Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Anyone?

What was for dinner at your Thanksgiving get-together?  Lexi lucked out as my mother-in-law cooked Thanksgiving dinner this year. We brought my "world famous" pumpkin pie (not sure how it became that?) and an appetizer. 

I wanted to tell everyone about my most fabulous "Christmas Cheese"! It wouldn't be a holiday without it... So easy and so unexpectedly yummy! This recipe came from Creme de Colorado and is called Maroon Bells Cheese Spread. It is simply

          2.5 cups shredded Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese (10-12 oz)
          1/3 cup grated onion
          2 Tbsp mayonaise
          Raspberry Preserves as a topping (~1/2 cup)

Now the recipe calls for mixing the first 3 ingredients and making a mound, pouring the raspberry preserves over it and eating it with Triscuits --- It has to be Triscuits! They are so good with this.

However, this screams SCULPTURE OPPORTUNITY! So, years ago, I began by making a Christmas ornament, a pair of bells, my friends initials for a bridal shower, the new year's year, holly leaves (I know they are supposed to be green, but it was cute), poinsettia flower, bow, pumpkin, and leaves.... that is what I chose this year.  Here is the sculpted cheese. It is best to then put this into the refrigerator and add the preserves right before hand. Spoon the preserves gingerly into the design to avoid getting them on the raised design.

Not being the best blogger, I forgot to take a photo until after it had been significantly dug into! Please use the serving utensil, girls!

Hope this inspires you to make your food into art this holiday!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Eggshell Mosiac

This was one of the coolest projects I have done with my students. I found it on dickblick... AND it is even incredibly more beautiful than the pictures. I enjoyed teaching about the color wheel and the history of mosaics -- I loved this website.  It is also interesting to learn about the use of ostrich egg mosaics in Namibia.  Here is a little photo instructional:

Eggshells are "crushed" onto a canvas using white glue.

Once the glue dries, you add liquid watercolor -- undiluted! Use analogous colors for the best results.

Be generous... and quick. The inside of the shells absorb more color than the outsides.

This is where it gets tricky.... You have to remove the watercolor from the eggshell tops to expose them. Using the diluted gloss varnish, a paint brush and my best friend - a q-tip - move the color to the 'valleys'!

Finally, I found that Triple Thick was the best way to go to finish them off. They are beautiful! I will post photos of the students' finished projects -- I bet they will be really neat... 

Time to Knit, Crochet, and Finish!

It is that time of year again...I just don't seem to want to knit or crochet in the summer months. I pulled out a cable item I started last year and when I am not too tired to think, am working on that. I also made a knitted neck warmer.  I believe it can be called an infinite one as I connected it with a twist in it. I love it so much I am making another just like it to give away. It was fast and my favorite kind on knitting -- the kind that has fuzzy stuff so there is less ability to inspect the evenness of my stitches!

Last year I knitted this cowl. I LOVE it! I didn't follow the pattern (not because I didn't try) and so it became mine. I'm good with that :D I discovered that they don't 'pull' on my neck like a scarf, and they make a lighter weight or cotton sweater nice and toasty.

I also am crocheting on another item I can't post about -- I have a hard enough time working on things in private as it is-- to have anything be a surprise at Christmas. It is, however, an item I saw on Grosgrain.

Time to finish things up...  A few weeks ago, I put together these fabric flowers. I finally bought the pins to go on the back of them.

Oh- And my oldest daughter and I modified a dress we bought for recital... dresses are often too low in the front (this one was just about 1/2 inch too low), so we have creatively used this black sheer material to add both a small ruffle at the neckline and a straight 2" addition to the hem. It tied in beautifully and was the perfect length for her as well.

I have several other projects needing to be finished. I will post about those soon.  Happy completions!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More Curtains

My husband's office has some beautiful cornice boards I upholstered when we first moved in. I had intended to make drapes to go beneath, but never did. I used to have a sort of stick type shade that rolled up and down, but they were ruined by the sun and have long since gone away. I temporarily put up some pinch pleat curtains my mother-in-law took down from her house when she moved in (I actually got some wonderful things out of that deal!) ...  anyway, I digress... I used the beautiful silk ribbon fabric that my mother send to go over the fabric I 'stole' for the foyer curtains (other post.) The color was too green for my foyer, but is great in the office. I had two pieces - one which was a little longer than a window length and the other that was three times the window length. Creativity kicked in and I made it work!

I used the shorter piece as the fullness of the curtain that 'swoops' over -- it ends at the tassle tie {which I purchased at Michael's at a steal for about $2 each! (but, don't pull on those curtains, dear!) And I cut the other piece in half and used it for the 'to the floor' panel. I did sew them together so there would be no peaking amongst the swoop.  :D  The ribbons in the curtain hide the seam beautifully.

I am tickled with them... but my husband does need to block the incredibly bright morning sun that comes in those windows. So, I used the free pinch pleat curtains to make two roman shades. I simply cut off the top to 1" longer than the inside window height, and I cut one side to 2" longer than the inside window width. I then only had to hem the one side! I added the rings on the back and tadah! you have a roman shade.

Now, I am left with just the school room valence then I am home free until the roman shades in my family room need to be replaced due to afternoon sun damage. Then we'll have another opportunity to see how the Lord will provide more abundantly than I deserve!