Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chocolate Covered Caramel Wrapped Marshmallows- AKA The Scotchmallows

When I was younger my aunt worked for See's Candies. This meant every Christmas there would be some sort of sweet treat for each family and one of those tasty lollipops or a small assortment of candy sticks for each of us children. Even Easters would involve some of the dotted gum drops and of course... those lollipops.

With every mall visit, I was always so happy to stop by the See's shop and get my free piece of candy, as I grew older I still made it a point to drop by See's with every shopping trip, only this time to purchase candy out of guilt for all the free candy I had eaten through the years.

 From Apricot Delights, to Mint Truffles to Marsh Mints to well... just about any other candy they had there... my favorites changed just about every season :)

One of my consistent favorites has been the Scotchmallows. I mean who doesn't love butter caramel, wrapped around a sweet marshmallow and then dipped in dark chocolate?

Once in a while I will get a craving for something and I just have to make it. A few weeks ago it was for These Scotchmallows in which resulted in an in depth research project via the internet to find just the right recipe.

This recipe is a hack in order to make these beauties quicker and easier. Of course the original is much more flavorful, but momma doesn't have time for that.... so this recipe offers the flavor of homemade with the convenience of store bought for a few steps.

DIY Scotchmallows 



Ingredients:
1 cup- Ghirardelli's semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 bag- mini marshmallows

PLUS

Caramel: (Recipe found at Not So Humble Pie)

2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
generous pinch salt

Find full recipe for caramel here.



TIPS: The recipe is really easy to follow although time consuming. I recommend following the recipe and timing as recommended as it really does take some time to let the caramel slowly cook. Also you will want a clean, flat area to let your caramel rest. A marble slab or greased pan are recommended in the recipe. Since I don't make enough candy to justify a marble slab I used some plates that were greased and still had some issues with the caramel sticking. Even if the caramel sticks, you can still pull most of it off and use it. You might want to heat the dish up a bit to help release your caramel. Just don't heat it to much as you want your caramel to be firm yet pliable when you are working with it.



Once you complete the caramel, it has cooled and is ready to be worked with it is now time to wrap your marshmallows. This is where store bought comes in great. The original recipe (above) has some great homemade marshmallows that would be HEAVEN in your candy... I just don't have the time or patience right now to add it to my recipe and found that in a pinch... the mini marshmallows (if fresh) worked well and were very well received.


After you have wrapped your caramel around your marshmallows. prepare your chocolate by melting it according to the directions on the bag. I would start with 45 seconds in a microwave and progressively add more time in 15 second increments as needed. If you are using more than 1 cup of chocolate than you might want to double the initial time.



To dip your caramel wrapped marshmallows use two tooth picks to help you roll and stabilize your bon bon as you cover it with chocolate. 



Allow your chocolate covered caramel marshmallow dry on wax paper and cool at room temperature. If your chocolate is not setting correctly, you can move it to a cool refrigerator but make sure to allow your candies to settle at room temperature before serving them. The caramel will harden when cooled and will not be fun for guests to take a bite out of (ouch!).



This may seem like a time consuming recipe but it is actually pretty easy and super yummy. I hope you'll give it a try... it truly is worth it!

In case you missed past years recipes.... Find them here.





These recipes are some of the most pinned and viewed posts on my site PLUS a favorite for our family and friends too...

Wishing you some wonderful baking fun this season!

~Liz ♥

 

Monday, December 8, 2014

It's BACK. Free Art Journal workshop ALL YEAR LONG PAJWLH

What should have been a year long project in 2011 has now become my hearts desire. I am so excited to be bringing back #PAJWLH (Progressive Art Journal Workshop w/ Liz Hicks).


 What is PAJWLH? It is a free online art journaling workshop that combines art techniques, journal prompts coupled with inspiration and life learned lessons. The object of this progressive workshop was to allow myself and my friends online the opportunity to come together with the common goal of self reflection and understanding through the art of expressive creativity.

This has been one of my favorite projects because well... its free AND it allows me to share what I love most, art and relationships.

What to expect in 2015?

  • Well, this time around the posts will be organic, they will come as I feel they should and not scheduled like I did last time. It is just to hard to put a time line on creativity and you kind of have to let it stir as it comes. 
  • Each post will share some art, useful journaling techniques and or a message. 
  • This is a progressive art journal workshop which means you hop in and out as you please and create what suits you and work when you can. No pressure, no worries... just fun and art.
  • I may or may not invite guests or have different products that I find featured, this is in no way to promote income to myself or my blog... just for educational purposes because I like showcasing fun new products and different ways to incorporate them into creativity.
  • Some projects may be home decor, or small inspiration art items... not all will be art journal entries... but all will share the same basis. Art. People and a good message.
  • If you want to share your work simply link it back here, share it on the Liz Hicks Studios Facebook Page or Pin it or Share it with the hashtag #pajwlh . Last time we had some great participation and sharing going on and it was so awesome to see people connect through ach project. 
To Read about 2012's Progressive Art Journal Workshop click here .

I have in the past coupled my faith along with inspiration wrapped up with art prompts and a wonderful community of online friends. I plan to continue this into 2015 with the idea that I will be sharing my PAJWLH lessons with both a faith based and a traditional prompt. My heart is to make this a project that anyone can find accessible and enjoy.

Through the last few years I have seen this growth of resentment of faith and religion. Most of which relates back to people who just represent it in ways that are defensing and well, it just seems to be losing the whole point of the matter. I myself have been hurt by people of faith and know first hand just how hard it is to see good in something that others have delivered in hurt and condemnation. But through much reflection I am reminded that people hurt people and that faith in itself is meant to be separate, a retreat... a place and relationship to comfort and not destroy.

My goal is to share a double sided prompt mirroring faith and society all in one post so that those who are participating can find something in each post that they can relate to creatively or personally.


Truth is... I just love people. I love Art. And I love good messages.



Don't forget the GREAT class we have going on over at Truth Scrap as well, click here for details. Read more about it here.

 I hope you do to and will join me in 2015 ♥

~Liz

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Introducing TRUTH Scrap... my FIRST online E-Course (and a little back story)


Words can not describe how happy my heart was when I was asked to teach for Truth Scrap. I haven't taken on a whole lot of contract work from the arts and crafts industry since finishing my last contract back in April. As much as I love working in the arts and crafts industry it takes its toll. Back in January I was faced with a tough decision, but ultimately it was the best decision for my family and that was for me to take a break from full time contract work and focus on being Mom PLUS getting myself healthy again. January (in general) was a tough time for our family...but that is a whole other story for another blog post.

During this time I struggled with letting go of that "NEED TO DO MORE" attitude that I had fooled myself into thinking was natural...desired. I had such a hard time letting go of what I thought my life was supposed to be and remembering what my life was actually supposed to look like. My overall purpose in life was a blurred image that I could not even recognize anymore. I had done this to myself and in my defense, it wasn't necessarily WHAT my heart desired, but mostly I did it out of fear... and again... that is a whole other story and a whole other blog post.

It's funny how easily this happens, over and over again. How fear creeps in through little cracks and settles into our hearts and minds. My fear is and always will be the well being of my family and thus my down fall when it comes to making sure their needs are put first.

But through this feeling of needing to provide, being a Mom, a wife, keeping up with our home and finances... I began to crack. At first it was little things like nagging colds that I couldn't shake. Then returned my stomach issues and soon I succumbed to an overwhelming feeling of just feeling helpless. Slowly the kids needs went by the way side, my husband and I juggled communicating, schedules and just trying to keep it all together. All of this eventually wore me down to someone whom I didn't even recognize. I remember looking in the mirror after returning home from a show, being horribly sick and just crying. I was not happy and I had done it to myself.

The wonderful thing about hitting bottom is YOU CAN ONLY GO UP.

Its not easy... but eventually you rise. During this time you have the amazing opportunity to peel back your layers and remember who you are again. WHO YOU ARE TO THE CORE.


What I had forgotten about myself during this time was that I was a FIGHTER.

I love WHOLLY.

I feel DEEPLY.

I NEED to process and PURGE.

In processing, I LET GO. I MOVE ON. I BUILD UP in myself and in my community. I make SENSE of it all so my heart doesn't hold on or hold grudges.

What was covered by fears and self doubt through these last few years suddenly began to wake up. Through much love and compassion from my husband, my children and my beautiful friends... I remembered just what this girl was made of and what she had in store for her. Some how my life had taken a turn in a different direction... it was time to turn things around and get back on course.


That's where this class comes in.

You see, I know where I am supposed to be. I can see what I should be doing clearly yet I use every excuse possible to widen the gap between what I am doing... and what I SHOULD be doing. Fears of taking on to much, not being available for my kids... even the fear of telling my husband what my desire for my future is... because I fear that he will not be supportive. They are all real fears, but they are the kind of fears that need to be CONQUERED. I knew deep in my heart that my life was not meant to be in a holding pattern. It was meant to move FORWARD. I couldn't let the fear of not knowing or difficult conversations hold me back. It is all part of the process and like I mentioned before... In order to process and move forward even difficult talks have to happen... Fears need to be confronted and excuses need to be reasoned with.

So I took steps, little ones, some BIG... and some so scary and huge that I didn't know just where I would land, but I knew that I would be going FORWARD and that was all that mattered. And through this I celebrated. Taking on these hard subjects and projects makes for some awesome victories. Victories that I may have often brushed aside during the crazy throws of life... but this time around... I was going to celebrate them.


What is this class about?





Well, as you can see from my story above, it's about process. It is about finding a foundation in life that you can stand on and move forward from. It's about GROWTH, recognizing in ourselves where we are and where we are supposed to be. It's being OK with not being OK. It about making mistakes, being HUMAN and embracing this...NOT running from it. All this wrapped up in some faith and encouragement. Although some of the material and content that I will be sharing will be biblical, this is not a class that is meant to alienate or make anyone feel out of place. This class is just the opposite. This class is meant to help each of us remember what we all share to the core. We are HUMAN, we each have PURPOSE, and we ALL need ENCOURAGEMENT on our journey.



Who should attend?


  • A) Those who need a little help getting back to their purpose.
  • B) Those who just love art and learning new techniques. 
  • C) Those who want to dig in deeper into learning about art mediums and applications. 
  • D) Those who have not taken the time to just "TAKE TIME". AKA, You want to take a break from the hamster wheel.
  • E) Human beings that recognize they are flawed and are looking for a safe place to have fun and create beautiful works of art.



What should I expect?


Well, the nice thing about Truth Scrap is that you gain access to 7 fabulous instructors. So besides my class, you will have access to 6 other instructors who have poured their hearts into their own class. Classes from home decor, art journaling, scrapbooking and MORE. So you are most likely going to find something you will enjoy. In my class I will share my in depth love for mixed media art and give you an overview of art mediums, their purpose, composition and how they can be used together to make mixed media glory. I will teach you to create a piece of art work that represents YOU and your purpose to act as a guiding post reminder. In addition, we will visit some of my "bible flaps" that I add into my bible to journal on. This will give you some ideas of how to use the art mediums we will talk about on a more regular basis and everyday journal purposes.

What do I get when I sign up?


(I copied this straight from the source)

-Full admission to all 7 classes, live

-Pre-Event PJ Party

-Unlimited access to class recordings to view at your convenience

-More fun than you can shake a stick at AND extra goodies!


…And you’ll get this all for the low price of $149 $79* – if you register NOW!

SAVE $20 NOW with discount code: ADVENT (till 12/24)

(That's over 50% off PLUS you get early bird access such as special sneak peeks, discounts, and more!)

This is only like $11 a class PLUS it will be the lowest price offered.


How do I sign up?


If you are ready to join me and my friends on this wonderful creative adventure than Click here to view more details. This will share with you all the info you need for the classes and give you an overview of each instructor PLUS a little description of the class. I am super excited about this class and can't wait to share it with you all!


I know I kind of shared a lot in this first part of this post... I'm sorry if it was a little too much but I feel it is important to share the heart behind my project and why I am so passionate about this class. I am a work in progress and have worked hard to give myself GRACE through life. I have learned so many lessons in this time and through faith, friendship and family I have found a good balance that suites me well. I hope this class gives you some help with finding this same clarity in life.

I hope you'll join me on this creative journey...


~Liz Hicks ♥

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How to Make a Sweet Garland in just 3 Easy Steps

I am a HUGE fan of my projects serving a purpose in my home. I love when something I have creating can serve multiple purposes, it is kind of like multiple projects all wrapped into one! This tree garland is one of those projects... After the holidays this can easily be used in my daughters room decor all year long.



SUGAR PLUM TREE GARLAND




SUPPLIES:

Smoothfoam 1.5 inch balls
scraps of fabric in 1/8th to 1/4 INCH strips (these will be super thin)
glue gun for foam
scraps of lace, tulle and muslin for the spacers
optional: Clear thread

TIP: For this project, I used scraps of clearance fabric. This fabric was on clearance for $4 a yard at my local craft store, I maybe needed 1/8th of a yard so that puts each cut at about $0.50 each.

Step 1 Create Fabric Balls: (This is super duper easy...)
take your fabric and cut it into 1/8 to 1/4 strips. You can traditional cut with scissors or rip it for frayed edges. NOTE: try and keep your fabric strips thin as this will wrap easier.


Glue one end of your fabric to your foam ball. I used a foam hot glue gun to prevent melting. This works great to keep the fabric secured your your foam.





Wrap fabric around your foam ball until covered. You can cut and reposition your fabric and can glue down any rough edges as you go. This is why having thin pieces of fabric works best. the thicker the width, the more likely you are to get puckers of fabric you will have to glue down.

 Here is what the fabric looks like if it is too wide, I had to glue down the right side pucker.


Here is what it looks like when the fabric strips are thinner, creating a smoother application.




Step 2 Add filler fabric

For this I simple took 1x12 inch strips of white lace, muslin and sparkly glittered tulle and created "swags" in between each of the fabric covered balls.



TIP: Glue all three fabric edges together before attaching them to your balls.


You have two options on how to attach your fabric you your balls.

  1. You can sew them with a tapestry needle and transparent thread

  2. You can hot glue gun them together


Once you have one end of your fabric trio glued to your first ball, lightly braid or twist your fabric allowing all of the fabrics to show.

Continue this till you have one continuous strand of garland (make sure to add fabric to both ends anchoring your garland with fabric to hang if needed).

Step 3 EMBELLISH!

This is my favorite step! Add scraps of tulle, netting, sequin fabric or any colorful fun trim you can find. I used scraps that I have had in my stash for a while. The basic idea is that you want to add depth and texture to your garland through different types of fabric.



I LOVE the way this turned out and I extremely LOVE the fact that it can be used year round since I didn't use traditional holiday colors. The nice thing is that as you go to create your own garland you can add WHATEVER you want in WHATEVER color you want. This project is totally versatile and customizable to YOUR needs :)

The Smoothfoam balls I used were nice and light weight, didn't shed and kept their shape well during construction.

Thanks for stopping by!

~Liz Hicks ♥

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Shining a little JOY on recycled crafting

I kind of have a thing for turning trash into treasure. I guess it comes from my environmentalist mom but every time I look at a jar, a lid or even a plastic yogurt container I often think of things I can reuse them for around the house...give them a second life.

Of course these ambitious ideas never really seem to fit time wise into my life so through the year I tend to grow a collection of items... well today I am putting them to work!

JOY Luminaire Home Decor


Step 1- Frost the Glass
To begin these re-purposed luminaire, grab 3 spaghetti sauce jars clean and label free.




Using vinyl, cut out your designs. I used my ScanNCut and some of the built in snowflake and letter designs for this project. My machine settings were blade depth 2, preasure 2 and cut speed 1. Place the designs onto your clean glass surface. Contact paper offers the cleanest application.




Add a generous layer of etching cream to your glass and allow to process according to directions. I let it process for 15 minutes and used Etch-All etching creme.








Step 2: Colorize your jars

I use a turquoise permanent ink from Clearsnap to add some texture and color to the frosted glass. This helps to make the frosted glass pop with color and you can vary the saturation of the color just by adding more ink.



Step 3: Decorate and Display!


Add a little garland or tinsle to the top of your jars to cover up the lip of the jar and then display your jars with white tulle in them for day display.




Or instead of tulle, add some tealights for the dark to use these jars as luminaires.


These little recycled beauties are great night or day and can be created to be used all year around. These have a holiday twist but you can easily change the designs and make these work for any season. Its a great way to repurpose those jars and add a little style to your yard or home.

Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you will continue on the hop and use the link below to check out some more fun ideas to get creative during the holiday season.





Thanks again!

~ Liz Hicks ♥

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How (and WHY) to make Truth Treats

If you are like me, chances are that after Halloween you are faced with a difficult decision.

What to do with all of the candy that your kids have collected.


This year our kids collectively collected 17 POUNDS of candy. That is a WHOLE lot of candy.

We are fortunate enough to live in a wonderful neighborhood where we know our neighbors well, our kids go to school with just about every child in the neighborhood and well... everyone knows everyone. In addition, it seams as if every house we went to we knew and well, they were very generous with the candy.

With this being said, after Halloween night, we sat as a family and had a little chat. There was NO way that our kids could use this much candy and well, we were not about to throw it away. We could donate it to a local organization or sell it back to a local dentist but what we really wanted was to put this candy into action and bless our community. Now our kids were not on board at first, I mean they really connected with the triumph of their loot... but we had to put it into reality for them. Either they find a way to use the candy in a positive way or next year we limit the houses they visit to just our street (which would have given them still more than enough candy). It clicked. If they were going to be blessed by our neighbors and enjoy themselves each Halloween... then the blessing would need to be passed on.

And THAT was what birthed the idea of Truth Treats.



I reached out to my friend Melody Ross of Brave Girls Club and asked if we could use their truths to add a little encouragement to each treat we shared... She graciously said yes.



Melody has in the past done a very similar project on Black Friday, which is what made me think of her when we were trying to come up with an idea for this candy. If you have a chance... definitely check out their site... it will surely inspire some great ideas for the holidays as well as for your heart.

We created these truth treats to pass out to shoppers during Black Friday. This is a great time to catch people when they may need it most. As a family we have shared these truths during the holidays and you would be amazed at how easy it is to touch someone when they need it most. Although the holidays are usually surrounded by loved ones and togetherness... you'd be surprised as to how alone and discouraged the holidays can make people feel. One of the ladies we gave one of these random truths to (at an airport) actually cried when my daughter handed her a truth and gave my daughter a big hug. She told us that this was exactly what she needed to hear as she was going through something very difficult in her life. Kindness matters... and it matters the most when you let your heart lead you... and pave the way for good to happen.


If you would like to see more about "truths" as well as the BGC Truth Cards... Click Here.


TRUTH TREATS




Supplies:

  • Treat bags (We got ours at our local hobby store 50 for $2.99)
  • twine/ribbon/string - To tie the bags
  • Candy- This can be left over candy OR you can purchase bags of candy just for this occasion
  • Truths- You can print the Brave Girl Truths HERE  (Pages 6-9 are perfect for this)
  • Ready and willing kids to volunteer (We invited our daughters girl scout troop as well as our neighbors)

Contents of each bag- 6 pieces of candy, a truth and a whole lot of LOVE (tied with a sweet bow)



I really hope you will join us on this journey and come up with a way to share TRUTH, COMPASSION and CHARITY this holiday season. We would LOVE to see what you come up with. Use the hashtag #truthtreats to share your truth project with the world!

Much love to you this season,

~Liz (and family) ♥

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Easy DIY Teen Cell Phone Case

As promised here is the doodled Dollar Store phone case video tutorial featuring Sakura Glaze Pens.
Its a super easy idea that uses a simple dollar store phone case. What a great way to add a little fun to something so inexpensive. Its the perfect way to add a little hand made to your holiday this year.




I am finishing up some of the other videos I worked on for the Handmade Holidays Blog Hop, so stay tuned for more inexpensive and easy hand made fun.

If you are looking for more inspiration, make sure to look at my original post for all of the blog hoppers and their ideas for handmade gifts. There were over 100 project ideas in total with this blog hop so you are sure to find some great inspiration.

Thanks for watching!

~Liz Hicks