Friday, September 19, 2008

Attempting an Art Project

Hello all!

Since Wednesday I have been working on a small collage I hoped to frame. The inspiration was a friend of mine from school (who I will most likely send this to!) and the outcome was this:

Today, I took a trip to the nearest Target (about 4 miles from my house) and purchased a white picture frame for about a $1.48 (on sale!!). Since it's so light I hoped to paint it or decorate it in some way, but sadly despite the amazing amount of Halloween inventory, there was little else to be had. Next week I'll try driving to Michaels or AC Moore to see what I can dig up!

I've been putting together collages since middle school. I consider them the best way to express yourself if you can't draw/paint your way out of a paper sack *points to self*. As I grew older, I realized that collages didn't have to be brightly colored or reeking of adolescent quality; instead, I could form them into themes and work from there.

Below are Kaitlin's instructions on how to make a collage into art!

Start with a wide array of magazines (below is a sampling of the ones I used):

Cut out as many pictures as you want and put them together in any way you desire. If you're working with younger kids make sure they have a supervisor. Mine for the day was Denny; just in case I slipped up, he'd be there to help:

When you're satisfied with your collage and you've found a frame, you can slap it in there any way you like. My collage was rather small, so I had to do a little grunt work to make the background. I wanted it to be black. When I finished the mini collage there wasn't much black to be had in my magazines. In order to make the dark background, I took the sample sheet they had inside the picture frame and put pieces of black magazine pages on the back haphazardly. It gave it a slightly edgy look, which echoed the collage.

A little magazine chopping never hurt anyone...

Putting the pieces together

Finally, the page was all black! I glued on the mini collage and centered it exactly how I wanted it until I came up with the final project:

And a close up:

The project was simple enough, and it has to be one of the most fun things to do with kids (make sure to lay down some newspaper to make clean-up a cinch!)

Coming soon...Kaitlin takes a trip to a craft fair! My father's part of a barbershop quartet and they are slatted to sing there tomorrow and Sunday. I'll try and take some good pictures so everyone can see what went down. Craft fairs are the best way to get inspiration for DIY projects and pretty fun to boot.

Happy Collaging!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Launch Day!

Hello and welcome to Launch Day for the Start Up Gal!

My name is Kaitlin and I'll be your blogger for this adventure.

First order of business is to start you off with a little get to know me:

I'm a recent college graduate without a full time job, and as I have lots of free time on my hands, I'm attempting to do some projects around the house on my own. My focus is on house warming gifts for all my friends that have left my hometown to work in various places around the US of A. The process for each gift will be listed (with pictures!) as I finish it, though as the glue dries I'll be bringing you all some helpful tidbits to online shopping. More often than not it will be for new clothes since I'll probably end up destroying the old ones, despite the smock.

To start off, I'll be supplying a recipe that has always worked for me as a gift when going to houses at Christmas, Fourth of July, heck, anytime! Many of you might recognize this cookie recipe from the back of the Nestle Toll-House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips bag, but I've revamped it with my own personal ad-ins.

Kaitlin's Top Secret Chocolate Chip Cookies (made public!)

2 salted sticks of butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract, any brand will do (I prefer McCormick)
2 eggs, room temperature
a little bit of cinnamon (at your discretion, be frugal or pour it in)
2 1/4 cups of flour (they say measure exactly, but give or take a little won't kill you)
1 tsp salt (I do a little less, but again, discretion)
1 tsp baking soda (arm and hammer works great)
The ENTIRE bag of chocolate chips!

Blend butter, granulated and brown sugars and vanilla extract together. Add eggs and blend again. Add flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda to the mix and blend until smooth. I usually stir the chocolate chips in with a wooden spoon (or spatula) rather than using the electric mixer...the chips tend to jam up the beaters (as I learned the hard way...)

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Baking time will always vary oven to oven, so I suggest setting the timer at 8 minutes and giving them a peek before adding two minutes. They should be nice and gold colored, though a little browning won't hurt either. Make sure to use non-stick cookie pans!!

If you want to spice things up, feel free to put some cayenne pepper and dark chocolate chips into your batter. I tried it once and it turned out fabulous! Trader Joe's has the best semi-sweet chips (shh...don't tell Nestle I've cheated on them!), but do not hold back! I've also thrown in M&M's, sprinkles, anything that doesn't melt horribly in an oven. My attempt at gummy bear cookies was a disaster!

Over the past decade I've brought these chocolate chip cookies to parties, to school, to work, and I've even used them as gifts to friends who put me up when I visit them. People appreciate you when you appreciate them, and cookies are the way to a person's heart (and stomach).

Happy Baking!