When Danielle’s not decorating cookies, she’s running horse shows for children.
Arty: I feel like I am introducing the valedictorian of McGoo U! Danielle impresses me so much for so many reasons: her knowledge of classic movies is unreal, her commitment to not supporting anything that harms animals and standing by her principals is seriously rad!, how modest she is (she’s totally going to be 100% uncomfortable with me saying how RAD she is and I can’t wait because it’s all true), how unique her eye color is or how incredibly silky her beautiful hair is… wait, this is starting to get romantic, but I’m so happy I get to brag on my friend who is totally squirming right now!
The first time I met Danielle was decorating with her in Paso. I enjoyed her self-deprecating humor and could see immediately that she had serious cookie skills even though she had just taken my beginner decorating class. Also, she quoted from old movies and: BOOM. It was love at first meeting.
Danielle is so thoughtful and has been known to bring amazing smelling heirloom sweet peas or a delicious local treat or sometimes a unique cookie cutter that she magically knows I need in my life. I AM SO glad she went out of her comfort zone to come to class that first day because not only did I gain a friend, but as she continues to come to classes I’m always excited to see who gets to sit next to her. Those lucky ducks get extra expert advice as they decorate along side her and leave with an awesome new friend with super silky hair. Meet Danielle you lucky duck!
Danielle (far right) and some of her cookie friends hanging out in Vegas after Party McGoo 6!
Danielle: Did you know I have 3 rolling pin patches? What?!? At this point you are probably asking yourself: “Who are you & how on earth do you have 3 rolling pin patches already?” My name is Danielle Stone & I am the nerd that did all of the McGoo homework lessons in one year… EVERY.SINGLE.ONE!
My patches…and the note from Arty that accompanied them.
How did my Homework Mission come about? I’ve made cookies for years. Nothing terribly fancy and not too often, just for the big holidays. Now it seems I make them weekly and if I’m not actually making them, I’m planning them. What changed? I signed up for McGoo U!
Let me tell you how I found McGoo U. I was laid up after a surgery, and spending a lot of time shopping online. When I ran out of cookie cutters to buy (yes, I bought them all), I’d search for whatever it was I wanted to make; a dog cookie, a bear cookie, a flower cookie, a whatever cookie. Slowly, I started to realize I kept saving Arty McGoo cookies. Who the heck was Arty McGoo?!? Of course, then I had to Google Arty McGoo and that’s how I found out about McGoo U.
I decided to sign up for a month but, Arty was having a special (and I do love a good sale), so I bought an entire year! At first, I would just randomly flit around from month to month not making anything I saw, just taking it all in. There’s so much to take in! Then I started to make some of the cookies. First were the pretty pumpkins from the very first episode, then the fall leaves from November 2014. I completely avoided anything that I considered “scary”!
After a few months, I got brave & headed down to Paso Robles for a beginner class. It was fabulous! Liz is the BEST teacher & I started to take all the in-person classes I could! I was learning so much that it got me to thinking that it was pretty dumb to not take advantage of all that McGoo U content. By picking and choosing to do the lessons I was comfortable with, I was never going to get better. So, I decided to do ALL of the lessons, even the “scary” ones!
Three Aprils worth of homework!
April 2017 was the first month of my mission. I made sure to post the picture on the McGoo U Student Body FB page, yikes, that way I’d have no choice but to go forward with the mission! Everyone was so nice and I didn’t die, so onward I went! I did May, then June, then July then… well, you get it!
As I look back over the lessons, I see so many things I wish I’d done better. But, I think we are all like that. I am so happy the Dolly Dingle & Eye lessons came later in the order. They would have scared me away if I had to do them earlier! I was so afraid of Dolly Dingle, she sat for ages on my table all flooded & waiting. I’d walk by, and think, “not today Dolly”! It was funny though, Dolly was so much fun that once I did the first set I immediately did a second set! It is crazy how quickly the year of lessons flew by. It is even crazier how talented Liz is, and how much she shares with us!
4 January homework assignments. (Dolly Dingle = scary!)
Along the way I’ve done many more of the in-person classes. At one of the classes Kimberly Holmes, Liz’s fabulous assistant, talked me into attending Party McGoo. That was a scary drive; I nearly turned around several times! My non-cookie friends were like what?? a cookie slumber party with total strangers??! The closer I got, the more I thought the same thing!! This was totally out of my comfort zone but, it ended up being super fun! I met some really great people, had some great food (Kim is an amazing cook) and Liz taught us a great set of cookies! I left with improved cookie skills, new friends, and a great sense of relief that the karaoke machine didn’t work that time!
Needless to say, I am hooked on all things McGoo! I am still taking classes in Paso (like they can stop me!), I’ve attended a couple more Party McGoo’s, and I always do the monthly homework lesson!
March, March, March, March!
So much has changed since I became a McGoober. My cookies have improved exponentially. I’ve learned a ton of decorating techniques. I am no longer scared to pick up a paintbrush and paint away on a cookie. I have also met so many great new cookie friends, including fellow McGoober Leesa Giancola who sometimes heads to Paso Robles with me for classes!!
So, my suggestion to everyone is to jump right into McGoo U, do that homework, earn those patches, do an in-person class & get yourself to a Party McGoo!