Saturday Spotlight: Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #38 Recap

 

I knew the year 2020 would be one of change and challenge for me personally, but I think I speak for all of us when I say that no one could have predicted where we all would be just three months into the new year. Y'all, I can't deny that my heart is heavy. I weep for those so deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including many members of our Cookie Connection community located throughout the world. I hope that in this time of extreme "social distancing" you can look to Cookie Connection as a place to meet and connect virtually. I know that, when I am feeling heavy, hanging out on Cookie Connection, looking at and commenting on lots of beautiful cookie art, always lightens my mood. In the coming days and weeks, I hope that you can find some refuge here too.

In the spirit of lifting each other up, and celebrating the beauty and love that still exists in the world, let's get to our latest challenge! Even though this was a collaboration and not really a challenge per se, we still have a prize to award to one lucky participant, who was chosen at random from among all of the challenge entrants. Our lucky winner will receive a HUGE $100 gift certificate to Confection Couture Stencils, donated by Cookie Connection founder, @Julia M. Usher. Recall, Confection Couture Stencils sells @Julia M. Usher's gorgeous line of cookie stencils and other related products for every season and occasion.

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And the lucky winner of this very generous prize is . . . @iSugarfy (aka swissophie)! CONGRATULATIONS, Sonja! I can only imagine what amazing cookie art she will be creating with her new collection of stencils! For this challenge, Sonja submitted this gorgeous entry (full confession: I am completely obsessed with the knitted sweater sleeves!):

Sharing Cookie Love and Knowledge by swissophiePBP_38_sonja_galmad

I love how Sonja described how she was inspired by our "cookie connections" theme, and represented our community as a family tree:

Screen Shot 2020-03-15 at 10.13.37 AM

I couldn't agree with Sonja more! 

Before we get to our quilt collaboration reveal, I also wanted to share the beautiful ways a few of our other challenge participants described, in their own words, what the term "cookie connections" means to them.

Share the Love by Kim Damonglobe square pm
"To make a cookie that represents how I feel about Cookie Connection and these challenges was wonderful, and past due, and I love a chance to say how much I am thankful. I love this place because I have learned and grown as an artist. I love it because I have cookie friends from all over the globe now, and the kindness of cookiers new and mature keeps all of us spurred on and inspired and growing in our abilities . . . " ~ Kim

Lambeth - First Attempt by Cookies FantastiqueLambeth%20Method%20Piping%20Cookie
"One of the reasons I chose to make my square cookie using the Lambeth piping method is because we are a community that grows together. It's like layers upon layers of learned techniques, shared ideas, awesome tutorials, help from one another in times of need (I've definitely taken advantage of the forums and hope you have as well . . . they're absolutely wonderful!!) and, best of all, warm friendships that are continually emerging and growing as we share the same passion for the art of cookie decorating." ~ Carol

Many Thanks, Dear Christine! by Kanch JMany Thanks dear Christine!"The message I wanted to convey in the entry is Cookie Connection is a giant tree that provides support and shelter for birds with various differences from all over the world. It is a one big happy family, sharing love, kindness, and various skills." ~ Kanchana

My Quilt by Ryoko ~Cookie Ave.38CCWhen Ryoko creates a challenge entry, there are always so many layers of meaning. About her quilt entry for this challenge, she wrote:

Screen Shot 2020-03-15 at 11.36.06 AM

I could go on and on with all of the heartfelt comments we received in this challenge, but instead I will encourage you to check out the Practice Bakes Perfect clip set and read them all for yourself! However, I would now like to present to you our Practice Bake Perfect Challenge #38 cookie quilt, made with every entry from Challenge #38 and more love than one image could ever hold!

Practice Bakes Perfect Quilt

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: The four repeated quilt squares are "Dahlia Cookie Quilt", one of my all-time favorite sets of cookies from back in 2014, by the original host of these Practice Bakes Perfect Challenges, @RebeccArchitect aka The Cookie Architect.]

And with that, I will bring this challenge and my tenure as Practice Bakes Perfect host to a close. Because of the speed of my own life these past couple of months, I did not get to comment on each and every entry to this challenge as I usually do, but I absolutely read every single one of your comments . . . many times over, in fact. Often, upon seeing your quilt cookies and reading about how these challenges have influenced and affected both your art and your lives, I became too emotional to even type a comment. But I promise that I will take a few deep breaths and comment on each and every clip in this challenge in my "retirement!"

As I have always said, these challenges are not meant to be a contest, but an adventure in learning. I hope and expect that this same spirit of sharing and stretching, learning, and growing will continue when @Sweet Prodigy grabs the Practice Bakes Perfect reins. It has been truly an honor to share this sweet journey with all of you. I assure you that no one has learned more or grown more through these challenges than I!

I would like to thank @Julia M. Usher for giving me this opportunity to share something I love to do with a huge community of some of the most creative, kind, and caring people I have ever met. I was shocked when Julia first invited me to host these challenges, and five years on, I can still hardly believe my fortune. I am beyond thankful for all of Julia's help and mentoring during my tenure as challenge host. From offering technical advice for creating 3-D cookies, to giving lessons on the science of baking, to copyediting these actual challenge posts, Julia's assistance was indispensable. But beyond all of that, Julia has become a real friend, and for that I am most thankful.

Last but not least, thank you ALL from the bottom of my heart. Whether you were a frequent challenge entrant or commenter, know that YOU are the reason these challenges have been a success. I have no doubt that even greater things are on the horizon. Continue to lift each other up. Take those "healthy risks." Continue to participate in these challenges and do me proud! And be on the look out for the occasional Practice Bakes Perfect entry from a little place called Bakerloo Station.  

Our next challenge, the first hosted by the incomparable @Sweet Prodigy, will post on or about March 22, 2020. I have NO IDEA what is in store, but I will tell you that I can barely contain my excitement!

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.

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😂😂😂 Okay, I must confess that I was crying as I read most of this. So many complex feelings right now: angst for our community members who are struggling with the consequences of this virus; loss over the wonderful Christine who has now officially left her post; yet also joy in knowing how touched many of you have been by these challenges, this site, and the global friendships formed here.

Let's try to keep the latter (the JOY) in mind as we press through the next few (I hope) trying weeks and months!

Also, let's put the new "reactions release" to the test by showering @Bakerloo Station with every loving and positive emoji we now have at our disposal.  What a nice send-off that would be! (I just did my part! )

I will miss you, Christine! 😘

Last edited by Julia M. Usher

I just want to say thank you, Christine @Bakerloo Station for all of the time, effort and commitment that you put into these challenges over the years. You encouraged us step out of our comfort zone and take those "healthy risks," and, no doubt, we are better cookie artists because of this. I will miss having you host the challenges, but, at the same time, I am excited to be continuing in your footsteps.

The quilt was a wonderful idea and it turned out beautifully! And congratulations Sonja @iSugarfy (aka swissophie) on your prize win! ❤️

Oh my! I’ve never expected to get lucky twice with just one entry! Thank you so much for this generous price, dear Julia @Julia M. Usher ♥️♥️♥️!!! Now I think I should contemplate getting an airbrush after all… especially since I already own some of your wonderful stencils from my prior lucky win 😊. Thank you again so much for everything 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 ❣️❣️❣️This community is a lifeline, especially now in this surreal time!
And thank you, dear Christine @Bakerloo Station, for your kind words, and again so very much for all the love and work you put into these challenges 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼❤️❤️❤️!!! I’ve been enriched so much by them and will be forever grateful to you, Julia and this whole cookier family!!! You all are the greatest!!!
And please, everyone, do keep safe out there!!!
 
Last edited by iSugarfy (aka swissophie)
Sweet Prodigy posted:

I just want to say thank you, Christine @Bakerloo Station for all of the time, effort and commitment that you put into these challenges over the years. You encouraged us step out of our comfort zone and take those "healthy risks," and, no doubt, we are better cookie artists because of this. I will miss having you host the challenges, but, at the same time, I am excited to be continuing in your footsteps.

The quilt was a wonderful idea and it turned out beautifully! And congratulations Sonja @iSugarfy (aka swissophie) on your prize win! ❤️

Thank you so much, Christine @Sweet Prodigy ❤️❤️❤️!

I couldn’t wait to see the result of this great collaboration! All the beautiful entries gathered together to send a virtual hug to Christine @Bakerloo Station.
And what a great idea to insert, in this virtual quilt, the cookies by the former challenges host Rebecca @RebeccArchitect, of which Christine has been an active participant! This strengthens the meaning of connection, sharing and journey.
I enjoyed to read the words of Christine in her last recap and how she has passed the torch to the next host Christine @Sweet Prodigy, so we can continue this journey, or better this “adventure in learning” as she has defined it. . . And who knows? Maybe Christine will join in as a participant sometime with her stunning cookies. I really hope so! 

And last but not least, thank you @Julia M. Usher, for all the work behind the scenes of this amazing site!

swissophie posted:
Oh my! I’ve never expected to get lucky twice with just one entry! Thank you so much for this generous price, dear Julia @Julia M. Usher ♥️♥️♥️!!! Now I think I should contemplate getting an airbrush after all… especially since I already own some of your wonderful stencils from my prior lucky win 😊. Thank you again so much for everything 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 ❣️❣️❣️This community is a lifeline, especially now in this surreal time!
And thank you, dear Christine @Bakerloo Station, for your kind words, and again so very much for all the love and work you put into these challenges 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼❤️❤️❤️!!! I’ve been enriched so much by them and will be forever grateful to you, Julia and this whole cookier family!!! You all are the greatest!!!
And please, everyone, do keep safe out there!!!
 

You may just need that airbrush after all! Though each individual stencil can be used on its own with royal icing, you do need an airbrush to use them in a layered way.

Icingsugarkeks posted:

Simply great, I can only say!!!!! Such a sweet result!! ❤️ Thanks again Christine!!! And Congratulation to Sonja  @iSugarfy (aka swissophie) !!!

I think the price is in very good hands !!! I'm looking forward to your next clips !! ❤️😘
 

Thank you very much, dear Gabi 😘 🙏🏼🌹❣️


It's such a beautiful idea to make a quilt with everyone's entries and truly it turned out amazing farewell!
Dear Christine, @Bakerloo Station 
Appreciate all your efforts and dedication throughout. Thank you! My first challenge was Practice Bakes Perfect #29 and during the journey I learnt so much from all your challenges. Your wonderful words were always encouraging. I feel so sad and sure we all are going to miss you so much. 😥😥
Wishing all the very best and happiness in your future endeavours.❤😘

Congratulations Sonja @iSugarfy (aka swissophie) and all other challenge entrants! It was so happy to see how everyone feels about the cookie connection.

Last but not least thank you Julia @Julia M. Usher, the spirit behind the scene. ❤

It's so sad, that I didn't manage to make cookies for Christines last challenge - even though I did bake some cookies and had it planned. But currently there is no time for this hobby. :/

BUT it's great to see so many awesome entries and that final quilt is just beautiful! Congratulations to everyone being featured here and to Sonja / @iSugarfy (aka swissophie) for winning.

Also big thanks to Christine / @Bakerloo Station for all your work and the great challenges you had for us all the time! It was always so much fun to take part and to work on the different pieces.  ♥

Ryoko ~Cookie Ave. posted:

I have participated Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge since #11 of it.  I am very 😢🥺😢🥺   
Thank you, Christine for your encouragements and warm-hearted comments to every entry.   I really don't know how to express my appreciation to you.  

Thank you so much, Ryoko. I cannot thank you enough for all of your joyful, diligent, informative entries and mini-tutorials for these challenges. The challenges exist because of people like you. Thank you for teaching me something in every single challenge. xo

Kim Damon posted:

Thanks again dear, Christine! I pray as you busily go at your lawyering, you find yourself distracted with some magical cookie images, and smile. And I pray you will enjoy every moment of this season and onto the future! Much love, Kim

These are strange times we are in, so some of my plans are being put on hold, but for now I am relishing this time with my entire family home (although I am less sure THEY are relishing all of this "family time"!). Thank you for always so joyfully approaching every single challenge, sometimes many time over. Your creativity and love shine through in every entry. Thank you for being you, Kim. xoxo

Sweet Prodigy posted:

I just want to say thank you, Christine @Bakerloo Station for all of the time, effort and commitment that you put into these challenges over the years. You encouraged us step out of our comfort zone and take those "healthy risks," and, no doubt, we are better cookie artists because of this. I will miss having you host the challenges, but, at the same time, I am excited to be continuing in your footsteps.

The quilt was a wonderful idea and it turned out beautifully! And congratulations Sonja @iSugarfy (aka swissophie) on your prize win! ❤️

Thank you so much, Christine! It is much easier to step away knowing the challenges are being left in very capable hands! I am so excited for you and can't wait to see where you take these challenges! ❤️

Tina at Sugar Wishes posted:

What a beautiful treasured piece created out of the love and respect we all have for you and all you gave us over the years through your challenges! 
Thank you my sweet friend! 
❤️🥰💕👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Thank you for being so very supportive through all of these years, Tina! Your encouragement kept me going many a challenge. 😘

Petra Florean posted:

Thank you dear Christine @Bakerloo Station so beautiful idea to make a one large quilt,huge congratulation to Sonja @iSugarfy (aka swissophie)❤️❤️and to all entries ofcourse

Thank you for being such a very enthusiastic participant in these challenges! It was always fun to see how many creative ways you could interpret each challenge! xoxo

swissophie posted:
Oh my! I’ve never expected to get lucky twice with just one entry! Thank you so much for this generous price, dear Julia @Julia M. Usher ♥️♥️♥️!!! Now I think I should contemplate getting an airbrush after all… especially since I already own some of your wonderful stencils from my prior lucky win 😊. Thank you again so much for everything 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 ❣️❣️❣️This community is a lifeline, especially now in this surreal time!
And thank you, dear Christine @Bakerloo Station, for your kind words, and again so very much for all the love and work you put into these challenges 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼❤️❤️❤️!!! I’ve been enriched so much by them and will be forever grateful to you, Julia and this whole cookier family!!! You all are the greatest!!!
And please, everyone, do keep safe out there!!!
 

Thank you so much! I have enjoyed every single challenge. I must admit that more than once I was completely floored by your entries! I hope you will continue to engage with these challenges and continue to push the creative envelope. xoxo