February 28, 2012

Faux metals with Swellegant are swell!

Hy-dee-ho, Blog, I'm here to share a festival of stuff I made this past weekend using the most boffo new product line from polymer clay artist Christi Friesen. The line is called "Swellegant," and consists of a bunch of faux metal paints, patina-izing concoctions, and dye inks. The best way to demonstrate what this stuff can do is to simply show you what I made! Let's proceed, Blog...

To begin, you just have to make and bake something out of polymer clay. For example, this cat sculpture. I'm not a very good sculptor so it took me a long time, but in the end I created this out of brown Fimo clay (sorry it's blurry--the cat apparently cast a spell on my camera).

Once the piece cools, you paint it with one or more of the metal paints. I used a combination of iron for the head and upper body, and copper for the rest, sort of blended together in the middle.

I used one of the patina treatments (tiffany green/rust) then to make the iron portions look old and rusty, and the copper portions to turn green in random spots. Then on the iron part I also used coffee, black and white dye and a little bronze paint. The result? This:

Can you believe this piece is made of polymer clay, Blog? I barely can, and I made it!

I also made a fish pin, this time from silver clay. This will let you see the difference between silver clay and the silver Swellegant treatment. Before:

As you see, I embedded a stone in the clay. So, I applied silver Swellegant, followed by darkening patina and green dye. Result:

I also made a small wall clock for our powder room. I covered a piece of sheet metal with brown clay and textured it. You see it here with the rocks and the wristwatch face I planned to affix to the piece:

I painted the base copper, then glued on the rocks. The clock is wired in so you can take it off to replace the battery. Yes, I'm that clever, Blog. Finally, I used the tiffany green/rust patina, and white, black, and kelly green dye. The after pic:

I kinda love it. I knew it wasn't folly to collect rocks all my life.

Lastly, another use for my rock collection. I used five polished stones mounted in a sort of organic pod design in brown clay, molding the chain right in:

This piece was painted with brass Swellegant and then treated with the gold-green-verdigris patina. The brass really matches well with the chain.

The fifth metal paint is bronze, and I'm already super stoked to try it too, Blog. Kudos and thanks to the brilliant Christi Friesen for developing this product line! My only regret about polymer clay to date is that there was no really convincing way to use it for a metal look. Now it's pretty much the bee's knees in every possible way!

February 13, 2012

Chef-ing it up in 2012!

Blog, while I've stepped up my crafting and mixology games lately, it's been at the cost of neglecting my cooking. A true Renaissance woman cannot subsist on making crock pot pork loin and lemon pepper tilapia alone.

So the new year brought with it a sudden burst of creativity of the culinary kind. In other words, I've been making up my own recipes! This has dovetailed nicely with certain changes in my diet (fewer carbs, more proteins and veggies, better grains) that have done wonders for my blood sugar levels, weight, and general well being. But let's not make it sound too healthful...the point is, EATING YUMMY STUFF!

Let me share with you, Blog (and more importantly our readers who are not non-corporal beings and actually consume food) three of my original recipes from January and February 2012....

Really Tasty and Not-Too-Bad-for-You Chicken Wings

Recipe for 12-14 chicken wings/drummettes

3T olive oil
1 T prepared mustard
dash cayenne (more for hotter wings)
1 t garlic powder
½ t salt
½ t pepper
1 T lemon juice

Combine all ingredients above, toss chicken to coat and marinade for at least 1 hour.

Prepare large pot with steamer basket or strainer and lid, with water level below bottom of basket or strainer.  Bring to a boil.  Shake excess marinade off wings but do not wipe them off; put in basket, put lid on pot and steam for 10 minutes.

Blot wings dry with paper towels.  Toss in

1 T peanut oil

until coated.  Then add rub:

2 T brown sugar
2 t salt
1 t pepper
2 t garlic powder
1 T onion powder
½ t thyme
½ t sage
2 t paprika
½ t cayenne (or more for hotter wings)

Evenly coat wings with rub, set on cooling rack over paper towels on a cookie sheet.  Chill 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place wings on cookie sheet, sprinkle over them any excess rub that fell off onto the paper towels.  Bake 20 minutes, turn over, then bake an additional 20 minutes.

Comfort Food Turkey Barley Soup

1 cup pearled barley
2 cans chicken broth
1 t salt
½ t pepper
½ white onion, chopped
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 T butter
1½ lbs ground turkey
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 t dried thyme

Wash and sort barley. Bring to boil in large pot 1 can of broth plus one can of water. Add barley, boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat, put lid on pot and let sit one hour. Add salt and pepper, simmer covered for 1½ hours or until barley is tender and water is absorbed (may need to add more water).

Saute onions and mushrooms in butter. Remove from pan. Saute ground turkey, breaking up into small chunks. Add turkey, sauteed vegetables, cream of mushroom soup, and thyme to barley. Add water to make soup desired consistency. Stir and simmer 10 minutes, correcting seasoning as needed.

Best made a day ahead and reheated for dinner! Makes a TON (approximately six dinner sized servings).

Cream of Asparagus Soup

1 lb. fresh asparagus
1/2 chopped onion
1 1/2 T butter
1 can chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 t lemon juice
1 t cornstarch

Remove tips from asparagus and chop into 1/2” pieces, set aside. Chop remaining parts of asparagus also into 3/4” pieces. Bring chicken broth plus 3/4 cup of water to a boil in a large pot, add non-tip pieces, and simmer covered for 15-20 min. till tender.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small sauté pan, add onions, and sauté until translucent. Add to pot with asparagus, mix, and let cool partially.

Meanwhile, in small saucepan add 3/4 cup of water and tips, simmer covered for 5 minutes.

Put asparagus/onion/broth mixture in blender and puree on high until uniform in color. Return to pot, stir in lemon juice, milk and asparagus tips. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix cornstarch with a little water, pour mix into soup, bring to a boil, and stir and simmer until slightly thickened.

Serves 2 generously.

I do believe, Blog, that I may have another cooking post or two in my apron pocket in the coming weeks/months. I know as a non-corporeal anthropomorphized being you aren't really a recipe clipper, but a blog can dream of culinary delights, can he/she/it not?