Monday, March 24, 2014

Cookie Con 2014

Dear Readers, I have just come back from the most wonderful convention -- Cookie Con. 2014, held in Salt Lake City, Utah!  This is an annual gathering of cookie decorators, or should I say artists.  I must say that it was the most fun convention  I have ever attended.  My fellow cookie attendees were some of the nicest, fun-loving, and friendliest people I have ever met.  I guess people who love sugar and cookies are just the happiest and most fun people.  The wonderful cookies above, my favorites, were decorated by two women with a company called Sugar Bliss, located in Salt Lake, Utah.
About 450 women and two men came to the conference from 44 states and about 14 foreign countries.  A highlight of the conference was the Sugar Show where conference attendees brought their cookies to be judged in 4 categories :  Spring, Anything Goes, My Hometown, and Once Upon a Time.  When I walked into the Sugar Show and saw the amazing work of the cookie artists, I thought, "I am sure glad I didn't bring any of my work!"  My fellow attendees are amazing cookie artists!

A Sampling From the Sugar Show
This cookie won an instructor's award, and it was made by one of the two male attendees.

Beauty and the Beast never looked so enchanting!

The 3-D dragon was amazing.

The detail on this carousel was awe-inspiring!

In the category of My Home Town, these cookies by Sugar Bliss captured my heart.

There were cookies for all occasions.

The details on these playing cards was a sight to behold.  They were a favorite with the attendees.

These cookies looked like they belong on the wall.

These are as sweet as can be!

I loved the stained glass look on this Arizona cookie.

As attendees we were asked to judge these cookies in the four separate categories , and on the last day of the convention the  top three in each category were given cash awards.
I attended the convention with my sister Jacqueline (right) and her daughter Jessica (left).  They are posing with the cookie personality Arty McGoo who gave a fun and entertaining keynote address which included extremely clever video spoofs of popular movies and shows on their
"Cookie Vision" channel.   
We attended cookie decorating technique classes, which were informative and fun. 

This convention speaker gave an extremely interesting presentation about the development of her cookie store, and mail order business  in Wilton, Connecticut, The Painted Cookie.   I am never going to open a cookie store, but if you are, she had all the experience.
On the last day we were finally able to dive into cookie decorating.  We were given cookies iced with royal icing and non-iced cookies and stations were set up in a ballroom stocked with cookie decorating supplies.  We were also given a "mystery-shaped" cookie and were asked to decorate it and enter it into a judged competition.
Once again these talented attendees did not disappoint!  The following were a few of the entries.

Here are my cookies!  I enjoyed the day of decorating.  I am only just a beginning decorator, but I was able to try some different techniques such as stenciling, embossed cookies with fondant, luster dusting, wafer papering water coloring, and painting Springerle.
The convention attendees were super friendly and very helpful.  These two cookies were done by my fellow attendees.  I stopped, admired their cookies, and asked them about their techniques.  They were happy and willing to share -- no trade secret techniques here!

The organizers of this conference knew how to make a fun convention  for everyone.  Each of us received a fun "swag bag" filled with cookie decorating paraphernalia.
Door prizes were given out during the conference sessions.  I won a huge top of fondant and a traffic director (gag gift).  My niece Jessica won an air brush with a raffle ticket!  A Copy Cake and two Kitchen-Aids were also given out during the convention!
My Cookie Con goodie bag and winnings.
In my former life, I was a research analyst for a non-profit organization in California which met the lobbying and training needs of city officials.  A part of my job was to put together meetings for fire officials, and to assist in putting together our annual conference, with over 4,000 attendees.  I have to say that our conferences were never this much fun!
Another highlight was meeting for lunch with another Utah blogger, Bonnie, City Home Country Home!  Even though I had never met her before, I felt like I knew her because I read her blog.  Thanks Bonnie!  Thanks also to the organizers, teachers, vendors, and to my sister Jacqueline and her daughter Jessica for making it so much fun!
 Thanks for dropping by my Red Couch!!


Marigene said...

Wow, that sounds like a really fun weekend! The cookies have so much detail I would find it hard to bite into one. I really like the Moab cookies...great colors. For a beginner, you did a fantastic job, Joni!

La Table De Nana said...

What fun!
Everything is so pretty..creative..and that you got to live it all with your sister:)
I love Arty McGoo..Poor girl..ever since I found her I've been saying how cute how nice how lovely:)
This was a perfect place for you 2 gals.And your cute..lovely:) daughter!
Great cookies..cannot wait to see your future creations too..the 3 of you!

The Charm of Home said...

What a fantastic event! These people are so talented! I can't imagine having that steady of a hand! I wanted to tell you I have adapted your Maraschino Cherry Cake recipe into a fairy cake recipe and I will be posting it sometime between now and April 1st. I will send you a link when I post it. I love that cake and gave you credit for the recipe. Hope it is warming up in your zip code. It is still chilly here in S. IL.


Bonnie said...

Joni, These cookie creations are amazing. It is an art just to have the right pressure to squeeze much less paint a scene. Amazing.

Glad you had a great time.

Lynn said...

Gorgeous cookies! Sounds like you had a great time Joni. I'm always amazed at the creativity some people have. Enjoy your goodies:@)

Renée said...

What fun, such creative cookies!

Alycia Nichols said...

I just came from over at Jacqueline's post and HAD to come here! SO glad I have a lot of different cookie photos that I would have otherwise missed. SO COOL!!! Oh, my gosh! I just can't believe the incredible artistry! That magnolia one!!! The Beatles!!! The Russian nesting dolls!!! Oh, my gosh!!! Amazing!!! And the cookies you did are fabulous, too!!! You need to enter next time, Joni. Seriously. Both you AND Jacqueline. You guys have serious talent!

Thanks for sharing! This is really, really something else!!!

Swanky Sweets said...

What a great review!! So great to meet you last weekend!!!!

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

What fun, Joni! Thanks for sharing all the creativity and your cookie decorating skills are awesome!

Sarah said...

What a fun experience for the three of you! Can't wait to see all the cookies in future posts. You and Jacqueline already are masters at cookie decorating!
I found the mystery shape decors to be so original and creative. Amazing how creative minds work.
Thanks for sharing, Joni.

Sue said...

It pains me a little each time I read a post about how fabulous CookieCon was, but I am going next year, no matter what! I am so happy that you had a fabulous time, Joni!