Friday, December 17, 2010

Handmade: Spritz Cookies

Some time ago (when I moved to my first apartment), I stole the cookie gun shown below from my grandma (love you Grandma).  And now, every Christmas, I make spritz cookies at least once over the holiday season.

The worn pink box and the shiny, aluminum glorified-caulking-gun inside make me super happy every time I look at them.

I use the spritz recipe from Williams Sonoma: Cookies but I add some food coloring and peppermint extract (I tend to crave all things minty during the holidays).

Spritz Cookies
adapted from Williams Sonoma: Cookies

1 c. unsalted butter, room temp.
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
3-5 drops red food coloring
2 1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Colored sugar or sprinkles for decoration.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar on high speed until sugar is no longer grainy.
Add egg, extracts and food coloring, stir until blended.

Sift flour and salt together onto waxed paper and add to butter mixture by spoonfuls until blended.

Follow your cookie press directions to place cookies onto ungreased cookie sheets (I use silpats on mine).

Sprinkle with colored sugar or sprinkles.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until edges are golden brown.

Let cookies cool on pan for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies, keeps well for a few days.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Handmade: Throw Pillows

Last weekend, some of the girls from my office came over so that I could teach them how to make pillows.  We all got some pillows made (after figuring out how to work with zippers) and below you can see my end result.  I made 2 of each kind and now I've got an itch to make some more.  Such a simple and fun project.

Mmmm, shiny.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My First Time: Framing

Until now, I've always used pre-matted, cheap frames from places like Bed, Bath and Beyond or Pier 1, but now I've dipped my toes into the (expensive) world of professional framing.

While heading home from a business trip in Europe I happened to be on the same flight as David Lynch, who happens to be one of T's favorite directors.  The only reason I knew what he looked like is T decided on a documentary about David Lynch to watch sometime before that.  Well, since I'm an amazing wife, I went up and told him how much my husband loved his work and asked for an autograph.  He was very nice and obliged me.

So our anniversary came around (November 21st) and I thought that framing this autograph would be a fantastic first anniversary gift (paper, check).

I also had some lovely nudes done by a friend of mine in Seattle, she wanted to find some good homes for her artwork and I was more than happy to take some off her hands.

I went to FrameStore in Culver City, because it was convenient, but I was really happy with the quality of the work and the assistance from the shopkeeper, Nancy, in helping me pick out so the frames and mats.

Here's a close up of the autograph with a snapshot of the director that I took at the Charles de Gaulle airport. It's sort of floating in a shadowbox frame with a black suede mat.  T loves it.

And here are the nudes by the lovely Heather Haws.  They are the perfect amount of sketchiness and softness, and the colors are just amazing.  They're our first 'real' pieces of artwork and I can't wait to add more to our home.

After getting over the sticker shock of custom framing, I have to say I'm hooked.  I think I'm going to have to try and keep myself in check by only framing things that are important to us, but I keep thinking about what I can get framed next.  The one tip I've got if you're going to get something framed is to give yourself some time at the frame store.  There are tons of mats and frames to choose from and it takes a little while to pick something perfect.