Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The whole year in one post!

This year is just about gone. Good! It wasn't a particularly great one for me.

Here's a look back at the past twelve months.

Every blogpost from this year rolled into one neat little package.

Feel free to read an entry you may have missed or browse the archive for ones worth checking out again.

Let's go for it!


(1-6-14) Decorate a cat!
(1-15-14) Wordless Wednesday - Falling Rice (the corner of Michigan Ave. and Adams)
(1-18-14) "Marry The Night" - Owl - Step 6 - Completion!
(1-22-14) 3 + 2
(1-28-14) Brrrr!!!


(2-1-14) Anal action! Cocaine! Gay muscle men! Violent sex!
(2-9-14) My dull life!
(2-12-14) Wordless Wednesday - Falling Mice (the corner of Michigan Ave. and 11th Street)
(2-22-14) Watching artwork being made.
(2-28-14) Love signs.


(3-5-14) Wordless Wednesday - Another "love" (the corner of Michigan Ave. and 11th Street)
(3-16-14) Jesus penny!
(3-19-14) Wordless Wednesday - Falling Ice-T (near the corner of Michigan Ave. and 11th Street)
(3-20-14) Scared for the future.
(3-26-14) Wordless Wednesday - Falling Devices (near the corner of Michigan Ave. and 11th Street)
(3-28-14) I'm an all-star!


(4-14-14) Something cutesy in the meantime.
(4-25-14) Where you're going.
(4-30-14) 34 into 35.


(5-9-14) "Husband-quality."
(5-23-14) Shitty, shitty, shitty!!


(6-6-14) Art unexpected.
(6-18-14) Pressed flowers…by mail!
(6-22-14) Betty's magical pony!
(6-29-14) No sense of Pride.


(7-11-14) Exceeds Expectations!
(7-25-14) Abstract Minnie Mouse!


(8-7-14) Flower heart!
(8-17-14) For Mr. Grey…..
(8-29-14) One of those milestones.


(9-9-14) Cancer…again.
(9-10-14) Final send-off.
(9-14-14) Time.
(9-17-14) Wordless Wednesday - Stop (lying near Roosevelt Road Bridge)
(9-20-14) Going on three.
(9-25-14) Until next year, assholes.
(9-29-14) Return to me.


(10-1-14) Wordless Wednesday - Fallen sparrow
(10-11-14) Let it go.


(11-1-14) Auntie Nancy's Rosary.
(11-9-14) Leaf stamps!
(11-13-14) Buy My Love.
(11-21-14) T'is the season…for bows!
(11-27-14) Holding on for something better.
(11-30-14) Three Widows.


(12-5-14) Dots!
(12-12-14) I hope you have enough.
(12-17-14) Wordless Wednesday - Demolition at 21st St. and Calumet Ave. (two blocks from the historic Prairie Avenue District)
(12-18-14) Christmas music…nope!
(12-21-14) Super, Mega Car Bows!
(12-25-14) Christmas Crab!
(12-29-14) Color Train!
(12-30-14) Red Velvet Brownies!
(12-31-14) The whole year in one post!

I have no idea what next year will bring but I hope it's WONDERFUL…for all of us.

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Red Velvet Brownies!

I brought four dozen of these to work in the morning and half were gone by noon. Enough said!

Red velvet brownies!!

I modified a basic brownie recipe incorporating traditional red velvet cake elements.

It's a marriage of two great desserts…with zero chance of a divorce!

Here it is (feel free to scale down the recipe to your desired ratio):


Red Velvet Brownies 
(makes three 8" x 8" pans - 16 bite-size brownies per pan)


1 1/2 cups of butter (three sticks)
3 cups of white sugar
6 eggs
3 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of buttermilk
A splash of vinegar
1 bottle of red food coloring (1 oz.)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon of salt
3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips


3 tablespoons of butter (softened)
3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
A couple splashes of half-and-half or buttermilk
(You can also add a bit of cream cheese if desired)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large saucepan/pot, melt butter. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, vanilla, food coloring, buttermilk, vinegar.
3. When mixture has cooled, stir in the eggs and add the remaining dry ingredients (cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, flour). Mix in your choice of chocolate chips.
4. Divide into three 8" x 8" pans (greased and/or lined with parchment paper/foil).
5. Bake for 24-26 minutes. They are done when an inserted knife comes out slightly unclean and the edges have removed from the sides of the pan.
6. Combine frosting ingredients and...
7. …top brownies with frosting while warm and fresh from the oven.


The intense red color makes them a great choice for holiday baking and chocolate lovers will gobble them up.

If you give these a try, let me know what you think!


Monday, December 29, 2014

Color Train!

I live on the far south side of Chicago. Right across the street are railroad tracks. Several of them.

That particular area gets all the freight trains leaving the city, making their way through Indiana and beyond.

They give a metallic screech when they brake and BOOM when the cargo cars clang and lock together.

And when the trains thunder by--sometimes two or three at a time--they vibrate the floors of the house and rattle the windows.

It's something I've gotten used to over the years and will miss when I eventually leave here.

I noticed one freight train was especially colorful the other day. Every color of the rainbow...well, almost!

Here are some of them…

Bright orange.

Red on light gray.

Nothin' but green!



They're like giant Lego blocks stacked upon one another and their bold hues caught my eye. I love it when that happens.

Where did you find unexpected color today?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Crab!

A bit of handcrafted, holiday cheer mailed my way!

Look what fellow blogger, Randy, made me.


This lovely crab ornament now hangs on the family Christmas Tree along with his starfish, seahorse, and turtle.

Thank you, Randy! As always--I love it!

And depending on where you live in the world, I hope everyone has/had/is having a Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Super, Mega Car Bows!

The girth. The length. The size.

It felt so BIG in my hands, I almost didn't know what to do with it.


Get your minds out of the gutter people…I'm talking about bows!

It's the last push at the crafts store to sell our remaining Christmas stock. So naturally my store manager asked me to make more bows that customers can buy to put on a gift.

I don't mean to bow brag but they've been selling, sometimes several each day. That doesn't sound like a lot but over the course of a few weeks it adds up.

We even got a couple requests for car bows to top a vehicle with. Seemed a bit daunting to make such a large one (they use up to 15 yards versus the normal 3 three yards) but I gave it a go.

Here they are!


They look so showy and impressive but I guess that's the idea if you're giving someone a new automobile as a present.

And in less than two minutes after putting them out on the sales floor, one my car bows sold. How cool is that!

It's been fun watching customers eyeing my creations and thrilling when something I've made--sometimes that day--gets sold.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas music…nope!

Silver Bells. Not this time.

Little Drummer Boy? Sorry, kid.

All I want for Christmas is you. Nope, not even you, Mariah.

There's something noticeably absent from the arts-and-crafts store I work at…the Christmas music!

The tech people sent us a new music player a couple months back and that's when I noticed the Christmas songs didn't start playing in November--or at all this month like they're supposed to. Unheard of!

Whenever I'd point out the glitch to my coworkers they'd all say the same thing, "Good!"

When you work in retail you kinda want to forget the holidays and the stress and madness it brings, so having the musical reminders gone is a welcome reprieve of sorts.

Here's an obscure but catchy tune currently playing at the store instead:

Oooh, I love it!

Sorry, Rudolph…maybe next year.


Friday, December 12, 2014

I hope you have enough.

The smell of fried eggs and pancakes permeated the restaurant. We sat across from each other. I thought his work-tie was knotted too tightly and a bit askew.

Even though our time together never led to a relationship, it was nice seeing him again and catching up...

I had breakfast earlier in the week with someone I went on several dates with over the summer.

He cut into his biscuits and gravy without remorse and talked about his new boyfriend.

I smiled and pushed forkfuls of crispy hashbrowns into the ketchup edging my plate.

He seemed to be doing well and said he was satisfied, wishing the same for me:

"I hope you get to travel wherever you want to go. Get to do all the things you've dreamed of. And are loved enough so you're never yearning for more. One day, I hope you have enough."

Cut paper and ink in Moleskine journal - (NFS)

He told me he'd always be around if I needed him and we agreed to keep in touch and remain in each other's lives.

I'd like that.

And like him, maybe one day I can say I have enough.

Friday, December 5, 2014


I look at my blog and think blah.

Exploding Doughnut is over five years old and its layout has become dated and underwhelming.

It needs a makeover!

A screen-shot of my original layout.

I'd like to keep the dot pattern for the background but freshen it up a bit.

I've been playing around with my own designs and started painting dot patterns to replace the system-generated one.

Here's a watercolor sample I did:

It's a touch "loud" but I like the variety of colors.

It reminds me of my Abstract Squares series.

I'll continue playing around with ideas and tweak the painted dots some more.

My goal is to have a new, custom layout at the start of the new year.

Dot. Dot. Dot!