Thursday, April 29, 2010

Celeste Strikes Again!....

I thought I would sneak one more Collector's Catch piece in before the month of April came to a close. Yesterday, I worked on all sorts of things from designing our front porch vestibule addition to snowmen for Bethany Lowe, and then I finished off the day by painting the final details on "Crescent Kenny" here. I snapped some photos of him before I made a late dinner, and then prepared the graphics for his debut. After a long day of design galore, he posted to my Folk Art Originals page at 11:15pm, and by 11:21, my collector friend, Celeste had caught him! I didn't have a chance to even start on the blog post tease as she was so very quick! What's her secret? I don't know, but she's hard to beat! I believe this is her 4th "catch" so far. That makes her the Queen Catcher I do believe :) Anyone out there wanting to conquer Celeste will have to refresh my Folk Art Originals page habitually and tap into your psychic powers or pull out those good luck charms! It's true that my friend Sandy was able to catch "Batilda," my last CC piece in under 20 minutes, so there is hope for some of you out there wanting to be the next Catcher! All I can say is good luck, and thank you ALL for your interest and determination as it keeps me excited about what I do......

PS... I will be posting my EHAG Black & White Fright Challenge piece on eBay, this weekend. Stay tuned here for a possible tease.......

Happy Catching,
(and thank you Celeste!)
~ Johanna

* © 2010 Johanna Parker Design *Photos & Designs are the property of Johanna Parker and may not be used without permission.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Recipe for Sweet Indulgence...

I LOVE to cook, but I don't claim to be a baker. Of course, I love cookies and cakes, pies and other sinfully rich delights, but just looking at these delicacies can pile on the pounds. However, I will make an exception for a special occasion or request. Yesterday was JP's Birthday, and he asked that I make him a Chocolate Torte!


Twist my arm right?...Hardly! I have a weakness for chocolate torte, and so jumped at the chance. I went digging for a recipe that I made him 7 years ago for the same occasion. My notes said, "Best so far"... and "Excellent!" So, we went ingredient shopping, and pictured above is the end result! We cut into it and savored each bite moments before midnight. Tempted? Well, I thought I would share the recipe with you just in case.... Warning, this is RICH, so share it with your family and friends so you don't find yourself regretful from eating it ALL :)

Flourless Chocolate Torte Recipe
Yield: 16 servings

3 oz - unsweetened chocolate
5 ea - eggs
1 c - sugar
1 c - butter, unsalted, melted
3 oz - semisweet chocolate
1/4 c - cornstarch sifted
1/2 tsp - vanilla

6 1/2 oz - semisweet chocolate
2 tbs - butter
1/3 c - heavy cream

Over hot water in top of double boiler, beat the eggs and sugar until mixture is very light and almost white in color. Remove from heat. (I started out with a hand whisk and realized after several minutes that I might be standing there for hours. So, I hollered for JP to grab the electric mixer and whisk attachment, and eventually I arrived at the desired result. Eggs, slowly cooking over a double boiler make me nervous, so luckily he was around. In this blend, I actually used all natural cane sugar, so it was a bit more creamy in color once all fluffed up)

Meanwhile, melt the butter and skim off the foam. Return to heat and melt the chocolates within the butter. ( We went to Whole Foods and purchased bar and chip chocolate in their bakery / coffee bar. I was in search for Callebaut Belgian chocolate, as JP is from Belgium and that's a popular baking choice out there. However, it was unavailable, so we bought a 6 oz bar of dark South American chocolate, and about 6 oz of German milk chipped chocolate. I say experiment. If you love chocolate, you can't go wrong :) Next time, I think I will use more dark chocolate and less milk chocolate, as this particular torte is pretty sweet!

Beat the sifted cornstarch slowly into the cooling egg mixture on low speed and until thoroughly blended.

Stir the vanilla into the chocolate mixture, and then pour the chocolate mix into the egg mixture and stir by folding until it's uniform in color. Spoon into a 10-inch springform pan that has been greased and floured.

Bake at 325 F for 20-25 minutes, until torte slightly pulls away from sides of pan. A knife inserted in center will NOT come out clean, so do not over bake! (I took mine out after 22 minutes. It was rather jiggly in the middle, and after about a minute, it deflated a bit leaving a central depression, perfect for the glaze) Cool in the springform pan, and remove from ring.

To make the glaze, melt remaining chocolate, butter and cream and spoon over the cooled torte. Refrigerate and chill completely. Every bite is rich, dense and delish! I suggest serving it with raspberries or strawberries and a hot cup of cappuccino!

(I would credit the writer of this recipe, but I found it online 7 years ago, printed it off and added to my 'lil recipe book. I've changed it a bit, and all I can say is that it won't disappoint if you're a chocolate lover like me!)

Happy SWEET Birthday JP!
~ Johanna

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Already Caught!...

Well, the wire legs of my winged finial creature featured in my "Wired" post have found a permanent home with sweet Batilda here as her whimsical bat wings. I just finished this piece this morning, and posted her on the Folk Art Originals page of my website as a Collector's Catch! I thought I would check to see just who out there was on their toes, or perhaps was having a lucky day, and so opted not to tease Batilda here on my blog. To my surprise, she was caught in just twenty minutes by my collector friend, Sandy in Pennsylvania! Nice chatting with you Sandy, and thank you for catching Batilda! :)

~ Johanna

PS: For more info about my Collector's Catch series, keep scrolling down...


So, what is "Collector's Catch?"

My Collector's Catch series is a fun, spontaneous way for me to offer my one of a kind pieces to those who happened to be looking for them at the right place and the right time! Unlike scheduled web sales, a Collector's Catch piece will list on my Folk Art Originals page without advance notification, making it fun to "catch" it! The best way to snag an original from this series is to frequent my website here at this link:

Johanna Parker's Folk Art Originals

And, I may also blog right here about the latest Collector's Catch piece right after posting one to my website. So, make sure to FOLLOW my blog to stay in the loop! Just click on "Follow" on the top right sidebar of this page. :)

* © 2010 Johanna Parker Design *Photos & Designs are the property of Johanna Parker and may not be used without permission.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Do you have dreams of standing unclad on a bustling city street or perhaps on a blazing stage before an audience? Luckily, I have not experienced such a dream, but trust me, I do have some bizarre ones! However, the idea of exposing my folk art characters in their various phases of development does create a similar unveiled feeling for me. Often rough to the touch and bare-skinned white, each is without a coat of color and pattern. It takes me many steps and layers (and did I mention patience?) to create each figure just right. Initial sculpts are coarse and unrefined, and they beg for a patch here and a tuck there. More and more layers of papier mache and sanding along the way will eventually create a look I am willing to accept, and then I allow the paint and creative juices to flow again. As you will see, I have been busy sculpting and stock-piling my folk art pieces. Here is a glimpse of what has been drying on the rack. Some are ready for paint while others are just taking form. I must admit, I am feeling a little exposed right now, but I think it will be therapeutic to share here on the world-wide stage of my blog......
~ Johanna :)

* Drying racks house a menagerie of naked Halloween goods from owls, witches and bats, to skellies, pumpkins and cats....

* "Peek-a-BOO" says the 'lil owl in the crowd....

* This sweet JOL is drying her "do".....

* With no arms and no trims, this little skelly leaves much to the imagination...

* Ahh, a glimmer of paint here and there, and LOOK, do you recognize those bat wings from my last post? Things are starting to take shape... ever so slowly.....

* Cover your eyes, this owl is au naturel!....

* The lid of a witch candy container is in her initial phase.. Don't touch as she may scratch back.......

* Happy kitty here in the crowd is smiling as he IS ready for paint!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I must admit, I LOVE wire, and find its form a captivating accessory to my folk art characters. Lateral flowing lines that all meet at one point and then wander off and tumble and curl in the most interesting ways never fail to delight my eyes. I spent several hours the other day entranced with wire. My intentions were to create a collection of unique pairings of wings for prospective bats, owls, birds and other winged creatures for my fall collection of originals. After 20 wings were complete, I stepped back and marveled at the patterns. As I was about to store them away for safe-keeping, my imagination propelled me to play a little. I grabbed my camera along with some old finds, and styled a few fun photos below. ENJOY! ~ Johanna

* The dusty peach-colored lid from an old face powder tin serves as the center for a radiating pattern of wire wings.

* Bat-Wing Tea anyone?

* And old green floral frog offers an interesting visual treat as it holds a variety of my patterned wire wings...

* An old chartreuse wooden finial that mom sent to me, morphs here into the body of a winged creature, framed by my hand-formed wire accents....

* Artsy close-up...

* Future bat wing posing with that funky antique finial...

* Spider-like wire limbs unfurl and invite the eye to take a closer look...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Donning for Easter...

Holiday hats are all the rage in our house, and for Easter there is no exception! As many of you know, Jack is our fashion model for the seasons, and today was picture day. I found myself in all sorts of odd positions trying to snap the perfect photo ~ don't even try to imagine! :) Anyway, I lucked out, and Jack was partially patient with me as I adjusted his hat and collar time and time again. Have a looksie at the photos I snapped below, and ENJOY! I hope everyone has a happy Easter weekend!
~ Johanna

* His sweet little chickie hat is similar to one that I recently designed for a spring bird to wear in my 2011 Bethany Lowe Designs spring line. I decided to make an extra one for you know who!

* His matching collar is one I made years ago for a bunny sculpture that well, never made its way around the neck of that bunny. See why I hang on to all my scraps and extra trims?! You just never know when you might be needing those... ( Poor Jack, right?) In this photo, Jack is wondering when I am going to take all these darn accessories off of him!!

* Looking for an escape route here, but my knee was doing the blocking.....

* But all clear this way ~ time to jump!.... hehe!

* You have to admit, it's all pretty cute!.... Rest-assured, he is hat & collar free now, and happily looking out the window and cat-chirping at the birds. I think he really does like all the attention though! :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Welcome...

Happy April 1st to all! The sun is shining and little hints of spring are emerging outdoors. More and more of our feathered friends have been appearing at our feeder as the days warm, and it's always a joy to see them return. Indoors as well, the birds are getting all the attention! In the spirit of spring, I decorated my mantel with a pair of my spring standing birds which I designed for Bethany Lowe. They are new this year, and I really love how sweet they are. The only bummer is that they sold out in January, so I am uncertain where they can be purchased, or if they can be found at this time. It seems only a handful were produced, but I have a feeling that they will be making a come back next year. So, please tell your favorite online vendor or shopkeeper that you'd like to pre-order a set so we can get more of these little tweet-hearts in production! I appreciate it and the birds do too!

Happy Spring,
~ Johanna

* I see that Traditions is accepting your pre-orders for next year! And check with Bayberry Cove too!...

I have my own pair because each designer gets a pair of complimentary samples, but I was too late in placing my spring order. They had ALL been snatched up to my surprise!

* Sorry for the tease, but with your help I know they will be migrating back next year!
~ Thank you!