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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Vintage Holiday Decorations

Adding lights on the mantle makes this vintage ornament display come alive with the cheerful colors of the season. I filled clear glass vases with my favorite family heirlooms as well as recent acquisitions from the antique mall. A strand of multi colored lights disperses a colorful glow.





 
Finding a time and place to use my vintage teacups is easy.
These paper-wrapped Italian cookies were the perfect compliment. I found them at a local TJMaxx/Marshalls store. They were excellent.


 
I feel so lucky to have these wonderful vintage ceramic decorations to warm up my home during the holidays. They were made decades ago by the sister of an aunt. She clearly put a lot of love and time into her work, which is appreciated and admired each holiday season.



I love the warm glow cast by this sweet ceramic tree so much that I don't pack it away until February!
 

I have a stash of vintage Christmas cards that I send out to friends and family I know will enjoy the unique designs. I keep some cards to put on display on bookshelves or tabletops where they lend a cheery reminder of the simple pleasures of a bygone era.









 

Holiday Cookie Exchange 2014

Each year a group of us get together to exchange cookies. I like being able to focus on one or two specialty cookies I make myself, while benefitting from the wide variety of cookies traded in the exchange. This year I decorated chocolate and vanilla and shortbread-type cookies decorated with melting snowmen (marshmallows and melted candy wafers) and a marbleizing design (royal icing). I found both idea's on Pinterest. Yes....sometimes we actually DO make the stuff we pin on our boards! The recipes are the best I have found for DELICIOUS cookies that don't lose there shape during baking. The chocolate ones are not too sweet, which is just perfect for adding all that sugary melted candy wafer frosting.
Thanks to Lila Loa for sharing...
Chocolate
http://www.lilaloa.com/2011/03/end-all-for-chocolate-cookies-recipe.html
Vanilla
http://www.lilaloa.com/2012/04/vanilla-variation.html




 
ROYAL ICING RECIPE from http://MarthaStewart.com 
  • 1 box confectioners' sugar (1 pound)
  • 5 tablespoons meringue powder or 2 large egg whites

Directions

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar and meringue powder. Mixing on low speed, add a scant 1/2 cup water. For a thinner consistency, usually used for flooding, add more water. A thicker consistency is generally used for outlining and adding details. Mix until icing holds a ribbonlike trail on the surface of the mixture for 5 seconds when you raise the paddle.

Here is a quick, ONE MINUTE video tutorial on how I made the marbleized design using royal icing.
 
 
 
A fun tradition during the cookie exchange is decorating an ugly sweater cookie.
Yep...those are definitely ugly. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.
 
 
 
Happy Holiday Baking!
 
 

Lil' Peanut Christmas Ornaments

This year we were doubly blessed with another set of boy/girl twins in the family! Mommy calls them her ' lil' peanuts' which inspired me to make these ceramic ornaments for their very first Christmas.


I made the peanut shape approximately actual size. I used a variety of textural tools to get the impressions, then added the smooth oval face and hat with textured trim. I inserted a high temp. wire loop while the clay was still soft. The babies names are incised on the back of the hats.
After bisque firing I painted on one coat of yellow underglaze on the body and pink or blue underglaze on the hats. I left the white trim un-glazed. I fired again then added another coat of a darker brownish yellow and another coat on hats. After the third firing I applied a coat of dark blackish/brown underglaze and wiped it off with a soft sponge so it remained only in the crevices. Then I coated the entire peanut with clear glaze and fired one more time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dr. Seuss Nursery Mural

 
Creating this Dr. Seuss mural was lots of fun. Mom-to-be and big brother each contributed to various processes of the mural to make it extra special for baby. I traced the design on to the wall after perusing several illustrations from various Dr. Seuss books. We especially like this tree as depicted in 'Go Dog Go'. The design was painted with acrylic paint. Black outlines and details were added last.
 
 









Saturday, August 2, 2014

TEA and TEA again....

I've posted a few times about tea, and especially TEA CUPS and SAUCERS, for which I have an insatiable desire to photograph and otherwise admire. I really can't explain it....I never, ever tire of looking at (and collecting) these lovely works of art that embody a plethora of cheery emotions for me. Maybe it's because I recall admiring the small collection of 10 or so sets that my mother had neatly arranged in a built-in china cabinet in the dining room. Quintessential vintage 50's....only it wasn't vintage at the time! In any case, I MUST take photos of my teacups every summer when I have good light and ample time to expend on such leisurely affairs.
 I focus on creating interesting color combinations as well as focusing on the use of line and form to construct a balanced composition.

Art truly is EVERYWHERE and even a teacup and saucer collection can provide endless opportunities for artistic exploration.
If you would like to purchase the full size digital image (3888x2592 dpi), please contact me via the comment section below.