Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Hunt for Vanilla Popcorn

OK, I may not be the world's best cupcake decorator (as seen here), but I can cook. This particular blog post comes after the obsessive search through all my recipe books and magazines for the recipe for Vanilla Popcorn. I had made it last fall as a snack for my monthly cooking group meeting and they had recently asked to have it made again. I shouldn't've promised til I knew where that dang recipe had gone off to. I spent literally 4 days and many hours on a hunt that proved fruitless.

So I set off to do the next best thing and make my own recipe. I based it off of the three cookbooks in the background, using a little of each, and adapting it for the pudding I knew was in the original recipe.

Vanilla Popcorn
Ingredients- 2 sticks (1 cup or 1/2 lb.) of butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
1 small box of french vanilla pudding mix-instant
1 bag of hulless corn puffs
1 tsp. baking soda
No miniature magenta pony toys that somehow made it into the photo.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Combine butter, corn syrup, pudding mix, and sugar in a pot and boil for 2 minutes. Take off heat and add baking soda, mix quickly til combined, then pour over the corn puffs (in a large bowl). Stir thoroughly.

Divide mixture between two WELL GREASED cookies sheets. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring after 15 minute intervals. Remove from oven (they will still be sticky). Let cool, the coating will crisp up and taste ever so good! Store in an airtight container if all popcorn is not immediately consumed.

Now then, if you ask nice, I might give you my spaghetti sauce recipe. Step aside Mario Batali!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Collect like a Magpie

Every now and then we all need a little destash. My ribbon box was filling up too fast with extra cuts from sets, colors that didn't quite match particular ideas, or maybe a small run in the wrong place. Going up in the shop this weekend. "Just the Ribbons" from sets such as Pompeii and Strawberry Sundae. Magpie lots featuring the mismatched, extras, and not-quite perfect ribbons.

and a pretty set, again with the pretty scrunch-ribbon, Sea Whisper.

We've had thunderstorms all day, but it caused all the trees to bud overnight! Such a beautiful green world! We have very few spring days here before summer rears its heat. I'm enjoying it, are you?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Berry Sweet Ribbons

Lots of pretty new ribbons and crepes in the shoppe now. I was inspired by warm strawberry sauce dripping down fresh vanilla ice cream for this first set "Strawberry Sundae". Rich and red flowing mellowly, intermingaling with the cream to form soft pinks...
...or bright red varigating into rich ivory for "Strawberry Cheesecake"...

I just love the way thre ribbons fell into this flower shaped pattern.

I wrapped the ribbons around a Sweet Nothings Journal, this one a soft pink cardstock filled with vintage papers, paper lace, and a smidgen of swiss dot organza.

The next set I had the colors in mind for awhile, I just wasn't sure how I wanted to prepare the ribbons, or present them. I was struck with inspiration whilst reading the latest issue of Somerset Home, Connie Govea Stuart talked about her dyeing technique for ribbons using Easter Egg tablets. I decided to try her technique (although I still used my regular dyes). They were gorgeous even during their dye baths!

A rainbow confection of ribbons starting to appear...cherry, orange, lemon, lime, blue raspberry, and grape.

Tutti-frutti bright and scrumptiously crinkley!

The Everlasting Gobstopper!

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Tisket, A Tasket, A Green and Yellow Basket

Can you believe May is almost here? It's creeping up soon! I love all the delicious swaps ArtsyMama has conjured up for her Year of Color blog, and the May Basket swap is the latest in a long line not-to-be-missed fun! I've been dreaming up and slowly stirring up the pieces of a basket of little treats for my swap partner. I used a new basket, then grunged it up nicely to an age old patina, then embellished with vintage millinery.
Shall we peek into her basket?

Some pretty ribbons an leaves around a sweet surprise...

A little polka dot crepe reminscing April's color theme...

Gold noblesse and vintage berry picks

Can you guess who it might be for?

Lucky me, my own basket arrived this week- just stuffed beyond capacity with the BESTEST goodies. Kari herself put this one together. I found new treasures every time I sifted through.

Some of her pretty wallpaper, a handmade book, the embroidered table runner, a house sachet from etsy, the nutcups are even filled with tiny bits of ribbon and vintagey bling!

And a little packet of papers with my name on it! Muchos Gracias, Grazie, and Thank you Kari!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It runs in the family

I have the worst time keeping the short people away from my art supplies, especially the Crown Princess. Finally, Easter eggs gives them a chance to prove their own artistry with a bright palette. (Although smart Mums know to put down the newspaper first)Rule #1. Only Mom can put her fingers in the dye.
Rule #2. Lightening McQueen does not need a dye job.
Rule #3. Neither do Littlest Pet Shop animals.

Rule #4. Use only your best cups for dye pots.
Waiting her turn for the egg pencil, the Princess Royale has chosen her own ensemble for the occasion.

Rule #5. The egg pencil does write visibly on paper.

The Crown Princess is pleased with her created pieces. Can we keep them forever Mom?

Alas, she was clever enough to realize that the egg pencil (clear wax) could create even more art by writing then covering with watercolors, which she shared with our visitors on Easter. And I share them with you! Hope yours was the best!

Finally, I leave you with a little tease of an upcoming crepe for the etsy shoppe.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Coming Monday to a website near you...

I'm planning on it, already figuring out the best times/classes. I'd really love to take all the classes, what girl wouldn't? (But I will be unlucky enough to be at work when registration goes live :( Keep your fingers crossed for me!)
Are you coming too?
Happy Easter to everyone, I'm off to paint eggs with the short people.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Garland Swap Sweet Surprises

I love getting mail, especially when it is full of sweet surprises. Last week I received a pleasant package containing so many pretty pieces it made me feel like Marie Antoinette. My Garland Swap partner, Kathy of Country Chintz, loaded my box with all sorts of stunning little (and big!) pieces of her art. First, my pretty garland, loaded with pink, spring, and chunky clear glitter, just the spring pick up we need! Next, a small spring collage I hung on my old pie safe in the dining area.

Here I combined several of my etsy finds (twinklehill's bird cage and janiedmatterns pretty bird shadowbox) with Kathy's framed cloth collage.

Kathy also made me a shadowbox (and I wondered why the box was so heavy!). Here I displayed it with some French books, a tag by Brandywine, and other favorites. Please excuse the dust on the dresser. I have more important things to do, like paint.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart Kathy!
Also in the mail today, a few more surprises. Eileen of Star's Fault had a sweet giveaway in March for one of her pretty journals. Although I didn't win the journal, she was ever so kind to send ALL participant a sweet little handmade card/notebook just right for inspiring even more artistic works. I'm not sure if I want you jaunting off to her blog just yet, you might not come back! ;) Eileen's art is ever inundated with help from her three furry felines, so I wanted to share a photo of her booklet being enjoyed by MY little (?-he's really quite big for a cat) kitty, Barnum.

Another nice package for me (save for what the Crown Princess and Princess Royale run off with). This heady package had me before I even opened it. What could be in the pretty box?

Why, beguiling scents from etsy's Haunt. Oh, I had to stop myself from running right off and ordering a few more. Or did I? Normally I am NOT a lavendar fan, but the pumpkin part of the soap bar had me intrigued. It is heaven! Erin also sent little samples of her roma (orangey) and raspberry honey soaps. I also fell under the spell of her Lust lipbalms- two made it here (yes, I kept them from the Princesses)- sweet cream and violet!

Here's hoping something in your mail makes you smile, too!

Of Cabbages and Queens, Tutorials and Crepes

Ah, lovely spring break. While it's nice not running the three small humans around to various school activities and appointments, I wonder what I'll actually be able to accomplish with them all home!
One thing I did do with the Crown Princess (my oldest daughter Dana) was to make clay buttons from Ranjini's tutorial over on the Year of Color blog. Very fun and unique buttons and charms! Here they are, still drying on the paint tray. Speaking of tutorials, I myself was fortunate enough to share one of my own for Year of Color (it's still not too late to join!-Hurry if you want to participate in the giveaway. Check out Artsymama's blog for details)

The fabulously shabby nests and blossoms tutorial went up last night.

Since April's theme is polka dot, I had to sneak a few in there. Somehow I did forget to leave this pretty photo out.

Also going up sometime today in my shop will be a few more hand-dyed crepes.

Enjoy your spring, we are expecting snow by Wednesday!