Don't you love finding a heart in the center of a potato chip? It's the little things. This one came in our lunch from Cafe du Cirque in Peru. If you haven't eaten there, go, you'll love it!
I just got a comment from a lady in India who loves the beaded bead tutorial. It always amazes me who comes across this blog. Thanks to everyone for reading. You can see how to make your own beaded beads here. I've re-posted this a thousand times because they are so fun to make. These are some earrings I have at Dorothy Ilene's just in case you don't want to make your own (wink).
I'm off to watch a scary movie with my boyfriend. I hope your week is off to a good start!
Have you seen Simplicity's new needle felting machine? Last summer I went to Cleveland to film a quick info-mercial about it. Click the link above to see the skinny. When I returned home, I made a scarf for Simplicity using the machine. It has been making it's way around the magazine-sphere (Altered Couture above).
This is an ad from an upcoming Cloth, Paper, Scissors (Interweave). You can use all your favorite silk and wool fabric scraps plus colorful roving to make it. Check out the instructions here. It's so easy to make!
There's a new batch of Candie Cooper jewels at Dorothy Ilene's! Elizabeth Wamsley will have her ceramics there. My studio mate, Angie D has some neat piece's laying around the studio that I bet will be there too. Also, come check out my special custom Mother's Day lockets (or message me about them). Mom's love handmade gifts!
(click on the image to make bigger)
This week I....
It was a great week! Hard to believe it's time to rinse and repeat. But first, I'm going to make a big dinner of chicken tacos with black beans and sweet potatoes and banana cream pie (my feeling is it's better to start the week off with awesome leftovers vs. the end of the week cheese and crackers).
P.S. The above is a really slick and cute way to zip up paper or plastic gift bags. Just paint with crazy colors then stamp or Mod Podge your website, name, or fun quote to the clothes pin. Clip and you're done.
Saturday night we camped out at the orchard. It was a cold, but cozy night around the fire! I got an ab workout from laughing so much (which I needed after this meal). I know this picture is a tad blurry, but I'm using it anyway because it catches the crazy excitement of the night. Everyone loves a potluck, right? We took a batch of sweet potato casserole--enough for 18 people and the dish was scraped clean. The only thing I changed in the recipe was the spice factor, adding in cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Our friend Emily P. (a super talented singer entertainer in town) made her famous pear salad. Maybe I'll see if she'll share the recipe someday over here. Jason grilled the meat and John brought stuff for Peanut Butter Smores. Wow. Thanks for a super fun weekend!
P.S. McClure's Orchard is having a 5K fun run this weekend during the Apple Blossom Fest. Won't you come join me and my hunkie boyfriend? The $25 run includes T-shirt, lunch and registration. Partly sponsored by Break-away bikes.
P.S.S. I'll be walking---not running. This girl don't run...but I will be in costume! So come walk with me!!
A date to the movies Friday night ended up at Target. We bought our tickets for the movie online, but the rest of the world got there super early and saved seats for their friends who hadn't bought their tickets yet. Every where we turned, "these seats are saved" was said. It was comical. So we sold our tickets and went to Target. I'm pleased to say we can officially add movie ticket scalpers to things we've done. Aiya. The lady that got our ticket was so happy. Target is always fun. We picked up some treats including this coffee cup holder for my bike. Every coffee junkie should have one. Makes me think of that MTV show, Pimp my ride bicycle. Ice cream on the way home. Good. Save.
This is officially the Banana Blog. Not really, but I feel like every other recipe posted here is all banana-y. Anywho, I had a couple of bananas going brown and instead of bread I searched and found this recipe: Banana Muffin Top cookies. Soft and spicy, we love them. I added a little honey to the recipe because I was just shy the one cup of banana. Of course, my hunkie boyfriend has to hit them with the microwave and a touch of "spray butter." Each time he offers me some and each time I say, "my dad said to stay away from the chemicals." Sorry to all you spray buttah lovahs. They were photographed on my kitchen table in the bag because I would've eaten 4 had I opened it. I knew you'd understand. If you love banana bread, get on it!
Yesterday morning I was searching for bike baskets (some that could carry Rocker), only to go to the super-store and see this shirt. I think it's a sign. Do they make doggie bike helmets?
There's still time to sign up for this class (taught by me, the crazy dog lady). It's a little bit felting and a little bit metalworking. You will learn lots of neat techniques that you can use however you like. It takes place next Monday and adventurous beginners are welcome! Here are the details and feel free to message me with questions.
I'm off to the Girl Cave. That's what I called our studio when we moved in because we can have as much girly stuff as we want! Yes girls, heaps of ribbon and beads, baskets full of buttons and racks full of colorful paint. Dark chocolate truffles stashed in the cupboards. You'd love it. My studio-mate came up with Jewels and Tools and the guy at the paint store calls it the Lady Lair. We have fun. My work table is packed with funky beads for a special project. Thousands of beads and more about that later. I hope to see you in class on Monday! XO.
Friday night was a big night at Dorothy Ilene's gallery. Us artists had a blast mingling and selling our wares. I even got to meet my on-line pal, Little Indiana. THANKS to EVERYBODY for all the love and support.
The next morning, Jean and I hit the ground running with my HOJALATA ("tin work" in Spanish) workshop at the FAME fest. We had pre-schoolers up to middle schoolers stop by to learn about the history of metalwork in Mexico and make a folk art magnet like these:
I used Sizzix dies to cut out tin shapes for embossing. The kids loved the permanent markers to color in their designs. Special thanks to Secondary Metals here in town for donating the aluminum background pieces that we textured with a chasing hammer.
Then Dad had the brilliant idea of taking us girls (who'd been working hard all day!) and Aaron to Anderson to the big casino buffet for all-you-can-eat crab legs. We never turn Dad down. So fun!
On Sunday, we had a huge breakfast (because we needed more food after the buffet dinner) and then went in search for a bike for Aaron. Found one and were on the bike trail by 2 o'clock. 11 miles later, 3 movies rented, tidied up the house and this for dinner:
Yesterday was hair embellishments, today a twist on a wrist corsage. Instead of using the elastic findings, check out this cuff bracelet with filigree top. The filigree piece makes it easy to embellish it with whatever you like.
Some ideas are feathers, old clip on earrings, big silk flowers, and sparkle stems like I used in the hair piece yesterday.
String a row of beads onto a wire. Determine how big you want the loop to be and then wrap the tail of wire around the opposite side of the beads to secure the loop.
You can add as many loops as you want. Use wire to attach the beaded loops to the filigree piece. Use hot glue to attach the feathers and flower. It's worth wrapping a bit of wire around the feather and flower pieces to insure they are attached really well (think crazy dance floor secure).
Remove the clip on the earring and glue to the center of the flower. This is just the beginning--you can add more bead loops and feathers like the one my friend Teri and I did a couple years ago:
The girl's dress was bright orange and green so we wanted the corsage to be full of energy too. Don't forget to save a couple pieces for the boutonniere ---although I hear pocket squares are in right now too. I love the classic Fred Astaire look--he wore both. Go big...or go home, I guess.
SOURCES: 22/24g Wire by Beadalon (find it at any craft store), the cuff is by Plaid found at JoAnns in the Ring Bling line, as well as the flower from the Inspired Classics line.
It's prom time! I secretly wish I could wear this little number. Anyone else? My studio is a few doors down from Ellen's dress shop. I've been enjoying their ever changing windows with all the different prom dresses, picking my favorite. Naturally I start thinking about accessories for these dresses (and my prom days, waiting for Seventeen magazine's special issue on the subject). My gram always made my flowers. My inner 17 year old self would have to have a foo foo hair fascinator this year. They are easy to make with a few supplies. Keep it simple or funky, embracing indivdual style.
The sparkle stem is from Hobby Lobby by Prima and the silk flower is from JoAnn's by Plaid Enterprises. (Cue Footloose soundtrack)
I made two things for Easter Brunch.
Second, your fav and mine, peanut butter eggs! This recipe yeilds 66 (and I didn't catch that when I started making them). Aaron and I rolled and patted out at least 50 and then I started dipping them in chocolate. By egg number 14, I was....... Let's just say I can cross chocolate dipper off my list of possible careers. Betty Crocker made the little chicks for the top. My Aunt Jane piped icing ring nests (and dipped some extra eggs--lifesaver) while I plopped the birds in. Aunt Jane also says I should've borrowed her special dipping tools. Noted.
It was a happy day filled with church and family time. I'm thankful for the beautiful day.
See the rest of the Easter photos here.
My studio-mate brought me this lunch today. There is so much love in this studio that we've been in since January 1. I'm so grateful for her creative spirit. She constantly inspires random acts of kindness---that's a true friend.
P.S. That water bottle has a net around it with a stem bow. See what I mean?!!? She's amazing.
(find these components at Joann Fabrics)
I love making charm bracelets. Make your own from whatever you have laying around--mismatched earrings, keys, charms and beads. Hands down-my very favorite thing to make.
Handmade Flower Clasp: Metalworking 101 for Beaders
5 Minute Madonna Necklace
Greetings from our dehydrated fruit test kitchen. We broke out the dehydrator this past week in an attempt to make dried pineapple. Kroger's 2 for $5 pineapple sale made me do it! I sliced and hacked the pineapples (I will never take freshly sliced pineapple for granted again btw) into pieces which filled the dehydrator perfectly. Aaron busied himself making sure the trays were super clean because this was his deer jerky dehydrator after all. It was a complete stranger to fruit.
Then we had to try bananas. You can pre-treat bananas with a citrus soak to prevent them from browning...which we didn't know. Silly, newbies. Aaron skipped down the stairs to get the trays Saturday morning, then came tromping up. "And?!" I say with only a giggling "wellll," response. Not good. The bananas were brown and kinda ugly. Poor bananas. But then I googled the topic and found that they are perfectly good to eat.
Ready to make your own? Check out Kitchen Stewardship (where I learned that bananas are perfectly ok brown after dehydrating).
A few wild flowers from the felted flower class Wednesday night. If you missed the class, you can find a version of this flower in my book, Felted Jewelry (Lark Books, 2007). The felt-o-sphere has some amazing inspiration--get ready--- click here.
My weekend is going to consist of planting flowers in pots and in the ground. Wild flowers and more. I. Can't. Wait. Wishing you the best weekend.
We've all seen the glass votives at the dollar and thrift stores. Mod Podge some paper on them already! Can we say cheap entertainment? I made this one a couple years ago with dictionary paper and a sticker.
The boys managed to catch a couple fish before dinner. Again, thank you Spring. We're still waiting to find a mushroom (or 30). I'm off to class tonight---hoping I come home to a plate of morels. We'll see.
Do you love big rings? Or need some ring blanks that you can glue buttons and old clip on earrings to? The Ring Bling line by Plaid has it all. See my guest post here or check it out in person at JoAnn Fabrics. Make a bunch because everyone will want one (I speak from experience, people).
Easter is in full bloom here at the cabin. I wanted to show you a few egg ideas and share an awesome cookie recipe. First up on the left are some little bird eggs my mom made with her library club at school a few years ago. The pattern can be found on Martha's website.
Next we have some painted eggs with Folk Art paints and scrapbook embellishments that are super easy and fast to whip up for a last minute Easter craft get-together or gifties. I've got a guest blog post on them over at the Paint Me Plaid blog.
Third, is a link to the best chocolate chip cookie I've had in a long time. We had dinner with friends last week and I was in charge of a veg and dessert. It was one of those days where the idea of going to the grocery store after work sounded about as fun as clipping Rocker's toe nails. Ok, sorry. That wasn't nice to bring up in the company of food, but....you get my point. I mentally scavenged through the cabinets. I was so happy when I realized there were sweet potatoes waiting to be french fries and a bag of chocolate chips. I was determined (and que Eye of the Tiger). She shoots.......and scores! Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal cookies, everbody! Woot woot! Share the love.
Lastly, are some more eggs my momma, Jean, made back in the day. I love the simplicity of them. Color the eggs, Mod Podge a pretty image (check out Dover clip art books for images) and then glue a piece of velvet ribbon around the edge. These were ornaments once upon a time, but I like them nestled in a basket on the dresser. Sweet. Just like Jean.
My new tent is so sweet. It's a snap to set up too. Not at all like the ol' green canvas tent (or was it blue?) we used to take to Florida on Spring Break when I was a kid. That thing had a million alluminum poles and a few leaks if I remember right. Remember, Nis? I'll never forget the time we found a snake sunning itself in it. Oh, the great outdoors. Cost nothing and always interesting.
It rained and rained from about 4 am onward and the tent never leaked a drop. Probably because my hunkie boyfriend told me to spray it down with water repellent before hand. Snap! He's the brains. Sunday morning after breakfast we walked around McClure's Orchard. I love the shape of the trees. It makes me think of that wild scene in the Wizard of Oz each time I really look at one. You know the scene right, where the tree starts throwing apples at Dorothy?
and Clara the cat who is indeed a boy cat as a matter of fact. It happens.
My favorite thing---colorful bee hives with a few bees buzzing around waiting for blossoms. I guess, we're all just waiting and watching this crazy Spring we've been having.
This row of hives makes me think of a bee apartment complex of sorts which then reminds me of China and all it's cracker box apartments. Someday, I want a couple hives of my own (do I make it sound like children?). I'm lucky I have some friends who let me enjoy theirs until that day comes (the answer to the last question would be...yes).
More plotting and planning for Spring in the background. The Apple Blossom Fest is coming up on April 28th and this year there is even a 5K run. We are going! I will not be running! It's always a good time at McClure's orchard. Apple dumplings, nature and friends around a campfire makes it extra lovely. The orchard is open on the weekends if you are looking for a fun family outing...or just want a really, really good apple dumpling!
I whipped these up just because. Cooking and baking have sorta turned into my relaxation time since my job is creative. I like the simplicity of reading the instructions and making the dish. The cookie recipe is from the current issue of Martha. I love oatmeal and in this recipe you get to toast it before adding it to the batter. Toasted oatmeal?! You had me at hello, Martha.
We ate a few outta the oven and then packed the rest in a container (of which I thought I forgot to send to work the next day, but then got a surprise text saying they were completely consumed by 9:30 AM---this made me laugh). For the first tray I forgot to add the brown sugar to the batter so they were really puffy and dry (those are waiting to be crumbled over vanilla pudding). I've learned that you can't talk on the phone and read a recipe. At least I cant. Here are some search hits for Peanut Butter Oatmeal cookies or you can get the Martha Stewart Living mag with the eggs on the cover.
Egg in a frame everybody! (and the crowd goes wild) If you know me, you know I learned how to make these in Mrs. Gallahue's Home Ec class in 6th grade. Oh. Yeah. It's pretty much the magic trick of cooking eggs. Just buttah your bread, cut out a shape, throw in a warm lightly greased skillet, crack your egg in the shape and let it cook until the bread is golden brown and the egg is secure, then hold your breath and.......flip it.
As it's cooking you can toast the center piece on the side---this part goes quick so watch it close. I tried a flower and a star for the center of the frame and the star worked better. But, the flower cut out was pretty cute toasted so I slathered some peanut butter on it and stuck an M&M in the middle. Not the traditional sunny side up, but definitely one happy egg.
Happy St. Patty's weekend! I stumbled across this picture from a couple years ago. My gram left a bag full of sugar cookies on my stairs. What a great surprise. At the time, I was cutting books apart for a journal/recipe book class I was teaching. I just wanted to savor the moment with a picture. I'm glad I did. Cut out cookies are always a good idea!
P.S. My blog's look is still in makeover stage. It's gonna take some time, but I'm learning a lot along the way.
Hello there! This is my little window herb garden that's kept me going through winter. Rosemary, mint, and lavender (left to right). Nothing beats sweet potato fries with fresh minced rosemary and sea salt. It's almost time to put them back outside. Yay! The other thing I wanted to show you are the prisms we hung over the weekend. Yep, it's rainbow city at about 8:30 AM here (sun willing).