Monday, July 21, 2014

Baking Monday – Crunchy Nutty Muffins!

Clark saw this recipe in a Highlights magazine months ago and wanted to try them. Of the three kids, he's the one who most often helps out in the kitchen and enjoys baking with me. It took us awhile to get to making them … yay for summer vacation!

Walnuts are not my favorite, but I did enjoy these very much. They are buttery and moist, and I like the crunchiness (as promised in the title!) Plus cinnamon sugar makes everything yummy. Clark measured, poured, and mixed the ingredients and also filled the muffin cups!

I didn't get a great picture of him with the muffins, because he was excited to eat! He and a friend shared the first two and both gave them a thumbs up. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Zentangle Cookies!

So … while the kids were having their marathon decorating session, I snuck in and decorated a few for myself. I wondered if my new obsession with zentangle could be applied to cookies? 

Why yes indeed! I used a hybrid royal/glaze icing for the outlining, so the lines stayed very neat, with no blobbing or spreading. And though they were lovely as outlines, I really wanted to know what they'd look like in color ...

YAY! Love them! But super time consuming! I would MAYBE consider doing these for an order for someone very special. I used thinned out glaze for the color and a #2 tip to fill in (plus toothpicks for spreading).

I have a plan for the next round … stay tuned! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

SAC – Watercolors

I broke out the watercolors last week. There are two mini square frames hanging in the bathroom that needed some new artwork. First I did a batch with straight up Crayola watercolors ...

… then mixed a batch of my own. (I liked those better.)

Then I made some some blobs … and embellished with some doodles.

It's really hard for me to let go of everything not being perfect, but the end result is charming!

Then I started with a watercolor base and added some zentangle doodles ...

… and then Prismacolors on top. I love the way it turned out!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kid Cookies!

Theo has two moods in the summer: Best Thing Ever or Worst Day Ever. If he is not currently doing a perceived Best Thing activity, he melts to the ground in Worst Day mode. He was having a Worst Day moment when I pulled out all the cookie decorating stuff. I had lots of icing leftover from an order so I baked one batch of random shapes just for them to decorate, and goodness … what a great job they did! 

I loved Dora's fireworks ...

… and Theo's (unintentional) 80's glam rock tribute.

Besides having a tray of beautiful cookies to share with friends, I also got an hour of sibling harmony. Dora and Theo had a great time decorating, and I even heard Theo say, "This is so much fun!" So happy that cookie decorating turned out to be a Best Thing.

I asked them to set aside three for me!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Baking Monday – Musical Sugar Cookies

I made this batch of cookies for Dora's church youth choir picnic.

Music notes and crosses … plus shooting stars and hearts just for fun.

Happy hearts!

And Dora made the centerpieces. Since we were having the picnic at a local park that is on a hill and notoriously windy, we needed something that would not blow away. Dora wanted to make these flowers that she saw in American Girl magazine, and came up with the idea to tape them to rocks for stability. Pretty and practical! 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Art Challenge – Zentangle!

As Dora and I read through the challenge list, we saw the word "zentangle" towards the bottom and looked at each other … what in the world is that? I looked it up … and then my brain exploded. Holy cow, did this look like fun!!

This is totally addicting. For three days, it was all I wanted to do, whenever there was a free moment. Talk about a creative jump start! Besides being relaxing, it looks SO. DARN. COOL. Instant masterpiece. It only takes fifteen minutes to work up a drawing like this, but it looks SO much more complex. 

I used to do work similar to this (take a look at this folder circa 1988, which I have held on to all these years, as a remembrance of my love for all things paisley), but never knew this kind of drawing had a name. Nor did I realize how easy and fun this style is. I have an artist friend who often Pins zentangle artwork, and while I admired it, had never tried to do my own. 

The only must have supply is a good felt-tip pen. Nice drawing paper and Prismacolor pencils are also handy to have nearby. It's best to move quickly and not overthink the design and patterns. 

Interested in trying it? Here's a great how-to on getting started! 

I am crediting this style to getting me super excited about drawing again. And since coloring is just as fun and relaxing as drawing, I'm making two printable zentangle bookmarks and a medallion available for download. Have fun!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Upcycled Notebook Paper

Every year the kids bring several composition books home from school, and they are rarely all used up. It would kill me to recycle all that good paper. If a quarter or less of the book is used up, I'll trim out the old pages and keep the book to send to school next year. If less than that is blank, I'll trim out the good pages and put them in our scrap drawer. 

I ALWAYS keep a little notepad on my desk, because even though I love my electronic calendars and list makers, sometimes information needs to be more easily accessible to be helpful. Using this handy tutorial, I made up a bunch of little notepads using our surplus of lined paper. All the supplies happened to be on hand: paper, cardboard, paint sticks, binder clips, and Mod Podge. Of course, a paper cutter makes this job extra easy, but a craft knife and a metal ruler would work well, too. These pads are 4.25 x 3.5", a good size for writing short lists and easy to trim four squares out of a sheet of composition notebook paper. The glue dried and was ready to use in about an hour! Wheee! I love repurposing!