The Artist and The Canvas -- Sarah Trefny

Yeay! It's time for another installment of...

I don't actually know how many different cookie cutters there are in the world. If I had to guess though, I would say at least 37. Probably more. But even with all those different cutters, there just isn't a cutter for every design in your head. Unless of course you are Sarah Trefny.

Sarah Trefny is the creative genius behind Klickitat Street. Well, not the actual street. Just the amazing little cookie gems that go by that name.

Sarah started making cookies just under a year ago in November and within a few weeks was already creating these darling little angels using a snowman cutter.. Now, I know what you are thinking.... And you are right. Sarah DID study Biology and Chemistry in college. (You're so smart.) She also took some art classes and does some oil painting on actual canvas. (I bet you didn't see that one coming.)

 Sarah grew up near Denver, Colorado and currently lives in Hillsboro, Oregon. She discovered the world of cookies while looking for inspiration for cake pops she was making for a family event. (As a side note, this proves my theory that cake pops are a polarizing force in our world today. Society is quickly being divided between those who CAN and those who CAN'T make cake pops. I was happy to find Sarah safely on my side of the line. And for the record...that would be the "cannot-make-pretty-cake-pops-if-my-life-depended-on-it side.")

Sarah has an incredible eye for design. Her colors are as deep and distinctive as her shapes are unexpected and perfect. For example... these cookies. The rocket is a Christmas tree. A Christmas tree that is a rocket. And I want to frame them and hang them on my child's bedroom wall. I asked Sarah about her creative process and this is what she said: 

I think it’s a lot like starting at the clouds and seeing shapes, you know?  I’m a bit of a day dreamer so things just wander in and out.  Since I don’t usually take cookie orders and this is just a hobby for me I often plan whole sets of cookies around some random thing I saw in a cookie cutter shape.  I actually like playing with the shapes more than just buying a given cutter.  Solving that little creative challenge is half the fun of cookies.

I don’t have a set process at all.  Sometimes I sit and play with my cutters twisting them this and that way and tracing and doodling in them and then just as often an idea will hit me out of the blue.  I’ll be walking through a store and see something and immediately think, “That bug would totally fit on an owl cutter!”  When I actually get down to business though I think of what I want in terms of large shapes.  Like I say, okay there’s a bump here and a point there, etc and then I go find a cutter that has a bump and a point.  I don’t worry about what the cutters are “supposed” to be. 

Sarah goes to garage sales. And finds inspiration in paper crafts. And hates making icing. (Her favorite part? ...definitely designing them.  I love to scour the internet looking for inspiration and then dig through all my cutters to find something that will work and draw them out and pick the color scheme and all that.And she spends New Year's Eve waiting for the firecrackers to end so she can sleep. We're practically the same person. Except, you know, I live on the other side of the world. And I have a different name. And I'm short. But DID live in Colorado for a few years. 

Sarah was super nice and sent along some fun tutorials for Halloween using her super-power skill of alternative cookie cutter use.                   

I was so excited when Georganne asked me to do a guest post here at LilaLoa because it just seems like she’s always having so much fun over here!  I could never be as funny as her but I can make funny cookies so that will have to do.  Georganne shares my love of googly eyes too so of course I had to make something with a silly face!  When I was digging through my cutter collection I immediately saw both candy corn and Frankenstein’s monster in the skull cutter from this Wiltoncookie cutter set and I knew I’d found the perfect thing.   The skull cutter is a little fat on one end and skinner on the other so it seemed just right for candy corn.  Plus the cheekbones on the skull are the prefect space for Frankenstein’s neck bolts. 

All you need to decorate these cookies is 15-20 count icing in black, white, dark green and light green.  If you want to do other characters than just Frankenstein you’ll need 2 more colors for each character.  Or you could make them all the basic candy corn yellow and orange it’s totally up to you!
1.  Since the perimeter of the skull cookie cutter is not exactly a candy corn shape it can help to cut out a cardstock template to keep all the sections straight and even.
2.  Draw around the template with a non-toxic food color marker.
3.  Outline and fill the wide top section in light green royal icing and the point section in white icing.
4.  Let the sections dry for a little while and then fill in the middle section with the darker color. Allow the cookies to dry overnight.
5.  When the base is nice and dry, outline the hair in black royal icing and fill immediately making sure the base around the head is nice and full.  If you wait for the outline to dry you’ll get puckering between the outline and the head.  I like to add hair to characters this way because I think it’s more natural for the hair to sit around and on top of the head.  Plus you can change up the hairstyles anyway you like.  
6.  Finally, add the details to the face.  This is the fun part because you can add lots of personality to the cookies just by changing the faces up a bit.  Georganne has a great tutorial here on how to make googly eyes for your cookies in advance.

That’s all there is too it!  They are very easy and super cute.   Of course I had to have more than just Frankenstein guys so I added a couple others but the process is just the same.  

For the witches I pieced a hat shape together with the skull cutter.  For the mummy I trimmed the cheekbones off the skull.  After that it’s just a matter of filling alternating sections, letting them dry and then adding the fun details. 

 Thank you Georganne for letting me post here today, I had so much fun with these little guys!


Thank YOU Sarah!! And now.... POP QUIZ!!! Please close your books and do not scroll back up.

Who designed and decorated each set of cookies?

And while I am waiting for you to answer....and so you don't cheat and say it was an accident.... let me just share with you Sarah's advice to new cookie decorators --

 Take your time.  Often when beginners watch more experienced artists in a video or a class they try to copy the way they see the artist working and go way too fast.    Speed will come with practice.  If you need to cut templates to draw yourself a guide for piping then do it.  Take the time to count your icing consistency until it becomes second nature (I’m assuming it does eventually, I still have to count it every time!)  Icing color can make or break a set of cookies so take the time to mix it right.  


Time's up!

Did you get them right?



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