CookieCon and on and on

Photo credit:  Laurie Anglen (Cookie Bliss)

Hey…  Arty McGoo here.  Exactly a week ago right now I was hyperventilating.  Was I running a marathon?  Was I fighting an epic battle with a dragon?  No, I was enjoying Callye’s awesome CookieCon presentation when I suddenly realized she was winding down and my presentation was next.  I was so lost in “cookie think” that I forgot I was about to go in front of this ginormous room filled with insanely talented cookiers and with a steady hand, paint on cookies.  HA!  steady hands?!  I looked down at my hands and found them shaking like crazy.  WHAT was I thinking?

Some artwork Bailey made for me just before I left for SLC.  
Her vision of how my presentation would be received at CookieCon.
 Do you see that I’m crossing my fingers behind my back?  ha ha!  She knows me too well!

Let me start at the beginning.  CookieCon is an international cookie decorating convention that was created and hosted by the amazing Karen and Mike Summers of Karen’s Cookies.  They organized a huge gathering of crazy cookiers all around the world and it took place in Salt Lake City last weekend on November 1-3.  It was all cookies, all the time, and it couldn’t have been more incredible.  The amount of work and organization that it must have taken to pull this event together is mind boggling!  The sponsors were very generous, the giveaways were phenomenal, and no one left empty handed.  No one could do it better than Karen and Mike!

This gathering was so packed with information and inspiration!  The cookiers who attended were all so eager to share and to try new things.  I wish I could bottle the energy and emotions that were felt by this crowd of cookiers as they met face to face for the first time; when they perused the insanely gorgeous cookies in the Sugar Show; the complete silence as they were soaking in every word of the presentations.  I WISH I could bottle it, because words can never express the feeling and excitement that was all around during those very special 3 cookie-immersed days.

I can only tell you how it was through my perspective, but it makes me happy to think that everyone there had a slightly different experience and I can’t wait to hear all of them.  I had the fun experience of rooming with Callye (The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle) and Karen (SugarDeaux Cookies & Cakes).  I counted up my total hours of sleep for 4 days and came up with 15 hours… I enjoyed the heck out of those two!

Photo credit: Karen Anderson

Watching each presentation was awe inspiring.
*To not only be able to sit and watch Alison of Ali Bee’s Bakeshop effortlessly pipe beautiful flowers, but then to be able to give her a hug and tease her about her height was priceless.  (She is the cutest little thing!)
*I got to say, “Morning Glory!” to Glory (of Glorious Treats) and watch her create with fondant.  I can honestly say Glory taught me everything I know about fondant and I can’t wait to try!  Her photography session was invaluable.
*Pam (CookieCrazie) worked her magic with glaze and then later wowed me again with her creativity with packaging.  She thinks inside the box in ways I’d never imagined.
*Next up was Callye (Sugarbelle) who doesn’t let a cutter stifle her creativity.  I wish I could think like that! but she definitely inspired me to try.
*Next up was me; painting on cookies.
*Lisa of The Bearfoot Baker taught airbrushing and it completely blew me away.  Somehow I talked myself into needing one and I blame her for that!
*Julia Usher gave a truly inspiring demonstration on stenciling.  It was downright therapeutic to watch her work.
*and last but definitely not least!  The one and only Maryann (Cookie Artisan) wowed me with her breathtaking platter session.  Such creative cookie sets and so beautifully thought out.

Not only were their presentations amazing, but after spending some time with them, I am so honored to call them friends.  What incredible women!

photo credit:  Maryann Rollins (cookie artisan on flickr)

I was able to sit and talk with so many amazing cookiers.  There were so many conversations and memories that I will hold in my heart forever.  I laughed with many, even cried with a few, schemed with some, and was my usual dorky self with everyone!

So… my presentation.
Where were we?  ah yes, I was busy hyperventilating!
I would make a horrible mess up there if I let my nerves get the better of me.  I knew everyone there was sweet and supportive and just there to have a fun, cookie saturated weekend, but telling myself that didn’t help the feeling that lunch was about to reappear.  {ewwwww!  Sorry, that was nasty.}  I took some deep breaths and remembered a pep talk Mr. John had given me before I left.  I chanted in my head “I am awesome.  I am awesome.  I am awesome.”  I KNOW that sounds ridiculous… but IT WORKED!  I literally felt the nerves drain from my body and was replaced by excitement.  It was a cookie miracle!  I not only “got through” my presentation, but I had so much fun up there.  I can’t guarantee I made sense the entire time, but it felt good.  I started out my demo showing some painting techniques anyone could use, and stepped up the difficulty a bit with each cookie.  I really hope it took the fear out of holding a paintbrush and trying something new.

There were such great questions asked!  I was surprised by the things people were curious about and I loved hearing their perspective.  I finished my presentation with a movie I had made specifically for CookieCon.  It not only showed my process from start to finish, but it was my little love note to the sweet cookie community.

The moment the video finished was one I will NEVER forget.  The whole room got to their feet and I can’t explain the complete feeling of love and support coming from the audience that {only an hour before} I was so scared to get in front of!  I think some were crying, I couldn’t quite tell because things were looking a bit blurry for me too.  It was absolutely humbling!

The weekend was a whirlwind.  The creative energy flowing through the open decorating workshop was incredible!  I just walked around soaking it all in and looked at the amazing cookies people were working on.  The creativity was inspiring!

me having a hard time deciding which cookie to vote for 

If you were there:  THANK YOU!  Thank you for sharing your creativity, your stories, your energy, your support, your cookies, your hugs!  I appreciate every cookier that I had a chance to meet.  I was so caught up in the moment that I barely took any pictures, so I appreciate seeing everyone’s pictures.  (I would LOVE to see more)  Thank you for an unforgettable weekend!

photo credit: Lindsey Agee (Tickled Pink Cookie Boutique)

For those cookiers that couldn’t be there:  You were missed.  You were talked about.  You inspired us.  You WILL be there next CookieCon!

That was a glimpse at my experience at CookieCon.  It couldn’t have been more fun or exciting.  I could go on and on and on… Can we do it again?!

This Post Has 28 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Love it! I've been reading a lot of stories from Cookie Con from other cookiers and love each and everyone's perspective! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Rowaida

    That looks like an amazing event and so much fun. I am sure you impressed them all Liz. Love the photos.
    Best wishes

  3. Kerri Ann Valenzuela

    So inspired and touched by all the wonderful and funny cookiers that are so willing to help out all the newbies. I'm determined to keep at it and one day meet all you lovely ladies and attend a Cookie Con myself!

  4. Haniela

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Your painting video is amazing and so are you.:-)

  5. jen

    You're right! I WILL be at the next one! You are amazing and an inspiration to so many! Thanks for all you do. And I totally cried at the video, and made my husband and kids watch! 🙂

  6. Pam

    Yes, Amazing… are. Being with you was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend. I remember when I was all nervous about my presentation Friday morning and you were comforting me and telling me how I would do awesome. Then just a few hours later, I caught the fear and trepidation in your eyes….and was able to comfort you a little bit. I'm so glad that you are in the cookie community. You contribute so much….and are a pure delight. I love you, Arty McGoo. But more importantly…..I love you, Liz. 🙂

  7. Michelle

    I have run out of superlatives and am embarrassed to tell you how many times I have watched your 'love note'!! Privileged to have spent some time with you and watch you 'in action' . Til next time…

  8. Nancy

    Liz, you were amazing, indeed, awesome, inspiring! Thanks for presenting, I am sure it was scary! You can across confident, and we all loved you! Thanks for sharing your experience! Getting to relive it in everyone's pictures is such a hoot! I hope to share mine soon! Nancy Paine, SeasonsOfJoy

  9. I would have never guessed in a million years you were nervous. Your presentation was poised and inspiring. What's even better is now I know about "cookie botox"…Thanks Liz!

  10. Anonymous

    What an amazing and thoughtful video. You are a wonderful artist.

  11. Rita V.

    So glad you posted your amazing video, I couldn't wait to show it to my family. And I loved your presentation at cookie con! Thanks!!

  12. GN S

    I wish I could "bottle your talents". Love everyone's presentation….can't wait til the next Cookiecon.

  13. Rose W.

    After following your blog and enjoying your amazing art online, it was SUCH fun to step out of baggage claim and see you standing there on the curb, heading to CookieCon with the rest of us! What a treat to meet you and see you live and in action. I was truly inspired and now I have a new medium to play with in decorating cookies. Thank you for your gorgeous video and generous heart!

  14. I saw the Top picture in my blog feed and I totally thought it was your mom! YOu look super cute and sounds like you had a ton of fun.

  15. Tesei

    That video is simply amazing! How creative and gorgeous… I love your painting abilities. I have tears in my eyes!!!! Thank you for sharing it, I'm sure Cookie Con was a wonderful-world-type experience!

  16. You are as adorable in person as you are on your blog! I painted many things for many years and you have encouraged me to paint on cookies! I can't wait to hold a brush again!! I enjoyed every minute I got to hang out with you! You ARE AWESOME!!!!

  17. You my dear are simply the best! I didn't do a presentation but I was equally nervous…to meet you. Before you could say a word, your smile took all fear away and I loved you even more! Thank you for adding to the already awesome event! P.S. Can't wait to show you my painted cookies… 🙂 Yep, I gave it a try!

  18. Paula

    What a lovely recap of your experiences at Cookie Con. I've watched your video a few times. Such a perfect way to close off your presentation and such a beautiful sentiment, not to mention your cookies! You definitely help to make this a wonderful world.
    I wish I could have been there and hope to attend one at some point in the future. I have so much respect for Karen and Mike for pulling this together and for all the presenters who shared their talents and insights with everyone. Everything I have read on the Cookie Con event has been nothing but positive…everyone who attended appears to have loved it and for the 1st ever cookie conference that is awesome!

  19. Love seeing more pictures! That red and white dress is adorable and you look fantastic in it. You make cookies come to life, no joke.

  20. rachel

    Thank you so much for your video, your presentation (I never would have guessed you were nervous!), and for being your inspirational self! It was wonderful to meet you, and I'm so glad to have shared the Cookie Con experience with you!

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