Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Happy List: Great end to a rough year

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1.  We had a drop in from Kevin's Aunt and Uncle.  The girls love spending time with Ron and Sherrie and it was so nice to catch up with them.  We already have plans to see them again in a few months. 
2.  We are heading to the farm for the New Year.  It is so much fun to see the girls play in the big open fields and to roast marshmallows out at the sharecroppers cabin.
3.  I've decided to offer all of my artwork that I create for Alpha Stamps for free in my Etsy shop.  I made this announcement a few days ago.  Uploaded 7 pieces of artwork and they all sold!
4.  I was feeling so good from those sales that it spurred me to finally get all of the seam binding I have to offer for sale into the shop.  And some of that sold too!
5.  I finished the best book!  This year has been a bad reading year for me so to finish the year out with a book I loved is awesome.  I will be doing a review of this novel soon.
So what made you happy this week? 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Victorian Paper Doll Swap & Free Art

Love Paper Dolls?  Well Alpha Stamps is hosting a Victorian Paper Doll Swap, come join us!
I made mine a ribbon doll and it is available for free (well, you pay shipping and handling) in my Etsy Store.
All the items I used are available from Alpha Stamps
Seam Binding (also available in my Etsy Store black, silver and white)
Many of the items are available in the January Romantic Women Kit

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Firsts for 2014, Art Swap and Free Art!

Yes, I know it's not 2014 yet but today marks the announcement of the first swap for 2014 on Alpha Stamps.  I will be embarking on yet another year where I have the privilege of hosting this wonderful companies art swaps. 
This swap is all my creation.  A "Lovesick Heart Book" swap.  If you would like to participate please visit the Alpha Stamps yahoo Group or send me an e-mail (link on my sidebar) and I will send you the details. 
But what I am really excited about for the upcoming year is that I have decided that all the artwork I create this year I will be offering for FREE! Well, not entirely, you pay the shipping, but that is all.  I have already uploaded this lovely heart into my shop so if you would like it please head over and snatch it up quick.   
All the supplies I used for this heart are available at Alpha Stamps and many items will be on sale because of the swap.
Cream Seam Binding, available in my etsy shop, 5yrds for $1.75 or at Alpha Stamps
Looking forward to a wonderful year! 
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Defending Jacob by William Landay

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.

Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own—between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.

Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis—a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.
William Landay wove a story that I enjoyed despite not liking any of the characters.  Despite the unoriginality of the storyline I couldn't put this book down.  Landy's pacing was spot on and I enjoyed how he broke up the book with different texts to show the current timeline, the father, Andy, sitting in the witness box being examined by a prosecutor, vs. everything that happened leading up to the trial. 
Defending Jacob is told from Jacob's fathers point of view, Andy Barber.  He, like the other characters, is greatly flawed.  He is simply unable to see anything negative about his son.  This is deeply contrasted by how the mother views her son.  It left me feeling like Landay wrote the two extremes in parenting.
Landay spends a lot of time on the murder gene.  This is the first time I have ever heard of this type of behavioral phycology.  It really got me thinking about what might be hidden in my genes and if I believed in this or not.  I enjoy books that make me think and this one did.  It also scared me because this family on the surface appeared close but none of them really knew each other at all.  How well do I know my family?
Mystery/thrillers are not really my genre so I can' say if this was a good one or not.  What I can say is that I enjoyed this book despite the wide open ending.  If you are okay with there not being a definitive answer on "who done it" this is a great novel for character development, the ties that bind or unbind a family and how secrets can destroy everything. 
I am linking up with Art @ Home's Literary Friday
come join us! 
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Sunday, December 15, 2013

"Visions of sugar-plumbs danced in their heads" Matchbox

 This holiday season The Circle of Friends decided to exchanged decorated and stuffed matchboxes.
 While I was at Sweethearts on the Homefront I purchased the lovely vintage pompom fringe you see in the images.  It was sitting on my studio table when I started this project and it became my inspiration.
 Pink is not the first color that comes to most people minds when they think Christmas but I think I pulled it off by fully embracing the idea of Sugar-plums and the bright happy colors that the dancers are often depicted in.  I mean the dancers, not the candy.
 For some reason I always want my matchboxes to have something around the base or some kind of stand.  I folded two metal snowflakes to prop up my matchbox.
And I stuffed it full of handmade items and some trinkets I thought my partner would like.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Autumn Tussie Mussie ~ With tutorial

Autumn is my favorite time of year.  The gorgeous colors, the cool crisp air and the gathering of family for fun and food.  
 This year I decided to make a special Autumn decoration to have around the house.
I decided on the tussie mussie (paper cone) shape because it reminded me of a cornucopia. 
 You can get the template on my sidebar.
Instead of going into detail here about how I put this together please view my video tutorial.
Thank you for stopping by, I hope you enjoy my tussie mussie. 
I am truly thankful for all the support I have received from my blog followers and visitors.  Thank you so much.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Harvest Tags & Swap Announcement

 Happy November!
One of my favorite times of the year is that elusive few weeks between Halloween and the Christmas rush.   
This year Alpha Stamps is celebrating this time with a fabulous Harvest Tag Swap
Almost everything I used on my tags came from the Fall Foliage Kit. 
Please consider joining this fun swap.  It would be great to swap my tags out with y'all.  
I am thankful for each and every one of my readers and will have a treat for y'all closer to thanksgiving.  Hope everyone is having a wonderful month.
I'm linking up with Paper Saturdays, come join us!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cream Cloth Pumpkins

 Over at MAMA, Marie Antoinette Mail Art Group, Teri of Designs by Terri Gordon hosted a Cream Cloth Pumpkin Swap.
 My partner was Melanie of Artful Interludes (and wait till you see what she made me!).
I had this gorgeous key pin that I thought would be a perfect addition to the pumpkin but I was worried because of the aqua.  So I contacted Melanie to see if she would be okay with some color on her pumpkin.  She said yes and I was thrilled, so off to creating I went. 
The pumpkin is made out of a raw silk, I used tea stained bakers twine to make the shape. The stem is a luscious brown silk.  Along with the key pin I added some vintage lace, velvet leaves, a wonderful cream flower and some coordinating ribbons.  I really like how it turned out, I hope she does also. 
 I had so much fun creating for Melanie that I decided to make myself one.  I didn't get the shape on this one quite as good.
I went with autumn browns and kept to a French theme.  The pumpkin is made out of the same materials as Melanie's. 
I wish I could have created more, but alas I am out of the gorgeous cream fabric, I will have to find more. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Happy List: Family and Friends

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Hello all and thank you for stopping by.  My friend Ricki Jill hosts a fabulous weekly link up party that everyone should try.  I don't get to take part too often but when I do I always feel so much better about everyday life.
So without further ado,
my happy list
1.This one is all thanks to Pinterest
Photo From: I Believe I Can Fry
I found a fabulous tutorial on how to clean and season cast iron.  When we moved into our house one of the things the previous owners left behind was a cast iron pot.  It was disgusting and covered in rust but no longer.  I followed the instructions (click the image to go to the post) and yes, it worked just like that picture shows.  I was so excited that I even planned a meal so I could use it and oh my it was the best Beef Stew I have ever made. 
2.  Friends
This Thursday I will be packing the car and heading to Atlanta to spend a fabulous weekend at Sweethearts on the Homefront.  This will be my first ever art retreat.  But what makes it even more special is that I will finally get to meet my friend Tabitha.  Tabitha and I met through MAMA and chat on the phone just about everyday.
3.  Family
A few weeks ago my husband and I decided to join a class for Marriage Enrichment.  It is held at our church and revolves around the book Happy Together by John Bosio.  The church serves dinner before hand and it has become a wonderful middle of the week family outing.  The girls love going to eat and then playing with all the other children and it is nice for Mr. Glitter Tart and I to meet new people and explore our marriage more. 
Well that's it for me this week.
Come join us!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Broomsticks on the Bayou Beignets and Mocha Voodoo Coffee

Welcome to my Broomsticks on the Bayou post, a fabulous blog hop hosted by Frosted Petunias.
Please sit back, relax, grab some Voodoo Mocha Coffee and a Beignet or two.   
 I'll start with the Beignets.
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup turabian Sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups bread flour
1/4 cup crisco
Nonstick spray
Oil, I used vegetable 
3 cups confectioners' sugar
Mixing bowls
Stand Mixer with bread hook
fryer (not necessary but much easier)
paper bag
Rolling pin
 I will put the complete recipe at the end of this post.
 Start by pouring your yeast and sugar into the warm water.
This need to sit for 10 minutes.
Measure out your flour into a bowl.
Beat your egg, salt and evaporated milk together.
Add egg mixture to yeast mixture.
Transfer to stand mixer and add 3 cups of the bread flour.
 Add the shortening.
 Continue to mix.
Add remaining flour slowly.
 Mix, mix, mix (aren't you glad your using a stand mixer).
 Prepare a surface to pour dough out onto, sprinkled with flour.
 Remove dough from the mixer and knead until smooth.
 keep kneading.
 and a bit more.
 Okay that's good.
 Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Place dough in bowl and cover. 
 Let stand for 2 hours.

 Looky looky...so pretty.
Now it's time to start heating up that oil. 
You want it to reach 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  
If using a fryer follow the manufacturers instructions.  If frying in a pan put about five inches of oil in and attach a thermometer (make sure it isn't touching the bottom of the pan).
 Pour dough out onto clean surface.
 Start rolling it out.
 Try to keep it in a square/rectangle.
 Keep rolling until it is about 1/4 inch thick.

 Cut 1" square pieces.

 Deep fry flipping once until they are golden.
Make sure you let your oil temperature to come back up before placing the next batch in.
 Oh yum...fried dough!
 Put some confectioners sugar into your paper bag.
Drop in a few Beignets and toss them around.
Continue until done.
Now it's time to make some Mocha Voodoo Coffee to go with the Beignets.
2 cups heavy cream
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup spiced rum
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups strong brewed coffee with chicory, or espresso
Basic Whipped Cream
 Warm the heavy cream until steaming.
Mix spiced rum and coffee together.
Once cream is steaming add chocolate and sugar.
Reduce the heat to low.
 Now add the coffee and rum.
Stir until smooth. 
Mix up some whip cream to top the coffee with.
 Okay now it's time to enjoy.

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup turabian Sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups bread flour
1/4 cup crisco
Nonstick spray
Oil, I used vegetable 
3 cups confectioners' sugar
Mixing bowls
Stand Mixer with bread hook
fryer (not necessary but much easier)
paper bag
Rolling pin

Mix warm water, sugar, and yeast in a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.

In another bowl, beat eggs, salt and evaporated milk together.

 Mix egg mixture into the yeast mixture and transfer to a stand mixer.

In a separate bowl, measure out the bread flour.

Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour.

 Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.

Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray.

Put dough into the bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours. (Have a cup of Mocha Voodoo Coffee to pass the time.)

Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.

Add the confectioners' sugar to a paper bag and set aside.

Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares.

Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of confectioners' sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly.

Mocha Voodoo Coffee
2 cups heavy cream
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup spiced rum
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups strong brewed coffee with chicory, or espresso
Basic Whipped Cream
Warm the heavy cream in a saucepan (on the stove, not in the microwave) until steaming hot but not boiling.

Reduce the heat to low and add the chocolate, rum, sugar, and coffee. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour into warm mugs, top with softly whipped cream,