Thursday, June 16, 2011

Buckeye Jewelry

As promised here is a peak at what was hiding in one of the other boxes in the pretty present post.

My sister-in-law has been waiting for this jewelry for about two years.  She gave me two buckeyes and asked me to make her some jewlery out of them.  I knew I could make something but I just hadn't been inspired to do anything with them until about two months ago.
I have to give the back story about the buckeyes so you can understand why she wanted jewelry made out of them.  Stephanie grew up in Ohio...that could pretty much sum it up but the real story is even better!  Her Great Grandfather worked as the head grounds keeper for the 34 acre estate at the Jeffrey Mansion in Bexley, Ohio.  Apparently there are a lot of buckeye trees on the grounds and Stephanie's Great Grandfather would always carry one in his pocket, kind of like how some people carry a coin or a stone.  He had one special buckeye that he carried and rubbed like a worry stone, he carried it and rubbed it for so long that he made a perfect imprint of his tumb right in the middle of the buckeye.  Stephanie's mother still has that buckeye; she gave Stephanie a bunch of others that her grandfather had collected, she has them displayed in a dish on a little table in her living room.  A few years ago I asked her about them, she told me the story and asked if I could make some jewlery out of a few of them, this is what I came up with....a necklace and a ring.

I didn't want to just drill a hole in the buckeyes and wire it to a chain or just wire wrap them, I wanted to make them more substainal pieces of jewelry.  So I soldered copper foil to the backs of the buckeyes and then I tinned some copper wire and wrapped it around to prevent them from falling out of the foil and then soldered the wire to the backs.  It was really tricky soldering nuts, I had never done it before and wasn't prepared for how much moisture a nut can hold!  I had to be very patient with the solder because it kept "bubbling", the heat from the solder iron made the moisture in the nut boil, but after a little while I was able to get it to stop bubbling/boiling and finally get a smooth solder.  I made the ring base out of copper and made it sizeable so she could wear it on different fingers.  I gave them an antiqued copper patina, I love how the copper looks with the brown buckeyes.  I really like how they turned out and I think Stephanie did too!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cheesecake Popper Tutorial

I made these for desert for our monthly family dinner last weekend. They were a huge hit and when I posted pictures on Facebook everyone wanted to know how I made them so I decided to post the "how to" here.

It is super simple and super duper easy!!! Plus I love pretty food and when the pretty food tastes good it makes it even more fun!

Strawberry Cheesecake Poppers

Step One:  Hallow out the centers of about 2lbs of strawberries
so they look like so....

Step Two:  Dip the bottoms of the strawberries in chocolate.  Put them in the fridge for at least an hour, two if you have it, to let the chocolate set up again.  I cut off the pointy ends of the strawberries before I dipped them so that they would be "sitting" up to make it easier to add the cream cheese in step three.
Step Three: Mix 8oz package of cream cheese, about 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla.  Insert cream cheese mixture into the hollowed out strawberries.
Step Four: Crush up graham crackers and dip the
cream cheese end of the strawberry into crushed crackers.
I used a knife to hallow out my strawberries, and used plain old Hershey's chocolate candy bars for my chocolate, it took about 3 regular size bars to cover 2lbs of strawberries. I just melted the candy bars in the microwave then dipped the strawberries.  You could use more sugar and vanilla with the cream cheese to suit your tastes.  I didn't want them to be too sweet since the chocolate already had a lot of sugar.  I put my cream cheese mixture in an icing bag with a large star shaped tip, that made it real easy to get it inside the strawberries.

I couldn't resist posting this picture I captured at the dinner of my niece Mackenzie.  She thought the flowers in the background were so pretty and liked how they matched her shirt.
She is such a cutie, she's a girl after her Auntie M's heart,
 she loves the Bling just like me!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Road Trip Thrifting & Antiquing

One of my favorite things to do is to spend hours looking in Antique & Thrift stores.  I tend to go to the same stores over and over again, so I decided that since I was driving the 850 miles to my parents house by myself and wouldn't have to "hurry" cause the hubby was waiting in the car that I would make some stops and shop along the way.

The first "stop" wasn't made until I arrived at my destination in Lyman, Wyoming, approximate population 2000.  This is where I grew up and where my parents still live.  The name of the store is simply Antiques and is located right on Main Street.  The nicest mother and son run the store.  Thanks to my Mom & Dad I left with some yummy treasures.  I will definitely make sure to stop there each time I visit my parents.
The brass mirror is for my master bathroom vanity area, the jewels & spoon are going to be used to make some jewelry, the hand and shaker are just little pretties for my studio and the vanity set is for the table in the bathroom next to my Grandmother's embroidery that I blogged about a couple posts back.

My second stop was at a thrift store in Provo, Utah that I have been wanting to go to for years.  We pass right by it on the I15 every time we are up that way but for one reason or another we never have time to stop.  It is one of the largest thrift stores I have ever seen, it's called the DI or Deseret Industries and is located on State Street.  I was SO excited but my excitement quickly turn to disappointment, anything that was antique or vintage was in locked cases at the front of the store and marked up as high or higher than you'd pay for in an actual Antique store and at least 7/8 of the store was clothing.  I do like vintage clothing but I was not expecting the store to be practically all clothing.  I did how ever come across a big bag full of crochet thread that I got for $2!  It won't be a stop I make again unless I'm looking for clothing.

My Mom helped me brush up on my crochet skills during my visit and I thought the tread would come in handy for practice, however I've been practicing with rope instead of the thread, I didn't realize how thin the thread was when I picked up the package.  I'm sure it will come in handy for something.
The last stop was on the drive home at Mugwumps on Main Street in Hatch, UT, approximate population 130. The owner, Cassie is one of the nicest people you will every meet.
This was my second stop, I stopped on my way through back in October for the first time.  She doesn't have a credit card machine so she only accepts cash or checks.  The first time I stopped I only had $11 cash on me and my total came to $36.  She let me take all the treasures I found with me anyway and she gave me a self address envelope for me to mail her a check when I got home, I made to sure to have plenty of cash on me this time!  You don't find trusting people like that everyday,  if you are ever in the area I highly recommend stopping!  I had to throw in a picture of the store, it's just so cute, I should have taken pictures on the inside, she has all her shelves organized by color, it's just the cutest little store ever!

Not quite sure what I'm going to do with the little wooden table, I love the old chipping paint, I may end up using it in my yet to be planted rose garden, it was a steal only $5!  The doilies are for a project I'll be posting about later.  I fell in love with the cup, not sure why, it just sang to me and the flower frog is just a little pretty for my studio.  The vintage paper "Roylies" will probably end up on the tops of boxes, and no plans for the big roll of paper lace yet, just another little pretty I couldn't leave behind.  I am a sucker for old trays, someday I will come up with a great project for them.

I had so much fun being able to stop and shop at some new stores.  I'm going to start giving myself extra time on road trips so I can make even more stops!