Thursday, March 31, 2011

I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favor of the kings of the world.  Thomas Edison

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I have a friend who needs to eat glutton-free and also my daughter tries to stick to that rule as much as she can and she found this recipe on  and it's just heavenly!  I brought it to our gathering on Sunday and I know there are a few people who also want the recipe. 

Flourless Chocolate Cake
(makes one 8" cake)

4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened) I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips and so I didn't have to chop.
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (plus additional for sprinkling, if you are not frosting)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and butter an 8-inch round baking pan.  Line bottom with a round of wax paper or parchment paper and also butter paper.

Chop chocolate into small pieces.  In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water.  Melt chocolate with butter, stirring until smooth.  Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture.  Cool slightly.  Add eggs and whisk well.  Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.  Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust.  Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and then invert onto a serving plate.

Dust cake with additional cocoa powder if desired.  (Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container, 1 week.  I freeze half.)

This chocolate cream icing is a pastry chef's staple.  Use it to glaze a cake or, when it cools, whip it to a a piping consistency.

1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1 lb. semisweet or bittersweet dark chocolate (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips)

In a heavy saucepan, boil heavy cream (whipping cream).  Turn off the heat.  Add chopped chocolate pieces and let it rest until melted.  Use a rubber spatula to stir the mixture until all the pieces are melted.
Pour it into a room-temperature bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate the ganache until firm.  (I have just let it set in the bowl until it sets a little and then just spoon on some and glaze cake.  I find it is almost enough for two cakes.)

Store the icing in an airtight container and refrigerate.  The icing will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.  Yield:  3-1/2 cups

Monday, March 28, 2011

Altered Bottles and Jars

Sunday was our Creative Spirits gathering to create altered bottles and jars.  We had a very creative time and here are some of mine.  I couldn't resist this face.  She is Dorothy Young, the last surviving stage assistant of illusionist Harry Houdini, and she has died at the age of 103.  Her death was announced on March 24th, the day that would have been Houdini's 137th birthday.

She was an accomplished dancer and so I have given her this "backbone" with seeds pods on the bottom.

I think they make lovely dancing slippers!

I love this pretty jar from "Elizabethan Sweet Orange Marmalade" and felt it was perfect for this pretty little miss amid her pink flowers.

She lives among the prairie grass and hidden bird eggs.

And another favorite jelly jar of mine is "Favorit" Forest Berries.  A perfect place for a fairy with red fairy wings to match the delicious berries.

This snowlady is one that I had made a long time ago at a Christmas retreat at The Center.  I thought I'd bring her along to the party as she wanted to get out one more time before Spring!

Then... home to do some Easter pictures with Danielle.  Here, Mommy Bunny is carrying lots of bags from the store.  And her one child is helping by pushing Baby Bunny in the stroller.  It was quite a story she told!

And Easter Eggs, of course!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

An Old English Prayer that my cousin sent to me this morning.  I guess this has always been in the thoughts and prayers of mankind. 

"Give us, Lord, a bit o-sun
A bit o' work and a bit o' fun;
Give us in all the struggle and sputter
Our daily bread and a bit o' butter.

Give us health, our keep to make
An' a bit to spare for others' sake;
Give us, too, a bit of song
And a tale and a book to help us along.

Give us, Lord, a chance to be
Our goodly best, brave, wise, and free;
Our goodly best for ourself and others
Till all men learn to live as brothers."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dashing through the week...

The week whizzed by.  In Calligraphy class on Monday, we are making a little book to letter in.

Tuesday morning was Poetry.

Wednesday morning was Collage...

and I'm deciding on placement of my first papers.

Covering the sides of the canvas with a stenciled design.

In the afternoon, on Wednesday, it's Quilting and I'm finishing my birdhouse wallhanging by quilting with a leaf design.

And along the borders.

Today, Thursday, was art class.  Some working in pen & ink, some in watercolor.

                                   And Lois gave us a demonstration in acrylics. 

still on sunday

Sunday was our ledger group meeting.  This is my ledger; cover still to be embellished.

My theme has been "February" for the two years now that we have done this project.

For eleven months of last year, we would send out an original ledger page that we had made to satisfy the theme of that person that we were scheduled to create for that month.

These are the original pages that I had received.


It was always quite exciting to open that mail each month!

Then when we met this past Sunday, we gave copies of all our originals to all the other participants.  My book is going to be very fat now.  The first year we did this, we had 12 artists involved, so that meant 144 pages at the end, counting the originals we received and then all the copies.  This year, with 11 artists, it is 121 pages added to the journal.  Each one a work of art. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

continuing on with saturday...

Saturday afternoon was Denise's Coiled Basket Workshop at The Center.  Julie chose beautiful bright colors along with the black for her basket.

You sew with the zig zag stitch and that sews the coils together.  My machine was acting up and instead of zig zagging, it was zag zigging or something so I have to continue later.  But Julie's, curving along here, coming out perfectly! 

Isn't it pretty?


After that, we all met at Enrico's for Brent's birthday.  22!  Pizza, their mixed greens salad, and they sang to him with a piece of their famous Banana Creme Pie! 

An artful weekend

Started out the weekend with Danielle painting on Saturday morning.  She told me she wanted to paint a sunset, so we got out these wonderful new "Creatology" Metallic Paints for children and she painted away, of course adding animals to the scene.  She said the flying bird on the left was the best flying bird that she ever did!

Then, it was on to dogs.  Just look at this sweet face!

                    Doghouse, spring flowers and a happy pup!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

O thou with dewy locks, who lookest down
Thro' the clear windows of the morning, turn
Thine angel eyes upon our western isle,
Which in full choir hails thy approach, O Spring!
William Blake

Friday, March 18, 2011

The year of the Ledger

 I think I have posted the rest of the ledger pages that I did this past year, satisfying the themes of 10 other artists.  My theme was the month of February and this is the page that I did for myself.  I have chosen February before, another year when we did this, and so this time i decided to put a little humor in it.

When looking through old photographs, I found these people in my grandmother's old photo box.  I just couldn't resist her.  I also found a vintage ad for lipstick in an old Movie magazine which I thought would go perfectly with the theme.

Actually, this guy was in a different photo, but he seems to be looking longingly at something, so why not her!  I will have to show you my bookful of February pages that i have received from others!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Family Art

On Sunday we took Danielle to The Center for a papermaking workshop.  

It was fun!  There were seed packets too, so you could sprinkle some seeds in and make "plantable notecards". 

Everyone loved the spring colors of paper and Shari, our instructor, made it a very happy time!  Now the papers are drying and then maybe Danielle will make some little cards out of hers or I will show her how to make the cover for a little book!

Monday, March 7, 2011


Yesterday i found a love note written on my deck.

It must be Spring, there's romance in the air.
I used to find little notes here and there, years ago, but not for a long time.

Henri says "Hmpf!  Never mind that mushy stuff - let's play ball!"

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Let's play!

I found this wonderful little solution for holding playing cards for Danielle's little hands.  When she plays "Let's Fish" with Uncle Mark, she can't hold them all and they usually set up a barrier so her cards can't be seen.  The Fellowcrafters make these and they are for sale in The Center's little Gift Shop!  It's two beautifully decorated circles sewn together and the cards slide right inbetween.  She loved it!  Very nice!

Friday, March 4, 2011

a first sign of spring

Look who's peeking out!  The Snowdrops!  The first green of Spring.  What a "feel good" greeting at The Center yesterday when I arrived for drawing class.

And I'm still drawing winter snow scenes.  I love snow scenes but i better hurry up and finish because I won't be in that mood very long!