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Hi, all! As I mentioned in another post, I've been eagerly reading all of the first birthday feedback accompanying our giveaway, which concludes tomorrow, BTW. (More info about that giveaway here.)


I very much appreciate all of the thoughtful input and wanted to relay back to you what I've heard, how Cookie Connection will be acting on this feedback in the next six months, and how I'd love to see members contribute to moving in the directions you've requested.


On the latter point, Cookie Connection was conceived as a community-based site, and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. What this means is that, while we have a small volunteer "staff" that contributes content on a regular basis, we also rely on the talents and energy of our members to share content (not just photos, but tutorials, videos, etc.) to keep the community vibrant and active. Cookie Connection will only ever be as strong as the collective force of its individual member-contributors! 


First, What I Heard.

There was tons of great feedback, but if I had to distill it all down to the three most mentioned things, they were:

  1. More tutorials, especially of the advanced and video variety
  2. More about the business of cookies, particularly growing from start-up to full-fledged shop
  3. More in-person meetups and events

There were also requests for some things that are already in place - like challenges; specific search functionality; forums for discussing business matters, posting product sales, swapping product, etc. If I commented in blue type on your comment in the giveaway post, it was to point out where that sort of information can already be found on the site. There's a lot here, and it might be helpful to everyone to re-read those blue comments to make sure you're taking full advantage of our current offerings.


That said, I'm going to take each of the three points (above) in turn and do three things: (1) clarify where we already have that content on the site (if we do); (2) share plans for how Cookie Connection is (or is not) working to expand that content; and (3) let you know how you can help expand that content too.


1. More Tutorials.


A. Where Is That Content Now?

Right now, tutorials can be found in three areas on the site: in the video clips (video tutorials); in the "Tips, Techniques and Templates" clip set (usually quick photo tips or links off to tutorials on other sites); and in the blog (written tutorials by our site contributors AND members). We currently have 49 video tutorials, 15 written cookie project tutorials on the blog, and another 8 technique tutorials, also on the blog. That's at least one tutorial posting per week! I encourage you to check them all out if you haven't already.


B. What Cookie Connection Is Working On.

Since January, I have brought on three fantastic contributors (Kari Arroyo, Lucy Samuels, and Melissa Lacasse), all of whom are hard at work generating cookie tutorials for you. Our goal is to present at least two new cookie tutorials each month, and over the last month or so, we've been hitting that target.


You can find their tutorials on the blog, both in the master projects and techniques tutorial blog collections, as well as under the names of their respective columns (Dear Yankee Girl; What's New, Honeycat?; and How DID You Do That?).


Since receiving your feedback, we've further classified all project tutorials (excluding the How DID You DO That? tutorials, which are not quite the same) as beginner, intermediate, or advanced, so that you can more easily find tutorials that meet your needs. You can find our definitions of these levels here. And you can locate these tutorials under their relevant collections in the blog, or by clicking here:


You'll now see a banner on each cookie tutorial that calls out its level; the banners are variations on this theme:




I also plan to add a quick link to all of our blog tutorials on the home page, to make it easier for you to locate them - and fast! I expect to have this banner in place sometime next week.


BUT, this all said, I agree! Our current mix of tutorials skews toward beginner and intermediate levels, so our contributors will be working over the next few months to strike a better overall balance with the addition of more advanced tutorials. Please note, though, that the subjects of Kari's tutorials are determined by your write-in requests. So if you're not submitting advanced topics to her, the responses won't be advanced.


As for video tutorials, most of the 48 posted have been posted by me, and I post one each week. I will continue to post at this pace for the foreseeable future. Video production can be quite costly (and beyond the current Cookie Connection budget), so in order to expand our repertoire of video tutorials, we are seeking help from you. More on this in the next section.


C. What You Can Contribute Too.

More tutorials - especially of the advanced and video variety!  I am not sure if you all know, but anyone can post blog or video tutorials to the site at any time and with any frequency, provided the work is their own and they follow the basic posting guidelines, here. Unlike the practice on some other sites, you always retain the copyright to any content that you post here. Blog posts will enter my moderation queue and may be edited, however, mostly to conform to site style conventions. And I reserve the right, as always, not to post things that don't conform to the guidelines, or which won't benefit our members (though to date, this has never happened).


Last but not least, I am always seeking more featured blog contributors, like Kari, Lucy, and Melissa, but there are a few more hoops to jump through to become part of the regular team. If you're interested in writing or developing videos for the site on a regular basis, please read this post and then contact me! These are volunteer positions, but they offer the promise of experience and added exposure in the cookie decorating community! 


2. More About Business.


A. Where Is That Content Now?

This type of content appears primarily in two areas on the site: under contributor Aymee VanDyke's From Dough to Dollars blog column and in the forum entitled The Business of Cookies (which has nine sub-topics as well). Whereas Aymee has gone through the hoops of becoming a regular contributor, the business forum is open for all to freely share their experiences. Anything posted there is immediately posted without going into site moderation queues, to ensure that you get the most timely response from other members.


B. What Cookie Connection Is Working On.

I agree with the feedback here. We need more about this topic. As you may know, Aymee has taken a leave of absence from the site until the fall. In the meantime, I will be completing her pricing series, as my spare time allows. I am also actively seeking other regular blog contributors in this area. Ideally, I am looking for someone who has successfully grown his/her own cookie business from home-based enterprise to brick-and-mortar shop, and who has been in business at least three years.


C. What You Can Contribute Too.

Don't be shy about posting to the business forums - they are there to be used!

Also, if you know of someone who would be a great regular business contributor, please let me know. You can also "nominate" yourself! 


3. More In-Person Meetups and Events.


A. Where Is That Content Now?

Based on some of your comments (mostly those about CookieCon), I think some clarification may be needed here. As much as nothing can replace the connection that comes through face-to-face, in-person meetings, Cookie Connection is not currently in the business of organizing events of this sort. (CookieCon is entirely separate from this site and organized by Karen and Mike Summers of Karen's Cookies.) 


However, we DO cultivate an online calendar that lists as many cookie-related events as we know about. And we do host online events in the form of (1) live cookie chats with featured guests and (2) our 24/7 chat rooms, which are always open for more casual connection and chit-chat. You can access these areas here:


B. What Cookie Connection Is Working On.

We don't have any immediate plans to get into the business of organizing face-to-face events, but we are eager to support them through postings on our online calendar or discussions posted in chat rooms and forums - or even paid advertising on the site.


We will continue to host our monthly featured guest chats, mostly because they are one of the more fun things that I do on this site! If you haven't yet attended one, I encourage you to do so. It's the next best thing to having an amazing cookie decorator sitting in your own kitchen!

C. What You Can Contribute Too.

This is an area where I really need your help, from everywhere around the globe! As one person sitting in St. Louis, MO, USA, I only hear about a certain (limited) number of cookie events - usually the bigger ones. I most certainly do not hear about all of your many individual cookie decorating classes.


The calendar, like the forums, is open for anyone to post events at any time. All I ask is that you search the calendar first to make sure the event isn't already posted.


I get weekly, if not daily, requests about cookie decorating classes around the world, but - unfortunately - I can't always point those asking to classes or people in their area. I just don't know. So . . . I too would like our calendar to reflect a fuller range of offerings. But to capture smaller, individual classes, I am really relying on you to post your stuff.


I think that covers all of the major points that were raised. But if not, or if you have further questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me or, better yet, to place a suggestion in the suggestions forum on the site. 


I'm all about the continuous improvement of Cookie Connection (not just once a year), so your ongoing input is very important to me. Thanks again for the wealth of information provided during the giveaway.


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  • Advanced Tutorial Banner: Design by Pretty Sweet Designs
Last edited by Julia M. Usher
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grazie Julia per le informazioni che dai attraverso le nostre richieste, io sono italiana e da poco ho scoperto questo sito,sono felicissima di poter capire e seguire cose nuove e molto utili per me, però mi ci vorrà un poco di tempo per capire come funziona tutto il sito alla fine ci riuscirò .....

WOW.....your passion for this website is beyond words....I hope after you typed all this out you  #1...took a nap    #2...a huge cup of coffee or tea   #3 had  a Martini, wine or vodka whatever works........sooo what did you do???  Oh I know you went jogging having fun.....belated Happy Birthday to Cookie Connection......)

Originally Posted by Debbie R:

WOW.....your passion for this website is beyond words....I hope after you typed all this out you  #1...took a nap    #2...a huge cup of coffee or tea   #3 had  a Martini, wine or vodka whatever works........sooo what did you do???  Oh I know you went jogging having fun.....belated Happy Birthday to Cookie Connection......)

I don't remember. I've worked the equivalent of four work weeks in the two days since I posted this! 

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