HAVE AN INDUSTRIAL EASTER

Industrial is not the first word that comes to mind when you think about decorating for Easter.  I love comfy, vintage style decor, but I also have an affection for that edgy, urban, industrial flavor.  There’s certainly no reason why both styles can’t be fused together, and below are a few examples of how I did just that.

A scrap of butcher block and some rusty wire rods elevate my handmade Easter eggs to sculpture display status.

Here’s an unlikely nest – a gutted out jumbo pocket watch.  Who woulda thunk?

This menagerie of unrelated objects is pulled together with an earthy color scheme.  The display is understated, yet curious.

I purchased the large, paper mache egg at an end of season sale last year, with the intention of decorating it in some way.  Well, I changed my mind.  I love it just the way it is, so much so, that I put it on a pedestal.

This little trio was simply meant to be displayed together.  The earthy colors harmonize so well.

I hope you enjoyed this post and have taken away some new-to-you Easter decorating ideas.  And, yes, I still love my colorful, comfy, vintage style things too!

 

MINI LEMON RICOTTA CAKE

Hey folks, I found another recipe for deliciousness – lemon ricotta cake!  This time, kudos goes to This Italian Kitchen.

Now, I did have to slightly modify the recipe to accommodate my adorable mini four inch cake pans; the original is for a nine inch springform pan.  I cut the ingredients amount by 1/3, just enough to make three mini cakes, and adjusted my bake time to about 40-45 minutes.  One went to a friend, one in the freezer and one down the hatch.  The outcome?  Well…. the proof was in the pan.  So delicious!

Oh, and I used my trusty handmade cake strips.  I can’t stress enough how well they work in preventing a dome topped cake.  And, the mini cake pans….. they’re so much fun to bake with.

Lemon ricotta cake is sweet, but not too sweet, and perfect paired with coffee or tea.  There’s an ever so slight density to the cake, and the dusting of powdered sugar is all it needs.  Really.  I think it would make for a perfect Easter dessert, adorned with a few edible flowers for springtime festiveness.

There you have it – a lemon ricotta cake that fits in the palm of your hand.  Sweet!

BETTER THAN GELLI

My kitchen table has been the craft madness “arting” hub for the past two months, and I’ll be maintaining this momentum, seizing every waking moment until my gardening season resumes in a few weeks.

Now, read this……

Move over, gelli plate printing, you’ve got competition!

Yes folks, you’ve read that correctly.  I’ve got a gelli plate printing alternative that won’t disappoint, and I’m sharing that with you right now.

Here’s what you need –

  • smooth garden kneeling pad(No, you can’t use kid’s craft foam or a squishy yoga mat!)
  • liquid glycerin(mix 50/50 with water)
  • old credit/gift card
  • acrylic paint, card stock, watercolor paper, stencils, stylus
  • brayer, squeegee, small rubber spatula, silicone makeup applicator or similar “tools”

Using a ruler, utility knife and healing mat, cut your kneeler pad to a desired size.  I created three different sizes to suit my needs.  Next, prime the printing surface of your block pad with the glycerin/water mixture; I used a scrap piece of the pad to make a little squeegee-type tool.  Be sure to skim the entire surface, which should feel ever so slightly slick, but not slimy.  If the surface is too slippery, lightly blot it with a paper towel.

Load your brayer or silicone sponge with acrylic paint and apply it over the slicked surface, taking care not too make the paint layer too thick.  You should barely be able to see the tiny pores on the surface of the block.

This is where the fun begins.  The choice is yours to use stencils, free-hand draw with a stylus, or both.  Press your stencil firmly onto the block, then carefully lift it off.  When you’re ready, hover the painted block surface above the paper you’re going to print, visually frame it into position, and press it onto the paper.  Press firmly for about 10 seconds, then carefully peel the paper from the block.

Voila!  You’ve just made a gelli plate alternative print!

Let your design dry, and if you’d like, proceed with creating another layer on top of the first one.  Wet on wet techniques work too.  Use an old credit card to skim the leftover paint from the foam block before loading a different color onto it.   You’ll be able to do about three prints before needing to reload your block with some some glycerin mix.  How will you know?  The foam block will feel tacky, and you will run the risk of it sticking to and damaging the paper when peeled away from the block.

Well, I hope you’ve been inspired you to give this printing technique a try.  Oh, and unlike gelli printing plates, your foam block is super easy to clean with water and a scrubby sponge, and there’s no fancy storage requirements.

Happy printing!

 

BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE EVER

My kitchen is home to a lot of crafting…. crafty crafting, that is.  Culinary crafting, not so much.  But every so often the baking fairy nudges me to play with pots and pans, or in today’s case, one itty bitty mixing bowl and a four inch cake pan.  Yes, today I baked the most delicious, Thumbelina-size chocolate cake ever, and full credit for the recipe goes to The Cake Merchant.

I know, I know, you’re looking at it and thinking how unimpressive my little creation looks.  That’s okay, and I would totally agree.  The point is, I simply wanted chocolate cake.  Delicious cake, without the gooey decadence, and this recipe delivers that.  It’s moist, has great texture and just the right amount of chocolatey deliciousness.  Another bonus, it’s(can be) vegan.

Another credit to The Cake Merchant – explaining the importance of using cake strips.  Hmm… what are cake strips?  I had to look that one up.  Cake strips are placed snuggly around the cake pan just before baking, and prevent the top of your cake from forming a dome shape.  Using cake strips is especially important for artisanal cake decorating, as you would want the top of your cake to be nice and level.  I further investigated on how to make my own.

I grabbed some cotton ticking fabric and stitched it up on my sewing machine in a matter of minutes.  They really work!  Of course you can purchase cake strips, but if you have a sewing machine and some 100% cotton fabric on hand, making them is the way to go.  Fabric cake strips must be dampened right before slipping them onto the pans.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go eat cake.

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