The Fine Art of Papercutting

The art of the papercut has fascinated me for some time and I have been thinking about it a lot lately whilst contemplating decorative projects for baby’s room.

Maybe it’s because I have never delved very deep into it myself. Maybe it’s the delicacy or intricacy of it or perhaps it’s because something so unique and timeless can come from something as simple as paper. Whatever the attraction may be, I wanted to share some of my favorite papercut artists and inspirations with you.

Peter Callesen‘s work is awe-inspiring. He works in all sizes and his creativity in composition is incredibly unique. His subjects are clever and thought-provoking and sometimes a bit sad. Almost all of his pieces are 3 dimensional.
His thoughts on his media: “I find this materialization of a flat piece of paper into a 3D form almost a magic process – or maybe one could call it obvious magic, because the process is obvious and the figures still stick to their origin, without the possibility of escaping.”

 

Peter Callesen

 

 

 

Peter Callesen

 

 

Fall-detail by Peter Callesen

 

 

Peter Callesen

 

Can you believe that skeleton is made out of paper?!

 

 

Elsa Mora is a very busy little bee.  Just stop by one of her dozen blogs about dolls, papercutting, or fashion to check in and see! You may discover her jewelry or illustrations there too.

I really love Elsa’s work as it is somehow fantastical and personal at the same time. You can almost read about her experiences in the cuts and veins of her work.  She layers characters within one another to almost make you feel like a peeping tom.

Whoa, right?

 

 

Have you ever torn a leaf with your fingers? Ever tried to peel the leaf away from it’s veins? Well I have, and I always fail to do it perfectly. This is just one reason I am completely in love with Jenny Lee Fowler‘s brilliantly executed leaf silhouette portraits. And guess what else? She does traditional freehand silhouettes:

“I cut this type of portrait using the traditional freehand method, by observing a person in profile (sitting in front of me or on a computer screen) and cut their likeness directly into the paper. It’s much like gestural drawing, only with scissors.”

And as if those aren’t impressive enough, she also works with birch. I really love all of her techniques whether it be the simple yet classic silhouette or her snowflake style or flat papercuttings. Look at these and be instantly transported to a beautiful forest surrounded by deer and sunshine.

 

I don’t know about you but I’m so inspired, I’m going to go out and get myself a self-healing mat right away!

 

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October 14, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Art and Neat stuff. 6 comments.

Household Hints pg. 6

 

Hehe. Number 27 sounds awesome.

28: I learned this from a woman who actually knew nothing about cooking but for some reason, knew this trick and I love it.

34: Sounds like one of those depression era tricks when times were incredibly tough.

October 8, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . 1001 Household Hints. Leave a comment.

Perfect Pizza for the Pack

It doesn’t matter what coast you’re from. Thin and crispy, thin and floppy, thick, deep dish…

Pizza is delicious. Pizza is amazing. It is versatile.
It can be topped with greasy meats or healthy vegetables. It can seem fancy schmancy, funky or classic.

It is also one of the most profitable foods in the food service industry. It’s fun for kids to make.
All of these things mean that it is a good idea to make your own at home. Don’t be scared. You will see the words yeast and rise in the following recipe but don’t run! It’s a single bowl method and I was testing ingredient combinations for this crust before I knew how yeast worked. What’s better?
This recipe can make 3 different styles of crust. Don’t believe me? Just try it. This is a great recipe for those who are afraid of yeast and bread baking because it’s almost foolproof.

Yuh’ welcome.

Perfectly Versatile Pizza Crust
(from Wendi Kent)

you will need:

1 packet (1/4 oz. or 1 1/2 tsp.) Active dry yeast
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour plus some for dusting
(for whole wheat crust: exchange 1/2 cup of white for wheat)
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp olive oil (plus a little for brushing)
1/2 Tbsp honey (or sugar)
3/4 cup 105-110° water
cornmeal or semolina for dusting
Toppings

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients (including sugar if you’re using it instead of honey) except water and honey. Add the honey to your hot water and then temp it again to be sure it is still the proper temperature. Add water to mix.

(But, Wendi, it looks like a big mess and that’s not how you do it when you make bread and shouldn’t I do the yeast and water different and are you sure this is going to work? Chill out. It will work.)

Combine until dough forms. Once combined, knead 5 to 15 times on a floured surface.  You are kneading JUST until dough becomes resilient unlike bread.
Cover with a light towel and let rest. Choose your style below.

Fresh basil leaves, sauce and fresh balls of mozzarella make a classic Margherita Pizza.

For thin, crispy crust: Preheat your oven to 400°. Let dough rest only 5 minutes. (It still should have risen a bit.) On lightly floured surface, roll dough out with rolling-pin. Sprinkle pan lightly with cornmeal or semolina and lay crust on top. You will likely have some dough left after trimming the edges. I like to make bread sticks from this (below). Brush with olive oil. Perforate dough a few times lightly with fork or pizza cutter. Pre bake 8-15 minutes or just until light golden. Remove and add toppings. Finish baking.

For thin, soft crust: Preheat oven to 400°. Let dough rest only 5 minutes. (It still should have risen a bit.) On lightly floured surface, roll dough out with rolling-pin. Sprinkle pan lightly with cornmeal or semolina and lay crust on top. You will likely have some dough left after trimming the edges. I like to make bread sticks from this (below). Brush with olive oil. Perforate dough a few times lightly with fork or pizza cutter. Add toppings. Bake until crust is golden and toppings are done.

For thicker crust: Preheat oven to 400°. Let dough rest 10 to 15 minutes. (It should have risen quite a bit.) On lightly floured surface, roll dough out with rolling-pin to desired thickness. Sprinkle pan lightly with cornmeal or semolina and lay crust on top. Brush with olive oil. Perforate dough a few times lightly with fork or pizza cutter. Pre bake 8-15 minutes or just until light golden. Remove and add toppings. Finish baking.

For bread sticks: Take excess dough and roll out into long strand(s). (I like to twist two together.) Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Bake until golden and serve with sauce. Nummy and no waste!

Print Pizza Crust Recipe!

Fresh basil leaves, sauce and fresh balls of mozzarella make a classic Margherita Pizza.

October 5, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Recipes. 3 comments.

The Wonder of Granny Squares

My Nana gave me some old crochet magazines many years ago and I love some of the things in them.

Like, how about this classic, patriotic granny square vest?

*Giggle*

Seriously though, How gorgeous is this child?!

October 1, 2010. Tags: , , . Art and Neat stuff, Uncategorized. 3 comments.

Household Hints pg.5

16 is a great one I read about a while ago. It really works!

Um….I love number 20.

This entire page is really meant for southerners. I mean, it’s all about how to use fat and grease to make things yummy!

October 1, 2010. Tags: , , , . 1001 Household Hints. 5 comments.

Needles and Threads

Recently I have been battling the two projects I have and have had on my needles for some time now. A nice sweater for RPK to celebrate his new job and first fall and winter here in Madison and a pair of socks for him. The sweater is being done in a sport weight which has planted the mental note in my brain to never, ever knit a large sweater in a sport weight ever again and the socks are my first toe-up socks. They feel fantastic but I’m having a LOT of problems with Wendy Johnson’s book and having to find my answers and tips elsewhere on the internet. Both of these items, being for a 6’1″ tall man are quite large and seem to be taking me forever. I’ve completely lost count of the number of increases I have had to do on the sweater.

Now, I am very happy to be adding some very different thingies to my knitting queue. Some much smaller things.
Things such as these:

Tiny Shoes by Ysolda Teague

Elijah and Sophie also by Ysolda Teague

Aviatrix by Justine Turner
This adorable one (and baby) made by RogueSheep

© FrenchPressKnits

And a cute teddy bear by Debbie Bliss

Are you seeing a theme here?

O.K. I’m sure you get it but just in case,

Meet my newest distraction:

9 weeks, 4 days

We were still up to our necks in boxes, unpacking bubble wrap and we had only been in our new home for 6 days before we received this wonderful news!  That puts me at beginning of my second trimester on Thursday. Due date at the moment is April 14th.

So yes, I am totally going to use this as my excuse for being more absent lately but on the bright side, this is bringing numerous crafty pretty thingies to light that need to be made which will, of course, be documented here.

September 26, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Knitting, Me and Mine. 9 comments.

Crab Cakes with Spicy Remoulade

So in my opinion, there are 2 great ways to make crab cakes, although I could imagine myself saying, there is no wrong way to eat crab as I have an intense love for it.
Seriously, I could eat anything with crab…except soft shell when it has the eyeballs still in it…then I have to ask RPK very nicely if he will please remove the eyes for me so I can enjoy my beautiful soft shell crab sandwich and then he smiles and I have to look away and grimace and stick out my tongue while he plucks or cuts out or whatever he does with the eyes so I’m a happy lady again.

Anywhoo

First best way: below and pan fry.
Second best way: crab meat, bread crumbs, sauce, then bake.
Personally, I love both but this is how I make them most often because I particularly love the addition of the crispy outside with all the softness of the inner cake.

for Crab Cakes (makes 8-10)
adapted from many different sources
skill level: silly easy, really.

You will need:
16 oz crab meat (claw or lump, your preference)
1/2 cup diced chives
1 tsp Worcestershire
2 Tbsp mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
2 medium eggs, beaten
1 tsp spicy mustard
1 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning (my favorite is Tony Chachere’s but any Cajun mix will do)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 to 3/4 cup bread crumbs

In small bowl, beat eggs. Add all other ingredients minus crab and bread crumbs. Mix together well. Put crab in medium bowl. Add egg mixture and mix in well. Fold in bread crumbs. I fold in 1/2 of a cup (which is usually plenty) and feel the texture. If it seems to wet (if my eggs are too big) I add a bit more but remember, this is a crab cake, not a bread cake. You don’t want it so full of bread crumbs that all your egg gets soaked up. When you form it into a patty, you should get plenty of egg on your hands.

Form into patties no more than 1/2 inch thick. Heat 1 -2 Tbsp olive oil in skillet on medium. Cook patties 3-6 minutes or until thoroughly browned. Flip and add 1 more Tbsp olive oil. Cook 3-6 more minutes. Top with remoulade (below).

 

Print Crabcakes recipe

In my opinion, crab cakes are not crab cakes without an incredible sauce.
Here is your incredible sauce.
Do this 20 minutes ahead.

For Spicy Remoulade
adapted from many different sources
skill level:it only SOUNDS fancy
this recipe calls for diced items to be diced small

you will need:
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 red onion, diced, divided in half
1/4 cup chives, diced, divided in half
1 cup mayo
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp Tabasco
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp black pepper

In food processor, combine half of the bell pepper, all garlic, half of the chives, all mayo, and lemon juice. Process until smooth. Transfer to bowl and stir in all remaining ingredients. Refrigerate 20 minutes before serving.

Print recipe for Spicy Remoulade

September 22, 2010. Tags: , , . Recipes. 5 comments.

Breaking

Yes, I’ve been on a long, short term break. I contracted the inevitable cold after a visit to the local children’s museum (which was awesome otherwise) and it hit me really hard since it was in conjunction with a few other things. I’m fully aware I still owe the egg section 2 more how tos (scrambled and omelette) and I’ll also be clearing up some confusion about basic cooking terms. I have a couple more recipes to post (as I can’t very well stop eating now can I?) before I’ll have the energy to be back to my normal A.D.D. ways (talking about knitting, embroidery, paper arts, cooking, cleaning, making and breaking and then fixing again).

Look at this lovely stuff!

September 21, 2010. Art and Neat stuff, Knitting, Uncategorized. 7 comments.

Salted Shortbread Cookies

These cookies were originally made to go with a custard and blueberry compote that I make to offset the sweetness of the blueberry compote but I became hooked with the first bite. With age, my taste buds have learned to appreciate the salty sweet combination more and more.

What’s even better? Dip half in chocolate. Wham! You’re in heaven. Your welcome very much.

Adapted from Food and Wine 2010 Salted Shortbread Cookies

You will need:

2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp table salt plus 1/4 tsp kosher salt for sprinkling
1/4 cup sugar plus 1/2 tsp for sprinkling
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup unsalted butter, softened

For chocolate coating:

6oz semisweet chocolate
1/2 Tbs butter

In medium bowl, combine 2 tsp salt, 1/4 cup sugar and flour. In large bowl, combine softened butter and almond extract. Add flour mix to butter mix and rub until crumbly. Next, divide mixture into two piles. Put one pile in the center of a large piece of plastic wrap. Form into log shape and roll up in the wrap. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap to push the ends inward to get a good, firm log. Now, lightly press the top to flatten (and the bottom will flatten slightly as well). Repeat with the other pile. Refrigerate 25 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Carefully remove dough from plastic wrap. Rub a tad bit of butter or shortening onto a straight blade knife. Don’t use a serrated. Slice 1/2 inch cookies from logs and arrange on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. (Skip this next part if you want to add chocolate.) Combine 1/4 tsp Kosher salt and 1/2 tsp sugar and sprinkle over dough. Bake 25-35 minutes or until just barely browned. JUST BARELY! Remove and let cool.

To dip in chocolate:
In heatproof bowl, combine chocolate and butter. Melt over saucepan with hot water. Remove from heat as soon as smooth. Dip cookies (or brush the tops) and lay on parchment paper. Combine 1/4 tsp Kosher salt and 1/2 tsp sugar and sprinkle over cookies. Let cool until chocolate is set.

Print Salted Shortbread Cookies!

September 17, 2010. Tags: , . Recipes. 7 comments.

Household Hints pg.4

7 and 9 are great tips/reminders. You can make some killer broths this way.

11: Well, yes. Not better for us…but they certainly taste better.

13: I love stuffing meat. Flank steak, chicken breasts, pork tenderloin; all great meats to stuff and make go a little further.

15: oops. I didn’t realize some would get cut off. You just have to wait.

September 6, 2010. Tags: , , , . 1001 Household Hints. Leave a comment.

Household Hints pg. 3

September 6, 2010. Tags: , . 1001 Household Hints. Leave a comment.

1001 Household Hints

One of the many, many, treasures my husband had from his box of his grandparents belongings and handed directly over to me, was this. I also got my hands on some amazing vintage and even antique cookbooks but those will come later.

This is a particularly special treasure to me. I started my Tip o’ the Week entries so I would have a place to put all these types of things I had learned over the years. I am proud that I never pass on a tip unless I have personally tried and tested it and found it to be true.

I love books like these as they are a fun reminder to how much times haves changed, how far science has come, and how many tricks have really lasted through generations. This is from 1948.
I had so much fun reading through this and saying, “Hey! I knew that! I can’t believe that’s such an old trick.” or “Wow! I can’t wait to try that.” Funny thing is, today, we are so focused on being “green” that this lovely little booklet is perfectly back in style.

I am going to start scanning this lovely treasure and will try to post a page a week, although, you of course, may NOT, quote me on that.

(Don’t worry. I’ll repost the first page on the right again larger so you can actually read it.)

September 3, 2010. Tags: , , . 1001 Household Hints. 1 comment.

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