Friday, January 25, 2013

Special Teddy Bear Muffins

This morning we decided we wanted to bake something special. So, after putting on our aprons we headed down to the kitchen.
Our mom loves to bake and has all sorts of baking stuff but out of all of the stuff she has there is this one very special muffin pan that we are beary excited about. We think she must have gotten it to make muffins just for us.  It makes the most BEE-U-TEE-FULL muffins in the shape of eight little Teddy bears.  Each one of the bears is different, sort of like we all are. She told us it was made by the John Wright Company and that she has had it for nearly 30 years.
This is from the bottom side

And this is the top side. Isn't it just the sweetest pan you ever laid eyes on??? We asked our mom if she would help us use it to bake some muffins for our hug. We need her help lifting it because it weighs a ton.  Mom says it’s so heavy because it is made from something called cast iron. It looks really old and before we can use it mom says we have to season it. We guess that means we have to sprinkle salt on it.
Mom wanted to know what sort of muffins we are going to bake and when we told her we hadn’t decided yet she said she’d season the pan while we look through the recipe boxes and figure it out. We looked at the recipes but couldn't find one we both could settle on.

That's not a problem when you're experienced bakers like we are. We can invent a recipe for the best Teddy bear muffins that there ever was. It’s not all that hard to invent a recipe you know. You just need to start with a basic recipe for something and then get creative. Anyway, that’s what our mom told us.

So...After checking both pantries to see what we have to work with we put together a  recipe and we gathered together all of the things we are going to need for our muffins and then we start measuring and mixing. Here's the recipe and we're naming it:

Bellamine & Wendy’s Sweet Potato Teddy Bear Muffins
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup mashed canned sweet potatoes
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Heat oven to 400 degrees F (204.4 degrees C) for ordinary muffin pans or if your pan is cast iron like ours 375 degrees F (190.5 degrees C) Spray muffin cups or teddy bears, the ones in the pan not each other with cooking spray.
In a medium sized bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; set aside. In a larger bowl beat the egg slightly with whisk then stir in milk, mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar and butter; stirring until thoroughly blended. Stir in dry ingredients just until flour is moistened. Batter should be lumpy. Spoon batter into the Teddy bears (or muffin cups) filling them 2/3 full. Sprinkle each bear with 1/4 teaspoon of sugar. We used this really big chunky sugar that we think is called Turbinado sugar or something like that. It’s supposed to be healthier than regular sugar but we used it anyway cause we think it will look good on the muffin bears. Hey Wendy, We're sugaring their back sides. heheheheheheheh
Put in oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Ours went the 20 minutes and got really puffed up and are the perfect color of little Teddy bears.  

Remove from pan immediately and gobble them down while they’re still really warm with mugs of hot chocolate. Be beary careful you don’t burn yourself.

They're almost too cute to eat but we ate them anyway.
If you don’t have canned sweet potatoes you can use canned pumpkin instead. We wanted to make pumpkin muffins but we didn’t have any pumpkin cause Mom used it up baking bread and pies at Christmas and never got around to buying more. Don’t worry, we were very helpful and put it on her shopping list. We think that the next time we bake these muffins we’re going to use honey in the place of the sugar in the recipe. We didn’t try it this time cause that’s another thing Mom forgot to get at the market and we’re running dangerously low. As in we might run out if we’re not beary careful. We added that to her list as well. The hug was beary impressed with our baking skills or maybe it’s like our mom says and they just like sweets. Cocoa is one more thing we had to add to the shopping list. We’re starting to wonder if we should be worried about our mom’s forgetfulness. Forgetting to buy honey and cocoa? Really Mom what’s next? Are you going to forget the Peanut butter and miniature marsh mellows?
We’re thinking about making a batch of the Teddy muffins to give to Santa to see if he gives them the Santa Seal of Approval. It’s a special award that is reserved for only the beary best of whatever he decides to bestow the award on.
Now that we have filled our tummies we’re going to visit with our friends to see what they’ve been up to.
Bellamine & Wendy

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I thought you might like to see what I’ve being doing since the last post where I complained and whined and moaned about having trouble coming up with something to do with my free time and not so creative spirit.  I’m still not feeling very creative but I have managed to put together two new additions to the family and have made a big mess in the process. I mentioned the mess for those who have expressed concern over my work area being too neat.

Meet Olive, a sweet little girl who doesn’t say much but who has been great company. Hey Sweetie pie, you have bed head!

She was the first to come along but was soon joined by Lavanda who is just as sweet but a lot more talkative and outgoing. Lavanda's hair reminds me of the character in the movie 'Brave'. Don't you just love all of that red hair? 

They both still need clothing since nothing in the trunk fits either of them.

They were lucky to find some pajamas that came close to their size so they don’t have to sit around in their birthday suits as cold as this house gets during the long winter months.

 That's right girls, you may as well get comfortable this may take a while.  

As you can see here, Lavanda is the taller of the two measuring 13 ½ inches tall while Olive is just less than 13 inches tall.

Lavanda has strong ideas about what she wants to wear but Olive has expressed no opinion at all so little Miss Lavanda will more than likely get her clothes first. It’s the squeaky wheel principle at work.
It will take me some time to cloth both of them as they’ll need shoes and socks along with everything else and the first step is making patterns.

 So here they both sit..........waiting

and waiting.....

I guess I'd better get started on drawing those patterns. They're making me nervous staring at me like that.
I want to wish you a happy and creative week and as always thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I didn’t give up my sorting and cleaning after my last post like I had planned on doing. I’d told you the heap blocking the closet door wasn’t a concern but I fibbed. I was just tired of cleaning and thought that since that heap wasn’t in the center of the room I could live with it for a while longer but once I’d acknowledged its existence I found myself becoming obsessed with it. I couldn’t get my mind off of it. That’s what happens to me sometimes. I become obsessed with things. So the mountain went from this

to this.

You’d be amazed by how much lighter it is in here now that the window isn’t being blocked.  
I can actually stand in front of the closet and open the doors which I haven’t been able to do in a very long time. Once I was able to open the doors there was a closet behind them that was begging to be organized and I knew that I wasn’t going to be happy until I did something about bringing order to the ciaos. I even made that trip to drop of all of the junk donations I have been gathering together for the thrift store. I have to admit that I nearly dislocated my shoulder patting myself on the back for finally taking care of that mess.  I’m now way ahead on my spring cleaning.
After all of the work I found myself completely lacking any spark of creativity or desire to do anything artistic. Not even the slightest flicker of inspiration. Nothing, Nada, zilch!!   The whole brain had become one big dead zone! The pile of doll parts didn’t cry out for my attention. The stack of canvases wasn’t calling my name. I’d thought about starting a quilt but couldn’t make up my mind on pattern or fabric. I gave up the quilt idea after spending one whole day cutting up fabric and then deciding I wasn’t feeling in a quilting mood after all.
My next thought was I could start making those beaded ornament covers that I want to decorate my tree with next Christmas and give to some of those special friends but since that would mean a trip to the craft store for supplies I nixed that idea for the time being. One of my goals for the new year is to use up some of the supplies I have on hand before buying anything more. Let's see how long I can do that, shall we?  
Then I considered working on some ACEOs hoping that I would start feeling creative. Even a little spark would be welcome right about now and since they are so small  it wouldn't even have to be that big a spark. Once that was decided I got out the boxes with my pens, pencils, paints and papers and actually managed to do two before deciding that I wasn't feeling it so that was the end of that!

The little bear cub looks a lot like I feel lately. Ho hum....

I guess I’m suffering Christmas withdrawals or maybe it’s just the January blues. Whatever it is, I’m in a slump. To try to get myself out of this slump I told myself I had to pick one thing to work on and then keep working on that thing until I felt like I have gained a mastery of whatever I chose to do.  Sounded like a plan to me but that’s as far as it went until yesterday morning when I talked myself into working on making some of these

I know that this makes little or no sense since I have no need for any more heads rolling around waiting for bodies and clothes. Could it be I like working on faces more than I like sewing clothes? Probably. I figure that if I make a head a day by this time next month I’ll have had my fill of them and then I can move on to making something else. I find that working with colored pencils on fabric to be quite challenging and I have no idea why it's taken me this long to discover how well the two work together. Who says old bags can't learn new tricks?
Now that I think about it, last year at this time I was sculpting heads using paper mache clay and didn't get tired of making them until I had about 2 dozen of the darn things. (Five of them still waiting for bodies.) Here I am doing the same thing only now I'm sculpting with fabric.

Am I the only one who is going through a dry spell? Are you feeling creative or are you like me and in need of a little spark? When you get in a slump what do you do to get out of it? I've always said that I never get bored because I never can find enough time to do all of the things I like to do. Maybe this is what it feels like to be bored. Maybe I've got to find something to do that I haven't got around to trying yet just as long as it doesn't require supplies I don't already have.
Take care and be creative if you can and as always, thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


I almost always make the most terrible mess in my Craft Room/Art Studio/Sewing Room in the months leading up to Christmas so once the holiday is over and year has come to an end there is only one thing to do….. Yes, you’ve guessed it. It’s time to rent a fork lift and steam shovel and maybe even an earth mover to take care of the mess. Okay, maybe the heavy equipment isn’t necessary but it is really tempting. What I did instead was spend two days in here sorting and putting away and throwing things out. You heard me right, I threw some things out. Not many things but a few things anyway. I still haven’t emptied the waste basket so if I wanted I could take a photo for proof.
I mentioned in my last post that I’d brought home a gargantuan heap of doll parts when I helped Maggie so I decided now was a good time to sort through those too. Just so you know I wasn’t exaggerating about the gargantuan heap I took some photos.

This is the heap of dolls that I sorted into containers


Here are two of the containers of ones that are close to being completed.

I also took photos of my neat work area. I even vacuumed and dusted. I had to empty the canister twice and there isn’t a lot of floor space to vacuum.   
There’s still a pile of junk, miscellaneous valuable items heaped in front of the closet door. Since I won’t need to get into the closet for a while I’m not too concerned.   

Since I finished cleaning in here I find that I really don’t want to mess things up again so I guess this is the end of me making anything ever again.  You believe that, don't you?
Actually, it’s almost too neat and it’s making me nervous. I think I’m going to have to make a mess really soon.
I've been trying to post this off and on for the past several hours but have had a terrible time because for whatever reason blogger won't let me upload photos in the usual way. Have you had any problems uploading photos to your posts?
Now that I've finally gotten this post finished I have to start putting away the Christmas things. I’m not looking forward to doing it because it always makes me a bit sad and wish I could leave everything the way it is right now.
Have a good day and as always, thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


This tale starts with my sister Maggie.  Those of you who know Maggie and visit her blog Off My Rocker know that one of the things Maggie does is make dolls. Not so long ago I helped her pack up her craft rooms and she gave me a number of doll parts and nearly completed dolls that she had for one reason or another decided not to finish. Among the gargantuan heap of miscellaneous doll parts were two that I assume were meant to be elves.
Once I brought them home I pretty much forgot about them. I’d tossed them on a pile of things I’d been gathering to donate to the thrift store because they were too large to fit in any of my regular storage containers and there they lay. Naked, although one was wearing a brown stocking cap, with no hands or feet and their faces with only hints of needle sculpting.  Now that pile of crap donations for the thrift store was blocking the door to the closet where I store my Christmas gift bags and wrap so I had to move it aside and there they were lying in the pile of discards looking right at home there. Neither of them was “speaking” to me as to what they were to become and for a moment I was tempted to slit a seam or two and salvage the fiberfill and forget about them. I was really close to doing just that but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. One of the reasons I’d brought them home in the first place is I can’t stand to see anything with a head get discarded. Yes, I know, it’s silly but what can I say? It is what it is.
After the crazy days leading up to Christmas were behind me and the big to-do with friends and family was a thing of the past I had some time to relax. I also had time to clean up the mess I’d made with all of the sewing and gift making and while putting things away I noticed the two elves again and boy was I surprised when they spoke to me. Well, not literally of course but I could finally see what they wanted to be and by golly, I was going to give them a chance, and faces and clothes and maybe even some personality if it was the last thing I did. The last thing that is before cleaning up my mess because that is number one of the list of goals I have set for myself as part of my self-improvement for the New Year. Number two is drink more water so you can see I’m really serious about these goals.

I've always loved shoes like these.

So, here they are the two newest elves in Santa’s work shop. The one wearing red and green is Jingles and the other one is Loomis.
They both stand approximately 15 inches tall and are made from unbleached muslin with faces that are needle sculpted and colored in with pencils. This is the first time I’ve made a doll that I’ve used pencil instead of paint and I really like the way it turned out.
I jokingly mentioned goals earlier I have made some goals that I wish to work on this year. I don’t make resolutions because I just don’t have that kind of commitment but I do have goals I would like to see come about. How about you? Do you look at the new year before you and think of it as an empty journal to fill? Do you make resolutions or do you set goals of things you wish to accomplish or do differently? I know that many people start out doing something major like stop smoking or start a new diet or exercise program. The goals I’ve set are nothing major but small things like get a few paintings done this year. I would also like to finish some of the projects that I’ve started and this year I want to start working on my Christmas cards and gifts early enough that I’m finished with everything months before Christmas to avoid the stress of trying to get everything done at the last possible moment.
So here’s to a brand new year to make with it what we can and hopefully we will come out of it at the other end as someone who has achieved what we’ve set out to do. Now I must go and make a birthday card for my daughter. It's her birthday today and here I am waiting until the last moment to make her card. That is so me. Is there a chance I'll ever change? Naw, it's too late for me to really make that big of a change.
As always, thanks for stopping by.