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1  COOKING / Dessert / Poppy birthday cake on: February 08, 2010 04:25:40 PM

My boyfriend made me a red velvet cream cheese cake for my birthday, but he had to work and only had time to cover it with fondant.  I was thrilled to spend my birthday decorating a cake!  I am new at this, but I wanted to try something a little intricate.  Poppies are my favourite flower, so I went for it.  In hindsight, I think I would have made the fondant a bit thinner to get that crepe-y look that poppies have.  I loved the colours that food colouring past gave, though!
2  COOKING / Dessert / In honour of my upcoming birthday... on: January 07, 2010 07:02:27 PM
I share a birthday with one of my friends who is one year older than me.  We often do a joint birthday party, and last year our mutual friend made us a tongue-in-cheek cake to honour our biological clocks


The cake itself was red velvet with cream cheese icing.  I had five pieces that night alone.

I wonder what kind of cake it will be this year.

3  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Amerinadian Thanksgiving via Nigella and others on: January 07, 2010 06:53:33 PM
We visited New York City during our thanksgiving longweekend in October (and had the planet's best pizza out of Naples), but when we got home we started getting inundated with American Thanksgiving TV commercials and such.  My guy and I REALLY started craving the turkey dinner we had missed.  We decided to do a mid week stuffed chicken dinner.  Holy crap it was good!

I of course turned to my Nigella cookbooks www.nigella.com
to find some recipes.  I improvized a stuffing of sausages, onions and cranberry pumpkin museli bread based on one of her recipes and stuffed a large chicken.  I used her Maple Roasted Parsnips (O. M. G.)
and an amazing brussel sprout slaw from Country Living magazine (my dorky favourite)
Home made cranberry sauce (Nigella) - you just cook them with sugar til they all burst
and boring old mashed potatoes to humour my boyfriend.

Then we finished off the binge with homemade pumpkin pie with homemade crust and whipped cream.  Thanks for the bountiful harvest!

4  COOKING / Dessert / First time with fondant, and a hobby is born. on: January 03, 2010 03:08:19 PM
My boyfriend loves cake decorating shows.
Back in the fall, for his birthday, we decided to give fondant cake decorating a whirl.  We bought box-mix cake which is his favourite (I know! but it was his birthday cake) and found an easy fondant recipe online using minimarshmallows and icing sugar


and had a little fun!

Levelling the cake with a bread knife

mixing the icing



happy birthday!

Loved it.  He got enthusiastic and wanted to make a Fondant Yule Log when I came across this recipe
in my Martha magazine (I just got a subcription! So excited.)

here is his delicious result (I helped Grin)

And here it is as the feature of the Christmas Sweet table at my party

It is accompanied by my cookie tree, my cookie selection (chocolate barks, molasses cookies and snickerdoodles, and my mint chocolate faves - Martha Recipe,  and my Nigella Lawson Boozy British Trifle, as well as a beautiful chocolate basket my friend brought.  All were very very yummy.

5  COOKING / Dessert / These Chocolate-Peppermint Cookies stole the show on: January 03, 2010 02:43:07 PM
I made these cookies for Christmas baking, and everyone who tried them said they were the best cookies they'd ever had.  Thanks Martha!

Here's the recipe.  You're welcome!

6  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 46 ENTRIES / Pink and White and Peppermint Cottage on: January 03, 2010 12:56:37 PM
At a second hand book store, I came across an early nineties book called "Homemade Christmas" by Martha Stewart.  Good ol' Martha!  I used her cottage template, but then decorated according to my own whims.
This is the Front:

The Side:

The Back:


And completion:

I had been doing a pink and turquoise theme for all of my cookie decorating to keep it simple and pretty, but when I decided to have a candycane garden, I thought I'd just stick with pink and white colour scheme.  I was going for a bit of a Germanic feel.
Thanks for looking!
7  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Shadowboxes - my new thang on: October 05, 2008 07:54:04 AM
I love shadowboxes.  As a mixed media gal, where else can I paint, make textiles, sculptures, and set up a mini installation?
This is one of a series of pincushions I made out of pictures of victorian children I painted:

(I was merging the sexualization of youth in history and today with the posed sexy victorian baby pictures and embroidered imagery taken from teen magazines... hmmm, cherries, I wonder what that symbolizes...)
And this one is from a planned trilogy of what makes women fab:

It's "Love".  The trilogy will have Love, Fertility & Knowledge.
Stay tuned for "fertility" and "knowledge"

Sorry about the reflective lighting.
8  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Frida Kahlo Inspired Family Tree (Work in Progress) on: September 27, 2008 03:18:50 PM
Frida Kahlo is my favourite painter, and I love her strange, cryptic, symbolically rich "family tree" paintings.  This one is an actual family tree:

And this one is more of a map of her influences:

I've been wanting to do something like this for a long time, and this year I came upon an amazing Persian tree textile while looking for a tree tattoo image (I love the symbolism behind trees)

Anyhow, I began this painting that is a family tree of all of the artists that have influenced my work and make me the person that I am.  It is still a work in progress.  Here are some stages:

The artists/creators pictured are (or will be)
Margaret Atwood (Writer)
Paula Rego (Visual Artist)
Yann Teirsen (Musician)
Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Filmmaker)
Marlene Dumas (Visual Artist)
Rufus Wainwright (Musician)
Frida Kahlo (Visual Artist)
Shary Boyle (Visual Artist)
Judy Chicago (Visual Artist)
Baz Luhrman (Filmmaker)
Michel Gondry (Filmmaker)

More to come!
9  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Budget Diningroom makeover: a little paint, some new knobs... (photo heavy) on: September 27, 2008 02:58:23 PM
I am a teacher,so I always have the summer off, and just having started with a new school board, I didn't have my employee number by Sept.  That meant I had an extra months vacation with no income.  Time for a cheap project!  I watch hmoe decor shows almost exclusively (I heart HGTV) so I was inspired to make over my diningroom for approximately $45, using paint, stain, new knobs and elbow grease.  As soon as I get a paycheque, we're painting the walls!

My Sketch

Before 1

Before 2

Stripping the chairs

Paint and some new knobs dress up an old ikea cabinet

pretty new knobs

chairs stained mahogany

I painted the bottom of the table, and left the top original wood (I love that look)

After 1

After 2

I am pleased with the results, and with how much it looks like my sketch.  What do you think?
10  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Pet Portraits, and Frida Kahlo for my "Family Tree" on: August 29, 2008 06:25:58 PM

Can you tell I'm on summer vacation?  Here are two portraits of my little men wearing clothes because I'm insane.  I love painting animals.  Shaky's eye is actually glazed over like that, btw.  They are actually pretty good likenesses!

And, in experimenting for my "Family Tree" painting, I tried painting Frida in a comic-y style because I thought it might look better with the folky style of the painting.  I was also inspired by the Adrian Tomine (comic artist) book I picked up second hand last week.

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