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Valentine’s cheat

January 29th, 2010

Since I’m still on holiday, I hope you don’t mind that I cheat and re-post something from last year, as we count down to the sticky sweetness of Valentine’s Day.

I have mixed feelings about Valentine’s, mainly because I can’t believe how quick the Christmas lights get replaced with pink heart garlands these days.

FREEBIE
No chocolates or rosepetals for this grumpy dude, no surprise picnic at the planetarium. If you’d like to keep him company (or if you’d like for him to keep yours), feel free to download and use him as your desktop wallpaper*. The actual jpg is 1024 x 768 pixels, so you may need to ’stretch to fit’ your monitor.

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Corny season’s greetings (with a DIY download)

December 24th, 2009

Over the last couple of days, I’ve whipped up three batches of Gingerbread Caramel Popcorn, a recipe I found online and then modified slightly. The aroma in our place is downright heavenly.

Ingredients

•    15 cups popped corn (I used air-popped)
•    1/2 tsp. salt
•    1 cup butter
•    2 cups packed brown sugar
•    1/4 cup corn syrup
•    1/4 cup light molasses
•    1 Tbsp. ground ginger
•    1 tsp. cinnamon
•    1/2 tsp. baking soda
•    pinch of cayenne pepper
•    2 cups roasted pecans
•    240 g bag of peanut m+m’s

Preparation

Preheat oven to 250˚F. Place popcorn and pecans into two 13” x 9” pans.

Mix together salt, butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses, ginger, cinnamon & cayenne in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil for 5 minutes:

Remove pan from heat and mix in baking soda. Mixture will foam up — this is why you need a large pan!

Pour mixture over popped corn / pecans in prepared pans, mix thoroughly. (The mixture gets a little stiff as it cools over the popcorn… you’ll get a few more shots at coating everything later, so don’t worry if it’s not perfect at this stage.)

Bake pans at 250˚ for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until corn is glazed and crisp. (During these stirs, any excess caramel will be at the bottom of the pans, and you can spread it out more evenly.)

Cool completely. I doled out the popcorn in treat bags I’d picked up at Michael’s Craft Store, throwing in peanut m+m’s (yes, I’m still a little obsessed with them) as I went. Each batch yielded about a dozen bags, though the recipe says that it makes 30 servings.

I designed a card — with knee-slapping punny greetings on the front, plus the recipe on the back (see top photo) — had them printed up at a copy centre, and tied them on each bag.

The feedback so far is that the popcorn is delish (though both John and I already knew this, since we did some very scientific taste-testing).

If you’d like to put together a batch of the popcorn too, please feel free to click here and download the artwork for the tags so you can also give out corny greetings with the treats!

Technical stuff for printing the tags: I’ve laid out the artwork so that there are four tags per 8.5″ x 11″ sheet. There are two pages to the PDF, and they should be printed back-to-back. When printing, specify that it “Fit to page” and make sure the printout is centered on the sheet. The artwork includes cropmarks on the front side, so you can use these to cut out the tags — if printed correctly, the recipes on the backs of the tags should line up nicely with the front.

Do you have any simple holiday treat recipes to share???

Enjoy, and merry merry to you!

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The Graphic Details: Resources and Freebies and Tutorials, oh my…

March 11th, 2009

Since I joined Twitter a couple of months ago, I’ve learned about countless sites out there that offer all sorts of graphics tutorials, tips, resources, downloadables… So much helpful, creative, inspiring stuff out there. Below are just a few of the design- and freelance-related links that I’ve collected from the tweety banter. ENJOY!

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Tutorials

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Great resources

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FREE design stuff!

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Inspiring

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Small Business + Blogging (design-related)

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Geeky + fun

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I’ve been astounded by just how much talent is to be found online, and coupled with generosity in many many cases. Schmanks for sharing, folks

[Since I've learned about all these resources, I've become reluctant to continue adding my own low-tech tutorials here... Not that I thought that I was the first to come up with blog lessons or anything, but there's just SO much amazing stuff already out there that I'm less motivated to add to it. So these Graphic Details posts will be sparse, methinks!]

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