Thursday, January 15, 2015

Name Frame - Star Wars Theme

This name frame is for a Star Wars fan.  When I was first asked to do a name frame for Mr. SBQ's friend, I didn't know any specifics about colors or themes.  I figured I would do black and cream because that is classic and goes with anything.  I wasn't quite sure how I wanted to do the background for this, and then it hit me......they love Star Wars, so I will get a book and use the pages as the background!  I went to Half Price Books and slightly begged for help finding a book; they were very kind to help me find one that would suit and sold it to me for $1!

I randomly tore out pages from the book, but I did make sure there were some main characters names that showed up here and there on the pages.  I trimmed each page and then just started attaching them at different angles.

I tried to do mod podge on the first background, to seal the pages and give it a nice finish.  The paper curled too much when it dried, so I did another one and just used regular adhesives to attach the pages.

I used lower case letters so I could double mount them and I liked the way they looked better than capital letters.

I attached the book cover to the back of the frame.

It's funny because I was stuck on how to do this frame and then when the Star Wars theme popped into my head, it all came together.  You can't force creativity!

Star Wars Name Frame - Close-up

Star Wars Name Frame - Front

Star Wars Name Frame - Back

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Baney Farm Project - Historical Album

A few years ago my mom showed me the documents from my grandparent's farm.  On that visit home I was going through all my things that were stored in the basement and I found drawings of my grandparents house and barn that I did in college.  That got my creative wheels spinning.  

Many of the papers are ancient and so fragile.  We scanned all the papers and had them printed as photos.   The survey is dated 1847 and mentions 1762; this is my favorite because the handwriting is so beautiful.   The album includes an aerial photo of the farm, the survey, deeds going back to 1806, mortgages, photos I had taken as a teenager, and drawings I did my freshman year of college.  Some of the papers are repeated, with sections blown up so they can be read.  

I had the sketches copied and reduced so they would fit in the album.  They bring back so many memories.  My first year of college was very close to my grandparent's home.  Several times my grandma would pick me up at my dorm and take me home with her.  I would do my laundry and work on my drawing assignments for Art 101, they would feed me real food and then my grandfather would take me back to campus.

The house and barn no longer exist, so I wanted to put all this together to document the farm the way we all remember it.  I made albums for my mom and my aunt for Christmas.  I am still in the process of putting one together for myself.  It was fun to look at all the old documents and the way things were worded.  It was a history lesson on several levels.  It just seemed that it would be nice to have everything together, in a way that it could be looked at any time.  

I was very excited about how it turned out and it brought tears to a few eyes, so I think it was a success!

Baney Farm Project - Aerial Photo

Baney Farm Project - Survey Close-up

Baney Farm Project - Survey Front & Back with Envelope

Baney Farm Project - 1806 Deed

Baney Farm Project - 1918 Deed

Baney Farm Project - 1918 Deed Paperwork

Baney Farm Project - 1918 Deed Paperwork

Baney Farm Project - 1956 Deed

Baney Farm Project - 1956 Deed Paperwork

Baney Farm Project - Barn

Baney Farm Project - Barn 

Baney Farm Project - 1961 Paperwork

Baney Farm Project - 1961 Paperwork

Baney Farm Project - 1961 Paperwork

Baney Farm Project - 1961 Paperwork

Baney Farm Project - 1961 Paperwork

Baney Farm Project - 1961 Paperwork

Baney Farm Project - 1961 Paperwork

Baney Farm Project - 1963 Paperwork

Baney Farm Project - Sketches of House and Barn

Baney Farm Project - Back Page

Monday, January 5, 2015

Cranberry Orange Doughnuts

These are the BEST!  They are perfect, not other way to describe the yummy-ness!

The original recipe came from Two Peas & Their Pod, for Orange Cranberry Bread.  I am still fixed on making all quick breads into doughnuts!  The only thing I changed in the recipe, besides the shape, was that I used rice milk instead of buttermilk.  I used the small cookie scoop to fill each doughnut well - 4 scoops per doughnut.  I baked them at 350 for 15 minutes.   The glaze is easy and really good.  As with all my doughnuts, as soon as they were cool I wrapped them individually in plastic wrap, placed them in large Ziploc bags and put them in the freezer.  It's so great to have a doughnut stash in the freezer!  They don't take very long to thaw and taste like they just came out of the oven.   Right now we have a few of these, chocolate, lemon zucchini, and pumpkin doughnuts in the freezer.

Click here for the original recipe.
Cranberry Orange Doughnuts 
Cranberry Orange Doughnuts

Chocolate Kiss Cookies - Peppermint, Hugs & Kisses

I first made this recipe about a year ago, for Valentine's Day - Hugs and Kisses Cookies.  Instead of a peanut butter cookie with a Hershey's Kiss on it, this is a delicious chocolate cookie.   The chocolate cookie is much more versatile than peanut butter.  The Hershey's Hugs and Kisses both tasted great.   A few weeks ago I made them with Peppermint Kisses - so yummy.  The chocolate cookies even taste wonderful by themselves.  Both times I have made them, I have frozen half of the dough and it works out quite well.   I think mini peanut butter cups would be good on these too!  Santa brought a lot of those, so I may try it when I bake the 2nd half of the batch.

Click here for the original recipe that I found on

I baked mine on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, for 8 minutes.  I added the kisses and removed from the pan immediately.  Warning! - it's too tempting to not try one right away - just beware that the kiss is super soft and will go everywhere if you are not careful.  I think this is the best way to eat them - within a few minutes or an hour of baking them, while the kiss is still soft.  It's worth the mess!   And, to avoid destroying the beautiful cookies, store them in single layers.

This is a perfect way to start the transition from Christmas to Valentine's Day!

Peppermint Kiss Cookies

Hugs and Kisses Cookies

Friday, January 2, 2015

Giant Ginger Cookies

This is another cookie that I have wanted to make for years.  It is supposed to be a triple ginger cookie, but I missed the triple part and didn't have any fresh ginger.   Therefore, they became double ginger cookies with candied ginger and ground ginger.  The recipe has an icing for them, but I didn't have time to add icing to these.  They look really cool iced, stacked and packaged as gifts.

The original recipe is from Cuisine at Home's Holiday Cookies.

Whisk together and set aside:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt - I used a couple of grinds of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (I did not use this)

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup candied ginger, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced (this was the part I didn't have)

Scoop Dough; Coat In:
Turbinado sugar, coarse, or granulated sugar

Whisk flour, spices, soda, salt and pepper together in a bowl.
In another bowl, cream butter and both sugars together until smooth.
Add egg and beat until incorporated, then beat in the molasses, candied ginger, and fresh ginger.
Gradually add flour-spice mixture, mixing just to combine.  Chill dough until slightly firm, about an hour.

Preheat oven to 350; line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Scoop dough into 2 1/2" balls - #20 cookie scoop or 1/4 cup.  Smooth onto balls, coat in sugar, and arrange on prepared baking sheets; spacing 3" apart.
Flatten the balls with the bottom of a measuring cup, then bake for 15-18 minutes, or until set.  (I baked mine for 15 minutes).  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack.

If you want to ice the cookies, whisk together the icing ingredients until smooth.  Spread a tablespoon of icing on each cookie with a spatula.  Allow the icing to harden before packaging.

Tangy Lemon Icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons meringue powder or powdered egg whites
1 Tablespoon of milk
Minced zest of one lemon
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Giant Double Ginger Cookies

Giant Double Ginger Cookies