For Ginger Snap Creations Red and Gold Challenge, I made a 5" x 7" mixed-media piece picturing an Asian sunset. I have so enjoyed these Asian Challenges! They have been so much fun and have really pushed me to think outside of the box. Looking at my other Asian creations, each of them featured geishas. I decided that for my last piece, I would not use any characters but keep the piece simple - like so much of Asian culture.
I started by painting the background in watercolor mixed with irridescent medium to make the color seem to shimmer. The red color I used is one of my favorite watercolor reds. It seems to be photographing somewhat orange here but it really is red! The Asian characters at the upper left hand side were embossed with gold embossing powder. The temple gate was coated with Arnold Grummer's Composition Gold Dust, and then covered with Mod Podge. I used foam squares to lift the gate off of the painting to give it a 3-D effect. The sun was die cut, painted with watercolor (my favorite yellow-gold color - Quinacridone Gold), and then covered with Mod Podge. The last touch was a very light sprinkling of gold glitter dust.
My friends and I painted flowers tonight using a plastic bag. First, we wet the watercolor paper and then used our brushes to drop color around the paper where the flowers and vase should be. Then, we took a plastic garbage bag, crumpled it up as much as possible, and laid it over the paper, pressing down gently. We set our paintings aside to dry with the plastic on them. This was not going to happen, as muggy as it was tonight! So, about a half hour later, we unveiled our paintings and it was really interesting to see the difference the plastic bags made. I was really happy with the way the plastic bag gave texture to my vase. The bag didn't make much of an impression on the flowers, though. To finish the painting, we used darker colors to highlight and define the flowers, added a shadow to the vase, and did different backgrounds. I used a sponge to achieve my background. This will be an interesting technique to try again using different kinds of plastic, or even freezer paper, pressing the glossy side against the painted paper.
When this challenge was announced, I had to laugh! I had utilized fans in two previous Ginger Snap Challenges! Who knew? So I had to put on my thinking cap and come up with something different. This is an Asian lady looking through the window of a Fan Shop. The shop and window was actually a rectangular plastic box which had originally contained a newly-bought pair of embroidery scissors. I put up the wallpaper in the 'shop' and then hung four different kinds of fans on the wall. I checked in Google's translator and the Japanese characters at the top of the shop mean "Fan Merchant," (at least according to Google!)
And how about the sign inside the shop at the top of the wall? That's my little attempt at humor. Google says that is the Japanese translation of "Buy One Get One Free." Please forgive any incorrect translation. I tried.
Three of the four fans were made with Washi paper. The fourth fan was made with a flowered paper I liked. The little Asian lady's kimono was made with colored cardstock and washi paper.
For this week's Ruby Tuesday, here is our beloved, dearly departed Grady. The best cat ever - for us, anyway. He was a stray who kept coming around and every time we opened our door, he scooted right in. We had 2 other cats in the house, but as soon as he walked in the door, he was the King. He would paw at the door when the visit was over. We adopted him as our 'Outdoor Cat.' However when some nasty felines wounded him more than once, costing us several hundred dollars in vet bills, my husband decided that it was time for Grady to become an indoor cat. It took many months before he would stop pawing at the door to get out.
Once declared an 'Indoor Cat,' he took to defending our new cat, "Little Bit" from the clutches of Fanny, who hated Little Bit from the moment she laid eyes on him. She would corner him and then just sit there until the poor little thing would have no choice but to wet in the corner. But when Grady came inside, that harrassment stopped. Grady defended Little Bit and chased Fanny any time he could. Tooky still thought he was the alpha cat, and Grady, gentleman that he was, let him think that.
One day I woke to find Grady dead on the kitchen floor. My husband was distraught. They had become such good buddies, as Frank was retired and he and Grady were BFFs. Just a year later, my beloved Frank passed away as well. So now I think of them together at the Rainbow bridge waiting for the other cats to follow. And I'm sure that Grady is eagerly awaiting Fanny's arrival so he can chase her all over again.
This recipe is from a cookbook written by Vincent Price and wife, Mary. Mr. Price was quite a gourmet cook. This recipe, although very easy to make, is a really elegant dessert. For summer, you might try a different sort of wine, such as blush. All of the alcohol is cooked out when the dish is complete; however if you don't want to use wine, try pomegranate juice.
Pears in Red Wine
1 cup red wine
1 cup sugar
1 - 2" cinnamon stick (I have used ground)
3 whole cloves (I have used ground)
6 whole pears
Combine wine, sugar, cinnamon stick and cloves and cook for 5 minutes. Peel, halve and core the pears and poach them in the syrup about 25 minutes, or until they are tender.Cool the pears in the syrup.Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves and chill the fruit.Put pears on individual serving saucers.Pour some syrup around them.Mix a little cinnamon with sour cream and put about 1 tsp. of this in the indentation in the center of the pear.(The dish isn't as good without the sour cream/cinnamon garnish)
I made the background by adding packing tape, painting it with champagne-colored acrylic paint, adding some ink shading, stamping and then edging with gold. The handbag is made with washi paper. The inchies are covered with kimono material and were a gift from a trader. And inside the purse is a coin for good luck!
My box is celebrating the Royal wedding that will take place this month.
I apologize for the glare. The photos of the happy couple are covered with a glass bubble. The center of the box is my re-creation of the Bride's engagement ring. The center 'blue sapphire' is surrounded with Swarovski crystals. I used holographic punchanella on top of the box.
The sides are covered with beaded lace. The drawer pull is the same gem as is used in the center of the ring. The box sits on four short golden legs.
Here's what was inside the box. The square pendant to the left is made from a small piece of brayered paper that was covered with Glossy Accents.
The sky and grass were painted with watercolors on watercolor paper. The geisha was made with green cardstock and washi paper. The background was sprayed with gold glimmer mist and then lightly sprinkled with glitter dust.
1 - ½ cups sugar
1 cup sour cream (not fat free. low fat is OK)
½ cup margarine or butter softened
1-1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 large)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
½ cup chopped nuts
Browned Butter Frosting (below)
Heat oven to 375. Grease and flour jelly roll pan. 15=1/2 x 10-1/2 x 1 inch. Mix sugar, sour cream, margarine and eggs in large mixer bowl on low speed, scraping bowl occasionally, 1 minute. Beat in bananas and vanilla on low speed 30 seconds. Beat in flour, salt and baking soda on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, 1 minute. Stir in nuts. Spread dough in pan. Bake until light brown, 20-25 minutes. Cool; frost with Browned Butter Frosting. Cut into bars, about 2 x 1-1/2 inches. 4 dozen cookies
Browned Butter Frosting
Heat ¼ cup margarine or butter over medium heat until delicate brown; remove from heat. Mix in 2 cups powdered sugar. Beat in 1 tsp. vanilla and 3 tbsp. milk until smooth and of spreading consistency.
Sorry I don't have a photo of these; but take my word for it - they look really pretty with all of those fresh fruit colors. This is not my recipe - it's all over the Internet. This is a neat cookie to make to put in Easter baskets - so colorful, and I don't know anyone who doesn't like them. Best of all they are super easy to make!
Fruity Pebbles Cookies
1 (18 1/4 - ounce) box yellow cake mix
(I used Betty Crocker Super Moist Butter Recipe Yellow)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
3 cups Fruity Pebbles cereal (generic store brand is just fine)
Preheat oven to 350°F
Beat cake mix, oil, water and egg in large bowl until well blended.
Add cereal; mix well.
Drop tablespoonfuls of dough, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 11 minutes, or JUST until cookies begin to brown.
Cool on wire racks
This is for Ginger Snap's Once in a Blue Moon Challenge - GCSP07. I chose to work with former challenge GC21 - Movie Stars.
I created an altered coaster honoring silent screen star Pauline Frederick. I love the way Pauline is posed in this photo. She had a startling beauty. She was a Broadway star before she turned to films, and was already well in her thirties when Hollywood beckoned. Her movie career expanded to include talkies and she made her last film in 1938.
I made the celluloid out of transparencies. I used Distress inks over top of a gessoed surface on the card. Crystal stickles on the flowers.
I was fortunate enough to win Vintage Dragonfly's recent giveaway. She said she would send a kitchen-sized match box crammed with goodies. And she wasn't kidding! Here is what she sent:
Can you believe it? A little bit of everything - and everything wonderful! I completely love the white china bird - he will be placed on my display shelf for all to see. and here is the gorgeous altered matchbox:
Isn't it just perfectly beautiful? She covered the matchbox with burlap and everything is so natural looking in the bird display on top. I just love it! I'm so thrilled and honored to have won this! I love her blog!
The pattern is Emily Hackbarth's "African Necklace," which was available free at about.com.
This was so much fun to make! It's always a challenge to see how soon you can get the pattern in your head. The necklace consists of 19 identical motifs, connected. Each motif had 23 steps to completion! I'm making it sound complicated, but it's really not! After about 2 motifs, you have the pattern in your head and it goes much quicker. I finished off 2 more motifs to make matching earrings. This rose-burgundy shade is one of my favorites.
This meatloaf has always been a big hit with my children. I first posted this recipe in my cooking blog in 2005, and at that time, I had been making the dish for many years. Try it! You'll like it!
My Meat Loaf 1 egg
1/4 cup catsup or chili sauce
1/4 cup flour, or ground bran cereal (Fiber 1)
1/4 cup fat free sour cream
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 lb. ground chuck
1 lb. lean ground turkey
Slices of bacon
1/3 cup catsup
1 tbsp. mustard
2 tbsp. brown sugar
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Put egg, catsup, flour, sour cream and onion soup mix into a large bowl. Mix until well blended. Add ground chuck and ground turkey. Mix with your hands until very well mixed.
Form into a loaf and place on a rack suspended about 2 inches from the bottom of the pan. (I use small tin cans that 8 oz. pineapple comes in to suspend the rack). Shape the loaf more in a flat, rectangular shape rather than a tall football shape so that it bakes evenly and thoroughly.
Cover top of loaf with bacon slices. Place meat loaf in oven and bake for one hour.
While meat loaf is baking, make topping by combining catsup, mustard and brown sugar in a small bowl. After meatloaf has baked for one hour, brush or spoon sauce on top of meatloaf and return to oven for 10 more minutes. Remove meatloaf to platter and let rest about 5 minutes before slicing.
I have also made this meatloaf in a crockpot. If you do, be sure to raise the meatloaf a few inches from the bottom so that it does not sit in the juices. Juice cans and a small metal plate can be used for this purpose.
An alternate topping for this meatloaf is one can of beef gravy, poured over the top after the loaf has baked for one hour.
Look what came in the mail for me! It's my altered matchbox from the Things with Wings Matchbox swap. Isn't it gorgeous? It's so chock-full of little bits and baubles that I can't get it shut again since I've opened it! LOL. Lynn made this lovely box and also the tag you see here.
Lynn was assigned to send me a matchbox; but I was assigned to send my matchbox to someone else. So Lynn suggested we exchange tags. That way, she has an example of my art, even though she doesn't have a matchbox from me. Isn't this a great idea? And look at the fantastic tag she made! Lynn, you are quite an artist and I loved getting your matchbox. I hope I get the chance to make one for you very soon.
I will post the tag I sent to Lynn after she has received it.
Imagine my surprise when I unwrapped the ribbon that Misses Peach sent me (see earlier post) and found out that it was wound around a gorgeous ATC card called "A Season of Cats!" This card is just too beautiful for words. It is made with a packing tape background that is beautifully painted.
Thank you again, Misses Peach for brightening my day again with your gorgeous creation!
This is the first swap for this new swap group. Our theme was 'Things With Wings." So I chose butterflies.
I covered the top of my matchbox with matchsticks and then covered the sticks with gesso. I wanted the top to look like a white picket fence. On the 'fence,' I put a small silk flower, some die-cut leaves and two gorgeous blue butterflies. I added stickles to the flower and leaves.
The drawer pull was made with a metal butterfly bead
This photo shows the little wooden legs on the box. I covered the sides of the box with spring-green acrylic paint and stickles.
The theme for Dress Challenge 2011 for the month of April is Art Deco. Now you're talking! Art Deco is one of my very favorite styles. It has all of the glamour of the 20's, culminating in the 1939 World's Fair, which boasted many buildings built in the Art Deco style. My dress design was inspired by one of the first trading cards I ever created, which was based on the 1939 World's Fair. Here is that card:
I based the design of that card on a picture of an Art Deco mirror that I found.
And here's my dress:
I used Miyuki Delica Beads for the gown's straps and also to decorate the front of the dress.
And the back of the dress features an Art Deco design piece, which is actually a Vintaj earring finding: