Monday, May 23, 2011

Headbands galore!

I've been busy making headbands...lots of headbands.  The components are pretty easy to make and don't take a lot of time (Which I don't have a lot of at any given stretch.)  So it's pretty much perfect for me right now.

Using only fabrics I have on hand... I should be able to make a garden the size of Giverny - just ask my husband!!  I have made the following lovely little flowers. 

There are many tutorials on how to make the various flowers.  I let the fabric determine the type of flower to make.  It's a great way to use up some scraps.
Some of these will be in a professional photo shoot for a local hairdresser.  I'll post the photos when I get them. Meanwhile, I'm making many more.  I'm loving this new pass time!

Cotton and silk organza pin

Cotton and tafetta pin

Home dec and vintage button headband


Poly jacard headband

silk and seed bead headband

cotton pin

Upscaled shirt and bead headband

cotton and ribbon pin

silk headband

cotton headband - looks like a carnation in person

tafetta poppy headband

cotton and silk blend pin/headband

cotton and vintage glass button

silk organza headband

copyright  © salmonalley 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ever been to Philly?

Last month, I had the chance to travel to Philadelphia for work.  I haven't been to Philly since I was in high school.  Last time, I went to the mint, Independence Hall, Liberty Bell etc.  There wasn't time for any of that but I got to see a lot of other treasures.  

A friend suggested going to Geno's Steaks and Pat's King of Steaks for cheesesteaks... we did!  It's an interesting corner in Philly with rivals set up with essentially identical buildings on East Passyunk Ave. and Ninth Ave.   Geno's is orange and white while Pat's is red, white and blue.  I didn't get a very good photo of Pat's...

(You can tell from the photos it isn't Always Sunny in Philadelphia)

Geno's Steaks

Pat's King of Steaks

Both have dozens of photos with locals and celebrities enjoying their cheesesteaks.  Everyone has a favorite.

We decided to conduct our own taste test.

We order the traditional Philly Cheesesteak: whiz without -
translation: cheese whiz without onions from both: 

Pat's chops up the meat (much like Penn Station)
and puts the cheese whiz on top.

Geno's has longer strips of meat
and puts the cheese whiz on the bun then the meat.  
Geno's on the left, Pat's on the right...
 Yes, that is cheesewhiz...who knew it would be so delicious!

Window of Geno's... lots celebs and locals love this place.

The verdict? We preferred Geno's and ordered seconds...
after all we can't get that at home!

We got pens too.

He was happy we gave Geno's a thumbs up!

After letting our lunch digest a bit we found Capogiro Gelato
close to Market Square.  It was amazing.  

I wasn't a glutton but I was really tempted. 

Beautiful gelato and only half of the case!

Capogiro Gelato Magic

We saw the Rocky Statue, the steps of the Art Museum,
Market Square with all of the sculptures: LOVE.
Can't wait to get back with my family to enjoy
the sights and food of Philly!

Really missing Geno's right about now!

My daughter finished the stuffed giraffe for her friend.
It turned out so cute!

Good use of the vintage buttons!
She fashioned the tail out of fold-over elastic. It made a cute little bow.

I ran across this photo of Allie and me.
I thought I'd share cause it's pretty good
as I have my eyes open for once!  Thanks Kristen!

Now I'm hungry for cheesesteak and gelato.   I hope you are too!


©salmonally 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Truimph - Part 2

Beautiful arrangement of stock, hydrangea, and weigelia
Ok, now the moment of truth... getting the cones to make it through the steps needed to turn them into drumsticks.  Chocolate coating is first.
I tempered the chocolate and painted it on the inside of the cones.  It got a little thick.   No photos of this step.

All lined up and ready to go.
Next, I  filled each cone with softened ice cream.  I didn't get the round top like the real drumstick due to the shape of my cones... next time? 
Ice cream filled cones

After letting the ice cream refreeze which took about an hour and a half, I prepared the magic shell chocolate coating.  I followed a simple recipe from with only two ingredients: chocolate and butter!

I measured out the chocolate and butter and melted them together in the microwave.  I stirred for several minutes to incorporate the two.  After letting the mixture cool slightly I tested it on some ice cream... it worked!

I dipped one cone at a time into the chocolate and then into a bowl of chopped almonds, instead of the traditional peanuts, I chopped up some marcona almonds for a more sophisticated crunch on the top.

Homemade magic shell
chopped marcona almonds
 Here's a quick look as I popped them back into the freezer.  They were messy and Delicious!

Close up of chopped almond topping

Meanwhile, the rains we've had for the past month have brought 
the most beautiful spring flowers. 

Weigelia in bloom

Chives and thyme

The rooster looks content among the chive blossoms

Raindrops on hosta leaves
 Thanks for visiting!



Friday, May 13, 2011

After School Enrichment

Well, for the last month, I have been teaching an arts and crafts class to 21  kindergartner, 1st and 2nd graders.  (all girls and one boy)

I had originally thought about teaching sewing, hand and machine sewing.  But the first class was a bit of a tactical disaster... no one could thread the needles, even with the easy threaders, they couldn't tie knots  etc.  I was met within minutes with a chorus of "I can't do this and I need help" and surrounded and eventually backed into a corner.  I got really good at quickly threading the needles and the kids were really patient with me.  The crocodile sewing kits were really adorable. 

Crocodile sewing kit

Open wide...

Instead of trying sewing again, I came up with several other ideas... decorating their initial with flowers, shells, feathers... making a god's eye with stick's and variegated yarn, and bookmarks.

For Mother's Day, the crafts were all about Mom.  Tissue Paper flowers: poppies, Irises, and daisies. (At least that's what I tried to have them make)   Simple Beaded necklaces and handprint flower cards.
The charm is a heart that says "Made with Love"
Serious workers!

This week, as I have a week break before the last class, I thought I'd have the kids decorate some fabric and make some simple stuffed items from it.  I gave the kids their choice of a horse (see my daughter's giraffe in a previous blog) bird, owl, initial or basic pillow.  By and large the kids did an excellent job decorating the fabric (and the desks, floor and themselves  - the paint is washable!)

I am excited to cut out the shapes and get them started.   Here's a few images of their designs.  And for the last class they will be sewing the pillow closed... and potentially sewing on some buttons and other beads.  Hopefully, I'll have some reinforcements!

And we are finally getting some warm weather here.  Really warm.  Which signals the official start of ice cream season... well, it's always ice cream season for me (you should see the store coupons we get every month because we purchase so much ice cream... seriously a potential problem.)

I like to challenge myself when we have friends to dinner... the dessert is always a constant, Graeters ice cream.  We've tried variations (ice cream sandwiches, truffles etc.) But this weekend I want to make my own drumsticks.  So I've been trying out some sugar cone recipes.  The first one I tried tastes delicious but really isn't what I think I want - for the drumsticks  - but it is mighty fine as a suger cone.  Once it cools it is really crunchy so if you don't work fast enough... you get cracks.
Only 4 ingredients!

Soft peaks

I first tried 7" circles which make huge cones... more like the waffle cones. 

This one cooled before I got the hang of rolling it... it was tasty!

We're making another batch tonight and a pound cake for the big birthday tomorrow.

I'll update the blog with photos of all my current projects!


©salmonallley 2011

Triumph! - part 1

A few days ago, I tried to make sugar cones... with little success... Tonight, I have done it.  At least they seem to be turning out ok.  I still have to coat the insides with chocolate, freeze them add ice cream and chocolate coating... Stay tuned.  Though so far so good.

All lined up - ready for the chocolate coating.

Here's a link to this fantastic recipe:

4" circles...spread thin

Cooling on the rack...

I didn't add chocolate or food coloring, I was going for really simple on my first go around with a tuile recipe.  For so few ingredients it makes a lot! 

I don't have a silpat mat, I used parchment... over and over. It worked great.  I baked one at a time so I wouldn't let the circles cool too much.  That leads to cracking.  Also, the thinner you can spread out the batter the better but it is a fine balance of not too thin.  I need to figure out how to make the end stay really pointy.  For now, I think I'll just add a lot of chocolate to plug up the end. 

Baking on parchment square
Nifty tool helped to keep them rolled up.

A little pice broke off and it was crunchy and sweet... perfect for the homemade drumsticks.  I may never be able to eat a store bought cone again.  I wonder if I can find a recipe for the cake cones....

While I am waiting for the last of the batter to bake, here's some updated photos:

Birthday Pound Cake for my hubby!  his favorite.  I'm not much of a baker but he seemed to need the extra love.  Allie helped, good thing as she has the baking skills.  It's yummy.  I used the Classic Pound Cake recipe on Food Network.  I didn't measure to see if it called for a pound of all of the ingredients.  Maybe next time.

We have some really long, low loaf pans which made the cake fit the gorgeous french platter we received as a wedding gift.

I've got a quick project I want to complete before dinner tomorrow.  We're having company and our blue tablecloth has seen better days.  I am going to try my hand at fusing some colorful to it and create a design.  I've seen similar things at Anthropologie on pillows... I think I will work on the tablecloth.

I just need to select the fabrics....

©salmonalley 2011