Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Homemade Old Fashion Milk Bottles

It turn's out that I am not the world's greatest blogger. Between some family medical issues, one incredibly cute 5 year old, a beautiful college student visiting at home for the summer, and a whole yard of new chicken babies, adding some of my work to http://stephaniefrey.artistwebsites.com/ and trying to keep up with both my micro stock and rights managed work this has been a very busy year to say the least.

I am going to try harder to be more active with this blog and figure exactly what I want it to become.

I had been planning on doing a series of milk shots and very much wanted to use antique milk bottles for the shoot. After driving to some of our nearest towns, I came up empty handed. Someone did loan me one of their's, but what I really wanted was some smaller ones too. However, I could not find them anywheres near me. I seen some on Ebay, but I am not a patient woman once I get an ideal in my head. So I set out to make my own. I noticed that the Starbuck's Frappuccino bottles could possibly work for what I needed. Off to the store I went to purchase a four pack of these tasty little pick me ups, some paint, and Goo Gone to remove the sticky glue left after the label is removed.

Best part of the project, I emptied the containers. My husband and oldest daughter gladly helped with this part of the project. Then I set each of the containers into the sink and sprayed the left on glue and "sell by" date with the Goo Gone. I purchased my Goo Gone from our local Walmart store in the cleaning area. Just let the bottles set for five minutes and then take a Brillo pad and scrub off the glue and ink. Mine came off very easy. Wash the bottles and dry well.

I wanted to add a label to my bottles, so using masking tape and paper I covered up all of the bottle except where I wanted the label to be. Next I took the bottles outdoors and sprayed the area that is visible. I put two coats on mine. I ended up using Krylon indoor/outdoor flat black spray paint for mine. As you may have guessed by now, we live in the country. Our nearest store is almost 15 miles away and there are no craft or art stores in this little town. So if I need supplies to shoot with I have to drive sometimes 2 or 3 hours away. As I mentioned earlier, I am not patient, so I went with the Krylon instead of making the long trip. If you have a craft store nearby I would check to see if they have paint made especially for glass. I am not sure how well the Krylon with hold up to washing.

Allow the paint to dry for a few hours and remove the paper and tape. For the text I purchased an Elmer's Painters paint marker in white. I tried using stensils to write the word Milk onto the label, but that bled terribly. After a few trials and errors I finally decided to freehand the text and was happy with the results.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cranberry Relish

Cranberries, a fruit native to North America, were first called "craneberries" by the pilgrims due to the flowers that resemble the head of a crane. It is believed that Native Americans may have introduced cranberries to starving English settlers who may have incorporated the berries into their traditional Thanksgiving feast. Cranberry sauce gained in popularity after General Ulysses S. Grant ordered it served to his troops during the siege of Petersburg, Virginia during the Civil War.

Today cranberry sauce is still a staple of many Thanksgiving Day feast. It is estimated that Americans consume over 400 million pounds of cranberries each year. About 80 million pounds during Thanksgiving week alone! My family and I happily indulge in this holiday tradition along with everyone else. 

Ever since my husband and I began a family I have prepared large meals for Thanksgiving. Even if we had celebrated Thanksgiving with either his family or mine, I would still cook a fairly large feast for just us. Freshly baked breads, baked acorn squash, homemade candies, cookies, pies, cakes, and anything else I had time to prepare would adorn our table and fill our home with tantalizing aromas. What a wonderful holiday when you can spend  days cooking and laughing with your family.

Sad to say though, when it came to cranberry sauce I was perfectly content to go to the local store, buy a couple cans of "cranberry sauce" and slide the congealed fruit out onto a plate and slice it up. I did not like cranberry sauce no matter how many times I tried it. However, my family loved it, so I would buy it for them.

Somewhere along the line I began adding fried apples to the congealed cranberry sauce and realized that maybe there was something to this traditional holiday food after all. Then one day I came along a recipe that called for fresh cranberries. What! They weren't just for stringing along with popcorn to decorate the tree? You can actually eat these things! I had to try it. Upon trying this freshly prepared dish, I was hooked! No more red, blobby cranberry sauce again! This recipe has now became a part of our family tradition.
I hope you enjoy it too!

Cranberry Relish

1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, chopped
1/2 cup orange (or apple) juice
1/2 cup black raisins
1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
Orange zest (optional)

Wash cranberries and place in a heavy saucepan with baking soda, apples, orange juice, raisins and zest. Simmer with lid on and stir occasionally until cranberries start to “pop.” Reduce heat and remove lid, continuing to stir, about 15 minutes. Stir in sugar to taste. My family likes about 1/2 cup added.  Remove from heat, let cool.

"He who thanks but with the lips
Thanks but in part;
The full, the true Thanksgiving
Comes from the heart."
~J.A. Shedd

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Step outside and nature appears to be set ablaze with color. Beautiful shades of red, orange and yellows seem to be splashed everywhere you look. There is just a nip of chill in the air and if you are like me an intense urge to bake something sets in. Often our home is filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread, pies and delicious casseroles at this time of year.

With the arrival of autumn comes one of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving. Our girls come home from college and we'll often spend days baking cookies, pumpkin rolls and other delicious foods that seem to be set aside for just this time of year. Our whole home is filled with the aroma of good food and lots of laughter. I pray that as the holiday season begins this year that your home will be so blessed too!

Below you'll find my family's favorite recipe for Apple Crisp. Hope you enjoy it!


6 mediums tart apples
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
3/4 cups of old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup of chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup of softened butter
2 tsp of Pumpkin Pie Spice

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Grease bottom and sides of a casserole dish with vegetable shortening.

Spread apples in dish. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients except butter. Cut butter into mixture. Sprinkle over apples. 

Bake about 45 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork.

Best served warm. Top with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Tip: You don't need to deep fry your turkey to get it a rich brown color, instead before placing the turkey in the oven rub it all over with butter, sprinkle on salt to taste and then sprinkle on paprika. The paprika gives it a beautiful, even rich color. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011


  A few friends and I like to challenge each other weekly with a new theme to shoot for rights managed images. These are always fun, as they allow me to be more abstract and artistic with my photography. However, a couple of us weren't able to participate this week, so another photographer and I decided to make it a daily challenge during their absense to really motivate us. I really enjoyed working on these and I hope you enjoy them too. These are available at Arcangel Images only.

Monday: Light

Tuesday: Water

Wednesday: Curious Door

Thursday : Weddings

Friday: Still Life

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Southern Pecan Cheesecake

The plan was to start shooting healthier foods, but, alas, I love desserts. So when someone requested images for Southern Pecan Cheesecake...I couldn't resist. I have to say that it was so delicious that I think this will be a new tradition for the holidays. I found it very easy to fix. The recipe doesn't call for it, but I did drizzle caramel sauce over each slice after I plated them. I just don't think it is the same without it. Hope you enjoy.

Southern Pecan CheesecakeServes 16

1½ cups quick oats
½ cup pecans, finely chopped
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

5 packages 8-ounce cream cheese, softened
1-2/3 cups brown sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups pecans, chopped, divided

To make the crust, place oats in a food processor or blender; process to consistency of flour. Combine oats with pecans, brown sugar and butter; press into bottom of 10-inch spring form pan. Chill.

To make filling, in a medium bowl beat cream cheese with mixer until fluffy; slowly add brown sugar and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each. Stir in vanilla and half of the chopped pecans. Mix and pour over crust.

Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour; turn oven off but leave the cheesecake in the oven for 30 minutes. To reduce the chance of cracks on top surface, run a knife around edge of cheesecake as soon as it is removed from the oven. Let cool to room temperature; cover and chill 8 hours. Remove sides of spring pan. Press remaining chopped pecans around sides and pipe with whipping cream if desired.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Yogurt Parfait

This past week has been so incredibly full. My little one always fills my days, but add to our family time cleaning a three tier deck and trying to get a cookbook ready and it doesn't leave much time. However, I love being busy, so I won't complain...Well, except for the heat exhaustion that I experienced one day from cleaning the deck with a heat index of 113. That was worth complaining about.
Although I have worked on these two things continuously, I haven't finished editing the majority of the images for the cookbook. Bad thing is the wedding is the day after tomorrow. I think it will be a late gift.
I did get this image of a simple fruit parfait edited. Although it is a very easy recipe to put together, it is absolutely one of my favorite things to have for breakfast. Especially when our raspberries and strawberries are producing. The taste of freshly picked berries from your own garden is so much more incredibly better that it is just almost impossible to explain. I hope you enjoy this simple recipe.

Fruit Parfait

1 cup vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup granola
3/4 cup of mixed fresh berries (I prefer blueberries, raspberries and strawberries)
1 tbsp of powdered sugar

Carefully fold the powdered sugar into the berries until the sugar has dissolved into a glaze.
Pour half of the yogurt into a parfait glass, add all of granola, then half of the berries. Pour in the remaining portion of yogurt and top with the remaining berries. Serves 1. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Simple Life

    As much as I love food photography, I also love working on my rights managed portfolio at Arcangel. Two completely different styles of photography. With food photography everything needs to be clean and the colors really need to pop. Sharp details. Almost perfection. Perhaps that is why I enjoy it, because it pushes me to learn more about the basics of photography. With Rights Managed I can open up and shoot anything and everything. I can be more artistic and moody. I love that! So, this week I took a short break from shooting food and other crazy things going on in everday life and took my little model out for a photo shoot.
   We live in an area that once was home to many Amish and Mennonite families, but most have moved on. However, before they left I had the chance to see a little into their lives. Everyone always refers to their life as the "The Simple Life." I just don't see that. Yes, it is simple in the fact that they don't have all of the modern distractions that we do, but what I seen was a very hard life. Always working, struggling with teaching thier children their faith, grown men sneaking a smoke and listening to worldly music when their elders are not around. But that is not very different from the rest of us. Not really. Most of us have to work from the time we wake up til late in the evening. I know I do. It's just a different kind of work. Most parents struggle with one thing or another with their children. We love them and want to teach them what is best. And whether or not we'll admit it, most of us don't want people we respect to see us doing things that we know they'll disapprove of, so we hide it from the world.
   There are a lot of things I respect about the Amish. Perhaps it is the same things that make them so fasinating to the rest of the world. I love their sense of community and family. They seem to be very close, working together, helping one another. Usually opening up their homes for their worship services. Their work ethics are wonderful! There are quiet a few things we could learn from their lifestyle.
   It is these things that make them a wonderful subject. There is just the little issue of the fact that majority do not believe in having their photos taken. I do know of one little Amish run business that is close by where the woman has several photos of her family on the wall behind the counter. However, since the majority do not believe in it, I would never go to their community and just stick my camera in their face to please my own artistic desires. Instead I have an adorable little model I use. The photographs I do in her Amish clothing are usually very nostalgic. The majority of my Amish images are at Arcangel, but a few are with the microstocks. Just click on the link on that right that says "Arcangel Images."  In the keyword search on the right hand side of the screen, just type in "Stephanie Frey Amish" to see more of my Amish images.

Please do not use or copy any of my images. Thank you!