A few years ago, a blizzard trapped thousands in their Denver homes.
When Arlene Lipman and her grandchildren found themselves with nowhere to go, the grandmother took out just a few of the thousands of cookie cutters she owns and fired up the oven. They baked cookies of all shapes and forgot about the misery outside.
A Denver resident who commutes to the Colorado Springs Airport to work for Skywest as a ticket agent, Lipman has been collecting cookie cutters for decades. She says she has at least 10,000.
"You see one here, you see one there," she said, describing a typical shopping experience.
This isn't just a hobby, either.
Lipman, 70, is part of the National Cookie Cutter Collectors Club that has about 300 members and holds a convention every two years. She learned about the group through a magazine ad in 1986. And from there, the passion ignited.
She was the group's president before her two-year term expired this year. As part of that position, she helped organize this year's national cookie cutter convention in Denver.
The club has a 30-member regional chapter called the Rocky Mountain Cutups that allows cookie cutter enthusiasts in the Denver area to get together on a regular basis.
Anyone who's into cookie cutter collecting likely knows about Lipman. And the cookie cutters aren't shoved into drawers or tucked away inside a closest. She's quite organized and has categorized at least 7,000 of the cutters on her computer by shape, size, material, price and type, such as animals, holiday characters or celebrities.
She's not done categorizing.
"I don't have the largest collection in the group," Lipman said, "but there's a woman in Minnesota who has over 40,000. She's a little OCD."
She doesn't know how much she spent on her collection but said, "Even if each one was 10 cents, that's still a lot."
Lipman even has some hard-to-find cutters, like a 100th anniversary copper cutter depicting the original Theodore Bear. Nowadays, she's into cookie presses and cutters designed on 3-D machines.
But the cookie cutters aren't just for show. She uses them, too. She estimates using about 30 percent of them - typically in the event of being invited to a party, a dinner or a potluck.
And when she's trapped in a blizzard.