December 31, 2010


I wish you all a very happy, healthy and peaceful new year. May you have many laughs, cool adventures, good food, and great times with the people that you love. May your goals and pursuits happen and all your dreams come true. Hoping you have constant creativity to make daring new innovative things! 
Happy New Year!!

December 24, 2010


Vrolijk Kerstfeest!
Feliz Navidad!
Joyeux Noel!  
Natale Allegro!
God Jul!
Christmas Alegre!
Maligayang Paskil!
Boas Festas!
Glaedelig Jul!
Hauskaa Joulua!
Frohe Weihnachten!
Nallaig Chridheil Huibh!  
Merry Keshmish!  
Merry Christmas to you all! Hope your day is filled with much love, surprises, fun, games, food, cheer, movies, sports, giving, and happiness with the ones you love!
"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air."--W.T. Ellis

December 21, 2010

winter solstice

The winter solstice occurs exactly when the Earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23°, 26'. It lasts for only an instant but it represents midwinter or the first day of winter. More evident to those in high latitudes, this occurs on the shortest day or the longest night.
"Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius."--Pietro Aretino

December 19, 2010

holiday trees

The modern Christmas tree as we know it dates back to 16th century Germany. The decorations used at that time were various colors of paper roses, apples, wafers and sugar. The tree was first introduced in England in 1841 by the German, Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. In the United States, the first trees came from German immigrants in Pennsylvania in 1821, although this is disputed by some.
Evergreens were a symbol of rebirth from ancient times. Various conifers such as spruce, balsam, firs, hemlock and pines were used as Christmas trees, the most popular type in North America being the Fraser fir.  
Here are some photos of various trees in the spirit of the season.
 our Christmas tree
funky department store trees
glass tree ornament 
desert tree, photo by David Plemmons

And lastly here are a few pics of some local trees in my area.

December 18, 2010

holiday cards

The Christmas card  is a Victorian creation, which began as a kind of stationery. The first card produced by Sir Cole who worked for  British Postal Service, and an artist he hired named John Horsley. It was a depiction of a Christmas scene. He wrote "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You."
I received this and thought it was great:
We have a list of folks we know all written in a book, 
And every year at Christmas time we go and take a look, 
And that is when we realise, that those names are a part, 
Not the book they’re written in, but of our very hearts. 
For each named stands for someone, whose path touched ours and then, 
Left such a print of Friendship that we want to touch again. 
So never think our Christmas cards are just a  mere routine, 
Of names upon a Christmas list, forgotten in between. 
And every year when Christmas comes, we realise anew, 
The greatest gift of life can give, is knowing friends like you. 
And may the spirit of Christmas, that forever and ever endless, 
Leave it’s richest blessing, in the hearts of you and yours. 
--Roy Russell

December 17, 2010

another cookie recipe!

Biscotti are a twice baked cookies originating in Prato, Italy. Originally considered cakes, they were large almond biscuits, made dry and crunchy through cutting the loaf of dough while still hot from the oven, then baking again. Such cookies had a long shelf life, this food was particularly useful during journeys and wars, and twice baked breads were a staple food of the Roman Legions. So, needless to say these travel well and make great gifts during the holidays.They are easy to make and are wonderful for dunking in coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
Here is a yummy biscotti recipe:


½ c butter
½ c sugar
½ c brown sugar
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 Tbsp grated ginger root
¾ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
2 eggs
3 Tbsp molasses
2 ½ c flour
2 tsp baking powder
-mix and make into one loaf
-top with raw sugar
-bake at 350 degrees for 22 minutes
-remove dough
-let cool 10 minutes
-cut into ½ inch  slices & place back on sheet
-reduce oven temp to 325 degrees
-bake 10 minute, flip over, bake 10 more minutes

December 12, 2010


 ¼ c butter
1 c sugar
1 egg
4 tbsp molasses
2 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp powdered ginger
-form into balls
-roll in sugar
-on greased cookie sheet
- 300 degrees for 15 minutes

December 9, 2010

holiday ornament

Each year I like to buy one or two ornaments, to keep the collection going. I also like to make at least one with the year written on it, again, to keep the collection going. Here is a festive ornament I made for this season. I used a wood blank from the craft store, acrylic paint for the background, some clip art, stickers and a marker for the words. I then coated the whole this with wonderful glitter modge podge. This project can be made in an hour.
 the blank from the craft store
finished project!
other ornament ideas:
glass ornaments
paper mache ornaments


December 6, 2010

box purse

I think this makes a cool vessel for a gift. Bought the box with the handle already attached. Then I painted the base, just to give it a background. The rest is vintage images from various things like clip art, stickers, and photos. The top is coated with paper glaze, which gives a glass look and a hard finish.
Here are some pictures of the progression of the purse:
 Here's the purse I bought from the store.
 A layer of paint to make it dark.
 The back.
The front. 

December 5, 2010

cookie exchange

Get together during the holiday season and have a cookie exchange. This is trading cookies (or other goodies, as my little group of friends do) with other friends, family, co-workers, whoever, so you end up with a variety of cookies and you only have to bake one.

Some rules to go by. Plan ahead. Invite all that you are interested in and have an RSVP date, that way you know how many cookies to make. After you know how many are attending, let every one know how many to bring.

Bring the allotted amount in individual baggies or vessel of choice (you can get creative here), along with a copy of the recipe for each person. The host should decide if you bring 3 or 6 or 12 cookies for each person, it depends really on how many are attending.
This is always fun as a potluck with real food and cocktails, or at a holiday party.
 ***I will post some cookie recipes on my blog in the next couple weeks that I think are good cookies to try for an exchange. 

 6 T melted unsweetened chocolate
1 c butter
2/3 c sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp baking powder
2 ¼ c flour
 -mix together in order
-chill, pack into press with design plate
on ungreased pan
-375 degrees 10 minutes

December 2, 2010

mini recycled christmas tree

I got this cardboard triangle from my mother, who is an avid sewer, knitter, crocheter, and all around maker of crafty things. So, I decided to make a Christmas tree, out of various things. I used acrylic paint for the base. The embellishments are ribbon, buttons, coins, stickers, confetti, etc. Here are the pictures of the progression to the final product.
 This is the original cone.
 I used brown paint instead of green for the tree because that would be too traditional.
 This is the back of the tree.
This is the front of the tree.

November 29, 2010


Although, winter is not official for three weeks, it sure feels like it. Very cold temperatures and now beautiful fluffy snow, just in time to create some holiday spirit. Here are a few photos of some snow.
Paw prints from my cats brief visit outside.

November 28, 2010

Sunday soup #11 -chick pea stew

Here is the last soup in the series, I hope you enjoyed them all during this autumn season. 
A chick pea or garbanzo bean is an edible legume that is high in protein. This one of the earliest known cultivated vegetables. Here is a yummy recipe from my sister for a stew. This is very hearty and filling.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ c. Chickpeas
1 chopped onion
3 minced garlic cloves
2 c. water or broth
1 chopped tomato
2 tsp. fennel
1 chopped zucchini
1 medium chopped potatoes, 
salt and pepper
-Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil, add zucchini and potato, cook until slight browning, then add all other ingredients, simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are done.
-this can be served over a bed of rice

November 27, 2010



November 25, 2010


Thanksgiving is an American and Canadian holiday, celebrating the autumn harvest while expressing gratitude and appreciation for all we have. It is a time for many family and friends to get together for a nice feast and to have a day off of work or school, maybe watch some sports or play some games. The general theme is being together and giving thanks. 
Thanksgiving in the United States was observed on various different dates throughout history. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln, declared the last Thursday of November to be a National Day of Thanksgiving.  It was not until December 26, 1941 however that President Franklin D. Roosevelt, after pushing two years earlier to move the date earlier to give the country an economic boost, signed a bill into law, with congress, making Thanksgiving a national holiday and settling it to the fourth (but not final) Thursday in November.

November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving centerpieces

Having some fun with mini pumpkins and playing with table arrangements. Here are photos of two Thanksgiving and/or harvest centerpieces. Use what you have around the house. They can be very simple and are fun to make while giving the feast some festive atmosphere.

November 21, 2010

Sunday soup #10- pumpkin

Pumkin soup is great for Thanksgiving. Here is a soup with a great use of some of my favorite herbs of the season. Thyme is a flavorful, yet not overpowering herb, from the Thymus plant. It used for cooking as well as medicinal purposes. As with bay, thyme is slow to release its flavors, so it is usually added early in the cooking process. Sage comes from the mint family of herbs that is an evergreen, it has a slight peppery flavor. 
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 chopped medium onion
4 minced garlic cloves
2 baked pie sized pumpkins

4-5 c water or broth
2 Tbsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dry sage
2 Tbsp dry thyme
4 bay leaves
1 fresh chopped sage leaf
-bring to a boil
-simmer 30 minute
-serve with bread

more thoughts about pumpkins

November 19, 2010

glass ornaments

Getting into the holiday spirit, I like to make and/or purchase hand made ornaments for the tree. Here are some glass Christmas tree ornaments. I cut out the shape, put the "ornaments", "star" and "trunk" on it, then put in the kiln for a good bake. This was the result, abstract and colorful...
Ornaments express cheer and meaning.

The cool thing about a new ornament every year are the memories each time you put the tree up. Where you got it, who you were with, etc.

more ornament ideas: 
paper mache ornaments:

November 17, 2010


Thanksgiving is around the corner. Do you have your menu planned? Do you make the same things every year? Here is a mini cookbook, with a Thanksgiving theme. I made this with the idea of travel in mind, small enough to put in a bag, with all the standard recipes that one makes on the big day of eating. It is 4" by 4 1/2" in size. Materials needed are decorative paper with a harvest/Thanksgiving/food theme, cut to 4" by 9", a stapler, the recipes, stickers or whatever other embellishments you may want. To make just fold the paper in half, staple in the center, then add recipes and fun elements of choice. Here are a few pages from mine:
the cover

more recipe pages from another cookbook:
recipe storage

November 14, 2010

Sunday soup # 9- navy bean and broccoli

In my opinion, to cook dry beans rather than canned beans are the tastiest. Of course canned beans have their place, as it generally takes a long time to cook beans. Depending on the bean and the method (stove top or crock pot) it takes anywhere from 2-10 or more hours. The package will usually suggest how long to cook. Be sure you soak the over night in water, drain, then start cooking with clean water. You can add spices while you cook as well, like the amount of salt you want and bay leaves for a richer flavor to your beans.
The next soup is made with Navy beans, which are a small peas size beans the color of cream white. they have a mild flavor, yet dense and smooth. These are the beans you generally see in "baked beans". Broccoli is high in fiber, vitamin A, C, D, & K, along with many other nutrients. 
1 pound of cooked navy beans
6 cups broth or water
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
6 bay leaves
1 tbsp dry rosemary
-bring to a boil
add 1 pound of broccoli 
1 sprig fresh rosemary
-simmer for 20 minutes
-serve with herb bread
** you can add ham to this to make this  carnivorous

November 11, 2010


I love aprons, they are a fun way to "wear" what your creative project may be. Whether in the kitchen or for other attempts at generating ideas, this is a great "weekend" project. Here are some aprons that I put together, made new by recycling old aprons. These are themed for the upcoming holidays, using scraps of material and ribbon, cut to fit the sizes I wanted.
autumn/Thanksgiving with details

holiday/cookie theme with details

see more aprons--
check it out at: 
recycled aprons