Not too long ago my sweet friend Sandy Allnock and I cooked up an idea to do a double Derwent Inktense world domination tour and do some giveaways as part of our plan, so as to spread our colorful plot far and wide throughout the land.
Now - I'm not gonna lie, it's very intimidating to be doing a joint ANYTHING with one of my complete arty idols, but I'm being BRAVE. I have an immense amount of respect for this woman - not just for her insane amount of artistic talent (which I've been fortunate to observe live), but for her spirit. She is a beautiful, kind, sweet, service-oriented woman who has this innate drive to learn and to push her OWN boundaries constantly. She's a student before all other things, and those are my favorite people to learn from, because they have limitless curiosity. And, that thing I prize most - a sense of humor - was bestowed upon her in spades. If you aren't familiar with her, please spend some time on her site after you read this post. She's a gift to the art world. (And to me).
So it turns out that we both have a set of Derwent Inktense pencils to give away today, so stay tuned for details on that.
However, before that happens I have SERIOUS breaking recipe news.
Our celebrity chef for the retreat - Melanie Hopes - made the most unbelievable creamed corn - this is the creamed corn of your DREAMS. We all ended up calling it crack corn because it was HIGHLY addictive and quite possibly the reason no one's pants fit now. She was kind enough to share all her recipes with us, and I just HAVE to share this one.
Now if you're like me, you have PTSD from creamed corn. You, too, have been to a Wednesday night service at a Baptist church - also known as a pot luck dinner - the service was pretty incidental to the food - and you have been subjected to................ CANNED CREAMED CORN by someone who was totally phoning it in for the pot luck.
In my mind, this offense is worthy of the death penalty. You do NOT phone in something as sacred as creamed corn, people.
First of all, there is no CREAM in canned "creamed" corn. There is a gelatinous substance that resembles dirty dishwater assaulting the innocent kernels of corn. It's HIDEOUS. It's like pretending SPAM is a standing rib roast. It's ABSURD.
So, since I'm suffering from CCPTSD, I refuse to eat it at restaurants - I've been tricked by the slimy version too many times. I walk alone.
But MEL. MEL is a person I trust. And as I tasted her creamed corn, a single tear, representing decades of suffering and then subsequent liberation, rolled slowly down my cheek. I had finally come home.
Now, her recipes, as she says, are sort of guidelines, and they do not have instructions, just ingredients, so I sort of made up the other steps. And it came out perfectly. So here's my version of it. Please note - this is the retreat sized recipe - feel free to cut in half. (Her instructions to follow):
- 2 C Heavy cream
- 2 C Whole milk
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 4 oz. can green chiles (I used Hatch hot)
- 4-8 TBS Polenta/Cornmeal
- White pepper if desired
- 1/4 C. Sugar
- 2 20 oz. bags frozen sweet corn (I like the Bird's Eye Steamfresh Super Sweet Corn)
- Sharp cheddar cheese
I brought the milk and cream to a low boil and added the polenta (her recipe called for 4 TBS, but I ended up having to use 8). Continue cooking until the polenta thickens the mixture. Add more if you need to - polenta cooks at a boil in about 7 minutes, but you might need more time - you just want the sauce to have some body. When thick, remove from heat and add all the other ingredients - I added some cheese to this mixture, but you'll want some for the top. Add to buttered casserole dish, top with more cheese and cook at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly. DIVINE.
Now I didn't have Mel's instructions when I made it - so this is what she says to do - she puts it ALL together into the pot on the stove and cooks it all together until it is the right thickness. She also only adds the cheese on the top, I believe.
This stuff will change your life. Trust me. Also - you'll need to go for a run. Or two.
Wait till you see what I did with it!
I found this technique from another of my favorite Mels - Mel McCarthy - who is such a phenomenal artist that basically my head explodes every time I go to her beautiful blog. She is so generous with her time, talent and techniques - I just have complete admiration for her.
I took her Fresco technique and did a MUCH less spectacular version of it. Please view her amazing, amazing technique here. I loved the detail of the embossing folder she used, but I didn't have anything that would really lend itself to that beautiful painterly technique she did.
But I DID have an idea for the Fluttering folder, since the Inktense pencils are suitable for layering under wet media, like her Copic version was.
I thought I'd go for a little impressionistic background rather than a precise one, and I ended up LOVING it. These pencils give such vivid color that it's SO perfect for the reveal this technique does.
So here was the resulting faux fresco.
Built for Free Using: My Stampin Blog
I. Love. This. Technique.
I did a little video for you - and you will see how fast and easy it is, and how much new life you can breathe into your embossing folders with some beautiful colors and a little paint.
Fun, eh? And really pretty fast for such a cool mixed-media result. I hope you try it! The pencil case I show in the video is here and the pencils I used are Fuchsia 0700, Iris Blue 0900, Golden Yellow 0230, Apple Green 1400.
So for our giveaway today - we are both giving away these amazing pencils. I won't even tell you the embarrassing story about why I have these to give away, but just insert your favorite episode of I Love Lucy here and be grateful that my embarrassment is your WIN today.
So here's what you need to do to win the set of 72 I'm giving away today. All I ask is that you send a card to the guy who is the greeter at my Costco. His name is Alex, and he is having a double knee replacement today. It's funny how these people become part of your daily life. He told me last week about the surgery and that he could use some prayers - he gets one replaced today and then three weeks later, he gets the other one replaced. That's some tough rehab right there. He won't be back to work until September. So I think he could use some love from the stamping community to get him through his hard days. I have always appreciated his friendly smile and short chats over the years that I've been shopping at this store, and I'd love to return that friendliness when he could use a lift.
4301 West William Cannon Drive, Suite 100
Austin, TX 78749
So find a card for Alex, mail it, and then leave me a comment and I will draw for the set of pencils on Monday! Go forth and uplift!
Here's the set one of you lucky card mailers will win.
NOW - you are not going to BELIEVE what Sandy has done. Seriously - she is amazing. I have a particular soft spot for the project she made for today, and you will see why. Please head over to her blog now and prepare for awe.
AND you have ANOTHER chance to win a set of Inktense on her blog! Also, check out her amazing Copic hex chart if you're a marker fiend - this thing is a triumph of the visual display of information. I don't know how her brain fits in her head!
Here's a link to a blank Inktense color chart if you're interested. Thanks to our friends at +My Sweet Petunia for this chart.
Also - the info on my fall retreat is up - registration opens August 1st - be sure and check it out here.
Have fun, send a card to Alex, make yourself some life changing corn. It's all good.