By Ruth | 10:46 AM
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Mini pie for one :)

Tis the season I make kolache and always end up with some extra fruity pie filling. So if you have some extra pie filling or just some late night munchies for a pie, here you go!

Recipe for one mini pie (made in a regular cupcake pan)
3T flour
1T chilled butter
1/2t sugar
1–2t ice water

Mix ingredients with a fork to disperse the butter throughout. Add enough water to make the dough stick together. Now, in theory you could chill and roll the dough out. Or, if you are lazy like me just spray your little cupcake tin, and form the dough like you would a little clay pot and stuff it in the tin. If you want your mini pie to look fancy feel free to use a fork all the way around the top of the crust to make a crimp pattern. Fill with left over pie filling. Bake at 375F for about 13-17 min. I know this is going to sound like a grandma way of cooking, but just cook until you get that "pie smell". Then tadah! Pie for one :)

Also, because during the holiday season you can't have enough sugar, I sprinkle sugar all over the top of the pie and crust.

Enjoy!

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By Ruth | 11:29 AM
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i love fall

Fall is my favorite season. Cooler weather, caramel apples, pumpkin carving, leaves changing color....the list goes on :) Presently, all my favorite inspiration is on pinterest. Have you seen it yet? I like to think of pinterest as visual bookmarking. For example, here is a link to one of my boards I've started about different typefaces I <3. One of my favs I've bookmarked is printable halloween bags. How great are these?

Click me to go to Oscar & Emma Designs print file 
I'm thinking I'll need a make a few to decorate my office. Hope you are having a great fall so far :)

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By Ruth | 10:42 AM
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iphone 4 cases

This summer I plan on upgrading my phone. I'm also ditching my plain black case. Time for something a bit more colorful. Turns out there are quite a few I like...good thing I have plenty of time to narrow it down to a favorite. All these cases are featured on Society6's shop. You can also get most of their art pieces as stretched canvases, skins for your devices, or prints :) If by some chance you are thinking of getting an iphone case in the near future for your fancy new white phone that comes out tomorrow, they are having a $5 off sale until Sunday.

Seahorse
Flight of the Elephants
Where the Hip Things Are
City in the Sky
babooshka doll folksy

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By Ruth | 10:57 AM
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30 day challenge summary

Well the 30 day challenge ended last week and I passed with flying colors. Here is what I learned from that challenge:

1. It did encourage me to update the look of my blog, which I'm much happier with. Although, I see more changes coming in its appearance.

2. It is much easier to complete the 30 day blogging challenge with a smart phone. On days when I forgot to blog, I was able to type one up on the go.

3. I can do something for 30 days straight if I put my mind to it.

4. I'm still not a huge fan of blogging :P but, I do think I'll update more often than...well once a year.

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By Ruth | 6:16 PM
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Kolache revisited

A few years back on my blog I posted my Grandpa Mudroch's kolache recipe. Well, after the holidays and having a blast baking them together, I have the new and improved recipe. Full of the secrets that only Grandpa knows :) And now you can know the secret to making perfect kolache as well.


Grandpa Mudroch's Kolache Recipe

"wouldnt be christmas without these. trick is to eat while warm, but not so hot that the filling burns your mouth."

1 cup softened butter (grandpa uses imperial margarine)
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp salt
8 cups flour
1 cake compressed yeast OR 1 packet active dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm milk
1/4 tsp lemon peel
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp orange peel
sometimes Grandpa adds a dash of cinnamon, spices included just depends on what you like and what you have on hand :)
A can or two of your favorite pie fillings

This recipe works best with a warm bowl and warm eggs. Just toss an oven safe mixing bowl into the oven on the lowest heat it to warm everything up.

Put butter, spices and sugar in milk on oven on a low heat, you want the milk to be warm, not boiling...about 110 degrees F.

Put a 1/2c milk into the yeast and place both into a warm oven. You will know the yeast is ready because it will bubble up and start to look like a sponge.

Using your warmed bowl, cream butter, add the sugar, and the eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Then add salt, spices, and the rest of the flour and the yeast mixture alternately. Mix well. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic and when pressed with a finger the indention pops back up.

Place dough in a bowl that has been sprayed with butter, also spray the top of the dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm place to rise for an hour.

Note: It is very important that cool air not tough the dough while it is rising or it won't work properly. Grandpa used to make everyone stay inside or out while the dough was rising...no opening and shutting the doors :) For me I use my oven, I place the bowl on the lowest rack, (leave the oven off), and turn on the oven light, keeps the dough plenty warm. 

After an hour has passed and the dough has doubled in size, punch the dough and roll it out to 1/2" to 1/4" thick on a floured surface. Cut kolache out with a cup or biscut cutter. Place your kolache onto butter sprayed cookie sheets. Cover once again and place back into a warm place to rise again for another hour.

After an hour has passed pull our your kolache and press in a thumbprint almost all the way thru the dough. Then and drop in filling (canned cherry, peach, apricot, etc.). At this point if you want you can add an egg wash to the kolache before baking to make them shiney.

Baking kolache in grandpa's kitchen, the dough has risen two times and I've started dropping in the filling.
Bake kolache at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on paper bags or cooling racks. Enjoy!

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By Ruth | 11:44 AM
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Crazy roommates

I was just chatting with my friend about roommates and reminiscing about all the ridiculous roommates I had thru college. I am convinced the house I lived in had a beacon that sent signals out to crazy people to move in.

Craptastic chef: I had an HR major who turned out to be a horrible cook most of the time. Meals of canned beets and cheese were usual as well as a complete inability to create any box dinner. It's like the directions were in some ancient language and she magically destroyed any hamburger helper. If you walked into the house and there was an unusual smell...you know she was at the oven again!

Craptastic chef's biggest fail wasn't her cooking, no no...when she moved out she literally took every last role of toilet paper with her (including the ones currently in use by the toilets) because it had "sentimental value from a failed TPing expedition with her brother.

What cardboard? My only normalish roommate even had a cooking problem. Have a smokey smell coming from a pizza? Check to see the cardboard has been removed before the freezer pizza is tossed into the oven.

Still pink! I tried to cook pork for one of my roommates, she wouldn't eat it until it had been on the george forman for like 20 minutes...

Schedule queen: want to take a shower? well then you better write up when you want to use the shower on the handy dandy schedule on the shower mirror. and if you dare take a shower during an open slot on the mirror and DON'T schedule yourself in...be prepared for consequences.

Crazy roommates "painting edition": If you take away anything from this post, learn from my mistakes and don't let people paint their rooms. Things like keeping paint off the ceilings, clean lines around the trim, using more than one coat of paint to cover bright colors...I've learned these are not widely known painting rules. More interestingly I found that painting trim also has differing techniques. How silly of me to assume letting one of my roommates paint their own trim white while I did the rest of the house accordingly would turn out anything but a disaster. She literally painted around her furniture. So when she moved out I had nice big sections of peach trim.

Past roommates, thanks for making me appreciate my own place so much more, I'm sure I drove you nuts too as shower schedules and removing toilet paper made me a bit passive aggressive :)

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By Ruth | 9:13 PM
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Game of thrones

As of episode one, seems like another excellent hbo show.



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By Ruth | 9:22 PM
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Springtime

My house is becoming nice and clean. The grill is up and running for the first time this season. And I'm ending the day with Top Gear. Great spring saturday :)


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By Ruth | 9:19 AM
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Etsy Love: on the hunt for an iphone clutch

I'll admit it, I love to have my phone with me. And although I do enjoy my giant red purse...sometimes, I just want to have the option of a clutch. Presently I have a teal clutch from Pier 1...no space for a phone. So I headed over to Etsy to start a search for some fabulous clutches. And instead of finding one I like...I found four. So without further ado, etsy love: iphone clutch style.
Rosebud Pleats Clutch by Lolos
Athena Clutch by lucends
Mindy Clutch (upcycled fabric) by cuppafog
Lydia Clutch by msnizbit
One of these days I'll narrow it down to my favorite of the bunch, I'll keep you posted. :)

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By Ruth | 8:57 AM
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Etsy Love: friedasophie

I follow a lot of blogs. If you scroll thru my list you'll run across everything from design blogs to recipe sites, pretty things, hilarious ones, etc. Today I was playing on Bijou and Boheme and I had to show you the jewelry they are showcasing. (P.S. if you heart it, head over to her blog, she is doing a giveaway) As it is the last full week of the 30 day challenge, you're getting a double dose of etsy love :)


friedasophie, i'm in love with your green jewelry. if you want to see her other stuff hop over to Bijou and Boheme or her etsy store.

Limon prehnite green chalcedony gold raindrop earrings

Apple green chalcedony 14k gold pendant necklace

she does pieces that aren't green as well :) earrings

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By Ruth | 9:25 AM
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yummy stops in Irving

Before I talk about food in Irving, lets talk road trip snacks. I don't know about you, but a road trip just isn't a road trip until I'm munching on Pull 'n Peel Twizzlers Cherry flavor. I don't think I've done a car trip since I was like five without twizzlers.

Yummy places to stop in Irving:
•  La Madeliene i've got to find a recipe for their cold tomato basil pasta "salade"
•  NYLO- The Loft Restaurant & Bar sit by the sushi bar, on a comfy couch, lounge outside, or in the pool. They have very tasty mozzarella & tomatoes.
•  Corner Bakery Cafe giant pecan sticky bun...soooo yummy. breakfast of champions.


Any road trip favs?

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By Ruth | 1:28 PM
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One week to go

7 days to go in the blogging challenge. Today I'm thankful for clariton and comfy okstate shorts. I'll be back tomorrow with a more thrilling post about places I ate in Irving.


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By Ruth | 10:00 AM
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Weekend in Texas

Last weekend Nick & I visited Las Colinas, which is just a fancier way of saying...I went to Irving, TX. I have to admit, I picked the NYLO hotel because it looked cool and according to the map was 15 miles away from Six Flags and 12 away from Dallas World Aquarium. Little did I know what a charming, upscale town I'd plopped us in. If you are ever going to visit the Dallas area I'd highly suggest the NYLO hotel, it's right off the highway, and there are tons of shops and places to eat without having to fight terrible traffic :) 

NYLO Hotel

The whole hotel is very modern, the lobby is flanked with these comfy egg chairs, I could have sat in them all day. So hanging these up in my dream home :)
Sunday we went to the Dallas World Aquarium. Their website leaves a lot to be desired...so I was expecting to walk into something like the aquarium near Tulsa, sooooo not the case! To get into the aquarium you have to go thru a winding path that goes thru a mini jungle they've planted outside. After you head up the stairs and open the door you are greeted with this, a giant atrium filled with hundreds of tropical birds and fish. The neat thing about Dallas's aquarium is they set it up like an eco system. So you see all the creatures native to the section you are walking thru, and a lot of the birds just get free rein of the place.

A jungle in Dallas.

Can you find the sloth? He's another one of the animals they don't have in a cage, he just hangs around and you can walk right under him :)

I fed this bird a blueberry :) He's got it all figured out lol, he just bends his head left or right depending on which little window pops open. If you can, go in the morning when the animals are being fed.

The aquarium holds so many amazing creatures. I love all the colors that naturally occur in coral reefs. And although I don't have a photo here, the jellyfish tank is very impressive. The whole tank is dark and the only thing that lights it are the jellys as they glow iridescent blue and green.  

Don't let this photo fool you, this Japanese Spider Crab is MASSIVE! This one was easily 2-3 feet wide. Supposably they can grow up to 12 feet.

One of my favorite little guys, he was all about getting his picture taken :)

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By Ruth | 8:35 PM
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las colinas weekend

I just got home from a weekend trip to the las colinas section of Texas. Great trip I'll put up some pics in the next few days :)

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By Ruth | 7:54 PM
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Poolga

Feeling your iWhatever could use a better wallpaper? Tired of all the super lame ones online? Take a look at Poolga. I like to think of poolga as wallpapers by creative people for creative people. Now I understand not everyone has apple products...but either way the art on this site is a fabulous collection of illustrations. Constantly being updated with new illustrations, you can search by the device you use so only illustrations that will fit your device will be shown. I've even printed a few for my inspiration board in my office :) Below is just a sampling of the illustations. Have a great Saturday!

New Friend by Octavi Navarro

New Foe by Octavi Navarro

Pinocchio + Hansel and Gretel by Simone Massoni

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By Ruth | 9:00 AM
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Etsy Love: Restyleshop by handz

Happy Friday! We've come to that time of the week again, etsy love :) By now you get the drill, so without further ado, this weeks etsy love is Restyleshop by handz. Based out of the Czech Republic, he creates bold colored illustrations that have a great since of humor. 

star wars
Star Wars The Empire Strikes back, Scandinavian style
Have a great weekend!

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By Ruth | 10:13 AM
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social media done right

National Geographic should win a prize for their new twitter accounts. You may remember last week on April Fools when I posted that I had found a yeti. I posted the same pic on twitter saying:

I have found a yeti, just took some cotton candy to lure him out http://yfrog.com/h42d9aqj

About an hour later the Abominable Snowman replied! Think you've found me? Prove it! http://on.natgeo.com/ifk0Wz

The link goes to NatGeo's Expedition Week (a series that has run this week on their cable channel) which includes an episode on finding the Abominable Snowman. I love when social media gets it right, how entertaining to advertise your show by responding to tweets. I assume they have some sort of google bot looking for hooligans like me claiming to have found a yeti, but it is still hilarious. Sign me up for the job of playing a yeti on twitter! If you go to MrAbominable on twitter you can see he has replied to hundreds of people. I particularly love how each tweet is unique, not some mass tweet to anyone who mentions yeti/abominable snowman.

MrAbominable is just the beginning of the new twitter accounts from NatGeo, they're also behind: TheJackRipper, HungryCannibal, and TheGladiatorMan.
Hats off NatGeo, you gave me a good laugh while advertising a series that interests me :)

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By Ruth | 2:37 PM
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Happy Wednesday!

Today I'm off to the salon to update my "wild orchid" hair color. love the name of the dye, it is about the same vibrant pinkish purple that my jitterbug lip stain is from Josie Maran :)

I love salon days! Catch up with my stylist and leave lookin' sweet. Hope you are having a great day. The weather is so fabulous I can't wait to go play outside, a few hours to go!



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By Ruth | 2:16 PM
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green skittles

taste the rainbow
taste the rainbow by Scarleth White
today i got into my candy dish full of easter themed funsize skittles, opened a bag and no green skittles were to be found! how dare they. vengeance was mine when i opened another one to rectify the problem ;)

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By Ruth | 3:40 PM
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a day at the park


1.  Raindrops applique shirt 
2.  Comfy sandals
3.  Herringbone Roll-Up Shorts
4.  pair of polarized smiths sunglasses
5.  sun bum sunscreen
6.  great color of nail polish, mad as a hatter (retired OPI color)
7.  if you like pina colada...
8.  del sol ring or 2...just for the color changing fun of it :)

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By Ruth | 8:34 PM
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Chopped all stars

Ending the weekend with chopped all stars...can't wait to see who wins :)



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By Ruth | 6:34 PM
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fantastic sunscreen design: sun bum

I can't tell you how many times I play on packaging websites like thedieline.com and find myself wishing I could buy a product because of its awesome packaging...and am instead stuck with an ugly version. Either thru large cooperations not being brave enough to try a new packaging design or so many people screwing with a design that the initial concept is lost. (see a great comic of how designs go wrong at the oatmeal).

Not so with Sun Bum! I ran across this display today at Summit. And although I haven't extensively tested their products yet (pool opens Tuesday), I have high hopes for the relatively new sunscreen brand (est. 2010).


Sun Bum is a small company based in Cocoa Beach, Florida with one concept in mind, "protect your lazy ass." They take pride in creating products that they trust to use on their own family and friends. I like how they don't sell tanning oils or tanning sunscreens since they aren't recommended by the skin cancer foundation. All the bottles have a woodgrain texture, and I love how when you look at their packaging it is easy to tell which bottle you want. The darker the woodgrain the less protection (lowest offered SPF 15), lighter woodgrain higher protection (up to SPF 70). Lastly, I ran across Lucky Bum...and decided...he needed to come live with me as my car mascot :) Rub his belly for "sunny days and better waves".

Sonny's happy to be my car's mascot :)

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By Ruth | 11:41 AM
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Etsy Love and a bit of fooling around

I don't normally do too much on April Fools Day. If I do, I prefer the harmless entertaining types of pranks. Last year, one of my coworkers was gone the day before 4/1...making it just too easy. I took all his family photos out of their frames, scanned them, and gave them little tweaks. I Hasselhoffed a hiking pic, blackened out a few teeth in another, and put the spooky owl from The Fourth Kind in the background of a wedding pic. Hilarious. If you ever get a chance to photoshop your coworkers photos 4/1 or not, I'd suggest it for a good laugh :)

Now, onto Etsy Love.
This week I love the photography of elgarbo's Fine Art Prints. Based out of Sydney, Australia, this shop has a variety of prints ranging from surfing to Paris. Perhaps it is the super nice weather today, but my particular favorites are from the carnival series. I love the vintage feel of the photos and how I feel I can just hop right in and enjoy the festival. Right now the shop is running a buy one get one free sale on all 8x8 and 8x10 prints :)

Balloon Crazy, it's like UP only better! I'm ready to go run around with a pile of balloons :)

Lastly, while we are on the carnival theme...I figured out the secret to finding a yeti. Cotton Candy. They happily trot out of the woods for a photo op if you give them their favorite culinary guilty pleasure. :P

Happy April Fools!
Image links 1, 2, 3

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By Ruth | 9:17 PM
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My favorite sweets

With all the lists popping up lately on the 30 day blogging challenge here is one of my favorite sweets. In no particular order...

1. s'mores
2. Lava cake (in the raw makes it best)
3. Salt water taffy (whatever flavor I got from sea world)
4. Frozen yogurt (orange leaf)
5. Orange thin mints...no longer sold, lame
6. No bake cookies (chocolate)
7. Arrow cookies
8. Chocolate covered peanut butter rice crispy balls (my grandmas)
9. 5 cent cinnamon candy canes
10. Mango keylime cheesecake (cheesecake factory)
11. Pecan pie (cosmo cafe's is the best)
12. Baklava

Do you have any favorites?

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By Ruth | 9:19 AM
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It's time for a mini celebration

30 day bloggers...we are officially 1/3rd of the way thru! As a reward to myself, I'm going to print and assemble my next calendar of the month. What? Haven't heard of the Calendar of the Month Club?

Say hello to Curiosity Group. They are the brainchild behind the little foldable calendars of the month that I've had on my desk since January. Based in Portland, OR these guys put out little foldable crafts for everything from Megamind to college mascots. For those curious, they do non-foldable things too :) Check out some of their work here.

This month's calendar is in honor of Jazz Appreciation month. So celebrate your success and have fun making a record player.

Jazz Calendar 
P.S. I plan on cheating and using my martha stewart circle cutter on the records, got to get some use out of the toys I bought for graphic design projects back in college ;)

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By Ruth | 1:54 PM
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a makeup palette


This is my favorite makeup palette. My face is just another canvas on which I play.
1.  Tender Rose Mineral Powder SPF 15 by Laura Mercier
2.  Black Full Action Extreme Effect Mascara by Sephora 
3.  Zero 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil by Urban Decay 
4.  Original Photo Finish Foundation Primer by Smashbox
5.  Orgasm/Laguna Highlighting/Bronzing Blush Duo by NARS
6.  Jitterbug Magic Marker Lip & Cheek Stain by Josie Maran
7.  Sweet Pink Super Shiny Lip Gloss by Burts Bees
8.  X Eyeshadow by Urban Decay
9.  Deluxe Shadow Box by Urban Decay

Do you have any go to makeup favorites?

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By Ruth | 9:14 AM
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Painting, my medium of choice

Painting to me, is the most rewarding form of art. I may spend my days playing on the computer and putting out educational designs...but given the choice, I'd love to spend my days with a paint brush, some comfy clothes covered in paint, and my current playlist of choice. Admittedly apartments aren't the most accommodating for my favorite type of painting, murals. The last mural I did was actually years ago. Nowadays I do "smaller" pieces...maybe 4 feet across instead of an entire ceiling.

What makes painting more rewarding?
Instant gratification and the knowledge that no one else will ever be able to make what I've created. Painting is an experience. I get lost in the moment as the brush hits the canvas. I love manipulating the colors so that what is in my minds eye can be seen on canvas...and although I never know what the exact ending will be, I'm happy with the end creation. Graphic design is rewarding in that what I work on helps people, but it still doesn't have the same tactile experience as painting. I will admit to wishing I had photoshops "undo" button on numerous occasions painting...graphic design wins in the ease of fixing mistakes :P

Here are some pics of the last large mural I worked on, say hello to the then accurate solar system...since then Pluto has been removed from "planet"...but Pluto will always be a planet to me :)

While I have no idea if this painting is still around, I do know that the most rewarding moment for me was when we sold the house, the little boy who was moving into that room thanked my mom for his new "space room" and his parents said they'd bought him a bunch of space books. Educating thru art...truly more rewarding than the experience of painting for me.

I spent a week straight up on a ladder. I'm fairly certain Michelangelo used scaffolding on the sistine chapel...wimp ;)

painting supplies and a finished ceiling, the walls are Buzz Blaster Blue (best paint name ever?)

my sister's arm makes a cameo

as my brother is very scientific...we researched the exact number of moons for each planet. the sun is in the middle and from there the planets rotate out in order.

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By Ruth | 6:17 PM
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Spiced Aztec Cookies: baking day

Today I got out my giant cookie roll and started cutting out my Spiced Aztec Cookies. For me I found the edge of my cookie roll to be very very crumbly...but after trying a few knifes...steak, saw, I settled on whatever the kitchaid aid one is called below...I find just slowly pushing the knife thru rather than sawing made cookies instead of crumbs pile.

just part of the crumbs pile...for a bit I wondered if I'd be making cookie crumble instead of cookies.

kitchenaid knife wins for cutting actual cookies...into the oven they go! 
I'll admit that these cookies are a bit harder to tell when they are done than less chocolatey ones...for me I knew they were done because the kitchen really starts to smell like hot chocolate about 8 minutes in...9 minutes and out they came! (The recipe suggests 10...but my oven always runs hot...I can't tell you how many batches of cinnamon rolls I've burned when I forget that early in the morning lol) Ideally cookies are done when they start to brown on the bottom.

done cookies!

Like aztec hot chocolate...in a cookie form, when straight out of the oven you get a real kick of the cayenne pepper.
yum! I bet these would taste excellent as mini ice cream sandwiches.

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By Ruth | 4:44 PM
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Spiced Aztec Cookes: prep day

Happy Saturday! I've loved all things Aztec since my first anthropology class...so when I saw a recipe called Spiced Aztec Cookies....I knew I had to try and make them. In Aztec stories chocolate, or xocolatl as they called it, was thought to be from their god Quetzalcoatl. Xocolatl was so important to the Aztec culture that the beans were even used as currency.

Below is my attempt at a step by step photo journal of Spiced Aztec Cookies. You'll note that mine are slightly different from the original recipe...I use MarieBelle Aztec Hot Chocolate, instead of chocolate chunks.

ingredients for Spiced Aztec Cookies

softened butter: if you are like me and forget to leave your butter out to soften,
just toss it in the microwave for a bit on low power...genius idea from my sister

add lightly packed brown sugar to softened butter

it's so fluffy!

I like to throw all my dry ingredients together and sift them, works to mix
dry ingredients and keeps there from being any clumps.

Just imagine a picture of dry ingredients mixing with the rest
of the wet ingredients (egg, vanilla) here.

MarieBelle Aztec Hot Chocolate....yum. 

After adding in the Mariebelle Aztec Hot Chocolate my dough looks quite different
from The Three Cheeses....which I'm sure resembled....well cookie dough,
mine I feel looks like ground beef :P 

Ground beef ....I mean chocolate cookies being formed into a log and tossed into the fridge.
Pretend my kitchen is spotless like Giada de Laurentiis would have hers at this point ;)
Will these taste good? Will the Aztec gods be pleased with my baking? Who knows, I do know that chocolate cookies would be a new flavor for them, as the Aztecs didn't add sugar to their xocolatl, nor was it used in baking.

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