Monday, April 20, 2020

Everybody's Favorite - Red Velvet Cake

Is there anything as decadent as homemade RED VELVET CAKE?

I recently received a request for this recipe that I learned from my mother over 50 years ago.  It's tried and true, one of a kind, and still the BEST I've ever tasted.

Old Fashioned Red Velvet Cake

½ c. Crisco 1 ½ c. sugar
2 oz red food color 1 tsp. Salt
1 Tblsp. Cocoa 1 tsp. Vanilla
2 eggs 2 c. flour
1 c. buttermilk 1 Tblsp. Vinegar
1 tsp. Baking soda

Cream sugar & Crisco.  Add food color.  Add eggs and mix.  Separately, sift flour, measure, add cocoa & sift 3 more times.  Add this alternately with buttermilk to the sugar mixture.  Add vanilla & salt and beat well.  Dissolve soda in vinegar and fold into mixture gently.  
Grease two 9” pans, don’t flour.  Pour in and bake at 325˚  for 40-45 minutes.  Remove from pans while still slightly warm.

      1 c. milk ½ c. flour ¼ tsp. Salt
      Mix & cook until so thick it almost forms a ball.  

      Cool thoroughly. 

      Cream:  1 c. granulated sugar  & 1 c. butter

Add to flour mixture & beat well.  Add 2 tsp. Vanilla & spread on cooled cake.  

The BEST ever!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Meet Dixie the Rocking Horse

Introducing DIXIE, the sweetest little rocking horse we've ever met!  She's just had a makeover, and she's raring to go meet her new best friend!

When we first saw this poor little gem, she had been put on the shelf in critical condition.  She was cracked, dirty, sad and blue.  She called from her stall, and we heard her cry!

Since our newest Grandson will be arriving soon, we just knew Dixie would love to become his best friend!  So we took her home, gave her a bath with Dixie Belle Paint's White Lightening cleaner, and sanded out some rough spots.  Her body was dry and cracked, so we filled in the holes with Dixie Belle's Mud in white.  It took lots more sanding, a bit of glue, and a fresh coat of paint in Drop Cloth to see her sweet spirit begin to emerge.  We darkened her mane and her rails with Manatee Gray then drew in some details with Caviar (both by Dixie Belle - of course)!

She was looking so sweet and innocent, and feeling excited.  She whispered that she'd always wanted to be a Paint we happily complied!  A blend of 5 or 6 forgotten colors gave us the perfect Paint Pony shade, and Dixie was off to the races!  She couldn't be happier, and neither could we!  She will meet her little sidekick sometime in May.  No doubt we will share that news with you all then!

So, if you'd like to make your own painted dreams come true, just ask us about Dixie Bell Paint!  We would love to help you enjoy the rewards of restoration.

Monday, February 26, 2018

To the Moon and Back

Coming soon.....a new grandson!

So, what does this crafty grandma do?  I start making things for the new little bundle of joy!

Here's my favorite gift so far - a precious little child's chair, with Solar System decor to match his nursery.   And my feelings, because I definitely Love Him to the Moon and Back again - already!

Of course, I used Dixie Belle Paint products, as they are the best this Nana has ever tried!  The chalk mineral paints are "easy peasy", have great coverage and make almost anyone seem like a pro!  I first cleaned this dirty little white chair with Dixie Belle's White Lightening cleaner.  Then I blended colors on the old rush seat, as well as the chair, to create a dark night effect.  I used Bunker Hill Blue and Pure Ocean, then splattered a fine mist of Pure Ocean to create my own Milky Way.

I hand painted the lettering with a mix of Pure Ocean and Drop Cloth, and the moon with Colonel Mustard, also blended with Drop Cloth.  The stars were so tiny that I had to use paint pens in silver and copper to get the tiny details I wanted.  My hands just aren't quite steady enough to go that small with a brush!  Keep in mind, the chair is less than 2 feet tall!

You can purchase all the amazing Dixie Belle Paint Company products HERE through our affiliate link.  We are here to help if you have questions or advice.  Just drop us a message.

Anyway, I'm so excited to see this chair in action soon.  But in the meantime, I'll stay busy creating lots of other fun and useful things for my new little man.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

It's been ages, my friends!  Life got in the way, but we are ready to return!  Watch this space for news, ideas and projects, and all things creative from Texas Eagle Gallery!

Here are a few photos of our latest projects, available for purchase at Jefferson Antique  Mall in Jefferson, Texas!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Enlightened by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

I lost my beautiful Mama to ALS just 10 months ago, and the current onslaught of Ice Bucket videos has been a roller coaster of emotions!

My first reaction was sadness, and the urge to resist everything that brought the dreadful ALS to the front of my mind.  My next emotion was skepticism, as I saw no correlation between wet squealing people and a cure for ALS.

But as the viral reaction became impossible to avoid, I suddenly had an epiphany….a lightbulb moment, if you will!  Or, perhaps an "ice bucket" moment to be accurate.  Let me explain….

Mom was a beautiful lady.  She handled the news with grace and dignity, and a strong, faithful inner peace.  But as the days wore on, she also became sad and withdrawn, almost exhibiting a kind of shame over her fate.   She shied away from outings as the awkward stares, the confusion when she spoke, the lack of understanding of ALS - all these things left her feeling uncomfortable and alone.  Speaking, eating, breathing…normal acts that now made her embarrassed and afraid.  She made me promise to keep both friends and relatives away as the disfiguring disease consumed her body.  Her pride was gone and her spirit was broken.  I tried my best to keep that promise.  Turning folks away was hard, but I had agreed, after she promised to attend one last family birthday party and say goodbye in her own way.  It was one of the hardest events I've ever attended, but in the end, it was a huge success.  Here is my wonderful family, celebrating the birth and life of my Mom.

Just 3 months after this outing, Mom left this earth.  Her disfigured face returned to it's beauty as we watched the peace return to her soul.  She left as gently as she had lived.  For that we are forever grateful!  We had great support from the ALS Foundation and Heartsway Hospice, as well as our multitude of friends and family.  Sadly, ALS changed my whole family forever and nothing will ever be the same…..

But back to my enlightenment.  It suddenly dawned on me that the major accomplishment of this crazy Ice Bucket Challenge is awareness.  People are learning about ALS!  They get it!  The donations are fantastic and bring lots of hope, but from my perspective, awareness is the greatest gift that can be given!  May no other victim ever suffer the shame and isolation my Mom endured.  May no other family struggle to explain the devastation ALS can bring.  We all know the words cancer, stroke, diabetes, heart disease.  Thank You ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE for teaching the world about ALS

If you'd like to donate to help ALS families cope with this challenging disease, click here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Happy Handmade

I buy and sell handmade goods - with a passion!  Etsy, Zibbet, Ebay to name a few.  Our fine art prints are available on FAA, Zazzle and Society 6.  We've sold in local markets since 1974, so I feel qualified to share my opinion on the current state of the "handmade" marketplace.  It's not a very happy place these days, and I hope that is due to change!

Recent turmoil on Etsy has spilled over to other venues, most recently showing it's ugly head at Zibbet. Folks are angry, hurt and upset.  Name calling, finger pointing and pure hatred fill the social media sites that once promoted our wares.  While I'm distressed and sad that my friends and colleagues are hurting, I view this event as a good thing - a long overdue cleansing of the field.  Consider the stock market and the inflated prices that created a bubble.  That bubble burst because the underlying value of the stocks could not support the inflated pricing.  I believe the handmade market has just experienced a bubble bursting, and am hopeful for a real recovery.

As both a buyer and seller, I've experienced this recent flurry of anger.  I've encountered many vendors with hateful attitudes and unreasonable shop policies.  I've dealt with overly demanding buyers.  It puzzled me for some time until I realized that most of these sellers were more interested in profit than in their craft.  They bought into the advertising and promotion telling them they could "quit their day job" and make a living selling arts and crafts.  Many of these new shop owners  had never sold their wares before.  They hopped on the Ebay and Etsy wagons and were dragged to some success by a tidal wave of "handmade" passion.  Etsy became a designer label, and substandard goods sold with ease.  Buyers were confused and unable to count on high quality workmanship. Sellers were cautioned to raise their prices and promote their "brand".  But like every trend, the "handmade" movement has passed it's heyday.  That does not mean that high quality, well-priced goods are out of style.  Far from it!  What I see is the end of the love affair with the label, with ANYTHING sold on Etsy being considered a prize.  What I envision is the survival of the fittest - the artists and crafters who value their work beyond it's monetary value.  Those are the people that created the frenzy and will continue to create their wares whether they sell them or not.  Those sellers with a primary interest in earning a living wage will cry out in anger and eventually find other sources of income.  Those of us with a passion for creating will continue making and sharing our wares.

Now, I'm not saying that art and financial success are mutually incompatible.  I've known several lucky artists who have done very well.  But I've also seen many who thrive with a popular product then crash and burn when the trend subsides.  Think about it…how can 1 person alone create enough quality product each week to financially sustain a household?  The very definition of true handmade goods makes profitability almost impossible.  History tells us that most artists are not valued until their death!  Where do you think the term "starving artist" was born?  Chasing a profit is like a dog chasing it's own tail!  It doesn't make one very happy!

Folks like me make things because we must!  Creating is a way of life, a true passion that has nothing to do with profit.  Now, profit is wonderful and there is nothing more thrilling than receiving that email saying "a sales has been made on your account"!  But it's the validation, the knowledge that someone, somewhere liked your work enough to want it!  That is even more thrilling than the monetary gain.  That's what keeps us selling!  If you are lucky enough to love your work AND make a profit, you are truly blessed!

Learning things like SEO and product photography, not to mention keywords and descriptions are challenging.  They are a necessary "evil" in marketing our work.  Some have made money simply because they excel at the marketing end of the business.  But, most of the happy artists I know struggle with the marketing.  Again, it is not the REASON they create, it is simply a necessity.

In conclusion, I wish all my fellow artisans continued success.  But most of all, I wish them happiness!  That, to me, is the difference in a vendor and a true handmade artist.  Here's to Happy Handmade Artists and Crafters!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

With a Little Help from My Friends - 4

Today I'd like to introduce you to an amazing artist and kind, caring friend.  Let's reach from Texas to Germany and meet "Cat"!  Here's her story in her own words:

My name is Cat, I'm from the Southwest of Germany where I live with four crazy cats and a crazy bunny who might think he's a cat. I am a jewelry artist, but also like to experiment and create little sculptures or decor items.
I'm mainly working in three techniques that I also like to combine at times, wire crochet, wire knitting with a crochet hook and bead looming.
My shops can be found at:

My Facebook page is:

What inspires your works?

There is nothing that can't inspire me. I have been inspired by laundry on a washing line or a bowl of soup. Sometimes it's the colors, sometimes the shape, a scent or just an association. I have more ideas than time to realize them all. Some are not good enough and never make it, some need time to mature or have to wait for me to have the right tools, material or skills.

Which of your creations is your favourite?

That's difficult to say. I guess for many artists it's always the piece they are working on at the moment, the same goes for me a lot of the time.
I am extremely fond of my experiments, though. Not all of them make it into my shop because I can't bear parting with them, mostly the sculptures that took me really long like my wire crochet octopus.

How long have you been creating your art/craft?

I am not one of those crafters who started at a young age. When I was a child, I had more fun either reading or being outside with my friends. I am glue challenged and my pictures were all yellow dominated with lots of sun and usually wonky houses.
I stumbled upon wire crochet in November 2008. Although I hated crocheting with yarn - I used to be an avid knitter - I was intrigued and had to try it using my only crochet hook and some cheap copper wire. From there on there was no stopping me. I went from crocheting wire to knitting it with a crochet hook, I dabbled in polymer clay and spool knitting for a while, but gave that up for now due to different reasons and finally was convinced to try bead looming about two years ago.

What's the best thing about being a crafter / online seller?

The best thing about being a crafter is taking ideas out of your head and turning them into something real. Most of the time it's extremely relaxing and even meditative for me.
The best thing about being an online seller is being able to share those ideas and visions with others, meeting new people and new inspirations.

What's the worst thing about being a crafter / online seller?

The worst thing about being a crafter is not having enough time, arms or supplies to make all your ideas come true, especially if you have a day job as well. Telling myself I need to get to bed now because I have to get up in the morning although there are only a few rows on a bracelet missing ... only the threads to sew in ... only the clasp to put on ... only a few more beads to put on wire ... only to finish crocheting around that second cab for earrings ... I think you get the idea.
The worst thing about being an online seller is needing the time that you'd rather spend on creating on other things like promoting or taking pictures. You can only share your work if people can find it, and it's a lot more work than most people imagine.

Is there a purpose to your art?

The purpose is to make people happy, including myself. I'd like others to feel the same when looking at one of my pieces as I did when I made them.

How do you feel when people interpret your work differently than you intended?

My work obviously doesn't need much interpretation most of the times, but it has happened to me nevertheless. There have been bead loomed patterns that have been seen as something I haven't intended or maybe just not thought of. There have been pendants in which I saw something that others couldn't see.
So far it has been interesting, sometimes even inspiring to hear other people's opinions although it can be a surprise, too.

What advice do you have for aspiring shopowners?

There are the usual tips and tricks. Take good photos, be interesting in your descriptions, don't think people will just come to you, you'll have to lead them to your shop, but most of all I want to tell you to stay true to yourself. It's okay to create something because you think it will be a success, but always let part of you run free and do what's in your heart to balance things out.

Besucht mich / Visit me :-)

With such beautiful works, how can anyone resist this invitation?  Stop by and tell Cat that Texas Eagle sent you!