Saturday, December 5, 2009

Easy Fudge Recipe

Fudge is a great treat, and especially fun at the holidays. I used to make this years ago and was pleased I remembererd still how to make it. The best thing about this basic recipe is it is easily adaptable to your tastes.

  • 2 bags chocolate chips, any combination you like together, I used milk chocolate, and butterscotch
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 TBLS Vanilla
Combine above ingredients in the top of a double boiler, melt thoroughly pour into 9 x 13 glass dish cool completely.

Cut cooled fudge into desired size, ENJOY!!

This is a super easy and fast recipe, easy to adapt by adding nuts or changing the chips to a favorite flavor.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Potters Market

One of my favorite winter activities is to visit the annual potters market, it is put on each year by Oakland Community College by students and accomplished potters.

One of the largest in the country it features the work of about 130 artists from the area, all of whom have gone through or worked in the OCC ceramic program. It is a great way to add to my collection and each year I find new favorites and enjoy my time there. Many I recognize from local shows and years past and there are new ones each year as well.

Rows and rows of pottery

This year I went with a friend and we strolled for about 2 hours, going back through a few sections a couple of times. If you like something be sure to grab it as you might not remember where you saw it.

It is just rows and rows of pottery, all in baskets which makes digging through fun and exciting to find the right color, shape and size. This year my fun color scheme was lime and blue, I also was drawn to red pieces, they were eye catching and fun to find as well. It is great when you choose a piece then later find a coordinating piece in a different location, hopefully you grabbed the first one.

Bins, boxes and baskets of pottery

The market is set up into three basic locations, jewelry and ornaments, smaller utility type pieces, and a gallery section with larger and more decorative pieces.

Gallery area, larger and decorative pieces

I got a total of 5 pieces this year, all smaller in size a few in the lime I can use as small serving or butter dishes, or handy around the sewing room I also got a tray set in black and red that will look good on my black counter for serving dishes, which is usually my favorite use for pottery.

Green and blue small, oval and square

Red and black bowl and rectangle platter

This year since I went on Friday, I still have two days to go back in case I decide there is another item I just cannot live without until next year.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving Dessert Recipe

Playing catch up this week, meant to post this yummy dessert last week, but really it is good anytime so here it is.

A combination of apple pie and cheesecake all in one, add a yummy graham cracker pecan crust and this will barely make it to the next day.
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups apples - peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a large bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and melted butter; press into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar. Mix at medium speed until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in vanilla; pour filling into the baked crust.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Toss the cinnamon-sugar with the apples to coat. Spoon apple mixture over cream cheese layer and sprinkle with 1/4 cup chopped pecans.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes. With a knife, loosen cake from rim of pan. Let cool, then remove the rim of pan. Chill cake before serving.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

30 on 30 and 2nd Annual 3/$10.00 Sale

30 on 30, great idea started by etsy members. I learned about the 30 on 30 sale in the etsy forums, in this post. The idea is to spend $30.00 on November 30th, show support for handmade artists on this day, which is also "Cyber Monday" which is gaining in popularity for online retailers to offer products for holiday shoppers.

I am participating, why not of course? I have a variety of sales and specials in my shop already, but if you spend $30.00 in my shop on November 30th, I will include a special gift and for every additional $30.00 I will included another gift, who doesen't love freebies. You can visit my etsy shop here.

For your freebie I have a collection of fun items like, coin purses, hair scrunchies, handmade sewn greeting cards, pocket mirrors, recipe cards books. If you see this post and shop in my etsy shop just be sure to tell me a first choice and I will do my best, or I will pick a cutie for you.

Also going on now I have my 2nd annual 3 for $10.00 sale. I love doing this for a few reasons. First it helps me use up scraps, sewing as much as I do I have TONS of scraps. Not too long ago I asked my husband to sort scraps by color-of course he does not see colors the same as me, so I did have some re-sorting but that was ok. He spent several hours sorting laundry baskets (like 4 big ones) of just scraps. From this unorganized giant mess, my 3/$10.00 idea was born.

This year I have pocket mirrors, glass cases, pony tail holders, bobby pins, snap card cases, snap tea cozies, pencil cases, cosmetic bags and a variety of coin purses. Items are listed at $4.25 but when purchased in groups of 3 a refund will be issued. I will continue to add items all week long.

I needed to use up scraps so I made a list of possible things to make and started cutting and sorting these items. I spent many hours just cutting, and organizing and when I was finished I had a couple hundred items cut ready to be made. I did this first at my home show and it was a huge success, so I have decided to make it an annual event. I know do my cutting and sorting along the way to avoid the laundry baskets of scraps and then do a day of just sewing, I store them away until ready and my scraps are manageable and I build inventory for the fall and holidays.

I also love the idea of offering high quality fun items at a special price point, budgets are tight and this helps for those who need little gifts reasonable priced and fun to give. I have had quite a few thank me this year and last for such a great sale and am glad to be able to do this each year.

So be sure to check out my shop for 30on30 and 3 for 10.00 sales. For additional shops who are participating you can use the search tag "30on30" on etsy for more great handmade items.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pine Cone Wreath

This is one of those projects that has been on my list to do for many years, maybe 7-8 years, I just never remember I want to do it or don't find the time, well this year...

I am working on a pine cone wreath, a simple wreath packed with these wonderful natures treasures. Why now? Well I was at an ATM that I had to walk up to and there were all these pine cones laying around, I remembered the wreath I always wanted and told myself I was going to do it this year, or at least try. So I had meant to go right after using the ATM and scoop some up, but I forgot - yes it was only about 2 minutes, but I forgot. I did go back later that day and got a whole bag of small and large ones. As I drove around I was on the lookout for more trees in case I need a few more.

So I have sort of instructions I am following from a Martha Stewart Holiday book, they are not great directions so I have had some frustrating figuring out a detailed way to do it buy I now have a good system and a lot of pine cones that need to be readied.

  • Pine cones
  • Wire wreath blank
  • Floral sticks
  • floral tape - I am using brown
  • Floral wire
  • Glue gun and glue
  • Pliers / wire snips
You need to glue sticks to the bottom of the pine cone, at the stem where the pine cone is hooked to the tree, most have a nub left. I found if I trimmed this with my wire cutters then gouged out a little divet I could fill that with hot glue and rest the stick in the well until dry.

After they dry trim the stick to about an inch, then use the floral tape to attach a wire to to stick. From this point you secure the pine cones to the wire wreath frame. This is the step I am on now, actually I had about 10 on the wreath frame but pulled them to start over, actually to trim my sticks to one inch, then start over. I think I am good to go and will post more as I work on it more.

Holiday Home Show Wrap Up

It has been one week since my home show, and I said I would report back. My show was great fun and a great success, a few bumps start to finish but that happens with a lot of things. I had about 26 guests the day before (I had a few sneak peaks) and the day and evening of the show. It was less then last year but in a way that was better as it was so much less stressful.

My 3/10.00 Buffet, I had over 200 items

I was very pleased with my product and the feedback I got from various friends, it is also nice to see friends and catch up though the evening goes SO fast I had wished people would stick around and visit more.

Looking into my dining area

A wall of purses

Each year I have a hot item, I wish I could predict and prepare for it. Last year it was ponytail holders and calendars, this year it was jumbo book mark paper clips and heated rice packs, I sold out completely of these items and have to make about 14 more paper clips.

Large Heated rice packs

Small Heated Rice Packs

Food and drink, I ended up doing more simple less food and did it about perfectly. I did Cinnamon chips and fruit salsa, veggies and dip, olive appetizer and a cheese ball, and for a sweet treat pumpkin bread.
My "bar" area, not yet stocked

Dish layout for food

Yummy Pumpkin Bread

I also did not do door prizes or drawings for prizes instead I opted to give everyone a freebie on check out, I had a variety of small handmade items and everyone seemed happy to pick out their own little gift.

So another fun and successful holiday show, I am hoping to take some of this experience and do more off line events in 2010.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Santa Claus Has Come to Town

I know, I saw him last night all in crimson glory. A local mall, Somerset Collection had a welcome Santa Parade and this year we made it. For the last few years we always mean to go but seem to miss it. We made it a family outing and my daughter was very happy to wear here red velvet dress with the fur trim, in fact she has pretty much been wearing it since we got it, no doubt we will get our moneys worth from this holiday dress.

The arrival of Santa was precluded by a sing along and a small "play" which consisted of 2 elves which seem to go from accents of German, Russian, Polish to vampire, that part was a bit odd but overall it was cute. The skit included telephone call updates from Santa on a big red phone, they exclaimed "he has landed on the roof", "let's all sing so he knows where we are". Everyone would cheer and sing another song.

A fun evening out with happy kids, and Santa mingled in the crowd and vowed to stay all night to see each child. He said "as long as kids are here to see me I will stay to see them"! We were thrilled our child actually let him holder her for 1/2 second and did not cry or get scared, though she did jump back into Daddy's arms. We will plan another day to go see him personally, yes we will in fact be wearing the red velvet dress.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Christmas At Littlepad

Are you ready for Christmas, getting ready? Every year it is the same thing, so much to do so much to keep track of with gifts, cooking, visiting, parties and stress.

I found a great shop on etsy called Littletoad, a sweet mix of color, illustrations and whimsy. And just in time for holidays fun Christmas items to keep and to share, start with the keep then pick up a few gifts to share.

In this shop you will find an fun mix of cards, stationary, recipe cards (personal fave) and gift tags with bold illustrations that will bring a smile to your face.

Holiday Greeting Card

Dear Santa Gift Tags

Littlepad also features other items for special times, birthdays, wedding, engagement you know all those occasions when we need cards. I love these owls, definitely going to add this shop to my faves!

Happy Birthday Greeting Card

So check a few items off your gift list, recipe cards make great hostess gifts or stocking stuffers. Handmade gift tags and stationary is such a special way to enjoy the holiday season, with the colorful choices at Littlepad.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Homemade Applesauce

Fall seems to bring out the "cook" in me, with more time indoors I organize and pull out my favorite fall recipes. This is s sure hit and works as a snack, side dish, or topping for ice cream.
  • 2 apples, I use what I have on hand, many varieties work I sometimes mix too
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • tsp cinnamon
  • 1-3 TBLS brown sugar
Peel and dice the apples put in pot with water and cinnamon and bring to a boil, simmer until apples are tender. I then use a potato masher to mash them up a bit, I do leave it chunky.

Apples peeled in the pot w/cinnamon, ready to cook

Apples cooked, ready for mashing

Mix in brown sugar and heat through, you can vary the brown sugar a lot to taste, start with less the first time then adjust to taste.

This is so easy to make and can be doubled or tripled, it is especially yummy right from the pan warmed and goes great on vanilla ice cream, I know I tried it!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Jellybean Soup

Well it isn't really jellybean soup actually it is 15 bean soup, this soup has been on my list of things to try for quite a while I finally gave it a try this weekend. I got from the grocery store "Hurst's Ham Beens" 15 Bean Soup mix. It was a 1 1/4 pound of beans, yes that is a lot of beans, the varieties noted on the package were:
  1. Northern
  2. Pinto
  3. Large Lima
  4. Blackeye
  5. Garbonzo
  6. Baby Lima
  7. Green Split Pea
  8. Kidney
  9. Cranberry Bean
  10. Small White
  11. Pink Bean
  12. Small Red
  13. Yellow Split Pea
  14. Lentil
  15. Navy
  16. White Kidney
  17. Black Bean
Now you say that is 17, yes and the package said it would contain 15 of the following, so 2 are missing, I really did not audit the beans I just made the soup.

They were quite colorful and my 4 year old was quite excited by the prospect of "jellybean soup" well if that is what it takes to get her to eat it then jellybean soup it is.

I had to soak the beans overnight in 2 quarts of water, which was 8 cups, I was surprised the beans nearly tripled in size once rehydrated.

I followed the package directions, drained the beans, then cooked for 2.5 hours in 8 cups of water, I actually added close to 2 more cups as cooking went on. Add a pound of ham and one diced onion and you have a hearty soup perfect for fall.

The soup is not the prettiest soup but it smelled really good throughout the day cooking it, I served it with mozzarella and cheddar cheese to pretty it up a bit along with a green salad for a filling and yummy meal. And yes the 4-year old she did in fact eat some of the "Jelly Bean soup".

Friday, November 13, 2009

How Long Can a Tote Last

A recent trip to see a friend I was surprised by this blast from the past. Do you remember these Esprit bags? They were from the mid 80's were canvas and seemed to come in a lot of colors.

I did not have one but remember them vividly, I had actually forgotten about them altogether until I saw this one that my friend STILL has. We were discussing a craft project and she had went to get her paper crafting supplies, as she was getting it she said "can you believe I still have this bag?" I was really in shock I think this goes back to junior high, which giving my age away was over 20 years ago, well over. I totally remember her carrying this in probably 7th or 8th grade, geesh wonder if she still has that sweater she borrowed...J/K.

I guess if you are going to hang onto something this long, at least find a way to use it, and it seemed to be perfect for paper supplies as I once held papers, books and homework. Wonder how much you could sell it for in the Vintage category? But really would you want to part with it after all those years, guessing not!
Related Posts with Thumbnails