Friday, March 29, 2013

Epic Kitchen Fail!

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Ugh! I won't even go into details. I'll just say that everything I did in the kitchen today did not go well. I heated up leftovers -- they were dry. I tried baking a bread in the oven instead of my bread machine -- it was a crusty bowling ball. I tried baking a pound cake -- it rose so high it spilled over the edges of the pans. The batter that hit the floor of the oven starting burning and smoking so I opened the oven to slip a cookie sheet on the lower rack to catch the spillover but that was enough to sink the cakes. They were a hot mess. Truly, my oven and I were not on friendly terms. Just take a look at these pictures. They're awful. I had been planning to send a cake to my mother-in-law's house but I can't do that now. To add insult to injury I now have the unenviable task of cleaning the burnt bits inside the oven.

There was one saving grace behind all this. In spite of the ugliness of the cakes, the remnants were still tasty and my husband was gobbling it down by the handful. In my efforts I used up nearly all my baking ingredients so now I'll have to do a supermarket run to stock up again. Hopefully my next attempt won't be quite as pitiful. C'est la vie.

Since my unfortunate day in the kitchen three days ago I am proud to say that I have successfully baked a loaf of white bread and a marbled banana bread. The ugly pound cake has been devoured. Here's hoping the demons in my kitchen have been appeased and will haunt me no more.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Blown Eggs

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Waaaay back in January I posted a brief tutorial on the art of blowing an egg. In the span of time from then until now a dozen different things came up that distracted me from actually doing anything with all those clean and empty eggs. In spite of the fact that Easter is right around the corner, I finally decided that I wasn't going to rush them. I want to take my time with them and let the eggs speak to me in their own good time. I also decided that regular paint would just not do so I wanted to experiment with something that would really make them special. It so happens that this decision coincided with my acquisition of some pretty nail polish colors -- colors I would never wear on my fingernails but would look awesome on something else, let's say, an egg!

Above is a photo of two eggs I have worked on. The burgundy one in the foreground has about six layers of polish on it to achieve depth of color. The stripes are accomplished with 1/8" super sticky tape that was applied to the clean egg before the color was painted on. There are eight sections in the design and every other section was given two additional coats of clear glittery polish. The protective top layer of the tape was then carefully peeled off, revealing the original white color if the egg shell. Microfine gold glitter was applied over the tape and pressed lightly with a finger to assure adhesion. A clear semi-gloss polyacrylic finish was sprayed on to protect the color and prevent the glitter from flaking off. I haven't decided if it is finished yet so I'll let it hang around my work table a bit longer.

The teal one has only just begun it's transformation. Still don't know what direction it will go in but no doubt it will be beautiful when it's done. Just look at that deep rich color. It is definitely better suited to an egg than to my fingernails.

I'll be sure to post more photos as I make progress on these eggs. Stay tuned.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Sunday, March 17, 2013


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Angel and her boyfriend, Michael.
Angel with her very tall recruiter.
On Monday, March 11, 2013, my youngest child, Angel, began an adventure that will forever change her life. She left home to become the first member of my family to join the Coast Guard. It has been her dream to become a marine biologist since elementary school and she believes she will get closer to that goal by joining the military. She will spend the next two months in basic training in Cape May, NJ with more than 40 other recruits from around the country. If all goes according to plan, she will graduate from boot camp on May 3, come home for 5 days then ship out to the next phase of her training where she will spend the next several years.

Big brother goodbye bear hug
Although it can be difficult for some parents to let go of their children, I've never had that issue. I suppose it's because I don't think of it as letting them go. I think of it as letting them get on with what they have been trained to do, that is, to get on with their lives and become responsible, contributing adults. Sometimes that means they will be far away but I have faith that they will never stay away for too long before they make a pit stop at the old homestead. Distance can not sever the ties that bind.

And so it was that my youngest hatchling flew the coop, armed with a backpack filled with essentials and a bag of oatmeal raisin cookies that she and I baked in the wee hours of the morning. Her training requires that she be on a nearly total communications blackout for the first few weeks, and then only minimal written communications. For someone who lived connected to her cell phone, that may be a tall order but this is what she signed up for.

My baby is gone. A woman will take her place.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva