, ultimately leaving that career to become a stay-at-home mother to her two children. In her “retirement,” she continued to bake at home, at last finding her preferred artistic medium in decorated cookies. In February 2013, Bakerloo Station was born with a presence on both Facebook and Instagram. Christine makes cookies to balance her left brain, to inspire and share creative ideas, and to feed those needs that only art can satisfy.
Photo credit: Christine Donnelly
Note: Practice Bakes Perfect is a bimonthly Cookie Connection blog feature written by Christine Donnelly that poses inspiration or challenges to get you to stretch as a cookie artist - for practice, for prizes, and for fun! Its content expresses the views of the author and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. Catch up on all of Christine's past Cookie Connection posts here.