Oh, how I love this time of year, with all of its gourds, pumpkins and other harvest-goodies just waiting to be turned into pies, tarts, and festive fall cookies - of course!
Judging from her winning Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #13 site art (pictured below and on our site this month), it seems our October site artist, virago, loves these things too! Her cookie rendition is especially captivating, IMO, due to its gorgeous color scheme and flawless execution. Congrats again, virago, on a challenge extremely well done!
As always, I'll be doing an in-depth Cookier Close-up with virago later in October, so, until then, please get acquainted with her through the mini bio below! (BTW, both virago and her husband are veterans and live close to a military installation, so for identity protection and security reasons, I won't be revealing her real name here. And, you'll only get to see her in a goofy Halloween disguise! )
In June 2013, virago (which means "female warrior", BTW) mixed, rolled, cut, baked, and decorated her first-ever cookie set, designed for an inspiration challenge on another site. It was a "decent first attempt" in virago's words, but it wasn't until May 2014 that she felt she got her cookie bearings; that's when taste, texture, and technique came together in cookie harmony!
Her interest in decorating sweets actually first started with a cake . . . "a laughably ugly box cake, domed and decorated with tub and tube icing in a Halloween theme." Though that cake was "totally cringe-worthy", she says, it was the spark that lit her decorating fire, rekindled her passion for art (something she hadn’t been able to explore for years), and ultimately led to her current cookie fascination.
Despite the lovely work that she's posted to this site, virago still considers herself a novice cookie decorator. And due to restrictive cottage food laws in her home state of Kentucky, USA, she remains a cookie hobbyist - for now!
On a more personal note, virago hangs out with her husband of 20-plus years in their "little spot of semi-rural paradise in central Kentucky". Her husband is retired military with a background in munitions and aircraft mechanics. She spent a number of years in the military herself, specializing in logistics and communications computers before moving into defense contracting as a civilian. She's now a stay-at-home wife who often subjects her "dear, sweet, occasionally crotchety husband" to spontaneous taste tests. Sometimes he hides from her and tinkers with his cars!
When not focused on culinary pursuits, virago enjoys exploring winding country roads, observing the awesome weather and creatures that visit her property, perusing fantasy artwork, and learning to use Paint.NET (an excellent, free tool for photo manipulation as well as image creation)!
Photo/bio credit: virago
* P.S. Our 2016 featured site artists are all winners of our Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #13, which you can read more about here. If you would like your own cookie art to be considered for use on the site after our challenge winners have run their course (by January 2017), I would love to see it at any time. Guidelines for submitting cookie art can be found here.