If biting into a starfish or snacking on fall leaves doesn't sound appealing, Andie Moore's creations might change your mind.

In a commercial kitchen in Dallas, the 41-year-old confectioner constructs replicas of everyday items out of chocolate, candy and edible paint: a handful of brass buttons, a smattering of seashells, a group of tiny yellow ladybugs. Moore works with photos or real-life objects by her side to ensure every detail is precise, down to the smooth wooden texture on a Scrabble tile or the miniscule lines on a butterfly wing. Her sea glass is so realistic, you'd think it just washed ashore.

Candy Shells Above: The mushrooms in Moore's shop

"Sometimes I don't know if I should call my candy artwork," Moore says. "I don't want people to think they can't eat it!"
A stay-at-home mom of four who was trying to "satisfy a creative inkling while the kids napped," Moore launched her business, Andie's Specialty Sweets, in 2010. She'd made wedding cakes and small-scale confections for friends and family, but decided to sell her hand-sculptured treats on Etsy to "earn a little extra Christmas money." When she started receiving more orders than she could handle on her own, her husband sold his pool and spa maintenance business so the couple could tackle her project full-time. Now they provide candies for weddings, food stylists and customers with a love for the cool and quirky.
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Above: Moore's hand-glazed candy oyster shells

Moore's shop turns out edible antique keys and poker chips, but nature is her first muse. "When I was growing up, my family loved exploring outdoors," she says. "There would be a bird's nest in our cabinet or a bowl with pieces of amber. My parents found delight in the littlest things, which filled out eyes with wonder." And of course, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a major influence. "I love the scene where Gene Wilder takes a bite from a teacup he pulls from a bush," she says. "Making inedible objects seem appetizing—there's something magical about that."


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