May 30, 2013

love like an ocean

DSCN7492God brings friends into our path to help us as we journey through life. One very dark year in my life He sent Miss P to shine down my walkway. The following year her husband, Mr. Ray, encountered severe illness; and we were blessed to be with them.

Fotor0530103414For three years we spent part of Spring Break with them in San Diego where the highlight of the trip was always the Floating Lab excursion.

Our last visit there we shared a condo right off the beach in Del Mar. Such a lovely time we had walking the sand and collecting shells, glass & heart-shaped pebbles.

Miss P had a birthday this month. I wanted to create something for her that would recall those wonderful days beside the water.DSCN7462I created my script using Silhouette’s program.

I cut my vinyl. (I decided to use cheap contact paper because it was just for a stencil. I should’ve bought a solid color because my cut lines are very hard to see!)DSCN7471I messed up the vinyl and discovered I needed a different font!DSCN7469I used transfer paper to get my design on the bottle. (Does anybody else hoard collect save spent gift cards for burnishing purposes?)applyI applied etching cream to the entire bottle and waited an hour before rinsing. Wasn’t happy with the results, so reapplied & waited again.DSCN7477

After I dried the bottle following the final rinse, I was ready to add our sand, pebbles, sea glass and shells.DSCN7478A lovely ribbon completes my little gift.DSCN7485

May 21, 2013

“gingerbread” grain-free donuts

In my never-ending quest for Saturday morning breakfast goodies, I created a pretty good let’s-do-this-again recipe. I love the texture an almond flour/coconut mix brings to baked donuts. Since I was going for less sweet/no white sugar thing, I used molasses & decided to spice accordingly!ejdonutYou can see what a lovely texture the baked donut has. (You can also see what a giant bite I took out of that bad boy…) The wondrous thing is I can reheat one of these goodies from the freezer in the microwave and it doesn’t toughen up or get crumbly!alcocI started with my favorite “donut flour” blend which is 3/4 cup almond meal and 1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut. (I can buy the coconut in bulk at a grocery store here…)ejdryNext I mixed in my spices: 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon cloves. (this ratio reflects my family’s taste preference…) Then I added a quarter teaspoon each of salt and baking soda.ejwet1So in my liquid mixing cup I’ve got 1/4 cup coconut oil (it’s liquid these days ‘cause our house won’t be 75° for several months Smile) three eggs, 2 Tablespoons molasses and 1 teaspoon vanilla.ejwet2I have a go at it with my Cuisinart Smart Stick (♥ this thing!)ejwet3and then pour the liquids onto the dry and blend it up again.3jmixI spooned the batter into my greased Wilton Doughnut Pan and then baked it at 350° for 15 minutes.bakesPop those babies out as soon as they’ve cooled a few seconds, and then consume! (I never glaze them… I think they’re perfect just the way they are!)ejdonut1

How I “made an ass” out of Nick Bottom…

“I see their knavery: this is to make an ass of me;
to fright me, if they could. But I will not stir
from this place, do what they can: I will walk up
and down here, and I will sing, that they shall hear
I am not afraid..” ~ A Midsummer Night’s Dream (III.1.940-44)

Ahhhhhhh, Shakespeare! The drama teacher had some wonderful ideas for this production. She wanted the donkey head for her actor to be something that wouldn’t cover his whole head; especially the mouth as his lines are so important & the play was to be done without mics.

We started with a simple mask from a costume supplier.58026-large

The snout was obviously way too small – the actor’s nose was crunched inside. I removed it and added an extension fashioned from a water bottle!a1I hot glued my fingers fur to the ears.ejhotglueI stitched a 6-gore cap out of the fur with holes for the ears.DSCN7319(I cut out the eyes later…) I hot glued my fingers and thumb all around to secure the cap. I covered the outside & inside of the muzzle with the fur. The tuft of black hair that was originally on the mask was reattached between the ears. I also added a length of black faux fur for a mane (so the fairy queen & her fairies could stroke it…)a7I glued the nose/teeth back on the end of the snout.

a8I’ll leave you with some (blurry – sorry – no flash allowed!) photos of Nick Bottom in action.IMG_20130517_195055_064This young man is an incredible actor!IMG_20130517_195159_241His adlib one-liners kept the audience laughing.IMG_20130517_195221_064

The stretch fur of the cap kept the mask on his head, no matter his antics.IMG_20130517_195329_829The fairy queen was quite besotted! SmileIMG_20130517_195501_437The fairy attendants (you can read about their costumes here) giggled at his flirting.IMG_20130517_195516_648Totally worth a few glue blisters on my fingers…



stitching for the stage

My first mistake was answering the phone…
(Not really – I think it was a text!) Mrs. S, the drama teacher/director at my boys’ school was asking ideas for a donkey head for Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We back-and-forthed a few different ideas; and then came my second mistake of this situation: “Is there anything else you need help with?”
On my doorstep that afternoon landed a bag of fabric, notions & patterns via my sons coming home from school.IMG_20130501_073055What needed to be sewn in less than two week’s time was eight of the corsets in four different sizes, and seven gowns.patternThe corsets needed to be finished first so that the crew could apply grommets & trim.$ROZW17JI hope the pattern-directions police never examine those pieces closely, ‘cause I stitched them all (after trial & error with the initial one) on a serger.
The greatest difficulty with both items was A)the fact that the fabric was lamé, and B)everything was cut on bias!
ARGH!DSCN7310Here’s the first one – finished & waiting by the door for my pack mule son to take to school. The good news was it fitted; so the pattern was pretty much true to size; and the rest could be cut out & sewn.DSCN7315Two & three ready to go…DSCN7327And here are the last four.programNot top billing Smile but I made it into the program!Sorry the pics are a little blurry ~
but no flash photography is allowed…DSCN7336

THE ENDIMG_20130511_065841

May 18, 2013

Happy Birthday to my Daddy

I saw this quote on a card the other day…DSCN7269It is often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt; but some of her biographers dispute that. I believe it is a true saying, nonetheless… And since Daddy had a birthday coming up; the perfect excuse to try my first subway art with my little Silhouette Portrait.DSCN7265I should’ve chosen a different font for my initial foray into the use of transfer paper! Yeah – I had trouble with the thin spots in some of those letters.DSCN7266But I love the process! Most definitely will try this again.beautiful                       (just a shot from my phone before I gifted it to my father…)

May 16, 2013

Cinnamon Coconut Caramel Corn

Soooooooooo, I’m typing this post with sticky fingers. Seriously! #icannotstopeatingthisstuff 1I made a “warm-up batch” for practice yesterday, using butter & brown sugar. I even wrote a blog about it and posted it here. But this morning I decided to #kickitupanotch and improve upon my recipe.recipeThis month’s Improv Challenge ingredients decreed Smile by Kristen were cinnamon & sugar. I can’t wait to see what all the other participants did! (Check out their links at the end of my post…)
I elected to go with air-popped instead of kettle-popped corn. I also decided to use the jug of Orville Redenbacher kernels that was in my pantry.
I popped the two batches of corn into a giant bowl then shook it to settle the “old maids” down to the bottom. (there weren’t but a few…)DSCN7373I spread the coconut out in my lasagna pan. I gently placed the popcorn on top of that to await its warm caramel bath. I preheated the oven to 250°.2I readied my cinnamon, salt & baking soda. (Once the sugar syrup reaches temperature, there’s no time for measuring ingredients…)DSCN7372In a large saucepan I stirred together my wonderful coconut oil, the sugar, sour cream and corn syrup. (If you want to make this vegan, replace the sour cream with coconut milk or cream. The sugar won’t dissolve in the oil don’t ask me how I know.)DSCN7374I cooked it over medium heat until my candy thermometer said 235°,DSCN7377then I removed it from the heat and carefully stirred in the cinnamon, salt & soda.
I poured it and gently spread it over the popcorn and coconut waiting in the pan.DSCN7379Into the oven it went for 15 minutes. Then the mixture was stirred (careful not to break the corn) and returned to the oven. I repeated this 3 more times for an hour.
Finally I dumped it all out onto a freezer paper-covered cutting board.DSCN7380I tried to let it cool some before snitching kernels for tasting, but…DSCN7384My husband calls it “crack” and my boys almost devoured the entire batch when they got home from school.DSCN7387I highly recommend it!