Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween

A few vintage Halloween greetings...

I hope the goblins don't get cha...

I'll be glad when it's NOVEMBER!

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We're Going To Mars!!!

Our son Mike sent me a link to a site where you can watch the good people over at NASA build the new Mars rover. At this site you can enter your name and it will be encoded onto a microchip that will be carried to Mars. How cool is that?! Have a great weekend.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Baking Bowls for The Auction

I've been making things for the auction that my Guild participates in every year. This year we are having a silent auction at the event, so I made a few things. I make about 40 gift type baskets each year. I help a dear friend. She purchases or collects donations for the baskets and she lets me go. You get pretty good at something you do so often.

For this baking bowl, I collected inexpensive items. I purchased the bowls at Ikea, the cookie cutters and the wooden spoons. I saw that Betty Crocker has been advertising how versatile their cookie mixes are, and can be changed with simple additions. The recipe cards were in Midwest Living. I color copied them, and laminated them and used them as a decoration on the bow. I included the andes mint pieces and mini chocolate chips, and cookie mix needed for the recipes. I added some sprinkles and 2 gingerbread ornaments, silicone spatula and measuring cups.

I did a smaller version for our Guild Christmas auction.

Today my "Sweeney Sister" Laura is coming to lunch and bringing her wonderful Mom. We're celebrating Laura's birthday, and I made them each a lil' basket of autumn goodies. Laura is the person I would most like to live next door to me. She doesn't craft, or cook or bake or decorate or hunt for junk, but she is the best! We've been through everything together, met under the worst circumstances and have managed to stay close for over 20 years. Do you remember the Sweeney Sisters from SNL? They were lounge singers, in sparkly dresses that sang horrible medleys, but always ended the set with the Trolley Song...Clang, clang, clang went the trolley...ring, ring, ring when the bell... We both loved that bit and have been the Sweeney Sisters ever since. (No sparkly dresses, some bad singing) More soon with all the crafts I'm making for the auction. Thanks for stopping by, your comments make my day.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies

I like finding new things at the grocery store, and hate when they discontinue them or make them a seasonal thing after they become a family favorite. So, I was very happy to find pumpkin spice jello pudding mix again. A couple of years ago, I found the pumpkin pudding perfect (say that three times fast!;-) for a trifle I make at Thanksgiving. It was a cool spicy addition that quickly leads to an empty trifle bowl.
I used this recipe to make Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies. They are so good and different. I added the cinnamon chips, mini semi sweet chocolate chips, and the Pumpkin Spice pudding mix. I don't usually serve cookies at Thanksgiving, but these will be perfect addition to our dessert table. This recipe has endless possibilities. Quick, easy and delicious. The only thing I change about this recipe is to add a 1/4 cup of additional flour. The cookies seen below are chocolate fudge pudding, with peanut butter and chocolate chips. I've also made lemon pudding with white baking chips... I love to bake, and here are a couple of baking tips...
Using parchment paper is a must. I reuse the paper when I am making multiple batches, and have used it over and over in my Christmas cookie making, with just a wipe of a clean towel. I can bake all day and never wash a cookie sheet! I only bake one cookie sheet at a time, it takes longer, but I never get a bad batch. I have old cookie sheets that were my Mom's, with some MAGIC built in from years of Mom's legendary baking. I prefer a heavy pan, they are more expensive, but will last a lifetime, and then some. They just bake better than the thin cookie sheets you find at the local big box. I have a couple of ice cream scoops in different sizes that make the cookies uniform and bake more evenly. These are not my ideas, but hints passed down through the many great bakers in my family.
If you come up with a new combo, I'd love to hear about it.

Happy baking and enjoy this beautiful day.

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

It was a dark and stormy Saturday...

Well, seriously, it is dark and rainy. Here's a photo I took last year of a display that our Emma and I put together. We copied it from a photo in Midwest Living. I had all the elements, and a willing helper. The hardest part was bringing the typewriter up from the basement, it weighs a ton. Have a great weekend.

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Frankenkitchen, designed by me!

In the 16 years we've lived in our house, I've changed many things in our kitchen, but we've never done a complete remodel. We removed several cabinets, changed the counter top and sink, hung different light fixtures. We even took out the in wall oven and had a carpenter make a custom cabinet to fit the space. I put in the flooring, had the cook top removed, purchased a free standing stove and movable island cart. We had a trash compactor!? Never used it once, got rid of that. This spring we had new windows installed. Nothing matches or lines up. The microwave is not centered over the stove, because then the dishwasher wouldn't open.

In the space where a L shaped cabinet sat, there are now open shelves that I filled with IKEA metal baskets. I've painted the cabinets so many times. Top one green, bottom one cream, black bottoms, green tops, and now all black cabinets. The walls have been this yellow with a ochre wash for a while. Now I have one blue wall by the window, wyeth blue that I have in the rest of the house.

It's a mixed up, mismatched kitchen. Someday we'll gut the whole thing, but today...I LOVE MY KITCHEN.

It works beautifully, and reflects who I am... A little mixed up, mismatched, not quite centered, leaning to the left work in progress. My dear husband says that our quirks make us who we are. This kitchen is filled with quirks, and then, so am I.;-) Enjoy this beautiful weekend.

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Don't know why this posted twice, once with text, one without. Sorry! I don't know how to delete a post...

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's Apple Time

Thanks to a post by Urban Farmgirl, we found a apple orchard. It's called Edwards and is the coolest place. We went on a Sunday, something we wouldn't do again. There were hundreds of people there, and we went early! We couldn't figure out where to go to pick our own apples, so we bought a few bags at the big barn. There we found the brochure, which suggests a visit during the week. ;-)

They have great vintage signs and displays. This was a display of Aspen brand mulling spices, actually manufactured in Aspen, Colorado, one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Wish I had a better photo, this barn was ginoruous. (Hey, that reminds me, it's almost time to watch "ELF" again!) Pumpkins, gourds, apples, cider, treats, gifts, decorations, candles... It was Autumn nirvana.

I have to remember to save all my pumpkin stems from this year's pumpkins, so I can make some of these next year...So pretty!

So I have all those apples, and a husband with a taste for pie... It's a perfect day for baking...
I think it's his lucky day!

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well, yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless...

The quote is from the book "The Sheltering Sky." I woke up this morning to this spectacular sunrise and it came to mind. Remembering how precious life is, and the responsibility for all of us to never take a day for granted.

I'm celebrating the life of John Denver, gone 13 years today. He wrote the soundtrack to my life, and introduced this city girl to the joys of nature. I fell in love with my husband, walked down the aisle and rocked my baby's to his music. Just thought I'd remember him here, his music is still an important part of my life. Dear friends, enjoy this beautiful day.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

In Loving Memory

Annie Grosvenor

I didn't know Annie very long, but I am so grateful that I did know her. My deepest sympathy goes out to her family and friends. I will remember Annie always, with much love.

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Anne Marie's NaDa Farm Sale

Once again, I was so impressed by how beautiful everything was at the NaDa Farm Sale. Lovely displays, vintage items, one of a kind crafts and nature's bounty filled antique pieces and every nook and cranny of the space. Creative use of dirt, flower pots, twigs and branches, filling containers to overflowing. It was so nicely done, with so much attention to detail. I can't imagine all the work that went into hosting this sale. Anne Marie is grace personified. It's a pleasure to spend time with her. Even when she is pulled in ten different directions, she still manages to be a gracious hostess.
Jennifer Rizzo is another dynamo. So talented and full of great ideas. It's always a pleasure to see her. She hosted the blogging event that got me started.
I wish I had more time to spend, to examine all the displays, and meet all the wonderful women involved. Still I came away INSPIRED, and with a few goodies.
Thanks to to Anne Marie and her beautiful family for their hospitality, and to Jennifer for the extra hug on my way out.

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