Tag Archives: #holiday

My Take: Coffee Filter Wreath

With as much time as I spend on bloglovin’ and Pinterest, I know that there are a lot of coffee filter wreaths out there.  I wasn’t sure about hopping on the bandwagon.  But when I rescued a couple hundred coffee filters from a friend who was going to trash them, I decided to make my own.

130/365 "Flowering" coffee filters is therapeutic #365project #seekarencraft

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I followed the tutorial from The SITS Girls, but I used a willow wreath from Dollar Tree for my form.  Half of my time was spent folding, the other part gluing.  By the way, I used fast-grab glue instead of a glue gun.  Figured my fingers were safer that way.

Once the wreath was finished, it looked a little too “wedding”.  I was giving the wreath as a gift, and I wanted its recipient to be able to switch out the ribbon for all seasons and holidays.  I also wanted to accentuate the texture of the wreath, which was the best part.

Many bloggers dip and/or dye their coffee wreaths.  Me, I didn’t have that kind of time.  Besides, they were already glued onto the wreath.  Instead I watered down some silver paint (2 parts paint to 1 part water) and lightly ran a flat artists brush over the coffee filter edges.  The entire wreath only needed about a teaspoon of paint (including the tiny drops that I flipped onto my face and arms during the process).

I also made a second gift wreath by painting another willow form and attaching a coffee filter flower.  The flower is sprayed with red glitter paint.  So subtle, you can’t even see it in this shot.  Wink.

What do you think about the silver tipped filters?  Can’t you just see a Christmas bow on there?  Halloween?  And think of the possibilities for weddings…just add your custom colors and have fun.


Countdown to Cinco de Mayo: Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream

123/365 Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream #365project #seekarencook

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I set out to make gluten-free Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies.  But if you follow me on Instagram, you know they didn’t quite turn out the way I expected.  They tasted awesome, but couldn’t be served as brownies.  I started thinking about scooping them out of the pan and serving them with vanilla ice cream, when it occurred to me that I should just use them to make ice cream.

To make this ice cream, you can use your favorite recipe for an 8×8-inch pan of brownies — including a box mix.  Just add the cinnamon and cayenne pepper to give them that Mexican hot chocolate flavor.  Also, if you don’t have Mexican hot chocolate tablets, you can substitute 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips.

I have the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer, so I churn the cream mixture for 20 minutes, add the brownies, chopped chocolate, and pepitas, and continue to churn until I hear a clicking sound (about 10 minutes later).  Your ice cream maker’s instructions may be different, so follow them accordingly.  If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can pour the cream mixture (with brownies, chocolate, and pepitas added) into a freezer-safe container and place in the freezer, stirring every hour until it reaches the desired consistency.

If you are visiting from Anyonita Nibbles Tasty Tuesdays, WELCOME!   I love comments, visitors, and followers.  You can also find me on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

123/365 Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream #365project #seekarencook

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Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream

1 recipe for an 8X8-inch pan of brownies
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cayenne pepper
2 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. raw honey
2 t. vanilla
pinch of salt
1 Mexican hot chocolate tablet, chopped
1/4 c. pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)

Prepare the brownies, adding the cinnamon and cayenne before baking.  Allow the brownies to completely cool.  Crumble or cut the brownies into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Combine heavy cream, milk, honey, vanilla, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to bubble, stirring to prevent a skin from forming on the cream mixture.  Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool.  Pour the mixture in a covered bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Pour the cream mixture into an ice cream maker and follow your manufacturer’s directions, adding the brownies, chopped chocolate, and pepitas toward the end.  You can eat right away, if you prefer the soft-serve consistency, or place in a freezer-safe container to enjoy a more firm ice cream later.

Countdown to Cinco de Mayo: Blood Orange-Mango Margaritas

Blood Orange-Mango Margaritas #seekarendrink #nofilter

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Here it is.  The obligatory Cinco de Mayo margarita post.  I’ve been saving my last two blood oranges all week just to make these margaritas.  What?

Pretty Blood Orange-Mango Margaritas #seekarendrink #nofilter

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It’s just that blood oranges are the perfect sweet-tart flavor for a kick-ass margarita.  But I only had two.  And I would feel bad to sit and drink my margarita in front of the hubby without sharing.

Porch drinks...Blood Orange-Mango Margarita #seekarendrink

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So I added mango.  And then I surprised the hubby on the back deck with drinks after he finished mowing the yard last night.  Aren’t I a good wife?

You don’t need the Grand Marnier float for these margaritas, but I try to use Grand Marnier whenever possible.  Don’t you?  I also chose not to use any sweetener, because the mango puree is plenty sweet for us.  If you want a sweeter margarita, you could add 2 ounces of simple syrup.  I was considering how a spicy, yet smoky, chipotle simple syrup could just be the perfect addition to this margarita.  Hmm, I feel a second round attempt coming.

Blood Orange-Mango Margaritas #seekarendrink #nofilter

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Blood Orange-Mango Margarita

2 oz. blood orange juice
1 oz. lime juice
6 oz. mango puree
4 oz. tequila
crushed ice
Grand Marnier splash
lime wheel and mango slice, for garnish

Combine blood orange juice, lime juice, mango puree, and tequila in a mixing glass and stir.  Pour over crushed ice in two margarita glasses and top with a splash of Grand Marnier.  Garnish with a lime wheel and mango slice, if desired.

Makes 2 cocktails.

Countdown to Cinco de Mayo: Otomi Painted Canvas Shoes

121/365 Otomi Painted Canvas Shoes #365project #seekarencraft

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You know that I like a good painted tribal print.  So as soon as I saw this Land of Nod Otomi Lamp Shade, I had to figure out a way to get that print in my life.


At first I thought I would hack the lamp shade idea, but I couldn’t find a room in my house where it would work.  Argh!  What to do?  This is, after all, the perfect week to do a Mexican textile/print craft project.

I considered a canvas bag or a t-shirt, but (again) I have plenty of both.  What white-background object did I NEED in my life?  A scarf? No, getting too warm around here for scarf weather.  A pillow?  No.  What?

sketching the Otomi Painted Shoes : annumography

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The answer is always white canvas shoes.  I buy a pair of these before each summer and immediately remove the shoe strings.  At summer’s end, I throw the scruffy things away without guilt.  I immediately headed to the nearest discount store and bought myself a pair.

I don’t have a before shot of my new pristine white shoes, because I was too excited to begin sketching.  I simply printed a picture of my inspiration photo, picked up a pencil, and started drawing.  This print is meant to look hand-drawn, so I tried not to didn’t worry about making a mistake or two…or many.  After all, it would all be covered up with paint in the end.

paint-by-number Otomi Canvas Shoes : annumography

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Next I popped open some acrylic craft paints, grabbed a small artist’s paint brush, and began filling in the blanks.  I painted one color at a time on both shoes, using my picture as a guide, but making changes as needed to evenly distribute the colors across the two shoes.  It was a little bit like paint-by-number.

get closer to the Otomi Painted Canvas Shoes : annumography

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I’m pleased with the results.  You might notice that both shoes have the same pattern, just shifted slightly so that they are not identical.  I also took some creative license to substitute animals that fit the shape of my shoe better than the original pattern.

rearview Otomi Painted Canvas Shoes

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My favorite may just be the little marigold bunny on the back of the right shoe.

121/365 Otomi Painted Canvas Shoes #365project #seekarencraft

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As a final step, I sprayed the shoes with some water-resistant, clear acrylic protectant.  I probably won’t wear these in the rain (or near any body of water), but I want to make sure they last me all summer.  Heck, I might even get fancy with these and add some colorful ribbon laces.  What do you think?

If you are visiting from JAQS Studio: Made By ME #79 Linky Party, WELCOME!   I love comments, visitors, and followers.  You can also find me on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

Countdown to Cinco de Mayo: Spring Gazpacho with Fava Beans and Quick-Pickled Shrimp

Do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo?  I think it’s funny that the celebration seems to have grown year after year, and I’m totally convinced it’s all about getting the average consumer to spend more.  But I don’t care.  I’m in.  Pour me a big fat margarita.

So this week will be all about Cinco de Mayo.  First up, gazpacho.  I know, I know.  Gazpacho is really a Spanish dish.  But I had all these lovely vegetables in my fridge, the star of which were some fresh fava beans.  So I am celebrating the Spanish influence on Mexican heritage with this gazpacho.  Plus, many of the veggies used were grown in Mexico.  So there you go.

Shelling fava beans: round 1 #seekarencook

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Have you ever prepared fava beans?  It’s a multi-step ordeal process.  First, you remove the beans from the pods.  Place the beans in a medium pan with boiling water and cook for about one minute.  Remove the beans and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking (and cool).

Shelling fava beans: round 2 #seekarencook

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Once the beans have cooled, you remove them from the waxy inner shell.

Quick-Pickled Shrimp #seekarencook

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By the way, I love shrimp with gazpacho.  Inspired by this recipe, I decided that my version was begging for a quick-pickled shrimp or two.  You know how I love a good pickle.  I made a few substitutions, and the results are awesome!  Note: Do not decide to throw the sliced fresh jalapeno into the pickling liquid while it is coming to a boil.  I did this, and quickly poisoned the air in the kitchen.  The hubby and I couldn’t stop sneezing,coughing, and wheezing.  My throat and lungs still hurt.  Whoops!

Feel free to substitute other vegetables in this gazpacho.  Typically this soup is made with cilantro, but I used mint in its place.  Mint with fava beans is a favorite of mine, and I think it enhances the flavor of the beans in this soup.  I wish that had saved a few of the beans for garnish, because the green is such a pretty garnish against the tomato red soup.

You could also substitute tomato juice for the carrot juice if you prefer.  I used carrot, because I juiced it myself.

Some folks like to eat their gazpacho hot instead of cold.  To do this, just gently simmer the soup, instead of placing it in the refrigerator, until it is just heated through.

Spring Gazpacho with Fava Beans and Quick-Pickled Shrimp

Spring Gazpacho with Fava Beans:
1/2 c. fava beans, shelled
1 large tomato
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 green bell pepper, seeded
1 shallot, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 c. carrot juice
1/2 t. salt
2 T. olive oil
2 T. sherry vinegar
approximately 20 mint leaves

Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil.  Place shelled fava beans in the boiling water and cook for about 1 minute.  Remove beans from boiling water, leaving the water in the pan, and place in an ice bath for about 5 minutes or until cool.  Remove from the ice water and drain.  Remove the cooked beans from their waxy shell.  Set aside.

Score the bottom of the tomato with criss-cross cuts and place it in the boiling water.  Allow to cook for 1 minute, then place in the ice bath.  When cooled, remove the tomato from the ice water and peel off the skin.  Remove the core and cut the tomato into chunks.  Place the tomato in a blender.

Cut the green pepper and cucumber into chunks, reserving about 1/4 cup of each, and place them in the blender with the tomato.  Dice the reserved green pepper and cucumber and set aside with the fava beans.

Add the remaining ingredients to the blender.  Blend the tomato mixture on the chop setting for about 30 seconds.  Check for desired consistency and pulse a few more times if desired.

Pour the tomato mixture into a bowl.  Add the fava beans and diced green pepper and cucumber, reserving some beans for garnish if desired.  Mix to combine, then cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 4-6 hours or overnight.

Quick-Pickled Shrimp
3 cups water
1/2 c. white wine vinegar
1 T. mustard seed
1 T. whole peppercorns
1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and matchstick sliced
1 t. sucanat, or prefered sweetener
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

Combine water, vinegar, mustard seed, peppercorns, ginger, and sucanat in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add the shrimp and jalapeno slices.  Allow shrimp to marinate for at least 10 minutes, gently stirring twice.  Place shrimp and pickling liquid in a glass jar or bowl and cover.  Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

To serve, place gazpacho in a bowl.  Place 2-3 pickled shrimp on top and garnish with reserved fava beans if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

SeeKarenFollow: This Week

Maybe these posts should be sub-titled ‘What I Do When I’m Not Blogging’, since I seem to be on Instagram all the time lately.

Hello my love #seekarenthrift

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I started the week with some thrift store and antique mall shopping.  Every time I look at the shot of this brass trunk, I want to jump in my car and go buy it.  Sigh.

Couldn't I hack this?

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I’m not going to buy this baby, though.  I’m going to hack it and put it in my kitchen.  I think it will be a pretty easy project, and I get to use power tools.  Bonus.

There were also a few pictures of furniture made from wagon wheels.  I share these for my husband, because we have a running joke about wagon wheels a la When Harry Met Sally.  We even have a wagon wheel, which I will make into a table.  Someday.

86/365 sorting last week's thrift store haul #365project #seekarenthrift

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This is a my Goodwill haul.  I am Madison Avenue’s dream, because marketing TOTALLY works on me.  Example: I buy more at Goodwill to get the discount with my rewards card.  But this $50 worth of junk will give me hours of joy.

Play along: Do you see the bunny in the picture above?

I ate all of this Aussie Burger: lettuce, onion, pickled beets, grilled pineapple, local fried egg, Smoking Goose bacon, ketchup and mayo.  And then I had a tummy ached from eating the bun.  Dear Punch Burger, will you still serve me if I B.Y.O.B. (bring my own bun)?

I made Cocoa Puff muffins to celebrate my boss’ birthday.  But he took an unannounced vacation day, so we ate them in his honor.  In front of his closed office door.  What?

Have my own little nursery going at work #forget-me-nots

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Speaking of work, I have my own little plant nursery going on in my cubicle.  I didn’t think I would have much success with the little forget-me-not seeds that I received during the 14 Days of Valentines, but those little suckers are GROWING under the flourescent lights.  Good thing something flourishes there.

Last week I watched Contagion for the first time.  I know.  I’m a little behind.  But now I think of Dr. Ian Sussman every time I write a post.  “Blogging is not writing; it’s graffiti with punctuation.”  That’s me alright.

Now on to what I am pinning this week.

  1. 29 Rue House is inspiring me to pimp my own spider-back chair.
  2. Man…now I have to add vintage light globes to my list of things to hunt for in thrift shops.
  3. I absolutely need a couple of these granny square pillows in my life.
  4. I’m always looking for a way to dress up a t-shirt and wear it to work.  Now I just need to decided on which one I will add leather shoulder trim.
  5. I’m a little scared, because I haven’t had the best luck in the past, but I may try making some jewelry this weekend.  This chevron necklace inspires me.
  6. I love bubble tea, and it’s not easy to find in Indy.  Maybe I need to make my own and add this coffee version to the mix.
  7. Poaching an egg in olive oil?  Love it!
  8. This cookie stamping technique is giving me soooo many ideas.
  9. Cross-stitch?  Yes.  Foxes?  Yes!  I’m so excited about the faux-stitch pattern on these bags.
  10. You may find me on the couch this Sunday night watching The Ten Commandments and crafting these plastic lace woven hangers.  Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner just do it for me, what can I say?

Here’s wishing you all a happy, sunny, blessed Easter weekend!

The Spring Forward Martini

“This tastes like a summery drink,” said my husband.

“What?” I replied.  “It’s totally Spring.  Grapefruits aren’t even in season in the summer.  Strawberries are best in the Spring.  I guess basil is Summer, but I can get past that.”

The Spring Forward Martini up close and personal #nofilter #latergram

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“Besides, it’s the perfect pink for Easter.”

This martini was inspired by the Sage Recipes’ Grapefruit and Basil Martini and the early Easter that we are celebrating.  Since Spring began just over a week ago, and many of us have been seeing more snow and chilly temps than rainbows and tree buds, this cocktail will help put a little spring into you step.  It looks pretty.  With two ounces of vodka, though, it’s no lightweight cocktail.

The Spring Forward Martini 

5 large basil leaves
1/2 c. strawberries, sliced
1/4 t. raw agave syrup
1 pink grapefruit, juiced (about 1/2 c.)
2 oz. vodka

Muddle the basil leaves, strawberries and agave in a cocktail shaker.  Fill shaker halfway with ice.  Add grapefruit juice and vodka.  Cover and shake.  Strain the cocktail into a chilled martini glass.