January 25, 2013
DIY Slide Film Lamp ShadePosted by Ellen Heck
It’s with great joy that I’m writing you from a new Cathy Heck Studio West (a.k.a. California Studio) closer to Berkeley and dangerously close to the Gourmet Ghetto. We moved over the holiday! There are still mobile heaps of miscellanea in a corner of each room, but those large-scale not-entirely-essential projects are slowly being crossed off the list… and here’s one right now!
Are you 30 or older? Do you have a bunch of slides of your artwork that you made to apply to art school/open calls which you can’t bear to throw away and which have moved with you to four different apartments in a Kodak carousel? Then you know how impossible it is to throw away an object as small and beautiful as a slide. Even in an age when we have all of these amazing hand-held devices, slides are still kind of magical – intricate glowing worlds inside of tiny plastic squares, no batteries required.
So, I decided to turn mine into a lamp shade, and we already had a cheap white Target lamp that would be perfect for the upcycle. I cut a piece of frosted duralar to the size of the shade (plus some for overlap) and marked small stripes of glue along the flat plastic where the edges of the slides would meet in rows.
The slides line up pretty nicely using their perforations as match-up points, and I think you could just use glue to keep everything together if it was flexible enough, but I decided to stitch through the edges with embroidery thread as well. It seems like the thread keeps everything even and secure, and you can match the colors to pick up accents in your slides.
When the new flat slide shade was finished, I cut the old white shade from the metal bracket that holds it to the post, and glued the new shade to the bracket along the base. **CAVEAT** Cathy is concerned that it might be a fire hazard to have a shade that is made of duralar and slides, so I think it would look just as good to glue the plastic to the outside of the shade itself and feel safer knowing that the State of California has inspected the part of your lamp closest to the bulb. I would feel safer too, however, our particular shade was mangled in the move, which was catalyst number two for this crafty little endeavor…
So here it is, the new slide film lamp shade.
It would also be a lot of fun to do this with negatives from old family photos, because even though it looks nice from far away, there is a tendency to want to get up close and look at all of the tiny stories:
And another happy ending – you can throw away all of these:
Although, I’ve seen some people do this same project with the slide cases as well. It seems like the lamp would not glow quite as much as it would if you got rid of them, but they’re still intriguing. There are several here on etsy for example.
The only thing I would change next time if I did this again would be maybe to overlap each slide horizontally by one perforation. That way, there would be no gaps of light between slides and the only glowing portions would be the images themselves. It wouldn’t be an issue with negatives, though, since they came as longer strips. I might have to raid the Pre-Millenium Heck Family Photo Archive (a.k.a. closet in the guest room) next time we’re together in the Austin studio…
January 9, 2013
A New Year’s Wish For You From Cathy Heck StudioPosted by Cathy Heck
We’re not so sure that there is such a thing as abundance in moderation … but if there is, we hope you enjoy it this year. And, in the spirit of bacon, we couldn’t think of a better way to start the new year than by trying this recipe from the new cookbook I received for Christmas, Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Foolproof. Turn to page 31, CARAMELIZED BACON … caution: it might be best if this tasty appetizer is followed by a walk around the block.
This is what I am contemplating for a New Year’s Resolution: “More exercise, more bacon,” which I think might be a nice balance. I still haven’t decided though … my personal fiscal year doesn’t start until January 18. (This is so that I don’t accidentally make a resolution that is unattainable.) If you have some better ideas, please share in the comment section below and I will take them under consideration, but, I’m not sure one can beat the exercise-bacon combo. (You are free to take it on for your resolution, too.) Happy New Year! Bacon-style.
December 24, 2012
Merry Christmas from the Cathy Heck Studio ReindogsPosted by Cathy Heck
All of us at Cathy Heck Studio would like to wish you a wonderful holiday season. Ellen has created this frisky family of reindogs to bring you cheer and happy tidings. We hope you can spend special time with friends and family. And, that you can sneak in some time to enjoy a dog’s life: eating, sleeping, and eating some more! Happy Merry!
Oops! We are so sorry Neville. Merry Christmas from Neville, the best reindog ever!
December 20, 2012
Holiday Fruit Bling: How To Make Grapefruit JewelsPosted by Cathy Heck
When grapefruit season rolls around in Texas, it’s time to stock the refrigerator with grapefruit jewels. These are perfect wedges of sweet Texas grapefruit, with none of the bitter parts. Here is the secret to our easy jewel-making technique.
1. First cut off the ends of the grapefruit with a serrated knife.
2. Next, cut around the outside of the fruit removing all rind and pith. Sometimes we can do this in one cut, and we feel proud.
3. After the grapefruit is peeled, place a bowl under your work and begin separating the sections. The first one is cut differently from the rest. For this one, cut downward on the inside of the first two membranes and pull out the segment.
4. For the remainder of the pieces, use your knife thus: Place your knife point at the center and slide it outward, directly along the next membrane.
5. Then, turn your knife back over and twist it counter-clockwise against the following membrane and watch the pristine section begin to peel away from the bitter membrane and drop into your bowl. Repeat for all sections.
6. Behold a bowl of glistening sweet citrus jewels! We keep a large container of them in the refrigerator for several days (if they are not consumed in one day). I, personally, like to take the bowl out a few minutes before devouring the wedges, so that the gems are closer to room temperature and not so icy cold. Caution: if you are NOT the one who produced the grapefruit jewels, it is proper etiquette to leave at least one wedge for the grapefruit chef. Trust me, I’ve been on both ends of this situation.
Now that you have a bowl of perfect grapefruit wedges (that is if they were not accidentally gobbled up prematurely), you might want to try one of our favorite recipes from the excellent Ina Garten cookbook, Barefoot in Paris. This Avocado and Grapefruit Salad recipe can also be found online here. See below for a festive way to plate your creation (I like to use “plate” as a verb now that I have watched so much “plating” on the food network. :-)
Ina’s salad is not only delicious, but it is a perfect color story for a holiday table. Don’t you just love a dish that is tasty and pretty all at once? We hope you have fun making your juicy jewels and enjoy a healthy holiday season with all this lovely vitamin C!
December 14, 2012
A Winter Washi WonderlandPosted by Ellen Heck
I love shopping on Etsy for Christmas. Whether it is imagining some lady in Baltimore filling rows of plastic tubes with hot flavored beeswax, drooling over gourmet marshmallows from Edinburgh, or knowing that a kindred spirit in Orange County is hand rolling my selection of 15 different washi tapes onto little wooden spools, I always feel connected to all those moving, making, packing, shipping hands – part of a society of creators.
These came from The Sewing Post and shipped very quickly. I’m hoping they will add charm to some upcoming brown paper wrapping endeavors… Just 11 days till Christmas!
Oh, and if you are on Etsy, this store is definitely my favorite!
December 10, 2012
New Shutterfly Photo Books for Christmas and BabyPosted by Ellen Heck
We’re excited to announce that our newest photo book for Shutterfly is live and online now! The theme is called Glad Tidings. It’s an elegant and sophisticated background for Christmas family photos with a rich color palette and large selection of words and embellishments inspired by the Christmas story. Here are just a few examples of interior pages that you could make online with this group:
Designing a photo book with Shutterfly’s custom path is just like putting together a scrapbook with pages and photos and stickers, with a very sleek end product! For example, with Glad Tidings, you can choose from these patterned background pages and add embellishments, words, and pattern bands to design your own custom layouts. Or, if you prefer (or are bumping up against a gifting deadline), you can upload your photos from a folder and autofill the pages with layouts that have already been designed by us (to work in any combination)!
Above is an example of our system for making sure all the embellishments can work on any background. It’s fun to see all the different design possibilities with a click of the mouse!
Glad Tidings is our fourth custom path book for Shutterfly. To see our other three baby-themed groups, you can select “Our Top Picks” or “Baby” in the Occasions panel of the Custom Path Style Store.
Happy scrapbooking in the digital age!
December 6, 2012
Festive Fromage Labels and Cheese Ideas from Antonelli’sPosted by Cathy Heck
You can thank us right now for the toil and tribulation we had to endure in order to provide this post for your holiday inspiration. First, we had to taste-test a vast number of sinfully creamy cheeses, searching for the ideal threesome. Then we had to quickly photograph our perfect symphony of fromage before it oozed all over the platter, and then we even had to eat our props at the end … oh, the things we are willing to do for our beloved cyber friends!
While all the artists of Cathy Heck Studio were in Austin for Thanksgiving, we decided to head out on a mission to introduce our blog buddies to our new favorite local cheese shop, Antonelli’s. First, we asked Julianna to create some festive labels for the fancy cheeses we would be procuring. Our only stipulation was that the labels be small enough so as not to overshadow the natural beauty of the holiday cheeses, and printable so that our blog friends could print them for their own holiday tables. They are easy to assemble. Here is the link (it’s free!) so that you can make them, too. Just cut, tape back to back (so they look good on both sides) to colorful toothpicks and tie with raffia or baker’s string. Voila! Festive Fromage!
We even included some animal markers to affix to the tops if you would like to let your guests know which cheeses are made from the milk of cows, goats or sheep. We did not think to include a buffalo head, and indeed ended up choosing a buffalo milk cheese, so we just buffalo-ized the sheep head. Feel free to improvise.
Our next task was to head over to Antonelli’s to taste some cheeses. Well, all right, if we must.
I shall digress for just a moment just so you know our cheese history: I grew up in a small West Texas town where we did not have a shop just for cheeses. My experience with cheese was cheddar for nachos and monterey jack for fancy nachos. So, when we moved to New York as young newlyweds, and discovered a shop just for cheeses in our neighborhood, we were like kids in a candy shop. Our cheese monger took us under his wing and gave us tips and tastes. He taught us to pronounce Gouda as “how-da” … as in “Howda Dooda Gooda,” which is what we call it to this day. I know, it’s goofy … but we were cheese-challenged and had much to learn. But now, although we may not be cheese experts, we do appreciate a good triple creme Camembert.
And, since we are not authorities, we were delighted to learn about our little cheese shop in Austin’s Hyde Park neighborhood. Photos below by Ellen: Here we are in Antonelli’s where the staff was as friendly as the cheeses were aromatic. Our expert was Kara, and she was knowledgeable and delightful. One of our favorite services offered by Antonelli’s is that they create a personal Cheese Log just for you … a list of cheeses which you purchased earlier. You don’t even have to remember the name of that amazing buttery Brie that you served at the last party. When we arrived, Kara pulled up our list, asked which were our favorites, then asked us about the foods that our cheeses would be complementing. Then she began mixing and matching like an artist with a palette ranging from soft to semi-soft to almost crunchy. They will even suggest wine pairings. Nice. With a taste of this and a bite of that, we narrowed our choices to the three perfect cheese offerings described below.
Here are our final winners (this time) starting top left clockwise (I have included links just in case you don’t live near Antonelli’s): 1) Chevre d’Or: I like to start with the most decadent and then calm down from there. This is a magnificent soft-ripened goat’s milk cheese from the Centre region of France. Okay, I admit that it looks a little bit like a brain, but with our dressy holiday tag, your guests will be able to look past that, especially once they have one taste of this creamy heaven. It’s best paired with champagne, by the way. 2) Quadrello di Bufala: (which I misspelled on my label, but I’m guessing it was unnoticed by my guests) The style of this cheese is called Washed Rind. It was created by two brothers who inherited a cattle ranch and turned it into a water buffalo dairy. If you can’t find this buf version, you might try Taleggio, which is the cow milk version known as the King of Italian Washed Rinds. (Now that’s a mighty title if ever I heard one.)
3) Castelvetrano Olives: We had tried these bright green jewels the last time we were at Antonelli’s, and not only were they tasty, but we thought they would add a perfect Christmas green for your holiday plating! They are also milder than most and so appeal to a wide range of tastes. 4) Boucher Blue: Not only do we like to consider different tastes, but we also like to offer a variety of texture and color, so a nice chunky blue cheese with some lovely marbling is a perfect act to round out our holiday show. This particular blue is smooth, creamy and mild, and we were told that it displays undertones of chestnuts and truffles. Truffles? What? (Did I mention that truffle oil is on my Christmas Wish List. Just sayin’ in case Santa is reading this.)
So there you have it–a Holiday Cheese Board that will start your party off to a cheesy bang. And, speaking of Santa, I’ve heard that Mrs. C might be joining Santa on his journey this year, and that she actually prefers a lovely cheese plate with a nice wine pairing over cookies and milk. (I’m pretty sure the elves over at Antonelli’s will know the perfect ensemble for the Mrs.)
By the way, if you are able to make it over to Antonelli’s, they actually sell more than cheese. Be sure to pick up a crusty baguette and the perfect wine, or even a chunk of honeycomb or a jar of cajeta goat milk caramel (oh my gosh). I had better bring this post to an end before I start drooling all over my keyboard.
Happy Holidays from the Studio Fromage-ifiles.
November 27, 2012
A Gift From Us For Your Gifts For ThemPosted by Cathy Heck
Are you already wrapping presents? Yeah, neither are we. But, here’s a little something that might get you started. Today we are guest bloggers for the C.R. Gibson blog where you can download (for free!) holiday gift tags that we created just for you. Just print, cut, and if you want to add a pop of color, mount them on colored card stock, like we did in the photo below.
And, if you need a foodie gift idea, we included our treasured Holiday Pecans recipe, which makes an excellent hostess gift. You will be the hit of the party (if you are very careful not to eat them all before you arrive). Let the holidays begin! Happy merry!
November 15, 2012
Mexican Vanilla and Cinnamon MarshmallowsPosted by Ellen Heck
So, it’s possible that Cathy asked me to write a few seasonal blog posts and I used it as an excuse to make marshmallows. Possible…
My intermittent craving for homemade marshmallows started when Sharon, who works with me at Kala and is currently taking a two-year baking course at Laney College, brought us some samples of the day’s lesson: Cardamom and Ginger marshmallows dipped in chocolate.
After fantasizing about them for weeks after, I subjected some very sweet dinner guests to my first cardamom and ginger marshmallow attempt, which was basically powdered mini-slabs of viscous cardamom goo. Happily, I’ve learned a few things between batches…
The main improvement came from beating the mixture on high for at least 15 – maybe 20 minutes until the bowl was completely cool. The second lesson was to pour everything into a loaf pan instead of a 9 x 12 pan, since the smaller surface area gives you more height to make cubes instead of slabs.
For this particular batch, I used Alton Brown’s recipe from the Food Network with a few minor changes:
1. substitute 1/2 cup brown sugar for that much of the white for a little nuttiness :)
2. substitute Mexican vanilla for regular vanilla
They worked really well in hot chocolate.
Also, I added a few shakes of cinnamon to the corn starch and confectioner’s sugar de-sticking mixture for a little spice that also worked well in the hot chocolate:
However, I did learn the hard way that if you want to dip the marshmallows in chocolate, it’s a good idea to leave at least one side out of the sugar starch or else the chocolate doesn’t stick very well. (It’s possible that if you have a more professional dipping system it would be fine, but I used the non-foodie microwaved-Nestle-chips method, which is fast and tasty, but definitely less beautiful.)
So, that’s the end of the marshmallow glamour shot sequence. (And just for kicks, here’s a warm marshmallowy palette inspired by these photos.) We are doing so many limited-color projects in the studio these days that it’s always great to have an archive of good palettes to which to turn in a pinch. Maybe a hot-chocolate-themed something is in our future…
Also, we can’t ignore that Monaco blue there on the lower right!
November 9, 2012
It’s Monaco Blue Day at Cathy Heck StudioPosted by Cathy Heck
Now that the election season is over, we can fInally focus on the kinds of decisions that really matter to the critters at Cathy Heck Studio: Pantone’s Colors of the Year!
Can you guess which one is number one for Spring 2013? Drum roll please.
You are right! 19-3964 Monaco Blue. How did you know?
This is not the Blue-States-vs-Red-States blue, but rather the color seen on Monaco Blue stuff vs Tangerine Tango stuff (last year’s poppin’ color, decorating everything from clothing to coffee pots). Notice that this year‘s color is more calm, serene and, well, downright comforting. Perhaps that is what we all need right about now.
We are also feeling a little bit proud around here that the indigo blue prediction we made in January in the Cathy Heck Studio Mini Trend Report was correct! We love a good dose of the blues every now and then. Of course, we prefer the happy blues … rather than the sad oreo cookie blues. So, to celebrate the blissful blues, the critters from one of our latest collections, Safari Party, have decided to proclaim today as Monaco Blue Day in the studio and they have all dressed up in their finest dusty-navy blue duds.
By the way, the top 10 fashion colors for spring 2013 also include Dusk Blue, Emerald, Grayed Jade, Linen, Poppy Red, African Violet, Tender Shoots, Lemon Zest and Nectarine, all of which were handy for our Safari critters while accessorizing their Monaco Blue statement pieces.« Newer Posts — Older Posts »