Friday, February 22, 2013

New Drawing

Things have been incredibly slow at work lately. I'm not complaining, really, but I don't have a good book to get into right now and I'm not supposed to use the interwebs (side note: book recommendations welcome). Someone offered to lend me a copy of "Fifty Shades of Gray" but I'm not that desperate - yet.

Anyway, that leaves me with lots of time to work on my Microsoft Paint skills. Drawing with a mouse is not easy.

For this drawing, I wanted to make a sweet old-timey portrait. I like to imagine that this is a wedding portrait - what do you think? I had a lot of fun designing the flower border and picking the color palette.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Cat Shortbread Cookies

I made these cat cookies using some of the dough I had from the "Broken Heart Cookies" from my last post. Aren't they cute? I love their expressions! They look very distrustful. You could make them more cheerful if you mad an upturned mouth and made sure their eyes are even.

I used a cat face cookie cutter that I had from a Halloween set, but you could use a circle cutter and then just add little triangle ears. The inside of the ears, the whites of the eyes and the muzzle are all melted white chocolate chips (piped on from a trusty and easy-to-make parchment cone). I sprinkled some pink sprinkles on the ears and added a heart-shaped sprinkle for the nose. The eyes are mini chocolate chips. The mouth and whiskers were drawn with a food marker but you could use a small paint brush and some black food coloring. Or pipe them with dark chocolate!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Broken Heart Shortbread Cookies

Happy Valentine's Day! I took an informal poll the last few weeks and most people seem to dislike Valentine's Day. I might just hang around a bunch of rebellious types because the top reason people gave was that they didn't like being told (by Hallmark, The Man, or the chocolate companies) to show their affection on a specific date. Also, they are a cheap bunch of folks.

I like all holidays. It breaks up the monotony. Plus, February is a month in desperate need of festivity. Otherwise (especially in MN), it's just endless winter and piles of slush.

I thought these cookies would be pretty funny and something different. They are just regular shortbread sandwich cookies with either Nutella or raspberry jam in the middle. After I cut the heart shape, I took a paring knife and cut out a little crack from the middle. These cookies don't spread too much so it's easy to make the cut out once you've put them on the baking sheet and then just bake them.

Shortbread Cookies
(Makes about 1 1/2 dozen sandwich cookies)

2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
pink food coloring (optional)
pinch of salt
2 cups flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together.
  3. Add vanilla, food coloring, and salt.
  4. Add flour until fully combined and a soft dough forms
  5. Form dough into a ball and chill  for an hour or longer.
  6. Remove dough and roll out about a 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick. Dough will probably be sticky so add a little flour to your rolling pin and/or surface as needed.
  7. Cut heart shapes (I used a 2" cookie cutter). Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or ungreased cookie sheet. Cut the "cracks" out of half of the hearts with a sharp paring knife or a small pastry wheel. Remove the small cookie "strip" so that the filling will show through the crack on the finished cookie.
  8. Bake for approximately 7 minutes until done. Make sure the cookies do not turn brown.
  9. Cool cookies completely then spread bottom cookie with filling (Nutella or raspberry jam, in this case). Carefully place the two "cracked" parts on top.
  10. Serve to your favorite curmudgeon. If you are me, you apparently have plenty to choose from. Better make a double batch!

My latest Microsoft Paint masterpiece. I call it, "Love Robot Destruction"

Friday, February 1, 2013

Saint Paul Winter Carnival 2013: Ice Sculptures - Part 2

I went back to Rice Park last Saturday to see the completed sculptures. I think they were judging them that morning because I saw people walking around them with clipboards. It was pretty incredible how much work the teams accomplished in such a short time (they had about 24 hours, I think).
The awesome archway is completed! This Jack Frost sculpture won the first prize in this group sculpting competition.

I like the columns on this one!

I liked the humor in this "prehistoric" ice sculpture. I wonder who will win in this battle? I'm kind of hoping it's the sabertooth tiger. Sorry, Cavey.

Spiderman, Spiderman.....doo doo doo...spiderman. Check out this dynamic Spiderman ice sculpture!

I took several pictures of this Calvin and Hobbes ice sculpture. Love it!

This one was my favorite!  Look at the expression on this face! Whimsical but slightly twisted :)

Snow Place Like Home

This one is such a creative concept - a puppet show sculpted in ice! I wonder how hard it was to stabilize the "strings" ?