Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Projects

I received a phone call about my Santa poster from yesterday, so for those of you that asked (and are close by)...you can purchase your very own Santa poster (if there are any left) at:
Beaucoup
635 West Campbell Road, Suite 308,
Richardson, TX 75080
(972) 235-7906

And while you are there, be sure and eat at the Chocolate Angel and shop at Bradbury Lane, which is right next door.
Bradbury Lane
635 W Campbell Road, # 236
Richardson, TX 75080

Bradbury Lane also has a website if you can't get by the store.
http://www.bradburylane.com/

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Projects

I know...it's been awhile. Projects, family, work...it seems there is hardly time in the day to complete all I want to do. However, I did get some time to create a "few" items before Christmas.

I purchased this poster (4 of them) on sale after Thanksgiving. The girls don't have a lot of Christmas decorations, so I thought we could work on these and create something larger-than-life to use for decorating. The first thing we did is affix the large sheets of paper to a stretched canvas. I used Mat Gel to glue it down and smooth it out. Once it was dry I used the Fragile crackle 2 step process to crackle the paper.

One that was dry I rubbed a dark brown and then an aqua color into the cracks to highlight the crackle process.

Then began the embelleshment using glitter, beads, and various decorations.
This is gold glitter added to the Christmas Tree.
Red glitter was used on top of the words...
and a dark black German glass was added to the belt and other areas.
I also used some small gold beads around the toys, colored bead on the drum and some "ready-made" snowflakes in the sky. I used Snow-Tex for the beard and hair. The girls are still in "various stages" of decorating their own...but they'll all be finished for next year!
Our major project this year was Lauren's doll bed. She has three 18-inch dolls and really wanted a bed for ALL of them. Peter came up with the plan and went to work designing the bed, building the frame, staining the beds.He even added the small railings so the "girls" would not fall out while they are sleeping.My job was to create the bedding: mattresses, pillows and blankets.Needless to say...Lauren was thrilled. She immediately put all her girls to bed and tested it out!

She was a very happy girl! Now...she wants a ladder!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gingebread Houses

Does anyone remember The Olla Podrida? It was a great shopping venue in far North Dallas. I loved shopping there! Great artisans and crafters and a wonderful ambiance. I celebrated my 18th birthday at the Dinner Playhouse that was located in Olla Podrida. (Lucky for me...the football teams for the University of Texas and Notre Dame were also celebrating with a steak dinner before their big Cotton Bowl game that year! Does anyone remember Joe Theismann?) Alas, it has been torn down and replaced by new building structures.Who knew that some 40 years since my 18th birthday I would meet one of the artisans that was housed in The Olla Podrida. How she came to be in McKinney...well that's probably another story.


Miss Kyra lives a couple of houses down from Miss Janice and we've gotten to know her as a "great" neighbor! We've been down to her house for tea and she has visited with us at Miss Janice's on the front porch. Miss Kyra has baked some WONDERFUL items to tempt us and I've listened to her spin many beautiful stories of her childhood while sipping tea and visiting with her.

Miss Kyra grew up in England and South Africa. She told us of being nurtured by Welsh and Russian Jewish grandmothers and a German housekeeper. She also mentioned an Irish nanny and a cook who loved Italian food.

She immigrated to California as an adult and began teaching cooking classes to friends as a way to raise funds for a new synagogue. Eight years later, upon returning to England, she attended the Cordon Bleu.

In 1975, Miss Kyra opened the Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas. She and her husband also ran a retail store in The Olla Podrida! She has receive many awards over the years, has served as a food stylist and contributing writer for the "Food" section of The Dallas Morning news and has edited several cookbooks.

Miss Kyra continues to give countless volunteer hours to her community and continues her work with the Jewish Family Services and the National Council of Jewish Women in Dallas. PLUS...she also writes a column for our local McKinney newspaper. SHE IS A BUSY WOMAN! (I'm hoping I have most of my facts correct...I did not take notes while she was spinning her magic!)

Now that I have introduced you to Miss Kyra...let me introduce you to a whole lot of fun. This past weekend she asked several of us to come over and create Gingerbread house. I, personally, have never made one. I always thought I would like to...but just never followed through with all the work!

I found out in the course of the afternoon (from Miss Kyra's sister) that she has been "hosting" Gingerbread classes for more than 30 years!

When we arrived Miss Kyra had already prepared each of us a gingerbread house...
She also had the "Candy Table" ready for us to "shop" for appropriate housing parts.Miss Kyra gave us brief explanation of the process...then set us free! We were a small group, but that gave us space to spread out and intimate conversation as we worked.
Miss Betty was our "oldest" builder. She said repeatedly, "I don't think I can do this!"

Miss Kyra continually encourage and cajoled Miss Betty into completing her house.
Miss Betty's finished product was beyond belief! We hardly believed this was her first try.
One of the builders, Janice from California, broke her wall while building. She immediately went to Plan B: build a snowman stage inside the house and keep on decorating.
We loved her creativity and the fact she was not at all discourage that her house wall caved in while she was "gluing" candy onto the sides. Janice took the whole thing in stride and used it as an opportunity to be even more creative.
Now...Miss Janice on the other hand had her "Accountant Brain" on. BUT, that also did not seem to deter her on this day!
She got right to work on her roof and using all manner of candy to fill in the blank canvas of her house.

It wasn't long before she became a decorating fool! She was "WAY" outside her box, but I think her house turned out wonderful!
She was VERY creative with her chimney and the back wall of her house.
This is my house. I used tootsie rolls (cut, smashed and trimmed) for the roof.Miss Kyra had so many wonderful candies, pretzels, cereals and assorted items to choose from. Her only rule is that all items on the house be edible.
My completed project...with a garden and fencing around the house. My grand kids are going to LOVE eating this on Christmas morning.
Now to the MASTER builder of ALL Gingerbread Houses!
Emily REALLY got into the project...
We were long finished with our houses (and all the other ladies had gone home) before Emily completed her house!
Starburst for the chimney...
Fruit roll ups for the roof...
So much loveliness...I think she was the Teacher's Pet for the DAY!!!! Her house was outstanding.

A BIG HEART FELT THANK YOU to Miss Kyra...not only for opening her home to us, but also for baking the houses and preparing them for our coming. She and her sister gathered all the supplies we would need, and she prepared the "icing" we needed to glue our houses together.

Miss Kyra appears tireless! Not only did she supply us with Gingerbread houses she made, but she also prepared additional houses she will decorate herself. These houses will be given to sick children spending their Christmas holiday at Medical City Hospital.
Miss Kyra...you're the best. You have a heart as BIG as TEXAS...even if you did come via way of South Africa and California!!!