Saturday, September 29, 2012

focused on Glory (Investing in Youth)

Last month I learned about a YMCA program that provides free bikes and helmets to youth. As it turns out, the program also welcomes adults.


The program takes place over three Saturday mornings. The first week we picked out our donated, refurbished bikes. We spent our time cleaning and making minor repairs to our bicycles. Any major repairs were completed by volunteers over the following week. Week two was for safety. We went over road rules and practiced riding through intersections.

I attended the class with my friend Brenda. She invited another friend named Tonya. We were the only three adults in the program without a child. The rest of the class was made up of a group of kids from Children's International. And may I tell you how much I enjoyed those kids! What a fun group with which to spend a few Saturdays.

Today was the last Saturday. We went for a short ride past the Clinton Presidential Library and onto the new pedestrian bridge. As we rode past the library we encountered a large art festival. High school art clubs from around the state were gathered, and they were drawing amazing, chalk images on the sidewalks. It was a visual delight.

We rode back to the warehouse and said our goodbyes. I am going to miss seeing "our" kids next Saturday. Then Brenda and I took our bikes to her house for storage. (I CANNOT believe I forgot to take a picture of my bicycle!) I got an amazing cruiser (circa early 80's) with a sweet wire basket on the front. It is chocolate brown, but I am going to paint it baby blue. I will post before and after photos.

Here are a few of the photos I snapped with my phone today. The old saying is that the best camera is the one you have with you, so I hope you don't mind the picture quality.

Everyone was given a helmet. All the helmets had a shape similar to what you see professional cyclists wear. All of the helmets but mine. None of the "tear drop" helmets would fit on my enormous melon, so I got stuck with the white combat variety. (I'm blaming the thick french braids I was rocking on helmet fitting day.) I looked like I was going to be shot out of a cannon.

I decided to embellish my helmet. I had plans for a more creative design, but being sick for the last two weeks left me with little motivation. The circles still look better than leaving it plain. Note the silver, glittered nickname added to the front. Fun, fun!

Brenda and me over the Arkansas river.

Our motley crew of bikers. I will miss those personalities.

Beautiful chalk art in progress.

Doesn't this make you smile?

I really liked this flaming bird.

This is Malcolm. He is one of the program volunteers. He makes sure the bikes are in good working order for each participant. He is such a delightful character. You will smile if you are in his presence.

I can't express how much fun it was to participate in this program. Not only did I get a free bike and helmet, but I got to spend time with amazing people. The Children's International sponsor said she was happy that we (the grown up girls) were in the class with her kids. She told me that she thought we were good influences and short-term mentors for the children. I was humbled by that remark. It was an honor to help with her group.

One last mention for the YMCA leaders who headed up the program. We were blessed to have God loving folks who were interested in investing in children of the metro community. They were the true role models. They showed God's love and generosity with such enthusiasm. The whole experience was a blessing.

Thank you for visiting creative confetti!  Please take a moment to "like" creative confetti (website) on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest. And I'd love to hear from you via the comment section or the email option on my profile page! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New (Blue) Adventures

I started a new position as the Children's Ministry Assistant at my church. I can tell that it is going to be an adventure. To say that this job wasn't on my radar is quite the understatement. However God knew I would land here, and He put everything in motion to make it come to fruition.

Here are a few pictures of my new office taken with my phone. I was told that I was stuck with the colors, but that's okay. I can work with that shade of blue (and the purple too).

Chalkboard paint as you walk in. That has all kinds of  fun potential. 

The door "leads" to a dead-end alley between two of the church buildings. I think the key to the deadbolt  has been lost for a long time. 

The copier is a new addition to my office. It is extremely handy and horrifically ugly. I must find a way to camouflage it.

The rocker is also new. The previous rocking chair was much larger. 

I'm not sure what I'm going to do to soften the eyesore of this wall, but I hope to come up with something. The door on that wall leads to the office next door.

Finally, the view from my desk. There is much work to be done.
Stay tuned in the weeks to come to see the office make-over. I can't wait! Now to come up with a plan or two.

Thank you for visiting creative confetti!  Please take a moment to "like" creative confetti (website) on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest. And I'd love to hear from you via the comment section or the email option on my profile page! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Diane's Good Cornbread

(Guest post by Jennifer Harris at Ponderings of an Elect Exile.)

I've been on a massive baking spree lately.  I think that yesterday was my 20th batch of chocolate chip cookies in less than 5 weeks, not to mention a whole host of other warm, yummy goodness during that time. I'm not typically such a baking fiend, but we were recently surprised with a new oven (and two new mixers!) after almost two years without an oven, so we've gone a bit baking crazy around here. :) 

When we found out we were getting a new oven, the kids (and my husband) began making a list of what they wanted to bake first.  Other than the aforementioned chocolate chip cookies, the list included banana bread, muffins, brownies, Dad's homemade pizza, baked potatoes, frozen pizza, lasagna, and biscuits (for biscuits and gravy).  Some of those things we'd figured out other ways to the microwave, crockpot, or toaster oven...but in pretty much every instance, they just weren't quite as good.  Other Dad's pizza...we'd just had to give up on entirely.

While I was excited about all the things on their list, the thing I was most excited about was cornbread.  I'm a southern girl.  I love my cornbread.  Cooked in bacon grease, preferably in an iron skillet (although I made some seriously yummy cornbread in a glass pie plate for years when I didn't have cast iron), and smothered in butter.  Yum. 

When Tauna asked me a while back to guest post on her blog a while back, I said, "Sure!"  Then I asked what she'd like me to post about.  "How about a craft or recipe post?" was her reply.  

Now...I love crafting, and I've taught scrapbooking, paper arts, and other craft classes off and on for years.  But I haven't posted anything remotely crafty on my blog in...well, in a very long while.  As much as I would like to say otherwise, this hasn't been a very crafty season of life for me.  So the thought of a craft post at this point made me shudder a bit. :)  (Especially when Tauna's been doing such fantabulous crafty tutorials lately! ;-))

So...okay, a recipe.  The only problem there is...I have very few "original" recipes, and those I have aren't really "recipes"; they are more like "how-to-make-this narratives" (case in point: this post on Saloon Beef and Billy's Ridiculously Easy Crock Pot Mac-and-Cheese).  

Then I thought...aha!  I have been wanting to start a series on my blog of "vintage recipes" from family and friends along with the stories behind them.  I could share my grandmother's lemon chess pie recipe, which is one of my favorite desserts in the whole world, and second only to cornbread on my personal list of "what to bake next".  

I could breathe easy...I had the perfect plan.  Perfect, that is, until I discovered that Granny Kitty's recipe box was nowhere to be found.  ACKK.  I have turned the house upside down looking for it, and I have the other recipe box that has always, since I was first married, been right next to it...but no avocado green metal index card file decorated many years ago by my grandmother with orange and yellow Contac paper flowers.  :-(

So...on to plan C. D? Z?  I'd lost count, and I was beginning to fret a bit.  

And then a friend said, "What about that 'Good Cornbread' recipe?"  

I have such brilliant friends. :)

I actually blogged on the "Good Cornbread" recipe a few years back, but I had been thinking recently that I needed to do an updated post.  Finally, "Plan Final" for the guest post. :)

A little background on this recipe.  My Granny Marks made the world's best cornbread (along with the world's best fried chicken, the world's best dressing, and the world's best scrambled eggs.)  The scrambled eggs I can pretty much duplicate, but the rest are, I'm afraid, lost forever.  I'm not sure what happened to her recipe box, but unlike Granny Kitty's, which I know is here, and which I'm sure I'll find as soon as the lightbulb goes off about the "safe place" I put it :), I never had Granny Marks's, so there's little hope of ever finding it. 

Many years ago, though, a friend of my mom's gave her a recipe for "Good Cornbread".  I still have the original recipe card, in our friend's beautiful handwriting, with her personal notes on the recipe.  I really wanted to take a picture of the recipe card for this post...but, alas, it is in that same missing green recipe box. :-(  Fortunately, though, after temporarily losing track of it a few years ago, I got the recipe from our friend again via Facebook and posted it on my blog so we wouldn't lose it ever again. :)  And now it's going to be on Tauna's blog for double-backup!

The name of Diane's recipe is a bit deceptive.  It should be called "super-duper-good cornbread"  or "amazingly wonderful cornbread" or something else with lots of superlatives.  It's the best cornbread I've ever had next to my grandmother's (well, and my dad's jalapeno cornbread, but that's a totally different ball of wax. :))

Start out with an 8-inch pan.  For years, I made this cornbread in an 8-inch glass pie plate.  It turned out perfectly every time.  Now that I have cast iron again, I've been making it in my 9-inch cast iron skillet, because that's the smallest I have.  It works; the cornbread just isn't as deep, and you have to watch your cooking time a bit more closely.  One of these days I'm going to figure out how to convert the recipe to use my 10 inch skillet and make the deeper cornbread.  

I love my cast iron skillets.  They were gifted to me by a couple of friends, so they have a sentimental attachment for, they remind me of my grandmother. :) They came to me with that old, worn, almost silky seasoned surface that makes cooking in them a delight. Not sure why this one looks almost rusty in the photos...weird lighting in my kitchen, I guess.

Next, you need some bacon grease.  Because I don't want to have to cook bacon every time I bake cornbread, I keep bacon grease in this little vintage jar in the fridge.  Isn't it cute?  My friend Jodie found these several years ago after we'd had a discussion about storing bacon grease.   (And no, there's no bacon grease there...I took this photo back when she first gave me the jar. :))

PSA re. using glass to store bacon grease:  Always be sure to let your bacon grease cool a bit before transferring to the jar.  Thanks to my friend Jerri Sue for sharing this warning when I first posted about my jar...she learned this the hard way when she ended up in the ER getting stitches because her jar exploded. :-( 

Now...back to the bacon grease.   Add a "hunk" to your skillet, put the skillet in the oven, turn the oven on to 450, and heat till grease is smoking.  (I know...some of you are asking how much a "hunk" is.  You may have to experiment a bit to decide what works best for you.  I'm guessing my "hunk" is about 3 T.? More or less. ;-)  You don't want to skimp here, trust me.) 

While waiting for bacon grease to melt/smoke, begin gathering and mixing other ingredients.  The original recipe says to sift the dry ingredients together.  Diane's notes said she never sifts, and neither do I. :)  Toss a cup of cornmeal, 1/2 tsp. of salt, 1/2 tsp. of baking soda, and 1 tbsp. sugar together in a medium-large bowl.  

In another bowl, beat one egg and mix with one cup buttermilk.  Add to dry ingredients just before putting in oven, or mixture will rise in the bowl.  

When grease is smoking, pour cornbread batter in skillet.  Bacon grease will come up over the edges of the batter and look a bit funky.  This is good.  It makes that delectable crispy-crunchy-yummy crust that other cornbreads envy. :)

Bake for 20 minutes at 450.  (Watch closely if you are using a larger will bake faster because it's not as thick.)  

Grab a piece for yourself quick before your family inhales the rest. :)   If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, they are great warmed with butter and a bit of maple syrup or honey for breakfast.  Yummm. 

Diane's "Good Cornbread"

1 c. cornmeal
1/2 t. soda
1/2 t. salt
1 T. sugar
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk

Sift dry ingredients together. (She doesn't, and neither do I :)). Beat one egg and mix with buttermilk. Add to dry
ingredients just before putting in oven, as they will rise in the bowl if prepared too far in
advance.  Add a hunk of bacon grease to the pan, place in oven and heat oven to 450.  Keep pan in oven until grease is smoking. Add batter and bake about 20 minutes. Makes an 8 inch round skillet of cornbread.

Huge thanks to Tauna for letting me guest post here at creative confetti!  Tauna has been one of my dearest bffs for over half a lifetime.  I remember being so excited when she first started her blog...from her Haiti Journals to her photo tours of downtown Nashville to her crafty tutorials to her pics of her beautiful family...and everything in between...creative confetti is one of my very favorite blogs ever. :)   

I'm thrilled to be posting here today, and would love to "meet" you, her readers, in the comments.   Tell me about your favorite family recipe, or the food you most craved but couldn't for whatever reason have at some point in your life.  I'd love to hear all about it! 

Jennifer Harris 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Wonderfully Busy Time

I've neglected the blog for a few days. My apologies, but in my defense I started a new job this week, and I'm getting ready for a craft show tomorrow. 

While I'm not a fan of college ball, I do live in Razorback country, and I thought people might like a hog to hang on their wall. Even though Arkansas hasn't done well thus far in the season, I'm hoping the fans stay true. (I am a Tennessee Titans fan win or lose!)

Here are a few of the canvases I've done in the past. Some of the designs will make their way to the show tomorrow and hopefully find lovely, new homes.

The canvases feature ink and acrylic and a some have Swarovski crystal embellishments.

Thank you for visiting creative confetti!  Please take a moment to "like" creative confetti (website) on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest. And I'd love to hear from you via the comment section or the email option on my profile page! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Candelabra Cake Stand (tutorial)

Hi guys. It's time for another fun crafty craft, and in keeping with tradition it will be a thrifty project.

I found a simple, brass candelabra at a local thrift store. It was $2.99.


Of course I couldn't leave it the way I found it. The first thing I did (after cleaning off the thrift store stickiness) was remove the
two candle holders from each arm. 

After unscrewing the cups, I glued the drip plates to the arm. They were previously held in place by the cups. Once again I use Beacon's Glass Metal and More (I love that stuff). Then I took one of the cups and added it to the middle holder for extra height.  

Now here's the part I don't like... at all. I had to wait for the glue to dry. 

I don't like waiting for glue to dry. As I've said before- that's what blow dryers are for. (If only a blow dryer could have worked on this project. It would have heated the metal and kept the glue melted.) The top candle holder cup was filled with glue, and when the extra cup was added it sealed out the air. That meant a drying time of about 47 years.

I lasted about four days before I came up with an alternative plan. I added a few drops of Gorilla Glue to hold the cup in place, and I put the whole thing in the fridge for a day. I had to take a shelf out of Matilda Maytag to make room, but  it worked. The brass got cold, and the glue finally set. 

Next I went to the garage to my box of mis-matched, thrift store plates. I decided on the adorable plates below and based my paint color on the design. I only had two, so I found a scalloped edged plate for the center.

These fabulous retro plates were 25¢ each. I think they are so swell! The design has uber-thin gray and yellow lines, so I decided to use some leftover yellow, Rustoleum spray paint. That brings my total to $3.74 plus tax!

And voilĂ . Here is the finished product all dressed up for Fall. And what could be better than a stack of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies? THREE stacks of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies!

In case you're wondering if the middle plate is crooked- it is. Have I mentioned that I hate waiting for glue to dry? Anyway, I took the cookies off after the photo so it wouldn't stay lop-sided.

Thank you for visiting creative confetti!  Please take a moment to "like" creative confetti (website) on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest. And I'd love to hear from you via the comment section or the email option on my profile page! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Coffee Filter Wreath for Fall

I was looking at a new blog this week and got inspired to make something for the Fall season. The blog is called My Simple, Sweet, & Southern Life, and Ashley seems quite delightful. The craft that made me thirsty for an Autumn project was a giant, felt mum.

The tutorial can be found HERE

I had a stack of coffee filters, and they seemed like a good place to start.  Here's my "ingredients" list.

Coffee filters (duh)
Glue gun and glue sticks (duh again)
Cardboard for the wreath
Food coloring
Water color paints (for adjusting my colors after the fact)
Ribbon for hanging
    Step one was dying the coffee filters in bowls of water with a bunch 
of food coloring mixed in.
The filters soaked up the liquid faster than I could snap the shutter.

 I put the filters outside in the sunshine to dry. 
They dried alright- a lot lighter than I wanted. 
As the filters were bleaching in the sun, I cut a wreath shape from a piece of cardboard. I also cut out some tan tissue paper to use as a neutral color.

After wrapping the cardboard with tape (for extra stability), I started gluing on my Autumn  Spring colored filters. (Grab the filters from the middle and make a pouf.) Starting along the outside of the ring I glued a tan pouf after every two pink-but-should-have-been-red filters.

I glued the inner most row next. Again, I alternated 
one tan with every two yellow filters.
After the inner ring was done I filled in the middle with the orange filters and the remaining tan and pink filters. I did not put these in any particular order.

The wreath looked like a spring meadow. (Unfortunately I didn't get a shot of it then.) To offset the pastel sweetness I decided to spray the wreath with more color. I squeezed some Indian Red water color paste into a squirt bottle and added a little water, and I spritzed the heck out of the wreath. The color still isn't quite right, but it's much better. 

Here it is with some of my fabric pumpkins. The last thing I did was attach a ribbon to the back. It should have been the first thing I did, but I always get something out of order. I'm not a fan of the gold ribbon bow. That's probably going to change.

The tutorial for the fabric pumpkins can be found here.

Thank you for visiting creative confetti!  Please take a moment to "like" creative confetti (website) on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest. And I'd love to hear from you via the comment section or the email option on my profile page! 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

focused on Glory (lightning)

week 36

focused on Glory is a weekly feature in conjunction with Ponderings of an Elect Exile. (minus a couple of missing weeks)

Thank you for visiting creative confetti!  Please take a moment to "like" creative confetti (website) on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter. And I'd love to hear from you via the comment section or the email option on my profile page!  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pioneer Woman Editing Assignment

Ree Drummond at The Pioneer Woman provided a picture for editing. 

The original.

Here are my two takes.

A Long Fall Drive

A Stormy Ride

Which do you like best?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lions and Turtles and Camels Oh My!

Do you know what personality type you are? I've taken several varieties of personality tests for different reasons over the past few years. Each test has its own method of scoring and assigning traits. According to the Jung and Briggs-Myers TEST I am E-S-F-J (extrovert-sensing-feeling-judging). There's no real surprise that extrovert was my dominant trait. (And thankfully judging doesn't mean judgmental.)

Another test rated me as a Sanguine-Choloric. Again, no surprise. The results are the same but called by different names. For information on traits related to sanguine, choloric, melancholy, or phlegmatic personalities check this SITE. There are a dozen more sites, but that was one of the first I found for this post.

Last week I had to take a new personality quiz. I wasn't familiar with this particular form of people branding. It administers animal traits to the results. I found it amusing until I began the interrogation of my inner identity. After looking at the possible results I knew I would end up as a 

Much Loved Monkey... 

 with a heaping side dish of Leading Lion.

Content Camel...

and Tranquil Turtle didn't stand a chance.

Unfortunately knowing the end results wasn't enough. I was going to have to go through a list of four-word groups and pick the best representation of me. Sounds simple enough.


I don't like choosing just one of pretty much anything. My brain doesn't work that way. I have learned to adapt to a world that likes definitive answers. For example, when someone asks what my favorite food is I say it's potatoes. I do love potatoes. (Yes love. They are worthy of that word.) I'll eat a potato virtually any way it is prepared, but I could have also replied with other items like our family burritos or fresh fruit salad.

Imagine my angst when I had to choose from words like content, independent, active, and perceptive. I feel rather strongly about more than one of those choices, but I COULD ONLY CHOOSE ONE.

Dang it.

Then there's doubtful, wishy-washy, intolerant, and angered easily. Um, no thank you to any of those. Or how about non-affirming, rude, scatterbrained, or unconcerned. Wow. How do I pick one of those lovely descriptors?

Another grouping included diligent, advocate, author, or certain. Shoot! Now I'm getting easily angered at my choices and feel quite wishy-washy over my hesitance. heeheehee

Oh well, I know I end up as a Monkey-Lion, so I'm obviously not going to worry about it too much.

Thank you for visiting creative confetti!  Please take a moment to "like" creative confetti (website) on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter. And I'd love to hear from you via the comment section or the email option on my profile page!  

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