Saturday, September 19, 2015

Only A Heart With Wings Can Fly

I love the "exploding canvas" concept. It looked like so much fun when I first came across it. This is a smaller canvas (8"x10"). I began by flipping it over and painting the back with an off-white acrylic paint. I added some texture with a stencil and some texture paste and some spray inks and mica powder.Once dry, I painted the front, similarly. And don't forget the sides! I like people to be able to look at my work from any angle and find something of beauty, so I don't leave the canvas plain anywhere.

I glued some lace and textured paper to the front and gessoed and painted some more. I then cut the canvas from the front center out towards the frame like a pie and glued each section in place as I wanted. I cut a piece of chipboard to cover the back and covered it with gesso before stenciling, stamping, embossing and painting. Then I glued it to the back of the canvas and began the real fun!

I attached a twig inside the frame and set little fairy on it. I placed some tiles made from patterned card stock that I attached to chipboard, coated with UTEE, and heated. Paper flowers, silk leaves and a few trinkets were glued on and then painted with gesso before spritzing with inks. The butterfly was left natural metal and the medallion is a piece of patterned paper mounted to chipboard, stamped, and edged with border of Liquid Pearls.

Finally, some eyelets attached to the top allowed me to attach a chain for hanging and some attached to the bottom allowed me to attach a handmade tile for added interest. This is my idea of an exploded canvas...go ahead and try it yourself, you'll create something completely different with this fun technique!

Returning to My Goals

I have neglected my blog for a long time. Not because I have lost interest, but for other reasons. Now it is time to get things in order and pick up where I left off....

I love to create. I have made things as long as I can remember. My favorite days in school were always the days we had projects to make, usually when there was an approaching holiday and we got to make decorations. Except in third grade (sorry Mrs. Walker). My teacher was an older lady who thought art was handing out papers with a picture printed on it and having us color it. Ugh! All the other classes were making skeletons from milk jugs or paper bag Jack-O-Lanterns and we got coloring pages. It was the most dismal of my elementary school years! I did survive it, however my brothers suffered the brunt of my thwarted creative genius. That was the year they all got pencil holders made from frozen orange juice containers covered with Con-Tact paper for Christmas. They still tease me about it.

My point here is that while I've been on hiatus from my blog, I haven't stopped creating things; I've just not been posting them here. Today I will begin anew and I will once again share my creations! I hope to inspire and uplift others out there who may be taking a break due to health or personal issues and encourage your creativity to start flowing again, too.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Peeps and Crispy Rice Easter Treats

It's about time to get some ideas together for Easter. I wanted a fun treat to add to the jelly beans and chocolate eggs in the Easter baskets this year. I came across a photo of some treats made from Rice Krispies treats that were decorated with Peeps bunnies. So cute, but I wanted to add my own twist. The ones I saw were rectangular with a thin layer of candy melt "icing" on one side and the other sides left plain. I decided to fancy things up a bit--

I made a double batch of cereal treats (the recipe can be found on bags of Kraft marshmallows and boxes of Rice Krispies, if you don't have it in your book or box) and pressed it into a 17.25" x 11.5" x 1" jelly roll pan. I ran a rolling pin across the top several times after they cooled to make sure they were well-packed and smooth on top.

Next, I turned the treats out onto a piece of parchment and used an egg-shaped cookie cutter to cut the treats. My cutter is fairly large, about 3" tall, so I was able to cut out about 16 eggs. I then made a hole in the bottom of each with a chop stick so I could insert a paper straw to make a "pop" type treat.

I then dipped the whole treat in melted white chocolate, pressed a Peeps bunny onto it and sprinkled some
candy coated sunflower seeds all around. Once they were hardened, I slipped a clear bag over the top and tied with curling ribbon.

If I was making these for younger children, I would make a few changes:
     * Make a single batch of treats so they are thinner.
     * Use a smaller cookie cutter--one just a little larger than the Peep would be great.
     * Cut the Peep in half the thickness.
     * Reinforce the straw by inserting a paper sucker stick or a wooden skewer inside.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Hazelnut Pain au Chocolat....Yum

Okay, so I came across this recipe in one of my many excursions around the internet (several months ago). I decided to finally try it out. I figured it was fairly risk-free. How can you go wrong with hazelnut an chocolate, right? These are definitely winners. My family fell immediately in love... The bread is light and fluffy, fragrant with hazelnut flavor, and the chocolate is the perfect touch. They are a wonderful treat without being incredibly sweet. And with a substantial amount of whole wheat flour, they're nutritious, too. Right?

The recipe is here I used a Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate candy bar, rather than the semisweet pain au chocolate sticks sold here: Mostly I just wanted to save money since it was a new recipe experiment. Also, since it's August in Texas, the temperatures are a bit prohibitive to mail order chocolate... I couldn't find coarse ground sugar, so I used some sugar cubes I crushed up with a rolling pin. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly, grinding my own whole wheat pastry flour just before whipping them up. Delicious! Tasty treats and the whole house smells heavenly. The chocolate will eventually firm up a bit, but can quickly be softened up with a few seconds in the microwave.
These will not last more than an afternoon, I promise.

Friday, August 16, 2013

There's Nothing Like Fresh Homemade Bread...

Whoa! It's been a loooong time since I posted anything. Time to get back on track... My family loves homemade breads, and especially "symphony of crackle"--aka French bread (credits to the Disney movie Ratatouille). I regularly make it to serve with pasta dishes or soups; it goes together quickly and compliments most meals. Sometimes, though, I like to make bread with lots of flavor. While I'm savoring the whole grain goodness and thinking how nutritious it is (and what a great mom I am to feed this to my family), my kids are telling me that while it's really yummy, they like the basic French bread the most.

I recently came across this tantalizing recipe and decided to try it out. Amazing! So much flavor and texture! This is a perfect bread to serve with a light salad on one of these hot summer days.

I used the recipe found here with some minor alterations. First, I added about two tablespoons of honey, I used malt powder, rather than extract, and I added about 1/2 cup of Harvest Grains Blend. Just before the loaves were ready to place in the oven, I brushed the tops with a cornstarch wash, cut a cross hatch pattern on the surfaces, and sprinkled a few pinches of malted wheat flakes over the tops.Also, I shaped the loaves into rounds and placed them on parchment lined cookie pans, rather than using loaf pans.  Mmmm. The fragrance as the bread baked was wonderful; as soon as the loaves cooled we sliced one up and spread it with maple butter and horked it down. I often make maple butter instead of honey butter. I just whip the butter with pure maple syrup instead of honey. It won't incorporate as much maple syrup as it would honey, as the syrup is a little thinner. It's a really nice flavor and for those with small children, safer than raw honey.

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Patriotic Mantle is finally coming together!

And here is my star combined with  my America (2 x 4) block and my letter blocks (4 x 4). This is one part of my patriotic mantle, the rest is yet to come, soon.

I Love Stars!

I really wanted a large 3-d star to set on my mantle. All of the tin stars were too small or too large or too pricey. All of the paper mache stars were too small. Hmmm. I could make my own, right?  That's the best way to get one just the size I want, for the price (practically free) I want... Soooo, I gathered up some empty cereal boxes, glue, masking tape, scissors, and made a star. Well, first I made a pattern. I used this tutorial: . It wasn't exactly the easiest method, but I made it work. I enlarged the pattern, so my finished star would be about 16" point-to-point. The pattern needs to be a little bit larger than the desired finished size, because it adjusts a bit when the points are pushed up/out to make it 3-d.

Anyway, using my new pattern, I cut 5 points from my cereal boxes, folding along the fold lines and gluing where indicated in the instructions, turning the printed side to the inside. I used strips of masking tape to hold them in place while the glue dried. I also used it to reinforce the joints and seams after the glue was dry. I planned to cover the star anyway, so the tape was not going to show. When the glue had dried, I covered the outside with a layer of vinyl spackling. An easy shortcut here, is to mix some regular acrylic craft paint into the spackling before it is applied. This cuts out the painting step. After the star dried, I antiqued it with a dark brown glaze and wiped off the excess. A coat of sealer and it was done. I just wrapped a strip of patriotic fabric tied a bow, but I am already planning to replace it with different ribbon and embellishments for other seasons, so I can use it year-round.

Cardboard form.
Honestly, it would be a lot easier to buy one ready-made. Since I couldn't find what I wanted, this is a great solution, but it was a little more work than I would normally do for a simple cardboard doodad.
The other upside is that is didn't cost anything, because I already had all the supplies on hand...overall, it's a winner!

Covered with spackling.