July 10, 2011
The heat is really wearing us down in TX this week. As I write this the thermometer reads 100 degrees. I’ve heard of people trying to fry an egg on a hot sidewalk, and I’m thinking of seriously giving that a try this Wednesday when it’s supposed to be back up to 106. Ugh! Wherever you are, I hope you are staying cool. And whether or not you celebrated Independence Day on July 4th in your part of the world, I hope you get the chance sometime soon to celebrate your creative independence.
If you’d like to learn a little Mandarin while getting your knitting podcast fix, you should give a listen to Clothed In The Lamb.
Let’s have a go at that recipe sharing! Here’s your first one:
Classic Pecan Pie
1 cup Light OR Dark Corn Syrup
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans
1 (9-inch) unbaked or frozen** deep-dish pie crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F (178 °C).
- Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust.
- Bake on center rack of oven for 60 to 70 minutes (see tips for doneness, below). Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.
- **To use prepared frozen pie crust: Place cookie sheet in oven and preheat oven as directed. Pour filling into frozen crust and bake on preheated cookie sheet.
- RECIPE TIPS: Pie is done when center reaches 200°F (93°C). Tap center surface of pie lightly – it should spring back when done. For easy clean up, spray pie pan with cooking spray before placing pie crust in pan. If pie crust is overbrowning, cover edges with foil.
- High Altitude Adjustments: Reduce sugar to 2/3 cup and increase butter to 3 tablespoons. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F (163°C).
*This recipe is courtesy of Karo. Pictures and a how-to video can be found here.*
Here are some of the bracelets I have been working on. Thoughts?
Along with the bracelets, I have been working on the Tangled Branches hat by Grace Akhrem. You can click here to have a peek at her many other designs. And, the kits for the breast cancer awareness socks are available through Pagewood Farm.
May 1, 2011
Hey, hey all you hackers out there! This one’s for you!
WARNING! Before you precede any further, please familiarize yourself with that hacker genius, MacGyver.
And if you’d like to do a little more reading about hacking in general, take a peek into “The New Hacker’s Dictionary”.
So you still want to try your hand at cow tipping?? This how-to video provides step-by-step instructions.
Indy Mogul offers up some great inspiration and DIY goodness. Their Backyard FX series is full of incredibly good how-tos. You can watch their Fallout fan Film, Nuka Break, and then see the episode about how some of their props were constructed.
About that yarn swift that Mr. E. Bunny told me about… check it out for yourself here.
I have managed to cast on and complete the Waterfall Scarf since the last episode… though it may get frogged and re-knit.
January 13, 2011
Hello, hello hello! Happy 2011, and thank you for choosing to visit with me here on the Treacle and Ink blog at the beginning of this new year.
I must say, I am glad to be back, dusting off the blogging cobwebs…blogwebs?… and discovering a new routine. I have been shamefully absent these past two months for one very good reason – my new job.
While I entered into this new occupation with high hopes and a positive outlook, I was not anticipating the physical, as well as mental taxation that I was going to undergo. There is just so much new stuff to wrap my head around, and the pressure of excelling in my work, and getting used to sitting at a desk all day…ugh! As a result, I have come home at the end of every day completely exhausted, without the motivation to do anything but veg on the couch.
The time has come to put a stop to that! I can either revel in my lethargy, or I can choose to re-take my life. No more coming home every day and just sitting around. After all, energy can come out of doing, and especially crafty doing.
So, let’s get to the crafty doing. Even though the blog has been completely neglected lately, crafting has still received a little share of my time.
In honor of my new job, I made this flower pen bouquets for my desk:
On a visit to the doctor’s office about a year ago, I was looking for a writing utensil with which to fill out my check, when the nurse casually said, “The flowers are pens.” How cute is that? I have since seen these all over the place, as I’m sure many of you have as well.
There must be plenty of tutorials on the web addressing this particular craft, so instead of going into a fully detailed one of my own, I’ll just give you a quick run-down.
And that’s it! It’s a really simple and fairly inexpensive craft to undertake. I have not been gifted with the skill for flower arranging, so I went with these big bright Gerbera and Spider Daisies. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve tried this craft before, or if you have any wise flower arranging tips to share!
November 1, 2010
Two years ago, my hubby and I hosted the first Thanksgiving in our home. We had some family members over, and I decided that I wanted to make a gingerbread centerpiece. I usually don’t see any gingerbread houses until people start getting ready for Christmas, but I thought the golden brown color of the gingerbread really lent itself to the Thanksgiving color scheme. Up until that time, I had only pieced together those gingerbread house kits that you can pick up from various grocery and craft stores, but that year, I decided to start from scratch. And, instead of a house, I went with a gingerbread church. It was Thanksgiving after all!
To begin with, choose a sturdy piece of cardboard on which to build your structure. Cover it with aluminum foil.
**Optional: If you intend to illuminate your structure, cut out a hole in the base through which to insert a tea light.
Come up with a design for your church. If you don’t want to get that creative, do a little googling. There are tons of gingerbread house designs out there.
Create and print templates for all of the pieces required to build your structure. Once you have them printed, cut them out.
Make up a batch of gingerbread cookie dough. Roll out the dough onto parchment paper, and lay your template pieces on top. Using a butter knife, cut out all of the pieces you will need to construct your structure. Leave the pieces where they are on the parchment and remove the excess. Transfer the parchment to a baking sheet, and bake your pieces. Depending on the size of your structure, you will probably have to bake in batches.
If you don’t have a gingerbread recipe already, there are plenty of them online. I found one that was intended specifically for gingerbread construction (not edible). It was very sturdy, and had a nice color.
**Optional: Since this church was a centerpiece, I wanted to give it “stained glass windows” that could be illuminated from the inside with a tea light. These were made by crushing butterscotch and cinnamon candies and sprinkling them into the window cut-outs before baking.
Once all of your pieces have cooled completely, assemble your structure using liberal amounts of royal icing. (Just like with the gingerbread, I found a non edible icing recipe online that is specifically for gluing together gingerbread houses.) Begin with the walls, and once they have set, move to the roof. Apply the icing to the inside and outside of your joints. You may need to brace your walls while you are waiting for the icing to harden.
For this particular project, I went with pretzels, Reese’s Pieces, candy corn, cinnamon and butterscotch hard candies, red gumdrops, and those white crunchy peanut butter bar candies. I stacked toasted coconut covered jumbo marshmallows in the front yard as haystacks, and used cinnamon toast crunch squares as shingles. The fence was constructed with pretzel sticks. As a last minute thought, I assembled a little Thanksgiving turkey with a red gumdrop body and candy corn feathers that were stabilized with a twisty pretzel. All in all, I think it came out great!
I hope that gives you a jumping-off point to get started on your gingerbread house this year!
Just as a side note, while this gingerbread church did manage to survive until Thanksgiving, it didn’t last much longer after that. A rodent of some sort discovered it shortly after, and we awoke in the morning to find one of the back corners of the roof nibbled completely off! I had thought of possibly spraying a few coats of clear acrylic over it to seal everything really well so that I could use it for years to come. When I make another one, I will most definitely do that.
October 29, 2010
Halloween is a mere two days away, but the trick-or-treaters around here are headed out tomorrow night. If you haven’t even begun to think about Halloween festivities, no worries! Here’s a little last minute Halloween Party roundup to give you a hand.
Pumpkin Pasties – I found this recipe over at britta.com, a website dedicated to throwing a most awesome Harry Potter party. I made these pasties last Halloween, and everyone loved them! They’re really quick and easy, and are a great finger food alternative to making a whole pumpkin pie. While you’re over there, check out the other recipes that are listed. Those treacle tarts just might have to be made in my kitchen this year…
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (because at Halloween, you can never have too much pumpkin) – This recipe is brought to you courtesy of Lindsay who blogs over at PACountryCrafts. While I haven’t tried out this recipe yet, rumor has it that Lindsay is a whiz with pumpkin. Don’t believe me? Check out her posts on How To Cook A Pumpkin, and Pumpkin Muffins.
Owl Cupcakes – Here’s looking at you, kid. I Am Momma Hear Me Roar is one of my favorite blogs! It’s always full of wonderfully creative ideas for cooking, crafting… you name it. Many thanks to Cheri for sharing some of her last minute treat ideas. While you’re there, check out the “Crow’s Feet” too. Oh, my tummy is grumbling just looking at all that goodness!
Spooky Glowing Eyes – This first decoration idea is thanks Sister Dianne, who heads up another one of my favorite blogs, CraftyPod. Trust me, you don’t need to have a crafty bone in your body to pull off this quick and easy decoration idea. Click on the link to watch her short tutorial video.
Needle Felted Eyeballs – Yes, more creepy, eerie eyes. This decoration idea is brought to you via Michelle from Etsy and Nguyen Le from KnitKnit. If you’ve got a little extra fiber laying around, I’ll bet you could churn out a few new sets of peepers in no time.
3D Blood Spatter Effect – Think your home could be the setting for a new episode of CSI? This decoration idea is for you! This is a Halloween how-to that Etsy put out last year, with the help of Meg Allan Cole from Threadbanger, and I thought it was so cool, I wanted to share it with you this year. I like their idea of using it as a photo-op area.
These are just a very few last minute ideas. I hope they help get your creative juices going!
October 25, 2010
The smallest of the matching tables that I used in the Man Cave was just the right size to become a foot stool. Once I painted the table, I put together a quick and simple cushion to tie on top.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Enough fleece to cover your size stool
A sewing machine or needle and thread (To be quite honest, you might even be able to use fabric glue instead of the needle and thread if you wanted to go super simple.)
Using the top of the stool as your guide, cut out the two pieces of fleece that will become the top and bottom of the cushion, making sure to allow extra around the edges for the seams. My stool measured 15″ square, and I cut 16″ square pieces. Since I wound up sewing a 3/4″ seam, I should have probably at least cut a 17″ square. As you can tell in the finished piece, the cushion still wound up being a little too small.
After you cut your two squares, cut 8 strips of fleece that measure 12″ long and 1″ across. These strips will become the ties that attach your cushion to the stool.
Lay one square of fabric face-up on the table. Arrange the strips as shown in the picture, making sure to cover the corners of the square. It doesn’t matter how the strips are layered in the middle of the square. The important part of this arrangement is how the strips meet up with the corners of the square.
Place the second square face-down on top of the first, matching the edges. Pin the fabrics together around the edges, making sure to secure the ties well.
Beginning in the middle of one of the sides, sew all the way around the square until you make it back to about 4 or 5 inches away from where you started. Secure your thread, and then turn your cushion right side out through the hole. Your ties are now on the outside, hanging from each corner.
Stuff your cushion with the fiberfill, and sew it closed by hand.
And that’s it! This is a very easy project that can be completed in under an hour. Now, all you need to do is tie the strips around the legs of your stool, and you’re ready to sit back, prop up your feet, and relax.
June 9, 2010
If you remember a few weeks ago, I was getting really excited about going camping. In preparation for the trip, I decided to throw together some quick camping cushions. I went with a fairly non-gender-specific fabric since these are for girls and guys to use.
Back in my younger days, I spent quite some time in Girl Scouts. One of the things we made that I used more than anything else was a Sit-Upon. These handy little seats could be used on wet of dry ground and were a staple for every camping trip.
All you need is a 15″ x 15″ square (or more, depending on how large you’d like the cushion) each of outdoor fabric and cloth backed vinyl, and filling. You could also opt to use two squares of vinyl if you think you’ll be somewhere that’s going to be more than a little damp. Place the vinyl right-side-down, stack your filling on top (leaving room around the edges to sew), and then top with the piece of outdoor fabric. Sew around the edges, and voila! In Girl Scouts, we filled the cushion with newspapers, but you can pretty much use whatever you have around. I didn’t have any newspapers, but I did have some old magazines and I bought a little bit of 1/2″ foam to give it a little softness on top.
I whipped these closed with my sewing machine and trimmed the excess. Nothing fancy on the edges, but I think they’ll hold up fine. Pinking shears might have been a good idea.
If you don’t have a sewing machine, or if you’d like to try this project with a younger person, you can use a hole puncher and punch holes around the edges. “Sew” through the holes with a sturdy length of thick yarn.
That’s it! These cushions are much easier to pack and lug around than folding chairs. If you wind up making a few for you, leave me some comments and send me some pics. I’d love to share your work with others!
June 2, 2010
What is up with the pollen lately?? I started feeling yucky on Monday while we were still down south, but it’s still hanging on now that we’re back. I can’t tell which is worse, the way the allergies make me feel, or the way the allergy medicine makes me feel.
Anyways, I hate to post and run, but I definitely want to leave you with something of value, so check this out:
May 27, 2010
This is not so much a craft post as it is an introspective monologue. So, if you’re really more about the crafts, don’t feel bad about skipping over this post and digging through the archive for some nifty how-to’s to carry you through until my next post.
For those of you who are still with me, thanks! I just wanted to get a little more personal and update you on some choices I have made recently.Before we moved here to Texas, I was working three jobs: Bank Teller, Church Music Director, and Advertising Sales Executive. We moved, and I went from having three jobs, to having one: actor. My dear husband and I agreed that, since we were moving to a much larger area with more opportunity, I would focus on giving acting my best shot, and not be tied down with a full-time job elsewhere. I asked for six months; he gave me two years.
In those two years, I have had some wonderful experiences and met people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I have had my first real experiences in front of the camera and have made some great theatre connections. I have made a decent living – by actor standards – which is to say, not a whole heck of a lot.Now, I am approaching 30 and have come to the point where it is time to make a change. We live a good life in a lovely little rental house with two of the sweetest dogs ever. I have nothing to complain about – except that I want a little more than that. I want a house of my own and children of my own. I want the freedom to change my hairstyle and appearance without the expense of getting new headshots made. I want to take kung-fu lessons. I want to start a theatre for the disabled. I want to travel and see more of the world, and maybe fly home to visit my family more often.
These desires all have one thing in common, they cost money. Now, I don’t even like to talk about money, but it is a fact of life. And, as I said before, we do live a good life. But, the only way for us to move forward from where we are now, is to become a true two-income family.
Which brings me full circle. My desire for these “other things in life” has now grown to the point that it outweighs my desire to be a full-time actress. I’m not saying that I’m giving up acting completely. I have no intention of quitting improv, or divorcing Ida Straightshooter, or dropping out of projects that can be worked around my schedule. In fact, I am interested in getting more involved in the theatre scene around here. But, I have also decided that now is the time for me to get settled in at a full-time “real job”.I sent off my resume on Monday to the bank that I was working at before we moved. They have new branches opening up here in DFW, so I thought it might be a good shot. They called me on Tuesday for an interview on Wednesday. That was unexpected. The last time I went job hunting, I looked for four months without being called for a single interview.
So, now I wait. I am hopeful. The sooner I find a good full-time job, the sooner I can begin my next life adventure. It’s an exciting thing to stand at the edge of a new beginning and think of all wonderful possibilities that lay ahead.
“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4 (NIV)
I’d love to hear your stories about big life changes you have made. Leave me some comments! Encouragement is especially appreciated. 🙂
April 21, 2010
As I was doing my crafty blog perusing this week, I came across this post over at Holy Craft. She has managed to turn a men’s button-down shirt into the cutest girl’s dress. What an awesome way to repurpose! This post has been hanging out in the back of my mind for the past few days, so I think it’s something I’m definitely going to have to try.
Now, with all of the rain we had this past weekend, and I do mean ALL of the rain, I was inspired to create a rainy day treasury. I’d love for you to check it out, click and comment!
And, as always, just for you, here is a little peek at my alternates. 🙂