Sunday, January 15, 2012


   Every year on January 17th, the people of San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain, celebrate St. Anthony's by riding their horese, donkeys and mules through piles of burning tree branches.

    The unique tradition of leaping over and through flames dates back 500 years, but the men and women of San Bartolome de Pinares still celebrate it religiously. They gather all the branches they can find in the days leading up to the festivities, and when dusk falls on the eve of Saint Anthony's, they light the branches into a bonfire. Riders jump and run their mounts through the burning piles of the branches in the middle of the village, accompanied by sound of drums and Spanish bagpipes.

Drinking wine during the purification festival

    Jumping through the flames is said to bring the animals the protection of St. Anthony Abad, acknowledged as the patron saint of domestic animals, ever since the Middle Ages. Locals believe the fire purifies their animals and protects them against illnesses, all year long. So far as I know none of the horses we hurt during this festival.


   This recipe comes from www.sweetapolita.com .  They even look too good to eat.  Enjoy!

My Heart Belongs To U: Neapolitan Milk &  Chocolate Sugar Cookies

I hope you are having a great Saturday! So far, I’ve had a great day. I was able to drive into the city (Toronto) this morning (all alone!) for a much-needed trip to the hair salon, a leisurely shop at the most fabulous gourmet grocer, Pusateri’s, and, naturally, a quick stop to Starbucks for my drive home. I hope you’re also having a fabulous weekend, and that you’re able to fill it full of love-y treats and projects. If you read my last post, you’ll remember that I just can’t get enough of the Valentine’s Day treats this year (and just love-inspired sweets all-around). I really wanted to get one more love-themed treat in before the weekend was over, so although this will be a short & sweet post, I’m so happy I was able to share these cookies with you. You know what else I can’t get enough of? Neapolitan! Strawberry, Chocolate & Vanilla–is there anything better? It makes me so happy with its fun colours and flavours combined; it really is the perfect trio.

Here’s the photo that was a big part of the inspiration for this Neapolitan Milk & Chocolate Sugar Cookie collection, from the Real Simple website. Don’t you just love these little milk bottles? I also love the little plate the bottles are on, because I have & adore the silk pillow and pencil case from this amazing collection from thomaspaul. Adorable. I also used my own Neapolitan 5-Layer Birthday Cake as inspiration, because I thought it really needed some matching cookies!

These really are fun to make–they’re kind of like little fondant puzzles, and I would say that in the grand scheme of confection design, they’re pretty quick and easy! As you’ve probably noticed, I love using fondant for cookie decorating. I personally love the sweet vanilla taste of Satin Ice brand fondant, the beautiful texture, and lovely porcelain finish it creates for my cookies. Since I love not just the visual appeal of Neapolitan, but also the flavours, I couldn’t resist using the corresponding flavours for each cookie. I used a dark chocolate fondant for the chocolate bar and chocolate milk bottles; I flavoured the “strawberry” milk bottle/hearts fondant with LorAnn’s strawberry flavour oil (I haven’t done this before, and it is SO yummy!); and, of course, I used the vanilla fondant for the vanilla milk bottles/hearts.

If you would like to make these cookies, here is the how-to:

Neapolitan Milk & Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Milk Bottles:
1. Cut out/bake/cool milk bottle sugar cookies (or the cookies of your choice).
2. Dye white fondant strawberry pink (I used AmeriColor “electric pink”) and add a few drops (to taste) of LorAnn Strawberry Oil.
3. Roll pink, white, and chocolate fondant about 1/8″ thick, cut out milk bottle shape using cookie cutter, and cut out heart/hearts using small heart cutter.
4. Spread very thin layer of royal icing on cooled cookie and gently place fondant shape on cookie.
5. You will use the cut out chocolate bar heart to fill in your “puzzle” milk bottle heart (confused yet?).
Chocolate Bars:
1. Cut out/bake/cool rectangular sugar cookies (or the cookies of your choice).
2. Roll chocolate fondant (I use Satin Ice dark chocolate fondant and mix 50/50 with white fondant for milk chocolate colour) 1/8″ thick.
3. Using ruler edge, create a bar grid. Then, using same ruler, create diagonal lines across entire bar.
4. Cut out heart using same small heart cutter from bottles and place inside the missing heart in milk bottles.
5. Roll, cut, and insert a pink heart into the missing heart on chocolate bar.
6. Cut out an “I” and “U” using small letter fondant cutters and fill in with white fondant.
7. Spread a small amount of royal icing on cookie, and gently place the fondant on top.
This may sound confusing, but it’s so simple. Like I mentioned, it’s just like a fondant cookie love puzzle! Although they do make for ideal Valentine’s Cookies, I think they would also be gorgeous for wedding showers, weddings, birthday parties, and pretty much any celebration. Love seems to be the perfect theme for any party. Don’t you think?
I want to wish you all an amazing Valentine’s Day filled with love & cookies!
Good luck & enjoy!


   This diy comes from www.shanty-2-chic.com .  An inventive idea to have around for the holidays and every day to put pinecones, nuts, faux fruit or any other decorative item you can think of.  Have fun!

Hey Guys!! I spent my weekend with the fam in Lubbock and made it home just in time to share my next project with you. A few weeks ago I saw a picture of an antique cake stand in a magazine and was instantly inspired to copy… although this shanty is far from antique:) Here’s what I did…
I started by purchasing my supplies. I found three great hat boxes at Hobby Lobby at 50% off. I paid less than $12 for all three… woohoo!!

I also bought 2 unfinished wood candlesticks and a bag of 6 little candlesticks. This picture shows 3… you only need 2.

I also had my Gorilla Glue Epoxy handy… Hot glue will not cut it on this project! I had to pull out my big guns…

For this project I only used the tops of the hat boxes. My first step was to glue my candlesticks to the tops. I added glue to each candlestick and started building…

My little candlesticks became the feet for the bottom stand…

Still building…

I used another little candlestick for the top and glued an unfinished wood finial to it. You can find these at Lowe’s on the trim aisle.

Now to add it to the top…

My next step was to get this baby one color! My color of choice… Rustoleum American Accents Heirloom White spray paint. I took it out in the garage and gave it a couple of coats.
When my paint dried I was wanting this to appear antique, so I distressed the candlesticks using my 3M block sander…

I then used a Shanty Sisters favorite… Ralph Lauren Smoke Glaze over the entire stand. You just paint it on and wipe it off with a cloth. You can leave as much on as you like to get the finish you like best.

Almost done…

I do love natural lighting for my photos so much better, but when you finish your project at 9:00pm that typically is not an option. Sorry!
My final step was to dress it up. I fought the urge to cover it in Christmas goodies! But, I did “Winterize” it a bit. I picked up some pine cones from a house down the street and added just a few walnuts on there as well. The best part about this… You won’t have to hide this project in a closet 10 months out of the year! It can be decorated for every season! What do you think??