Sunday, July 25, 2010

I should be embarrassed by this.

I posted about how terrible my work station had also become...Well it has become even worse. This past weekend I had a bunch of work to do and I was having trouble getting started. I needed a change in scenery to allow the creativity open up. It really didn't have to do with the mess of my current station, it was more about the room I was in...I need to shake things up once in awhile. Sometimes I work in the kitchen, living room or my bedroom. Just moving from the table to the couch or even the floor actually helps sometimes. So I opened up one of the tables I use for my festival setup and took over the living room. Thankfully my roommate was away this weekend, otherwise I do not think this would've gone over so well. I made sure to have it all back to normal by the time she returned. Why subject her to this madness.

It worked out really well and some really great pieces came out of my temporary setup this weekend.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Uh...this is my work space?!

Typically I wouldn’t expose this madness but I am starting to find it rather comical, and my friend over there at Helen Ethel Studio blogged recently about how overwhelming her space had become. I figured I would let her, and all of you know that you are definitely not alone.
This is my beading station. It is a complete mess. I keep finding random projects I started and put down only to be lost in the rubble because I was either stumped or more excited about the project that just popped into my head and had to move on.

I keep telling myself I should clean it. It would probably help me think clearer and work faster. But every time I start I become distracted and end up making something. Which is definitely not a bad thing. I guess I am afraid to mess with the area. I am on a roll right now and I feel very inspired. I sit at this table everyday and I am making some of my favorite pieces to date. If I start with a clean slate I am worried it will mess with my flow.

The beads and clay that are covering the table are the beads that are making sense to me right now. So for now, I return to the tiny workspace I cleared for myself amongst the wreck that is my beading table.

Monday, July 19, 2010

S’mores Trifle

This one is great for the kids!

For my Grandpop’s 80th Birthday party this weekend I volunteered to bring a dessert with me. I knew there would be a cake so I didn’t want to make anything “cake-like”. I also wanted to make something light  because of the heat. I went with the perfect summer themed dessert…S’mores!

1 container of marshmallow fluff
1 boxes of chocolate fudge pudding
1 box of graham crackers
1 bag of mini marshmallows
1 bag of chocolate chips
1 (8 ounce) container of cool whip

Base layer
Graham crackers-I used one sleeve of crackers per cracker layer. You can just quarter them or crumble a little bit (not too much so they don’t get mushy and your layers seep together) and scatter them on the bottom.

Mortar layers
Originally I was just going to do a layer of the marshmallow fluff but I thought that would be too thick and gooey so I blended it with the container of cool whip. This turned out to be a nice creamy texture. I may tinker with this layer a bit more the next time I make it.
-You can do whatever you want here. Just fluff would’ve been OK once I tasted the trifle.

Of course you need some chocolate so I chose to use chocolate fudge pudding.
2 layers of pudding= 2 boxes. One box per layer.


Focal Layer
I sprinkled the mini marshmallows and chocolate chips around for this layer to add some substance since the trifle didn’t consist of any cake or brownies.

Top (my favorite part of this trifle)
Sprinkle some of the chocolate chips all around the top and crumbled graham crackers. In the center I placed some toasted marshmallows. I didn’t have a campfire handy yesterday morning so I layered a cookie sheet with foil, sprayed it with nonstick cooking spray and piled on some marshmallows. Then I stuck it in the broiler. *Keep an eye on it because you just want to toast the marshmallows a little bit and they will catch on fire.*
To remove them I waited for the foil to cool a little and then turned it upside down so the toasted layer plopped in my hand. Then I gently flipped it on top of the trifle.

Everyone was really impressed with the appearance of this one. And it was so easy!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My second and expanded festival display.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my second festival this summer was going to include some changes to the set-up. All along I took an experimental approach to my first festival back in June. I knew that I was only going to set up one table to test the waters, but I was pretty sure the second would be expanded. And expand I did. I noticed a few problems with the one table set up, mainly traffic flow and congestion (technically I had 2 tables, but the one was mainly for the cash box and bagging the purchased items). In July I set up in a U shape with one 5ft table in the center and 2 4ft tables along the side. This was so much better. It allowed my visitors to spread out and circulate through my area without feeling cramped up against other shoppers. This also made my banner more prominent as it was framed out by the side tables.

The addition of 2 more tables didn't require many more props because I just spread out what I already had. I did however add a few new things just because I wanted to, but it wasn't required. My favorite addition being a new log to display my bracelets. I found an old telephone post at my father's house that was perfect. All I had to do was stain it to match my other tree props. I also added another corner basket to balance out the main table and I elevated my mirror a bit so that visitors didn't have to crouch down to see themselves when trying on my creations.

Using props found in nature allows me to expand whenever I want to because I will always be able to locate additional items to match. And well, it's really inexpensive! The response to the new display was wonderful and I plan to stick with this set up for the rest of the season.

Read my earlier post about how I made most of my display.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July Trifle

What do you think of when you think of a great 4th of July dessert? Probably something with strawberries and blueberries right? Maybe strawberry shortcake or fruit pizza? Well that is exactly what I didn’t want to do. I was trying to steer away from the typical desserts. I was also in the mood for chocolate, but I didn’t want it to be too rich because this day was going to be a scorcher. When I was at the market I saw some raspberries and blackberries on sale and I thought that could work to incorporate the 4th of July theme and add a nice light pairing to the chocolate. Now for the “mortar layer” I thought back to a trifle I made for Christmas that called for white chocolate pudding. This was a big hit and I knew it went well with chocolate and would pair well with fruit too. So there you have it… A brownie, blackberry, raspberry and white chocolate trifle.

1 box of your favorite brownie mix
1 pint of black berries
1 pint of raspberries
1 box of white chocolate pudding
1 container of cool whip (8 ounce)

I made the brownie according to the directions on the box (add an extra egg for cake-like brownies). I always split the batter and bake them into 2  9" round cake pans. Some people prefer to cut the brownie into squares for their trifle layers; I prefer a more solid layer so I push the whole round right down into my trifle dish.
I found early on that making the brownie mix with 3 eggs instead of 2 was better for the trifle because it gave the brownie a more fluffy “cake-like” texture instead of a thick fudgy texture. You have to be careful not to make your trifle too rich and dense because you already have so many intense flavors working together.
Make the white chocolate pudding and set in the fridge to cool.
While you rinse your berries set aside enough berries to decorate the top. However many you want, just pick the prettiest berries.
Next, mash the rest of the blackberries and raspberries with a potato masher. I mixed in a TINY bit of cornstarch and honey to thicken and sweeten up the berry mixture. Next, layer as you wish.  
Click here for my layering tips.
Top the trifle with a layer of cool whip, berries and a chocolate drizzle. This trifle was especially pretty with all of the bold layers of color.