Last fall during the Old Webster Fall Art Walk, I demonstrated making pages for an art journal with paper collage work and stencils at Schnarr’s Hardware. I added in some paint samples to pay tribute to the hardware store atmosphere and remind me to have fun with colors. Later on I added some image transfers I made with clear packing tape. Learn how to make image transfers and add them to your art journal pages on the Schnarr’s blog:
At this time of year, if I want to use Cilantro in a recipe I can’t just go to the garden and pick what I need. Usually when I buy a package of fresh Cilantro from the store, there is a lot more than the recipe calls for in the bunch. In the past, if I have time I have pulled the leaves off the extra Cilantro and frozen it. Cilantro is best used fresh, but frozen is better than dried (I’ve tried that too). I have heard of preserving fresh basil, another herb that is just not the same when not fresh, in olive oil and freezing it in ice cube trays. I decided to try that with today’s leftover Cilantro.
I’m making a recipe for Valentine’s Day today from a book that Tom and I were sent as a wedding gift from an anonymous giver – Tequila Chicken from “Barefoot Contessa Family Style” by Ina Garten. I had to juice enough limes, lemons and oranges to make a cup and a half of juice and I have a lot of pulp left. Citrus and Cilantro taste great together – what would happen if I pulverized the leftover Cilantro with the leftover pulp and froze it in ice cube trays to flavor future recipes? I’m already going to have to wash half my kitchen implements today – colander, salad spinner, garlic press, juicer, salad dressing emulsifier, George Foreman grill, mortar and pestle, etc. so what is one or two more?
Oh yeah that works, and it’s a lot less time-consuming than stripping all the leaves off the stems. I added 1 TBSP of grapeseed oil to help it stick together. I even have a fun little citrus wedge ice tray to freeze the mixture in! In the future I’m going to have a lot of fun adding these little wedges to soups, dressings, marinades, stir-frys, pilafs, sauces and who knows what else. I guess I just made Cilantro pesto, which is probably already a thing.
Last fall Tom and I had our first party at our house. It’s a shame that my photo of the drinks table didn’t turn out because I served some cranberry orange tea punch in Tom’s amazing mid-century modern punch bowl with molded decorative ice floating on top. I froze cranberry juice to make the ice and as a garnish I included fresh cranberries and orange slices. I had some fruit left over so I froze the remnants. I knew I’d think of something to do with them eventually.
As Valentine’s Day approached, I decided to make something in my Mom’s vintage heart copper mold. Tom likes gelatin (I’m not using Jello brand, there is nothing wrong with it but I shopped at Aldi, so I guess it’s proper to say “gelatin” and not “Jello”) and fruity flavors seemed to be something that would complement the chicken. I cooked the leftover orange slices and cranberries to make an infusion to use as the water in the gelatin recipe. That should pump up the flavor! I froze it until ready to use and then made the gelatin with it.
After filling the heart mold I put some of the leftover gelatin in the glass footed cups below. I remember my Mom getting a whole set of dishes in this style in the 1970s from Liberty supermarket. As I recall there were parts of the set that you could get each week if you spent a certain amount. Mom got tumblers in two sizes and plates in two sizes too. How do you like my space age retro hand mixer? It belonged to my Grandma and Grandpa Hasenfratz. It’s a little beat up looking but it works and I love it! I appreciate being able to incorporate retro items handed down from family members in my cooking. It wouldn’t be as meaningful or as much fun without them!
Cranberry/white cheddar cheese with sliced pears dusted with Fruit Fresh, cinnamon and stevia, with a glass of Italian spumante malt beverage
Salad greens with Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette (also from the Barefoot Contessa book)
Tequila Lime Chicken
Strawberry/Cranberry/Orange Jello with fresh raspberries and whipped topping
That was fun to make and even more fun to eat! Looking forward to taking care of those leftovers…
Tom and I will be celebrating our sixth month anniversary of being married in less than a week! We renewed our marriage vows for the first time at mass this past weekend as part of World Marriage Day. Also Valentine’s Day is in two days and I’m planning the home cooked meal that Tom requested for his Valentine gift as I work on my projects this week. Love is definitely in the air!
Renewing our vows is a good reminder that love is a verb and marriage is something we celebrate and practice every day…so I don’t feel too bad that I’m still working on a couple of projects that incorporate greeting cards that we received for our showers and wedding. (Cards are still trickling in, actually, so I’m really not behind!)
The number of cards we received is astonishing. My Mom kept her wedding cards in a scrapbook. I like to scrapbook, and working cards into scrapbooks and journals is something I’ve been doing for awhile. I love to make handmade books and journals of all kinds and I’ll use almost any excuse to make one. I wanted a guestbook to use at our picnic wedding reception so I naturally made my own. I decided to work greeting cards from our showers (we’re spoiled, between the two of us we had three!) into the guestbook pages. At one of our couples showers there was a fun activity where the other shower guests wrote marriage advice on pieces of paper and we read them out loud. I put those paper pieces in the guestbook also. I intended for the unfilled parts of the guestbook to function as a photo album too, so whenever we look at our wedding photos (which I haven’t even gotten printed yet) we will remember greetings and wishes of happiness from our loved ones.
I was able to incorporate nearly every card we received prior to the wedding day into the wedding guestbook/scrapbook which is at the right side of the photo above. I made the covers from scrap mat board which I covered with map patterned paper to fit our nautical theme. The picnic reception was at a lake and Tom and I brought our kayaks. I made nautical themed collages for the front and back covers of the guestbook, protected them with a layer of transparency film, then attached them with decorative metal brads. I used metal binding rings made by 7gypsies to hold the book together at the spine. Before I fastened the collages in place, I scanned them for use as background graphics on our wedding web site. Papers for the collages came from Canvas Corp, their brand 7gypsies and other sources that I’ve collected over the years.
Here are three examples of 8.5 x 11 inch pages from the guestbook. On some pages I covered nearly the whole page with cards, notes and assorted embellishments. Other pages had blank areas for messages and later photo mounting and journaling. I used a lot of nautical themed paper from Canvas Corp, assorted goodies from my extensive paper stash and added in a little traditional wedding related imagery to blend with the greeting cards. My new Mother In Law is very talented, she painted the card with the two kayaks. She also gave us a great watercolor painting with nautical flags spelling out “Love Lives Here”. A most thoughtful and personal gift that we will always treasure!
At the wedding and since the wedding, we have received many times more cards and if I did what my Mom did and mounted them all on scrapbook pages, I would be making several huge books that would take up a lot of space. I very much wanted to keep all the cards. So I started thinking – several sides of these cards are either blank or have minimal content. What if the cards were not mounted into a book, but instead became the book? Then I could use empty space on the cards to write or mount photos or other memorabilia and embellishments. The cards could become a memory book for reminders, experiences, meditations, thoughts and much more.
I had in my stash some clear tag shapes for making handmade books that were about the size of the cards, so I used one of the plastic tags as a template and I started tracing around important sections of the cards to make tag-shaped book pages.
On sides that had something I wanted to cover up such as card manufacturer information on the back, I laminated with glue some paper with lines printed on it to make a good journaling surface. The example below left is paper from Canvas Corp. I bought a bunch of that design because I make a lot of journals. Some card backs like the seashore themed example below right are good for writing on or adding small photos just as they are.
I have not done a lot of reading yet on Love Languages, but I’m aware of what they are enough to know that one of my ways of giving love and feeling like I am loved is gift giving on special occasions. The gifts don’t have to be expensive, they can be handmade or simple. A good gift for me or Tom could be an experience like a Birthday hike. Tom and I also both think acts of service are a way to give love and to feel love, so when giving gifts to Tom I try to work that in there somehow. The image below shows an example of that on the left – Tom is sporty and we both like to participate in fitness activities so I made him a set of two-sided “coupon” cards good for a workout with me. The idea is to put a date on the cards as they are redeemed and put them in little pockets in my initial tag book. On the right below is an example of a tag page that I have treated like a scrapbook or journal page by using graphics from card parts, scrapbooking-type embellishments and patterned translucent vellum paper so that the cards are visible after they go into a pocket.
Realizing I would end up with enough tag shapes to make several books, I noticed a card with a graphic of a piece of toast on it. I decided it would be cute to cut the toast shape out and use it as a template to cut some of the cards into pages for one or two toast shaped books.
I’m going to keep our wedding memories alive for years as I use these little books to document and journal about our marriage. Happy Valentine’s Day and Anniversary Tom! I love you!