Friday, July 31, 2009

Hooray for Halloween

I know it's July....

But if I haven't let it slip out yet- I'm a maniac about Halloween.

Today it's exactly 3 months until my favorite holiday rolls around again and I'm happy to announce that I've started a new blog dedicated to Halloween- please go check it out!

Already in a Halloween mood I was so happy discover a contest at Super Punch (from a post I saw on dabbled) to recreate one of the villains from Scooby Doo.

Here's my entry- I painted The Creeper. Scooby was my favorite cartoon as a kid! I saw the post yesterday and the contest ended this evening- but i had to do it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My 1st ever glass creation!

It's heeeeeeere! Ok, well actually it was here last week but I struggled with getting any decent pictures of the paperweight. It's very smooth, very reflective, and the colors are pretty translucent so I'll warn you right now, the pictures aren't the greatest.

I came home for lunch each day last week hoping it would arrive. On Thursday I got to the driveway and I could see the box sitting on the porch (I almost skipped to the house I was so excited).

But was a little scared when I saw this

But thankfully the glass was packed really well, inside this box was packing material, then another box. Inside that box were the two glass pieces each in their own box and more packing material.

This is the ornament my sister made.

I love how she got that strong swirl all the way around.
Here is my paperweight

Like I said the pictures aren't the best, but I tried to shoot it from a few angles and with different lighting so the colors would show.

I love the colors, and I'm happy with the amount of bubbles (I tried not to get too many in there).

It's such a funny thing to make an object with your hands but have no idea what it's going to look like until it's sent to you.

I can't believe I actually made this- I've always wanted to work with glass and although I didn't do any of the hard parts (I got the fun easy tasks) I'm happy to have been in a working studio, near the equipment and to have manipulated the molten glass.

After this experience I have to confess that I'm smitten with the idea of getting some actual instruction in glassblowing. I think it'll be a while before I take a class or anything (at least a year or more) because it's hard to find a place that teaches it (less than a few hours away, that is) and it's pretty expensive (at least from what I've seen so far).

I'm feeling a little bit like I might need to make a decision between getting a spinning wheel and learning to work with glass. Each is an investment in both time and money. And I'm just not sure I could realistically do both.

If you missed my first post on glassblowing be sure to check it out.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Blackberry Lemon Muffins

A little treat while the berries are in season! I have a basic muffin recipe that I alter slightly to make different flavors depending on what's in season. This weekend I made a batch of blackberry lemon.

The batter is really thick but makes a light tender muffin on the inside with a chewy texture on the outside. They come really close to the type of muffin you'd get in a bakery but surprisingly I've found that you don't need all the oil (and fat) those muffins have to make something just as delicious. You still need quite a bit of sugar (especially for these since the berries can be on the tart side even without the lemon). I usually make the big muffins- so the sugar in this works out to be about 2 tablespoons per muffin (not tooo terrible), less if you're using a fruit that's not so tart.

Here's The Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray your muffin pan with non-stick spray or use liners. I always make the big muffins (I love having something that feels like it's from a bakery) and this will make 6 (the perfect amount for us to not overdose on muffins all week). If you use regular muffin tins you'll get 12.

  • 1 1/2 Cups of all purpose flour, plus one tablespoon (reserved).
  • 3/4 of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of apple sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup of skim or non-fat milk
  • 1 1/2-2 pints of blackberries (depending on the size of the berries)
  • Zest from one lemon

Mix all the dry ingredients, reserving one tablespoon of flour. Add the wet ingredients. Mix just until they are combined- don't overwork the batter!

Reserve a few berries for the top of each muffin. Carefully coat the rest of the berries with the reserved flour. It's ok if you don't use all the flour or if you use a little more- you just want the fruit lightly coated, it helps to keep the heavy berries suspended in the batter instead of falling to the bottom.

Gently fold the berries and the zest from one lemon into the batter. Spoon an even amount into each muffin cup. Once all the batter is into each tin take 2-3 berries and sink them partially into the batter (this gives you muffins that look very pretty with fruit sticking out of the top).

Bake about 20 minutes (or until a skewer stuck into the center comes out clean. Turn halfway through baking so they brown evenly.


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