Boxed Brownie Secret

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You may prefer made-from-scratch brownies, but this crapswoman is perfectly okay with the boxed variety. Particularly if they have this gooey secret inside!

I started off with a boxed brownie mix and followed the package directions to assemble the batter.

Next, I spread half the batter into a 13″ x 9″ pan and placed two Hershey’s giant Symphony bars on top.

Chocolate, almonds, and toffee chips. That’s heaven to a chocolate fan!

I topped the chocolate bars with the rest of the brownie batter …

… and baked according to the directions on the brownie box.

I usually serve these brownies as is, and people are happy to encounter the surprise inside. If I’m feeling especially decadent, however, I top the fresh-from-the-oven brownies with more Symphony bars. As they melt, I spread the melted chocolate with an offset spatula.

Give it a try. Your brownie lovers will love you!

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Birthday Surprises

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Dan the Man and I have recently returned from a three-week trip to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. We had such a good time, and the scenery was one stunning sight after another. We were lucky to see this beautiful mountain, Denali, on a gorgeous day.

A few days after our return, I celebrated my birthday. I’m so lucky to have crafty friends who love me, because I get to be the recipient of some of their art. Both Kathy and Martha made me cards. Aren’t they talented ladies?

My friend since the third grade, Babs, gave me several books about art journaling. She wrapped the gift in butcher paper with this special collage commemorating my birthday. Can you tell how old I am?!

Negative Painting — Part One

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My inspiration for this project came from one of my favorite crafting magazines and websites — Cloth Paper Scissors.  In this blog post (http://www.clothpaperscissors.com/blog/perfect-mothers-day-art-project/), the author writes about a process called “negative painting.” With this technique, you start with a colorful background and then use a solid color to paint around the objects you want to show rather than by painting the objects itself.

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I began with dark colors — blue, purple, and magenta — and worked on two canvases at a time.

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I continued adding additional colors,

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lightening it up as I went along. I applied paint mainly with a paint brush, but my hands and fingers also got involved!

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Once I was happy with the background colors, I began adding other marks. I stamped circles and added lines with paint and the edge of a credit card.

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I used stamps and stamp pads to add more details. My final touch was to use my Gelly Roll pens to add lines, squiggles, and writing (any words I could think of) all over the board.

Next week, I’ll show you the crap I ended up with as I completed the negative painting!

Cork Monogram

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I have a cork-monogrammed R on top of my refrigerator, and I always get compliments on it. When my friend Jackie K. admired it, I knew I had to make one for her. Cork projects aren’t difficult to do — after all, who minds collecting corks?! — but certain materials make the job easier. Read the rest of this entry

Memorial Day Watercolor

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For Easter, my BFF gave me a watercolor of two cute chicks in a square frame with a mat opening of 6″ x 6″.  We decided that I could replace the chick pic with seasonal art of my own design. So using mixed media paper, cheap watercolors, and a white Gelly Roll pen, here’s my product. I think I’ll leave it on my table from Memorial Day weekend until the Fourth of July. Go, USA!

Happy Mother’s Day

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Grandchildren are one of the gifts that make Mother’s Day so special. My oldest grandson Michael will be finishing eleventh grade next week. It’s hard to believe he’s old enough to be a high school senior!

Dan the Man recently found this recipe that Michael wrote ten years ago. We originally thought we should frame it and give it to Michael. But to heck with that — I didn’t want to let it go. So today I got it framed to hang in my kitchen. Enjoy Michael’s recipe for chocolate brownies!

Mixed Media Using an Old Road Map

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I’m back to blogging after a restorative long weekend with girlfriends in Hot Springs, AR. It’s amazing what good friends, a little wine, a few adventures, and lots of laughter can do! Today’s post shares how friends Martha, Kathy, and I started with old road maps, acrylic paints, and Gelli Plates to create crap art, and how we used creativity and other products to turn our crapsmanship into craftsmanship.

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This project was inspired by an article in an old issue of Craft, Paper, Scissors about using old road maps to create wrapping paper. The idea was to use the Gelli Plate, paint, and stencils to stamp great designs onto a large map. You can see Kathy’s attempt above. It’s colorful but unimpressive. Kathy’s was the best design on the three of ours, so you can imagine what Martha’s and mine looked like!

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Not wanting to give up too soon, we got out assorted stamps and stamp pads. In the photo above, you can see Martha’s crap improving as she adds layers of design. We also tried stamping some more paint on to the map with household items such as corks and bottle tops. The photo below shows my almost-completed work …

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…and this last photo shows my end product.

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I like it so much, I’m not yet willing to cut it up and wrap it around a gift. So I’m hoarding it in my Finished Projects stash, just waiting for the right use.

 

Easy Art?

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Easy? Couldn’t be easier. Art? Doubtful!

My friend Martha and I exchange art journals, and we do 3-4 pages in each other’s journal before we trade back. Any art goes — doodling, hand lettering, mixed media, collage. Our products are sometimes crapsmanship, but it’s a good way to try out techniques on a small scale.

This piece, that I entitled “Leisure Suit,” was a simple collage from magazine parts. It’s ridiculous and can hardly be called art, but I like it anyway!

Hand-Rolled Beads

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I’ve recently been experimenting with decorating paper and using it to make hand-rolled beads. It’s an easy process and lends a distinctive crafty (do I mean crappy?) touch to a necklace.

My first task was to create the decorated paper. For each color theme, I used cardstock and paint or inks. The red/white and the pink/lime necklaces had paper printed from my GelliPlate using acrylic craft paint. I used Distress Oxides and sprayed-on water to get the blue colors that I hoped would resemble shades of denim.

Once the papers were dry, I cut them up into half-inch strips. Pinterest has a ton of how-to links, but the rolling-up process was easy. Using craft glue and a toothpick, I first glued (with gloss ModPodge, my best friend) a tab on each strip that was about an inch long, just by folding over an end. Then I wrapped this tab (without glue on the outside) around a toothpick and continued to wrap, gluing as I went. After removing the toothpick, I set aside each bead to dry.

My last task was to thread some jeweler’s string through the hand-made beads, adding other coordinating beads from my stash. I like how each necklace turned out, and they’re certainly one-of-a-kind!