How to Use Cookie Inspiration From Others

When I first delved into cookie decorating, there were very few online resources for inspiration and learning.  Then, in just a few short years a couple of shops, blogs, and a small Flickr community morphed into a large and ever growing group of talented artisans and suppliers.

Now, the Internet is filled with projects, ideas, and inspiration…a wonderful thing.  Not only are we creating and sharing our own work, we’re also encouraging others to take our visions and make them their own.

In the beginning, I had a hard time making anything without the help of Flickr photos photos from people like The Cookie Artisan.  Then, as my skills and confidence grew, so did the list of ideas and techniques I wanted to try.

With so many resources, it’s often difficult to come up with something that hasn’t been done. Sometimes, I come up with a new and original idea, but more often than not I am inspired in some way by the work of other artisans.

My holiday cookie wreath is the perfect example.

Christmas Cookie WreathI didn’t invent holiday cookie wreaths, but by following these simple steps I made a version that is completely my own.

  1. Choose your inspiration:  My original inspiration were wreaths by The Cookie Artisan and Julia Usher, which you can see here and here.
  2. Determine your favorite elements:  The key element of a cookie wreath was the shape, of course, {originally inspired by Maryann} but I also loved how Julia’s version incorporated a pattern.  These were the primary elements of my design.
  3. If making an exact copy of something, ask:  I could write an entire blog post on this statement alone {I talked about it in depth here}, so I’ll try to keep this short.  In the interest of peace and harmony, I ask and give credit if I even spin an idea that didn’t come from my own brain.  However, with a huge influx of new decorators, it’s often impossible to keep up with what’s been done, and by whom.  So, my general policy is to share, link, always treat others the way I would like to be treated, even when they don’t do the same.
  4. Add something:  In the beginning, my capabilities were limited to replicating things I’d seen.  After mastering the basic skills and techniques, the most challenging and rewarding part of the process is adding special touches to make something my own.  In this instance I used stencils to pattern the leaves, incorporated tiny berry cookies, used the chip and dip bowl that I got as a wedding gift {for the first time ever} to keep things neat, and finished with a butterfly bow, courtesy of Ali-Bee’s Bake Shop.  Still a wreath, but a unique version made by me.
  5. Share and give credit: Show people what you’ve made, and let others know that they’ve inspired you with shout outs and links.  Its amazing how a little goodwill can grow.
  6. Inspire more great ideas:  This is my absolute favorite part.  I love seeing what other people do with things I’ve made.  What’s even more interesting is that I am often re-inspired by a play on something I’d previously posted.  It’s amazing, really, how we’re all pieces of one big puzzle, each contributing ideas that make us all the best we can be.

Cookie WreathIf you’re not quite ready to venture into your own designs, rest assured the tutorials on my blog are written for others to use. Credit is always nice, but not expected.

For more great insight on how to use a cookie tutorial, check out this post by Lizy B Bakes.   My first and most important mission is to share what I’ve learned and teach others the art of cookie decorating  and I hope 2014 is a year of peace, learning, and prosperity for us all.  Thank you all for inspiring me!

For more amazing cookie wreaths {and cookie decorators}, check out these posts:

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  1. 21
    MissCassee says:

    I have been enjoying your site since i tried my first cookies 3 years ago. You Callie, have been an endless resource for me. Your creativity is inspiring, and beautiful. If i get an order i turn to your site first to see if i can get guidance and inspiration from my “Cookie Spirit Animal” (thats you!). Your tutorials are easy to follow, and people love the taste of your recipe. Thank you so much for sharing. Keep up the good work. I just hope someday, my skills are close to your level! :) Take care-
    P.s. I need to get better about crediting, but i know i have linked back several times on my blog, and FB. I apologize in advance if i have been not thorough enough though. I never want to be that person. :)

  2. 22
    Samantha says:

    That bow!!! I would have fallen out of my chair if i wasn’t sitting on the floor!!! It’s so perfect!!
    Also, this is truly a great post on cookie-making-sharing-internet-etiquette!
    I love you! I love cookies! I love your cookies!

  3. 23

    Callye – this is one of the most inspiring and important posts I’ve read in a long time. And I thank you for putting it all so professionally and elegantly. You’re one classy girl! :-)

    I have only been decorating cookies for about 8 months now. I’m an admitted newbie and trying to learn all I can. Because I’m blogging about it as I go, both the good and the bad are put out there for the world to see when I decorate cookies. The fact that I am not artistic makes things difficult to dream up cookie designs. When I get an idea in my head I need to search for what other, more talented cookies decorators, have done and then take it from there. Sometimes the cookies turn out adorable, and other times well, not so adorable. But that’s OK with me.

    I look on Flickr, cookie blogs (like yours – my all time favorite), Google images, etc… What usually ends up happening is that I like a combination of ideas from more than one source. Don’t know if that makes sense or not. I try my best to link or give a shout out to people, because I’m always so afraid someone will think I am “stealing” their work. I was terrified to even post Christmas tree cookies because I thought to myself, how many ways can you decorate a tree that someone else hasn’t thought of yet? LOL

    Anyway, thank you for sharing this. You can’t begin to imagine how inspirational you are, and the fact that you are willing to share every little tip and technique all the time – wow, there are not enough words to express my gratitude.


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