Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Baby Bobby's First Christmas Ornament!

What a wonderfully fun-filled time we had on Sunday afternoon at my sweet sister, Andrea's, house. Nana Sharee, Andrea, and I put up and decorated Andrea's, her husband Robert's, and adorable baby Bobby's Christmas tree! This will be Bobby's FIRST Christmas!!! We want to make it extra special too!

Great-Grandma "Nana" Sharee gave Bobby his first Christmas ornament: a cute glass monkey on a rubber ducky. Do you know a little one who will be celebrating his or her first Christmas this year?! If so, you should consider getting them a special Christmas ornament for this memorable holiday...here are my favorite picks on Etsy listed below:
"Large Personalized Handpainted Baby's First Christmas/Boy" by Citygirl Countryboy

"Personalized Ornament Baby's First Christmas Carriage" by Just Wright Boutique

"Baby in the Moon Baby Girl First Christmas Keepsake Ornament - Handpainted, Personalized, Original Design" by Barbzies Custom Arts

"Baby First Christmas Ornament - Zoo Animals with Red Liner" by Paper Tiger N' Stitches

"Baby's First Christmas Ornament" by Mind the Gap

"Baby Girls First Christmas Ornament" by Simply Baitser

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Trifle!

On this happy Thanksgiving, I made a lovely, gargantuan trifle (to feed my enormous family), and then five individual trifles for my husband Joe's smaller family...it was a Pumpkin-Carmel Trifle with Spice Cake (got the recipe out of Metropolitan Home Magazine...however for the spice cake, I used a recipe from the Food Network.) Everyone loved this decadent dessert with scrumptious pumpkin mouse, buttery toasted pecans, and yummy ginger spice cake! Here is my combination of the two recipes (along with some substitutions) in my delicious Thanksgiving trifle!

Pumpkin-Carmel Trifle with Spice Cake


Pumpkin Mousse
• 1 envelope (¼ oz.) unflavored gelatin powder
• 1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin (not pie filling)
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1½ cups well-chilled heavy cream

Spice Cake
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger (I used 1/3 cup grated fresh ginger)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk (I used home-brewed kefir)

Brandy Syrup
• ¼ cup sugar
• ¼ cup brandy or cognac (I used Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum)

Toasted Pecans
• ½ cup pecan pieces
• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 1 pint caramel ice cream, softened (I used Greek God's Honey Yogurt, mixed with cream cheese, and local honey)


To make the mousse, put ¼ cup cold water in a small heat-proof bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Set aside for 10 minutes for the gelatin to soften.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and sugar. Meanwhile, set the bowl of softened gelatin over a pan of simmering water and cook until the gelatin is clear. Immediately whisk the hot gelatin mixture into the pumpkin mixture.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin/gelatin mixture. Chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.

To make the spice cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 9" x 13" rectangular cake pan.

In a small mixing bowl whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, ground ginger (or fresh ginger) and ground cloves.

Cream the butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk alternately beginning and ending with the dry.

When the batter is well mixed and smooth, pour it into the cake pan and bake about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake come out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out to cool completely.

To make the brandy syrup, in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir sugar with ¼ cup water until sugar has dissolved. Add brandy. Let cool and refrigerate, covered.

To prepare pecans, in a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add pecans and cook, stirring, until toasted, about 3 minutes.

To serve, trim ⅛ inch from around edges of cake. Cut cake into 16 squares. Put ¼ cup mousse in bottom of each of 8 glasses and spread slightly. Sprinkle ½ tablespoon pecans over mousse and add a square of cake. Brush cake with brandy syrup. Lightly spread 1 tablespoon softened ice cream over cake in each glass. Repeat one more layer as before, except for ice cream. Instead, form an oval scoop of ice cream to top trifle: using two metal serving spoons, scoop ice cream with one spoon and put other spoon over top of ice-cream-filled spoon to mold. Repeat for remaining glasses.

Don't have a trifle dish?! Here is a perfect one I found on Etsy!

"Vintage Glass Compote, Trifle Bowl, Punch or Dessert Bowl" by Rusty Cow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tis the Season for a Trip to the Museum

My sweet, loving baby nephew, Bobby, and I under the gorgeous Christmas tree at our local magnificent museum: "Philbrook Museum of Art".

Bobby's momma and my twin sister, Andrea, and our grandmother "Nana" Sharee (Bobby's GREAT grandmother) went to the Philbrook Museum today to find the perfect masterpiece for Andrea to write her essay for her Art Appreciation class final. We enjoyed gazing at all of the beautiful works of art, remembering our favorites to come back to and consider for Andrea's essay....we were looking for something that Andrea could really relate to...and finally once we found it we knew right away that we didn't need to look any further. It was a breathtaking sculpture of a mother and her baby boy carved out of marble! I can't wait to read her completed essay! I took some pictures of Andrea and her darling baby boy, Bobby, with this amazing sculpture...here is one of them!
After we found Andrea's art piece for her essay final, we took some pictures by the Philbrook Christmas tree then sipped on tea and shared a decadent dessert, a moist lemon cake with blueberries and fancy cheese filling, at the exquisite cafe Villa inside the museum. We then went upstairs to look at the many adorable homemade gingerbread houses created by local Tulsa schools and organizations...they were incredible and so cute! I love gingerbread houses...if you would like to admire some charming little gingerbread houses, check out these I found on Etsy!"Gingerbread House Medium" by Lollipops Sugar Shoppe.

"Gingerbread House Kit (edible)" by Kenzie Kandi.
"Handmade Edible Gingerbread House - X-Large" by Couture Cakes & Confections.

"The Little Vegan Gingerbread House Kit" by The Cupcake Mint.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Two Turtle Doves

Oooh, what an adorable Christmas ornament! This one is for newlywed love birds titled "Love Birds Ornament - Personalized" by Samantha Jorn // Studio.

Joe and I had my sweet sister and brother-in-law, Robert, take some pictures of us with their very nice, professional camera so we can give them out this holiday season (I also took some photos of them with their darling baby Bobby). I have not yet picked out the Christmas cards to give everyone...but I know which photo of us is going to be inside each Christmas card...What do you all think?!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fascinating Felines

The lovely, vintage-style image above is an adorable original greeting card titled "Cat Humor - Funny, Sassy, Unique" by Vintage Snap and Scrap.
Our fascinatingly funny girl kitty, Nozomi, curled herself into a small cardboard box we had sitting on our coffee table...this box was half her size! She is hilarious! We carried her around the house and called the box her "little spaceship"; our other two cats (both males) were intrigued with Nozomi in her little box. It is amazing how cats can squeeze themselves into the tiniest places...like in a dresser drawer or under the couch!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Celebrating America Recycles Day and Being a Cool Geek!

In honoring America Recycles Day, I would like to remind everyone to please recycle your old computers and computer parts! There is a high demand to effectively and safely recycle old computers; environmentally safe disposal of these electronics is essential for protecting our environment. With ever changing technological advances, people are constantly updating their computers and thus we need a means of recycling them properly. The other day, my grandmother "Nana" Sharee and I were cleaning/organizing my home and we took three old computer monitors, two printers, and an old keyboard to a local computer repair store and they recycled them safely for us! I suggest everyone in need of recycling old computer parts to please check out your local computer repair store and recycling centers to see if they accept and recycle these environmentally hazardous electronics.

Also, in support of recycling computer parts, these nifty Etsy shops are selling cool items made from recycled computer parts...check em' out...and become a cool geek!"Computer Key - esc - Ring Adjustable" by Dandy Florence
"Recycled Circuit Board Funky Frog Desk Clock Geekery" by DebbyAremDesigns
"Dangle Earrings Tiny Circuits on Sterling Lever Backs" by Violets New Vintage
"We Are In Your Computer Corrupting Your Files Computer Bug Magnet Set" by Glamasaurus

"OMG Keyboard Necklace" by Keyed Up

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Our Kombucha Scoby Had a Baby!

Our kombucha scoby had a baby scoby, so we put it in a separate jar to make another batch of kombucha. By the way, our kombucha tastes wonderful! We have already experimented with making some secondary fermentations with hibiscus and another one with sassafras and sarsaparilla. My favorite one has been the hibiscus...it kind of tastes like a wine spritzer...but better...and better for you! Once we have enough kombucha scoby babies we will probably start selling them in my Eco-Friendly Freckles shop!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Blissful Birthday for Beverly!

Yesterday evening Joe and I had Beverly (Joe's mother and my mother-in-law) over with her fiance Matt to celebrate her birthday. We all had a wonderful time visiting and listening to Dean Martin music which brought sweet memories of Beverly's childhood to her mind. :-)

She loved her present full of various goodies; but I think her favorite of all was a hand-crocheted Cookie Monster Scarf that Joe and I got from Hilary's Dreaming in Yarn: The Wonderful World of Crochet...please check out this adorable Etsy shop! Being a Sesame Street fan, crochet creator herself, and lover of the color blue...Beverly loves this scarf! Seeing the happy look of surprise on her face when she opened her birthday gift gave me so much joy!Earlier in the day, I had my sister, Andrea, and her lovable baby boy Bobby over to help me make Beverly's birthday cake. Beverly loves her hometown (Tulsa) and enjoys exploring its history (architecture, people, etc.); so I wanted to make a cake with this theme. I decided to make a Golden Driller Cake to represent the Tulsa Golden Driller (pictured below). This cake was a moist lemon cake with lemon curd (containing fresh squeezed organic lemon juice) filling in between the layers and with organic lemon zest frosting...we naturally colored the frosting of the cake with a little bit of turmeric (could not taste it in the icing at all) and for the outline we added some cocoa (brown) to the yellow frosting which made a beautiful bronze...perfect for a Golden Driller! Ha ha, Andrea said the cake looked like Bob the Builder, I think it looked like Matthew McConaughey with a little gut, and Joe said it looked like George Washington!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Two New Creations Added to My Inventory!

I have added to new hand-painted upcycled decoupage creations to my Eco-Friendly Freckles Shop! The one pictured above is a upcycled penny bank and it is titled "Beauty Bucks"; here are a few more pictures of it along with its description:

This artsy hand-painted one-of-a-kind creation is a pennybank featuring a free spirited lady taking leisure in her favorite pastime: shopping! Her indulgence brings her happiness and fulfillment, her positive mindset encourages her to save money and spend it on her blissful desires. As this shop girl kicks back and enjoys her online shopping, delightful mannequin heads dance around in her mind. Her savings appears as a gift to her from herself wrapped in a pretty red bow; she smiles as she sees some of her pleasant purchases: sweet treats and red high heels! A large "I ♥" image is featured amongst the mannequins, a sales sign, and a vintage Woman's Day magazine; expressing the fact that this leisurely lady "loves shopping"! On the top of this penny bank, located next to the opening where you can poke your money in, it reads "The gift you'll want to get your hands on."...small ravishing red boots are featured here along with a tiny red gift box containing that special gift to yourself!
In these pictures, the shine on the canister is from the glossy Mod Podge finish. I applied two coats of Mod Podge to this canister so the images are protected, yet you can still feel the fun texture of the freckles! A silver lock and set of keys comes with the penny bank so you can keep it locked up for safe keeping! When unlocked you can lift the lid (as shown in the picture), however the lid is a bit snug since this canister and interior has been coated with paint and Mod Podge...perhaps snug enough to keep intruders away from breaking the lock, yet not too snug so you can open it. :-)The eco-friendly recycled materials used in this item are: a tin can, magazine clippings, yogi tea tags, and recycled paper. This piece measures 5 inches tall and 3 inches wide. The interior of this tin is painted a radiant red and then painted over with glossy Mod Podge to protect the paint and add extra shine! This is a stunning penny bank...and would make a wonderful gift for yourself or a loved one!
The second, new hand-painted upcycled decoupage canister in my Eco-Friendly Freckles Shop is called "Capture the Beauty of Nature".A whimsical fantasy is featured on this spectacular one-of-a-kind hand-painted canister! A woman is shown with her vintage camera taking photos of the stunningly gorgeous wonders she finds outdoors...she is capturing the beauty of nature! Her positive inner voice gives her encouragement to follow her dreams as she watches her playful orange cat play with sunflowers and a collection of her colorful photographs of butterflies. Other attractively vibrant flowers are displayed on this canister as well as a charming white gazebo...maybe the woman will rest in there for a while as she gazes into her sweet soul.
You can display this delightful piece as a candle votive, pen or pencil holder, trinket container, or as a lovely work of art. This also makes a great gift for holding baked goods, candies, soaps, bath salts, teas, etc. Also in my shop are some handmade all-natural soaps that come in a black satin pouch that fits perfectly inside of a canister like this one...making a wonderful gift set! If you would like to have a black satin pouch along with this canister (instead of purchasing the soap) for keeping cookies/candies, teas, or anything else; just let me know with your order.
In these pictures, the shine on the canister is from the glossy Mod Podge finish. I applied two coats of Mod Podge to this canister so the images are protected, yet you can still feel the fun texture of the freckles!The eco-friendly recycled materials used in this item are: a tin can, magazine clippings, yogi tea tags, and recycled paper. This piece measures 4 1/2 inches tall and 3 inches wide. The interior of this tin is painted a radiant metallic purple and then painted over with glossy Mod Podge to protect the paint and add extra shine! Canisters like this one were opened with a special can opener that cuts with a very smooth edge, so you can touch the top of the canister and be completely safe!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Pride of the Peacock

The vibrantly spectacular image above is an original painting titled "Henry the VIII" by Jennifer Moreman.

The cool breeze of autumn weather and the beautiful colors of the changing trees remind me that Thanksgiving is near! Although the stunning pheasant, quail, and turkey remind me of autumn too...the peacock is the most magnificent! Decorating your home and yourself with the colors of the peacock will express your festive charm and bring out your vibrant beauty...check out the treasury below and take pride in the peacock!

I am featured in this treasury! My Vintage 60's Playboy Print is listed amongst the other gorgeous peacock inspired items! Please check out the exquisite treasury titled "Peacock Vanitas" by Eloise Ghioni.

Staying indoors this chilly autumn season? Why don't you sit down in your cozy chair and cuddle up with a vintage romance novel! This one is a classic and one of my mother's favorites "The Pride of the Peacock" by Victoria Holt. You can find it her in this quaint and comforting little Etsy shop: Homespun Tales.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Egypt is Here...It's Cairo Time!

On Thursday afternoon, Nana Sharee, my sister Andrea, and I (along with sweet baby boy Bobby) had a wonderful time hanging out and going to our local retro movie theater here in Tulsa called "The Circle Cinema". We watched the film "Cairo Time" starring Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Siddig and it was spectacular! This is what I would call a "grown-up chick flick", unlike the goofy ones like "Legally Blonde" and "Mean Girls". Cairo Time is a very romantic film with gorgeous scenes of the beautiful city of Cairo and the amazing views of the pyramids and sphinx. I also like how the viewer gets to explore the cultures of Egypt in this movie not just follow along with the romantic story (which is also superb). I highly suggest this feel-good movie for a bunch of chicks out there who are curious about Egypt and are craving a good love story!I got featured in a treasury today! My Egyptian Blue Lotus Lily is featured in a stunningly beautiful treasury created byEloiseGhioni and titled "Egypt is Here!" Please tell everyone how much you like this selection of items by posting a comment on the treasury...thanks!