Hello and Welcome to my Blog ~ I love art of all kinds. Two of my favorites are polymer clay and paper art. I have shops on Etsy that feature both of my passions. I also love writing my blog and finding artists that have a passion for their craft and feature them. I hope your day is filled with sunshine, laughter and loads of creativity.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Our Traditional Christmas Eve Dinner.

Twas the Night before Christmas and the wonderful aromas of our traditional Italian dinner were permeating throughout the house making us all anxious to have this fabulous meal. This Christmas Eve dinner has been a tradition in my husband's family going back for generations.

Let's begin with the scene this morning:

When I came into the kitchen I was surprised to see the bread dough that only covered the bottom of this large bowl last night had mushroomed into a gigantic ball. I added extra dough this year and didn't think about the consequences. I was extremely happy that I had it covered with plastic wrap, otherwise it would have overflowed onto the counter top. Oh My, what a mess that would have made.

Fried dough is one of my families favorites. It is so yummy just plain or dipped in

sugar. It takes awhile to fry them, but well worth the effort. Of course a lot of them are eaten right out of the frying pan under the notion that they might not be quite done inside.

(UMM... I think I just gained another five pounds)

My son Michael, who is a fantastic cook, has added baking to his repertoire.

He made the most delicious Mexican Wedding Cookies also know as Russian Tea Cookies. I had never had these cookies and was delighted with the outcome. When he added the finishing touches, I thought they looked like little snow balls. Talk about delicious, they had a wonderfully nutty, buttery flavor and the confectioners sugar not only made them look so pretty but added to the flavor as well.

Our tradition consists of two seafood dishes, a spaghetti dish with marinara

suce and fried smelts. The first one is made with calamari. It took me years before I would try this wonderful dish, but when I did, I wondered what on earth took me so long. I look forward to having this every year. This picture of the calamari shows it still in the pot that it was cooked in. It is mixed into a bowl of spaghetti for the final presentation to the meal.

The second one is an Anchovy sauce which is also mixed into a bowl of spaghetti. My sons love this dish and it is so easy to prepare.

The smelts, however, are quite a process. First the cleaning which takes awhile, because we had four pounds of these little beauties. Then there is the filleting, battering and then frying them to a golden brown. Everyone loves them. They are salty, crispy and downright delicious. My son's, Chef Michael along with his sous chef, Charlie, were in charge and I must tell you, they did an outstanding job.

The centerpiece for the table was given to my husband and me from his parents years ago.This is the first time that I have used it as a centerpiece and thought it looked beautiful with the white dishes.

My four year old Grandson said Grace, then sang a little prayer he learned at his pre-school. It was incredibly sweet.

My table was blessed with the presence of Charlie, Tina, Little C, Michael, his friend Joey and her sons Caden and Ethan. I wished that Trina, George, and my Grandchildren George and Melissa could have been with us. It certainly would have made the day complete.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Setting up the Christmas Tree

I set up my Christmas tree today. I have one of those perfect, pre-lit, in the box, trees that comes in three pieces. I had it up in record time and all decorated, then I turned on the lights. Okay, why is the bottom section lit up and not the top two. It doesn't take a Rocket Scientist to figure this one out, but one sure could have helped. I finally realized that each section had to be connected. DUH!

Did you notice that my beautiful Angel looks a bit tipsy up there on the tree top. She either had too much wine while I was decorating the tree or she's afraid of heights and is about to fall off. (LOL) I better straighten her out.

I gave her a new dress and wings awhile ago. The dress was a Barbie dress and the wings were the tail of a mermaid. I thought that the tail made perfect wings.

This little elf was handmade for me by a lady that knew my Dad. I don't remember exactly when I received him, but I do know that I was quite little. I have placed this little guy on a Christmas tree every year since then.

Almost all my decorations were made by my family. Such nostalgia as I opened the box and unwrapped them, some tears, but mostly loads of smiles as I placed them on the tree.

When my children were young we would make Christmas ornaments out of salt-dough. It was so much fun and they made great gifts. This little angel is one of Trina's beautiful creations. She loved to make Angels, and I have four of them that I place on the tree each year. You can see that her wonderful talent for creating whimsical figurines was in full force back then too.

Charlie and Michael were more into making cars. (Left is Michaels) Michael was really little at the time so his brother helped him with his and (Right is Charlie's) They do resemble the Match Box Cars that they loved so much. They would play for hours on end with them. They still have their cars stowed away in match box cases after all these years.

My husband Charlie loved crafting and salt-dough was right up his alley. He made this whimsical Ben Franklin that makes me laugh every time I see him. He was always making something and each time he would get into a new project he would call it his (what ever he was doing at the time) phase. Well this was his "Salt Dough Phase". He had the carving phase, the macrame phase, the drawing phase, the bird house making phase just to name a few.

I can't believe I made this ornament. I never feel like Bah Humbug so I'm blaming it on the movie Scrooge, I must have just finished watching it.

One of the things I love to do at Christmas time is going from neighborhood to neighborhood and see all the beautifully decorated homes. Some could be in a magazine and others, well, all I can say is that the decorators have "The Christmas Spirit." It kind of reminds me of when my sons were little. I would give them the tinsel to hang on the tree and they would have fun throwing it at the tree instead. It would wind up in clumps, not the prettiest look, that's for sure. As I write this post I am reminded of what wonderfully fun times we all had together.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Monday, December 13, 2010

Our December Guild Meeting

My Polymer Clay Guild had its Christmas pot luck yesterday. There were four long tables filled with the most yummy food imaginable. I wish I could have tried every dish, but that would have been an insurmountable feat.

I was looking forward to Sherri Sneed's demonstration on armatures, but unfortunately, she couldn't make the meeting. Babette Cox took her place and demonstrated a Satin Swirl Egg. She used this huge egg for her demonstration, but you can use the more ordinary chicken egg.

The lesson was inspired by Kyle Savastano. His mom had given Kyle (who was only five at the time) scraps of clay while she was demonstrating mica shift covered eggs. He proceeded to mush and smoosh the clay then placed the scraps on an egg. You can read about Kyle and see his incredible egg by clicking on the following link: http://www.polymerclaycentral.com/satinegg.html

The link also has a tutorial on how to make this beautiful egg. I'm anxious to try it myself.

We also had a demonstration by Shelly Traub on "Polymer Clay Menorahs" I thought it was quite ingenious using bolts for the candle holders. They fit the Menorah candles perfectly. Shelly has used this demonstration when teaching children, because it is such a fun and easy project to do.

Our meeting ended with our swap which is always so much fun. I came home with three beautiful clay creations. I love the swirl earrings by Ruth Steiner and the steampunk gingerbread man by Teresa Stites, but was quite awestruck by Cindy Walker's creation of Kellie Mowat's "Singing Angel Ornament" that was featured in this months Polymer Clay Cafe magazine. We have such wonderfully talented artists in our Guild.

Lucky Me!!! One of our Guild members bought a used toaster oven (previously used for polymer clay) at a garage sale. She thought someone in the Guild would like it and that lucky someone was me. She only wanted what she paid for it and would you believe it - it was only $10.00. I couldn't wait to get it home and put it in my clay room and as you can see, it fits perfectly in my wicker cabinet. I have to get a temperature gauge for it, which I will buy today, then I will be ready to try it out with my next project.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Great Dip

~ Happy Holidays ~

The December meeting of the North Texas Polymer Clay Guild is this Sunday. We are going to have a Pot Luck and I am going to bring a most delicious Crab Dip. (Recipe below)

There will be short demonstrations on "Armatures for Polymer Clay Art Dolls" by Sherri Sneed and "Polymer Clay Menorahs" by Shelley Traub,. Both ladies are members of our Guild. I am looking forward to the demo on armatures because I am soooo interested in creating those wonderful little Fairies and Elves.

There is a swap and this month it's called "Anything that Hangs" I made little hanging Christmas ornaments. You must make three to be in the swap, so three it was. (I think they look more like cherries, don't you?)

I love seeing what everyone come up with and I love being in the swap, because I get three beautiful clay creations in return. I will post the ones that I receive on my next blog.

~ Merry Christmas and Happy New Year ~

Crab Dip Delight

12 oz package of Crab (Flake Style)
8 oz. package of cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup of finely chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise

I buy the crab-flavored surimi because my daughter in law is highly allergic to the real thing.
(It tastes wonderfully crabby)

Chop the crab into small pieces and set aside

In a bowl, blend cream cheese with onions, celery, lemon juice, parsley, salt, cayenne pepper and mayonnaise. Fold in the crab, mix well, then cover and refrigerate.

Serve this dip with crackers of your choice and enjoy.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Jewelry making for a Novice

I am a novice at making jewelry so I was pleased to find this video which shows how to make a simple heart pendant and earrings. The demonstrator mentioned using wax paper or parchment paper, but I use freezer paper when creating my pieces because it has a coated backing and it can go in the oven. Not only that, the roll is much wider and is 75 square feet long. (objects to be baked need to be placed on the non-coated side) I cover my work surface with it and cut a small piece like the demonstrator did for underneath my working piece. This makes it easy to turn the piece around while working on it and when finished just place it on your cookie sheet (I use a dedicated cookie sheet) to bake.

I loved how she used another piece of clay to take the heart out of the mold. It doesn't distort the piece at all.