January 30, 2019

Mr. Potato Face Plus Potato Stamping, A Goodbye Lie Fave

     Tis Himself,  Mr. Potato Face!
I sliced off the end of a potato and revealed this fun face! To me, he is easier to recognize as a human face than the Man in the Moon. (While I can make Mr. Moon out, Bruce, my husband, has never been able to see that guy up there in the sky.  Perhaps the possession of an imagination, or lack there of,  has something to do with that. Just sayin' ...  Luv ya, Brucie. )
     Potatoes often remind me of potato stamping.  This complicated thought process of mine is just one more extraordinary ability I possess. Another example of my special powers is my mastery of the  canjo . (That's for another blog.) I can play one and a half tunes, after all. My mind just works cleverly like that, especially about complicated matters. Over the years, I have had several people, who know me well, ask how a person like me can write novels. Folks can be so kind.
     Well, back to potato stamping.  See instructions below for this fun, family activity. It is reprinted from January 25, 2014 and I originally wrote the article for our website, way back when.  Instructions, like a good recipe, doesn't change much.  

Note the surface of the heart is not cut completely flat in my haste to make it. Therefore, the heart won't be solid. It still works

 I cut a rose into a potato, stamped a piece of paper and took it to Staples office supply where they made this rubber stamp!

Heart and rose stamps for any occasion 

Potato Stamping - a Goodbye Lie Fave

     Potato stamping is a wonderful family activity. It is featured in my historical romance novel, Amelia Islands Goodbye Lie Trilogy, set in 1882's north Florida.  In the story, the Dunnigan children are kept occupied with this activity so as to protect them from the frantic goings-on by the adults around them. 

Caution:  Since a knife is needed for cutting the potato, an adult must be present to supervise.
Paint.  Read the label on the paint before applying it to make sure you're using the correct type for the object you will be stamping.  If stamping on wood, acrylic (washable) paint will work. It also works on poster board and paper.   Use fabric paint for fabric, especially if it will be washed.  Be careful of water color paints because they may be too thin.  The outline of your stamp might look blurred.
     Always test the consistency of paint and the coverage of your stamp on a paper towel or rag or wood scrap, whatever is similar to your intended finished product.
     Once the paint on your design is completely dry, heat set paint on fabric designs with an iron set on high.  Stroke the iron over the picture while it is covered with a protective cloth (like an old pillow case) for three or four minutes.   Do not scorch and DO NOT USE STEAM.

You'll need:
  •  Sharp knife (for adult hands only)
  • 1 large fresh potato, at least 3" in diameter to make two stamps
  • Pencil for outlining pattern on potato or cookie cutter
  • Paint - see notes above
  • Paint brush, sponge brush or cotton swabs
  • Aluminum foil or paper plate for paint palette
  • Paper towels for blotting and testing stamp
Wash the potato to remove any dirt and pat dry with paper towels.  Do not peel.
Cut the potato evenly in half using a large knife to make a clean cut.  It needs to be as flat a surface as possible without ridges - these will show when you stamp. 
Decide on what image you want to stamp.  A simple pattern will be easier to cut into the potato than an intricate one.  If making initials, make them block style, bold and backwards!  Save the complicated snowflake-type shapes for when you've mastered the easy stuff.
With the pencil, trace or draw your pattern free-hand on the cut side of the potato, or press a cookie cutter 1/4 inch into the flat white surface of the potato.
Cut away the area outside the stamp so that the stamp protrudes by at least ¼ inch.  I found it was best to cut away small sections at time, being careful not to let the knife slip under the actual stamp part, or it will fall off.
Squirt a small puddle of paint on the foil.  With a brush or cotton swab, paint the stamp portion of the potato, making sure the stamping surface only is evenly covered.  Wipe off any paint that slops over the edge.  You want a crisp outline. 
Test your stamp on a paper towel to see how much paint and pressure are required before you actually begin stamping your project.
To change colors using the same stamp design, wipe away any excess paint from the stamp and paint on a new color. For a faded design, just keep stamping without reloading any paint until the design is too light to see. 
Let the paint of an already stamped design dry before partially stamping over it with another color if that's the look you desire.  If you want the colors of the paints to blend, then quickly stamp the new color over the color used just before it.
Get creative.  Personalize items or decorate wrapping paper, book covers, picture frames, stationary, brown bags as gift bags and lunch bags.  Stamp gift tags, envelopes, refrigerator pictures, T shirts, paper and cloth napkins, tablecloths, doll clothes, pillow cases, etc.  If you can think of it, you can decorate it. 
Embellishments for T-shirts or fabric purses:
  • Sprinkle glitter on the paint while it's still wet so it will stick.
  • Glue tiny beads, buttons (sewn on fabric) or ribbon bows (safety pinned for removal for washing if necessary)
  • Outline the stamp with a marking pen or paint a boarder around each stamp pattern or random stamps on the object you're making so it will stand out. 
  • Spatter paint - Dip an old toothbrush in gold paint or any other color and run your finger along the bristles from tip back toward you, while pointing the toothbrush at the object you're decorating.  The paint will speckle the surface.  Practice first on a newspaper to test the technique and discover the coverage you want.
"Necklace" look - Repeatedly dip the flat new eraser of a pencil into paint and dab it onto a shirt in a draped pattern to resemble the beads of a necklace.  Make it a choker or a long necklace, whatever appeals to you.
If you cover your potato stamps in cold water in the refrigerator, they will keep for a day or two.

Enjoy! jmm

January 24, 2019

Another Southern Tradition - Another Lucy Moment

     The day before New Year's, I was in the grocery store on a quest. When I told the clerk, "Hi, I'm a Yankee looking for a can of those good luck beans they eat down here in the South.  You know, those green-eyed peas."  She looked at me strangely, saying nothing.  "Oh, so you must be a Yankee, too! Where are you from?"
     "Savannah," she replied, volunteering nothing more. 
     Hmm, maybe it's a religious thing for her and she doesn't believe eating food will bring
prosperity, I thought.  Whatever, we found them on the next aisle and I thanked her for her help.
     Between you and me, I can't imagine why they're called green-eyed peas when there is nothing green about them. (Refer to the picture above.) Perhaps I will Google this question and be surprised at the answer. I just might wear out Google with all my questions, being the Question Meister I am.

P.S. All my Lucy Moments are true! It's silly in my world. That's why I share with you.

January 16, 2019

Speaking of Diets

     And who isn’t, my darling daughter, Barbra Boutin, suggested we go on a diet together. Great idea, right? We can encourage each other daily. Then she suggested we both give up cheese. This is what I often give up for Lent. Besides, I get protein from cheese. I suggested  we give up sweets. (I once mentioned my granddaughter, Ava, said, “Grammy, you have very sweet teeth.”)
     Well, Barbra’s teeth are far less sweet than mine, so her temptation for treats is not as great. Instead, she went for a 30-day diet that consists of good for you yummies as pictured above. This healthy, yet still inviting, breakfast serving was created, photographed and consumed by Barbra. A meal, any time, of eggs, fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, avocado, roasted potatoes, some sort of compliant ketchup, whatever that is, and strawberries, now that I could go for, for sure. She also informed me there are fresh tomato slices under the eggs. 
     Yes, I could stay her course, if only I had someone to prepare such delights. So, since I don't (in part because I'm lazy), as of January 2nd, I have skipped desserts and am drinking low sodium V-8 juice. Oh, did I mention I gained a pound?

January 8, 2019

The Thing About Coffee

before the "treatment"
     My husband, Bruce, has always said, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing to excess." Well, along those lines, I heard coffee is good for plants.  I had some left in the pot and thought I'd give a swig to my Christmas cactus. Hey, if a little coffee is good for them, why not empty the pot? In this case, I'm guessing I poured on about a cup.  The next morning, I awakened to find all the blossoms had fallen off and all the green stems had shriveled up.  I informed Bruce his theory on excess does not work in every case.  He dismissed my findings and confirmed he will continue this particular practice.  Just thought I'd share.

January 3, 2019

Transition Tree

     Several weeks after Christmas last year, I decorated the still live evergreen with pink and white paper hearts and red lights for Valentine’s Day. It was not dropping too many needles, so it worked well.
     This year, I decided to transition between the Christmas and Valentine's Day trimming. I came up with the Winter Tree. Blue snowflakes, ribbon and ice cycles with a white drape representing snow, does the trick. Take note of the wild wolverine on that snow, under the shelter of the tree. Oh, and the angel on top works because angels go with everything.  (If you don't happen to have blue snowflakes, use what you have and cut snowflakes from white paper or light blue paper, for that matter. It's your tree!)
     If the tree is still in good enough shape, Valentine's Day pink hearts are next. I think, however, by St. Patrick's Day, we will probably be able to use it as kindling, but who knows?