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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Cathedral Veil

 This year I introduced several new veils to my Etsy collection.  Two new cathedral designs which definitely different from one another, and added more variety for the bride-to-be to choose from!

This first one has a fun added ruffle element at the hemline.  The horsehair trim creates a beautiful wave and the lace trim accent which goes all the way around the perimeter helps to highlight that unique hemline.  In addition, I added some beautiful lace appliques around the inner edge of the hemline giving it just the right finishing touch.                                  




The second veil is a lovely cut edge cathedral veil with the most gorgeous lace appliques.  Laying out the appliques to create just the right design can take me hours with pictures in between the different layouts until I land on just the right combination.  

This lace is so delicate.  It's a light ivory color with gold threads which outline the florals and leaves.  It truly is  amazing up close.  Also, due to the colors, it really looks great with either a diamond white gown or an ivory gown, so what could be better?     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              



Monday, October 5, 2020

SUNDRIED TOMATO AND SAUSAGE

There's nothing better than a recipe that is super simple and super yummy!  You can certainly pull this one together on a weeknight.  I literally put it together in about 20 minutes.  It takes about 12-15 minutes to simmer, so you can be sitting down to dinner in about 35-40 minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

13 oz. smoked sausage
1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ sweet onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Just before serving

2 oz. sundried tomatoes, julienned and dry packed
8 oz. penne
2 C. low soldium chicken broth
3/4 C. half and half
½ C grated gruyere
2 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley

DIRECTIONS:

Slice sausage into ¼" thick rounds, then set aside.  In a deep, 12" skillet over mediuim heat, heat oil.  Add onions and sausage and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook one minute more, stirring constantly.  Add tomatoes, penne, chicken broth and half and half.  Turn heat to high.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Stir, cover, and cook, 12-15 minutes (12 minutes is al dente).  Fold in cheese and parsley and serve immediately. 

Enjoy!

recipe c/o:  www.delish.com


Monday, September 21, 2020

PUMPKIN PECAN SPICE CAKE

For this year's Fall family get together, I kept in the spirit of fall and brought a homemade Pumpkin Pecan Spice Cake.  Since it received unanimous "lip smacking, thumbs up" reviews, I'm sharing it with you!

It starts with a box cake mix, but with there are some unique additions that elevates it well beyond its box status.  Isn't she pretty?

 This recipe takes some time, but I would say it was worth the effort.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups crushed vanilla wafers (about 60 wafers)
1 cup chopped pecans (I chose to use only 1/2 cup) 
3/4 cup butter, softened

CAKE:
1 pkg. spice cake mix (regular size)
1 can (15 oz.) solid pack pumpkin
4 large eggs 
½ cup butter, softened

FROSTING:
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups butter, softened
6 cups powder sugar
4 tsp. vanilla extract

TOPPING:
½ cup caramel ice cream topping


DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, combine the wafers, pecans and butter until crumbly.  Press into three greased and floured 9 inch round baking pans.

In another bowl, beat cake mix, pumpkin, eggs and butter.  Beat on low speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on high 2 minutes.  Spread over crust in each pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 24-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling, prepare the frosting.  In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Add sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth.

Place the layers crumb side down.  Spread the frosting between the layers and on the sides and top of the cake.  Once completely frosted, spread the caramel topping over the top allowing some to drip down the sides.  Store in the refrigerator to set the frosting.

Serve at room temperature.  

Enjoy!

recipe c/o:  Taste of Home fall 2020 magazine (pumpkin cookbook)

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

"HEALTHY APPLE CRISP"

I didn't title this recipe....but I tried it....and it was good!  I don't know if any dessert is truly healthy, but I think this was a good alternative to many desserts.  After all, it started with apples and had less sugar than a lot of recipes, very little butter, includes cinnamon and oats.   Heck, that's pretty good, right?!
You know what the best thing is about this recipe? You make it in the microwave!  So from start to serve it was just 20 minutes.         (Serves 4-6)

INGREDIENTS:

4 medium tart apples, peeled and thinly sliced
¼ cup sugar
1 Tbsp flour
2 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp ground cinnamon

TOPPING:
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp cold butter


DIRECTIONS:

Toss apples with sugar, flour, lemon juice and cinnamon.  Transfer to a greased (I used spray) microwave safe 9 inch deep dish pie plate.

Mix first four topping ingredients.  Cut in butter until crumbly; sprinkle over filling

Cover with waxed paper.  Microwave on high until apples are tender, 5-7 minutes.  If desired, serve with ice cream.

Enjoy!

recipe c/o:  www. tasteofhome.com

Monday, August 24, 2020

BLACKBERRY MUFFINS

I can't say that I've ever had a blackberry muffin before, so when I found this recipe, I thought I'd give it a go.  I enjoyed it!  The flavor was good, they're not too sweet,  but they also have a delicious streusel topping.
                                                                                        yields 10 standard or 8 large muffins

INGREDIENTS:

1½ cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract
1/3-1/2 cup milk
1 cup frozen blackberries or fresh
(if using frozen, do not thaw)


Streusel Topping:
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup flour 
¼ cup melted butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom


DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a muffin tin or line with muffin liners.   Add flour, sugar, salt and baking powder to a large bowl.  Whisk to combine.

Add oil to a 1 cup measuring cup.  Add egg and enough milk to fill to 1 cup line.  Add vanilla and almond extract and whisk to combine.

Add to flour mixture and stir until just combined.   Then fold in the blackberries.   

To make streusel topping, mix together all the ingredients with a fork until a coarse crumb is formed.  Sprinkle over muffins just before baking.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until tester inserted into the center comes out clean.   Cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing to cool on a wire rack. 

ENJOY!  

recipe c/o:  www.platingsandpairings.com

Thursday, August 6, 2020

CHARCUTERIE BOARD

This project was a labor of love for our daughter.  She loves charcuterie, so a few months prior to her birthday I came up with the idea of a homemade charcuterie board.  These are my favorite kinds of gifts, thoughtful....meaning you know the person is going to love it, and treasured....meaning because it was created by you for that person, so you know it's going to hold special meaning for them.

I shared the idea with my husband, and even though I originally planned to have him "supervise" the project, meaning he would guide me through it (I had also done a whole lot of research online), I would be the one to create it.  As it turned out, this truly was a "his, hers and ours" kind of project.  He loves woodworking, so he was all in when I told him my idea. 
We found a local lumber shop for the piece of wood.  It turned out to be about six miles from us.  We were able to wander through their huge selection of wood to pick out the exact piece we wanted.  I picked out this walnut piece.  I loved the grain variation, and knew once it was finished it was going to be even prettier than the raw piece.                                        

Many people remove the bark from a live edge piece of wood.  Personally, I love the extra character it offers, so we kept it on and did research on 1) how to ensure it wouldn't fall off and 2) special treatment/consideration for a food safe project.
With that in mind, my husband added a lacquer to just the bark edges to help secure and finish it and the wood itself was sanded and treated with about six coats of food safe treatments that also allowed the beauty of the wood to shine through.   The first several coats were mineral oil.  Followed by several coats of a Butcher Block Conditioner (made by Howard Products), which has mineral oil, beeswax and carnauba wax in it.  The food will be placed on the wood area, with the bark creating a framework for the food.    I found some little rubber bumpers online to screw to the underside which allows it to sit about 3/4" above the actual countertop or table that you'll be placing the board on for serving. 

I was originally thinking of putting handles on each side of the board making it easy to carry.  But, based upon the beauty of this wood, it felt like it needed something else.  So we opted for antlers.  My husband has many sheds, so we picked out a set that would work well and I had him stain them darker to compliment the walnut.  He then cut them and drilled into each one to allow him to screw them into place.
                                                                                          
I included several other items as part of the gift (I should have taken pictures of them).  They included a variety pack of cheese slicers, little forks/spoons, melamine salad size plates,  and a variety of little bowls.    I also made her a ripstop nylon cover with a drawstring.  She can just slide the board in when it's not in use and it will keep it dust free until she's ready to use it again.

I'm happy to report....she was absolutely thrilled with her gift.   Score one for Mom and Dad!!  I have to admit though, it does add some pressure for next year's birthday!  

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

EMBELLISHED FULL LENGTH MIRROR

I shared a similar mirror project I had created for myself at the end of last year.  I thought I'd also share this recent transformation that I did with my daughter's mirror.   This one took a few more steps along the way ....... keep reading if you'd like to hear about the journey.
A few years ago, a friend of my daughters was going to be donating this mirror ( I believe it was a family member's actually).  He mentioned it to her in case she might be interested.  Well, she jumped on the offer.  Having always wanted a large full length mirror and knowing how much these little suckers can cost, it was a great offer!

The original color was a very dark espresso, with a plain wide wooden border.  She had me paint it a rose gold color several months later.    Fast forward another year or so, and now that I've learned how to create embellishments using the air dry clay technique, she asked if I could embellish her mirror. 

Here's the early stages of the project.  You can see the basic nature of the mirror (in the picture on the right), and what I was doing as I started using the clay moulds and laying out some design ideas.   Unlike my mirror which had some wood moulding strips around the perimeter, this mirror had nothing.  So I opted to purchase another mould that allowed me to add                            faux moulding out of clay.   
Adding that third mould, gives me a really solid assortment of designs to choose from for the next project (I just know they'll be a next project).  The other thing I'm sure you noticed is the transformation in the color.  This mirror is going in her photography studio which has some gold accents, so the rose gold wasn't going to work.  She asked for more of a true gold color.  To give it more of "baroque" feel, I also added some antiquing to it by using some brown and black paints to create an aged look. 

It's a beauty for sure!  And when I think of how it started out, it really is quite the transformation!  I have to say, I'm really pleased with the final outcome.   It looks outstanding in her studio.  Not only is it a beautiful decorator statement piece, but it's completely functional and just what her clients need to give a quick look before the shutter starts clicking!