Sunday, August 31, 2008

Daring Baker Challenge

This months challenge was a fun one. The hosts for this challenge were Meeta K of What's For Lunch Honey and Tony Tahhan of Olive Juice. The challenge this month was to make chocolate eclairs. The recipe is a Pierre Herme recipe, who is one of the greatest pastry chefs ever! The rules for this challenge were easy. You needed to keep one component chocolate and you needed to make the pate a choux from the recipe given. Everything else was fair game. I pretty much stayed with the recipe. I mean, you can't go wrong with chocolate right? My only real challenge with the recipe was the piping of the pate a choux. I made the eclairs smaller than I wanted to. Overall, it was a fun challenge. Check out Meeta K's blog for the recipe. You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Stamped Leather Cuff

I was reading French Poppy's blog and came across a new link to a blog called Raised In Cotton. What a beautiful blog she has. I was really intrigued by her Bohemian bling bracelets. She gives a how to on her site and they are absolutely brilliant. I had to try my hand at making these beauties. I used some leather from the stash I had on hand from the tile bracelets. I stamped a design using a Staz On stamp pad. I also have a stash of Grannie earrings and grab one of those for my bling. To close the bracelet, I made a chain and added a hook. I think it came out very nicely.

Friday, August 22, 2008

English Lace Scarf

I have been in a knitting mood lately. Maybe spurred on by actually finishing a project or the hint that the weather may change soon. I have had this pattern for a long time. I bought it as a kit when we were on vacation several years ago. It comes from a cute shop in Washington called Churchmouse Yarns and Tea. The pattern is a beaded silk English lace and it is knitted on some scrumptious pure silk yarn from Debbie Bliss. It feels so good in the hand. The scarf caught my eye at the shop at first because of the beads and then I fell in love with the pattern. It is one of those patterns that I have to concentrate when I am knitting or I will loose my count. I love the color of the yarn. Hopefully, I will finish this scarf in time for fall.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Broken Pieces Find New Life & A Princess Rosary

My dear friend, Peggy dropped off some broken rosaries last week. She wanted me to have them to use in my mixed media pieces. I was touched that she thought of me. In the bag of broken rosaries was this little gem above. It was a chain rosary that was missing the center and the tail. Otherwise it really was a completed rosary. I took the beads apart and strung the rosary on flex wire. Since I knew I was missing some beads I decided to change the Our Father beads to pearls. I used a light/dark seed bead mix in between the beads and added a bronze center and crucifix. I think it turned out lovely. Last night I saw my friend at Back to School night and handed back her rosary. I think she was surprised. I told her is just need a little TLC.

This rosary was a custom order for a First Communion this year. The special young lady wanted a rosary that would be "like what a princess would have". That was a tall order. I used amethyst beads for the Ave's and etched sterling silver beads for the Pater beads. The center and crucifix are done in bronze. I love the old world feel of the rosary and I think it might be what a princess would have. She seemed to really love it.

August Birthdays

There are a lot of birthdays this month for us. Even my birthday was this month. Having an August birthday can be a lot of fun. The only concern in Sacramento is if it will be blazing hot on that day. The pictures above are of my good friend Cara's 13th birthday. She is a truly amazing young lady. I have never met anyone so kind and caring of others. It was a joy to spend time with her and her family. I love the first picture. You can see my boys drinking soda and in mid burp. My boys! They are just keeping it real. The bottom picture is the whole gang together. These kids have been friends since pre-kindergarten. It is amazing to see how they have grown up.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I Finished a Knitting Project!

I posted awhile back about how I am such a slow knitter. I am still working on that other wrap I started last September. This wrap I finished in two weeks. Okay, its knitted on super big needles and it is a large lace pattern, but I finished it. I still need to weave in the ends but I think it turned out very nice. The pattern is from French Girl Knits and the name is Oceane. It is a breezy wrap perfect for those slightly cool nights. I think I am going to try to knit this again with some SoySilk yarn next. I am just happy I finished a knitting project.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Zucchini Part 2

My dear sweet cousin gave me a delicious recipe to help me use up my arm load of zucchini. This is very tasty. I enjoyed this tonight for dinner. I have included the recipe below. Feel free to adjust the amounts to fit your families needs. Bon Appetit!

Zucchini Salad A La Holly

1 big Zucchini or 3 small, shredded

1/3 cup Red onion, thinly sliced

1/3 cup Red bell pepper, thinly sliced

2/3 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

4 ounces of good quality feta cheese (if you have a Whole Foods nearby, I suggest the Valbreso feta. You won't believe the taste. It is nothing like the Athenos you find in the grocery store)

Your favorite vinaigrette

Toss ingredients together and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Overabundance of Zucchini

Give a show of hands if your zucchini has taken over your home garden. I thought so. You know that one big zucchini that is hiding among the leaves. It ends up bigger than the length of your arm. Here is my dilemma. I am the only one that likes zucchini, and I only sort of like it. You ask then why on earth are you growing it. It makes me feel like a real gardener. It is so easy to grow that even I can do it. To be truthful, I have had a good garden this year. We have enjoyed cantaloupe, peppers and tomatoes. But the zucchini has been plentiful.

So I have made zucchini bread, grilled zucchini, zucchini pizza, grilled zucchini with goat cheese and zucchini soup. The zucchini soup is my favorite so far. The original recipe came from an old copy of Everyday Food. Son number 1 is beginning to really like soup and I thought this would be a good way to get some veggies into him. I made a few changes to the original recipe. I used chicken stock instead of water and the original recipe called for curry. I am not a big fan of curry so I changed the spice profile to a more herbaceous flavor. I used herbs de provence instead. I really enjoyed the soup. I hope you do as well.

Garden Zucchini Soup (adapted from Everyday Food)

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
pinch coarse salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons herbs de provence
2 tablespoon dry sherry
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds shredded zucchini
1 baking potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and herbs de provence and freshly ground pepper; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add zucchini, potato, and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

In batches, puree soup in a blender (do not fill more than halfway and take the center off the lid and cover with a towel) until smooth; serve immediately.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Tile Bracelets Part 2- A Tutorial

I was playing around again with the whole tile bracelet idea. This version is Italian tessarae glass tiles. I really like the look of this. It gives the feel of an old mosaic bracelet cuff. The bracelet measures one inch wide and is very comfortable to wear. I like the vibrant colors of the glass tile over the ceramic. These tiles come in a variety of colors. I was able to find mine at my local Michaels store, but you could also order these online from Mosaic Mercantile.

Tile Bracelet Tutorial:

Step 1: Gather your materials. I used the glass tessarae tiles for my cuff. You will also need an adhesive. I used on this project Crafter's Pick, Ultimate glue. I have also used Sobo glue, but I don't like how it adhered. You will also need a leather strip about 1 inch wide and 9 inches long. Test out your tiles on the leather strip to make sure they fit. You will be working on the suede side of the leather for a better grip. You will also need a snap kit.

Step 2: Measure about 1 inch from end of leather. You want to leave that much room for your snap. Using a paint brush, paint a strip of glue onto your leather strip. I also like to paint glue onto the back of the tile.

Step 3: Place tiles on glue. Continue doing this until you have 14 rows of tile or until desired length. Let the tiles dry overnight before continuing to make sure they adhere.

Step 4: Next you need to measure the cuff on your wrist an mark where you want the snaps to be. I used a Sharpie pen and made a dot on the cuff. Then use a screw punch or a leather punch and make a hole in the strap on both sides.

Step 5: You will need a snap kit which I also purchased at Michaels. Your snap will consist of 4 parts. The outer part and the inner snap part. Make sure you test your snap before you hammer it on. Next place your snap on your cuff and hammer your snap in with the handy tools in your kit.

Voila, your bracelet is complete. You can get as fancy as you want. Maybe make a mosaic pattern on your bracelet. The skies the limit.

Update(10/26/08): I have had some comments about the side of the glass tile I used. I used the textured side that would normally be glued down. I liked the texture to it. You can use the smooth side for the glass when you are tiling your bracelets. It's up to your individual taste.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

This and That

My friend Lisa asked if I could make her a tile bracelet. The bracelet is ceramic tiles on a leather band. My first attempt was a band that was about 2 inches wide with 4 rows of 14 tiles glued on. I found it to be bulky to wear. This bracelet above is my interpretation. I made the band 1 inch wide and glued 2 rows of 8 tiles each. I wanted a less bulky way of closing the bracelet than a snap, so I added seed beads on flex wire and a toggle clasp. I like the look. I may try glass tile next time to see the effect.

I can't wait for Autumn!

Even though the calendar says August, I am in a Autumn kind of mood. I have been busy painting these lovelies. They are peat pots that I painted and then added embellishments. Some have torn music pages and others just have ephemera I had in my craft box. I used glitter glue and glittered the top and rim. I then sealed the pot with Mod Podge. To add a handle I used a Japanese screw punch to make holes on the sides and added eyelets. To make the handle I just used wire from the hardware store and curled the ends so they won't poke anyone. I added tissue paper and they are ready to fill.
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