I’m thrilled to be bringing you our first Featured Baker from Canada, specifically Bradford, Ontario! I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a fangirl of Liza Langford, owner and gifted artist of SugarGal Cookies. I’ve admired her work on social media, strive to decorate as well as her and feel privileged to share her story! There is just something special about Liza’s cookies – is it the attention to detail? The impossibility of finding a flaw? The perfect lettering even when it’s needle thin? I can’t put my finger on just one thing but her artistry and talent all come together to deliver STUNNING cookies! Read on to learn about her journey and the advice she has for other aspiring bakers.
And So The Journey Begins
It all started in December 2019 when Liza and a friend decided they wanted to learn how to decorate sugar cookies. They attended a decorating class in Toronto and Liza found it “so relaxing. calming and I loved it so much”. A month later, Liza went out and bought all the staples and essentials she thought she’d need; piping bags, meringue power, gel colors…there’s a lot involved! She admits, her first batch was “horrendous”, but she kept practicing, determined to improve. About a month later, her husband Mat (also one of her biggest fans) posted her cookies on his social media. That post resulted in her first official order for some baby shower cookies and SugarGal Cookies was born.
Now, at the time, Liza, who works full-time in banking out of Toronto was commuting four hours a day by train! Yes, FOUR hours a day! As you can imagine, this left little time for much else, but then a certain virus we are all familiar with made itself known. This has allowed Liza to work from home ever since and properly manage her career and her love for decorating cookies. Personally, I’m always looking for the silver lining during tough times and if there is one thing that I have witnessed repeatedly, it’s that the Covid pandemic has allowed so many to discover or make time for their passions. Since living a meaningful life that brings you joy is the heart of this blog, it makes me so happy that Liza has been able to incorporate her talent into her life to bring others joy.
Growing As A Cookier
Liza started posting her work on Instagram more as a place to collectively see her work, progress and growth. But this has turned into the primary way SugarGal Cookies gains followers and receives orders. She generally does not take on more than two orders per week so she can balance the rest of life along with really giving each order the attention it deserves. Liza puts a lot of time into creating her designs and really likes to be able to focus on each order to delight her customers and also enjoy the process. “Sometimes I’m doing these cookies for me as much as for my customer”, Liza shared.
She had the opportunity to hand-paint cookies and REALLY enjoyed that process and different technique. It was one of the sets she is most proud of, and she is “hoping to get more requests for painted cookies.”
She also loves connecting with other cookiers online to bounce ideas, get feedback, gain inspiration and elevate her skills. “We all run into the same problems”, Liza explained and has found Facebook groups and local Canadian cookier groups to be incredibly helpful. “We don’t have Target or Hobby Lobby”, Liza added, which made my heart hurt a little as a Target and Hobby Lobby-lover, but this is where the fellow Canadian cookiers are especially helpful. And don’t worry, she’s hoping to make a trip across the border in the future!
When we spoke about challenges Liza has encountered in her journey, she shared a common, and annoying struggle. Icing consistencies. Ah, yes, all cookiers have been there. “The wrong consistency will make or break your cookies”, Liza shared. For those who have not decorated sugar cookies with royal icing, this is one of the hardest techniques to master. If it’s too thick, you won’t have a nice, smooth finish. Too thin and it runs off the cookie or you lose the shape you need. Liza said, “If you know it’s not right, you’ve got to stop because you won’t like your cookies in the end”. We also agreed it’s not the royal icing recipe that’s too blame, you just have to “learn the feel of it on the spatula”, hence the reason it’s so hard to master.
When asked what advice she has for other cookiers or those aspiring to start, she said “practice, practice, practice and don’t get discouraged.” She’s right, it takes a lot of time and trial and error. But this next piece of advice is golden. “Don’t compare yourself to others. The only person we should compare ourselves to is our past selves. You have to celebrate your own growth and achievements”. She went on to say that “your cookies are a unique piece of art” and we agreed to use other’s work as inspiration and fuel to strive for.
What She Can’t Live Without
Before I share the couple of must-haves that Liza relies on for her cookie decorating, the ‘thing’ that Liza relies on the most, is 80’s music. Liza confessed she is a night person so you may find her on a Friday night with a pot of coffee, 80’s music jammin’, dancing in her kitchen. This is how she works best and I full endorse this!
Aside from caffeine and Tears for Fears, Liza can’t live without her dehydrator and projector. She loves how much the dehydrator speeds up the decorating process, and I whole-heartedly agree. Her projector has become “a huge asset” for fonts, lettering and so much more. Many bakers hold off on these purchases since they can be investments, but we agreed, they are SO worth it.
She’s also incredibly grateful for her super-supportive husband, Mat, who is commonly nearby for moral support while she decorates. He’s also able to 3D print any cookie cutter she’d like. While having a 3D printer is a huge money-saver for cutters, having someone willing to make them for you, is the true gift.
The Future For SugarGal Cookies?
Liza is incredibly happy with the balance of cookie decorating she’s able to accomplish right now. She does have a twinkle of a dream of possibly having a storefront someday offering cookies, cupcakes, coffee and more delights. But it’s not something she’s actively working towards right now. She LOVES decorating cookies, she’s passionate about growing her skills, all while listening to her favorite 80’s tunes.
Liza goes to great lengths in her design planning to ensure she hits the mark for all of her customers, which is definitely something to be valued. She puts a lot of thought, love, time and skill into her cookie creations. I’m also convinced that the 80’s digital synthesizer jams making her smile while making the cookies, translates into happiness her customers will feel while enjoying her delicious creations.
It was a pleasure and joy featuring Liza’s journey and talent as our latest Featured Baker! I HIGHLY recommend you visit SugarGal Cookies social media to view her full collection of work! You will find direct links to her social media below. In the meantime, enjoy this gallery of Liza’s artwork!
Never miss a new recipe, decorating technique or Featured Baker story! For more inspiration and to see our previous talented Featured Bakers, visit HERE!
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