Thursday, February 24, 2011

Vanilla Bean-Infused Ice Cream

I love ice cream.  I've hardly met a flavor I didn't like, and I'm always eager to try something new (I'm sure the local ice cream jockeys groan when they seem me coming, calculating the number of taster spoons I'll request before finally making my decision).  But if you ask me what my favorite flavor of ice cream is, I'll inevitably choose the one that most people find the most boring: vanilla.  There are just so many possibilities with this humble, unassuming flavor! My favorite application is a big scoop or two of frosty vanilla ice cream with something steamy and gooey and oh-so-chocolatey right out of the oven. 

But vanilla ice cream doesn't have to be humdrum, even on its own!  That's where the vanilla bean comes in.  Sure, all vanilla ice cream derives flavor from this little funky looking seed pod -- or at least, from some artificial approximation of it -- but when you make your ice cream fresh with real vanilla bean seeds added right in: mmmm. That's good ice cream, man. 

This recipe came of pure necessity. I needed ice cream, and I needed it now. On top of a hot brownie, if at all possible. But when I looked into my pantry I found only a bottle of vanilla extract (and not the kind that Ina Garten would approve of, unless she's recently started shopping at Kroger), and two sad, used, dried up vanilla beans. They had been in a ziploc bag for several months now, waiting for me to pop them into a container of sugar to make some, um, vanilla sugar. But that never happened, and they had reached such a state of sad shriveledness that I wondered if they could be saved. 

I decided I'd give it the ol' college try. There would be brownies, after all, and they deserved a cold, creamy friend to play with. Recipe and another photo after the jump! 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fairy Inspiration

4eva | gardens of whimsy | alona freeman
What do you do when you're so flooded by ideas that you can't decide which direction to go in? I've found myself floundering lately on my printable fairy party, just for that reason. I find myself overwhelmed with clashing concepts: cute or woodsy, bohemian or dainty? I could easily see a fairy party going in any one of those directions, couldn't you? So I'm designing, but it's basically like fighting myself every step of the way without a single solid concept to work from.

I'm not really one to make mood boards, but I thought finding a few inspirational images might help streamline my creative process. So, Etsy to the rescue! There is never a shortage of truly inspiring creations on that site. 

Freya's Cakery

Aren't these images just darling? I think they all have just the right amount of whimsy and cuteness to befit a fairy-themed party, without being too over-the-top "cutesy" or alternately, too "woodland fae," if you know what I mean. Haha, maybe I'm overthinking all of this. I just want my first printable party to be perfect! I'm sure you crafty, creative folks out there know how hard it is to just let go and allow yourself the freedom to create without perfectionism impeding on the process.

Any thoughts? How does your creative process begin?

Sweet inspiration featured in this post: Wireless Plush Fairy Wings by 4Eva; Voyager - White Iridescent Floral Wreath by Gardens of Whimsy; My Pastel Garden Vintage Collage Necklace by Alona Freeman; Edible Fondant Rose Bouquet Cupcake Toppers by Freya's Cakery. All pieces for sale on Etsy right now! :D 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's!

May you all have days full of love and laughter, not just today, but every day! Sage wisdom for everyone, methinks. One more free piece of advice: stock up on Valentine's candy tomorrow, and be happy the rest of the year! 

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Lots of new people popping by my little piece of the web lately! Hello there everyone!

Speaking of cute penguins, have you seen these adorable cookies yet?  They're so cute I'm not sure I could eat them. Well...for a little while. Then of course my overwhelming love of cookies would take hold and I'd probably eat the whole batch for good measure, haha.  

Have a great weekend, lovelies!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Digital Love

I have stumbled upon something dangerous. Something that no easily-distracted, time-management-challenged, blog-obsessed person should ever come across. This is nearly as bad as when I got trapped in an endless loop of link-clicking on Wikipedia. 

the frugal kiwi | knuckle salad | hazelnuts

What is this magical place? Craftgawker. Maybe I'm late to the party. Maybe every one of you out there in the craftilicious blogosphere has been aware of Craftgawker since its inception. Maybe you have spent a few delicate minutes every morning and evening browsing the latest submissions as they appear, reveling in each lovely nugget of handmade goodness. But to me -- this is news.  Big news.  Page after page of awesome photos, each holding the promise of something totally creative. Crafts to make. Crafts to buy. Crafts to ogle and drool over.  Lots and lots of crafts.  

{every}nothing wonderful | mod podge rocks!

Browsing this site is way too fun and way too inspiring. In short, I may never resurface. Tell my mother I loved her, and have been happily assimilated into the digital abyss.  

Super awesome things featured in this post: 1. Crocheted Hearts by The Late Afternoon;  2. Hand Felted Soap by The Frugal Kiwi;  3. Six Paper Flowers by Knuckle Salad;  4. Bunny Nuggets by Hazelnuts;  5. Heat Embossing on Paper by {Every}Nothing Wonderful;  6. Refurbished Key Portrait by Modge Podge Rocks!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Freebie: Valentine's Treat Box!

I made it, I made it!  I finished this printable treat box before Valentine's Day, whew. I even have ten whole days to share it with you. :)  Seriously, I am so  new at this designing-printable-goodies-and-blogging-about-it-thing, it takes a good long time for me to get everything ready! Between designing the basic printable prototype itself, applying a fun pattern, testing, photographing, editing the photos and writing the post, it's a lot of effort.  But it's worth it, and a whooole lot of fun. And I know it will get easier/quicker as I gain more experience and start rockin' the printables world. I hope I hope. 

Anyhoo, have a loverly little Valentine's treat box! It matches the tags I posted a little while back in all their stripey green and white glory. It's about 2.25 inches square, and actually holds quite a bit of candy -- or in my case, a mini-cupcake -- perfectly. All you need is some sturdy cardstock or photo paper, your printer, a pair of scissors and glue or tape!  It works great as is after printing and assembling, but I chose to stuff mine with a little tissue paper and tie it with a ribbon for maximum cuteness.

I can just imagine waking up to one of these little boxes on Valentine's Day morning -- it'd be like Christmas, except pink and covered in hearts!  What do you have planned to make V-Day a special one this year?

PS. There's no real recipe for the cupcake pictured, in case you were wondering! Just smear some Nutella on your favorite vanilla cupcake and add the cutest sprinkles you can find! No-fuss perfection.