Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Moon dance cookies

Don't you just love that song?  I do, and there is something so beautiful and magical about watching the moon rise in the sky.

A couple of years ago, my husband and I were at World's End state park in Sullivan country PA.  It was night time and we were at the highest outlook watching falling stars.  It is desolate there - no light from cities and you couldn't see beyond the headlights of the car on the way up.  Perfect silence and complete darkness and a high elevation made for a celestial show like like I had never seen before.   There was the occational crackle of fallen leaves as an animal moved through the woods as well as hooting from an owl.

Yesterday I was looking up song lyrics and poetry about the moon, and suffice to say there was plenty.  Clearly, the moon brings out creativity, romance, and imagination.

18 year old Mary Shelley wrote the gothic novel Frankenstein during a "waking dream" in which she was inspired by the moon shining in her window in June of 1816.  Many discounted her moon inspiration (thinking it was made up as a way to sensationalize the story), but scientists have now calculated that the moon was indeed shining in her window that night. 

I tried a something new when making this cookie.  I used black disco dust applied with a paint brush to create the shadowing effect.  The flood icing was pretty dry when I did this, so it gave a very light and controled touch.  Loving it.

I highly recommend talks with the man in the moon because he is very good listener.

Ispiration.  Isn't it a great thing?

I have just discovered (by way of Lynn at Happier than a Pig in Mud blog) that photos can actually be edited online.  Yes, I am cringing that  everyone on the planet knew this and that I am a very slow learner in all things technology related.  I am ashamed.  Anyway, now that I have been turned loose on Picnik, I am having outrageous amounts of fun playing with photos.  Talk about inspiration - this has opened up a whole new world for me - the ability to not only improve my photos, but also to impart mood and atmosphere.

And I would NEVER use my newfound toy in an  immature way. 

Linking up with

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Spider Cake

Maybe I have a screw loose, but I happen to like spiders.  It's not that I want one crawling on me or anything, but they fascinate me.  And a spider web caught in the sunlight?  Amazing.  I think of spiders as the "elegant" scary crawling thing that bites.  

For this ode to the arachnid cake, I started with some left over chocolate cupcake batter that I baked in two 6 inch pans.  But it is the icing that makes this dessert sing - a cooked caramel frosting. 


Caramel icing

3 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
pinch of salt
3/4 cup light cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Stir first 4 ingredients together in heavy sauce pan.  Stir over low heat till mixture reaches 238 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Pour into a mixer and beat till mixture begins to cool.  Note - you really have to scrape down the sides often and well.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat till completely cooled and smooth.  This stuff is eyes rolled up in your head good!  For my little cake, I cut the recipe in half. 

For a little extra fun, I added a layer of semi sweet chocolate chips to the filling.  Mmmmmm.

For the decorating, I just used black icing and started in the middle with some doodling.  Making circular patterns is the most relaxing thing in the world next to getting a massage.  Well, it is for me anyway.  I didn't go into a "spider web" pattern till I got to the outer area of the cake.

And the pattern continues down the sides of the cake.  I threw in a few plastic bats for good measure.

Love the picture above featuring the first colorful leaves I have seen and a coppertina ninebark in the background.  I added the gold dragees on top because I thought they gave an unexpected touch. 

Spiders and bats keep the insect population down in a big way - had to throw that in for you spider haters out there (I'm talking to you Isabelle).  This concludes my public service message on behalf of the sometimes creepy but always elegant spider.  And come on, who didn't LOVE Charlotte?

Charlotte and her cake are weaving their way to
Foodie Friday
Lolly Jane Boutique
My Romantic Home
Chic on a Shoestring
Miz Helen's full plate Thursday
The Charm of Home
Sugar Bananas
No Minimalist Here
Between Naps on the Porch
Nest of Posies Fall Festival
Savvy Southern Style
Crazy for Crust
Sweetology 101
Tabletop Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life
StoneGable on the menu Monday
Wickedly Creative Halloween Party
Cast Party Wednesday

Friday, September 23, 2011

Practical Magic Party

Practical Magic Blog Party

This kind of party is right up my autumnal whimsical alley.  A party to celebrate a sweet and magical movie.   What fun, and thanks to our hostess Anna of Frosted Petunias! 

Where to begin?  Let's start with the blue and green eyes.   Did you know that I have green eyes?

All of my sons have blue eyes.  When we are all together, that would be eight big blue eyes looking at me.

My daughter has green/hazel eyes, so we are very colorful when all together.

Sally's love interest in the movie has one of each.  Very interesting and kind of intense.  I once knew a girl with one blue and one brown eye and it was so beautiful! 

I adore roses - growing, cutting, smelling, and even giving it to my daughter as her middle name.  Kind of spooky to have a rose growing on an arbor be something evil...

If my roses would grow that quickly, I would plant Jimmy as compost. 

And speaking of Jimmy, he liked his tequila didn't he? 

Actually, I think the ladies had a very good idea with the blender of margaritas.  Who knows, I may treat myself to one tonight - after all, it is a Friday.

I also have to agree with the ladies when it comes to bee's wax candles.  Nothing can compare to the color and fragrance.

I decided to add a little

to my candle cookies so they were sprinkled with disco dust and the center of the flames was cut out and filled with melted yellow hard candy to make a stained glass flame.

The sparkle and warm glow makes them come alive.

Who needs a snickerdoodle when you can have a magical candle cookie? 

I guess I will have to get my stockings on for the festivities.

I'll also need to light some candles, and send special wishes to the other magical party goers.

I think my oven was pretty enchanted today, don't you?

Flying my practical magic over to
My Romantic Home
Between Naps on the Porch
Nest of Posies fall festival
Savvy Southern Style
Sweetology 101
A Stroll Thru Life Tabletop Tuesday
The Tablescaper
Sunday Showcase

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Plaid cupcakes

True confession time.  I hate making cupcakes.

The staple of PTA and soccer moms, the cooking activity that little kids can do - I struggle with them. 

I overfill, I underfill, I slop the batter, I bend the little papers, I overcook, and in general make a mess out of it.  I'm also getting just a tiny bit tired of using the school colors of blue and gold.  You see, I have been making treats for Alec's football team AND Isabelle's field hockey team.  The reason you didn't see last week's field hockey cookies (golden yellow butterflies with blue tie dye swirls) was because I didn't have time to take the pictures.  Hair on fire and running to the car with the newly made cookies, I just made it to the game on time.  They were cute, but you will just have to take my word on that. 

Back to the cupcakes.  Field hockey game tonight and cupcake making to do and tired of the same old blue and gold.  I decided to try my hand at making "plaid-ish" icing.  I also added green and white to the mix - after all, this is GREENcastle, and the white makes things pop. 

I used a basket weave technique that I found on the Wilton website.  Kind of slow but fun. 

Then because I have a very short attention span, I branched out into other plaid-ish geometric designs.

Love the tartan plaid-ish look, and having fun, but it was getting late so I changed out tips and went with the fast and easy swirl.

Well, actually the white ones are made with a large round tip making little blobs that pull up into tips.  You can see it better from the side.

Off to field hockey the cuppies went.

The state of PA now requires eye protection goggles.

Between the mouth guards and goggles, our girls look like little Hannibal Lecterettes.  But, safety first. 

And now, to the victors go the spoils.

Good game girls!

The girls and I are partying with
Foodie Friday
Chic on a Shoestring
My Romantic Home
Full Plate Thursday
Between Naps on the Porch
This Chic Cooks
Savvy Southern Style
A Stroll Thru Life
Sweetology 101
Chef n Training

Sunday, September 18, 2011

An early Thanksgiving

Why am I making caramel apple pie (above photo), pumpkin pie, turkey and all the trimmings on a Saturday in September?  Because my son Teddy left this weekend to spend the next nine months in Bahrain doing research on a Fulbright scholarship. 

The Philadelphians (Drew and Genevieve) came down to see Ted off and have a very early holiday.  And a busy couple of days it has been.  Friday went something like this:

Pick Teddy up from BWI airport in Baltimore
Me - start cooking
Ted - start repacking for Bahrain
Isabelle - field hockey
Tony - pick up pizza after work
The Philadelphians (Drew and Genevieve) arrive in town after classes
All of us - go to Alec's football game
All of us - deal with the Philadelphian's flat tire after game

Saturday went something like this:

Me - continue cooking
The Philadelphians - help with pie details
All of us - stuff ourselves ala Thanksgiving style
Alec and Isabelle - deal with kitchen clean up (thank you!)
Me, Tony, Teddy, the Philadelphians - drive to Dulles International airport
Me and Teddy - fight our way through crowd, get into correct que, and say goodbye
Teddy - "I'll be OK, don't worry"
Me - Lots of hugging and crying

I wanted to make a special pumpkin pie for Ted at dinner time.  While the pie was in the oven, I cut letters out of left of pie pastry and baked them for about 13 minutes at 350 on parchment paper.  When they were out of the oven and cooled, I ever so lightly brushed them with copper disco dust.  When the pie had finished baking and set up a bit, I placed the letters on the pie.

The only thing missing from this celebration was the green beret.  He is training to leave for Afghanistan in a couple of months.  If anyone had told me a year ago that two of my sons would be in the middle east this year, I would have said they were crazy. 

Being a mom is not for the weak of heart.

And speaking of the green beret, my NEW FABULOUS CAMERA is a birthday gift from him.  Yesterday was my first time using it.  Hopefully, the crappy pictures are a thing of the past! 

So, for my early Thanksgiving I am grateful for my loving and wonderful family - Tony, Drew, the green beret, Teddy, Alec, Isabelle, and Genevieve.  We are far from perfect - there is fighting, sulking, and irritatbility from time to time.  But I wouldn't change a hair on any of their heads and love them all so much it hurts. 

WE MISSED YOU GREEN BERET!  Happy early Thanksgiving everyone.  And for Teddy

Linking with

Friday, September 16, 2011

Barbara's fall leaf cookies

One dozen sweet leaves headed to sweet Barbara F!  BUSY, BUSY, BUSY, DAY so they will be headed off to the post office tomorrow morning. 

Big hugs to Barbara and all of my wonderful followers.

Link up are:
Chic on a Shoestring
Foodie Friday
Between Naps on the Porch
Nest of Posies Fall Festival
A Stroll Thru Life
Sweetology 101