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Creative People: The Ostlers – a family creating together

One of the things that I admire most about my sister (and there are a lot of things) is that she has a TOTAL mother-heart. She and her hubby LOVE their family and they love to be together, which is wonderful, but can be problematic when you are trying to make your artistic dreams come true! Both she and her husband are incredibly creative people. Fiona writes novels and has a theater background (including acting, writing and directing) and is amazingly musical (songs just pop into her mind – wow!) Bret is an artist, I mean everything that the man touches turns into art! He does photography, draws, writes poetry, and is very musical. As a married couple, each has supported the other in their aspirations – he has a band, she a writing career.

But recently, they came up with a BRILLIANT idea. What would happen if they created together? What if they involved the whole family in creating together? That way they could work on their dreams, talents, and passions, but have family fun as well (and teach the kids valuable lessons about creativity). The solution? The Bret and Fiona Show. It’s a YouTube family comedy sketch show. They involve everyone, create original songs, write and produce, film and edit.  It’s truly amazing to think about how much those kids are going to learn about the creative process!!!

Here’s their first season –

1. Family Band: in which Bret quits his job in order to start a family band.

2. We Have Cookies: in which Bret is unable to get his job back, but finds a silver lining in a bad situation.

3. Fiona Strikes Back: in which Fiona uses her musical ability to slap some sense into Bret.

4. The Mommy List: in which Fiona goes back to work and leaves Bret in charge of the home.

5. Staycation: in which Bret can’t stand being a stay-at-home dad and moves the family into a hotel.

6. Travel Agent: in which Fiona loses her job and only writing a song can bring her out of her sadness.

I put in my favorite videos, although they’re all fun and there are some holiday special songs as well. Check out all of their shows through the links above.

It led me to think for a long time about what I could do with my girls. What would be a creative activity that we could all do together? One that will be fun, teach them some skills, help us to learn to work together, and fit into our time and money budgets – but most importantly be something that I am passionate about creating. I think I’ve come up with the right fit, which I will write about soon.

What about you? What can you and your family to create together?  With summer coming up, this is the perfect time to do something wonderful together!

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Homemade Easter Sugar Eggs

My husband’s amazingly creative Aunt Susan and her daughters made Easter eggs this year for my mother-in-law. Not just any Easter eggs, mind you, but the beautiful, sugar, peek inside to another world kind of egg.

I read a book about a sugar egg like that when I was little and it made such an impression on me.  The book was called, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Dubose Heyward –

Those eggs are seriously cool!

So, Aunt Susan graciously gave permission to write about her AND sent her recipe to share. (She’s one of those women that blow you away with her abilities and talents!)

Maybe we should have a contest next Easter… 🙂

SUGAR EGG RECIPE

4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbs water
2 tsp Wilton Meringue Powder

Placed sugar in large mixing bowl. For extra strength, or if you live in an area that has high humidity, add 2 tsp meringue powder to mixture. Mix sugar so there are no lumps in it. Make a well in sugar, then add water. Rub mixture between your hands & knead for about 1 minute or until well-blended & mixture packs like wet sand. Makes 1 large egg, 2 medium eggs or 3 small eggs. (These are SOLID eggs without scooping out the sugar to hollow them.You can reuse the scooped out sugar to make more eggs so you’ll get more than what is stated.)

To tint sugar:
Add icing color to water. Add color sparingly; lightly tinted sugar makes the prettiest decorations. Mix until color & sugar are well-blended. I usually just make mine white then make it colorful by adding the decorations to it.

HOW TO MAKE HOLLOW SUGAR EGGS (Note – I use the sugar I scoop out of the eggs to make more eggs.)

*Dust mold with cornstarch to prevent sticking. Pack sugar mixture into half egg mold, pressing firmly with heel of hand.

*To remove excess sugar, hold metal spatula at 45* angle to egg mold and scrape off excess sugar.

*Unmold at once by place cardboard circle over mold and turning mold upside down. To loosen mold, tap top of mold with spatula. Carefully lift mold off.

This is what I do – cut the narrow end of the egg of both halves about 1 – 1 1/2 inches. This is what will make your opening to see your display inside the egg. You can keep this part of the sugar to reuse – just keep it covered with a damp cloth.

*Let egg dry for approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Then carefully pick egg half up holding it in palm of hand. Do not squeeze or move egg while it’s in your hand or it will crack.

*Use a spoon to gently scoop out soft sugar following the contour of the egg. Smooth inside & opening of egg with your fingers. You can keep this sugar, just put it in a bowl & keep covered with a damp cloth. Then reuse it to make more sugar eggs.

*Place egg right side up (so hollowed part can dry) on cardboard to finish drying for about 24 hours.

DECORATING SUGAR EGGS

Decorate the inside of your egg putting decorations in with royal frosting. Then put top & bottom of eggs together with royal frosting carefully handling the halves. Decorate the outside with royal frosting & decorations. Let dry. To store during the year, put in a box that has no light & keep in a cool place.

ROYAL FROSTING RECIPE

3 Tbs Wilton Meringue Powder
4 cups powdered sugar
6 Tbs warm water

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 min at low speed with a heavy duty mixer or 10-12 min at high speed with a hand-held mixer. Makes 3 cups.

NOTE: I make my own flowers by coloring the royal frosting & making drop flowers on wax paper night before until they are dry & hard. Make plenty, they do store well if not used. I have even made little chickens before but haven’t done rabbits yet.

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