Good morning! Yesterday I mentioned that today was the day to meet my very special and talented friend, Pam, AKA, CookieCrazie. Well today is here and so are we…
I first met Pam almost two years ago when I started this crazie hobby of mine. It was by happy accident, really. As I took more photos of my cookies, my mom suggested I start a blog and join Flickr.
Now most of the time, even though I know better, I usually do exactly the opposite of what my mom says…
and to make things even more challenging, I am not a computer person. In other words, until about two years ago, I didn’t even know what the heck a blog and Flickr were. *embarrassing, I know* But for some reason, this time I listened…
Discovering Flickr,changed my LIFE !!! Suddenly, I fell into this world of amazingly talented cookie decorators doing things I never knew you could do with a cookie…and from that point on, I was hooked!
That led me to Pam. She was one of the first people I ever “met” on Flickr, and became one of my favorite friends. Pam encouraged me, taught me, and kept me from throwing down my pastry bags and quitting on more than one occasion. She is an amazingly caring, giving and talented person, and count myself lucky to call her a friend.
Okay, enough about me! Time to get to know Pam.
I saw a blog post the other day by my pal Haniela, introducing my friend Glory and thought, “what a great idea,” so I did something similar… *NO, I don’t come up with this stuff by myself*
So, here’s a ten question interview…inspired by Hani.
I would like to present, my friend and fellow cookie decorator Pam!!!
Okay, the first question I am sure everyone wants to know is how did you first get into this CRAZIE hobby?
My sisters and I always decorated cookies for Christmas when I was growing up. I wanted to carry on the tradition with my girls, so we made sugar cookies for Christmas, then Valentines Day, Easter, etc. Eventually I loved doing it so much that I started doing them for nearly ever holiday/season. Out of curiosity, in 2007 I started researching cookie decorating on the internet. I found some wonderful sites & decorators. That’s when I started perfecting my hobby and really trying to improve my skills. From that point on…..there’s been no turning back.
Were your first cookies as bad as mine?
They were pretty bad. I used butter cream icing. It tastes delicious, but it is rather hard to work with. When I look at my cookies from just 4-5 years ago, I’m amused. We had lots of fun, but boy, those cookies were rather ugly.
One of the biggest differences between you and I are the icings that we use. You use glaze and I use royal. As decorators, we get comfortable with our mediums…I finally tried glaze for the first time only a few days ago, and that made me wonder, have you ever decorated cookies with royal icing?
When I first started researching on the Internet, I made royal icing a few times. I love its consistency for decorating…..and how you can use it to put lots of texture in your designs. But there’s a lot of irritating things about it too. And when I weighed the good with the bad…….I decided that royal icing was not for me. Even though glaze is much more challenging to decorate with……it tastes great and it doesn’t dry hard and crunchy. Plus, it doesn’t dry too fast and there are minimal problems with bubbles.
I have been the recipient of your cookies more than once over the course of our friendship. You actually have the honor of being my husband’s favorite cookie maker. Did it take you a long time to come up with this perfect recipe? Do you share?
I found the cookie and icing recipes on www.allrecipes.com several years ago. I’ve tweaked both of them according to preferences…..but yes, I share. They are both found on my blog, along with the link to the “originals”.
Unlike many people, you are not making cookies as a business. You actually do it for charity. Would you explain Cookies with a Mission to all of us?
Cookies With a Mission is a combination of two huge blessings in my life. I LOVE to decorate cookies……and I’m passionate about Ukraine and its people…..in particular Ukrainian women. Upon joining our church’s Ukraine mission ministry, there was a great need to raise funds both for traveling to the country on mission trips, and for the on-going ministries that we’ve established there in Boryslav, Ukraine. Knowing that people were requesting my cookies, I decided that it was a win, win for me to decorate cookies and receive payment that would go directly to Ukraine missions. In less than two years, I’ve raised over $6000 to fund trips to Ukraine and help out with financial needs in our ministry there. It is so exciting to watch CWAM flourish. I’m so thankful that God has given me the gift of cookie decorating, to not only enjoy as a hobby, but to use for His purposes. An added bonus is that I’ve found several Ukrainian women that want to decorate cookies as a home business, so I’ve started teaching them and that is another huge JOY!
What are your favorite cookie experiences that you have had since starting Cookies with a Mission?
I love seeing the Ukrainians responses when they see pics of my cookies and find out that my hobby has helped me be able to come to visit them and fund the things we are doing there. Their excitement energizes me.
And I’m blown away by the generosity of so many here in the States. It is thrilling to see others give in response to my giving.
I know you well enough to know that you have one peculiar decorating habit…I have always known you to do this, but I have never asked you why, even though I thought it was a little CRAZIE. Why on earth do you STAND to decorate all those cookies you make?
When we moved into our current house 2 1/2 years ago, I started using the breakfast bar to decorate cookies. It is just the right height for me to stand over the cookies and decorate without having to slouch. For some reason, it is more comfortable on my back and neck than if I sit at a table (which is what I did before we moved.) I’ve gotten into the habit of it and nothing else seems “right” now. Yes, it is crazie!
I have my personal favorite “COOKIE CRAZIE” cookies, but I have always been very curious to know what your favorite cookie collections are…
Any cookie that has plaid, stitches, buttons, patchwork or “quilting” on it is definitely my favorite. I love quilts and country things……so naturally it spills over into my cookies.
If you had one piece of advice to give a beginning decorator what would it be?
Becoming a good cookie decorator is a process. It takes lots of research and practice……it doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t expect that you can ask your favorite decorators how they do everything and you will sudden morph into an expert. Instead you will need to practice, read everything you can get your hands on about the subject, practice, ask questions, practice, and practice some more. In time you will find your niche and see huge strides in becoming the best decorator you can be.
And finally, are there any other tips, tricks, or favorite gadgets you would like to share with us?
A tip……..remember they are COOKIES. They don’t have to be perfect. Remember that someone is going to gobble this cookie up in a few seconds. Make it cute/beautiful/lovely…….then enjoy the delight it brings the recipient, but always remember that it is a cookie. It is something yummy for others to eat (and hopefully they look at it for a few seconds too!).
A trick……I use Karen’s Cookies amazing trick to bag my icing. You can see her video here. This saves so much time and avoids a huge mess. I was giddy the first time I filled my bags this way.
Favorite gadget…….there are many, but I highly recommend the tiny little cookie scraper. Karen’s Cookies calls it a “boo boo stick”. *CALLYE LOVES THESE TOO!!!* It is amazing to have that little stick next to you while you are decorating. If you goof, you can scrap off a whole bunch of icing and start all over again, or even correct a wet-on-wet polka-dot that didn’t drop into the icing round. Love that tool!
I’ll leave you with more of my Cookie Crazie favorites! Hop on over to her blog to see more of her creations, and to check out her WONDERFUL cookie and icing recipes . Trust me on this one. This is just the tip of the iceberg…be prepared to be amazed!
*Come back tomorrow for two different icing recipes, mine, and Pam’s, AND to check out my next Christmas giveaway!*