Peanut Butter Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes

I would have to say my love of food is probably more fervent than the average person.  There is nothing I enjoy more than ordering 1.5 entrees when eating out, making enough food to last me a couple days and then eating it all in one sitting instead, talking about eating while I’m eating, stuffing my face til I can no longer formulate complete sentences . . . you get the picture.  I cook and eat mostly healthy fare, but I unfortunately inherited my dad’s sweet tooth and will probably inherit his diabetes as well.  I’ve learned by trial-and-error to only bake for other people and/or special occasions, because I end up eating the whole batch when I bake something just for myself.

I made these for a birthday dinner this past August, and the birthday boy was an avid cheesecake and peanut butter lover.  I had never made cheesecake before nor really eaten much of it, so this project was a bit of a challenge in that I didn’t know how to adjust cheesecake texture and flavor during the baking process like I know with cookies or regular cake.

I got the recipe for the Peanut Butter Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes from Food Network, courtesy of Paula Deen.  Click on the photos below for a larger view!

I had no idea how to make cheesecake fluffy, so I thought perhaps just beating the cheesecake mixture extra long with would do the trick.  I think it paid off – when I had my first bite, my favorite line from Despicable Me came to mind.  Big thanks to baking/cooking connoisseur Jay Liu for letting me borrow his electric mixer!

Again, I’m not an avid fan of cheesecake, but I have to admit these were pretty tasty.  The birthday boy liked them too, so that’s all that matters in the end.  Thanks, Paula Deen!

Puppets for Goodnight Moon Music Video

The real kick in the butt to turn this blog from mere topic of dinner conversation to the real thing was from Alex Hwang and Lingie Park over dinner a couple of weeks ago.  They are two of the funniest, most creative, and biggest dreamers I know.  If it weren’t for this particular collaboration (circa January 2009), the friendship I’m lucky enough to say I have with them today probably wouldn’t exist.  For those that don’t know, Alex is an up-and-coming musician, and Lingie is a film director in the making.  Jackie Kim is another person I was lucky to have befriended during this project as well – she lends her ultra smooth Norah Jones-esque vocals to Alex’s song.  I also have to thank Charles for “volunteering” me to Alex and Lingie for this project.

Lingie, who directed the video, drew out a great concept for the Alex puppet which would have the spotlight for the majority of the video.  As you can see from the photo, I had my work quite cut out for me to replicate that cute thing.  After a few meetings about the rest of the puppets/backdrop and a 2-hour trip to Joann’s Fabric Store, we were off and running on the project.

I actually learned how to make the Alex puppet by literally watching every single one of these crazy “How to Make Puppets” videos.  The guy that does the videos is completely crazy, but he definitely knows his puppets.  I used yellow fleece for the skin, black felt paper for the inside of its mouth, and a wine cork cut in half lengthwise for the nose.

Puppets, Moon, and Sun

The sun and moon were made from a styrofoam ball cut in half and wrapped with cotton or satin fabric.  Alex’s puppet family and the Jackie puppet were made with the same yellow fleece, and styrofoam balls for the heads.  All of the hair and facial features were made with black felt paper.  Their “outfits” were made with random pieces of cloth I had in my apartment from previous projects, and the sunglasses and glasses were purchased from Build-A-Bear.

Alex puppet – completed

The Alex puppet’s guitar and shirt were also purchased at Build-A-Bear to save time, but everything else on it was made by hand.  Alex was also obsessed with this particular hat at the time, and luckily I had some leftover cloth from a lion costume that I made for the previous Halloween that matched Alex’s hat pretty closely.

Check out the gallery below for more photos:

Alex and Jackie recently performed together at Kollaboration Acoustic 4 and were interviewed by The Examiner here, where they both talk about Goodnight Moon and the making of its music video as well.  Good read!

I didn’t take a lot of photos during this project, but you can see the puppets in detail, along with the backdrop here!  And let’s not forget to enjoy one of Alex’s originals!

All Terrain Allison Tanita. Everywhere.

I’ve been making various crafts and baking sweets since high school, but hadn’t made an effort to archive anything I had done until fairly recently.  I never thought about doing such a thing until an artist/designer I know who was familiar with a lot of the goods I’d made told me circa Fall 2008 that I really ought to start a craft-blog.  When someone who knows what “cool” looks like and appreciates your work, you graciously thank them and take their advice.

It took me over two years to start this blog because I couldn’t think of a name I was happy with.  And then the first 6 names I thought of were all taken… of course most were mere “test” sites.  However, having finally created this thing, I have to say I’m quite excited for what’s to come.  Unfortunately, I have nothing to share from beyond a few years ago save for a few gifts I’ve made for people here and there, so I’ll start with some of the more recent things I’ve created.  I’m quite the n00b at blogging and even worse off with my photography, so please bear with me until I get the hang of both.

I am also apologizing in advance for those who are not into Star Wars.  With AT-AT in the name, it’s pretty safe to assume there will be some jedi-isms and other SW banter.