CANTON – Some people used their time at home during last year’s shutdown to bake bread, watch television and learn Zoom.
For Sierra Lepley, it became a time to explore a new passion: Cookie decorating.
“I guess you could call it my quarantine hobby,” she said. “Over the last year and a half, I started getting into cookies. I just saw somebody doing it online and thought it ‘You know, that looked fun.'”
Lepley’s quarantine pastime became a creative outlet that enabled her to celebrate Black hairstyles and raise awareness about the issue of hair discrimination.
An Alliance native, Lepley, 28, works full time as a nurse practitioner and resides in Canton with her husband and two children. She started baking cakes in her spare time a few years ago after she saw a video of someone making a stackable cake.
Her interest in baking grew when she had more free time last year after the U.S. shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The process was a lot of trial and error, she said. Lepley, who never considered herself artistic, taught herself how to decorate cookies by watching videos on YouTube and replicating designs she found online. She started following cookie artists — known as cookiers — on social media to get inspiration.
The hobby requires patience and focus. Lepley estimates she spends anywhere between 30 minutes to two hours on a single cookie, “especially if it’s got a lot of layers, because you have to let things dry before you can draw or paint on the cookie. And mixing up the icing, things like that are time consuming.”
There also are many tools that go into the process, such as decorating bags, tips and cookie cutters. Since she picked up the hobby, she has accumulated a drawer filled with supplies.
Lepley likes the cookie decorating process because it allows her to be creative.
“I think I just really enjoy the end product. Having it all come together and just be a really cool set at the end of all of it is satisfying,” she said. “It’s kind of the thing I do after the kids go to bed, and I have a couple hours to myself.”