Recipe: Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Apricot Gelée

Panna Cotta, an Italian dessert of silky, sweetened cream set with gelatin, is all at once simple, classic and elegant.  It is, at its best, subtle, not overly sweet, and the perfect way to end a meal on a light and refreshing note.
Panna cotta comes together quickly and can be molded in any type of vessels you choose -- from ramekins to demitasse, martini glasses to mason jars.  I like to compliment my panna cotta with a thin layer of gelée -- a gelatin stabilized glaze made from fresh fruit.  Apricots are in season right now, and are bursting with summer sweetness, so I chose to do an apricot gelée.  You can use my recipe with any type of fruit you'd like.  
Here are some photos of panna cottas I've made in the past with a variety of gelées and vessels:
Vanilla Panna Cotta with a Honey Gelée and Bee Pollen
Lemon Panna Cotta, no gelée
Meyer-Lemon Panna Cotta, Strawberry-Rhubarb Gelee

I like to decorate my desserts with edible flowers, especially in summer and springtime. My theme fo…

Crystal Pendant Family Photo Ornaments

I treasure my collection of family photos that have been passed down through the generations.  Rather than keeping them hidden from the world in a stuffy old trunk or shoebox, I love to have them out and about where they can be enjoyed. 

My dining table is graced by an oversized vintage wooden tool caddy that is filled with photos for the family to enjoy.  In my living room, you'll find a vintage-style postcard rack stocked with old photo cards of our ancestors.  And on the front door, guests are greeted by a wreath circled by tiny portraits, family surnames and crests.  

That's why, when a box filled with incredible crafting supplies arrived from Plaid, I knew in an instant what direction I'd take with my holiday crafting campaign with Blueprint Social!  

I'd been dying to try Plaid's Mod Podge Dimensional Magic, so I developed a project based around this versatile product.  Using inexpensive chandelier crystals, some beads and beading supplies, I was able to create easy and elegant pendant Christmas ornaments with photos of loved ones from the past and present.

Just imagine an entire tree trimmed with these nostalgic baubles!  Commemorate a wedding, baby's first year, or pay homage to generations past.  Whether shimmering from evergreen branches, or wrapped up in a gift, these ornaments are sure to sparkle with meaning for all that behold them.

Crystal Family Photo Pendant Ornaments

  • Mod Podge Dimensional Magic
  • Plaid's Folk Art Acrylic Paint -- Metallic Silver or Gold
  • Chandelier Crystals (From the craft store or home improvement store)
  • Family photos, scanned and reduced to fit the dimensions of the crystal. 
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • paper towel
  • paint brush
  • Pinch bails (from the beading section of the craft store -- silver or gold depending on your preference)
  • Beads of your choice
  • Crimp tubes
  • Crimp bead covers
  • All-in-one jewelry pliers
  • Silver or gold beading wire (thin enough to pass through the beads when doubled-up.)

Step 1:  Print out photos in high quality on regular printer paperLay crystal on top of photo and trace with a pencil.  Cut along the inside of the pencil marks.

Step 2:  Set crystal on piece of paper towel.  Apply a thin coat of Dimensional Magic to the back of the crystal, leaving a 1/8" border.  Gently set the photo (face down) on top of the Dimensional Magic.  Using a finger, press the photo into place.  The paper towel will prevent the Dimensional Magic from running to the front of the crystal.  You can apply firm pressure without getting your other hand sticky. Work out any wrinkles, then set aside to dry for a few minutes.

Step 3:   When Dimensional Magic is dry, paint the back of the paper with the Folk Art Metallic paint.  Allow to dry for a few minutes, then brush on a second coat.

Step 4:  When the second coat of paint is dry, you're ready to start beading.  To bead:

  • Pinch a bail into place with your all-in-one tool.  If the hole in the crystal has been sealed by the photo, use a pin or needle to open it back up.
  • Thread an 9"-10" piece of wire through the bail.  Lock into place by threading a small bead through both ends of the wire (length will depend on how long you would like the finished ornament to be).   
  • Continue adding beads by threading both ends of the wire through the hole.      
  • When you've achieved the desired length, thread the ends  of the wire through a crimp tube, in opposite directions, to create a loop.  Pinch crimp tube in place with your all-in-one tool.  Then use the tool to trim the loose ends of the wire.   
Your ornaments are ready to hang from the tree or wrap as a gift.

The Dimensional Magic Crystal Pendants can also be attached to a larger bail and hung from a necklace.  I'll be featuring a tutorial for these braided lace and chain necklaces later in the week. 

I have a feeling it's going to be a real Mod-Podge-apalooza here in the coming weeks.  To stay up to date on the latest crafty goodness from Plaid, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

For more holiday inspirations, check out what my fellow Blueprint Social members did with their Plaid products:

Disclosure:  I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Plaid and Blueprint Social. The opinions in this post are genuine and 100% my own

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