Saturday, February 5, 2011

Chocolate Wands!

Mmmm don't these look good? ;)  They are yummy, easy to make, and fun to eat!  

I started with a cooling rack loaded with mini stick pretzels

Then I used my make shift double boiler.  I took a small pot, filled it half way with water, put it on med-high heat, stuck a thick ceramic bowl on top, and added my chips.

I stirred these pretty consistently until they melted

Then, (using a potholder because this bowl is hot!) I brought the chocolate over to the table.  I swirled and molded one pretzel tip at a time with chocolate...

And then dipped the tip into a container of sprinkles to coat

I let the chocolate cool on the cooking rack

And then arranged them for serving :)  These make for some clever finger foods with just the right amounts of salty and sweet.  If you want to try this project with some alterations you could use white chocolate, big pretzels sticks, let your imagination go! :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Photo Editing Is The Icing On The Cake...Or Cookie!

Recently I had lunch at Panera with a good friend ;)  Before leaving, I purchased a very Valentinesy cookie (heart-shaped, bright pink, sprinkles, etc.-you know!).  As I looked at it more I couldn't help thinking that the cookie was almost a symbol of a shade of femininity and (for lack of a better word) girly.  

When I got home, my partner was looking particularly "manly": dark blue tee, jeans, unshaven, etc.  I asked him to stand holding the Valentinesy cookie over his heart and I took a few pictures of him like that.  My idea for the shoot was that strong "masculine" symbols can and do hold fragile, femininity with great care and in high esteem.    

When I was finished getting my shots I got to do one of my most favorite things in my photography process: viewing and editing.

(This is the photo before any editing)

(This is the photo after using a editing option called "Stamp" on Photoshop Elements 8).  I like that the Stamp feature picked up on fine lines and details while blocking others out.  It made my subject look even more rough and "manly".  Now the hand holding the focal heart is more pronounced and possibly even looks more protective of it.  

After cropping, the photo can take on a completely different story.  This picture could be used to represent loved ones who are far away; holding our hearts; trying keep us near.

I use photo editing to tell a story.  A story can twist, wind, deepen, and go further still past an original photograph.  What's the story you want to tell?


If you're looking for lower cost photo editing software try Photoshop Elements.  It's not the full Photoshop, but has it's key features and it costs less.  It's what I use and I'm very happy to have it. 

Picasa and Picnick are two free photo editing programs that I've seen others do amazing things with.  I used Picasa before I purchased PSE.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


(This photo was edited in PSE using the stained glass window option)

Are you inspired yet?!  ;) 

I really love magazines!  While I'm flipping through them I often find a pictures that make me say, 'hmm, that's neat!'.  When I see something I like, I tear it out and keep it in my 'inspiration file':

I use my file to create paintings based off what I like in the photo.  This helps me when I am staring at an intimidating blank canvas.  When I sift through my file and find something that I really like, I keep it in the forefront of my mind and express it in my painting.

Bright orange color and flower shapes

A fancy headed stalk

A punch of purple and an interesting bulb shape

Another way to capture something that catches my eye is to keep my camera ready!  (pun intended!)  When I see a shape or a pattern on TV, I pause the channel and snap a quick pic:

The stems coming off the center of this piece are simple and most likely something that I can recreate without too much of a headache.   

I hope this encourages you to make your own clever inspiration file! 

Art Class-Week #2: Fabric Painting! (Part 1)

I'm a little late with this blog post-this is what we started on last week in class.  

Last week we started part 1 of a 2 part project.  Part 1: Painting fabric. 

Our instructor asked us to use a plethora of supplies and paints to create interesting patterns on fabric.

This classmate painted different spots on her fabric and then folded it over to create a neat kind of wrinkled look.  She told me her color scheme was inspired by St. Patrick's Day!

Another classmate used plastic shapes to stamp on patterns and mix colors.


I painted a design on one side of my fabric and then folded it over so that both sides had the same image.  I used a few sharpies to color in some of the white space, and then cut shapes out of my fabric.   

For the part 2 of this project this week we're going to use the shapes we cut out for ..... to be continued ;)

Monday, January 31, 2011

:-) Hair Dye Happiness!

Recently I've been wanting to give my hair a color kick.  I used to dye it all the time in college, but haven't colored it in the past couple of years.  I saw an ad in a magazine advertising a new hair dye in a foam version; the foam is advertised not to drip so there's less mess.  Back in college dying my hair was such a fiasco!  Dye drips on the sink, floor, shower curtain, me, etc. so I thought this foam would be an improvement.  

After driving to 3 stores and not being able to find this magic foam dye I was getting a little bummed.  While I was pursing the colors at Kroger I came across a L'Oreal Paris hair dye in a convenient no-drip cream!  I thought, well this will work too! 

I came home, used the cream dye, and have to tell you that I LOVE it!  My color came out great and neither my neck or bathroom are dotted in dye drips ;)  Also, I think the cream conditions better than liquid-based dyes because my scalp is not irritated like it has been with other dyes.  I hope this helps someone out there who's looking for an easier and more clever way to color at home!