Live Chat with Kari Arroyo aka Yankee Girl Yummies

Hi, Kari! I've missed you here on Cookie Connection, and am eager to hear what you've been up to since you left. For those of you who don't know, Kari used to write a series of tutorials for Cookie Connection called Dear Yankee Girl! It was great! You can catch up on those tuts here: http://cookieconnection.juliau...ion/dear-yankee-girl
Hello everyone!
Hi, Fenny! Glad you're here; I hope others will be joining us soon!
If not, we'll have a nice, cozy chat!
Before we jump into Q&A, just a few housekeeping notes for newbies to our chats: questions are answered in the order received, but they will not post to the public/viewable area of the chat until Kari reads and answers them. We'll work through questions that were logged in advance first; then start working on questions asked live during the chat. That said, please be patient and do not re-post the same question. It may take some time to answer your question, depending on where it sits in the queue. But I will personally make sure every question gets answered before we're through!
Please also ask just one question at a time - it's easier for our guests to keep track of questions and for others to follow the dialogue this way. So, let's get started!
Hi Julia, thank you
We had a couple of great questions about Kari's videos that came in earlier, so I'll start with those . . .
Cookie videos seem completely daunting to me, practically impossible. But I've watched you become quite proficient with them and make some really cute and fun videos.  If I ever (shudder) decided to make videos, what would be your tips for making the leap?  Do you record with special equipment? What do you use to edit, and how did you figure out how to do it? Sorry for the big open ended question!  From your biggest fan.
I think your short video tutorials are just brilliant.  What tips do you have for people who might want to give video a go, and what equipment do you use/recommend?
In case you're not familiar with Kari's videos, I thought I'd post a link to a recent one, so you can check out her video style firsthand:
Rebecca and Christine - I love making videos! I started making them because people seemed to like the idea of a quick 'tutorial'. I try to make them about a minute long in length due to the attention span of most viewers (myself included!). I use my camera and a tripod to shoot them. Nothing fancy! The camera is set up on the tripod, over my workspace. That's why you catch glimpses of my head from time to time! (Still working on that!) I use iMovie to edit the videos. It took me a few hours and a few videos to really get the hang of it.
I did also want to add that my camera is a Canon Rebel. It's very user friendly. It's easy to record videos on as well as taking great photos.
I'm contemplating starting to edit my own videos, because my video person has been tough to keep on schedule.
Why did you decide to use iMovie vs. Adobe Elements or Premiere, or some other editing package?
I can edit a video in about an hour now. It, of course, takes a little while to shoot it - but the editing isn't bad.
Thank you for that! I'm jealous of your iMovie, because I have a PC. I'll have to research good options for that!
okay i don't see the chat
iMovie is free. And it was already on my computer.
Dona, scroll down the page. The chat is after Kari's chat description.
Rebecca, I've worked a bit in Adobe Elements to do voiceovers, and I think it's pretty user friendly.
Some learning curve, but you might look into it.
Is it a kind of cut and paste operation?
R, are you asking me?
iMovie is. I shoot the cookie decorating and then cut out all the extra. Paste it all together and you've got a video!
If so, yeah, pretty much. You can load video and audio on different tracks and cut and paste across the tracks, if you will.
Thanks for the recommendation! Video is a ways off for me I think, but I have a few ideas...
Mare and Dena, any questions for Kari?
I've got some, of course!
In addition to your cookie videos, what other cookie projects do you have up your sleeves?
Well - we announced a cookie calendar on Thursday! 11 other cookie artists and myself all came together to make a calendar. It's being sold through and all proceeds are going to charity.
Yeah, I saw that. From the little glimmers that Killer Zebras showed, it looks pretty phenomenal.
I'll try to grab a link and post it here in a sec.
Pretty excited about it! Proceeds are going to either UNICEF or the GoBo Foundation. You get to chose.
okay i don't see the chat
Dona, scroll down the page - the chat is much lower on the new site, because the chat description does not disappear during the chat. I'll have to talk to my tech guys about modifying that before next time, because it makes it harder to manage the chat as well.
i guess i'm not welcomed lol
There are a couple other group collaborations that will be released in the next couple of weeks. And be on the look out for a guest blog tutorial!
Of course you are, Dona!
No, of course you are, Dona! I'll try to PM you with instructions in a sec.
Which month are you again Kari?
So, let's talk more about your cookie style. It definitely screams Kari. How would you characterize it and how did you go about cultivating it? Or did you?
I think the calendar would make a GREAT holiday gift! Just to mention a few contributors: LilaLoa, The Cookie Architect, Sugarbelle, Arty McGoo...
I do too. I'm leaving a message for Dona now to help her get on the chat; then I'm going to grab the calendar link.
I'm a firm believer that everyone has a 'style'. And I also think that you shouldn't resist it! So, I think that I came by it naturally! With some practice, of course!
This is my first chat. I'm actually baking cookies now for a group of girlfriends I'm getting together with this evening. I'm providing the cookies and icing. Any suggestions for the best set up for a group? I'm such a beginner, but these girls think I'm a "pro", (comparatively speaking (and that hahaha!
and that's compared to them- my friends...
I'm not really sure if I'm on the chat either. I'm assuming this is it, yes?
yes! You're here!
You are getting together to decorate cookies?
Dena - you are! All questions that are posted get moderated. So they won't pop up on the screen right away. This ensures that we don't inundate the guest with questions all at once. I just posted yours - thanks!
Good morning, Kari & Julia!
Morning Barb!
Hi, Barb! Send questions our way!
super excited to hear any and all feedback. Yes. My this is our bunco christmas get together. They requested a Christmas cookie decorating session. I said I'd provide the cookies and icing. Little did I know (until this morning) that they are counting on them to "teach" them something. I'm just a beginner!]
Kari, you've got to have some great tips from you CookieCon teaching experience! I want to hear more about that after you answer Dena!
you = your
Start with the basics. Flooding, touch on consistency. Maybe some wet on wet techniques. It'll be fun!
wheeeeeee i can seeeeeee lol i thought i'd just have to search and read nothing like going to the back road and waiting lol
Great! Glad you found your way here, Dona! As I noted above, I'm going to talk t my tech guys about finding a way to minimize the chat description during the chat, so people can see it faster and so I don't have to scroll as much.
t = to
I found out that teaching is a lot of work! We had a great time though and really enjoyed the classes! Two of the group collaborations that will be coming out soon are actually related to the classes. We certainly challenged them!
Can't wait to see those collabs.
A quick follow-up to Dena's question before I post Barb's . . .
When prepping for classes, how much do you typically prep in advance for each student, as this must have a large bearing on what you charge and/or how smoothly the class goes?
Thanks, Kari! (And Julia!)
Well, our classes were a bit different than a typical class. Two of the classes were on cookie design. So, we were in uncharted territory! AND there were 3 instructors. It took us a lot of prep time but I think that if we were to do it again, it would be less.
Here's the link to the collaborative cookie calendar:
Kari -- I've mentioned before I'm a huge fan of your style of setting up your cookie photos. What's your process for that?
It was a really fun and informative class!
smiling at kari i get anxious i think i had to click a button that indicates to embed not sure me and click fingers swoosh im trying to catch up
Dona, the embed code at the very bottom of the chat is only to be used if you want to embed the chat on another website.
The post box is above the social media icons, but it looks like you found it!
Thanks Barb! I shoot all my photos by a large set of windows. I have a ton of scrap book paper for backgrounds. I use little medicine cups to prop up my cookies. I like to do that to eliminate shadows. All the editing is done in picmonkey.
Do you always elevate your cookies? I too love that "hover" effect!
before i forget thanks julia kari hello everyone
smiling at dena i don't know how i got to view the ytping lol
those are great tips!
I think Kari is being modest! She prepped with us for months for those classes! She was the driving organizational force. Her next class can be in evaluating contingencies of cookie design classes!!
I don't always elevate, no. But a lot!
I am very organized. We made a good team!
Hi Kari, you have been decorating cookies for a few years now, what advice would you have liked to have had from experienced decorators when you started?
You do such unusual things .. like those birdie cookies with pieces of straw or something running btw them? I LOVE that one. So creative.
Oops - sorry! Posted two questions at once!
Still fumbling a little with the new system.
Fenny - Craters. I used to cry over craters. Once I got a heat fan and got my icing a bit thicker, the tears stopped. I wish I had known about that!
And Fenny - You do not need to buy every cutter. Sorry to all the cookie cutter makers...
Yes, tons of creative ideas, as Barb said! Can you give us some more insight into how you come up with your ideas?
yes i saw embed for other site not sure if i clicked it or not lol scared to see what if anything i did tho
Thanks Barb! I do draw a lot of inspiration from other pieces of art. I think that I saw a greeting card or something that inspired that set. Simple cookies can be just as challenging!
Dona, you won't do any harm by clicking the embed link. It just reveals the code that one would copy to embed the chat on another site.
Lol, thank you, that is great advice! (both the cutters and the craters)
Craters! Ugh. I'm trying to use thicker icing to avoid them, but then it seems to set up more quickly and I don't get the smooth appearance I long for...
Yes, can you elaborate on your ideal icing thickness for crater prevention?
Julia - I do use Pinterest a lot. I draw inspiration from fabric, paper art, felt. I have a board with about a thousand ideas on it as well as a stack of papers that I've torn out of magazines!
same problem here dena very difficult i generally have to use a looser flow
ooooooooo kari little cups to prop didn't think of that i tried propping and they always slip
I tend to use thicker icing than most decorators. And I struggle with an aching wrist as a result... But my detail work is usually more of a 60+ second consistency. I work quickly and use toothpicks to push it where I want it to be. Then place it in front of the heat fan for a few minutes.
what are you doing if at all to make your cookies look so inviting
Even my flooding consistency tends to be 'thick'. One my videos, you can see that I have to push it into place as opposed to it flowing to the edge. Takes longer to flood but gives the icing a 'puffy' look.
Not sure what Dona means by "inviting"? Donan?
Not sure Dona! Just doing what I love!
Donan = Dona
But I find your color palettes especially inviting - very earthy and natural. Any tips for achieving those tones and color mixing in general? I sometimes find that colors tend to migrate (spot, etc.) a bit more with the more colors I mix together. Tips to avoid that?
then i just don't know how to take pics right ? lol
(Legos! I can't remember whose blog it is... but they prop the cookies up on legos for slight elevation. I've been wanting to get some legos for that exact purpose. I'll figure out who i learned that from and get back..)
I use the one bowl method (sometimes 2...). Start with my lightest color and use the same bowl until I'm done with all the colors. Cuts down on dishes! And it allows for your colors to 'go together'. I'm trying to think who taught me that trick...
Legos! That was Melissa Joy!
And maybe it was Ann from Flour Box who blogged about the one bowl method?
Nice idea on the legos. I have a few tiny Pyrex containers (about 2 inches across) that also work well. I love to use clear things so the props are less likely to be seen, and they let light pass through. My two cents.
Callye did the one bowl tutorial! And Melissa Joy the legos.
kari did you learn it from karen's cookies ? i saw her do that
But I knew you knew that! LOL!
Yes! Melissa Joy!
I saw that one bowl method on Sugarbelle. Just used it recently, myself!
Love the one bowl method for "go together" colors! Thanks for sharing. i always love your color schemes. Fascinated by them actually.
Hi Kari- what would you say have been your biggest cookie problems /challenges and how have you solved them- such as cratering , color bleed, etc?
Maybe it was Callye!
Ladies, the chat is ending in about 10 minutes and I don't see an obvious way to extend chat time mid-chat (as on the old site). It may exist, but I don't see it. That said, now is the time to get in any last questions, while Kari still has time to answer them. Thanks!
Color scheme - I get right from Pinterest too. Just type in what you're looking for. Like 'nontraditional Christmas colors'.
Kari, Did you see Mare's question a few posts above?
late to the chat and have to scroll through chat first but Hi Kari!!
Mare- I think that I struggled with all the problems that all decorators do. Butter bleed, craters, time management,etc.. I think that over the years, I've just practiced and experimented enough to figure out what works and what doesn't. We talked about craters. Butter bleed - I use quality butter and flour and I don't oversaturate colors. All a learning process!
Hi, Winn! And hi, Shannon! I see that you too just joined. We've got 6 minutes left on the chat, so please get in any last-minute questions!
Kari, are your cookies from small size cutters?
Hi Ladies!
Dona - I have over 500 cutters. Sometimes I make small cookies, sometime larger. I think that a nice platter set has some of both!
Related to Dona's cutter question, you said earlier that a beginner needn't go out and get every cutter available. That said, what are your go-to cutters and why?
I like basic shapes. Shapes that can be rethought and used for a multitude of designs!
500 cutters! Someone has a cutter habit she didn't want to admit!
Example: The bus cutter from Whisked Away. One of my favorites. Never actually used it for a bus cookie though..
Yes I saw that after I posted my question ! Thanks so much
HI I'm late but I tried to make it! What has been your favorite collaboration?
i somehow got booted lol craps thanks julia kari hellooooo to all
If only someone had told me in the beginning not to buy every cutter!
Kari I also wanted to say hello! As a moderator I didn't want to cut in on the chat but it was wonderful to be her with you all.
If you got booted, Dona, it was because you lost your Internet connection. The chat has been going continuously since it started.
Shannon - I love them all. it's like picking a favorite child! But I am very proud of the calendar!
I'm going to post all remaining questions at once so you hopefully have time to answer them before we time out! Here goes . . .
I just want to thank all of you for your willingness to share and teach others your amazing craft. Kari, Julia, Rebecca, (and others!) have really been inspirational in allowing me to pursue cookie decorating as a fun and creative outlet. I cannot thank you all enough. You guys are pretty much celebrities of the cookie community - and here you are, sharing openly. And even more importantly - cheering us on! THANKS!
Hi Tina!
Thanks, Dena!
Yes, thanks Dena!
Seems we just had comments, so we're out of questions just in time.
Thanks for having me!
Thanks so much, Kari for spending time with us! We all love your work!
This chat has ended.