Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tile backsplash mural

Like most everyone else on Long Island, my clients LOVE going to the beach with their kids.  Their house is on the water, and they love looking out their kitchen window.  To bring some of that outdoors inside, I was commissioned to paint one of their favorite photos onto their tumbled marble backsplash.  Although the photo was taken during the day, my clients definitely wanted a sunset sky.  They worked closely with me to choose the exact colors.  If this was painted as a true sunset scene, the water and sky would be much deeper in color, as well as the sand.  But that's the beauty of a custom commission!

First the tiles were primed, and then I painted the scene with acrylic glazes.  After curing for several days, I sealed the mural with several coats of Modern Masters Dead Flat Varnish.  Love that product.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Large Flower Bedroom Painting

Well, this was a refreshing project -- a client who LOVES big, bright and bold! Her white walls were unappealing in her bedroom. She wanted something that would make her happy every time she entered her room. She asked me to surprise her, so I just told her my idea. She told me to go for it, so I did. First, I did the walls in a soft yellow color wash faux finish. Next, I drew the large flower (approximately four feet wide) and leaves on the wall with a watercolor pencil. Then I painted everything with waterbased acrylics. Notice the dew drop on the petal. I kinda held my breath when my client came home, but she absolutely loves it!! Another successful project!
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Mardi Gras and King Cakes

Photo from jeneva.com

For those of you that want to bring a little bit of Mardi Gras into your home, here's a great recipe for King Cake, fond at mardisgras.day.com. First, you might want to read up on the history of the King Cake, which is the preferred dessert and snack in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Hundreds of thousands of King Cakes are eaten in New Orleans during the Carnival season.

Read more:


King Cake
Traditional New Orleans Recipe

1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups flour unsifted
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest, this is lemon rind, grated
1/2 cup warm milk
5 egg yolks
1 stick butter cut into slices and softened, plus 2 tablespoons more softened butter
1 egg slightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1" plastic baby doll

Pour the warm water into a small shallow bowl, and sprinkle yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar into it. Allow the yeast and sugar to rest for three minutes then mix thoroughly. Set bowl in a warm place for ten minutes, or until yeast bubbles up and mixture almost doubles in volume. Combine 3 1/2 cups of flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg and salt, and sift into a large mixing bowl. Stir in lemon zest. Separate center of mixture to form a hole and pour in yeast mixture and milk. Add egg yolks and, using a wooden spoon, slowly combine dry ingredients into the yeast/milk mixture. When mixture is smooth, beat in 8 tablespoons butter (1 tablespoon at a time) and continue to beat 2 minutes, or until dough can be formed into a medium-soft ball.

Place ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and knead like bread. While kneading, sprinkle up to 1 cup more of flour (1 tablespoon at a time) over the dough. When dough is no longer sticky, knead 10 minutes more until shiny and elastic.

Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of a large bowl evenly with one tablespoon softened butter. Place dough ball in the bowl and rotate until the entire surface is buttered. Cover bowl with a moderately thick kitchen towel and place in a draft-free spot for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough doubles in volume. Using a pastry brush, coat a large baking sheet with one tablespoon of butter and set aside.

Remove dough from bowl and place on lightly floured surface. Using your fist, punch dough down forcefully. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top, pat and shake dough into a cylinder. Twist dough to form a curled cylinder and loop cylinder onto the buttered baking sheet. Pinch the ends together to complete the circle. Cover dough with towel and set it in draft-free spot for 45 minutes, or until the circle of dough doubles in volume. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Brush top and sides of cake with egg wash and bake on middle rack of oven for 25 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Place cake on wire rack to cool. If desired, you can hide the plastic baby in the cake at this time.

Colored sugars

Green, purple, & yellow paste
12 tablespoons sugar

Squeeze a dot of green paste in palm of hand. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over the paste and rub together quickly. Place this mixture on wax paper and wash hands to remove color. Repeat process for other 2 colors. Place aside.


3 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 - 6 tablespoons water

Combine sugar, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons water until smooth. If icing is too stiff, add more water until spreadable. Spread icing over top of cake. Immediately sprinkle the colored sugars in individual rows consisting of about 2 rows of green, p urple and yellow.

Cake is served in 2" - 3" pieces.