Monday, December 28, 2009

The Calmness of the Season






I hope your Christmas was wonderful; ours went well. I especially enjoyed, my daughter's concert, she is in the chorus.

I was fragmented, this year....i had been on pain meds for my back. This year, i found myself, standing in stores, distracted, my meds made me drowsy, it was like i was sleep walking thru it all. I am glad it is over....no, i'm glad i'm done with those meds.

I love the peaceful feeling, this season holds, after all the rush, the blur of colors, events and baking. Time to reflect on what i did and didn't accomplish and what i hope to do in the New Year. I love the stillness that winter brings...the time to craft, share and enjoy that cup of your favorite warmth. The time to hibernate, recharge one's battery, before the next season, unfolds.

One always ask, "What is your favorite season?"...as a kid, i would always state the obvious, summer. Later in life, Fall(esp. in New England), but now, i think with all the changes that each season brings, it would be the one we are in NOW. Each one arrives with it's own prescription of the 5 senses. Our vision changes as we grow, as do our thoughts of the seasonal changes, but I hope, i can always remember the beauty of each season and reflect on the good memories made and those to come.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mother Nature's Dazzle





















Mother Nature likes to craft, see all of her beautiful handy work. Her frosted glitter, provides me, with memories of my childhood in Maine. I miss home, i think especially during the holidays, it is natural to want to go home,....your heart is their visiting. A scent, a sight or scene can open the door from the past....the smell of pine(candles, i have a fake tree) and the frosty
air with the beautiful designs of nature...take me back to being 10. I had a camera then, nothing special, but it gave me insight to see the distinct beauty in all of nature's wonders. There is beauty everywhere, i think this was when the artistic door was opened; my vision has never been the same. It was the year, I need prescription glasses, which tweaked I how saw things.
This did improve my artistic view and grades. I won 1st place in an art contest in the elementary school, til Billy G showed up and knocked me off my pedestal the following year.

Billy G and I didn't see eye to eye, my Christmas train, was the old fashion one, from days gone by; his was the sleek, faster, newer model. The teacher, proudly hung them both and said
there was room for both, winking, while the boys and girls voiced whose they liked better.

I think it is hard to put oneself out there, it can be cold, when you live around people who aren't
crafty, artistic, who don't understand your need to decorate a room first then clean or you rather
make something, take photos then watch this ball game/race/etc. They try to appreciate your vision, your unique slant to their world...but they just don't get it...until they get their hands and heart involved.

I am soooo thankful for the blogging community; Being a military spouse, i have not had the fortune of being around crafty people. I know there are artist out there, but for some reason, i didn't meet them. I now see so much art n' talent on a daily basis and how artistic types, tend to blur the lines, creativity shows up in many forms. It is like a gift everyday to see/read other's hopes, dreams and struggles. I finally feel like i have found, my people...for a long time, I just knew i was different. I would hear comments, i would never have thought of that.
You have a different thought process....etc. I feel so much joy for the doors that the internet has opened and continues to. Thank you!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Take a Break




I made these low fat gems , not to sweet, but spicy and
chewy to give you a bite of holiday spice, GingerSnap Biscotti

I lowered the sugar, added a bit more spice, you can use the white chocolate or not..your choice. They really do add to the winter mood.

So, here goes:

2 c. all purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 16 oz bag of white chocolate chips
2 tsp of canola oil

If mixture is too dry, should be a little sticky, add a couple tbsp of milk. Mix eggs, sugar, molasses and vanilla, then mix your dry ingredients together, sift with a fork...now gradually add in the dry mix. When incorporated, if needed add your milk, if not, now put 1/2 the dough onto
a floured surface, knead into a log shape, put on a well greased cookie sheet. Bake the log at 325 degrees for 20min. Let it cool, i put on a wire rack , for about 15min. If you rush this, they will crumble, so be patient. NOW, after cooling, using a serrated knife(bread knife)
and slice them about 1/2 inch thick at an angle. Place on a cookie sheet and bake again...
Bi(2x=twice baked) at 250 degrees for 10 min, then turn them over and bake for 10 more min.

After you remove these, left them cool...meanwhile, microwave, your white chocolate chips, with 2 tsp canola oil in a microwave safe bowl, for 30 sec, at a time, stir, then repeat, til the chips are melted. You can them, dip or drizzle the white chocolate on or you can put in a zip lock bag, snip the corner of the bag and squeeze bag to decorate.

You still have the other 1/2 of dough to bake...it takes time, but it is well worth it. I usually
melt 1/2 my bag of chips, with 1 tsp oil and then repeat for the 2nd batch. Either way, you
can always slowly melt the chocolate chips again.


I hope you try them ; We love ours with coffee, tea or milk.
ENJOY!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tiny Touches





Do you have a few friends you like to give a little something special to? I made up these , little
tea cups or sugar bowls with a vintage looking ornament, mini cookies and a tea bag as a thoughtful touch. I am still working on a few more...but for now, this is what i have come up with.

A few vintage finds or you could do thrift shop tea cups...or use the instant coffee packets, or
hot chocolate. I am thinking of making a few for my daughters' teachers. I can see there is a lot
of variety, fudge and cocoa or the wedding cake cookies..would be a nice touch...snow ball look a likes.

Last year i did mini bowls, with soup, cocoa tea and/or coffee pkgs(think General Foods International ones) then added elements for the person i was giving, mints, chocolate or the honey sticks, the crystal sugar candy, a gift card to Starbucks would be a nice touch or chocolate coffee beans....it is a fun gift to make/give with endless possibilities.

Well, off to the mail and thrift shop, again....I need a few more unique containers.

It is the thought, that counts! (oops see at broken cookie; i will fix it)

Monday, December 14, 2009

It isn't Christmas

My daughter Angela is decorating the lst batch, while Buster patiently waits for his sample....


Christmas hasn't arrived til the sugar cookies are made. The mingle of pine , lemon sugar cookies, and the brisk seasonal air (It has been brisk, here recently in NC, we were down to 22 this weekend).

I swear my brother actually sighs, when he eats one...he says it isn't Christmas til he's had a cookie.
Every year, Mom would include us in the baking tradition, we made cookies, to give away and some for the house, i think we damaged some, so we could have extra.
I can see the wax paper with beads of confectionery sugared glaze with nonpareil rainbow dots,
red n' green sugar and jimmies. My favorite one to make was the ornament shaped cookie, unlimited design possibilities.

My kids both love this family tradition as does my husband. One year, i was delayed making them and i found them all in the kitchen looking for the recipe. Once the dough is chilled the
Christmas music is put on and the elves began. Everyone has their area, to roll out the dough and get their sheet ready. Once they are done, our beagle, Buster, comes to the kitchen and lays under the table, for his "lemon bone"...it is tradition, we give him one, with no icing.
He is a ham; he waits patiently and persists on camping out, around our feet, hoping we will embellish him with a few more. It will not be any different this year, either....


It is a family recipe and I swear my Mom added lemon extract to the sugar cookies, long before Martha did, but i can't prove it. I can only say, be brave when you make the cookies and add a bit more extract. You will be glad you did!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sorting thru



Trying to sort thru all of the items i have made..who gets what?

Sifting fragments of memories, powdered sugar delights,
fabric scraps and paper, kept me up all night.....

Tis the season for chaos n' disorder... I choose to make a visual home, similar to
, Amy Hanna's, hers are sooo beautiful...i used what i had, i did
make one for a friend with photo sleeves, so she can put her own
family members in the home.

Is this how one begins..inspiration from others and then one
builds..i do have a few items, that are unique, that i have not
shown, is it fear, nerves of rejection that keep me from that post?

Anyway....i think we all are inspired by other's work and then we have to find our unique vision, details that are become our, signature. Till then, i will keep at it and maybe some day...show
my style, my signature.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Heart Made






Every year, i pick one person, that needs a little boost or perhaps has an interest that needs to be
explored further. This year, i am choosing my Mom; she is struggling, since her fall and I can't
be home, right now...hopefully next year! I am going to shed some light on her situation; she
can't reach lamps to turn them on, so I ordered her a special book light and some art supplies.
I will every few weeks, add to her art supplies with a care package. She loves to garden so
flowers and signs of spring, will brighten her mood; everyone in New England, needs the hope of
warmth, sunshine and color, especially during the long winter.

A few years ago...I chose my daughter, this was when the Barbie dolls were packed away. I swear most of us, loved Barbie, because it was our own virtual Project runway. We used coffee filters/cupcake wrappers on Barbie, silk flowers and tulle and then we made outfits using felt
/fabric scraps and other recycled items. Actually we used Project Runaway as our inspiration...but it was time to graduate.....this was a fast project for me, but i enjoyed making it...a little rough around the edges, but you get the general idea. It doesn't take a lot of money to give a heart felt gift, but it does take, time, energy and your insight.

My daughter is 13, now and into hair, hair products, hair tools, hair styles....she has been wanting to fix my hair differently...this weekend, i will allow her creativity to soar. I have been a bit
hesitant, since the last time, i was burned by a hair straightener. I will enjoy seeing her face light up and i know she has perfected her skills...wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Love Line















Here are a few peeks of my Linage of Love
garland type cards...i hate to take them off my tree....i need to make more....i made a generic bird one, thought would be cute for a baby shower, i did blue n' pink. The black n' white n' purple is my brother and my new sister in law..they look like the Brady Bunch, he has 2 sons and she has 4 children, the last one, is still a work in progress i just added more to it. I grew up around stars...it is a play on words! My Dad and grandfather, owed and Texaco station, you can trust your car to the man who wears the STAR.

Since my Dad was fifteen, he was a projectionist at a local movie theatre (he showed the STARs on the Silver Screen). Actually, my parents met there and fell in love. I later worked there when i was a teen, in the ticket booth. It's funny, that later an elephant would be put on top of the theatre.
My Mom collects elephants....she said, the day they put one on top of the building gave her goosebumps. My parents comedy and
drama plaques are still in the ticket booth. The owner just contacted me, asking if i would like them...so, my Mom will be getting something OLD for Christmas...these were in her home when she was first married. Funny, how doing this garland has brought up soooo many memories
and a piece of my parent's past, will soon return Home!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Love Line...Christmas Card


I saw this was a craft done at the Silver Bella event; I admired from afar, the talented classes and various bloggers art work. This gem was taught by the talented, Pam Garrison, scroll down and you will see Pam's display. This event is put together with heart n' soul by founder, Teresa Mcfayden. She also has ezine workshops to participate online.

So, I have a few special family members, that i don't swap gifts with, but we did send cards and
exchange well wished. I thought it would be fun, to add a little something special to their
card, this year...i did last year as well. This linage of Love is my father's family, the only one remaining is his sister, my Aunt Patty. I hope she will be surprised and enjoy displaying this in her home or tree. Right now, it looks pretty special on my china cabinet...off to make more...
addicting and fun! I already made one for my brother and his new wife and family, but time to make a couple more. I would show you, but she frequents my blog...
I don't know if i will ever get to go to Silver Bella, but one can still attempt to try their style on
the art projects they view and drool over.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Finally Together


Mom gave me Santa for my tree, years ago...i can't remember his origin. I would say likely
he was one of the ornaments on my parents tree, when 1st married, back in 1958-59.
I recently was shopping at One Ripe Peach and found Mrs. Santa, similar shape, red flocking...
not sure if made from the same company, but darn close. I was thrilled to finally find Santa's mate, the woman, behind Christmas. I might be biased, but I know in my home, Mrs. Santa
is the force behind the holiday. Santa loves to sit and eat cookies, chuckle and watch sports on
Tv, while surfing the nice n' naughty list on his laptop and ebay of course. He works hard, but
if it was just up to him the holiday wouldn't be the same. I think this is true in most homes;
we as women, are more tuned into what the family needs n' want, the recipes and traditions
of this time of year. I knew this isn't true for everyone, but Christmas is a combo act for most
families so i am proud to finally have the union on my tree. The spirit of giving, sharing, creating and bringing magic to the season. For me the magic is the spirit of kindness and love
that seems to bloom....people seem a little bit more friendly, there are more thank you's and
common courteous then before. There is also the dark side of the season as well...we try every year to do something for someone in need. It might be the angel tree, donations of canned goods,
Toys for Tots or a special unknown gift to someone we know is struggling.

I think the most important gift to give is YOU, your time, your hands, your heart!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Growth

I feel over whelmed, but who doesn't this time of year. Some
obstacles out of my control have happened; my Mother has
fallen and later this week, we will find out if she needs surgery or not. There are several major issues going on and i needed a focus to calm me, so i gave myself a gift. I know it sounds selfish;
I gave myself the gift of forcing bulbs. It will take time for the roots to develop, the beauty of seeing something grow, the ritual of tending it and thinking as i tend my artistic endeavors, that i too will bloom or as i eat better, move....i will reach my goals. You can put your own goals in place. I have done this before and it truly helped me to focus, the simplicity of a new beginning, the
the hope of getting it right, the room for growth.

In the mean time, I will finish my Mom's pkg, making phone calls to connect the dots and aid my brother and his wife, in her care.
He lives 20min from her; me 8 hrs.