Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Carving

I am artistically challenge, in that I can't draw much more than a stick figure. Seriously. So when it came to carving pumpkins, I aways just opted for an easy toothy grin, because I just couldn't come up with any better ideas that I could draw out and execute. One of my best friends invited me over for pumpkin carving, and I was struggling with an idea, until I realized I could break out my silhouette and make a stencil!

Have I mentioned before just how much I love this machine? It has made craft projects so much more enjoyabe for me, and has greatly improved my crafting skillz. I have not been at a loss for projects since purchasing my silhouette, and I relly have no idea how I got by so long without it.

Okay, sorry about that gushing. Back to pumpkin carving.

I received an e-mail from Silhouette letting me know that all Halloween shapes were on sale for $.75! I browsed the online store until I found a shape that spoke to me. I chose the Owl Jack O Lantern -owl_jack_o_lantern_C20091027181311_19210 10/28/2009 and downloaded it into Silhouette Studio. I knew that I wanted to carve a big pumpkin, so I sized it as large as I could. I ended up going with freezer paper as my material because I knew it would lay the best on a bumpy pumpkin.

Here is what my pumpkin looked like after I got through carving it:

For the chest feathers, I decided not to carve all the way through, but scraped away the flesh from the pumpkin so that they would have a nice glow when a candle was placed inside.

And now for the pumpkin lit-up:

I realized that once I could see it lit, that my stencil was a wee bit crooked, but I think it turned out amazing!

Monday, October 24, 2011

I Heart Puff Pastry

I love flaky, buttery pasty, but I hate making it from scratch.  I was inspired to make a version of a cheese danish when I made a trip to Trader Joe's with my mother in-law and found this delicious sweet and slightly tangy blueberry vanilla goat cheese. I decided that since I was buying this cheese, it would be the perfect time to experiment with puff pastry, since Trader Joe's sells ths as well for a very nice price.

After arriving home with my purchases, I scoured the interwebs for a cheese danish recipe that might suit my needs, and came across several that gave me a better idea of where to go with this. So here is my version:

Blueberry Goat Cheese Danish

8oz log Trader Joe's wild bluberry & vanilla chevre
3tbs. sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp water
1/4 tsp. vanilla
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

In a medium bowl, mix together the chevre and sugar. Add the vanilla and 1 egg yolk, and mix until just combined. Set aside.

Take the puff pastry, 1 sheet at a time and roll out. Place pastry onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Take half of the cheese mixture and spoon out onto the sheet of pastry. Taking a sharp knife, slice the sides of the pastry into 2 inch wide strips and fold the pastry, alternating sides, over the cheese. Repeat this process for the second sheet of pastry and the remaining cheese mixture.

Take the other egg yolk, and whisk with 1 tsp. of water. With a pastry brush, coat the tops of your pastry. Place pastry into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. It should look like this:

This turned out just as I had hoped for, and my husband and I gobbled down one of these danish on Saturday. I decided to gift the other to a friend, but had I not, I'm sure the other would have been devoured on Sunday. Thanks to this experiment, I no longer fear puff pastry, and my mind is full of ideas for future recipes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Harry Potter Onesie!

I have been a bad, bad blogger and haven't been around much. We have had a lot going on in our lives lately and I've been traveling a lot for work and we had to work in a vacation in there so my crafting time lately has been limited.

I was thankfully able to work in some craft time over the weekend, and made an adorable Harry Potter related onesie for a friend of mine who will be an aunt very soon. I decided to make a Gryffindor House-ish shirt and came up with this using my Silhouette SD and freezer paper. Man, so I LOVE freezer paper stencils!
I apologize for the poor photo. I couldn't find my camera and only had my phone handy.

To make this onesie, I downloaded a couple images from the Silhouette Store. For the tie, I used this neck_ties_C00066_22902  and for the crest I used one from this shield_set_C00982_20387. The Gryffindor "G" is just Helvetica font.

I decided to fancy this up a bit by using Tulip Pearl Scarlet Red fabric paint, which has a little bit of shimmer to it, which I think added a nice pop to this lovely onesie. I had to add a tiny drop of black to get it to the proper Gryffindor shade. For the gold, I used Tulip Sunshine Yellow fabric paint.

I really like how this one turned out and I see myself making Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and even Slytherin shirts in my future.