Summer Sweetness

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My favorite time of year is strawberry season. I live in North Carolina, when they are in season at the end of April through May and the beginning of June. There is nothing I like better than all the yummy things I can make from them. Strawberry pie, shortcake, muffins, Strawberry juice, and jams. There is a farm nearby where I go to pick them by the pound, and bring them home. Some get eaten immediately, some get canned or frozen.

If you like strawberry jam, its one of the easiest recipes to make, and requires very few supplies. My favorite recipe can be found here:

https://www.freshpreserving.com/strawberry-jam-%7C-making-strawberry-jam-%7C-ball-fresh-preserving-br1265.html

Once you make it, and it sits overnight, its perfect on biscuits, added to the filling of a cake, added to marscapone in some winter crepes, and even on top of goat cheese with some lovely wheat crackers. Its light and summer sweet, and the perfect way to introduce yourself to canning. There are other recipes, including for freezer jam and without pectin, but I rarely have extra freezer room and I find that typical canning methods preserve the jam longer.

If you don’t have a farm nearby, check out your local farmer’s market, Whole Foods or even Food Club. Smell the berries, and check for any bruising or mold. The recipe calls for five cups of crushed berries, which means you will need more whole berries as they condense down. Make it a family event, as children or parents can come and help, and everyone goes home with jam!


Making Buttercream Transfer Art

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Baking is sorts my side craft/love that I dabble in when I have time cause it’s like a craft that you can eat if you do well! 😀 So today I want to share a very helpful tutorial I came across that teaches how to make frosting art (that’s NOT made from nasty fondant) and transfer it safely to your cake.

This tutorial comes from the folks at Craftsy and explains not only how to do the technique but where it comes from, why it’s important, and what the best applications are for using it. I personally found this method to be easier then making roses, even though both methods are ones where the creation is being applied to the cake later, and not as you are making it. The supplies you’ll need besides buttercream frosting and food dyes are:

You’ll be printing the image you want to put on your cake backwards to act as your stencil so you’ll want to use that image for color matching as well before you get started. I’d also recommend reading the tutorial in it’s entirety before starting instead of as you go. Nothing worse then getting caught off guard if a tutorial goes a place you weren’t expecting. 🙂


Food from Legos

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I see all kinds of art made from Lego at cons during the year. Mostly mini-figs, but the rare few will even make custom statues/pieces out of Lego during the course of the weekend. With that kind of medium in mind today, I wanted to showcase a Lego artist using the medium to make organic shapes from very geometric pieces.

Inspired by the Japanese practice of using plastic food displays in restaurants, Japanese artist under the name Tary creates almost lifelike food with Lego. Recognized officially by Lego as a Master Builder, Tary uses the medium to make shapes that I honestly didn’t think were possible.

The process to becoming a Master Builder with Lego is similar to classic apprenticeship with different skill markers and milestones being used to identify your skill level. You can also only use official Lego parts. No 3D printing your own. All of Tary’s posts are of course in japanese, but if you’d like to at least follow what they’re working on you can find Tary on Twitter, Flickr, and their official blog.


Art for the tummy

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Happy Wednesday! This is Kim, with Fantastical Menagerie. When I snack, many times I am drawn to unusual flavors, rich, complex taste and something handmade. If I want something sweet, I head straight for Pamplemousse Sucre on Etsy. Based in New York State, Lisa Wolf of Pamplemousse loves to tempt with her confections. From her handmade rich caramels to rock candy geodes, each piece is made by her to very high standards. I usually get sucked in by the cinnamon pear caramels, and her marshamallows. Sinfully rich, and just as delightful to the eye.

Her food art has been featured in multiple magazines, shows and online  I don’t care where it is featured- I just want to eat it!

her rock candy geodes:

Small batch lollipop sampler:

Cherry cocoa nib caramels:

The Vanilla Caramel Marshmallows:

This a sweet treat best opened up when home alone, or you will be sharing with everyone. Order sizes are generous, and she cheerfully gives you little extras and special touches that come with the best of handmade goodies. You can find her here on Etsy


DIY: Seasoned Ornaments

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Good Morning Thursday readers!

I came across something super cool last week when I was looking at what I wanted to write about. It’s simple, and easy, and makes a really nice gift for anyone who loves entertaining or even better, it makes a great host gift alternative to wine. Though… I know many people who love a good bottle of red.

This is probably one of the easiest tutorials I’ve posted, though I was inspired so I wanted to share it. You really only need a few things, and the main one you can find at a craft store. The one important material you will need to search for is food safe ornaments (plastic or glass) that have a removable top. I know that my local craft store sells many ornaments that can be taken apart and filled and are all different sizes. Outside of those, everything else is up to you. I would recommend ribbon to trim, fancy tags to attach to show how to make the dip and what it is, and if you want to be really fancy, run to the dollar store and grab a nice basket/box/tin to package them in.

 

The only other thing you need is a funnel, and the right ingredients for your mixes – if you are planning on doing more than one batch, I would fill some airtight containers with your dip mixes, and that way you can keep them separate and make enough for each gift. You will need about 6 tablespoons of your home made mix.

So take a look at some of the photos above, check out what’s available at your local craft stores and get creating some beautiful gifts! To get you started, here are some links to recipes that you can use to fill your ornaments with. You can do dips, you can do soup mixes, you can do hot chocolates, dried herbs… really any mix that is non perishable!

Here are some fantastic dip recipes from Naturally Loriel (just scroll down a bit to find them)

Here are some from Sprinkle Some Fun

I hope you enjoy making these. I think that they are such nice gifts, especially because they’re consumable but they look so nice and they’re a little out of the ordinary.

Happy Crafting!

~ Megan


Realistic Food Whittled From Wood

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Japanese artist Seiji Kawasaki creates food sculptures from wood that are so realistic, you’ll think you can actually eat them.

I chose that image specifically because if I picked a finished one, I know it wouldn’t be believed. I mean look at those potato chips!! It’s insane how good these look. Using just a small block of wood, Kawasaki is able to create any edible item in just a few hours. Some of which he then uses as chopstick holders.

He’s exhibited his work in several galleries around Japan, but that can be a costly ticket just to see them up close, so if you’d like to see more of the incredible sculptures he’s done you can take a gander at this Facebook gallery instead. I swear, with like 99% of them, I’d never have known they weren’t food if I just saw them on their own. It’s definitely worth your time.

 


Coffee Mug Sweaters

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While the weather can’t quite get there on my part of the eastern shore, it is officially fall and hot beverage season. 😀 The only thing I like more then being able to cuddle up at night with a hot drink, is to have an adorable container to drink it out of. It just makes me feel so cozy, and what’s more cozy then a sweater.

Thanks to the folks at MugSweater, you can now bundle up your drink in an adorable sweater that will keep it warmer and your hands from burning off. They make all sorts of lovely designs and are even kind enough to offer their pattern for purchase for those of us that would like to make our own. 🙂 If you can knit or know someone who can, now might be the time to start dropping gift hints.

~Nicole


Whittling Art in Spoons

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UK based artist Giles Newman creates the most wonderfully detailed wooden spoons with centuries old techniques.

Using primarily oak for his starting base, Mr. Newman uses an axe and knife to whittle such beauty and detail into every piece he designs. He gets his wood from sustainable tree branches and coats each finished piece with tung oil; a natural nut based and food safe oil. Meaning these works of art are functional as well as beautiful. Not sure I could bring myself to do it, but they’d certainly make a nice decorative piece in any home or kitchen. You can find them here at his etsy store should you wish to see more. 🙂


Proper Piping Techniques

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Not a subject you might expect to see on a craft blog, but hear me out. A crafy design technique that has been growing in popularity the past few years is decoden phone cases.

No, those aren’t made from standard frosting either, but the techniques used to make the final designs require similar control so I am here to provide such a resource at craftsy.

Their article goes over not only planning and practicing, but also things like the best way to hold the bag while working to make sure you get an even consistancy. It’s a great resource no matter your skill level and a good read even for those of us that aren’t using it for crafts. 😉

~Nicole


Drink your Fandom

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In this post Christmas, pre- New Years period I find myself adrift. With the leftovers of Hurricane Frank hitting Ireland, all I want to do is curl up with a cup of tea and do nothing.

What I didn’t know until recently, is that I can not only be drinking tea, but drinking my favorite fandoms as well. I love it when “normal” things get teamed up with fandoms, and am a prodigious tea-drinker. So I’m quite surprised at having taken this long to find out about Adagio Tea’s Fandom lines.

I adore the idea of tea designed for a favorite character. Your choice of drink can say a lot about you, and to find one designed to evoke the smells and tastes that a character would embody seems genius to me.

Of course, I was naturally drawn to the Agent Carter collection, but they’ve got something for just about every fandom going.

Not convinced? Get yourself a sampler focused around your favorite show.

Happy drinking, all!

~ eliste