Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Flower Cake Decorating Ideas

I've been busy making something like forty Squidoo lenses since the new point system was instituted.  Nothing like an instant reward system to get me motivated.  I made a series of cake decorating pages that all started with one idea:  Flower Cakes.  It was definitely one of those times where one thing led to another...and another...and another.

I knew about icing flowers.  I'd tried cake decorating when I was a girl, although I never worked up to making roses.  Here is my lens about making flowers from different types of icing and frosting:  Icing Flowers

Fondant is that edible clay type material that you see on all the fancy cakes and cookies these days.  You can get a lot of detail and the flowers you make will stay in place without melting.  See this lens for more information about how to make them:  Fondant Flowers  

And if you really want to go deluxe in cutting your fondant you need the new Cricut electronic die cut machine made specifically for the kitchen.  There is even a Martha Stewart edition.  I'm trying to gather together as much information as I can about it on that lens, although since it's so new there really isn't all that much out there yet.

You can also make Chocolate Flowers.  The interesting thing about putting that page together was that I discovered that there are such things as chocolate flowers that you plant, chocolate indicating color.  There are even garden plans for chocolate gardens.  So the lens ended up being about both. 

I also discovered that cakes are decorated with inedible flowers made from paper and clay.  My Paper Flower lens talks about how to make paper flowers for many different purposes.  Clay Flowers aren't easy to find.  I would want to use real clay made from earth with anything edible.  Most of the clay flowers I found were made from synthetic materials.  (Although now that I think about it you'd probably want to be careful with the dyes in paper, too.)  Some of the orchids that people make from air dry synthetic clay are so lifelike.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Squid Angel Blessings: Repurpose Altoid Tins

Somewhere in my art studio (or glorified junk room - however you want to look at it) is a collection of altoid tins just waiting to be turned into some sort of altered art. 
What is altered art, you ask?  It's when you take something intended for one purpose and then alter it by turning into an art piece. This process almost always involves some sort of collage.  
Part of my inability to get going with this project is that I don't really know what to make.  I think the idea I like the most is to make tiny little pocket shrines.  There are many ideas at this lens I blessed today:  Altoids Tins.  
Meanwhile, I had no idea that there were so many varieties of Altoids these days.  Here in my area I usually only see the original flavor and the gum, although I got some sours once.  I'd heard about the chocolate dipped mints but haven't actually seen them in the wild.  I would like to try the spearmint flavor as the peppermint is really too strong for me, as well as the liquorice, ginger and creme de menthe.
Here are some of the other flavors:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Squid Angel Blessing: Wind Chimes

I recently went to an art fair where there was an artist who made wind chimes out of old silverware.  It was beautiful to look at and beautiful to hear.  Since then I have wondered just how hard it would be to make my own.  This morning I happened upon this lens about just that topic.  Wind Chimes  It is simple and to the point.  It looks like a good place to start.

Woodstock Percussion is the maker of the wind chimes I have always wanted to buy. They have such great sound and variety.  I would love to hear these chimes tuned to Amazing Grace.  This is going on my wish list.

Wind Chimes

Deep, doleful tones
Randomly punctuate the evening

Bright crystal tinkles
Fill the morning air

Zen bamboo percussion
Accompanies the storm

All Rights Reserved, Copyright Gretchen Little
Do not print or republish

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Squid Angel Blessing: Art Journals

I really like looking at art journals but, unless some major revelation happens, I don't think I like making them.  I went to an altered book workshop last week that left me bored and angry.  I want to like making them but I don't get the same thrill from actually doing it as I do from thinking about doing it. I found this art journaling lens by lensmaster theraggededge.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Squid Angel Blessings: Fire Bowls and Fire Pits

I'm on a mission to "dominate" my yard this summer.  It's a big yard with lots of trees and flowerbeds.  The last few years parts of it have gotten out of control.  I have always loved bonfires, but now we have restrictions on when and how big we can burn.  Put that together with seeing  my neighbor's pretty fire pit the other night and that led me on a search for a lens about gardens and places to have a fire in them.  I found Small Patio Designs and then Fire Bowls and Fire Pits by the same lensmaster.  These are beautiful lenses that have me salivating and eager to get back out in the garden.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Squid Angel Blessings: Voodoo Veves

I'm a psychic medium and I started learning about voodoo from the loas (or spirits) themselves before I met this lensmaster, Voodoomama.  One day an old black man came into my consciousness.  He was funny and made me laugh.  He wanted me to call him Mr. Peanut.  It wasn't until several years later when I started spending time with Voodoomama that I ran across something that said that Papa Legba loves peanuts.  That's when I knew, without a doubt, who that "old man" was.  He is a trickster at times, and he sure "tricked" me with the peanut thing.

He is also the gatekeeper into the Otherworld.  If you want to communicate with any of the other voodoo loa, you have to start with him.  That seems to be one of my functions in life, too, and I was born on April Fools Day so it's no wonder we are connected, even without my being a voodoo practitioner.

Voodoomama has written a great lens about Legba.  You can see it here:  Papa Legba.  But the lens I've blessed for today is about the veves, or ritual symbols of voodoo.  Each symbols represents a different loa.  Learn more about them here:  Ritual Symbols of the Gods and Goddesses:  Voodoo Veves

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Squidoo Angel Blessings: Paper Dolls and Tarot Art Dolls

Paper Dolls

When I was a girl in the 1960's I loved my paper dolls.  I still do, I guess, as my favorite part of being in the online virtual world of Second Life is buying and changing the clothes of my little puppet self (or avatar).  I also got to play with my mom's paper dolls from the 1930's and 40's.  The gowns were so glamorous!
A Paper Doll Childhood, created by KarenTBTEN, has a lot of useful links and resources as well as pretty pictures that inspire me to want to get out my old paper dolls and play with them again.

Tarot Art Dolls

I have long had an interest in tarot cards.  These days I access my intuition more directly but there is still something very alluring about these cards that are like illustrations without a written story.  I also love the relatively new fiber art form of making "art dolls"...dolls that don't always represent the human form as we know it.  So I was happy to find a lens about Tarot Art Dolls by MeltedRachel, one of my favorite artist lensmasters.  She writes about her inspiration, shows the initial sketch, the painting, and then the doll.  Cool!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Squid Angel Blessings: Watercolor Pencils and Feng Shui Symbols

Watercolor Pencils

I'm sure you've heard of colored pencils, but did you know there are watercolor pencils?  You draw with them but they are also water soluble so you can get watercolor effects.  Lensmaster Mona Majorowicz, or WildFacesGallery, has written a comprehensive lens, Learn About Watercolor Pencils, that explains the different types of watercolor pencils she uses.  It's great information for either a beginner or someone who already uses them.

Feng Shui Symbols

Every now and then I get the urge to dabble with Feng Shui, the Chinese art of placing objects and furniture - well, everything really - in order to change the energy in your life and clear away any blockages to you living the life you desire.  A couple of weeks ago I wanted to find just the symbols that are used for different purposes.  Today I found this lens, 10 Symbols Behind The Art of Feng Shui,  while looking for something else.  (Isn't that always the way?)  Lensmaster monarch13 clearly outlines what the different traditional Feng Shui symbols are and where to use them.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Squid Angel Blessings: No Bake Cookie Recipes and Spellcrafting

I was looking for recipes for no bake cookies because I had committed to making some for a local event and then ended up being in it, leaving no time to bake cookies.

No Bake Cookie Recipes

I found this fantastic first lens by lensmaster CookieFan.  In No Bake Cookie Recipes she presents us with some favorite no bake recipes such as rice krispie treats with variations.  The photos are fantastic.  I assume she took them as there is no attribution otherwise that I saw.

Working Magic and Casting Spells

For the real low down on spells and what they really are I found an equally fantastic lens on that topic:  Witch Crafts:  Magic and Spells by M_S_Beltran.  Although lengthy, this is one of the most readable explanations of what magic really is and how to use it effectively that I have ever found.  He takes it out of the realm of Harry Potter or demonology and shows it for what it is...a way to discipline yourself in order to reach your goals.  We all use magic all the time.  Any time you try to change anyone else, you are using a form of magic.  That includes teaching people to fear witches!

If you have ever been curious about what spells do and how to use them, this lens is a great place to start.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Squid Angel Blessings: Peyote Stitch, Canadian Music, Kansas, and a Hawaiian Recipe

I've just been made a Squid Angel for the next three months which gives me the opportunity to give lenses I find a little extra boost.  I'm going to feature the blessed lenses here on my blog as well.

Peyote Stitch

Peyote Bead Work:  Turning Glass Into Cloth tells some interesting stories of how lensmaster Margo_Arrowsmith found women who were doing intricate beadwork for very little monetary compensation.  It also shows how to do the peyote beading stitch.

Canadian Music

Obama's Canadian Playlist ~~ 49 Songs That Define Canada and Our Music (created by Treasures-by-Brenda) is about how the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation created playlist of songs that they thought represented Canada to give to President Barack Obama.
I was lucky enough to know a Canadian who loved music and he introduced me to so many great bands and musicians I wouldn't have known about otherwise.  It's really a shame that people here in the US aren't exposed to more of them.  So of course I had to bless this lens.


I have a good friend who just moved from near where I live in Iowa to Kansas to be near her daughters and her new grandchild.  We used to go on a lot of day trips together, driving all around eastern Iowa, northern Illinois, and even Wisconsin.  Now I'll have to get to Kansas so we can have fun discovering what all there is to see there.

I happened across this lens completely by accident on my first day as Squid Angel:  Must See Places in Kansas, created by of_different_sorts.  As much as I love to read guidebooks and research places to visit on the Web, sometimes it's nice to have the most interesting places listed up front in an easy to find way.  This lens does just that by listing the Top 10 Places to See in Kansas.

Hawaiian Food

I have been learning about the culture of Hawaii lately through a group I belong to which practices Hawaiian shamanism, or Huna.  I found this quirky Hawaiian recipe lens in the Travel category, Loco Moco, A Traditional Hawaiian Breakfast Food, created by Susan52.  The story goes that it was created by hungry surfers getting ready to go out and spend a long day in the water.  You'll have to look at the lens to see just what it consists of. :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Altered Art Vintage Valentines

When I was first learning how to use Photoshop I had a little art gallery in the virtual world of Second Life. It wasn't until Valentine's Day came around that I got over the biggest hump of the learning curve, making digital collages by blending flower photos I had taken with vintage images of couples.

Since then the gallery has been dismantled but now the the collages are available as cards in my Zazzle store.

Altered Art Vintage Valentines

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Midwinter Garden Dreams

I decided to make a couple of lenses that are like newsstands for gardening magazines. Really fun to find them and categorize them.

Gardening Magazines
Online Gardening Magazines