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21  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Mona Lisa Photo Stand In on: May 04, 2014 05:25:32 PM
I don't even know what to call this, but I made a Mona Lisa where kids can put their face in hers and take a picture.  Our local elementary is having an art show and thought this would be a fun idea.  I offered to paint it.  Took about four hours.  Hopefully it won't get too beat up by the kids, but I imagine it will.

Hope the kids enjoy it.
22  COOKING / Dessert / May the fourth cupcakes on: May 04, 2014 05:13:46 PM
Had to celebrate Star Wars day and decided we needed cupcakes!

Devils food chocolate with vanilla buttercream frosting and a chocolate ganache drizzle.  But the best part about these is my new chocolate mold!  Han Solo in carbonite.  Love it.  I actually found it at the second hand store a couple weeks ago. 

May the fourth be with you  Grin
23  COOKING / Dessert / Gluten Free Apple-Pear Pie on: March 15, 2014 06:57:17 PM
Had to celebrate PI day with a pie!  But had someone wheat allergic coming to visit, so I took the challenge to make a gluten free pie.  The apple pear filling was a scratch filling that I canned last fall when I had plenty of apples and pears.  It was really good!  Very sweet and cinnamon-y.  I don't have a recipe for it because I don't remember, but I assume I just followed an apple pie filling recipe and used half pears.

Recipe for GF pie crust.  Go to the website for the directions.

Butter Pie Crust
Makes one double crust (or enough for about 8 pocket pies)
12 tablespoons cold butter ( 1 1/2 sticks)
2 cups GF pastry flour blend  --- I used Featherlite flour, basically a rice/tapioca/potato flour mix.
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold cream cheese
5 tablespoons very cold water

With homemade vanilla bean ice cream ala mode!

Very flaky.  Still a bit crisper than AP flour pie crusts, but for GF it was amazing.  I will use this recipe again, and I think even non-gf would like it. 

Go ahead and try it! Smiley
24  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 95 ENTRIES / Hunger Games Clock on: February 10, 2014 07:51:50 AM

I spend way too much time at our local second hand shop.  I love to find things to repurpose.  Most of the time I buy things with a thought of what they could be, but don't know for sure and it goes into my repurpose box until inspiration hits.  This was not like that.  When I saw this in the store I knew exactly what it what it was going to be. 

Found a clock box.  Not sure what else to call it.  Just a plain wooden box with a clock on one side and a plain metal plate on the other.

These pics the clock was already pulled away and I ripped the metal piece out and sanded off the glue.  And I guess this is the only picture I have that has some scale to it.  The top right is a pencil eraser metal portion.  The box is only a few inches long.

It wanted to become a...

Catching Fire Book Clock

I thought the shape looked a lot like a book, so I painted it to look like the Catching Fire book.

I know this won't make a lot of sense to the non-Hunger Game fans, but briefly the place the characters go is an arena with lots of dangers and shaped like a clock.  Each hour has a different problem to face.  So this clock is painted as those problems--bugs, lightning bolt, killer monkeys, etc and a few ticks of the clock we don't know, so they are represented by fire for the girl on fire.  One of the quotes from the book is "tick tock, the arena's a clock".

I had to make things hard on myself and paint basically inchies to get all the pics to fit.  Some details even got painted with a needle point!  But I loved how they turned out.


This has already found its new home at another craftster's house!  And out of all the things I make for swaps, this one really wanted to stay here, but I relented and sent it on its way. 

Thanks for the challenge!  I love to remake things that would otherwise be headed to the landfill.
25  COOKING / Dessert / Giant Cupcake Cake on: January 10, 2014 07:45:19 PM
Been watching too much Cake Boss lately and really wanted to bake a fancy cake.  Decided a cupcake cake would have to do.  And since I bought a giant cupcake pan a few months ago and haven't got to play with it yet, I figured why not!  You don't need a reason for cupcakes, and that goes for any size cupcakes, LOL.

Sweet vanilla cake and buttercream frosting.  Piped roses all over and used valentines sprinkles.

Check out that dark chocolate liner!  Used the same silicone mold and brushed melted chocolate inside.  Dropped the cake right in.

Not quite as pretty after we all tore into it, but it shows the layers and chocolate edging.  It was delicious!  Dark chocolate bar with your cake!

Here's the tutorial I followed:  http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/90/8e/93/908e93c7705a4be4cec2e52bad8456d8.jpg 
26  COOKING / Dessert / Baklava on: December 29, 2013 04:36:24 PM
This was supposed to be my entry for the sweets challenge.  I was so happy to have it in the oven and looking beautiful.... until I realized I hadn't taken the in process photos.  DOH!  But these are beautiful so you just get to look at them anyway.


Baklava isn't particularly hard, just time consuming.  So if you have about two hours one night and want to impress everyone with your baking excellence, try it out.  The first time I brought this to a family function whatever years back, hub's Grandmother was astounded that a home baker could make such a thing.  It blew her mind.

Recipe:  http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Baklava-II/Detail.aspx
basically is a sweetened nut mixture in between sheets of filo brushed with butter.  Then you make a sugar/honey syrup to put over the top.  I like the look of cloves on top, plus I like the spicy taste, but many people don't so either tell them to discard the clove, or omit. 

I like to put mine in individual cupcake wrappers so it's easy to grab one.

Thanks for looking  Smiley
27  COOKING / Dessert / Better than Robert Redford Dessert on: December 28, 2013 09:16:57 PM
Better than Robert Redford Cake

This is known by a bunch of different names, but I learned it as Robert Redford.  It's a creamy, nutty, chocolatey, cheesecakey pie and it's extremely rich and delicious. 

I've also made this gluten free before, using a GF flour in the nuts, just make sure your pudding is GF (most Jell-O instant is, just check the label to make sure your specific box is)


1 stick butter
1 c   flour
1 c   chopped pecans

8 oz   cream cheese
1 c   powdered sugar
1 c   cool whip

1 small   box chocolate instant pudding
1 small   box cheesecake (or vanilla) instant pudding
2 c   milk

handful of miniature chocolate chips


Combine butter, flour and nuts. Press into 9 x 13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool.
Fill with the following blend - cream cheese, powdered sugar and Cool Whip.
Top with the pudding mixture - both pudding packages mixed with 2 cups milk.
Top with rest of Cool Whip and mini chocolate chips

You start with the crust.  It's a nut layer.  Just press it in there evenly.  I always seem to get a thicker layer in the middle so spread it out to the edges well.

Add the cheesecake layer over that followed by the chocolate pudding layer, and then the whipped topping layer.

Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over.  You could also use chocolate shavings, but chips work just fine.

Tada!  Look at those beautiful layers.

Now cut yourself off a big slice. YUM!

So good and rich and it's great to make before the big party.  Could make it in the morning or the day before even.  After that the chocolate chips start to seep, but that doesn't effect the flavor.

Good luck!
28  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Secret Playroom ~ Hobbit Hole on: December 27, 2013 08:47:49 PM
One of my girls' big presents was to get a secret reading room under our stairs.  It's in our movie room so we call it the Hobbit Hole.  It turned out so well!  I can't take all the credit, hubs did most of it, but we've been doing it since September, so many months in the making!  We worked hard on it, knowing they're getting older (7&9) and things like this won't be exciting too many more years.

Innocent wall

Secret door!

At first it was a Nemo themed playroom for my toddlers, but it became a storage area instead.


Door to the storage room.

We built a wall between

and knocked the walls out.  

Built one side into a closet.  

Built in book shelves.

You have to pull back on 'gateway to foo' to open.

Inside.  New paint, new floors, edging, lighting, bookshelf for the girls books....

Had a stupid pipe we needed to cover

Became a brownie door!


Thanks for staying with me through this long post!  We are super excited about this and my girls couldn't be happier.  They stay in the Hobbit Hole from morning to night.
29  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / Face Paintings on: December 05, 2013 04:49:11 PM
Been getting into face painting lately.  I'm thinking about going professional next summer, but I'm kind of a six month hobby person so we'll see if I want to stick with it next year.  As for now I'm having fun with it! I have been buying paints and supplies for a professional kit if I want to go on, but I'll always have it to do for volunteer work and for fun anyway.

Now forgive my line work on the designs, these are all my first tries but the best looking ones I'm willing to share lol.  I'm still in the practicing and getting quick stage.

Big Flowers


Wore this one to opening night of Catching Fire ~this one was tricky.  I had to do the mockingjay in reverse because of the mirror reflection

And because I always have to do something Harry Potter.  There was a challenge to make these little puff balls into something.

Flower fairy

My little knight

My favorite of the batch!  A fantasy tiger.  Took me about 20 minutes.  If I go pro I'm hoping to half that time. 

Thanks for looking!  Hopefully I can add a bunch more designs soon!
30  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Face Painting Fun! on: October 31, 2013 08:09:38 AM
My daughters were going to have kind of plain costumes this year, so I wanted to jazz them up with some face paint.  Went online and bought a pallette and found I really enjoyed painting!  So I've played all we could this month.  Good month to practice, you can actually walk around the grocery store with a painted face and people would just think Halloween, lol.

I ended up doing face painting at our kid Halloween party and one girl came back the next day to get hers done again.  I've already had repeat customers! 

Anyway, here are some of the designs I've done this month.  Most of the designs are copy-cats from Lisa Joy Young, or from pictures I've found on the internet.

Thanks for looking!
Happy Halloween!  Smiley
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