The start of the year is so often the time for fresh starts, tackling new projects, and generally changing things up. As much as change is exciting and fun (and quite possibly the best way to learn and grow), it can often bring pangs of sadness about what we're leaving behind to pave way for the new. And . . . such is the case this January with our Practice Bakes Perfect Challenges. I'll cut to the chase, I've got some bittersweet news for you all.

As you know, Christine Donnelly (aka @Bakerloo Station) has volunteered for Cookie Connection for five years and created 30 challenges for you at a pace of one (plus a recap) every few months. (Phew!) Her contributions to this site have been, well (long pause as I try to hold back the tears), nothing short of monumental. She has pushed each and every one of us to new heights, be it with our cookie skills or just as people, and, for that, I am personally so grateful, as I know many of you are too. I have worked very closely with Christine during this time and can tell you without hesitation that I have met very few people as smart, thoughtful, kind, creative, and professional.

So . . . it is with great sadness that I am here to be the first to tell you that she is bidding adieu to her challenge host role after Challenge #38. As she'll explain in that challenge intro, it's high time for her to move onto other exciting creative and professional pursuits! That said, it is also with great happiness that I announce this transition, because I know she is headed for wonderful things!

But that's not the only sweet note in this bittersweet tale. Oh no! Being the consummate professional that Christine is, she advised me of her intended transition months ago, and, together, we worked on finding her perfect replacement. What's more, Christine and our-soon-to-be-host worked alongside one another, behind the scenes of the last challenge, to ensure a seamless transition of challenges to you.

And who, pray tell, is that perfect replacement?! Yes, more sweet news! It's the one and only @Sweet Prodigy, aka Christine Dutcher. (How convenient - or confusing? - that both challenge hosts should have the same initials? ) Who better to run challenges than someone who has so clearly challenged herself to become a master of precision-piping and mind-boggling designs that often leave one asking, "How on earth did she do that?!" Christine has also been a longtime Cookie Connection member (since May 2015) and has actively participated in many of our challenges, so she clearly knows the drill inside and out. I couldn't be more excited to see how she applies that brilliant mind of hers to creating challenges for you! Her first official challenge will begin with #39; until then, she'll continue to shadow Christine (Donnelly) on #38!

If you don't already know Christine (Dutcher), I encourage you to check out her Cookie Connection portfolio, and also to read her bio below.

And with that, a HUGE round of applause for both Christines, for being the amazing talents that they are, and for so generously giving of themselves to make us better cookiers and people too!

ChristineChristine Dutcher decided to search online for "amazing cupcake decorating" ideas when her daughter received a cupcake maker for Christmas 2012. That search led to some amazing cookie photos, and, like many cookiers, Christine instantly became obsessed. After spending countless hours online learning all that she could about decorated cookies, Christine decorated her first set in October 2013. For the first few years, Christine decorated cookies just for fun and only sporadically, however, in January 2016 she decided that she would begin to focus on perfecting her skills, challenging herself each time to create more detailed and progressively complex pieces. In 2019, Christine became one of the very first sugar artists from around the world (and the only "cookier") to be named as an "Honourary PME Five Star Sugar Artist" by Knightsbridge PME, with her work being featured in their Five Star Sugar Artist course book. It is through the Practice Bakes Perfect challenges that Christine hopes to motivate and inspire her fellow cookiers to think outside of the box, and to challenge themselves both creatively and technically in order to reach their full potential as cookie artists. You can learn more about her work here on Cookie Connection, and by following her Facebook and Instagram pages.

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Original Post

It' s only a few years that I have dedicated myself to this art, but I have always had a lot of fun with the challenges of @Bakerloo Station...I thank her very much for all the work done so far... I am sorry that this adventure  ends, but I understand an artist's needs for change. I'm equally happy for Christine, @Sweet Prodigy   and curious to see what she will offer us in the future. Many congrats Christine for your new challenge.  

WOW huge news indeed!!! I don't know what to say I have mixed feelings. I am going to miss Christine, and can not be thankful enough for what she did for us.  But hey there is another Christine coming πŸ™‚ and I can not wait to see what she's having for us. So thank you Christine, both of you πŸ˜€ and to both of you good luck. I love such coincidences, they are a good sign. πŸ˜€πŸ’–

Ooooh, a very heartfelt message ...  I also feel bitter and sweet. You can not describe it somehow ... But hey, the same initials, especially the same first names - it can only work well !!!

I would also like to thank Christine @Bakerloo Station very much for her flawless and intensive work !! πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€— All the best for your new job

At the same time, I am looking forward to Christine @Sweet Prodigy and wish her lots of fun and strength for the upcoming work! πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€— You create it!!!

THANKS!!!!!

Sweet Prodigy posted:

Thank you so much Christine @Bakerloo Station for creating and overseeing so many wonderful challenges.  You gave us the opportunity to improve our skills and create some beautiful and unique works of sweet art along the way. Thank you, Julia @Julia M. Usher for allowing me this opportunity. I have some big shoes to fill, but am excited and looking forward to continuing the challenges! 

I am so excited to have you on board, and to see how you shape these challenges in your own unique way!

What can I possibly add to what has already been said; and said in such an articulate way? I wholeheartedly agree with these many comments and compliments. Wow, 5 years hosting the challenges, dear Christine @Bakerloo Station? You are amazingly talented and dedicated to our wonderful cookie community. Thank YOU !!!

You have been such a fabulous hostess who I greatly respect, and whose work/ commitment I admire ❀. I wish you much happiness and success as you move into this next season in your life.

Dear Christine @Sweet Prodigy,  you already know that I love your work!!! I've also been one of the many cookiers who've said "how did she do that?" Your attention to detail shines in each cookie design you create πŸ€—. I'm excited to see the direction you will bring to the challenges. Thank YOU for your willingness to devote your time and energy to this amazing cookie community!! 

For someone who didn't know what to add, I certainly said a LOT (typical for me,  right? πŸ˜‰).

Cookies Fantastique by Carol posted:

What can I possibly add to what has already been said; and said in such an articulate way? I wholeheartedly agree with these many comments and compliments. Wow, 5 years hosting the challenges, dear Christine @Bakerloo Station? You are amazingly talented and dedicated to our wonderful cookie community. Thank YOU !!!

You have been such a fabulous hostess who I greatly respect, and whose work/ commitment I admire ❀. I wish you much happiness and success as you move into this next season in your life.

Dear Christine @Sweet Prodigy,  you already know that I love your work!!! I've also been one of the many cookiers who've said "how did she do that?" Your attention to detail shines in each cookie design you create πŸ€—. I'm excited to see the direction you will bring to the challenges. Thank YOU for your willingness to devote your time and energy to this amazing cookie community!! 

For someone who didn't know what to add, I certainly said a LOT (typical for me,  right? πŸ˜‰).

But as always, perfectly said dear Carol. πŸ’™

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