Monday, December 17, 2012

Meet Eli Thomas


I've been spending the past month trying to finish projects that have been in the works for awhile. Most of the unfinished works are patterns that I bought because I thought they were too adorable to pass up. Patterns from other designers are interesting to make because I can learn a lot from them, and they also get the creative wheels in my head going. I recently finished up this handsome fellow, a snowman by Aunt Manny's Creations.  Other designer's patterns usually do not speak to me like my own designs do but this little guy did. Sadly, in light of the horrific tragedy that happened here in my state this past week, I can't seem to write his story. I have tried and tried but my heart is too heavy at this time. I felt I still needed to share him with everyone though. When I look at my winter buddy, he brings a smile to my face. Hopefully, he is able to do that for all of you. Smiles are definitely needed now more than ever.

♥♥ So I introduce you now to Eli Thomas.♥♥

 





♥ Peace ♥ Love ♥ Hope♥


Friday, December 14, 2012

A Dark Day in Connecticut


“There is a light in this world, a healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometimes lose sight of this force when there is suffering, too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.”

 -Mother Theresa



Prayers, love, and light for all the families in Newtown, Connecticut


Monday, December 10, 2012

Here Comes Santa Again!



If you go way back to the beginning when I first started this blog, I spoke about making a wooden Queen Anne doll. I took an online class in which I purchased a kit. I haven't finished the doll. In fact, I think I have been working on it for two years. The reason I haven't finished is because of the carving involved. The kit has the hands and body cut already in a basic square form but I have to take the knife and actually carve the little fingers and hands to make them look more round. The whole process intimidated me so much that I never could actually get myself to even make one cut! Now I understand how fear can be paralyzing.

I am proud to say that I have overcome my fear of the knife! I recently took a woodcarving class at the local high school through the Adult Education program. What a fun class! The instructor, John Bontatibus,  was so helpful and so encouraging. My other classmates were a fun mix of experienced and novice woodcarvers. Mr. Bontatibus started us off with a square like Santa form ( I wish I had taken a picture!!), very similar to the way my Queen Anne doll is cut. He also carved the face and eye area so I can't take credit for that but I can say that I did the rest. Here's Santa:


What do you think? He's a cutie, isn't he? Thanks to Mr. Bontatibus and Mr. Santa, I am looking forward to working on my Queen Anne after the holidays are over. I am quite confident that she won't sit around for another year.

♥

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving


A little note: 
Pilgrims and turkey sewn, stuffed and fluffed by me.
 Pilgrims are a Sweet Meadow Farms pattern.
Turkey is a pattern by Pam Gracia.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Here Comes Santa Claus


Has it really been two months since my last post? Like everyone, I have been busy with the daily grind but on a positive note, I have been nurturing my creative side. I am currently taking a wood carving class through my town's adult ed program, and I recently just finished teaching my mother-in-law the basics of quilting. I also have been working on a couple of dolls that I had started last year and never finished. Oh, and then there is the knitting! Old Man Winter has already visited with an early Nor'easter, so of course I had to break out the knitting needles and yarn and get all cozy on my couch with a very cute project that I will share with you in a later post.



What I really want to tell you about today is the needle felting class that I am taking online at  Roses On My Table. Needle felting is a process of jabbing natural fibers repeatedly with special needles until they form a fabric. In this class, I learned how to make a beautiful hand felted Santa out of wool. The process is quite magical! I had so much fun poking that needle and watching my Santa emerge. The class, Homespun Santa Ornament, is taught by the very talented Judy Johnson. Judy makes the most wonderful felted miniatures of cats. You can see her work on Etsy; her shop is Bay Colony Designs.  If you ever have wanted to learn needle felting, this class is perfect. Judy's approach to teaching is fun and informative. As a bonus, you will also meet some really sweet artistic people. So go have some fun!!

♥

Friday, September 14, 2012

Zwetschgenkuchen


Now that I have said goodbye to summer, I can fully embrace fall and the cooler weather. Basically, this means that it is time to bake!

So for starters, I made Zwetschgenkuchen. I know, some of you are stumbling over the word, "Zwetsch..ge.. WHAT?" Zwetschgenkuchen is German for plum cake which can also be called Zwetschgendatschi (go ahead, try to pronounce that one!).

When I lived in Germany, my landlady, Maria, (I told you about her in my post about baking bread ) made fruit kuchen (cake) almost daily, especially during the months when the fruit trees surrounding the house bore lots of fresh apples, plums, and cherries. If I could have bottled the scent that wafted through my little apartment while Maria baked, I'm pretty sure I would be a millionaire and retired by now.

Well, that didn't happen,but what did is Maria taught me how to make kuchen, which by the way, tastes just as wonderful as it smells.

Zwetschgenkuchen

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk or cream
1 1/2 lbs.Italian prune plums

Cream butter. Add egg and sugar and mix till smooth.
Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in a separate bowl.
Alternate adding some flour and milk to the creamed mixture until the dough is heavy but can still drop from a spoon.
Spread dough onto a greased jelly roll pan.
Cut plums in half and remove stone. Place halves, cut side up, on top of dough.

At this point, you can put streusel (recipe below) on top of plums or you can bake as is.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with sugar.
Let cool and then cut into squares.

Streusel

Melt 6 tablespoons of butter. Add about 1/2 cup sugar and 6 tablespoons of flour into butter. Add cinnamon (optional). Mix with a fork. This streusel is not crumbly; take a look at the photo below to see what I mean. You want to make sure it is thick but not too dry or too wet. Use hands to scatter mixture over the fruit.



*Notes
Zwetschgenkuchen should be eaten the same day it is baked for best flavor and texture. So invite some friends over for some coffee and enjoy!

♥

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Goodbye Summer


Summer is my fourth favorite season. I'm not a sun girl. I don't like to be hot. However, this year, I decided that I would embrace the summer months for all that they were worth. Turns out summer is not so bad after all...


Mornings were spent on the deck drinking coffee with Jonas and reading. 


Then there were the days by the ocean...


eating lobster...


and other shellfish...


or sometimes, soft shell crab sandwiches


while watching the dusk arrive.


Some days were spent fishing.


When the fishing was good,


dinner was delicious!


One very early morning, we fished while the sun awoke.







I would have to say this was my favorite day!


Our grill worked overtime. Farm fresh vegetables


were delicious on ciabatti with fresh mozzarella and homemade pesto.


Little neck clams were eaten as is or 


jazzed up with fresh breadcrumbs, sun dried tomatoes and garlic.


Lots and lots of sun tea was brewed and drank.


As well as a few margaritas


and a couple pitchers of beergaritas!


Tomatoes from our garden became salsa and fresh sauce.


Jalapenos from the garden were stuffed with cream cheese


and wrapped in bacon to become the new favorite appetizer!


Peaches were in abundance to be eaten fresh


or baked in pies with strawberries.


Blueberries became muffins


and hand pies that disappeared in seconds.


This guy showed up in my backyard...


along with this beauty...


Ha! Ha! I had you going there for a minute, didn't I? Actually, we enjoyed a trip to the Bronx Zoo!


Aah, summer, it's been fun!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Blueberry Hand Pies


Oh my! I don't have much to say about these hand pies because words cannot describe them. So I am not even going to attempt to try.  All I can say is make this recipe. I have to go and wash my blueberry lips and fingers now. Oh, and wipe down my blueberry keyboard!