Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ho, Ho, Ho-Hum

I'm not usually a complainer or whiner.  Contrarily, I try to face life's curve balls with quiet fortitude.  But for the second half of 2012, life has been kicking my butt :^(  And while I'm trying my best to rejoice in the spirit of the holiday season, me thinks it will not be easy this year.  I've been up to my eyeballs in detours and distractions, not of my own creation, each one needing high-priority attention.  The fantasy solution would be to clone myself 20 times; I wish!  Inelegantly put, life sucks.  The boat is really rocking and I'd like to disembark!

My saving grace is optimism; hopefully, it will only be a reasonable matter of time before things get better.  So until then, I find peace in the miniature form, whenever time permits.  Here's a sample of the latest, available at my website...


Abstract oval, white/clear Bakelite bowl
turned by Bill Helmer.
Baguette board and chef's knife handmade by me :)
 

 
While the first half of this post is naughty and not so nice, I'd like to devote this half to expressing thanks.  To the readers of this blog, my customers, friends and family, THANK YOU for your support in 2012.  It is because of you that I can look beyond life's pitfalls and truly count my blessings.  Wishing all a joyous holiday season!! 
 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Caramel Cake

I received a very special request to miniaturize a caramel cake, a traditional dessert specialty of the southern region of the U.S.

Interested in the real thing?  Visit Caroline's Cakes...

Santos rosewood table with soapstone inlay by Thomas Saunders.  Glass cake plate by Phil Grenyer.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sweets of Summer

Summer seems to be rushing towards autumn.  Maybe it's just my perception, or because I was knee deep in clay these past few months, or both ;^)

Anyway, we've enjoyed an abundance of the sweetest fruit this summer.  Served icy cold, it's my simple pleasure on a hot and humid day.  Also, great for snacking while watching the Olympics!


Woven tray by Al Chandronnait.  Wood baguette board by me :)


Wishing you the simple pleasures of whatever season it is wherever you are!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cheesecakes, edible and not...

Welcome to the new readers of this blog :^)

Last week, I was busy at my work table baking several mini cheesecakes...tempting but, alas, inedible.


Santos rosewood table turned by Thomas Saunders.  Silver cake server by Don Henry.  My favorite glass champagne bottle (filled!) by Cristina Minischetti.  Flowers and cake by me :^)

Then, the other day, we were the lucky recipients of two market bags filled with Hayden (or Haden) mangoes from my mom's tree.  The occasion called for a cheesecake of the edible kind :)


The mint grows in my garden.  My son was standing by ready to enjoy this slice as soon as the photo session was done, lol.

This cheesecake is a refreshing, summery dessert that is deceivingly light and very rich in taste and texture.  Except for the shortbread crust, there is no baking involved...your refrigerator will do the rest.  A friend of my mom shared her recipe with me many moons ago, and now I wish to share it with you...

MANGO CREAM CHEESE TART

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Crust:
    2 cups flour
    1/2 cup powdered sugar
    3/4 cup butter

Combine flour and sugar.  Cut in butter.  Press mixture into 13-inch X 9-inch pan.  Bake at 350° F for 20-25 minutes.  Cool completely.

Cream Cheese Filling:
     8 ounces cream cheese
     1/2 cup sugar
     1 teaspoon vanilla
     8 ounce tub of Cool Whip

Stir cream cheese until soft.  Add sugar and vanilla; mix well.  Fold in Cool Whip.  Spread over cooled crust and chill.

Mango Topping:
     2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
     1 cup cold water
     1 cup boiling water
     1 cup sugar
     1/4 teaspoon salt
     5 tablespoons lemon juice
     5 cups firm, ripe mangoes, diced and drained

In large bowl, sprinkle gelatin on cold water.  Add boiling water, sugar and salt.  Stir until thoroughly dissolved.  Add lemon juice; stir to mix well.  Cool.  Add mangoes and chill for approximately 15 minutes or until gelatin begins to thicken slightly.  Layer gelatin mixture over cream cheese layer and chill until set.  Serve chilled.

Any type of mango should be fine.  I have on occasion substituted canned mandarin oranges (drained) for mangoes...equally delicious and refreshing.

Enjoy the week...



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Raising my glass to...

Debbie Wright!!!


(If you're not familiar with Debbie yet, pop over to her blog at debbiestinytreasures.blogspot.com).  Long story short, her giveaway parcel never made it to me...probably lost forever in the "Bermuda Triangle" of the postal service.  She recently asked me if I received it, then, without hesitation, insisted on sending another.  Very kind and considerate of her.  Thank goodness this one completed the trip.


I had such fun opening the parcel...so many little packets of wonderful minis!!!  Many thanks, Debbie, everything is lovely :^))))

Also, hello and welcome to the new readers of this blog!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Food for Thought

Bloodwood bowl turned by Thomas Saunders.

I finally had some down time to do things that I used to take for granted but lately haven't had the time for...like watch a movie XD  Absolutely enjoyed this year's Oscar nominees...and a curiously weird title, Forks Over Knives.  It was a "what the **** is this about" moment, and I just had to check it out.  Turns out that it's a documentary that supports a whole foods diet, in other words, vegan diet, thus the title.  In the beginning I thought it was going to be a bore fest but on the contrary, the more I watched, the more interested I became.  It's highly unlikely that I'll ever turn vegan as I believe in eating anything with moderation.  And I enjoy eating meat.  But if test subjects in scientific studies were able to discontinue their prescription medication (many of the same that I'm also prescribed) and at the same time lose weight by adopting a vegan diet, it makes me wonder if I'm a fool for not giving it a go.

I've eaten only salads for the past two days XD.

Good week to all...be back soon.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

On today's menu...

I tend to be less of a dainty diner and more of a meat and potatoes kind of gal.  Since my internist warned to refrain from this diet, I usually make the "healthy" choice at meal time.  But on the occasions that I decide to indulge I do it with gusto :)  As in my favorite burger, with cheddar cheese, smothered in sauteed mushrooms, "healthy" lettuce and tomato slices and a side of thick, crisp-on-the-outside-mashy-on-the-inside steak fries.  Add to that a glass of cabernet sauvignon (good for the heart, lol!) and it's perfect for a Saturday afternoon of "March Madness" (U.S. college basketball national championship games).



Have a great weekend...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Neverending Journey


Red/gold truestone and ebony pedestal platter turned by Thomas Saunders.  Besides the food items, I also made the marmalade serving dish of polymer clay :)


While I was working on the viennoiserie and petit dejeuner pictured above, I reminisced about my miniature food journey, now 26 months and counting.

It hasn't been long, but it's already epic in experiences and memories.  A few examples...  Resented the fact that I'm able to shop at brick and mortar Louis Vuitton or Chanel stores or almost any store you can think of yet there are no miniatures stores and only a handful of art supplies or crafts stores here.  Diligently practiced patience, as I was the most impatient recipient of mailed parcels on the planet.  Felt sorry for myself after learning that the dollhouse miniatures books I coveted are not available at the local bookshops and need to be ordered and shipped (see the comment on patience).  Felt sorrier for myself knowing that attendance at any type of miniatures class requires a flight of 5,000+ miles.  Jumped for joy after locating comprehensive online tutorials by Kiva Atkinson, Betsy Niederer and the late Mary Eccher!  Grateful that I've learned all the basic techniques and more from the best food artists, albeit remotely.  Procrastinated and stressed over creating a blog, then felt like an idiot after understanding that there was nothing to it.  Wasted time getting sidetracked by everything miniature.  Decided again to concentrate solely on miniature food, allowing for the occassional diversion, hehe.  Succeeded and failed in experimentation, developed new techniques, learned to think outside the box.   Discovered that I sometimes need to rely on photos to replicate small details in appearance of food items, even though I've been eating food my entire life, duh!

The journey has also been a remarkable one of self-discovery.  I've succeeded in conquering a few fears and banishing bad habits like preferring making miniatures over sleeping XD  And I've finally learned to serenely embrace life and not sweat the small stuff.  My adult kids wish I had embarked on this journey before they were born, LOL.

To be continued...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Finally, a new post...

I'd like to begin each day with a butter croissant and hot chocolate, a favorite breakfast since visiting Paris years ago.  Of course, this is wishful thinking, as I wouldn't want to become twice the size of me in a year.  Instead, I've tried to create a polymer clay version that may fulfill the craving in a visual sense...not the same but better than nothing.


A shout out to the new readers of this neglected blog!  The long silence was unavoidable...life's priorities have been cramping my online activities since my last post.  I'm also in the midst of a really intense project (croissants are a small part of it)...will dish about that and more once it's done :)

Hope 2012 has been and continues to be a great year for all.