Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter Morning Breakfast Tablescape

I must admit that reading other people's posts who are residents of the warmer states makes me so excited and full of anticipation for Spring to finally arrive in Wisconsin.  However, if you are at all familiar with the up and down temperatures of Wisconsin, you realize that Spring may not arrive and stay for good until late May. 

At this time, our warm spell has turned cooler and I need to gather up a little more patience before I will see blooming buds and green grass.  It is such a pleasure to see pictures from posts of beautiful blooms of lilacs, tulips and daffodils.  For that reason I decided to use the soothing colors of blue, white and yellow for an Easter Morning Breakfast Tablescape to bring Spring indoors.  When there is not much color to see on the outside of the house, I am comforted by the colors I can use to brighten my day in the inside of the house.

Take a peek.....this tablesetting is all set for Easter morning where we can enjoy the basket that was blessed in church full of sausage, eggs, bread, butter and sweets.  This joyous event reassures me that warm sunshine and colors from nature are just around the corner.

Homemade Hard Shell Chocolate Coating for Ice Cream

How happy I was to discover the recipe for Homemade Hard Shell Chocolate Coating for Ice Cream on Pinterest.  As Easter fast approaches, I thought it would be nice to have something different for dessert.  My party cake was already served for my son's arrival home, so I wanted to look for a dessert to conclude the Easter meal that was some thing other than the traditional coffee cake, torte, pie, etc.

That is when I thought about the lovely warm weather we have been having and how the cold winter has kept me away from consuming ice cream (my most favorite dessert). (Of course, so does the calories, but I won't mention that.)    Ice cream would make a wonderful end to the Easter meal and eating it won't cause us to freeze anymore than we already did during our frigid winter temperatures.

However, ice cream by itself didn't seem to be quite enough.  I could serve an ice cream sundae.  Oh but no, it is not impressive enough.  Not enough fuss for the holiday.  There is no option to "decorate" an ice cream sundae.  Why not serve up some Homemade Hard Shell Chocolate Covered Ice Cream Balls.  After the chocolate coating has hardened around the ball of ice cream, one can decorate the coated ball with colorful frosting just enough to give it pizazz. Yep, such an experiment, of course, needs a trial run, doesn't it? 

Here is the finished ball served in a martini glass to dress it up a bit.   This will be immensely favored by many.   If you are interested in this scrumptious chocolate coating, please visit:  Homemade Hard Shell Chocolate Coating for Ice Cream for the recipe.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Box Pouch

I am often amazed at the beautiful creations that are made from the talented women who sew them.  I have a great admiration for their time, patience and analytical skills to cut, assemble and sew gorgeous items for family, home and art. 

When my sweet daughter asked me to sew a box/office supply pouch for her, my first reaction was ......yikes.....can I sew in a zipper?  After a few days of being intimidated by zipper nightmares, I finally looked up some YouTube videos on how to make a box pouch.  After viewing about ten of them, I came across one which led me to say......".my goodness...I can do that."  The bravery started settling in.  To even further encourage myself, I told myself that I can practice on "scrap" material and that if it didn't work out, it was no big deal.  I could take it apart and reuse the zipper for another project once I got over the now severe case of "zipper intimidation."   Or was it a very bad case of "messed up sewing fever".  Nonetheless, I didn't want to disappoint her.

After a few hours of cutting, pinning, sewing and watching the video at least 50 times, it was completed.  If I may say so, it turned out quite well.  (It is more than recognizable, but actually well-sewed and completely functional!)  So much so that I decided to sew more box pouches.  Now my confidence is up and I am fully recovered from zipper intimidation and assembling-a-pattern fever.  I feel so good that I may make a pouch for just about every person that I know!   (Seriously, I am so grateful for the video for the step-by-step instructions.  I now like zippers.)

Well, here it is.  What do you think?  What would you store in it?

Anyone who is interested in viewing this video, I have included the link below.  Melanie really does a wonderful job at clearly showing each step. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Party Cake

It has been a long time since I baked and decorated a cake simply because, although the taste is good,  the weight increases quickly (and sometimes just by purely inhaling the sweet, enticing aroma).  In the past, there was always a reason to bake those delicious, creamy delights.......the childrens' birthdays, celebrations at work, friends and neighbors' birthdays or anniversaries, family reunions, the end of the growing season, departure and arrival parties, retirement parties, weddings, baby showers, holidays, full moons, half moons, blue moons and sometimes no reason at all!

Since our son's surprise visit home, I thought it would an appropriate time to bring out the pastry bag and sharpen up my cake decorating skills.  Its been at least five years now since I made my homemade marshmallow fondant recipe for the cakes.  I found the recipe online and really enjoy working with it as well eating it.  You can view it at:  Homemade Marshmallow Fondant Recipe.   I use it primarily to cover the cake since I want to cut down on the amount of frosting and sweetness that goes into the finished cake.  A thin layer of this marshmallow fondant along with some dots of whipped cream frosting and the cake is moist, delectable and sure to be a hit.

 Here it is....the luscious temptation that make me a full-figure woman.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Paper Butterfly

It is hard to imagine the impact this cute little paper butterfly can make as a small detail piece in a tablesetting.  I asked myself, would the Easter tablescape be the same without the butterflies in the tablesetting and floral arrangement?  

 I tried just that.  I wanted to see just what would happen if I removed the butterflies that were placed on the napkins and in the floral arrangement.  Would it make much difference? What do you think?

Without Butterflies
With Butterflies

It certainly does.  I know now not to under estimate the power of this little detail. In my opinion, the paper butterfly, as an element of detail, has a huge influence on the ambience of the table.  Who would think a small folded piece of paper would have that much of a punch to the total effect of the table.

If you are interested in learning how to fold this sweet, brightly colored, dazzling critter, please visit the instructions on the following link for step-by-step pictures.

Happy Spring!


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Preparing for Easter

Shhhh...can you hear it?  The cracking of ice and the drip-drip-dripping of water. Winter's bounty is melting.   Time is passing so quickly, but that can be a good thing.   I am welcoming the change in the weather and the longer sun light in the day.  I have been so excited to be expanding my blog and preparing for Easter.  I cherish all of the comments that everyone took the time out of their busy schedules to make on my posts.  I hope that you receive my replies to your comments and that my posts live up to what can be expected of a great blog to read and enjoy.

As part of my anticipation of Spring, I busied myself with the completion of my Easter Bunny Tablescape.   I really caught a bad case of Spring fever.

This particular tablesetting was a joy to create.  For a brief moment, it allowed me to relive precious Easter memories as a child.  Yummm....... the delightful smell of chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and marshmallow Peeps. This tablescape with its pastel colors and whimsical bunny pattern in the tablecloth really embodies that moment of surprise when finding that delectable, colorful Easter basket on Easter morning.

The delicate peonies, roses, tulips and butterflies bring to mind the coming of life in the back yard with blooms of bright colored tulips, daffodils and vibrant green grass.  The sweet, rich, earthy smell of moist soil permeates the air and becomes perfume to attract all living creatures.

The colorful eggs in the crystal basket calls up the many years of painting eggs with my children and putting together the "Easter basket"  comprising of sausage, ham, eggs, lamb butter, bread, etc for blessing at the church.

What a beautiful time of year.  A time for new beginnings.  May you have a blessed and joyous Easter.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Frosting Pen Sugar Cookies

With Spring on its way (or at least in my imagination), I began searching through my small collection of Spring/Easter items.  My sudden excitement over the approaching Spring was some what fueled by the lovely Spring decorating blogs that I have been viewing.  Unknowingly, I was influenced by all of the whimsical bunnies, tulips, daffodils and beautiful colors and patterns of delicate pinks, lush greens and tranquil blues.  Oh my goodness, I can smell the scent of the first Spring rain!

Well, in my pursuit to find all things Spring around the house, I came across my tulip cookie cutter that I purchased last year and had not the chance to use.  Then and there I realized this would be the year to create one of those decorated cookies that really should be art work on the wall.

I have often admired the millions of intricately decorated cookies and their recipes that are published by so many creative artists.  I love the beautifully detailed designs and I am amazed by the kind of design that can be created on a single cookie.  I can only guess that there must be the appropriate type of frosting and pastry bag nozzle that can make this all come to life.

My desire to replicate these glamorous cookies took me on a hunt for a way to achieve a stunning Spring cookie but also with less complications, especially for me who is a beginner at cookie decorating.  (My previous cookie decorating attempts were dipping the front of a cookie in frosting followed by dipping it in colorful sprinkles.)

In my investigation of cookie decorating, I came across the Wilton Edible Markers.  This was the perfect thing for me as a newcomer.  I purchased the box of five different colors at Michaels (see pictures below).  All I needed was a cookie, white frosting and these pens.  No need for mixing up huge pastry bags of colorful frosting.  Eager to get started,  I made up a small batch of gingerbread cookie dough and my powdered sugar/corn syrup white frosting.  After a day or letting the frosting dry on the baked cookie, I could hardly wait to become another Claude Monet impressionist.

Needless to say, my first attempt resulted in nothing close to art, but the cookies were gladly consumed by my husband.  The frosting was the type of frosting which did not harden enough to draw on.  So my quest continued.   I was determined to make this a success the second time around by using a cream of tartar frosting for gluing together gingerbread houses. (It would be the Guerilla Glue of frostings, don't you think?)  For that I brought out my mother's Wisconsin Electric Cookie Book for the frosting recipe.  With much determination, I baked the sugar cookies, whipped up the frosting and covered those delightful little treats until the ambitious project was finished.  Now the wait time.  I gave those scrumptiously sweet delicacies two days for the frosting to dry and harden.  It was after then I could put my artistry to work.

Since sketching landscapes and portraits of my favorite animals on the cookie were out of the question, I chose to keep it simple and draw a straightforward version of a tulip and rose.  Here are some of the pictures of my workmanship.  (Would you say my artistry is more in line with Pablo Picasso instead?  You are correct, I think I will stick with designing tablescapes in place of cookie decorating.  It was fun, nevertheless.)

Warmest wishes........Marsha