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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

the fest

I'm packing pretty much as I write this, but I just wanted to stop in and say that I will be gone for about five days. The boyfriend and I are headed to Gainesville, Fl for The Fest. If you don't know what it's about, check it out! The pic below is linked. If you do know, maybe you'll be there! We're flying out there tomorrow morning and coming back on Tuesday so I'll be back then, hopefully with some photos.



Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

dresser revamp

This dresser has been floating around my house for a while, having no permanent purpose. When I heard my mom was thinking of getting rid of it, I decided to snatch it up and get rid of my old dresser I've had since I was a wee kid.

From what I understand, it was my Grandpop's dresser which he inherited from his mother, which dates it back to some time in the early 1900's. It has been painted a number of times so there's no real money value, just sentimental value. It was already missing a knob so I decided to give it a little face lift while still keeping its aged integrity.



I have read about doing this small upgrade on many other blogs and they all talk about the same place.. Anthropologie. Being a sucker for anything Anthro, I had to check out their hardware selection and they did not disappoint. I fell in love with these little blooms and I think they compliment the aged look perfectly.





The photo below is the texture of the dresser's surface. It's also the background in my banner photo. I clearly like this old warn look :). You can see the wood showing through a layer of super dark brown paint. Then there's all the little white paint splatters everywhere. I really wonder why a lot of old furniture has this. Was someone painting a wall or ceiling nearby and got a little too careless, forgetting to lay a tarp over the furniture? I just don't know.





The old knobs are kind of nice in their own right though. They remind me of little mushrooms.





I would highly recommend thinking of this before completely replacing boring furniture, cabinets, etc. It's a great way to update furniture on the cheap and you can still get amazing results.


Monday, October 25, 2010

pop-tarts!



I have been seeing recipes for homemade pop-tarts for a while now. I decided to finally give one a try since we just got a couple new preserves here. I decided to go with strawberry but what I really want to try is apple cinnamon. Apple preserves are probably the one thing we don't have though so that will be for another time.




The ingredients are really simple and I already had everything in which is another main reason why I decided to do this today. Start by combining flour and salt in a mixing bowl, then cream in room temperature butter.




It comes together a lot easier if you just ditch the spoon and the rings and mash it all together with clean hands. It should look all crumbly at this point.





Add water a tablespoon at a time to dough until it all sticks together and makes a smooth ball. I used about two tablespoons all together.




Next, roll the dough out flat on a floured surface. You'll want it to be about 1/8 of an inch thick so the crust isn't too thick in the end. I then cut it into pop-tart sized rectangles just eyeballing the size and got eight in the end. (Four tops and four bottoms.)

Now here is where my listening skills fail..
The recipe I read warns to put a teaspoon of jam/preserves in the middle of the bottom crust. *No more!* But I decided that I could add just a litttttle more and it would be even better. About 10 minutes later I hear a sizzling sound as I'm taking them out of the oven. Sure enough there was a strawberry stream between my pop-tarts, bubbling away. They turned out totally fine, but take it from me.. that warning is there for a reason.


So after you contemplate adding too much filling, put the top crust in place and crimp down the edges with a fork to seal everything in place.

After baking, let them cool completely and then spread on the icing. Add sprinkles or any other topping you may want and let the icing set.




When it has formed a nice little shell, dig in!



Homemade Pop-tarts
adapted from Crepes of Wrath

Crust..
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more to flour surface)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening, cubed
1/4 cup butter, cubed, room temperature
**I used 1/2 cup of butter and skipped the shortening.. it tasted just fine but feel free to use the shortening if you have it on hand**
2-3 tablespoons cold water

Filling..
Any jam or preserves that you like!

Topping..
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons of milk
any sort of sprinkles
**I added a few drops of vanilla extract because everything is better that way ;)**


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Combine flour and salt in mixing bowl. Add butter (and shortening if you're using it) and mix with spoon/hands until a crumbly dough forms. Add water a tablespoon at a time until dough forms into smooth ball.
Roll dough out on a floured surface until it's about an 1/8 of an inch thick.
Cut out an even number of rectangles for the tops and bottoms, collecting scraps and re-rolling dough until you have enough. I got eight 4-5 in x 3 in rectangles. This yields about four regular sized pop-tarts.
Layout the bottoms on a greased baking sheet and put *a teaspoon* of jam/preserves in the center. Place the tops on and then crimp the edges with a fork.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Allow to cool on the baking sheet. Don't try to take them off until they're fully cooled.
In a small bowl, stir milk into powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time until icing has a syrupy consistency. Optional: add a few drops of vanilla extract for a little more flavor.
Spoon icing onto cool pop-tarts and spread with back of spoon or a knife.
Add sprinkles.
Enjoy!


Friday, October 22, 2010

fall



I used to be a summer girl but this year all I could think of was getting to fall. I don't know if it's because my bangs and I suddenly have no appreciation for heat or because summer just isn't the same as when you're younger.. one huge vacation.



Right now I'm just nostalgic for this whole season in general. The leaves turning on the dogwood in my backyard, picking apples and pumpkins, dressing up for Halloween (I don't think I'll ever stop loving that), my birthday a few days later, and then we come into the holiday season.





I've been craving boots and cardigans and layers for so long, and it has finally gotten cold enough to bring them out these past few weeks. I am thoroughly enjoying it this time around while I have no classes or work to take up all my time. Come January I'll be a busy bee again but for now, I'll enjoy it and try to tackle the projects I've been wanting to do now that I have time.



I am trying to get my Etsy shop up and running in time to send things out for the holidays. There will be a link to that soon. I have a few ideas and just received a box full of awesome from Blick with some new inks and such. I accidentally ordered a pathetic amount of emulsion from amazon though because the picture fooled me and I was too order-happy to bother checking the ounce-age of the thing. So there's that. But hopefully once I get everything in order I'll have something to show for it in the shop.




But for now, I will revel in flannel and cardigans and leggings while I drink hazelnut coffee and stare at the red bloom of the tree out the window.



Even your casualties look pretty, Fall :)


-J



Thursday, October 21, 2010

hello there..

I have been putting this off for way too long..

I decided I wanted to start a blog this summer after stalking many blogs and learning so much about making. I have always been crafty and during college, I decided that I would become a foodie. Or at least strive to be one. One can only live on microwavable food products for so long before craving real sustenance. That alone was enough to make me face my fears of cooking raw meat and using spices outside the realms of salt and pepper.

I now want to un-lurk and actually participate in discussions and share my experiences as well and this will be my platform for that. It makes me nostalgic for my livejournal days, or even before that, ujournal (does that still exist??). I had one during high school, and much to my demise, it still exists out there in cyberspace. I found this out recently when it came to mind for whatever reason and curiosity got the best of me so i looked it up. Yes, I could just delete it but a part of me likes that my super cool teenage self still exists out there somewhere. So silly, so dramatic. Though I don't think I would ever tell anyone the url ever ever. Far too much embarrassment : ).

So, allow me to (hopefully briefly) introduce myself. I just graduated this past May from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a BFA in Graphic Design. I am a design nerd through and through. I like to say art school ruined me in that I can't look at anything without criticizing the font choice, line length, or general inconsistency of things. On the other hand, there are certain things I could stare at for days because they give me an utter eye-gasm. Besides design, I love crocheting, cooking/baking, bookbinding, and printmaking. I have been doing a lot of this lately with all my free time.. after a lot of thought and stress and research and sleepless nights, I have decided that what I really want to do is get my masters in teaching, (great timing, right?) which I will be starting in January. I have always had an equal desire to teach and do design, but after working experience and a lot of thought, I decided that corporate design is not for me. I decided that teaching will be my 9-5, so to speak, and I will continue design for the love of it, not because I have to. My heart lies with print and I took all of my electives in printmaking so I hope to utilize that with freelance projects or just making art of my own.

Due to all of this, I am currently living back home, saving up money to pay off loans and to hopefully have a good start when I graduate in two years or less. I miss having my own space after being on my own for the past four years but just trying to make money and not spend it right now is probably for the best.

Believe it or not I have actually had this blog for some time now but I refused to start it up until I had something to say. So, in true scorpio fashion.. I made a list. A list of things I could start with so that I wouldn't write my first post and then disappear for weeks. My favorite blogs are ones that update daily or almost daily so I hope to do the same.

If you've actually stuck with my through this long winded intro, I appreciate it and I welcome you to check back soon!! : )

-Jess
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