Sunday, February 19, 2012


 This is tucked deep in my closet of skeletons. It is not something I talk about.. especially when someone asks me to bake. *sigh*

That image was what immediately popped into my head when a dear friend, burdened with the decorations and the baking for a church valentine's dinner, came and asked if I would help.

"Would you be willing to make a cake for the dinner?" (This is the friend who is the number one volunteer for cooking for the Men's Breakfast every month.)

"Of course!" was my reply. She said she would give me the recipe and the ingredients that evening. Feeling brave (she did say it was a mix) I offered to do two. (She didn't know about this. )

"I have several 9x13 pans... so two won't be a problem for me." I was so happy to find an easy way to help her.

"Oh no," she said. "This is a layer cake."

Well, I was honest. I said that baking was not my forte (understatement, for sure!)... but I didn't back out. After all, she had never seen this.
So I practiced. I made the layer cake a week ahead of time.

It was wonderful! Worth every calorie and every minute of exercise required to burn off those calories. Although we did give away one very large piece, my dessert-deprived sweetie and I ate our way through the who-o-o-le cake. whew!

And then, not believing that I could ever do it again, I made the two cakes for the dinner.

There they are...six layers of unbelievable goodness.  I should have taken the picture before I wrapped them up, but I was afraid some disaster would ruin all the work... like dropping my camera into the frosting... or dropping the cake... or who knows what?!?!

If you ever need a wonderful cake, this is one good recipe.

Italian Cream Cake
1 pkg. white cake mix
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding (3 1/2oz.) 
1 1/3 c. water 
4 eggs 
1/2 c. oil
Beat on low speed of electric mixer for 4 minutes.
1 c. chopped pecans
2 c. coconut  

Pour into 3 greased and floured 8 inch layer pans or a 9 x 13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes.

4 tbsp. butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. evaporated milk (add a few drops more if it's too thick)
3 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
2 c. coconut (we replaced this with 1 cup chopped pecans)

This is enough frosting for 3 layers. If you have baked the cake in a 9 x 13inch pan, 3/4 of the frosting  recipe will cover well.

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding. Proverbs 17:28

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Ink sticks and crazy art

I have been busy with things that are not blog-worthy... you know, the usual bread baking, cake making (story for another day), background painting, and sloshing paint/ink on new materials. None of this is very interesting to anyone but me.

Until last night.

My "new" ink stick sits in my workroom silently taunting me about money foolishly spent... about skills I will never learn... about clutter and waste. To put the silent harping to rest, I found instructions for making ink with an ink stick. (Where would we be without YouTube?)

Improvising, but carefully following the instructions, I ended up with a small amount of black ink. Unfortunately, I was so caught up in the process that I hadn't given any thought to the fact that after the grinding, there should be using! So, I grabbed the closest paper on my table - some small coin envelopes, painted and spritzed. It didn't matter what color they were painted and spritzed, they were there and I used them.

I recently found a tree scene that I liked, so I went to work with fresh ink and brush to duplicate (loosely) that image. The blues that were on the Kraft paper envelopes turned into a suitable background. My first try went pretty well, so I kept going till the ink was gone.

Tree #1

By the third envelope, the fresh ink was just a ring around the grinding dish, so I pulled out my dip pen and bottled ink to fill in and darken some edges.

Tree #3

While I was on a roll, I did an image transfer of the tree scene on an old book page. It wasn't completely successful, which made it a candidate for "Try anything!" I painted the page, with three different colors. Next came the ink dropper dropping drops of blue ink.... then mists of water, tilt, tilt. More ink drops, more water, more tilting. Finally... it was time to dream up a dinner, so I left the piece to dry on the table.

A couple of hours later, I decided to show my faithful (because he speaks truth whether it hurts or not) critic what I had done. He liked the coin envelopes. He looked at the book page... asked about the transfer process and then said, "Of course, all I can see is the face."

What? What face? I grabbed the paper from his hand. Sure enough... there is a face! With the flurry of dropping, and misting, and tilting it is absolutely incredible to see a face appear!

Which goes to show, you just can't take yourself to seriously. I'm keeping this piece. I'll add my verse and show you when it's finished. Crazy, but I'm thinking I love it.

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's today!

We're having cake here tonight. This has been a day full of remembering and celebrating.

Four years have passed since the momentous moment that I first hit "Publish Post." It was a time in my life when there was so much that I wanted to say, but the keyboard only produced tears. So, determined to conquer, I started this blog. I think that original post was about soup.

Everything ... from bread disasters to coyotes, grandkids and celebrations, arty-crafty experiments and insecurities ... has filled the screen here. It is a record of my life... a diary of the day-to-day stuff of living. And always, God is there.

So, Happy Birthday little blog! What a God-send you are!

Psalm 94:19 - In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.