Sunday, February 27, 2011

Embossing Metal

I have been working on the next art project for my coop class. I have planned this since last summer and have anxiously awaited the time to make my samples. I LOVE this. I plan to do a few more of these to hang for myself (I hope!) There are a few things I discovered which I'll share, but it is generally pretty easy and came out really cool if I do say so myself :D  Here is what I know.....

This is the back side of with the first step completed. I used a hard pencil to make the deeper lines forming the tree. It is vital that you don't use too much pressure, but gently continue to stretch the metal to the depth that you desire.

This is a closeup of the back with the front having some embossing done on it. You can see that you can easily make textures with the pencils. Knots and bark are achieved by circles and short strokes.

(ABOVE)  I then turned the metal over to the front side (black) and began to make the background. It also stretches as you go and I quickly learned that if you do that too fast, you get wrinkles : D Hence, the wrinkle in the background bottom left. There is also a "happy accident" wrinkle in the final bottom right which I was able to manipulate into a branch.

 As you work, you can really make the branches lift up and become distinct. See next two photos...

Here is the final shot. I really like how it came out and am excited about trying a different design.  It should be a fun project for my students as well! 
 If you are interested in doing this project, you can find the metal sheets on

Sunday, February 20, 2011

It's a Treasure

A gathering of friends is only better with good food! Our coop parents had a much needed get together for dinner and fellowship.  I haven't laughed that hard in a long time! I thought I'd pass out and someone would have to do CPR! Thank you friends for sharing some of the best "how I met my husband and got married" stories ever and such a nice meal!

My husband suggested that I bring my "famous" turtle pecan cheesecake. I have made it for close to 18 years and it always comes out amazing. My mother-in-law gave my husband (who loves to cook) The Treasury of Creative Cooking by the Editors of Consumer Guide. We have LOVED this cookbook. The recipes come out just like the photos AND they taste great. I have even purchased this 
cookbook used to give as wedding gifts because it is wonderful.  Here is a pic of the recipe:

So here is it just as it cooled... see, Mom, no cracks! I did put a little water in the oven to keep it moist.

 It came out beautifully and tasted so good!

Bon Appetite!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Orange Spice Cake

This was easy and fabulous! I made this for company last weekend from the good ole Better Homes and Garden's Cookbook. It is actually supposed to be lemon which I can bet is really wonderful. I didn't have fresh lemons, but I did have oranges. I used fresh ground organic cardamom and, wow, it was great. As my husband would say, "It's a keeper!"


I was so excited to find some fabric to make my girls some slips. Slips can cost around $8 each and then they are usually not quite the right length, etc. I was determined to make them and with my friends generous loaning of her serger, I was off! The fabric was a steal at about $8 a yard - triple width! I thought that was great as that would probably make all the slips I needed... then when they rang it up, it was only $0.47 a yard! Needless to say, I bought all they had to have on hand!

For these I just used the serger for the seam and the hem. I then put the elastic right in with the top seam. Tada! Done. It was amazing!

I still owe you pictures of the skirts I recently finished. Will try to remember. I also was motivated to help my oldest fix her waist in a neat skirt we bought. She ripped it out and we took it up to fit her. It came out really nicely! Thanks, Mom!

Do You Have a Pretty Mug

My mother's birthday is coming up and she commented on a picture I was painting of some lilies years ago. I never did finish the painting, but I remembered how much she liked it. So, for months I have planned to make her these coffee mugs using enamel paint made just for this purpose... I was pleased with them -- I hope she is, too!

This paint does have some significant differences than acrylics on canvas, etc. First, it dries very quickly. This leads to several issues - If you want success follow these rules:  paint fast, blend fast, mix fast, and don't be decisive - be FAST!  Second, if the paint begins to dry, it will pull off the layer of paint below it and then you are starting over.  It does however have one advantage, and that is if you mess up - it cleans right up off the mug with rubbing alcohol (actually your finger will work).  

When  you are done, the mugs air dry for at least an hour then go into a cold oven set for 375 degrees. Once it has 'cooked' for an hour at 375, the oven is turned off, but the mug remains until completely cool.  

Here are a set I made for a bridal shower gift. The bride was planning a red and turquoise kitchen! Cute. My girls are mad that I haven't made pretty mugs for us! A project for a rainy day, I guess!