Monday, December 31, 2012

Into 2013

With a full year of posts behind me, I have tried to add a few features to the blog.

Added at the bottom of the blog, you will now see a spot to enter your own email so that when a new post is added, an email will be sent to your email address.  Let me know if this helps anyone out.

Another added feature is the posting of the most popular posts.

Also added to the site is the count of views.  This blog has reached almost 5,000.

Also, I would love for all my viewers to become followers.  I'm hoping that there are more than 13 visitors to this site.

I hope to continue to inspire all of you on Dens gens Creatifs in the coming year.  Let this be a new year of introducing you to new projects and ideas.


                                                                              

                                   Happy New Year!!!


Friday, December 28, 2012

Memories of a Child in Winter

I am the keeper of all pictures of old in my family.  I have always wanted to do an Ancestry.com search and find out even more.  I should put that on my list of things to do this coming year.

I should preface this story with another one.  I have been blessed in this life not to have one, but two amazing mothers in my life.  We lost my Mom before I was 5 years old.  I remember so little from those days, but I know it was a struggle for my Dad.  Two and one half years later, we were blessed to have Mom, which I will refer to as Mom Margaret, come into our lives.  She took under her wings  these 7 children.  As the years went by, 3 more children were added to the family. It is an amazing story and I always tell Mom now that it would make a great book.

 I would not be the person I am today without her positive influences.

Now back to my original story.  My first mother, Mother C Ann, had those 7 children  before she passed on. As I was hunting through my mass collection,  I came upon this photo of my Mom.  It was taken in the year 1922-1923.  Knowing about the depression of that day, the fur muff and scarf intrigued me.  The coat looks like it could be made out of velvet.

                                                          
This picture would be the inspiration for my winter vignette.  I recalled that I had bought a bundled up doll with red hair complete with muff and scarf at least 20 years ago at a craft sale.  She was always packed up in my Christmas decorations.  So as I was pulling all of the boxes out of the attic before Christmas, I made sure to pull 'C Ann" out to make a display come January.(My Mom, C Ann also had auburn hair.)


As I am writing this post, the temperature is about 28 degrees.  We rarely get such cold temps like that in Alabama.  It seemed more fun to create a winter display when the weather really did feel like winter.

Here is a picture of the woolen muff on the doll


Even though the picture of Mom C Ann didn't have a sled, the doll did.  I am almost starting to imagine fluffy snowflakes coming down.

                                                     
Referring back to the sepia picture, do you see the connection to this crafted little girl?  Uncanny, isn't it?

                                           
Because the picture of Mom C Ann looked like she was ready to go somewhere, I pulled out one of my vintage suitcases.  In it, I piled red covered old books.  My Mom was an excellent student, so I know reading was one of her pleasures.

                                                    
A bit of greenery.....

                                                         
  And for fun, I used some red and white baker's twine to attach the suitcase key to the Lucite handle.

                                                                 
The suitcase was propped up in the corner of one of my kitchen prep areas.  I thought it would be fun to walk by and  glance at the display.  I knew it would be able to reconnect me to my past.


                             I couldn't decide if I wanted to use one of my glass domes or not.

                                                                               
                                                       I decided to go without.

                                                                            
        For picture taking purposes only  the above picture was taken after I removed the curved glass that was set into the frame.  I replaced the glass for the final arrangement.  I think the curved glass gives the display a vintage effect.


                                                  
As I meander through the kitchen on these colder days, I stop and smile and reflect on a season long ago.


Do you see how one photo gets the imagination going?  Why don't you go to your box of old photos and create a memory display of your own?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Blessed Christmas 2012









Therefore the Lord

Himself will give you

A sign:  Behold, a virgin

Will be with child and

Bear a son and she will

Call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14


                                                                                   

                A Blessed Christmas to All of You


                

Friday, December 21, 2012

Poinsettia Mantle Display

As I wanted to recycle all of my crystal, silver and white Christmas decorations, I had to come up with a focal point for the winter mantle.  I found the most beautiful flocked white poinsettias at Michael's.  I perfected this floral arrangement with a concrete Grecian urn.


The poinsettias were 60% off, so along with a few evergreen sprays, I was set to make the arrangement.



  Including platinum glitter sprays and a crystal ornament added the embellishments to finish the display. 


                                                    


                                       
                              The close up of the crystal ornament adds that extra bit of sparkle.

 
 Setting the base for the mantle was a silvery cashmere-like throw complete with fringe.
 
  Once laid across the mantle, with the urn and pillars tucked up to the side, the throw was missing something.  Then I thought of some bling-- I went to my costume jewelry box and pulled out 4 of my prettiest rhinestone broaches. (I know, yes, it's another collection.)  Once attached to the throw, they cascaded down the right side of the mantle throwing off glimmer and shine.
 
 
Flanking the urn were two mercury pillars that were on clearance at Pottery Barn.  I had a $50.00 gift card in my wallet for two years.  I could never find anything I wanted enough until I ran into these on the shelf.  This was a real deal on the 20 inch mercury glass pillars.

                                                                
                                          A closeup of the great sale tag.........


      So far, the dressing of the mantle is coming along.  I tend to favor asymmetrical displays, so right now, it seems a bit lopsided.

                                                                             

 
Now, I needed to complete the other side.  While at Home Goods, I found this spectacular embossed mercury ornament.


It seemed rather lonely, so I pulled a smaller mercury ornament out and placed it in a vintage silver plated candy dish (a great find at an estate sale for $2.00).

                                       
To balance the left side of the mantle, I took out my oversized wedding flower vase and put in the shimmery platinum twigs that I had used in the past.

                                                                
           Of course, the white mantle clock stays on the mantle.  Here is the picture of the left side.

 
 
 
                                           
             I like the two different looks that I get.  At night time, the spotlight is on the mantle.


                                                                   
                         In the morning, the sun streams in and catches the sparkle of the glitter.

                      
                            This mantle will flow easily into the New Year and wintry months.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Buche de Noel/Yule Log


I wanted to share one of my most favorite holiday recipes with you.  Since the Buche de Noel goes along with my Noel theme this Christmas, I created one  to show you with step by step pictures.  It is a very impressive dessert, but anyone can do it.  I have taken numerous recipes and combined them  to create this final product.  My family loves it!

A little history:  This log shaped cake was meant to evoke the yule log once burned in European hearths throughout Christmas. Food historians give this creation a French origin, but no specific dates are given.

Bûches are often served with a portion of one end of the cake cut off and set on top of the cake or protruding from its side to resemble a chopped off branch, and bark-like texture is often produced in the butter cream for further realism.(Wikipedia)


First the recipe:

                         
YULE LOG

6 eggs, separated  

1 c. confectioner’s sugar                                                                 

Cocoa

Mocha filling(below)

Chocolate butter cream frosting(below)

 

1.Grease 15 ½ inch by 10 ½ inch jelly roll pan,  Line with parchment paper and spray Pam on top.

2. Preheat oven to 375.  In large bowl with mixer at high speed, beat egg whites till soft peaks.  Gradually sprinkle in ½ c, confectioner’s sugar.

3.In small bowl with mixer at high speed, beat egg yolks till thick.  At low speed beat ½ c. confectioners’ sugar and 3 T. cocoa.  Fold yolk mixture into whites.  Spread batter in pan.  Bake 9 min. or until top springs back when touched.

4.Sprinkle towel with cocoa in sifter.  Invert cake.  Start at narrow end and roll.  Cool seam side down.  Let cool for at least one hour.

5.  Make filling and frosting.

6.Unroll cake .  Spread Mocha frosting on whole cake.  Roll up seam side down.  Cut a three inch section at an angle and place perpendicular to the long piece so it resembles a log.  Cover with frosting.  Use fork to drag through frosting so it looks like bark.  Place holly in cake.  Refrigerate.

 

Mocha:

Beat 1 c. whipping cream.  Add ¼ c. conf. sugar, ¼ c. cocoa, 1 T. instant coffee.  Beat until stiff peaks form.

 

Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting:

Melt 1 square of unsweetened chocolate with 2 T. milk.  Cool.  Add 2 c. confectioners sugar, 4 T. softened butter, 1 t. vanilla, 2-3 T. whipping cream.

 
Can  be frozen.


OK, lets get started.

Before starting, I had purchased a silvered fake evergreen pick from Hobby Lobby for 50% off.

                                                                                           
                                  These next three ingredients were not  in my pantry.

                                                                              

Pull out your jelly roll pan, line it with parchment and spray the top of the parchment paper with Pam.
Next take on old dish towel and sift cocoa all over it.

                                                                        
                        Make up your egg white mixture and spread it onto the parchment.

                                                                                    Place it into your preheated oven.  After 9 minutes, press on it and it if springs back, take it out of the oven.  Go over to your cocoa covered towel like so.
At this point, everything I touch is covered with cocoa.  Your kitchen will look like its been hit by a chocolate snowstorm.

                                                                                               
                                                                Flip the pan onto the towel. 

                                                                                               
                                             Immediately, take off the pan.  It will still be steaming.

                                                                                
Carefully, take off the parchment.  Using the short end of the towel, begin rolling the cake into a roll.

                                                                                      
                         When it is rolled up, it should look like this.  Let cool for at least one hour.


                                                                         

Take a break now.  When you get back to the roll, feel that it is cool.  Begin making your filling. 

Unroll your towel and spread your filling onto the cake.  I get my butter out to soften for the frosting at this point.  I also get a silver paper doily out and place it on the cake stand.

                                                                               
Now, tear off two pieces of wax paper and overlap them over the doily.  This will save so much cleanup after you frost the log.

                                                                  
             This is the cake after the filling is spread on top of it.  Notice, that the edges aren't too pretty.   Don't fret, you can trim it out in a minute.
                                                                                
                                                              
                                     Now, carefully roll up the cake.

                                                             
                         At this point, I trim both ends.  Next, I make a diagonal cut 1/3 into the roll.

                                     
                                                                           
It's starting to look like a log.  Place the larger piece on the cake plate.  Take the smaller piece and place it perpendicular to the larger one.

                                                               
                                                                   Another view.

                                                                              
                            Make your butter cream frosting and frost the Yule Log. Then remove the two pieces of the wax paper and your log will look like this.

                                                                 
                  Take a fork and drag through both pieces creating the bark look.

                                                                                       
                        Isn't it awesome!  Now, take your evergreen pick and place it on top of the cake.

                                                                    


                                                                               
                                                                          
    OK, the best part of this dessert is that I'm going to remove the pick, place it in a 9x13 Tupperware and freeze it until Christmas Day.

                         Go ahead, make this dessert and truly impress your family and friends. Now my official Christmas baking is complete.