Thursday, October 11, 2012

DIY: Wooden Halloween Decorations

 As you can see, I've been a bit busy lately making all sorts of fun decorations for the fall/halloween season. I guess since we're about to move into our home (we'll be first time homeowners in about a week!), I've had the crafty "itch".

I started off with these cute candy corn, or as my adorable 3 year old niece calls them, "tandy torn"! She walked in the house the other day and exclaimed that to her grandma (Michael's mom). She was so curious as to why there was candy on the mantel. Guess that's a compliment to me how well they turned out because she thought they were real. Okay, maybe that's a stretch for the imagination of a 3 year old, but it was cute nonetheless. She was a little saddened to find out they were only made of wood and paint. :)

  My wonderful hubby used a circular saw to cut the triangles, then my sis-in-law Janessa showed me how to use a jigsaw to round the corners. I then sanded and painted these cuties to my heart's content. It took a little while because I may have "accidentally" painted orange on the bottom at the beginning. Thanks to my bro-in-law Leland who thought that something looked weird, then proceeded to laugh heartily and repeatedly throughout the night as I white washed the entire thing to make up for the mistake. Oops! :) In the end, they turned out quite cute and adorable. They fit perfectly on a fireplace mantel or a side table!

 This past weekend my friend Dani and I decided we needed another craft to occupy our time while the boys were at the General Priesthood Meeting for Conference. So, Dani found this cute idea from the internet (not sure where) and we went to work. Michael cut out the boards before he left. (I'm still afraid to use a circular saw. Maybe I'll conquer that fear someday?) 

The rest was pretty simple as all it requires is some paint and a bit of free-handing the faces. Not too shabby for a girl who can draw stick figures and that is about it, if I do say so myself! After the pain dried, I just hot glued burlap onto the cute mummy's body and used dowels to secure the boards to the bottom. Pretty easy, no?

I still think this needs something, like maybe painting purple stripes on the base. There's plenty of black, I think it could benefit from one more pop of Halloween color. What do you think? Any fun crafts you've been doing this year to get into the Fall spirit?

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Peach Scones and Life Changes

 Lots of changes have been happening in the Black family this past month, and it seems like the changes seem to coincide with the changing weather and seasons!

We are nearing the end of our time spent living in Michael's parent's basement as we are UNDER CONTRACT with a house!!! I've hesitated to say anything to the general public (especially over the internet) as one never knows what may happen or if things will fall through, but we are very positive and sure that this will be our home. Things have gone smoothly and well throughout the contract phase and we should be in our new home by the end of October!

So, in the spirit of the end of summer and beginning of fall, I'm sharing a recipe that I have had stashed in my repertoire for a very long time and just never had a chance to bake, much less share here.  

Fresh Peach Scones. 'Nuff said.

Fresh Peach Scones
(adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tbs. baking powder

4 tbs. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

4 tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. almond extract

1 cup diced, peeled peaches
4 tbs. heavy cream, for brushing the tops of the scones

2 tbs. cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling on top

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl or food processor, mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Drop the cubes of butter over the flour mixture. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender, or pulse the food processor. Work until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together the heavy cream, egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Pour over the flour and butter mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix. Place dough in large bowl, and with a spoon or spatula, carefully fold in the chopped peaches.
  4. Transfer the dough to a heavily floured surface and gently form into a ball. Flatten the dough into a long rectangle, about 3/4 inches high. Using a pizza cutter, cut scones into triangle wedges and place on a baking sheet.
  5. Lightly brush scones with heavy cream and sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Let scones cool on a wire rack before serving.
Makes about 14 scones

On another sweet note, work is picking up and growing and I'm LOVING it. I have about 10-11 patients right now and it just keeps growing and expanding. Access is definitely using me for marketing purposes, so I'm busy with those kinds of presentations out in the community. I actually never thought that my face would be out there so much as a music therapist for hospice. It's kind of interesting and scary that I am a huge representation of music therapy here in the state of Utah. 

I've had some really cute patient stories as of late and lots of fun experiences with them. What I love about music therapy is that it is an essential service for hospice to offer, as patients need something that is enjoyable and not just a nurse visit with poking and prodding. Music therapy is all about quality of life. I had a patient tell me yesterday, "You just made my day". And I believe it is true. It makes me happy to know that the patients are loving it so much so that they are mentioning it to other IDT members. I receive positive feedback from nurses and social workers at every meeting. 

The Music Studio

We are truly blessed right now as my voice students have picked up also. Their styles are varying and I'm loving teaching a folk singer/guitarist, an R&B singer, and a young man who wants to be on the X-Factor. Another student to be coming soon. It is so much fun as I see them grow in their talent and enjoy that growth also!

 It seems like, once again, the Lord is in control and knew what would be the right time for certain things to happen and he made them happen so perfectly for our needs. Looking forward to moving into our home in a couple weeks or so and making it our own. We have some fun remodel plans and can't wait to show them to you on here. Be prepared, you might get bored with all the "house" posts that are forthcoming!

Hope you're all having a wonderful Saturday and those who are watching General Conference are enjoying it and getting answers to your questions and prayers. I love this time of year when spiritual inspiration is so strong and answered through the Lord's mouthpieces!