Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Twas the day before Christmas Eve and all through the house, not a creature was stirring except this little mouse. I stole to the kitchen, great treats to prepare.... in anticipation of my family, who would soon be there.
I put butter, and sugar in a large pot to melt, and toasted some almonds while tingling with the excitement I felt. I stirred and I stirred until the syrup turned golden, and added the almonds and poured into the waiting pie tin. I sprinkled some chocolate chunks over this sweet treat....and soon they melted from the candies warm heat. So I spread the chocolate from edge to edge, and dusted the chocolate with fine walnuts and set the pan on a cool ledge. Oh yes, as a cook I surely know this that toffee and chocolate in the morning......is absolute bliss!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
The little elf you see in this picture was the cause of the explosion... he reached for the mixer switch before I could stop him and whoosh! Flour and sugar and pumpkin and all sorts of stuff all over as you can see. Emmett the elf loves being my helper, but he requires close supervision as he has no elf control yet. But, as all good little elves, he is willing to go to an elf improvement course to learn. So after Christmas, we shall start getting him ready for next Christmas.
Well, okay, I did bake some, but somehow they disappeared....hmmm... I wonder.....
Oh, and the card display is perfect! It's easy to add to, and I can reuse the ribbons year after year! Pssst. I will tell you how they did it if you want......
Friday, December 12, 2008
"I like what you've done here!", I told them as I was taking photos. I love my Santa collection! My faceless Santa in the middle was created by a dear friend from North Pole, Alaska as a thank you for letting all the sisters invade my Anchorage apartment for a sleep over. We were stacked everywhere, and boy was I glad to have 2 bathrooms there....lol. All but three of these Santas were created by me, Susan of Seasonal Whimsies created the darling Santa with the string of lights in the middle of the smaller group photo. The other Santa created by a wonderful artist Linda, of Gourdqueen Originals, is the Santa on the far left. He is a tall gourd in natural colors with a large hand sculpted sunflower. Now I'm off to take photos of my favorite ornaments on my tree. I hope you are having a wonderful season so far!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Here a snowman, there a snowman, everywhere there's snowmen! I've added these darling pieces to my listings on ebay so head on over and check them out. The bear ornament has a gift box attached and will hang on your tree. The Santa snowman gourd is a large piece, and very fun. You will smile each time you see him. The little snowman is another gift box shelf sitter.
Oh, and an update on the elves....they are still working, but want more cookies so I'd better get to it. Will post the results of their efforts tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by! I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season! PSSSSSSST! The large snowman, and small gift box snowman are sold!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
and just look at the mess they created! They have said they will only finish if I make some cookies, so Emmett and I will make some spritz cookies this afternoon and see if that works. I will post more photos....IF.... the Elves follow through on their part. Off to get those cookies started.....
Saturday, November 29, 2008
The best way to start the Christmas season in Utah is to go to Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Hundreds of workers spent many hours checking bulbs and wrapping strands of lights around trees and bushes on Temple Square and the effect is breathtaking! We went there last night after having gone to a movie, "Australia", which I highly recommend. Then we went to the La Cai restaurant for Vietnamese Pho soup, which is a rich broth with loads of noodles, chopped green onion and strips of beef. You add fresh bean sprouts, Thai basil, a squeeze of lime, fresh jalapeno slices and for my family lots of Sriracha sauce and feast on the heavenly fare. The bowls are huge so I never can finish mine, which is fine as this makes a great breakfast too! So then we went downtown and joined the hundreds of other people wending their way slowly to the square where the lights were so clear and twinkly. They have several Creches on display, as well as hand cut luminaries with greetings in many different languages, that lined the stone flower beds. Believe it or not, there were still some hardy pansies blooming in the beds. It was relatively warm for this time of year so many folks had light jackets on and the atmosphere was festive yet peaceful. A must see if you ever come this way during the holiday season.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Friends are what keep us from being too weird! If we only focus on family we lose sight of the outside world around us. We forget that service to others keeps us from being too selfish, and that receiving service from others, keeps us humble. Here are three examples, the kids helping paint our house in Oregon. Without them we would have another summer of painting to look forward to. They had fun, and got so much done that I will have little to worry about next year. The next photo shows friends supporting Annie in our celebrating her completion in her Young Women Personal Progress. We have a program at church that encourages our young ladies to develop their talents in many areas of their lives. Annie completed her goals and that day was awarded with a beautiful gold medallion she can wear as a reminder that she can do what she sets out to do, as she stays faithful to her beliefs.
The next photo is of a friend and her grand daughters. I had a class this summer to teach friends how to create the little Santa ornaments I make from gourds. This was so much fun, and gave me such satisfaction that I could share what I know with friends. They went on to create Christmas gifts for family and that is wonderful! I don't have photos of my online friends, but in my ebay group AHA I have met some wonderful creative folks that have shared their talents with all of us so we can learn and grow in our own creativity. I've made new friends, and am enjoying the time I get to spend with them. Friends are so important!
Monday, November 24, 2008
gain. I'm grateful for the knowledge I've acquired to be able to create paintings like the one you see here. I'm grateful to know how to gain more knowledge. The freedom to learn, to strengthen the talents we are blessed with, and share with others are all intertwined. And with that freedom to learn, I'm grateful to be able to discern what is right and wrong, and get rid of untruths. Our intelligence, personality, and willingness to choose good over evil are the only things we can take with us into the next life.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
and secondly because they go together.
I'm so grateful for this great country we live in, for the freedoms we enjoy because of men like my father in law, who went to war and fought to keep this nation and other nations free from tyranny. I'm grateful for our flag and the symbol it stands for, the founding fathers who were inspired by God to do what they did so we could have all that we do.
Friday, November 21, 2008
We are so blessed in this country that we have so many choices of foods to eat. Even treats like pomegranite, which I buy every year so I can share with my girls, just as mom did. Or the fact that if we want, we can raise our own turkeys, or just run to the store. There are many around the world with no such choice, so I am very grateful.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The first reason to be thankful is family. Where would we be without
them? I'm grateful for any
time I have with my
family, and wish I could
put all their photos here. My creative ventures allow me to afford travel to see family, and help where needed so I'm especially grateful for that!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood, how about yours? We have Santas and snowmen all over the place, just waiting patiently for Thanksgiving to pass so they can be about their business. What? You already have a snowman in your backyard? Well here's one that will never melt, and can bring smiles to all that see him!
The little Santa is created from a re-purposed Vanilla bottle, so he's only 8 inches tall, but he's loaded with personality. The larger Santa is my 2nd in a limited series of driftwood Santas I do each year. Stop by my ebay store today and see what else is happening there.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
A peaceful scene up for your consideration on ebay
Saturday, November 8, 2008
But, speaking of Alaska, my latest gourd Santa
was created with all my North woods friends in mind. He sports a nice cap with pine cone and needles, and has a pine cone and needle spray on his coat. Brings back many great memories.
The next Santa was created using clay on a piece of driftwood I picked up at Wallowa Lake, Oregon. My first driftwood piece of the season, he is very tall, at 20" and will add a stately spark to your Santa collection. They are both on ebay right now.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Here's hoping you have a very safe and fun day and night!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
As I was sitting sculpting this morning I felt a brief but delightful tingle of excitement run through me at the thought of the upcoming season. I am not rushing to Christmas by any means as I love Autumn and want to fully enjoy this time of year right up until the day after Thanksgiving. But all the jolly fellows I'm working on along with the cooler mornings are lifting my spirits and getting me thinking of how I will decorate this year. I'm not worried about what I'm getting as there's not much I really want anyway except to see my children and grandchildren. But I love to decorate for the holidays and create a feeling of warmth and love and a sense of giving in the spirit of the great gift that has been given to us. My family looks forward to the lights and cozy decor as well, so.....I'm starting to really get excited!
How about you? What do you look forward to this time of year?
Friday, October 24, 2008
He's off to visit ebay to see who's home he will be at next. If you want him to stop for a stay at your home, look him up.
He is a hand sculpted piece, with clay and paper mache over a tall gourd. A one of a kind signed original, he will delight all who visit your home for years to come.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
There's a chill in the air, and snow is on it's way soon enough. These handsome fellas have dressed for the occasion with their stocking caps, and warm wraps. The first jolly gentleman has a pocket made of clay that I textured to look like waffle weave fabric. His pocket is filled with antique fruits from Blumchens, cinnamon sticks, pipe cleaner candy canes I twisted my self, and glittered "pinion" branches. He is dusted with vintage mica flakes and sparkly teeny tiny glitter. He is a large fellow, standing 12" tall.
The second snowman is the same height, and carries a feather tree from Blumchens, as well as the fruit and leaf embellisments on his hat. He has also been dusted with vintage mica flakes and sparkly glitter. You can click on their photos to find them up for purchase or auction.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I took one of her recipes and fixed it. Here's the deal, I save recipes from magazines in hopes of trying them out someday so I'm trying to see which ones are keepers and which aren't. With high gas prices, and higher grocery costs I'm also trying to use what I have on hand. So here's my version of Martha's Savory Fall Stew from her Original Classics cookbook, and how I fixed some problems I found. I list my ingredients and if different I put her original ingredients in parenthesis.
SAVORY FALL STEW MY WAY
2 T. olive oil 12 oz. hot italian sausage, cut into small chunks
1 med. onion, peeled and chopped ( 12 cipollini or pearl onions, peeled)
1 14.5 oz. can stewed tomatoes (1 1/2 c. canned crushed tomatoes)
5 c. water + 5 tsp chicken bullion (3 c. homemade chicken stock or low sodium canned broth) I found that 3 cups of broth would not give enough liquid for stew
1 handful combined fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano, Or 2 t. dried italian herbs
1 - 1 1/2 lb. butternut squash peeled, seeded and cubed ( 2 1/2 lb butternut squash - too much!)
3 carrots cut into 1/2" pieces
1 medium size zucchini, cubed (3 parsnips, cut into 2" sticks, 1 fennel bulb, halved, cored, cut into 1/4" slices)
2 c. beet greens, chopped (12 brussel sprouts, trimmed, cut in half)
1 1/2 cups macaroni or shell noodles ....my addition for hubby
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Cook sausage, stirring until it breaks into small pieces and is not longer pink. Remove sausage with slotted spoon, and set aside.
Pour off all but 1 T of fat and discard. Raise heat to medium high, and add the onion; cook stirring, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth and herbs, simmer over medium heat until the liquid starts to thicken, about 20 minutes. Add everything else but the beet greens and noodles, cover and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Add beet greens and noodles and turn down to medium low. Simmer until noodles are done. Season to taste and serve hot.
Martha claims this will only serve 4 done her way, but this really makes a large pot of soup for about 8 people even without the changes I made due to the amount of squash called for in the original recipe. It's delicious either way I'm sure, serve with home made buttermilk bisquits or cornbread. My husband loves it!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
As Mother Earth sits waiting....
does she ponder what she's done?
For though summer's greenery once clothed her,
she's finding she now has none.
Mother Earth was tricked you see,
by Autumn's promise of beauty resplendent.
Plying with robes of gold and crimson,
on Earth's vainglory was Autumn dependent.
Only Autumn knew the truth,
of how quickly would her wares.....
fade, fall away and be gone,
leaving Earth cold and stripped bare.
Soon will come Old Man Winter,
with his blankets of soft pure white.
Out of kindness he will clothe her....
having had pity on Mother Earth's plight.
But for now she sits awaiting....
Earth's bareness for all to see.
A lesson there's no mistaking,
of the folly of vanity.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sometimes we need to shake things up a bit, and I don't want to lose my painting rhythm, so I took a break last week to do this painting for a competition. It is based on the Book of Mormon scripture Alma 12:15 and is symbolic of the opportunity the Savior gave us to repent and be with him and Heavenly Father some day through his Atonement. This is a 36" by 24" inch acrylic painting, the largest I've ever attempted. I hope it gives you something to think about and look forward to.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
It's time for all the lovely ghosties and goblins to come out; even Alice is lost in Halloweenland right now. The Cheshire Cat, has dressed in his best costume, and waits for Alice to coming tripping down the path....
AHAO is the premier ornament artisan group on ebay. We are having the most fun challenge titled "Alice in Halloweenland" and so far we have some very fun pieces up for your consideration. So if you are looking for some unique and fabulous pieces to add to your Halloween collection, stop by ebay today.
Oh, and this wicked looking face gazing at you is up for your consideration as well. Click on the title of this post for a look at all we have......
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
2 T. butter or olive oil
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 sm. onion, chopped
1 tsp. dried mint, or 2 tsp. fresh, minced
1/2 tsp. each sugar and nutmeg
2 cups cooked peeled pumpkin or butternut squash
2 c. chicken or lamb broth
1 Tbsp. flour 1/2 c. light cream or canned milk
1/4 c. shelled, roasted pinon nuts or pine nuts
1/2 lb. italian sausage, cooked, crumbled and drained (this is my addition as my family likes meat, but the recipe is great without it)
Melt fat in kettle, add tomatoe, green pepper, onion, seasonings and saute 5 minutes. Add pumpkin, broth and meat if using. Stir until blended and simmer 20 minutes. Mix flour and cream or canned milk to a smooth paste, stir into soup. Salt to taste, heat to boiling and simmer 3 minutes. Serve hot, with toasted pinon nuts or pine nuts sprinkled over. Servings 4-6.
Friday, September 26, 2008
The History of Punkin Chunkin
Depending on what legend you are listening to, the beginning of Punkin Chunkin varies. This is the one believed to be the closest to the truth. Only the men present in the Blacksmith’s Shop really know the true beginning.
It began in 1986 as a group of men sat in a local blacksmith shop arguing over who could throw an anvil farthest. Someone heard some local college students were throwing pumpkins by hand to raise funds for their school. The group embellished that event. Anvils turned to pumpkins and Punkin' Chunkin' was born.
In November of that year, Bill Thompson, Trey Melson, John Ellsworth and the Burton brothers, Chuck & Darryl, met on Thompson’s farm, outside Milton, Delaware, with their inventions. Ellsworth’s chunker was a combination of ropes, tubes and pulleys, while Melson and Thompson’s chunker was various garage doors springs connected to a car frame. The Burtons machine was a wooden pole mounted on a trailer, powered by auto springs. One of the spectators, Larry McLaughlin, maintenance supervisor in a local town, was seen hanging from one of the poles that day and local punkin chunkin rumors were that he was caught up in the action and was attempting to throw a pumpkin by hand. He tossed it 50 feet. By the end of the day, Thompson and Melson were the victors with a throw of 128’ 2”.
Three teams competed that first year, where only a handful of onlookers watched. But since then, the event evolved from human chunkin' into oversized slingshots, venerated catapults and air cannons with names such as Bad to the Bone, The Terminator, Mellow Yellow, Poor & Hungry and The Aludium Q36 Pumpkin Modulator (named after a weapon used by Marvin the Martian, the pint-sized, high-strung alien from the Warner Brothers cartoon).Last year, thousands and thousands of teams competed across the continent. Several corporations are entering teams and competing against other companies. The growing popularity of Punkin' Chunkin' has spilled into schools around the world. Many teams from local High Schools and colleges compete as part of their physics and science projects. Even families, Scout Troops, and Youth Organizations are now vying for the coveted first place spot and bragging rights.
Gee, I would have never thought about this!