I think it is inevitable that at some point the thing you love stops becoming easy. You're a little BURNT OUT or just tired. At least that is how cookie decorating has been for me this summer. It's like I have cookie block or something. You know what cookie block is, right? It's like writer's block, only for cookies. Well, I almost lost my mind over these cookies. Like, literally almost went to crazy town.
And I also needed to make cakes too (I'm not a cake girl...stressing times two!)
They seem innocent enough, but what that photo doesn't tell you is that I struggled for DAYS on what to make. You see, they weren't just any cookies, they were THE cookies for my mom's 65th birthday. And I wanted them to be the greatest project I ever completed in the history of my decorating career. No pressure, right? But, when I started to brainstorm cookie designs, nothing came to me. Zilch. Nada. Enter sweating and stress and that sad feeling in my tummy that I chose the wrong career path. After all, who do I think I am? Certainly not a cookie decorator.
See, I told you...Crazy Town, population 1.
Thankfully, these cookies taught me one very important lesson...'just lighten up, already'. THEY ARE JUST COOKIES THAT WILL BE EATEN IN SECONDS!! Sheesh.
In the end, I was happy with the final cookies. They weren't the end-all, be-all I was hoping for, but they were really pretty and most importantly my mom LOVED them (she would have loved anything, didn't I already know that?)
How to Rediscover Your Cookie Mojo:
1. Brainstorm ideas for your theme. Any idea counts, you can't keep them all, but make a big list so you have some choices.
2. Decide on colors. If you're short on time or struggling with designs, make it easy on yourself and stick to 3-5 colors to keep the project manageable. I had a whole house to clean and party to set up, so I was not about to embark on a 20-color cookie project. I like to remove those colored pencils from the box and use only those when sketching so I'm not tempted to add in another color.
3. Look at google images/clipart/invitations. I'm not suggesting you copy someone else's work, but rather get inspired and get some ideas.
4. Just start sketching. Even if nothing is coming to you. Just get started. That is the most important part. I'll say it again...just get started. Who cares if at first your lizard cookie looks more like a kitty cat sleeping in the sun. Just start with something. Then you can make modifications or tweaks later. I find it is easier to edit things, especially with a fresh set of eyes.
5. New to decorating? Find a cookie tutorial that will help to guide the design. You can ask permission to replicate a cookie design, but for the most part, if there is a cookie tutorial post, it is fair game. It is polite to tag the inspiration for your design. For this project, only the seashell was a new design. After all that struggling, I used an oldie but goodie design, the seahorse (see video below). By using a design I had already done, I felt like I accomplished something.
6. Create an environment that is good for planning and decorating. Get out your favorite colored pencils. Put on Gilmore Girls (all 6 seasons now available on Netflix) or the Kelly Clarkson Pandora station. Get in the mood.
7. Step back. If it is 'crickets', and you're ready to throw your cookie cutters in the yard, just take a break.
8. Call a cookie friend. They will assure you that you're not alone in struggling with fun cookie designs. It happens to EVERYONE. And maybe they can help with a few suggestions.
9. Simplify. If you're running out of time because you stalled on getting started, just simplify. That seashell cookie is not complicated. It's easy and pretty. And I got the cookies finished in time for the party (and still managed a few hours of sleep).
10. Lighten Up. It's ok if the cookies aren't perfect or exactly what you had in mind. Just lighten up. They will be loved and eaten and maybe forgotten. And life is way to short to quit cookies because they stopped being fun. One way to overcome cookie block is to just keep decorating!
Just remember...Cookie decorating should be about making pretty cookies that are yummy to eat and are fun to decorate. I think this is my new personal cookie decorating mission statement. My mantra.
I'm not sure I am out of the woods, yet. I still feel that cookie block lurking. But, I am not giving up.
I know I promised a video ... this is a favorite from last summer, a seahorse cookie! Have fun watching and happy decorating!!
A message from Anne
“My blog is a collection of tidbits about the things I love... sugar cookies, baking, great food, cute stuff, and life in Happy Valley. Check back often for updates!!”