Thursday, June 30, 2011

Good Finds

I haven't just been lolly gagging around.  Really!  I have found some real treasures this summer.  While I am not a big garage sale shopper, once in a while see something while driving by.  This is what I found down the street.  Let me tell you, it was a steal deal!
I have always wanted a church pew.  I am not sure why.  I am not religious.  But our home was once a church.  This pew fits so nicely on our back porch.  I think I will finish it up a little bit, but I don't want to take off the aged look. The man who sold it to me said it had a nice "pakina" and asked if I knew what he was talking about.  I think he meant patina, but I didn't want to squash his good salesmanship.  It is the perfect vintage decor for the back porch - a great piece for entertaining, too.  I think it's just perfect!

My next find was a post-garage sale facebook photo that a friend put up.  I am not sure why I jumped on these, but they spoke to me. 

Anyone want a vowel?  These came from the sign of the restaurant space he took over.  The previous restaurant was "Mario and Wong's Wok Style Italian"  No wonder half the letters are Asian style; and no wonder the restaurant didn't work out.  My friend's restaurant, on the other hand, is fabulous.  If you like great barbecue and are in Denver, be sure to check out Oinks.  They are fabulous!
I am not sure what to do with them yet.  Perhaps a new focal point in the game room.  Who knows? We'll see, maybe these letters will give me a creative spark!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Vacation is over

I think that vacation has come to a close.  We had a fabulous trip at the beginning of June.  I returned to some busy volunteer work with the Art on the Street program.  Then, I retreated to the mountains for a quick respite with my daughters.  Ahh! Vacation.

Now, it's over. 

Reality is here - still the laundry and the cleaning are waiting for me.  And I have been missing working in my studio.  Missing creating things.  Missing writing several times a week.  Missing being in routine.  Vacation reminded me how important all those things were.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE vacation!  Who wouldn't love to live like that all the time?  But, really, routine is nice, too. 

With just 7 more weeks of summer break left, I think we will fall into the lazy routine of summer.  Taking time to create and write; taking time to play and enjoy friends; and taking time to get the chores done!

Don't cry because it's over,
smile because it happened.
-Dr. Suess

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Recipe - Lemon Poppy Cookies

My friend, Angie, from The Purple Poppy asked me if I could make cookies for the 1-year anniversary celebration at her store.  I said, sure.  But not just any cookies - purple poppy cookies.  I said, sure.  A recipe from Martha Steward.  Again, I said, sure.  I crossed my fingers and knocked on wood that these cookies would come out the way she wanted.  I made a tester batch and everything seemed ok.  So, it was a go!
The recipe, from Martha Stewart's website, was actually pretty simple and easy to follow.  And if you don't look at her photo too closely, mine look pretty good.
I am delivering the cookies today.  If you want to try them out, go to The Purple Poppy anniversary party tonight.  The shop is located at the corner of 95th and Arapahoe Road in the Atlas Valley shopping center in Lafayette, Colorado.
So, I would consider this baking adventure a success.  Will I consider a career change, I am not so sure.

I made these!
Martha Stewart’s Poppy-Shaped Lemon Cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface

For Decorating the Cookies:
Royal Icing, plain and/or tinted (below)
Poppy seeds, for sprinkling

1. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest and juice until combined. Beat in flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

2. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll out to a scant 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out about using 2 sizes of flower cookie cutters. (It is helpful to place only one size on a cookie sheet for even baking.) Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Bake until edges just start to brown, 14 to 18 minutes. Let cool completely.

4. Decorate the cookies: Transfer each batch of tinted icing to a separate pastry bag fitted with a small round tip (you can use as many colors as desired). Pipe an outline of icing around the edges, then "flood" each cookie with more icing to cover. Immediately pipe a circle of small dots in the center of each cookie using a different-colored icing. Drag dots to outer edges using a toothpick to create thin lines. Repeat with remaining cookies and icing. Transfer cookies to parchment-lined baking sheets, and let dry completely, about 30 minutes.

5. Once cookies are set, pipe a large dot in the center of each cookie using the same tinted icing as the small dots. Gently sprinkle poppy seeds around large dot. Let dry completely.

Dani Fiore’s Royal Icing
1/2 cup meringue powder
2 pounds confectioners' sugar (8 cups)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Using a hand mixer with the whisk attachment, mix together meringue powder with 1 cup water until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Using the beater attachments, add sugar and lemon juice; continue mixing until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

*tip- do not over whip the meringue powder, or your icing will be too fluffy and will never dry. The finished product should have a matte-finish, dry and crisp icing topping.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Vacation -

Enjoy vacation -
If you'd like to see more vintage postcards, check out my other blog - Postcards, etc.
Have a great week!