February 26, 2009

The Conservatory Overcoat GIVEAWAY!!!!

The Conservatory Overcoat GIVEAWAY!!!!

I followed a link and found this incredibly generous and talented wonam is giving away this beautiful coat. She took some wonderful photos of a romatic Valentie's day in a conservatory. The photos are wonderful, and allow everyone to share in their day. Definitely worth many return visits.

February 22, 2009

Beaver tails and canele

It all started when I was unloading the dishwasher. I was trying to shove some clean pots into the bottom cupboard, and they wouldn't budge. Something was in the way. I got down on my hands and knees and pulled everything out, and found the madelaine pan I had purchased many years ago and never tried. Aha! oh, but wait... Madelaines. Lemon madelaines. I have lemons in the fridge just waiting to be used for some luscious purpose....

I pulled out the pan, put all the other stuff back in the cupboard, and searched through my recipe library for a good recipe for madelaines. It is a weird recipe - mostly eggs and very little flour, so one could easily argue that madelaines are a good breakfast cookie (I often feel the need to justify what I stick in my face!). I was quite proud of them, and I thought they looked just like they should, tasted lemony and had a light cake-like texture.

I had been looking at Paris Breakfasts' blog the night before, where she was talking about caneles, so I figured I might as well try them while I was playing in the kitchen. I found a lot of references and recipes online, and eventually decided on the recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini mostly because all the other recipes called for a dozen eggs, and this one called for three. I don't have the required canele pans, but the recipes all referred to silicone pans, and the fact that the silicone pans are easier to use than the traditional copper. I do have a silicone muffin pan, and although it isn't as deep, I figured I could at least get an idea about whether caneles are the delicious magical treat every one claims they are. They are. They are supposed to look a bit burnt, although mine cooked quite a bit more quickly than the recipe suggested, because the pans are so shallow. They have a carmelly crunchy outside layer, and a custardy filling. I only filled the muffin pans three quarters full (and then they spilled as I was transferring them to the oven, because the damn pans aren't stable), so I would put the pan on a cookie sheet and fill them right to the top next time. They are easy to make, and definitely worth the effort. And since my silicone pans have this lovely rose shape, they are quite pretty as well!

Since I had already decided to dedicate my day to baking, I decided to try Beaver Tails. It was all over the news that Barack Obama stopped into a mall on his recent visit to Ottawa and while there he tried a Beaver Tail, which is supposedly a classic Canadian dish. I suppose that might be true if you live in Ottawa, but those of us in other parts of the country haven't ever heard of them. Of course, I have a recipe for stewed beaver tail, which was apparently a popular dish among settlers, but - ewww! The kind that Barack tasted was a pastry, so I hit the internet again. There are recipes all over the place for beaver tails, and they all seem to be exactly the same. They are a yeast-raised doughnut, but curiously, they also have eggs which help them rise quickly when they are in the oil (there's that great excuse to eat them for breakfast again!) Once you get the douhg prepared, it only takes about 2 minutes to cook them. They are great, and since I don't like anything really sweet, I just sprinkled a bit of icing sugar on them. I ended up making enough for my DH's social studies class.

February 17, 2009


I made these dangly bits several years ago, and finally got around to putting them together into this necklace:

clockwork flower pendant

I completed this clockwork flower pendant this evening:

This is a close-up of the flower:
Brass chain, steel tap, antique clock parts, brass guitar string nuts.
Approximately 12 inches long.

February 16, 2009

skull and tiger eye necklace

Looking at all the great art I found through visiting the participants in the One World One Heart event has given me the inspiration I needed to get creating again, although in a number of different genres. I am focusing on jewelry and artdolls for now, but I also need to complete two suits that I started last year.

I finished this skull necklace and matching earrings last night. It has bone skulls as accent beads, one large skull as a focal bead, and the remaining beads are flat tiger eye beads.

February 15, 2009

clockwork earrings

I was inspired by the work of Deryn Mentock and Dr. Insectus to dig out my jewelry projects and complete this pair of earrings. I absolutely LOVE steampunk style. These earrings have identical clockwork mechanisms, with lapis chips and small bulbs.

February 5, 2009


I finally managed to look at all the incredible bloggers who are part of One World One Heart this year - all 911 of them. At least, I think I got them all and didn't miss any. I was worried that I wouldn't get through them all before the February 11 deadline because the dial-up access was crashing every three pages. I didn't take a lot of time to investigate all the blogs, so now that I am done the quick pass through, I am going to go back and take my time looking at all the new blogs this wonderful event has introduced to me. I know, it means more time spent surfing and no time creating, but there are such a lot of inspiring blogs on the list, and a bit of inspiration can't hurt, right? If you haven't done so already, take some time and check out some of these blogs. The range of items that people are giving away is amazing - there are even things like personal coaching sessions, and books written just for the winner. There are some amazing and generous people out there.