Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A "little" bit of Spring!!

I'm dreaming of Spring already..... but in miniature!!  It is my turn to lead the project for our local miniature club this month.  This project has been a little bit of a challenge for sure.  See the little dome scene with the bird?.......yeah, that's my project!!  Pretty cute, don't ya think?  I have had this project in my mind for quite some time but had to figure out a way to do it.

I have two prototypes for the class.

One of the domes has a little white bird and one has a bluebird.  They are both made on a little metal platter and set under a dome.  The dome is about 1 1/8th inches tall and is the cut off end of a glass test tube.  Oh my, this was the hard part!!  I had several of these tubes that had held vintage beads.  My wonderful man offered to try to cut them.  Well, I think he got six or seven out of the bunch I had, so then I ordered new test tubes.  These were a whole different ball game to cut and we ruined many of the fifteen I had.  The last seven I took to a glass shop and they managed to get six done.  I sure need to discover the secret of how to cut a glass tube!

Anyway after all the glass cutting, came the making of many, many tiny Sculpey eggs and the little birds.  I am talking tiny folks!!  

Since they were so Springy, I decided to stage vignette with them with some of my miniature pieces.  Hubby took some pics of a not-very-great-looking me, playing with these tiny things.

Pardon that "tired" look in my eyes, I spent the night dealing with a toothache!!.  Saw the dentist this a.m. and got antibiotics, hopefully that will be the end of it, otherwise, a root canalllllllll!!!!!!!!!! 

The Spring Hutch was made in a Lisa Engler class several years ago.  Some of the items were provided in the class and some things are mine.  The little table is a Karen Markland piece,  I LOVE anything Karen Markland does!!.  The Easter basket is my creation as is the little vintage flower seed box.

This little box is one of my favorite things.  It was a club project of mine as well.  We all take turns and usually do one project a year.

It feels good to be creating again.  It has been a rough couple of years.  My job as medical transcriptionist was so very stressful for such pitiful pay, I finally gave it up even though I was doing very well at it.  I love the field but just could not tolerate the feeling of continually being on call and never knowing how long each day I would be working.  
So then, I got my real estate license to work with my husband.  I love "all things HOME" and help with staging homes for sale and have had good results.  We do open houses together and work on marketing ideas.  It is fun to do it together.  He has been doing real estate for 11 years now after retiring from his job with AT&T.

My mother passed away in June and I was able to be with her the whole week before, which was such a blessing.  So then, it was a long summer, cleaning, sorting, and repairing the house to get it on the market.  It just last week was sold and closed.  

 Life just sometimes comes in waves and we just have to take a breather and get our bearings again, at least I do, so that is what explains my absence from blogging for quite a while.  It feels good to touch base with you all again and hear from you!!  I read my blogs everyday, you all bring me so much happiness and inspiration.

So, hope you enjoyed my "little" glimpse of Spring.  It is snowing here again today!!  This is round two of some whopper storms, although this last go round has not been as bad where we are.  Kansas City got walloped!!  But, since we have been in a drought situation here for the last two years, the snow is such a BLESSING!! and we are so thankful for it!!

Thanks for listening sweet friends!!

Till next time, I am singing His praises.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine traditions

You have my heart!!

Well, I almost did not get this accomplished this year, but did manage to get them made.  For some reason Valentine's Day seems to sneak up on me every year.

Many many years ago, when our children were young, I was thinking one day about what could I make to give to each of our close neighbors and friends to let them know we were thinking of them on Valentine's Day and wanted them to know they were loved and special to us.  I decided I would make some sugar cookies for each person and put their names on it.  Now it seems to me that Valentine's Day and chocolate are synonymous, so I wanted to come up with a way to combine the two items.  I had some chocolate chips, so I decided to melt them in the microwave and try spreading the wonderfully goodness on the cookie instead of a layer of frosting.  Then I made regular buttercream frosting to decorate the edges with a lacy scroll and write the names of each special person on the cookie.  

They were an instant hit and I pretty much have made them ever since on VDay.... only once a year.  Our neighbors grew to expect them and it has really been a fun tradition in our family.  

The recipe for the cookies is from the Betty Crocker Cookbook and they are called Aunt Mary's Cookies or Deluxe Sugar Cookies, but you could use any favorite sugar cookie recipe.  This particular one makes a very delicate cookie and calls for powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar.  It is a favorite for us.

You bake the cookies and cool them on a rack.  Then,  I put about 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips in a bowl and melted them in the microwave for a little over a minute.  Stir until the chips are dissolved.  You have to watch it closely and do not want to heat them for too long or the chocolate will become grainy.

Then, spread the chocolate on each cooled cookie.  I usually let them set over night to completely cool, but you can put them in the fridge or freezer to set up faster.

Then mix up your favorite butter cream frosting and put in a pastry bag with a star or shell tip.  Just go around each cookie kind of moving in and off the edge of the cookie.  I usually start at the center and move down the side and then go back to the center and do the other side.  Usually, I hold each cookie in my hand, but a turntable might make it easier.

I'm not really sure what happened this time, but my chocolate looks a little speckled.  Oh well, it should taste just the same. ha.

I usually do all the scroll edges and then go back in and write the names of my family and friends last.  It helps to calculate just how many of these you want to send out before you make your cookies by making a list of recipients.  This recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies.  My cookie cutter is about 3 inches across.  So, sometimes I have to double up on the recipe.  You can make them ahead and have them in the freezer ahead of time and then all you have to do is pull them out and decorate them.  (Usually, I am NOT that organized, but it has happened that way a few times.....)

I like to put them on a paper plate with a red napkin underneath, usually left over from Christmas.  Then you can put the plate in a ziplock gallon-sized bag for delivery.  For our children who live out of town, I store them in the freezer until we see them and they do just fine.

You could leave one in the mailbox for your postman, or take some to your favorite hairdresser or doctor.  I have made them for our church staff also and put them in the break room.  And I always try to take them to our close neighbors and any elderly widows we know.

It is just a fun way to say " I appreciate and love you" in a personal way.

And,........... THEY ARE YUMMY!!! The chocolate with the frosting and the cookie, oh MY, a perfect combination with a cup of coffee!!!

Hope you enjoyed hearing about my little cookie valentines.

So, will YOU


Have  a wonderful Valentine's Day my friends!!  All diets are off until tomorrow!!! ( or until you finish that box of chocolates your handsome husband gave you!!

I got red roses too......love that man......we will most likely go out for dinner and a movie tomorrow as we have some sweet granddaughters to support at a basketball game tonite!!

Singing His Praises,