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Friday, November 30, 2012

Decadent, melt in your mouth

Too good to be true
My Marzipan Cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Gather the following ingredients and

Cream together:
   2 sticks of  UNSALTED BUTTER,
   2/3 C. Sugar
   Pinch of salt
Beat in:
   1 Egg
Combine and add:
   1 tsp. Vanilla
   2 and 1/2 cups sifted Flour
   1 TB fresh lemon juice
   1 TB grated orange rind.
Mix well until ingredients are well blended. Chill dough for 3-4 hours.
Roll out and cut round cookie shapes, about 3 inches in diameter. Stack 2 cookies, cutting out center hole in the  top cookie.  Fill center with Marzipan paste or home made preserves.

Bake (350) until lightly browned on edges, about 8 to 10 minutes.

I can't resist them, maybe you can.
Happy baking my dear
Blogging Friends.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tools of the Trade

All of my brushes tell a story.  They come from different parts of the world...and I was there.
(Partial Repost, October,2009)

You have to hold them just right, you have to slow down your brush stroke, you have to mix the pigment-to-binder-to-water just so.  This style of painting is called Delft in Holland, Faience in France and Maiolica in Italy.

Of all the brushes I own, these 2 brushes are the most special.  The brush on the left was given to me by artist Alberto Lunghini of Ferrara, Italy.  If you join the locals on their evening Passeggiata you will go right by his beautiful ceramic shop. 

The brush on the right, with only a few hairs at the tip for very fine work, was a gift from the head painter of one the oldest companies in Holland.  The company has been making hand painted tiles since 1594. 
While I was at the factory, I noticed that each painter worked with a slightly different, although similar brush.  You can't buy this brush.  Is is made by each painter.  And this is how:
You must befriend your Butcher.  If he likes you he will give you the ear from an Ox.  You can then pull out a few of the hairs from the ear, then find a whole bunch of hair from a sable and then you have to figure out how to attach all of this to a handle.  Or, you can wrestle your cat for his newly caught mouse and proceed as above. 
Now you know why that brush is so special.

My Father taught me how to take care of a fine artist brush.  These brushes will last me for the rest of my life.  I won't have to make friends with the Butcher (unless I want to) nor do I have to steal a mouse from Stanley, our gentleman cat.
Have a great remainder of the week my dear
Blogging Friends.

Friday, November 23, 2012

My all time most visited blog posts

My hand painted glass Christmas Ornaments.

Acrylic paints swirled inside 6 inch clear glass balls.
Thin down paints a little and add each color separately.

Simple designs painted onto clear glass balls with acrylic paints
Use lots of different colors.

So pretty when combined with other ornaments.

And don't forget white.

Ready to paint.
Place wet paper towel on an old plate. Add acrylic paints.
Load up lots of paint onto medium bristle brush.
Begin with something easy.  Dots and circles will do.  
Double load your brush with different colors.
Let dry by hanging ornament on whatever is handy.

Or, you can glue on very thin tissue paper. 

Tear tissues into smaller and irregular sized pieces and glue on with thinned out Elmer's Glue or Mod Podge.

The more the merrier.

There is no right and there is no wrong.

Should you be allergic to glue or paint you can always cover your Christmas ornaments with my my sister's, Brigitta the lace maker, hand made lace.

  Or my friend Renie will paint an elegant porcelain Christmas Ball for you.

Begin your new collection by gluing paper onto glass balls.
Clear Glass balls are available in craft stores; but only during the holiday season.  So, hurry and get some and have your friends join in the fun.

Have a great week my dear
Blogging Friends.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

More Stuff

Make your own Greeting Cards with

a new addition called
"Winter Wonderstuff"
Lots of new features to wile away the hours.
Happy creating
my dear Blogging Friends,

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's no fun having your computer crash

Trying to get re-acquainted with my computer
is no fun either.

Happy Sunday to you my dear
Blogging Friends.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A happy and new development

Have you noticed?

The flower beds in France have taken on a new look.

A thing of the past are rows upon rows of marigolds and petunias lined up in perfect soldier-like formations.

Nowhere else was this more evident than in the small town of St. Emilion, Bordeaux Region, France.

St. Emilion, tucked away in hills and beautifully cared for vineyards, is the perfect place from which to enjoy the Bordeaux wine country.

Well cared for vineyards and tidy streets connect cobbled small squares,  and well stocked wine shops.

Of the Bordeaux's famous red wines, St. Emilion Reds represent 5% of the regions total production. 

Hostellerie de Plaisance, St. Emilion, France.

A souvenir from St. Emilion for my Thanksgiving Table.

Have a great week my dear
Blogging Friends.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Quimper Style

You have to make an effort to visit this
lovely corner of France, the northwestern most corner of Bretagne, north and west of Paris

You have to be driven, as I am, to see and investigate every major ceramic region in the world.

And lucky for us, nearby, we found the beautiful
Manoir de Kerlédan a luxury French Bed and Breakfast.

The salon, where we had cocktails by a roaring fire at precisely 7:30 p.m each evening.

Followed by a gourmet dinner prepared for us by the very talented and lovely Penny, the proprietress of this 15th century Manor House.

Penny and Peter Dinwiddie dedicated many years of their young lives to the rebuilding and restoration of this neglected old stone chateau.

The beginning, 1964. 

Every part of this old Manor House was lovingly restored over a period of many years  by Penny and Peter.

Formal Gardens were laid out and are judiciously kept by Peter.

beautiful bedrooms await the visitor.

We must go back and see what plans Penny and Peter have for this antique treasure.

 About an hours drive from Carhaix-Plouguer, the home of  Karledan Manor House, the town of Quimper (pronounced kem-pair) holds a very fine ceramic museum, the Musée de la Faience,
Quimper, Bretagne, France.

Throwing pots has not changed much over the centuries.  The flywheel was used then, an electric wheel has made life easier today. 
Established in 1690, the Quimper factory is still producing fine hand painted ceramics.  You can visit the factory from Monday through Friday.

Quimper Faience designs feature Men and Women in traditional Breton Costumes, celebrating their Celtic Heritage. 

Have  great remainder of the week my dear
Blogging Friends,


Monday, November 5, 2012

Knee deep in Alligators

My dear Blogging Friends.

As soon as I can come up for air I will spend more time with you.

Have a great week.