Pattern Players: Poppy Designs and Sweet Confections Collide in the World of Rebecca Jones of XO Bakes
What happens when the worlds of poppy design and sweet confections collide? The fun, whimsical, and oh-so-delicious cookies of Rebecca Jones of XO Bakes, of course! From beautiful butterflies to prickly cacti to pop culture symbols, each and every one of Rebecca's sugary creations evokes the kind of good cheer that we all could use a little more of in our lives. Design you can eat? Sign us up!
We love Rebecca's work so much, in fact, that we enlisted her help to recreate our popular Daydream pattern in cookie form for an upcoming Hygge & West Home book event. We could not be happier with the sneak peeks we've seen (keep scrolling to get a look) and we can't wait to get our hands (and taste buds!) on these cookies! In the meantime, we caught up with Rebecca about some of her favorite Hygge & West patterns, the intersection of food and design, and how she hygges in the cooler months.
Hygge & West: We just love your bright, cheerful, and delicious cookies! Tell us a little bit about XO Bakes and how it came to be.
Rebecca Jones: Thanks so much! I grew up baking a lot with my mom, so baking has always been something I enjoyed doing. However, a few years back, I fell into decorating cookies as a stress reliever. I spent a lot of evenings after work baking and “Pinterest failing” for fun. In particular, I loved icing cookies because it was meditative. Coming up with designs and decorating took patience and it was easy to quiet the mind—similar to meditative coloring. Eventually, I got better at it and friends and family started asking for cookie favors. In 2015, I had my daughter and I quit my day job and started XO Bakes. I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and small business owners, so I have always wanted to try something of my own that is on the creative side. Fun fact: I was my mom’s wallpaper apprentice throughout high school.
H&W: What inspires your work? Do you ever run into a creative rut and, if so, what advice could you share for getting out of it?
RJ: I get a lot of inspiration from pop culture and my environment. It can be as simple as a lyric in a song, a street mural, a children’s book, or color combinations I spot while on a walk. Creative ruts do happen. I get re-inspired by connecting with friends, stepping away from social media, and spending time in nature. Art always inspires me, and I continue to get to know artists and creatives in San Francisco and find inspiration in what they are working on. Also, self-care is very important to me. I've experienced burnout from trying to do it all or staring too closely at a problem; if I'm in a place like that, I find it hard to do good work.
H&W: As fellow female business owners, we know all about the ups and downs of working for yourself! What has been the hardest thing about being your own boss and what has been the most rewarding?
RJ: Speaking of self care, it's hard to set limits and be my own advocate and make sure I'm carving out time to take care of myself while also running a small business. Baking and cookie decorating is very time-consuming and it requires a lot of time-management. It’s also very physical work. I also find it hard to not have the social factor built into my day. I was used to being in an office environment before where I had lots of colleagues and now a lot of my work is done alone. I listen to a lot of podcasts and carve out time for friends, but it’s always a balancing act. The most rewarding part of it is creating something of my own, having the freedom to do that, and also the happiness that my work brings to people. Who doesn’t love receiving cookies?
H&W: You live at the intersection of design and food. What commonalities exist between the two and how, if at all, does pattern factor in?
RJ: In my particular use case, decorative cookies or pastries can be the highlight of a party table. We can play off any theme or pattern and become part of the design. Food can be art, but the best part is that it’s temporary and meant to be enjoyed in the moment. Design and food can both be used to set a vibe or mood.
H&W: You recently employed the help of your mom (a professional wallcoverings installer) to add a Mermaids (Gold) to your daughter's bathroom, and you also have Otomi (Pewter) in your living room. What drew you to those patterns and what do you think they bring to their respective spaces?
RJ: My toddler loves the ocean. She can spend hours at the beach digging in the sand and running on the shoreline. A couple of years back, while visiting Maui, I purchased some gold-colored mermaid art. I didn't have a place for it, but when I was searching for wallpaper, I found your Mermaids (Gold) pattern and fell in love with it. The tile on her floor is black and white and is very classic looking, which paired nicely with the paper. I love that the paper is both playful and sophisticated. The gold in the paper adds the perfect wow factor.
I love Otomi embroidery and own some textiles from my travels to Mexico. The foliage in the wallpaper compliments all the plants in our living space. I'm always drawn to elements in nature. It's also fun to layer different patterns and colors on it, such as the Kindah Khalidy art.
H&W: We're so excited to be collaborating with you for an upcoming event we're having for our book, where you'll be making cookies inspired by our Daydream pattern. What's your plan for those cookies and what will the process entail?
RJ: I’ll order custom cookie cutter shapes to match the cloud and bird. I’ll color match the royal icing using food gels. After icing the cookies, a trick of the trade when matching a specific design is to use a projector. However, I won’t match the design exactly... it’s human hands and some interpretation, but the end result will be the essence of the Daydream wallpaper.
*Update: Here's how they turned out... Cuteness beyond our wildest dreams! The best part about a broken cookie is you have to eat it right then and there.
H&W: Hygge loosely translates to "cozy" in Danish, and is the celebration of life's small joys and simple pleasures. What brings hygge into your world, especially in the colder months?
RJ: Cuddling with my family in the early morning, drinking matcha, watching movies, and decorating cookies inspired by the season. Holiday cookies are always my favorite! I also love nesting—it’s important that my home environment feels comfortable, personal, and inspirational. I like surrounding myself with art, photos, plants, and, of course, wallpaper.