Thursday, September 30, 2010

Let's Do a Giveaway!!

The wonderful folks over at CSN stores have offered a $35 gift certificate to one of my readers!! You can use it towards anything you'd like from their 200+ stores where you can find everything from stylish handbags, to modern bar stools, or great dinnerware!

 I love this fall dinnerware set - Pfaltzgraff Plymouth Dinnerware Collection - 426 Series

I am obsessed with with fire pits - Bond Canyon Ridge Fire Table - 65224

But the best part is, you get to choose whatever you like!! To enter to win the $35 gift certificate, just leave a comment. That's it! I'll choose a winner Sunday night.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Baking Challenge - September '10

Oh boy, this one was a disaster!

Blackberry Cloud-Cake with Pistachios - another overly ambitious, silly dessert from the Martha Stewart Kitchens.

Let me first point out two things:
1.  I always struggle with whipping egg whites into stiff peaks.
2.  I have yet to make a successful jelly roll.

I went all Pioneer Woman here and did a "Cast of Characters" shot.  I bought frozen berries because the fresh ones were very expensive.  I also skipped the pistachios for the same reason.  That container of egg whites equals 8 eggs, so that was a shell and yolk saver :)  And I used white wine instead of white wine vinegar.

I decided to skip preparing the berries for the garnish.

I whisked and whisked those eggs and could not get those stiff peaks, so I gave up and finished my batter anyway.  And poured it into the pan:
Wow, that filled up the pan completely!!

With six minutes left to bake, the cake looked like it was about to explode in my oven.

Exhibit A - you can see the cracks
Exhibit B - you can see the cake going over the edge.

After all this drama, I kept on going and made the mousse - uneventful.

Then I flipped out the cake.
a bit weird looking; sticky, too

I spooned on the mousse and rolled it up:
What a work of art!

And then had a slice
what is that strange gelatinous looking layer?

It didn't taste too great and it was so ugly - I just dumped it.  Disaster averted.

I started this challenge almost two years ago in order to try out new recipes, techniques and tools; and I've learned some things along the way.

  • I really like making cookies, brownies and cupcakes.
  • I don't like working with fruit.
  • I don't like whipping egg whites.
  • I don't like making "fancy" desserts.
  • I made up this whole challenge and I can change the rules whenever I want!
So starting next month, I am going to do things a little different :)


Thursday, September 23, 2010

I can't think up a good title for this one...

I stumbled upon this cool site called Your Paper Pantry this summer.  It is an online community for crafters/scrappers but what really drew me in was all the monthly swaps you can join.  The two that most appealed to me were the ATC and Flower swaps so I signed up for September.

The theme for the ATC group for September was your dream vacation destination.  Of course, I chose Paris, being such a francophile and all.
I used a box of cereal to cut out the 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inch cards.  I started by painting the cards with gesso, then added a layer of white acrylic paint.  I then did a layer of crackle medium and finished with a pale pink acrylic paint. 
Then I used SCAL to cutout the eiffel tower in gray cardstock and added black embossing powder to give it a metal-ish feel.  I tied a pale peach ribbon around each card and tucked three flowers into each bow.  All the flowers came from one bunch that cost about $1 in the wedding aisle at Michaels.
I also stamped Paris and a fluer-de-lis in black ink and added two black rhinestones to the corner.

The theme for the flower swap was Shabby Chic.

One of the requirements for this swap is that you must package them as if they were being sold.
I cut a super large tag on my cricut out of a manila folder and glued ledger style paper on top.

I then used this awesome french script stamp with vintage photo distress ink to cover the whole tag and inked the edges with vintage photo as well.

For the flowers, I used four different colors of pink seed beads to make five petal flowers with white centers and two green leaves.  I then backed them all with white crepe paper circles.

In a week or two I'll be receiving my packages from all the other girls with their swap cards and flowers - I can't wait!!


Friday, September 17, 2010

My Goody Swap

I participated in a Goody Swap hosted by Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions.  My partner was Kristina @ A Cozy Cup of Tea and she sent me the coolest stuff!!

She made this cute little fall banner. I'm not sure where I want to put it, but I love it!

She also made this pretty paper rose corsage and scrabble tile sign - so cute!!

Some very nice stickers.

A mini frame stamp, the prettiest pink glitter I have ever seen, a pretty paper flower and luxe velvet flowers.

Lots of handmade tags.

Some paper glitter crowns and a rhinestone crown - and the loveliest little paper ornament that will go on my Christmas tree.

Kristina lives near Disney, so she sent me a little Mini Mouse head.  And that little pumpkin bag was filled with candy corn that I ate immediately :)

Kristina, thank you so much.  Everything you sent was totally me and I want to be you when I'm crafting :)


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hooray for Fall!

Fall is by far my favorite season.  Every year I come to hate summer more and more.  I am just not cut out for heat.  And so, by the day after memorial day I am desperate for fall and I could cry tears of joy when September comes along.

I need to move North, like Alaska north.  Well really, upstate NY north, but whatever....

My trip to HomeGoods was so-so.  There was a lot of Halloween stuff left, but the really cute items were gone and a lot of the merchandise was damaged.

The second I walked in the door, this pumpkin plate caught my eye and I snatched it right up.

I love the pretty taupe color and the 3D metallic stem

I found a yummy smelling candle and it is currently burning on my coffee table.

The main reason for my trip was to finish up my mantle - I don't have much Halloween decor.  Here is a reminder of the before:

And here is my after:
Moving from left to right:
The Beware sign is a new HG purchase - they have a bunch of words there but the little ghost and swirls won me over.

The plate was already there, the ceramic pumpkin came from Target last year and the wire pumpkin from Michael's last week.

The mirror was an awesome find from HG last January (can you tell I love HG??).

My husband picked out the No Evil gargoyle trio at Michael's last year.  The barn star was also found at Michael's last year.

The witch is my other HG purchase.  Her skirt says "are you a good witch or a bad witch?" - Love It!!
Her packaging came with some black marabou, so I took it off to wrap around my candle holder.

Then we have the other two halves of my pumpkin sets and finally the hurricane filled with silk leaves.

I'd still like to find some more goodies.  I need a taper for the candle holder and I really want to get some purple up there.  I'd also like something sparkly or twinkly to add some light - it is feeling a bit drab.

Happy Fall Y'All!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Let's Get Ready for Fall!!

Now that I am back from my Labor Day vacation, it is time to get ready for my favorite season - Fall!!

My mission today is to get my mantle cleared and ready for my shopping trip tomorrow.

Here is the photo of my mantle this morning - it has been this way since before Memorial Day:

With all the summery things cleared, only the mirror, candle stick holder, plate and hurricane remain.  What a nice, neutral palate to start building on for Halloween/Fall.

And finally, a few things to start it up.  The barn star on the mirror is the same as the turquoise one - I bought three and have two that are still unpainted.  I filled the hurricane with silk leaves from last year and replaced the blue ribbon with a purple one.  I got the pumpkin salt and pepper shakers last year and the wire pumpkins Monday at Michaels (they are placecard holders from the Celebrate It line)

I'll be going to HomeGoods tomorrow to raid their Halloween section and then I'll share what I got.
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