Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My BioShock-Inspired Custom Steampunk Frame

John and I are working on the steampunk room again, which still has a lot of smaller projects to go before we can call it officially "finished."

Just to catch you up, here's what the room looks like so far:
 
(Except Claptrap is now in that right corner.)



I went looking for some big art for that wall by the treadmill desk (since most of what I buy is tiny to conserve wall space) and found this gorgeous skyscape by Tyler Edlin Art over on DeviantArt:

Tyler didn't have a print available, but when I asked he very kindly listed it for me in his Society6 shop. (Here's the link, if you'd like your own.)

The largest size available, a huge 40X23 matte print, was less than $70. SCORE.

So then we just needed a frame to do that loveliness justice.

I got the idea to make the frame look more like a steampunky window/porthole than a frame. Then I found the perfect inspiration piece:


That cork board is from Tokyo's Disney Sea, which has an entire section of the park filled with drool-worthy steampunk goodness. Here's the Flickr link with a few more pics.

John was over the moon to have an exact picture to reference, since usually I'm asking him to build stuff, "Like this, only more steampunky - and can you make it feel more, I dunno, orange? Not LOOK orange - just feel it?"

Yeah. I'm a peach. He tells me all the time.

Ok, enough suspense: here's our finished frame!
 
 Ooooh. Aaaaaah.

It has a real BioShock feel to it with those Deco corners, right? And the steampunky rivets? Mmmm. Pretty sure this is my favorite frame in the house now. Plus with it right next to the treadmill desk, I get that "window-view" feeling while I'm working there, which is pretty sweet.

Hit that "read more" down there to see how we did it.


 Now, progress shots!

First John cut out the general outline of the frame from MDF. Here we're testing the fit on the print.


Next he layered on the corner details and edging, gluing them in place. The triangular accents are thin Masonite, and the "rivets" are 2 different sizes of furniture plugs. (He drilled holes for each plug, so they'd fit flush.) 

He also routed the back, so there'd be a lip for the print & backer board to fit into.

Sanded & primed.

Next John traced the inner edge of the frame onto acid-free matte board, and cut that out:

Then we placed the board onto the art print, traced it, and cut THAT out:

Finally we used acid-free spray adhesive (which we didn't even know existed 'til last week) to stick the art down to the mat board - which was tricksy to line up, lemme tell ya. It made it easy to just have the one piece to pop in, though, since we decided it didn't need any glass:

Spray-painted gold.

A quick note about glass: I'm learning that a lot of art - especially matte prints - can look AMAZING without glass. Even a cheap print can suddenly look like a real painting without the glare of glass in front of it! So now I'm eying all my frames and debating de-glassing a few more. :)


The gold base looked pretty great as-is, but to give it a sense of age we added some mottled orange glaze, and then I hit all the edges & rivets with a brownish black paint, quickly wiping the paint off again as I went. That extra shadowing really makes the details pop:

 

And that's it! All told it took John 2 afternoons in the garage to put this together, and since he had enough wood scraps the only thing he had to buy were the furniture plug "rivets."

 ::happy sigh:: I could stare at this all day.

 Oh, and since I'm another year older today, I'm calling this my birthday present. :)

(It's funny; John's been asking for weeks what I want to do for my birthday, but the sad/happy thing is, I can't imagine having more fun doing anything else most days. So we're gonna work on more steampunk room stuff, and maybe try to make some gluten-free brownies [because ok, ok, Doc, YOU WIN THIS ROUND], and it's gonna be awwwwwesome.)


*****

Come see ALL of my craft projects on one page, right here!

77 comments:

  1. looks great! Happy birthday Jen! and sorry about the GF...but keep us posted on how you feel going GF! I have a recipe for an amazing GF chocolate cake which is made with chickpeas. That's right...chickpeas. And it's freaking amazing!
    Cheers!

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    1. LAUREN! I have been telling people about that recipe. I made it years ago and haven't been able to find it since. (It was in the Parade magazine in the local Sunday paper. )
      No one believes that recipe exists! Thank you for proving I'm not crazy... well maybe I am but not because of this. ;)

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    2. I have a recipe for chocolate cake made with black beans which is also amazing. It's probably a pretty similar recipe to your chickpea one. I fed it to a group of my friends who didn't know it was made with beans and they were floored! It really is an amazing moist cake! :)

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    3. LOL Lissy! Here's a link to the recipe I used: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/garbanzo-bean-chocolate-cake-gluten-free/
      You are not crazy! Well, I don't know you well enough to make that call...but the recipe does exist!

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    4. Lauren, one year later ( a little more than), I am just now seeing that you sent that recipe - THANK YOU!!

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  2. Happy birthday! :D Good luck with your gluten-free endeavours - I've been GF for about 3.5 years now and it's really made a difference for me.

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  3. Happy Birthday! Hope you have a fantastic day! Great project!

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  4. Happy Birthday!! :D

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  5. Happy birthday! I still can't get over the fact that your steampunk room is getting closer to completion, and looking fabulous, as your projects tend to do :D

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  6. Happy Birthday! I suggest these brownies (or as a back -up). Very easy and quite tasty!
    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/406942516303534456/
    No need to deal with mixing your own GF flour (though once you do, this pin is very helpful)
    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/406942516300631113/
    Good luck!

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  7. That looks awesome! Happy birthday!

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  8. I use a recipe similar to this for my gluten free brownies (I have been grain free for 20 years), I add 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips as well. I make black bean brownies using 2 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp ginger, 1/8 tsp cayenne or chipotle powder - for spicy brownies. Also some chopped candied ginger!
    Peppermint extract is great start with 1 tsp or a bit more - to taste.
    Orange extract and cut up bits of candied peel are also wonderful.
    I use coconut oil and coconut sugar in the brownies I make.
    http://www.food.com/recipe/black-bean-brownies-gluten-free-255239

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    1. What does coconut oil and coconut sugar do that sugar cane sugar doesn't do?

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    2. I like the way they taste!

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  9. Happy Birthday, and Glutino has a gluten-free brownie mix that is really yummy! It's very brownie-ish and not spiky/sandy like some g-f recipes tend to be. I'm not sure if you can get Glutino in the States though. I'd be happy to ship some to you :)

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    1. Absolutely can get Glutino in the US! (Jen, in Orlando you'll have better luck at Walmart than Publix finding it sadly. I didn't have access to a Target while I lived there, but worth looking at if you're of the anti-Walmart clan.) I live off their products! Recommend the pretzels, pancake mix, pizza crust mix, wafer cookies, brownie mix, frozen english muffins... basically anything they make! Their baking substitutes (gf-breadcrumbs for example) are great as well.

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  10. Happy birthday! As someone with an autoimmune disorder, going (mostly) GF has helped me. But keep a journal of your health and food, so that as time goes by you can review it to make sure you are drawing the right conclusions. Good luck! And remember, it looks super overwhelming, but most GF recipes just mean don't add the usual bread/flour. That might help when looking around at those pins you are pinning. :)
    Have a great day, and thank you for sharing so much of your life with us.

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  11. I eat 100% GF as I have celiac, and my 1 year-old son was recently diagnosed as well (after a 1 week hospital stay, yikes!) so we are really well-versed in gluten-free goodness here! Check out Gluten-Free on a Shoestring (blog) and America's Test Kitchen How Can it Be Gluten-Free? (book) for some amazing recipes.

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  12. Depending on how handy you are in the kitchen, too, and if you have an ALDI near you, ALDI carries a LOT of really impressive gluten-free mixes, noodles, cookies, cereals, etc, so you might want to check that out!

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  13. Ok, I 100% think that your frame is WAY better than your inspiration page, and I'm not just saying that because it's your birthday. Also, I'm vastly amused by the "feel more orange" comment and then the "mottled orange glaze". Happy Birthday!!! Enjoy your whole Natal Season (the two weeks before & after the day, you know) to the utmost! Cheers!

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  14. Happy Birthday, Jen! Love your gift! Totally get the not feeling like doing anything. That's been me for almost 5 years now. I was just diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroidism yesterday. For now, the list of what i CAN'T eat is longer than what Ican. He also thinks I may have leaky gut syndrome and gluten intolerance. And oh yeah, for good measure, I'm borderline type 2 diabetic! The doc has me on a Paleo diet until more test results come back and then he says we will start adding foods back in. I am a serious foodie, so this is quite a change for me. But if it makes me healthy and not hurt and be able to go and do, then it will be worth it.

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    1. Even though I was diagnosed last November, it sounds like you're further ahead on sorting it all out than me, Sue! I just haven't been able to wrap my brain around all these dietary requirements. From what I've read, *everyone* with Hashi's has Leaky Gut, and probably gluten intolerance as well. Plus the tests showed I'm supposed to give up milk & eggs, too. THERE'S NOTHING LEFT TO EAT AFTER YOU CUT ALL THAT. [sob] Ahem. Sorry. It's just... really tough. Heh.

      On the bright side, John found me some GF chocolate chip cookies that taste like heaven. (They're by a company called Wow Baking, if that helps anyone.) And since I can't imagine life without chocolate chip cookies, I'm calling that Step 1. :D

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    2. Hi Sue. Just a quick bit of encouragement--being a Paleo foodie is pretty fun, once you get used to it. There are more and more of us around, too, so restaurants are beginning to catch on (slowly, and locavore places usually have more options, but it's happening). Best of luck to you both, and have a marvelous birthday, Jen!

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  15. Happy birthday, Jen! The frame looks awesome.

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  16. Amy from WilliamsburgMay 12, 2015 at 2:44 PM

    Happy Birthday Jen! Have a steampunky awesome day!

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  17. My dream-home library/work room will have these. Everywhere. You guys are such crafty geniuses. Thank you for the inspiration!
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
    Not sure which brownie recipe you tried, but so far my favorite gluten-free brownie mix is from Bob's Red Mill. Super chocolaty, (spelling?) and I'm really picky about that in a brownie.

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  18. Hippo Birdies! I love not using glass but you have to be careful, especially here in FL because moisture in the air will make the print bubble and warp a bit.It probably won't be a problem unless you lose power for several days or something like that because in general the AC keeps the air dryer.

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  19. aaaahhh that is so beautiful! You and John can do anything, I swear, it's awesome! <3

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  20. the patina you added is perfect! Makes those deco details really pop.

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  21. Beautiful! Also, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy birthday!

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  22. Happy birthday, Jen! Love the print and frame. I'm going on three years GF, and I highly, highly recommend Cup4Cup Flour from Williams-Sonoma. You can bake anything "normal" with it and it tastes delicious. My kids are always saying, "how can this be gluten-free??"

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  23. The frame is AMAZING! I'm just not that creative unfortunately. Your frame has a Dalek-y feel to it also. The painting kind of reminds me of the painting Gallifrey Falls No More from good ol' Doctor Who. Maybe I'm wierd. I really enjoy your blog posts. They really make me smile!

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    1. Not weird! That's what I thought of when Jen tweeted her sneak peek of the project.

      And yes! The frame could have come from "Daleks In Manhattan".

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  24. Happy birthday! And good luck with GF. I second the rec for GF on a shoe string blog.

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  25. You have to try the Bob's Red Mill gluten-free brownie mix. They are amazing! I'm not on a GF diet, but I still buy this mix over all the others.

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  26. Khalysta from VersaillesMay 12, 2015 at 4:48 PM

    Happy Birthday Jen !

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  27. Today is the best day to have a birthday. I should know, because it's mine, too! :) Happy birthday!

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  28. happy birthday! since birthdays require cake, i highly recommend for gluten-free folk Pamela's Chocolate Cake Mix -- make it with instant coffee (you can buy the single-serve packets) instead of water and it's extra rich and delicious and not coffee-flavored at all. my coworkers, gluten-free and non, love it.

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  29. Happy birthday!
    I love that frame. Art deco is one of my little obsessions right now. Especially in jewelery :)

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  30. Happy Birthday!
    Thanks for sharing your awesome world, it continues to inspire!!

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  31. Happy birthday, Jen!

    Gorgeous frame and beautiful print! What an awesome combination to have as your "window" while you're on your treadmill desk.

    So glad you've been feeling better lately. Maybe you'll be feeling good enough for a visit to Tokyo Disney by your next birthday!

    Let us know how the brownies turn out, and give us an update on your gluten-free diet soon. Interested to learn how much that will help you.

    KW

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  32. Happy birthday and may you have many more anxiety-free, healthy ones! I love all the imaginative thing you and John come up with. Thanks for sharing and inspiring us.

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  33. Happy birthday! You have such an inspirational life!

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  34. Gluten-free free isn't as fun, but it's not too bad. (Of course, I'm only part time GF, since it's the hubs with celiacs, not me.) Krusteaz has a decent brownie mix, and the GF funfetti cake mix is impressively similar to the real thing.

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  35. Happy Birthday Jen!!!
    May 12th babies FTW!

    Robyn M

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  36. Happy Birthday! And yes, making things happily is the *best* way to celebrate. I hope you got a nap too!

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  37. Happy Birthday, Jen! Couple quick notes to combat the pesky Florida humidity and give an awesome finish. Go to your favourite frame shop and ask them to dry mount your piece. Same effect as the spray adhesive and foam core only dry mounting will suck it flat as it adheres it to the foam core. Also, you can ask for a canvas look laminate which will protect the print from dust and uv and also give it the canvas look.

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    1. Oooh, you know, our frame guy mentioned the vacuum method, but he couldn't guarantee the print wouldn't wrinkle or pucker a bit, so we were too paranoid to let him try. I'm intrigued by the canvas look option, though! I'm gonna ask about that next time. Thanks!

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    2. The only time I've ever had issue with puckering or wrinkling was with extremely thin paper. If it's a quality art print, there should be no issue. If you decide to try the laminate, from what you've described, I don't foresee an issue adding it at a later date. If you are going to the j store across from fashion square, ask about it. We stopped carrying it a couple years back but most of us have a stockpile. The problem would be newer staff who maybe aren't aware of how to apply it. Although, if I remember correctly you go somewhere else for your framing needs, so you could definitely ask there. We probably use the same supplier.

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  38. Just saw this project using pennies and thought you would appreciate it, since you did something similar. Only they took it to a whole new level! They polished some pennies, left some pennies as is, and oxidized some pennies to make a pattern. Check it out: http://lightersideofrealestate.com/real-estate-life/cool-stuff/using-5500-pennies-and-some-creativity-he-turned-the-inside-of-his-pub-shed-into-something-amazing

    Hope you like it as much as I did!

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  39. Happy womb emancipation day! :) I love how your steam punk room is coming along. Will there be some fabulous teal decorative pillows in the future? it seems only fair since you already have orange.

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    1. How did you know we just bought some pillows?? :D They're actually linen with bits of rich teal (and orange, of course!) designs on them. I'll have to share pics here soon.

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    2. Please do! I love teal and orange as well!

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  40. Happy birthday, Jen! From the picture, I agree that that print looks better without the glass! And I loooove your custom frame, but I'm more excited that Tyler sells large prints for under $100! I like to support indie artists, but I can never afford the larger canvases and I have a ton of wall space I need to fill.

    As for the brownies, black bean brownies are deliciously rich and fudgy without any weird flavors or textures. I bought one from the grocery store bakery once to give my sweet tooth a quick fix, and it was one of the best brownies I'd ever had. Plus, I didn't even realize it was not a regular brownie until I went to toss the wrapper. I don't have a recipe, but you can find a ton online.

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  41. Gluten Free Girl and the Chef is an incredible resource for anyone with the need for GF. She had a brownie post awhile back -- and I have found it for you: This is it. Right here. I wanted to share it because it goes along with the best story -- Shauna tells her own story for these brownies, and it's a delightful one, but all I can share is mine:

    Some time ago (God has it really been that long?), when I Thought I Knew Better Than Everyone Else, I’d left my childhood home to live with A Very Bad Idea of A Boyfriend, and my parents and I didn’t speak for months that turned into years of very brief visits and clipped words and too many If You Don’t Approve, Then Get Away From Me’s.

    When I ultimately decided that Yes, It Was A Bad Idea, and called them in the actual middle of the night and asked them if I could come home, they were there as though they’d had the car gassed up and running from the moment I ran away. It was a 45 minute drive from their door to mine, but they were there in 35 minutes, no questions asked.

    That night, in the silly hours of the morning, while Dad did Dad Things, which is to say he watched the Weather Channel and dozed off, Mom made the brownies she’s been making since as long ago as I can possibly remember. While I sat in my childhood room that was still the way I'd left it and I cried my heart out because First Love is Stupid and Cruel, my mom puttered around the kitchen and made me brownies. When she brought them to me, still warm from the pan, we curled up on my childhood bed, and she told me Everything Would Be All Right, and sang me the same lullabye she did when I was a baby, a toddler, an awkward middle-schooler, and even an angry and sullen teenager who didn't know how to be independent and be loving at the same time.

    The brownies tasted like every celebration, every snow day, every late summer night, every sleep over, every relaxing end to a long day, and every warm and comforting hug I’ve ever known. They were since dubbed Nostalgia Brownies, and they are, without a doubt, the one thing I’ll always associate with the love of my mother.

    I can't have the exact same brownies I used to; Celiac Disease takes things away you never thought it would -- but then Shauna posted her recipe, and I tried them, and I'll be damned if these brownies aren't the exact taste and feel of my mother's. Dark and rich, fudgy and perfect, without the sandiness you can get from some GF products. When I ate them for the first time, I cried with joy, and thought of my mother.

    Friday's my birthday -- Saturday, my parents are coming from out of state to visit -- I think I'll have to make a pan of these, now that you've reminded me.

    Thanks, Jen.

    ...and the frame's gorgeous, too. ;)

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    1. Dangit, Jones, now I'm a weepy mess. CURSE YOU.

      Aaaand off to look at brownie recipes...

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    2. You have a gift for telling a great story. I think anyone who reads it will be a weepy mess...me, already there. Thank goodness for supportive parents.

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    3. Dangit, there are the things in my eyes... again.. What a sweetly remembered story.

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    4. oh yeah, weepy mess here too :) And coming from another chick who chose the wrong guy and had her parents right there to support her when she finally woke up to that fact, thank GOD we woke up :) I hope you enjoy many more batches of brownies with your parents and other loved ones, and never chose another wrong person to let into your life :)

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    5. It's onion ninja season! (Thank you, everyone, for your kind replies!) I'm seriously not kidding about Shauna's brownies. That recipe is the kind of thing you take somewhere and only tell the GF people it's safe -- let everyone else come to it without knowing, and they'd never guess. Brownie Ninja.

      If you like a cakey brownie, though, I can't help you, because I'm pretty sure those are the devil in spongecrumb form.

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  42. Can't help with the GF but I never put glass over my framed cross stitch. The glass interferes with my work. Same with prints UNLESS they might be near the sun. Then I do put glass in to protect the prints.

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  43. Very happy birthday for yesterday Jen, sorry I missed your actual day. The frame looks really fab in your room, John is a clever chap.

    I have a good recipe for GF brownies

    http://www.food.com/recipe/harrys-spiced-winter-chocolate-brownies-cook-yourself-thin-349718

    Made it loads of times for non-GF as well as my lovely mum-in-law who was diagnosed celiac a couple of years ago. People are always surprised when I tell them what's in them. We don't seem to have a good supply of pumpkin here in the UK except for Hallowe'en, so I buy a few, prepare them and freeze in batches ready to make the next order of brownies. All depending on who I'm cooking for, I also add chocolate chips or pecans/walnuts, almonds, finely chopped stem ginger or glace cherries.

    Enjoy :0)

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  44. Happy (belated) birthday!! The whole room is becoming Bioshock, I love it! And that are piece is absolutely stunning, a perfect choice.

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  45. Wow. This is especially gorgeous. I can see why it's your favorite frame, because it came out awesome. {And now you've reawakened my NEED to go to Tokyo Disney.} Your blog always makes my day and gives me a push to be more creative.

    Happy Birthday! Look for Bob's Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour. It's the best one I've found so far for baking and makes your goodies taste normal (instead of like a wet sponge). They also have GF pie crust and brownie mix :) Enjoy and have a fabulous day!

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  46. My best friend does GF. If you want her brownie recipe, here it is :-) : http://savoryandsafe.com/2011/03/gf-brownies/

    Also, happy birthday and that is a stunningly framed piece of stunningly beautiful art!

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  47. Happy Birthday Jen!!!!!

    That print and frame both look awesome!

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  48. For dairy and egg free ideas, try this post. She's not gluten free, but she has tons of links to people who are.

    http://www.deliacreates.com/so-your-child-has-food-allergies/

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  49. Check out Iowa Girl Eats. She's been my favorite food blogger for years and happened to go GF at the same time my friend was diagnosed Celiac. I linked my friend to the blog and she's been in love with the recipes.

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  50. Love the frame and the print!
    Having an awful lot of food allergies myself, I've run across a lot of GF recipes and foods. So if you ever have a burning desire for really good GF (and milk and egg free) ice cream or chocolates, I'd recommend So Delicious (http://sodeliciousdairyfree.com/products/coconut-milk-frozen-desserts/cookie-dough-gluten-free) or Premium Chocolatiers! (http://www.premiumchocolatiers.com/)

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  51. If you didn't already have a pile of good recipes, make sure to look for Deep Dish Cookie Pie. I know you're particular about original source, so make sure your find the right one. (Apparently, I don't have it in my bookmarks anymore....)

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  52. Happy belated birthday, Jen!! For delicious and gluten-free, you must try Elana's brownies: http://elanaspantry.com/brownies/ Her almond-butter blondies are fantastic too: http://elanaspantry.com/almond-butter-blondies/ For serious--I have a staff of sugar-loving undergrads, and whenever I make the blondies, they rave and have no idea they are GF. My step-dad loves them too.

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  53. Happy belated birthday!!! Your steampunk room is looking amazing - you and John are so creative and talented! Here's to another wonderful year of making awesome stuff!

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  54. This is amazing, Jen!
    Gluten free brownies, and Steampunk glory!
    I'm starting to reframe a bunch of art that I've made, so maybe i'll keep the glass out and use it for other projects. (great idea!)
    Thanks, as always, for the inspiration.

    Oh, and HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY!

    --Piper P from Washington State

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  55. Happy Birthday!

    I used to work in a framing shop, and I can tell you there is an alternative to not having glass. You can get glass with a non-glare coating that will be functionally invisible save a faint purple sheen from lights. There are however two caveats:

    First, it is atrociously expensive. Jaw-droppingly so. If you get the kind that also has high UV protection (aka 'museum glass'), it goes straight into 'you are kidding, right' territory without stopping for the lights.

    Second, it is delicate. The oils in your fingers will make the coating develop a nice purple sheen, with fingerprints the envy of any crime drama you choose to name. And it will never ever come off. Even the lightest touch destroys it, and remember what I said about it being expensive...?

    On the plus side? It looks amazing, and protects your art.

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  56. i was out of town and missed your birthday. so sorry! hope it was magnificent! you deserve great things!

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