One of the ways Kristine and I like to relax is to draw on our chalkboard wall as we listen to music. My brothers are working on recording a new album, so we used one of their songs as our inspiration. Part of that song accompanies this video. Kristine and I both have our own styles of thinking visually as we create abstract shapes and patterns as a way of processing our thoughts. This is the first time we’ve done this together and merged our two styles into the same image. The song was written and performed by Seth Gilbertson and produced by Steve Gilbertson.
I have the privilege of designing many of the graphics used for our church’s message series. The graphics are used as the title slides for PowerPoint as well as a header image on the bulletins. This design is for a series our pastor is beginning in February, titled “Person of Interest.” The sermons will be focusing on some of the lesser-known individuals in the Bible.
One of my family’s birthday traditions is decorating a cake for the birthday person. Growing up mom would let us pick out the shape and design we wanted for our cake and then she would decorate it for us. As we got older we helped her make and decorate our birthday cake. Everything I know about cake decorating I learned from my mom. This year I made my cake by myself.
Starting out, I frosted the sides and top edges of the cake with homemade white buttercream frosting.
Then I colored a portion of the frosting that I’d put aside sky blue. I dropped the blue frosting on top of the cake and blended it into the white frosting with a knife.
I decided to do the writing next (usually my mom and I put the writing on last when we make cakes together, but I decided to put it on at this point so I’d know how much space I needed/had left over for the rest of the cake design). Piping in writing is challenging! Before I piped the writing in on the cake I practiced on a piece of parchment paper so I had an idea of how large to make the writing and what sort of letter spacing I would need.
I forgot to take a picture of just the tree structure… so here ya go, two steps in one… I mixed some coco powder in to a portion of the buttercream frosting to make a rich brown frosting then used a star tip to create bark for my tree. Next I put two different buttercream icing greens (one a bit more yellow-green, the other more blue-green) together in the icing bag with a leaf tip so I’d get variegated leaves. I piped on leaves wherever I thought the tree needed some leaves. I could have stopped there, but mom gave me a few new tips for my birthday so I decided to use more of them and add some flowers to the tree.
Orange is my favorite color… so, orangey-peach flowers! Next I added yellow centers to the flowers.
I made homemade vanilla extract for my mom, mother-in-law, and myself for Christmas this year. I started it in October since it needs at least two months to age. It takes:
Vanilla beans (I used Madagascar vanilla beans) – 3 bean pods per 8 oz of vodka
Clean, sterile bottle(s)
Next, I poured the vodka in over the vanilla beans. Once that was done I sealed the bottles and let them sit on a shelf in a cool, dark area. About once a week I’d shake the bottles so the vanilla and vodka would mix. Two months later…gorgeous vanilla extract ready for gifting! Simple, inexpensive, and a fun gift!