Callye’s cookies were first brought to my attention last year through a friend’s blog. I remember looking at her works of art and thinking, “Who is this lady?!” The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle is a museum of cookie art as well as an encyclopedia of how-tos for the home baker, whether a novice or a seasoned vet. Callye generously offers her expertise via photos and tutorials, allowing even a newcomer the opportunity to make something truly beautiful and memorable. Recently, I had the chance to ask Callye a few questions about how she got her start, and why on earth she’s not the proud owner of a bakery.
Callye, when did this all start for you? How old were you when you first started baking, and how long have you been decorating cookies?
I’ve been baking since I was a little girl, but the cookie thing happened in 2009. I was a stay-at-home mom with three very little kiddos, and I’d just lost my grandmother who I was very close to. I was having a hard time. I’d always been interested in cookie decorating, so I decided to try it. Most people think it would be tedious, but after the craziness of a day with three babies, it was oddly relaxing. From then on, I was HOOKED!
Your cookies are all over the web . . . from other people’s blogs, to Facebook, to Pinterest. I first encountered your website a long time before I started interviewing at BFFF. What do you attribute to all of this internet success?
I think there are a lot of factors. The first two are good luck and answered prayers, not necessarily in that order. The rest of it I would attribute to hard work and a natural love for meeting and getting to know new people.
Your cookies are beyond bakery-quality. Have you ever wanted to open a bakery, or to sell your delicious works of art online?
NEVER. NEVER. NEVER. NEVER. I’ve had a few family members in the restaurant/hospitality business, so I have always been aware that a bakery would be a heart and soul kind of job, which is great, except that my number one priority will always be my kids. I admit, I do invest a lot of time and work into my website, but I love that I am always at home when they need me. I also love that if something comes up, then my blog can wait. I also know that if I were to try to mass-produce cookies, the quality would suffer. A bakery would kind of “ruin” what I do. So, no bakery for me. My mom always said I was meant to be a teacher. As much as I hate to admit it, I guess she was right.
Some people want to keep all of their recipes and tricks secret—maybe to have a corner on the market. What has made you want to share all of your tips and tricks and even provide tutorials? Have you ever received any backlash from other for-profit bakers who don’t want you to give away all the tricks and techniques?
Well, that was kind of a path, not so much a decision. I used to be a for-profit home baker. Back then, Texas didn’t have a cottage law, so I was eventually turned in. It was heartbreaking, but I could not bear to lose my hobby. So, I started the blog as another outlet. I had to work up to each step of sharing. Baby steps, you know. After a little while, when I realized that, planned or not, this is where I was meant to be, the sharing became easy. It is fulfilling in a way that selling cookies could never be. Creating is one thing, but inspiring . . . that is something entirely different. Nothing is more rewarding than giving others the confidence to try something for themselves.
What is something that most of your readers probably don’t know about you?
Hmmmm . . . I have a serious Star Wars obsession. Never mind, I bet they already knew that. Here’s a good one: I have Vitiligo, which is more commonly known as the Michael Jackson disease. I am pretty fortunate because I was always fair, so it’s not very obvious. However, I burn very easily because I have no pigment, so when most people are in shorts and tank tops, I am dressed in black from head to toe. Believe it or not, I even burn through white clothing. So, anyhow, because I am always dressed in black, my husband has nicknamed me Johnny Cash.
OK, this might be tough, but I’d love to know your all-time favorite cookie that you’ve ever designed?
Oh lordy, no. It changes. I might love something at the time, but six months later I am like, “WHAT WAS I THINKING?” The set that I have been most consistently proud of is this Christmas set from last year, but even as I look at them, I see things I would like to improve.
You’ve shared that your husband thinks you might be a tiny bit crazy for being so obsessed with cookies. Does he still think that? Doesn’t he love to reap the benefits of having fresh cookies in the house almost all the time?
That poor guy. I am his polar opposite. He’s organized, structured, and likes to be on a schedule, and here I come like a tornado, wreaking havoc on his best-laid plans. But I think we complement each other. He keeps me grounded, and I keep things from being too predictable. I am sure he thinks I’m a little (or a lot crazy, but we work. As for cookies, he is so totally over them it’s not funny. He almost won’t touch them, unless I am making them for a special occasion and don’t have any to spare. He’s pretty content for me to trade cookies for brownies with our neighbor or even a package of Oreos. Every once in a blue moon, I’ll make him a batch of blueberry scones and all is well in the universe again.Pin It