Tortilla Soup and Day of the Dead Crafting

DSCF7862 I love cooking for my friends.  The weekend went so fast, but I couldn't have ended it better.  Eating and crafting with my best pal.  Last night I tried a new recipe which was risky, but I took a chance.  Tortilla Soup.  AMAZING!

DSCF7863 Can I just say fried tortilla strips are my new favorite thing?  They are the perfect crispiness!  The only thing I added to the soup was a can of corn.   It went together really easy and I liked that it was a hearty, but somewhat "light" soup.  Good for Spring.

DSCF7864I got the "Survivor" place-mats at Meijer.  You love the way they set the avocado off, don't you?

DSCF7871 Within seconds of finishing eating, the table looked like this.  Kaboom.  Craft explosion.  I was so inspired by my trip to the Pilsen district in Chicago last Sunday.  I have been on a mission to make some Day of the Dead art.  By the way, the link above is the guide I used when visiting West Pilsen and it was really, really helpful.  The area is full of interesting things and so fun!  I went to bakeries, botanical shops, cathedrals, taquerias, a pinata store and the National Museum of Mexican Art (which was really incredible).  They also have great vintage clothing stores!DSCF7865 We ended up making bright crosses embellished with flat back crystals, old jewelry torn apart with my trusty Beadalon ergo pliers.

DSCF7868 And sequins.  Gotta have sequins.  The crosses are from Hobby Lobby.  We also used Folk Art paints and Extreme Glitter along with Mod Podge to adhere the flat-back crystals and paper embellishments.  Mmmmmmm.

DSCF7866 A little nod to Rocker….love of my life.  Thank you Crafty Chica for the chihuahua card!

DSCF7870 My friend loves baseball.  After she glued it down she said, "watch this thing be worth hundreds in a few years if only left untouched."  We giggled. "Cest la vie," I say!

DSCF7867 She went home and back to reality I went working away on some upcoming projects.  I'm so thankful for my friends.

It's been a fulllll day today.  Before I close, thank you Lark Books for a neat little interview and thank you everyone who has a copy of Metalworking 101 for Beaders.  I'm off to help some students with metalworking tonight as a matter of fact.  It's pouring rain.  I think I'll sneak a bowl of leftover soup before I head out.  Viva la Vida!

Learning to Paint Again…

Photo(12)As I write this, "bust a move" is on the radio.  "If you want it, you got it."  We're not talking about the same things, but it's a true statement. My song goes like this. I've been wanting to paint.  The other day I stopped into one of my favorite stores and it so happens they were offering oil painting classes.  $20 for 3 hours.  If you want it, you got it!  Perfecto!  So I got some supplies together and away I went.   I'm not going to lie, I was a little scared.   The anxiety of transferring 3D images to flat….ugh.  Yesterday was my first time oil painting since I took it at Purdue (maybe in 02/03ish?).  I had a great professor then, and my instructor yesterday rocks too!

Photo(11)To add to it, everyone in the class is really fun.  This is the still life I am painting from.  3 perfect pears.  They won't look so very perfect in my painting, but I'm ok with that.  Do you love that fabric?  It's going to make me crazy to paint.

Photo(13)This is how I left my painting yesterday.  Next week I will block out the fabric and start adding more layers to the other areas.  This class is my sudoku puzzle of sorts and I needed it.  What are you doing to challenge yourself?  I find if I don't learn something new or challenge myself, I get so blahhhhh. 

Dazzling Geodes


The Craft and Hobby Association's trade show is fast approaching and I'll be there with Plaid showing off their fantastic Dazzling Geodes line.  If you are coming to the show, stop by and make a necklace using these awesome components! 


The geodes come in all different pretty, earthy colors.  You can put a jump ring on it and string it on a piece of leather or layer it with some of the other pieces like this:


There are also little glass ovals that are really cool.  I glued them on ring blanks with flat back crystals—it took all of five minutes and they looked jazzy.  Check out the project book that is with the line.  It features ideas that the folks at Plaid and I collaborated on.  Like this!

And this!

There are pinch bails, prong settings, links, chain, charms, pendants, and tons more that make assembly really easy.  You could also use the flat geodes for decoupaging to.  Joann Fabrics has the Dazzling Geodes line in case you're hot to get some!

Repurposing a Brooch for a Veil Comb…


This is a piece I made for a special bride-to-be this past fall.  The Mother-In-Law to be commissioned it in hopes of incorporating a treasured rhinestone brooch that was her mothers.  You can see the snow-flake like brooch in the middle.   The dress was ivory so I used off white Swarovski glass pearls and crystals.  With a plain hair comb and a bit of 22g wire you can do anything!  Just anchor your wire to the comb with a few wraps and start stringing and wrapping.  To finish it, I sealed the wrapped area with a satin ribbon.  You can also paint a layer of E6000 over the ribbon and leave to dry overnight to create a bit of "grip".  Or you can always commission me to make one for you.  I don't have long hair, but if  I did I'd probably have a thousand of these things incorporating all kinds of brooches, feathers, charms and whimsies to pin my hair up in.

Picture Blocks…

Hello readers!  Thanks for clicking over…   It's an honor to be featured on Crescendoh-thank you, Jenny.  Dear readers, I do hope you find some fun ideas over here from food to crafts, I love living a creative life.

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These photo blocks seem really timely since I have a few friends with babies on the way.  I can see them tucked in a nursery with pictures of grandma and grandpa or siblings.  Although, I think they are fun for big kids (like me) too.  You can find sweet little blocks in antique stores and ebay for around $1 each. 

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I pulled the twirly wire photo holders from a pre-made photo holder.  Michael's has some unfinished wood blocks with the coils right now for 99cents that you could use (they were tucked in a dollar rack at our store).  Drill a hole in the center of the block, string some beads and even a thimble on the wire and glue them in the hole.  Done!

A moment of silence now as this week I have managed to lose my SD camera card that had 1090 pictures on it.  Shame on me for not downloading them sooner.  Argh.  Lesson learned.  Although, maybe now that I have admitted to losing it to the world, it will turn up!  Fingers crossed.  

I heart eggs.

I do.  Always have.  And if you've read my blog(s) for any length of time you know what a fan of "egg in a frame"/"egg in a basket"/"egg in a nest" I am.  My 6th grade home ec teacher taught us how to make them.  Thank you Mrs. Gallahue (who I still bump into around town from time to time—she runs with my kindergarten teacher)! 

Now, I heart hearts just as much as eggs so this is a perfect combo in my mind.  Here you go my sweets…love this idea and site!  And if you want to get really crazy, you can graffiti your toast with cute love sayings like, "You're One Egg-celent Valentine!"  Corny, but fun.

XO, Candie

My Gram’s Valentine Cookies…

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My Gram, Mary DeLauter and I have made these a time or two.  I’m sharing the recipe because we’ve never heard one complaint.  Not even from grandpa, who gets stuck eating the over-done ones because gram and I’ve gotten side-tracked yakking or fussing over icing details.  Fussing meaning, grandma puts red hots on EVERYTHING and I’m not such a fan of red hots…although they look so dang cute (truthfully, as I age, they are growing on me).  But, I will never tire of these cookies or apologize for eating two or three in one setting.  Neither should you.  Ok, grab your heart cutters because here’s the recipe.

Mary D’s Sugar Cutout Cookies

¾ C shortening (part butter or margarine)

1 C sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 ½ C flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

-Mix shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla

-Add flour, baking powder and salt

*Chill at least 1 hour

-Oven @ 400

-Roll dough 1/8” thick on lightly floured board.  Cut with cookie cutters and place on un-greased baking sheet.  Bake 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.

Butter-cream Decorating Icing (future Candie is editing here–I think this is actually called Royal icing)

½ C butter

½ C solid vegetable shortening

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp salt

4 C confectioner’s sugar

3 Tbsp cool milk or cream

-Cream butter and shortening together with electric mixer

-Add vanilla and salt

-Beat in sugar, 1 C at a time, blending well after each addition

*Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often

-Add milk and beat at high speed until light and fluffy

-Add color if you like too…

*Keep icing covered with lid and store in fridge.