Thursday, February 28, 2013

Trending ~ Roundup

Arrows?? The next trend? What will the lowly octopus do?? 
What do you think?

Unique Metal Objects by Drop Metal on Etsy price $40

"Gotcha" Arrows and Heart Print by Miranda Lyn on Etsy   price $23.

Fitted crib sheets in mint arrows by Iviebaby on Etsy  price $55.

Mini Sunset Arrow Set in Sea Green Red and Yellow by FletcherandFox on Etsy  price $54.

I have to admit, I like the arrow set by Fletcher and Fox and I could rock the metal arrows in my garden, must be the pervasive effect of the Hunger Games?? Do you have arrows as part of your decor??

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Creative Pay-it Forward #2

Sunday's "fog-in" seemed like the perfect time to take on a happy task. I pushed past the gloomy day and worked on the second of ten Creative Pay-it Forward projects. See more about that here.

The person I am making these for has a bubbly personality so I started with a pair of cute, funky earrings to "UpCycle"...

           I decided to glam them up with the addition of these sweet antique lamp-worked beads

           I hand-wrapped them in silver wire to complement the silver hoops and the relaxed vibe...

...using white, blue and citrus green beads to work with the existing lacquered rings

I think these turned out so cute. I hadn't planned on making earrings for everyone, but I am having too much fun working with my huge inventory of beads and matching the earrings to the person! I can't wait for the recipient to receive her surprise in the mail!! How do you choose to pay-it-forward?? Have an abundant day everyone!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sister Love

"This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no-one else can fill it. Why would I want them to?"
 Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body

Monday, February 25, 2013


Yesterday we had a "white out" or as Michael likes to call it, a "gloom-out".  It is our very own desert version of fog. Sharing none of the real properties of fog except zero visibility, it has the same effect on us desert dwellers as does a snow storm to our friends in the North; we hunker down, try to block out the relentless sound of the blowing wind, and mourn the loss of our precious sunlight. Plus, even if it isn't cold, it sounds cold.

This is a before shot of our Western vista on a normal day, well, this was not really normal...I was getting a shot of the rare and amazing icicles...but, point being, you can SEE the mountains thirty miles away!

This is a "white-out" shot facing East from our house. is that same view without a ton of dust and white sand filling the sky is summer, but you get the idea.
I know, it isn't like being stuck in a snow storm (feelin' for ya my Midwestern friends), without heat or electricity or running water...already did that this winter...more about that here. But it does jangle the nerves and it is damn gloomy. Time to put on some Manhattan clam chowder, find my recipe here, and close all the blinds, grab a cozy blanket and watch the Oscars because we are officially "fogged" in!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Meditation

 Sunset over Tulsa                                                                                               Victoria Copeland 2013

The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.
Light is good from whatever lamp it shines. ~Author Unknown

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Grab the Last of the Pomegranates and Make This!

Do you love pomegranates? Do you love Chocolate? Well, run don't walk to grab the last pomegranates of the season and make this easy peasy chocolate pomegranate bark and enjoy the way those juicy pomegranate seeds pop as you are biting into this delicious chocolate wonder! I am not a candy-maker, but even I can do this!

Pomegranate~Chocolate Bark
gently adapted from fineCooking

What you need:
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao), broken into 1-inch pieces
1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds (from 1 large pomegranate)

1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

First, line a backing sheet with waxed paper, or, like I did, a silicone baking sheet.

Then seed 1 large pomegranate. You need about cup. I do several at one time (since it can be messy) and freeze the rest to add to salads all year long! Click here to see the method I use.

Then grab a heat safe glass bowl, put the chocolate in the bowl and fit it on top of a sauce pan of boiling water, (just enough water so that it is boiling but not hitting the bottom of the bowl). Also...and this is always important when melting not let water get into the bowl, as the chocolate will seize. Stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

Very gently, so as not to crush the seeds, fold half the pomegranates into the chocolate, breaking up any clumps with your fingers, then fold in 1/4 tsp of fine sea salt.

Scrape the entire bowl onto your prepared baking sheet, sprinkle the remaining pomegranate seeds evenly over the top and gently press them into the chocolate.

Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. Break the bark into chunks with your hands, again, trying not to crush the seeds...or eat it all!! 
The contrast of the bright red seeds with the chocolate is so pretty and looks great on a buffet and, can I say, is somewhat guilt free? This will keep for about five days in the refrigerator. Yum!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Meditation

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.”
W.S. Merwin 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Say "NO" to Jar Sauce!

Do you have a love/hate relationship with jar sauce? Love knowing it's in the pantry, but always disappointed with the flat taste and lack of depth? Even more aggravating is the ridiculous cost for all that lack of flavor! Have I got a sauce for you! This is so easy and so good you will snub that poor excuse for "jarred" vodka sauce forever. I tweaked this recipe from "in the kitchn" and I think my version is scrumptious!

Penne with Vodka Sauce
Adapted from in The Kitchn
Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces, finely chopped bacon
1/2 sweet onion, very finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3-4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (I like Cento brand, as it is not from concentrate)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, (I found this the perfect amount, but adjust to your liking)
2 teaspoons sugar (really, the sugar is important)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound (16 ounces) penne pasta cooked al dante

Parmesan cheese, for serving
Chopped parsley, for serving

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 4-5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

~Reduce heat to medium. Add the onions and cook until softened about 5 minutes.
~Add the tomato paste and garlic, stirring to combine, and sauté for 2 more minutes.
~Stir the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, sugar, and salt into the onion mixture.
~Stir in the vodka and increase heat back to medium-high.
~Briskly simmer for 8 - 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the alcohol flavor has cooked off. (Careful not to have the heat too high for risk of a flare-up!!)
~Turn off heat and whisk in heavy cream.

~While making the vodka sauce, bring a large stockpot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water before draining. 

~Gently fold the cooked penne into the vodka sauce (if necessary, to warm up the sauce, cook on low heat for another couple of minutes). I use a little less than one pound of pasta because I like mine super saucy.
~Toss with a bit of pasta water if sauce is too thick. (I added the remaining reserved pasta water to my leftovers before packing them away)
Season with additional salt and red pepper flakes if desired, top with the reserved crispy bacon and serve with fresh Parmesan and chopped parsley.

I served this simple but luscious sauce with a fresh baguette, but it can stand alone!
Bon Appétit!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chocolate Irish Whiskey Cake Magic

Chocolate Irish Whiskey Cake ~ What's not to love?!!

I spotted this beauty on the cover of fine Cooking magazine's Dec/Jan 2013 edition and fell for its simple elegance and, for me, a true layer-cake novice, the challenge! Also, I needed a "wow factor" cake for a dinner party celebrating the first quarter birthdays of a special group friends and my dear hubby.

Usually settling for the ubiquitous Bundt cake (because baking a layer cake in the desert at high altitude has always meant disaster for me!) I was determined this time to succeed!

Weighing dry ingredients equals success!
Flour here is excessively dry which really alters the dry/wet ratio of a cake. I was gifted a wonderful new tool this Christmas (thank you Sean and Meg!) and was excited to put it into action! Weighing the dry ingredients sounds cumbersome and time consuming but it was NOT and the difference in my results well worth the extra step. I can highly recommend investing in a kitchen scale. Mine is an Oxo, love it!

This method resulted in a cake that was moist with a great crumb. The frosting, a perfect combination
of brown sugar, whipped cream, espresso, and Jameson's whiskey (yes! like Irish coffee!) was light, flavorful and a stunning finish to our birthday celebration.

 I sliced off the cake tops slightly to stabilize the layers and the cake was well-behaved all evening ;)

 Six candles, one for each of us!

White and semi-sweet chocolate curls were the perfect finish, adding just enough sweetness to this sophisticated, not-to-sweet coffee, mocha beauty....and hey, three layers? no sweat!!

Irish Whiskey Cake ~ find the recipe at Here

 Great friends, Great food, Great wine, lots of laughter and a Beautiful cake = Magic!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy B-day to the Original Aquarian Conspiracy...

Happy Birthday to My Amazing Husband!
The Love of My Life....Here's to Many More, My Dearest! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Italy Copeland-Style 2013

We began taking art students to Europe in 1994 and we loved it so much we set out to create a way to continue to travel and share our many years of painting and travel experience with others. In 2004 we launched Sketchbook Tours Painting Retreats. Nearly ten years later, we still experience our Italian watercolor retreat as the perfect balance of travel, art, relaxation and Italian culture.
Our Italian Watercolor Retreat for 2013 is in the works! Below, are some of our favorite moments from our July 2012 retreat. Ready to create your own Italian memories? Check out our website at and give us a shout to let us know you are interested. We would LOVE to show you our Italy!
Ciao! Victoria and Michael Copeland

Ah Umbria! Join us in 2013!

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