The Airborne Toxic Event is on tour and I won’t be seeing them this go around.  <Heavy, pathetic, crying on the inside and outside sigh.>  While others enjoy Mikel’s melting smile, Anna’s crowd-surfing, and singing along to all my favorite songs, I will sit at home with my cookie dough.  So why not put it to good use?

TATE cookies aren’t unusual to find on this little ole blog.  I wanted to do something different.  Something we haven’t seen before.  Why not turn cookies into a little game for all you Airborne Toxic Event and cookie lovers?

Below is a picture based on one of my favorite lines in an Airborne Toxic Event song from their fourth album, Dope Machines.  All you have to do to enter is leave the song title in the comment section here or on my bakery’s Facebook page under this post.  (You could even like the page if you choose.)  On Wednesday, October 7th, at 6:00pm I’ll draw a name randomly from all the correct guesses.*  The winner gets this set of cookies and a TATE pic set — 9 cookies total.

airborne song

If you need a little more incentive to want to drool over these cookies, check out these yummy treats modeling them.


Have fun listening to Dope Machines and good luck!

*A couple rules:

  • Prize shipped in the US only.
  • Entries must be /received/time stamped before cut off.
  • One guess per person.

How To Make a Tardis

With Halloween right around the corner, I thought I would share with you my most recent creative project.  Last week my work had a Dynamic Duos day, where we dressed up in costumes to show how we can have fun while we work.  This is somewhat similar to that scene in Office Space where they’re promoting crazy Hawaiian shirt day.  However, I think our days are way fucking cooler.  (Mainly because I help plan them.)  To make sure the coolness factor hits above Lumbergh’s head, Bestie and I always try to plan something great.

In the last few months we’ve become some of the crazed Whovians you see blowing up your Facebook feed with David Tennant memes.  I didn’t think this would ever be me, but after a few episodes I was sucked into full dork-dom.  It was only fitting we chose The 11th Doctor and his Tardis for our twosome costume.

It was easy to choose.  Bestie settled on being the Doctor while I took the Tardis challenge.  Her thin body has no problem finding the right garb at the local thrift store and I enjoy a creative build.  Well, I enjoy it for the planning stages and about five minutes into the project.  After that, I usually throw my arms in the air and curse myself for these stupid ideas.  I thought it’s my duty to Whovians everywhere to show you how to build your own Tardis by documenting my mistakes.

Start with a new box.


Don’t get cheap on your ass.  I went for a scavenged box and the dented sides didn’t help when construction was underway.  It’s worth the five bucks to pay for a sound moving box.

Use a template for the cut out inserts.


To maintain stability on the box, I only cut out inserts for the front.  I thought it would be the part people saw the most, so who cared if I painted the sides.  Use the extra cardboard cut out from the bottom to tape behind the cutouts to give that beveled look.  If you are really an overachiever, you can do all the sides and look like a bad ass.  I recommend you buy some extra cardboard sheets because you won’t have enough to back it.  Make your life easier by making a paper template you can trace instead of measuring each rectangle.  Good luck wielding the razor blade.


Another favor you can do yourself is buy some blue duck tape.  First I tried glue, but it didn’t hold very well..  Then I moved to packing tape and regretted it the whole time.

Paint on a primer coat.


If you want a true blue, you’re going to need a white primer.  Maybe you’re as lucky as I am to have a small apprentice who’s dying to use the spray can. Don’t think you can skip it or you’re going to be painting forever only to finish with a dull color. Warning: you might want to do as I did.  I announced to all my friends the first person who said I didn’t have the true Tardis blue was going to die a swift death.  This will keep those helpful “Whovians” from criticizing your work. If you really want to geek out, there are sites that will give you the actual color formulations to get the real thing.

tardis mark

The Tardis was here.

Print out the windows.


Okay, this part I thought was genius.  We picked the 11th Doctor which meant some of the windows were tinted.  Why?  I’m not quite sure, but I saw it in all the pictures.  Because I was too lazy to go get gray paint as I intended, I problem-solved with printing the image and I was pleasantly surprised.  I followed suit by printing the Police Box title too.

If I had planned better, I would’ve bought industrial strength glue to attach the windows.  Instead, I used a spray adhesive which didn’t hold so well.

Insert windows and add finishing touches.


If you were smart (and I was not), your window template wasn’t bigger than the piece of paper you wanted for the window.  The even better idea is not to cut the top windows and attach the print out like the other sides.  For the light on the top, I bought a plastic gum container and painted the lid.  For an extra special touch I added an electric candle inside.  Finish the whole thing by printing the Call Box information and of course adding the St. John’s ambulance sticker Matt Smith brought back with his Tardis.

Find a kick ass friend who is willing to master her costume.


Okay, my best friend is pretty much the shit.  Are you seeing this picture?!?  How could you ask for anything better?  She’s rockin’ the Asian Matt Smith like nobody’s biz.

Be willing to work it.


Okay, so I went full-fledged dork mode and made an obnoxious noise as I turned around in circles throughout the building.  For some of the people, they totally got it and thought it was pretty funny.  For everyone else, I had to explain I wasn’t an elevator.

Overall, it was a pretty fun day.  Hopefully some of my tips (and failures) will help you on your pursuit to be the best Tardis you can be.

Are You Writing Still?

It seems like a simple question.  A flutter in conversation to see if my interests have stayed the same since the last time I ran into an old friend.  There’s not a tone, a smirk, or anything to lead me to the blabber which fell out of my mouth in the answer.  “Uh, yeah. I write.”  Followed by the avalanche of excuses, “When I have time. When I’m not baking.  Life is so busy, yanno?”  My poor friend waded through the insecurity vomit until she could get to the simple closing, “Oh good.”

What brought out this three-headed beast?  Why did I crumple into a hunched over gremlin like the thing on the Lord of the Rings acting like writing is “my precious”?  Stupid doubt.  Crippling fear brought on by almost two years of silence in my writing life.  You may have noticed with the blog having sporadic updates even though I resolved to do a book review a month.  That’s only a piece of it.  I can’t even scribble out a couple words to describe a cake on a regular basis.  This doesn’t even start to cover the fact my characters from my current novel and the potential one I’ve been dreaming about are stuck in ice. Frozen until I can break through my writer’s block.

I’m not sure how it happened.  A tragedy that rocked my world?  Being overwhelmed by the distractions I set up for myself to heal?  I don’t really know if it matters why.  All I know is that I punish myself on a daily basis for not getting back on the horse.  For instead letting it trample over my body and shit huge turds on my head.  Even this paragraph relies on a clichéd image because I’ve been out of practice for so long.

This is what writers do, right? And yes, that’s me being writerly, of course.

Why are you still readying this pity party?  Because I’m finally doing something about it.  I’m putting words on this page.  I’m signed up for the writers’ conference, I’m reading again, and I plan to finish the works I want to write.  However, this doesn’t help the sinking feeling that overtakes my mind when someone asks me the question, if I’m still writing.  I add the implication they’re saying I should give up.  That it’s never going to happen.  I’m wasting my time.  Even though the person never thought that at all.

What I need to realize (and hopefully you will too when dealing with your own insecurity) is the person asks because they’re interested.  Maybe even jealous you had the courage to try the impossible.  They want to live the experience through you.  If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have wasted the breath.  So how can I hate on myself when someone is praising me for trying?  The answer is I shouldn’t.  Instead I should do their question proud.  And keep writing.

(And maybe drinking…)

It was two years ago when I saw The Limousines in concert at The Hawthorne Theater in Portland.  Maybe enough time has passed to live down the embarrassment of letting blueberry vodka get the best of me.  Then again, maybe not.  It certainly hasn’t been enough time to forget about the horrible cookies I made to celebrate one of my favorite bands.

As it’s become somewhat of a tradition for me, I enjoy creating sweet tasting fan art to celebrate my faves.  Sometimes it’s a favorite book, or a favorite collection to flatter a pretty awesome author, or a pledge of devotion to The Airborne Toxic Event.  Since The Limousines rank up there in my list of faves, I was excited to create something special for that show in 2013.  Instead, what I created was a hot mess.

Don’t try to make me feel better by saying it was okay.  They really weren’t that bad.  Or that I have a lot more cookies under my belt now.  It doesn’t matter.  My “Love is a Dog from Hell” cookies were child-like at best.  I don’t even know if I’ll have the courage to add the link back to them because the embarrassment is too great.

When I heard The Limousines were going to be playing a festival seven hours from my town, I knew I had to be there.  Especially because their shows have been sparse, if any.  I bought the tickets, booked a hotel, and started dreaming about what cookies would do my love for them justice.

In the beginning it seemed like such a simple choice — the album covers.  I love doing things in three so their three albums were the obvious choice.  I should’ve looked a little more closely before committing to the design.  As I got into the piping I realized these aren’t normal two-dimensional covers.  They are filtered with shadows, depth, and other artsy things I couldn’t freakin’ replicate in a cookie.  I’m working with icing here people.  AND I’M. NO. ARTIST.

In the middle, I thought about quitting.  I may have whined about it.  There definitely was groaning.  “Why can’t this be easy?”  This was my chance to “wow” Eric and Gio.  I’ve given up on the thought about them being so smitten by the cookies they want to be my BFFs.  I’ve seen their Instagram photos.  Their friends are way too cool.  I’m out of the friend age range by about twenty years it feels.  Anywho, that part didn’t matter.  I wanted to show them something that made up for my past lameness.  What I had in front of me wasn’t doing it.  I was three hours in with only frosted color blocks to show for it.

I considering chucking it all.  Then I thought about an interview Eric did about the video “The Last Dance.”  It features a very detailed doll house.  (One I’ve even considered turning into a gingerbread house, but not right now.  It’s too soon.)  He talked about how he put every piece together meticulously and then set fire to the whole thing in the end.  He described it as being cathartic.

His story inspired me to keep going on with my cookies.  I iced lines, scraped off messes and played with techniques I’ve never tried before.  Even after my airbrush broke and made a mess on one of the cookies, I played around with the coloring by dabbing a paper towel on it.  I liked the effect so much I purposely did it on the other two.  I kept experimenting even though it could ruin the whole thing.  This is how art works I kept telling myself.  Because for some reason I thought The Limousines would appreciate me pushing myself more than the final product.

After nine hours on three cookies, I’m done.  (Actually there are nine cookies total because there are three of each.)  And I’m happy.  Would I have liked my airbrush to work properly or the piping to be smoother?  Of course.  The part I’m most satisfied with is I listened to all three albums as I gave the Limousine cookies the attention they deserved.

Sooo much better than the terrible dog ones.

Sooo much better than the terrible dog ones.

Edited:  Because Bestie had a hard time finding the original albums, I’m going to post them.  A little worried about how you can now compare.  Remember people, they’re cookies!

album covers

The Cover:   The cover is a hot mess in my opinion.  Sure, it has a stone in the middle to represent the Godstone which gives the lead character powers, but why everything else?  The colors are muted and dark.  Nothing commands your attention to sit down and start reading this book.  This might be the reason it sat in my Nook library forever without being touched.  What a pity too because this series is something special.

The Concept: One person every century is chosen by God to have a jewel gifted in their navel during their naming ceremony when they are very young.  The Godstone is the source or great power although there isn’t much information or instruction on what to do with it.  The people only know it’s to be used to fulfill some prophecy which usually ends up in the bearer’s death.  Even though no one is quite sure what to do with a Godstone, everyone wants it.  They also don’t mind killing Princess Elisa to carve it from her stomach.

The Peeps:  Elisa is a princess being married off in an arranged ceremony to strengthen two kingdom’s relationship.  She’s overweight, not very attractive, and the opposite of a born leader.  While this may seem like the set up for every main character ever, the way this one is written is quite endearing.  The details in the desert settings, the unique food, and religious interpretation makes this a unique read from her perspective.  It doesn’t take long to be endured to her plight.

The supporting characters changes throughout the novel with makes it even more interesting.  They are well developed in a short time what they are trying to accomplish.  I think this is what I enjoy the most in this story is you can appreciate what everyone is trying to do.

The Ending (spoiler alert!):  The spoiler is this is a trilogy.  But unlike other trilogies, I read up the other two to complete it.  I’m not one where that’s a given.  If the first book is okay, I’m not committing to two more.  This book had been chomping for the next ones.

In this book Elisa loses a lot.  Her first love dies and then her husband is also killed.  She is able to unknowingly summon the Godstone’s power to defeat the bad guys, but it doesn’t finish them off.  There’s still the threat about her kingdom rejecting her, rebuilding the damage done, and more bad guys are out there.  How can you not pick up the next books?

What I Cooked Up:  Although there were great food descriptions from interesting recipes they fixed, I wanted something to highlight the Godstone.  This was the star of the show.  To represent it, I made a thumbprint cookie and filled it with a blueberry preserve to match Elisa’s blue colored gem.


Koda Kookies

Once upon a time there was a baker who turned bands into cookies.  It’s been a while since I’ve ventured into that cookies-based-on-a-band world.  Usually, I kept my sights pretty limited to The Airborne Toxic Event.  Sure, I had that one brief post devoted to The Limousines, but let’s get real.  Those cookies sucked.  (Don’t worry Eric and Gio, I’ve got a plan to make it up to you.)  There was also my short glimmer of genius when I made Matt and Kim dance, but it was long ago and only lasted 30 seconds.  So when a client asked about cookies for one of her favorite bands, Kodaline, I wondered if I could live up to the challenge to magic happen.

Maybe I would be able to channel something great because they were one time an opening act for TATE?  Seemed like a stretch.  Or could I fall in love with their music to make the icing would flow from the fingers.  There wasn’t enough time to delve deep into proper fan obsession.  Or probably, and most realistically, I could create something because I’ve seen tons of fan love for them on my Facebook feed and understood how it important it is to them.  It was time to research.

I was lucky.  The client was hella cool and let me pick what I wanted to do.  This is a gift and a curse because what if you don’t live up to expectations?  What if your package shows up and they’re like “Meh.”  It needed to be something fun.  Some spectacular.  Something that truly screamed fan love.

I knew from the beginning I wanted to do the band.  (That’s what she said.  You knew I had to, right?)  As I’ve admitted before, I’m a terrible artist.  This would be no Mona Lisa on a cookie.  Luckily, they have pretty distinct faces.  And facial hair.  I thought I could make cookie renditions that pick up on the things which make each unique.  The accompanying cookies also needed to mean something.  There name had to be there, but what else?  Since they are from Dublin, Ireland and I love that damn city, those were a no-brainer.  And then I needed something for Courtney.  Something meaningful for the lovely lady who requested the tribute in the first place.  For her, I piped the song lyrics she loves the most.

This is how Kodaline cookies, AKA Koda Kookies, came to be.

koda 1

Now you can match them to their faces.  Or you could go look them up.  Yanno, give their music a try and say it was all because of Courtney’s cookies.

A comparison with artistic flare.

Our wonderful client Courtney delivered cookies to her fair princes in Boston.  The band recognized her lovely fan devotion with a public declaration.

Kodaline's Instagram Thank You

Kodaline’s Instagram Thank You

And they lived happily ever after.*  The End.

*I just watched the Cinderella movie and now I will talk in “narrator” always.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest TrailCover Me:  The cover is pretty classic and makes even more sense when you read the forward.  The boot is a symbol for many things throughout the book.  Well, at least I looked at it that way.  It seems like the perfect cover for her story.

The new version is based on the movie and splashes Reese Witherspoon on it looking less glamorous than she usually is.  I guess this is a selling point to highlight the fact you can watch the movie too.  I deliberately bought the cover with the boot like I was proving something to myself about wanting to read it for the story it was and not the movie it became.

The Concept: This is Cheryl Strayed’s true story about hiking across the Pacific Trail to heal from her mother’s death.  Yep, that’s it.  Nothing really more.  This is one of those coming of age stories, but you’re in your 20’s.

The Peeps:  Cheryl introduces us to many characters in the book and they all have their own lives.  Hers is the dominant force and I loved how she exposed herself.  She dropped big details in short sentences and moved on through complex relationships in few pages.  I think this was an amazing parallel to the story she told about herself.  My favorites were the little acquaintance stories that just happened.  They weren’t really bigger than what they were, unless you learned more from it because it means something to you.  Such a great thing to read when you’re a writer.

I felt for her relationship with her ex-husband Paul.  Watching them fall apart was harder than the other familial relationships she left by the side of the road.  Cheryl’s love for him while betraying their marriage told how deep the damage went in her heart.

The relationship with her mother was the dominating force and shaped her person when she started on the trail.  I had a hard time getting through the first chapters because it was gut wrenching.  Still healing from losing people in my life, I had a hard time experiencing someone else’s broken spirit.  And yet, I understood it.  So much so, I encouraged Hubs to read the book when I was done.

The Ending (spoiler alert!):   She finished the trail.  But you knew that, didn’t you?  I think the thing I expected the most was Cheryl would meet someone on the trail who would mean something enough it would shape her future life.  You know, like a man she would fall in love with and marry.  (I think I’ve read too much fiction.)  Maybe I even felt a little unfulfilled when she reached the end and I didn’t know more about how good she would be.  I had to remind myself, it wasn’t my story, it was hers.

The thing I most appreciate about this book was Cheryl’s honesty.  Some scenes were so blunt, so raw, so unafraid to say it like she wanted.  I commend her.  It’s one of those examples where you tell yourself as a writer to be brave and scare yourself with the story you are willing to tell.  Hats off to you Cheryl Strand.

What I Cooked Up:  This was a hard treat to make.  I knew I wanted something to honor her “monster.”  It’s the large backpack she hauled through all those miles.  It started over-packed and weighed her down to where she was crippled by it.  As she went through the trail, she shed unnecessary pack weight, hardened to the process, and learned a simpler way.

It seemed the perfect thing to highlight with a cake that represents way too much.  I’ve nicknamed this “Monster Cake.”  It’s all my favorite things put into one dessert.  Not only does it have cake, it has layers of cheesecake and chocolate chip cookie, and is frosted in peanut butter buttercream. It’s so much, it might make you puke.  Just like Cheryl’s monster pack.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wild by Cheryl Strayed


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