Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sending You Buckets of Sand!

In a few days, the family and I will be headed to the DE shore. Lewes, to be exact. It's a little quiet town across the bay from Cape May, NJ. My husband, Michael, and I have headed there every summer since we were married 11 years ago. Our first trip was during a hurricane and we tent camped~what an adventure! Three kids later, (5, 2, 5 mos.), we are headed off again. We are camping as we always do. For as girlie as I am, I enjoy tent camping as long as I don't have to cook. I'd rather graze all day and go out for a nice dinner of Maryland Blues. The added bonus this trip is the Old Fashioned Fourth of July that the town puts on. Tons of games like Ice Block Races, Pie Eating Contests, Egg Tosses, Bike Parades, Boat Parade through the canal and the list goes on. At the end of the day, they bring in the local fire dept. and they hose off the streets and the kids run through the water.

There are certain smells and noises that just feel so right near the ocean. As soon as the waft of salt air hits the nose, it's like you've come home. I've always loved the ocean, as it's one of the only frontier that man hasn't completely destroyed. It's wild and untamed and brings back memories of spending summers at my grandparents on Chincoteague Island. In the morning, you'd go out on the porch and watch the ships go out to sea to collect their lot. We would leave in the morning on their boat. We'd fish and crab all day and then come back, clean out the crab pots, cook crabs, eat crabs and smell like crabs. After we ate even more crabs, my grandmother would stay up and pick the leftovers to freeze. Those were some of my best memories of my childhood.

My brother Bo and I~1980.
Next week, I'm looking forward to catching up on some reading and just hanging out with the family without thinking of all the other things I need to do. My goal at the beach is to relax, look for pretty shells to craft with, go junking, read, play with the kids, hold my husbands hand and make great memories. I look forward to sharing some of those memories and finds with you.
Thank you to my 3 followers!

High Ho, High Ho, It's Off to Junk I Go!

Unfortunately, like most crafters, I like junk. I can always use junk to make something new. I especially love looking at vintage junk. I get very excited over looking at retro crafts like Christmas villages made from postcards, tin trees made from soda cans and anything encrusted with macaroni, shells or my favorite...the herpes of craft supplies....GLITTER! These all put the tacky in crafty. Where do I look to find treasures to recycle? Above, I made up this handy chart to help you in finding fine treasures to add to your trove of junk.

A New Spin on Shell Encrusting

Another place to find junk is from relatives. Everyone has a Great Aunt Crazy Craft. You know, the one with bins of foam balls and boxes of buttons, glitter-encrusted pinecone elf, books on how to make paper beads and pantyhose poodles. She is a great resource for junk you need.

The Pinecone Elf

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Artful Cupcake

Small, yet perfectly formed, who can resist the tempting treat called the cupcake? Doesn't everyone, young and old love a cupcake? So small, dainty and pretty. I came across these mini wrappers and couldn't resist them. They are sturdy, yet petite in pretty vintage colors...lemoney yellow, minty mint and peachy peach. Yummy!

This is a yumm-o recipe that works great with the vintage baking cups.

Coconut and Lime Cupcakes

3/4 c. wide strips of unsweetened coconut (found at a nicer grocer like Giant or my fav.~Wegmans)

1 1/4 c. unsweetened coconut milk (Thai section of grocer.)

1 egg

3 egg whites

2 3/4 c. cake flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 sticks of butter, room temp. and unsalted

1 1/2 c. sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare muffin pans w/ liners or spray.

2. Soak the coconut strips in 1/4 c. of the coconut milk and set aside.

3. Combine the remaining cup of coconut milk w/ the egg and egg whites.

4. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

5. Cream butter, sugar until pale and fluffy, add the soaked flakes.

6. Add the egg mixture to the butter mixture in three parts, alternating w/ the flour mixture in two parts. Between additions, mix thoroughly and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

7. Pour the batter into the pan, filling approx. 1/2 way. Bake 18-20 min, until the tops are starting to color.

8. Let rest a couple of mins. in the pans, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool before icing.

Lime Curd Icing

1 tsp. water

1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin

4 egg yolks

1/2 c. sugar

Juice of 3 Limes

Green food coloring

Zest of 1 lime

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces

1. Put the water in a small mixing bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it to soften.

2. In heavy saucepan, whisk the egg yolks and sugar to blend thoroughly. Whisk in the lime juice.

3. Place the saucepan on med. heat. Stirring constantly w/ a wooden spoon, cook the mixture until it begins to steam and then thickens. When you can draw a line w/ your finger across the curd on the back of the stirring spoon and the line stays w/o dripping, take it off the heat.

4. Strain the curd into the mixing bowl w/ the gelatin, and whisk to incorporate.

5. Put a drop of green food coloring in a small dish, and use a toothpick to transfer just a smidgen to the mixture. A drop might be too much.

6. Add the zest and butter, and whisk until the butter is melted and everything is an even color.

7. Refrigerate 30 minutes, or until the lime curd has thickened to a spreadable consistency.

Finally, spread the cooled lime curd on the cooled cupcakes and top with coconut flakes. Top each with a lime wedge or a big, black raspberry. Enjoy!

Welcome To My Maiden Blog Voyage!

For months, I've been trying to decide what kind of blog I'd like to do. What would I say? What do I want to convey. I've come to the conclusion that I want to convey everything! I enjoy painting, sewing and crafting fun and pretty pink things, junking and frilly baking and cooking...so that's what I'm going to talk about.
To sum me up: I really am the Queen of Random. Like many artistic people, my mind goes in a million different directions and it doesn't seem to ever stop. I hope you enjoy my posts and will stick around as I add Freebies, Crafting Ideas with Tutorials, Recipes (Only the most delicious.) and some other random things you didn't know that you couldn't live without! You've entered a crazy thing called my thought process, so hold on because it's going to be a fun trip around the amusement park!