Tuesday

Whimsical Wife Chocolate Caramels

In honor of the Whimsical Wife who is under the weather and could not do her Tasty Tuesday Party, I am posting a tasty tuesday treat.  Valentines Day is next Tuesday you know.  (Stop over and tell her to get well soon!).


 My daughter made this monkey.  He is sitting on the bathroom shelf.  (Get over the dust sitting there too).  He is see no evil.  The recipe I am going to post is so good it's evil.

So here's the deal..... I'm a caramel maker.  I've perfected the golden brown treat and the only time I make it is at Christmas.  Every year for Valentines Day I buy 6 cheap heart shaped boxes of chocolates, one for each of my kids.  The married ones have to share.  Most of the time no one likes half the stuff in the box.  I do it only because I always have.



Not this year. This Valentines Day I am making a treat that everyone loves (especially me-shhhh!).  Not regular caramel...chocolate caramels.  Not caramels dipped in chocolate (although that would be good, hmmmm?).  Yeah, so Bliss, what's so special about that?  Well what makes these ones special is they are awesome, that's what.  I've tried no less than 10 chocolate caramel recipes over the past few years.  None were right.  Even though of course all the ingred's are pretty similar.  These ones were just what I wanted them to taste like.  You know those little dark suckers at See's Candy?  (They used to be a nickle when I was a kid), well these caramels are a chewy version of those.  YUMM. 

So 'ya know, I'm not a food blogger, I'm a food eater.  I won't post the whole recipe here, you can click over to Epicurious yourself.   I've tested, tasted, and made them, and they have the Bliss Candy Azz seal of approval.  The only changes I made were that I didn't line my pan-just seemed like it over complicated it, I just gave the glass pan a light wipe of butter and cut them in the pan then take them out.  I also made half the batch with the salt the other without cause some of my kids don't appreciate the sweet salty thing going on.  All I can tell you is mine turned out excellent, just the right texture, right taste, it was all good.  **recipe says to cook to 255° this makes them on the harder side.  I cook mine to 250-252°, also I use Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate bars from the baking section.  You need 10 oz. which is 2 1/2 bars**

If Brawn was kidnapped by aliens and sent back to earth all messed up and he could then cook stuff like candy - he'd make these for Valentines Day.   But since I don't see any spaceships hovering I'm gonna make them for all of us myself.


They look exactly like this.
Make some, and send a few to the Whimsical Wife, chocolate cures all.

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Monday

Painting & Me... we do not agree

I understand now why people have some machine that cuts out letters for them.  I was not put on this earth to paint, draw, trace or anything similar to those.  What started as a simple little project ended with my appreciation and acceptance that nothing in my house will ever have on it the lettering I love so much, made by my own two hands.  Unless there is a sticker for it.  That I can buy at the store.

Guest Bath Trash
Seed Sign has a home
But first, recall yesterday's post about my treasure (on the left) and the seed sign.  Both ended up in the guest bath.  I love my new little trash can, and the seed sign that never had a home was an easy fix, hang it with wire. 

Trash picked wood

OK, so back to this crafting stuff.... it started yesterday with the snowy trash attached wood scraps I pulled out of our garage trash.  I stained them, sanded them, spray painted them, and they were looking a bit Halloweenish.  So I painted and sanded them again.  At this point they are my friend.  They were good, especially considering they came out of the trash.  I was determined this project was not going to cost anything, and it didn't, we had everything laying around.  I saw some really really cute ones on burlap at the Junk Market yesterday - they were my inspiration.  I had no burlap.  Mine don't compare.  (In defense, the burlap would of helped with the stenciling issue).

I liked how the wood came out
And this part was ok too.....
Old Smith & Nobel window shade
But I do have an old shade.
If Smith & Nobel is giving out any prizes for best re-use of their old shades, then maybe I could win that.... on the idea to reuse them, cause the craft itself isn't gonna win any prizes. 

This part wasn't working
On to the letters.  What word to put on the little blocks of wood?  Hmmm.  Home?  Simple.  Cut up the old shade and use some tacks to attach it.   Great so far.  I'm feeling like a crafting queen.  These were suppose to be for my daughters mantel.  I'll probably make her some others though... on burlap.  So I trace the letters on from this stencil pack I have.  Sticky stencils?  Not what I expected.  Hmmm, ridges in the shade weave, that's a problem.  The paint, umm it bleeds and it doesn't really go on.  Fray the sides?  Those Smith & Nobel shades are guaranteed against fraying, and now I believe them.  My hand is NOT steady enough to paint - period.  I quit.  I looks MUCH better in the photo than it did in person.  So now what?  Stickers were created to do what folks?   STICK!  And by God I'm gonna let them do just that.  So I put the stickers on (said stencils on the package).  NO fuss no mess.  And that my friends is how they will stay.  I'm never using them again even though they say reusable.  I'm never attempting to paint letters again.  Well maybe.


  The stickers look soooooooo much better than my painting and tracing.  Pictures sort of fool your eye huh?  Maybe I shouldn't of told you.  It turned out cute enough for me to put on my mantel, just wasn't at all like I pictured for my daughter, or like the awesome ones we saw Saturday.  Basically I painted some wood, cut an old shade, and hammered some tacks.  Nothing to really pat myself on the back about!!

I can't believe I'm linking this up, but I am!
(Come on its stickers!! Should of titled it "No talent Required"
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm
Debbie Doo's Newbie Party
Knick of Time Tuesday
Tuesday's Treasures at MyUncommonSliceOfSuburbia
Also linking to:
A Diamond in the Stuff (cause this project really fits her blog name!)
and HEY, they are white too, so linking here:
 White Wednesdays @ Faded Charm
The Party @ Cherished BLISS (gotta join that!)
Look What I made Party @ Creations By Kara


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Sunday

Tomorrow & Yesterday

I had a busy three days.  Well, really only two, the 3rd day was all in my head.

Friday I used $60 worth of gift cards at Home Goods (and then that again in cash out of my pocket; what the he!! how did I spend so much and add it up so wrong?).

Daughter #1's mantel mirror
Saturday was a day of introductions, well my math is off again... 1 introduction, as I took my oldest daughter to a Junk Market trunk show and some antique stores.  She's hooked now.  One of my favorite blogs had a booth at the Junk Market show (yes THAT Junk Market of fame), and I didn't introduce myself to her because I was too busy drooling over all the stuff she brought.  

You'll have to read Chipping With Charm's review of the Junk Market trunk show here, because I was too shy to take my camera out of my purse.  She's got photos.  That and the fact Daughter #1 doesn't know I have a blog and she was by my side drooling.  She said I should start one, I just haven't told her I did. Maybe it's just a phase I'm going through and I'll be done blogging in a week.  Probably not.   While you are on Chippen's blog, play the Junkers version of Where's Waldo? and see if you can find my treasure tin can in her photos.
My treasure
So today, I spent finding a place for my new treasure, fixing my signature so it doesn't have a shadow anymore (don't ask how long that took me AND OMG IT'S NOT GONE I SEE IT, son of a bbb) locating a home for the yellow seed sign that came out of hiding during the mantel re-do, and making my plan for these pieces of crap wood. 

Yes that is snow and napkin stuck to the black piece, and glue stuck to the other.  I picked them out of the trash.  But it was our own garage trash.  These pieces of crap wood will hopefully be my craft project for tomorrow.  Rumor has it that the black one is from daughter #2's high school locker shelf.  I'm making something (hopefully) out of it for her big sisters mantel.  Then I will sneak over to her house, put it on her mantel 
and take a picture of it with her new mirror 
for the blog she doesn't know I have.  
Going to bed now, but first banging my head on the desk because that darn signature shadow is back.


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Friday

Save Your Settings

Attention.... Attention.....fellow bloggers, followers and guests.....
Word verification is now off.  I AM SO SORRY!!!!  I was so careful when I set up the blog to NOT have word verification on.  But apparently I didn't click the save settings because it was on.  Some one finally told me, some brave soul must of knew I really didn't want it on, I won't kiss and tell who told me though!  FYI....  I didn't want you to have to go through the humiliation like me yesterday after the doc told me to loose a few pounds....  I come home comment on a blog and the word verification word it gives me???    PORKY!!!!  Isn't that mean?

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Thursday

The Brawn of the Operation Makes Beds

With Valentines Day coming (and my husbands birthday) I was inspired by a post on Miss Flibbertigibbet and how she gave Mr. Flibberti a nice photo of herself as a gift.

Brawn and I have been married for 30 years.  Blissful?  Well mostly yeah, but he's not getting a photo!  Brawn also happens to be one of the only two people in real life who know I have started a blog. 

I'm almost certain he doesn't really know what a blog is or how to find it on the web, he just knows I've been putting stuff on mantels, taking stuff off mantels, putting it back up again, taking pictures and staying up late. And that he's a been a bit neglected.  I'm gonna go to bed earlier tonight.

So in honor of the man who fetches me ladders and moves stuff around for me, all for the sake of the Bliss Ranch blog, I wanted to show you just a couple of the gazillion things Brawn has made for our home.  (Forget that he built the home too.)

I showed you the dining room furniture he made when I posted about gearing up for a country pine redo.  A few years ago when I wanted a new bed, being the cheap son of a gun he is, he said ok, I'll make you one.

OOOkkkaaaa then, can I have a dresser and nightstands too?  Sure.  I don't have those yet, but 25 years ago he did make the night stands we are still using.

It's hard to tell but the enlarged photos next to the bed are of our history..... one is the sign of the town he grew up in and the other is a California road sign from whence the raven haired beauty came.

If Bliss wants it, Brawn builds it



My Fairy Tale
The bedroom mantel is due for an accessories makeover, it's pretty dull, but I'm not up to it after the beginning of the week and the family room mantel re-do.  I also have a 3rd mantel in the game room, but you know..... I just decorate that one with dust.
My mom's Primer, with her coloring, sits on the mantel
At the base of our bed is a crochet bed cover that my mom made.  When I was a little tot- long before internet- that's how she spent her time.  She made three of them.  The detail is wonderful, so much texture with the raised nubbies.  And heavy..... if we ever had an intruder I could throw it at him and he'd be out cold.

My hunk of burning love letting our 3 youngest kids dress him like a pirate.

Arrrrr. I'm linked up at:
Time Travel Thursday @Brambleberry Cottage
Show & Tell Friday @ My Romantic Home
Potpourri Friday @ 2805
Miss Mustard Seed Furniture Feature Friday





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Wednesday

Shabby Chic Headboard that started it all....



This morning I posted pic's here of what I do to relax... smash china.  But it wouldn't be complete without the story of what started it all, my first cracked, hammered and smashed project 9 years ago.

If someone would of told me someday I'd want to smash plates with 22 carat gold rims I'd of thunk.... ummmm no...

The story goes like this..... 
Oldest daughter moving in at college (9 years ago).  
Sad after dropping her off so we stop in to visit friends on the way home.  
Friend is making a very detailed mosaic table.   
Me- What is this mosaic thing you are doing?  How do you do that?  Smash stuff?  Glue?  I can do that! 
Friend - Thrift store is having a Labor Day 50% off sale Monday, wanna go?   
Me -  If they have plates... YEAH! 

At the time we were re-doing daughter #2's bedroom and she needed a creative headboard.  So at the thrift store's 50% off sale I buy everything in pink and black.


I wanted to make it personal and added a couple of these lipstick cases.  My mom had given them to my girls to play with and smear all over their faces and my carpet.  I wanted that never to happen to another child in my home again, so I immortalized the lipstick in cement.


This horseshoe is special.  Brawn and I bought it 32 years ago to hang on our wall for good luck.  Did you know you should always turn horseshoes open end up?  Otherwise your luck runs out.

By that night Brawn had made me a form, (because I said NOW and meant it - I'm in the zone - the ready to craft zone). 

Using the pool table as my craft area, I smash everything I bought and bark out orders to the family - "don't anyone talk to me till I finish thisYou want to eat?, make your own... and bring me some". 

Glue, smash, glue, smash.  BRAWN... I NEED MORE BLACK STUFF WHAT 'YA GOT???  Old marble tile?  SURE!

24 hours later the headboard was ready for grout.  The size is about 57 inches wide and almost the same tall.  Two days after grouting it's hanging over daughters bed and she loves it.  After that I was hooked on smashing plates.  I amassed a plate collection of about 200, so many Brawn had to vacate one of his new shelves in the garage for my stash. 

My friend has hundreds more.  Years later I borrow a couple hundred additional plates from her and serve up a wedding using mis-matched patterns for daughter #1.  I also never use paper plates again when company comes.


I grabbed whatever was around, like mugs and cups.  I left the handles in tact.


My plate collection gets around.  I have rented them out for receptions for brides who also want miss-matched plates for a shabby chic look.



Linking the headboard up to:
HookingupwithHoH

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Tuesday

Cracked, Hammered and Smashed Mosaics

So what do you all do when you want to create something just for the sake of creating?  For me it's smashed china mosaics.  I always have what I need, never have to run to the craft store.  

When the mood hits, I can hit - literally. SMASH. 

Garden tote
 I've been known to show no mercy on any pattern, even Limoges is not safe.

It's the kind of mosaics where you take a pretty plate, chipped or not, and smash it.  I don't do intricate patterns I just randomly glue the pieces on, along with bits of mirror and stained glass pieces and then grout it.


I think what I like about mosaics is that I don't really have to think or concentrate.  I learned to glue when I was 5, and it's like riding a bike.  I'm not really fond of puzzles but as a project nears the end it's a lot like a puzzle trying to find and fit pieces.

Fall Wedding
 I made a couple custom cake pedestals in the colors of the wedding.

Black & White wedding
Over the years I have grouted 9 of these address signs, each one different, all gifts for friends, but have never made one for myself.


I find doing mosaics relaxing, but once I start I like to finish it.  Secretly I think really what I like is collecting pretty plates, and I just hoard them under the ruse of mosaics!


Soon the temps will be warm enough to sit outside and smash my little heart out.


Linking this oldie post up at 



Linked the tote too:
All Star Block Party @ FullCircleCreations

 Sunday Stop @ Joy2Journey




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Mantel Take #2 & #3..... & 4

OK, everyone chime in please, I'm looking for opinions.  The moving items around on the mantel portion of this post is finished.  Voting and opinions still welcome, but I'm not moving that stuff around any more today!!!  I messed with the mantel this morning.  One son is home sick and he had to offer up what he wanted to see.  He wants the Seed Sign back up there.  Last night after the sun went down the mantel looked too dark (see post Mantel Take #1).  I sent Brawn out to the back shed with instructions to find me a window.  He supplied.  So this morning I disassembled, and put together a mantel for take #2.  Then I updated this post all morning with #3 and #4.  The big question really ended up being the seed sign or no seed sign?

Take #2

#3 The Fiona

#4 at least till Feb. 14th



 I linked the Mantel Extravaganza to what else...... 52 Mantels party!







I also linked to White Wednesdays at Faded Charm Cottage, #2 is white right?

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Monday

Mantel, take #1

When I got up this morning I had two things on my list.  Make bagels from a recipe at The Whimsical Wife and put something - anything - on my naked family room mantel.  You can read about bagel making here, it wasn't an easy process for me and the day was perfect for whipping up something new as the kids had a two hour late start due to ice and snow.  They didn't get to try a bagel before they left.  I was challenged.


This is the naked mantel.  At Christmas it looks beautiful.  The rest of the year not so much.  Before work I asked Brawn to take the picture down.  He forgot so I had to do it.  I've been channeling Donna at Funky Junk lately, and today was no exception.  Her morning post was about her mantel which was very appropriate for me today.  Go look at her's I love it.  Now when I started out I had no intention of doing a copy cat, in fact I was going to do a Valentine mantel to share with 52 Mantels but after my sad bagel making attempt I decided to follow the map Donna had laid before me rather than try something new on my own.  I wanted to finish it today, and I was already short those 2 early morning hours, plus the bagel making time.


First step, put on my boots and walk through this......

To get some of these........

I have more junk around this house than I know what to do with, so finding stuff to put on the mantel really wasn't a problem.  I do have a window but I would of had to walk through that white stuff again and hunt it down.  I opted to continue with out a window.

I had a seed sign that never had a home, so it was recruited.  Old wire bakery mixing whip that holds a candle, yup going up there.  Old box, well I have to take out what's in it, but sure.  Bird house - daughter does ceramics so she'll be happy to see that on the mantle.  License plates, ummm hmmm, those are in the closet waiting for a great idea for my son's room.  So I put all the junk I had handy up there, and then sat down and ate a bagel while I looked at it.  I'm not sure I like it (the mantel, the bagel was tasty).  I love the Funky Junk mantel so I'll have to play around with mine for awhile and get used to some stuff up there and not where it's been for 10 years.  Guess I fear change.

I've been telling Brawn I want to take down the log siding.  I would probably like all the "junk" on the mantel if I had a cleaner back ground.  I'm tired of the wood.  I haven't convinced him yet to take it down, so for now this will do.  I think I want to rough up the railroad tie and maybe varnish it to give it some shine like Donna's.  At least it's not empty today, it's a long mantel.  I think I might be more a family photo and frame on the mantel type girl.  Tomorrow I may experiment with that idea, and have Brawn fetch me a window.  But for today this stays.  My favorite part?  Those dog wood branches I trudged through the snow to clip!




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From time to time there might be a written review of services or products on this blog for which Bliss Ranch may or may not have received that service or product for free. Receiving a product or service for free or at a discount will never dictate what is written on this blog or guarantee a favorable review. All opinions here belong to Bliss Ranch and Bliss Ranch alone. Bliss Ranch is not monetarily compensated to write anything on this blog... period!