In Cookies


What an amazing Christmas season that was. Filled with some amazing customers, great baking projects and a few sleepless nights as I learned my limitations. Many a night I would just flop, fully-clothed, into bed next to my husband Mr. B, leaving a big puff of flour in my wake.

But after experiencing what baking full-time can be, I’m filled with excitement for the future. Sometimes I take a moment, sit back with a cuppa tea and let my mind wander to all the future possibilities that my skill sets will allow. If there’s anything the past year has taught me, it’s that all things are really possible if you put your mind to it.

That last cornball of a sentence is something I always heard growing up but filed it away with other sentences like “a bird in the hand is worth three in the bush,” or “a picture’s worth a thousand words” or a multitude of other phrases you tuck away in the back of your mind with the cobwebs. When I started, I envisioned what I wanted, figured out the steps to get to it, and invested the time and effort into making it happen. Makes sense, right? But I never really imagined it would work.

Working for yourself and trying to build a business is hard, backbreaking work, but the payoff is immense. The feedback from customers and readers of this blog, as well as the personal pride payoff is what’s kept me going so far. And the hope that doing what I love will one day pay off in the same way that previous mind-numbing, unrewarding jobs did. But until then, keeping my brain active is payoff enough – not checking the clock every 15 minutes, waiting for my lunch break.

What I’m trying to get at here in a roundabout way, is this:


Thank you for last year.

Thank you, my wonderful clients with their great ideas and big smiles. I’ve gotten a lot of hugs on delivery and even the occasional tear of happiness; there’s no better payoff than that.

Thank you to the Ottawa Foodies – other bloggers, bakers and just plain eaters who have been an endless source of ideas and encouragement and who welcomed me into their community with open arms. 

And thank you to the readers; you whose eyes are currently skimming this sentence. I watch my readership go up with every blog post and I get a tingly kind of excited – the kind that starts in my toes and works its way up to a blush in my cheeks. Sorry about the typos. And my overuse of the word ‘awesome.’

Alright, enough mushy stuff, let’s get to the goods – the baked goods, if you will.

You remember that awesome Ottawa foodie community I was talking about? Well one active blogger / tweeter / all around awesome lady that I like to follow is The Vanilla Bean Baker (Paula, or @VanillaBeanBake as she’s known on twitter.) She makes some beautiful cookies, this one. And she won’t admit it, but her cupcakes are quite tasty too! (I know, having scarfed one down at Ottawa’s Capital Cupcake Camp last fall.)

She graciously passed along some extra business my way for a 90th birthday party. After some discussions with the client, I came up with some cookie sketches along the same theme – Gardening:

Doodled on my iPad. The bee’s my favourite. Lookit his cute little bee butt.

I’m a bit of a… ah, what would be the word… Perfectionist? Over-thinker? Wait – no, *crazy person.* I’m a bit of a *crazy person* so I plan out each and every cookie step in advance, figuring out which colours need to be made and what order they need to be applied in, laid out in my trusty Geek Sweets moleskine:

Every gal needs a trusty moleskine.

Once I had all my T’s crossed and my I’s dotted, I went at it, hunched over at my kitchen table, taking a break only to throw some Chicken Korma from Ottawa’s amazing Basmatti down my gullet. I’m super happy with how they turned out. Here’s a closer look:

At the request of the client, I worked the ’90th’ motif into each cookie.

Garden spades made metallic with a vial of trusty shimmer powder.Da bees! Tried to make their wings look more dainty by sprinkling sanding sugar on them while the icing was still wet. I like how the effect turned out.As these were being given out to party guests as take-away’s I thought it would be a good idea to individually package them so people could just slip them into their purse / pocket and nom on them later. Not that there’s any shame in just tearing into them and nomming away right at the party. Maybe not while driving home however. Safety before sweets, I always say. (Yeah, I never say that.)

Food safe bags from Michaels, a shrink wrapper and litle bit of transparent ribbon.A Geek Sweets sticker on the back of course as I’m a shameless self-promoter.We brought them to my husband’s EB Games to use their shrinkwrapper to seal off the end of the bags. He’s a good fellah.

Hey dere he is!So these cookies? Great fun. Probably the most complicated I’ve done but I had a lot of fun figuring out all the ins and outs that went into making them. And then guess what? Someone paid me to make them! I love my job.

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Showing 9 comments
  • Shawna

    The cookies look fantastic! And a great blog post, naturally. 🙂

  • Torynth

    I am always so impressed and inspired by everything you do… I swear, if you ever open your own shop, I so want to work for you! 🙂

  • Deanna

    These are so beautiful!!! I seriously need to work on my patience with piping royal icing but you have inspired me. What a wonderful job.

  • Janet

    Wonderful job! They look amazing…and you're right, Paula is all sorts of awesome-such a kind person and a sweet (and proud!) grandmother.

  • Beverley Atherton Bird

    You are an amazing gifted person who can create a work of art into the most awesome baked goodies! Keep up the great work. 🙂

  • Paula

    Oh Jenny! I bet your client could have been blown over with a feather when you delivered these cookies. What an outstanding job you did, so very creative and absolutely cute! No doubt everyone at the 90th birthday celebration *oohed* and *ahhed* over your creations and they certainly did their part to make a very special day even more so. Your attention to detail is admirable, your packaging so pretty and I am very grateful that you were available to do this. Thank you and I appreciate the very thoughtful mention in your post.
    Best wishes with all your hopes and dreams in 2011.

  • Jazz

    I love them! especially the sunflower :O <—insert cookie here….lol

  • Andrea Ross


    Thank you for sharing your excitement, your gratitude, your dreams, your planning, your process and your beautiful photos.

    That lucky client shared news of these fabulous cookies with her co-worker (me) and I've been enjoying your beautiful blog (and drooling) ever since.

    Now to find an occasion to order geeky cookies of my own….

  • Amy

    These are absolutely amazing. How the icing are so smooth and spread so perfectly! Color, design, perfect! I am so inspired. Thanks!

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