Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just Be Nice.

I saw this in Peddler's Village. Seems to be good advice. The picture is blurry, but I like it anyhow.

For what it's worth,I do not like New Year's Eve. Or, New Year's Day, for that matter. I do not make resolutions either. A waste of time, really.

All that being said, 2010 has to be better than 2009. It has to. It has no choice. I will not let it be otherwise.

I feel like I'll have a lot on my plate this upcoming year, but I'm exciting about them. At least, that's what I'm convincing myself.

I'm "going back" to school. Online. But still, it's going to be a lot of work since I've been out of school 10 years. Just enough time to expire anything that could be applied to my degree.

I'm starting 365 again. One self-portrait a day for 365 days. I did it before and loved it. I've tried it twice since then, but stopped. I'm going to need encouragement to keep going, but I think it's important that I do it this year. I know myself. The more entrenched I become in school work, the less creative I will feel. I will need this daily photography project to feel like I'm doing something creative.

That is all.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Gingerbread Caramel Corn.

Last December I got a caramel corn recipe from a flickr friend. I finally got around to making it. Or, at least, my adaptation of it.

I initially was going to make it exactly how she did. Real popcorn, light corn syrup, etc.

Then I burnt the real popcorn. And I didn't have corn syrup. Blah.

I decided to create my own version.

Gingerbread Caramel Corn
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (vegetable spreads are not recommended)
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
1/2 tsp baking soda

Pop 2 bags of 94% fat-free popcorn.

Heat oven to 200 degress F.

Over medium heat, cook brown sugar, butter, molasses, salt & spices in 2-quart saucepan, stirring occasionally until bubbly around edges. Continue cooking 5 minutes; remove from heat. Stir in baking soda until foamy.

Pour sugar over popcorn; toss until evenly coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. cool completely & store in air-tight container.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My First Attempt.

I finally canned something last week.

I made this honey lemon marmalade. I put in some ground ginger. It was a pretty easy, process.

Make the marmalade.

Seal jars. (They're in water in this picture.)

That's it.

I finally tasted the preserves this morning on toast. I don't like it one bit! I'm so disappointed. The lemon rind isn't soft at all, and there's waaaay to much of it. There's also a weird after taste. And I have 5 jars of the stuff. So bummed!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Brown Sugar.

Yesterday I made lots of cookies. Abby wanted to make chocolate chip cookies, so we made those too. For whatever reason, I suck at the most basic cookie. Anyhow, I was getting everything ready and realize I was out of brown sugar. Duh.
I made some. It was so easy and kind of cool to watch it come together.

1. 1 Tbsp of molasses to 1 c of white sugar.

2. Blend.

3. Blend some more.

4. Store.

Friday, December 11, 2009


My daughter turned four years old on the 8th. If you want to watch time fly, have a kid. Seriously. *sigh*
She had a birthday party at Bounce U which was super fun for everyone, even the adults!

(yes, that's me on a slide.)

I made her a birthday cake that really disappointed me, but everyone else seemed to like it. I get frustrated when my ideas do not come to fruition and therefore the end result is a huge disappointment. I did, however, like how the little chocolate characters turned out. The cake was delicious too... chocolate cake with vanilla frosting.

I made her a birthday banner based on Alicia Paulson's idea, but I made little pockets on the back of the flag pieces so that the name pieces can slide off and on and therefore be personalized for other people's birthday as well.

For her actual birthday, we spent the day doing fun traditional Philly things including a horse and carriage ride (first time for all of us!), light show, and a visit to the Dicken's Village topped off with a visit to Santa. She confessed to me later, "I told Santa I was good so he would bring me presents." Ever the politician, my daughter. Ooh, we also had lunch at Sabrina's.

Family came over for a pizza dinner (her request) and I made yellow cake with cream cheese frosting. She did not like the cake. At all! It was ok to me. It was a bit rough and had more of a pound cake texture. I feel this may be due to the fact that I used regular flour instead of cake flour. It was also in the fridge because I made the cake a day and a half ahead of time and didn't want to leave the cream cheese frosting out.

Overall, a great few days. My daughter is pretty awesome.

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Favorites.

These are my favorite Christmas ornaments. They were made by my mom, probably before I was born. I'm not 100% certain of that, but it seems likely.

They were on our Christmas tree when I was very young. Then they disappeared from the family tree for years. I eventually acquired them and they've been apart of our tree since we've been an "us."

What's your favorite ornament? Why?

Friday, December 4, 2009


I love my cats.

There's Carlos. He's 16 years old. We got him and his brother (RIP Charlie) when they were 3. Joe got them from some one at his work. She just had a baby. Ya know, cause that's a good reason to give up cats. ANYHOW, I'm glad because those boys are the sweetest cats I've ever known. I fear that every cat that comes into my life will unfairly be compared to them. They are part Siamese and therefore talkative, cuddly and dependent upon human contact. They're the dog of cats, minus the need for walks.

When Carlos & Charlie were 6, we adopted Zelda. She was a tiny little tortie kitten who was part of a litter of three. The other two sisters were adopted out and poor little Zel was alone. I wanted her immediately. She is your typical cat. Very independent and very stand-offish. My husband tells me that if I was a cat, I'd be Zelda. So what?! Zelda will let you love her on her terms and I see nothing wrong with that.

Charlie died of kidney failure in 2007. It was a rapid decline. He's been gone almost two years and I still think about him every day. He was my buddy. During the day, Carlos & Zelda would sleep, but Charlie would be by my side. He was a master conversationalist. His meows had many vocal inflections and yes, we understood him. Charlie was on medication for the last 6 years of his life due to hyperthyroid. He got medication twice a day. Unfortunately, long-term use of the medication contributed to his kidney failure. It is sad, but the medication gave him the years that would've been denied to him if he hadn't taken it. He passed just before Christmas, 2007. On Christmas Eve morning, the then, 2 year old Abby told me that the kitty was under the tree. I figured she meant Carlos or Zelda. I saw no cat there. I asked her where the kitty was, figuring she meant one of our many cat ornaments. "There!" she said, pointing to nothing under the tree. That made me feel so happy and at peace. I knew he was still with us. Sometimes I think I see him walking up or down the steps.

It was kind of odd to only be in a house with two cats. We eventually started talking about getting another cat. What happens when Carlos passes? Zelda will be alone. We should've realized that she wouldn't care. BUT, we adopted George in August 2008. He was only weeks old and separated from his mother way too soon. The odds were stacked against him, but he selected us and we were happy to bring him home. He weighed only a single pound and we had to feed him formula.

George & Carlos have become buddies.

Zelda is a solitary girl. Everyone is happy. Georgie torments the older kitties, but Carlos is quick to put him in his place. Zelda hisses and runs. Kind like me, I guess.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Family Tree.

I made a family tree from "Stitched in Time" for my husband for our 8th anniversary. In October. Yeah, I'm a little slow posting.

I usually cannot stand hand sewing, mainly because I feel like I suck at it. This was different. I enjoyed it and found myself getting into the same zen state I get into when I knit. A welcomed and unexpected treat!

I'm really happy with how it turned out. I think it's cute.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Couple Things...

1. Have you seen the movie "Pollock"? Very good movie. Excellent acting. Scary-ass mother! How come so many artists are tortured, narcissist alcoholics? This has me thinking. What makes one an artist? I can see the tormented part, but I'm not one to artistically thrive during depression or turmoil.

I am an introvert. I actually enjoy my solitary time. I feel very frustrated and angry when I do not have time to myself. I need to create every day. I do not like to be interrupted when I'm working on something. I guess I am a narcissist. That's kind of obvious and depressing.

Furthermore, what is "art"? Even furthermore, why the hell do I have to label everything?! Why can't I just be? Just create? Just experience? Ugh. I am a narcissist. I hate that.

2. Oodles and Oodles. I love this blog. I love looking at this woman's collections. Such pretty things. Most of my life adult life, I've been minimalist in decorating. Knick-knacks drove me nuts. Just something annoying to dust. I think it's in rebellion to the way my house was while growing up. Crap everywhere. Now, I've come to realize that I don't have to go in the complete opposite direction. This year has been a year of realizations for me. And, while this is a relatively trivial thing, it's what it symbolizes to me that is important.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

First Day of December.

I feel like I need to change the "tone" of this blog. I want to keep it active, ya know, for Heather. :) Perhaps it'll just turn into my ramblings with craftiness thrown in for the hell of it. I don't know. I also don't know why I have to define everything. It's only an effing blog.

And so, onto the rambling...
Yesterday while the kid was at school, instead of sewing or cleaning, I did nothing. And I felt guilty the entire time. I just sat on the sofa with the laptop, watched "You've Got Mail," and finished off some Hagan Daaz green tea ice cream. Yeah. I'm super lazy. Rationalization on the ice cream: my throat hurt. And I like to eat.

Oh, I did take a few cat pictures. And pictures of toothbrushes. And myself. Kinda sucky. But it is what it is.

Monday, November 30, 2009

It's Gone.

Long time, no blog.
Not for lack of crafting. Not for lack of wanting. BUT, for lack of motivation. Lack of inspiration.

I wonder where my creativity would be if not for other blogs. I'm feeling unoriginal. I'm feeling so sad that my photography sucks. I recently looked at photos from two years ago and got excited. They are pretty and unique. I felt good about myself when I took them. But now, now, not so much.

I don't even feel like an artist anymore. I feel like one of the crafty sheep. Following along with the crafty masses. Knitting, sewing, blah, blah, blah. Anymore, I feel like the stuff I make isn't an extension of myself. I felt like that for awhile. And it made me feel good.

I have a need to create. I really do. But, my soul aches when there's something inside that needs to get out, but it can't make its way to the surface. I've had this feeling most of my life. Except for that brief period a couple years ago.

Needless to say, I'm a bit sad. What if my most creative time has passed? Then what? What do I have to aspire to? What will I become?

Monday, November 23, 2009


For the life of me, I cannot figure out how to get the etsy widget in my blog. It's kind of irritating me, actually.

Anyhow, check out my shop. Yeah, I'm selling some prints, but it's mainly vintage goodies!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


We went grocery shopping yesterday. I don't know why, but I tossed a box of pectin in my cart. Last year I was intrigued by canning, but was discouraged by the possibility of murdering my friends and family with improperly sterilized jars.

This year, I'm back on the kick. I've been doing some reading and asking advice on facebook. I found a recipe I want to make. Of course, now I realize that I purchased liquid pectin and this recipe calls for dry.

Food in Jars is awesome for tips. And, she's teaching a class which I'm considering, but half-assed-ly, because it doesn't fit into my "one car- crappy part time job hours- husband in school- what to do with the kiddo" schedule.

I think I'll buy one of these books. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Jim Thorpe and Centralia Critique: Part III.

So, we headed to Centralia. The website and even the flickr stream have pictures from just last year that show abandoned homes. I was very excited to see them and photograph them.

If we weren't looking (hard) for it, we would've driven right past it. It is completely disappointing. Where homes once stood are fields. The roads that were blocked due to cracked asphalt are now repaired and car-ready.

People tend to use the area for exercise purposes: bike riding, walking, running.

I mean, sure, it's good for the few remaining residents, but it sucks because we really wanted to see ruins. Completely and totally disappointing.

I did, however, get one picture.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jim Thorpe and Centralia Critique: Part II.

After the crappy dinner/dessert, we walked the main strip and the train station in the dark.
We then went back to our room and watched "Mad Men" and commented on how we were both hungry.

Even though the inn has a continental breakfast (I went down to get some coffee) we didn't partake. We needed to compensate for last night's atrocity. We looked through Jim Thorpe restaurants (thank the gods for free wi-fi!!!) and decided on The Albright Mansion for breakfast. It was very quaint and charming. And the food was delicious!!! WHEW! Joe got crepes with apples, walnuts, raisins and cinnamon. I decided to get something I wouldn't ordinarily get. I got an omelet with spinach, mushrooms & american cheese. Very tasty! The home fries were crispy, flavorful perfection. The whole wheat toast was a great little bite after a forkful of omelet. The coffee was fresh, delicious, and non-stop.

We walked through the town, this time in daylight. We only went in 1 shop to get Abby a little something. We were greeted by an older man who was probably hiding his white hood in the backroom. *sigh* I would've loved to go into the other shops, but Joe's back was hurting and I know he doesn't like those kind of places. SO, if anyone of my friends/family would like to go to Jim Thorpe, let's plan it!

At this point, we got into the car and took a long (not really, maybe an hour, but it seemed a lot longer because there was nothing to look at!) ride to Centralia...

...to be continued...

Jim Thorpe and Centralia Critique: Part I.

We arrived at Jim Thorpe pretty quickly. In only about an hour. We stayed at the Jim Thorpe Inn and got upgraded to a suite for the same price. SUITE! (SWEET!) duh. The only bummer about this place was that the balcony was closed for repairs and I really wanted to go up there for photo-taking purposes.

We got settled in the suite and walked to Cafe Origins. There was one other party there. And only two people working in the restaurant (the chef/owner and the waitress.) We selected this restaurant based on its vegetarian options.

I got the Syrian Spinach Pie. Joe got a bean & cheese quesadilla. Mine, which had about 5 pieces of spinach and 2 strips of onion, was OK. Joe's was mediocre; nothing on the plate to even attempt to make it look appealing.

For dessert we decided on a "slice" of banana pie. Nothing was really appealing and we just chose this totally laughable item and so not worthy of a photograph. The "pie" was 1 smashed graham cracker, topped with 1 sliced banana and about 2 tablespoons of fig jam. Those items were then completely drowned in reddi-whip. Nothing about this resembled a pie. And seriously, $7 for something my almost-four-year-old daughter could concoct was ridiculous. EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTING. On the plus side, the atmosphere was nice.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jim Thorpe, PA.

Here for an overnight stay.
Ate dinner here last night. It was blah.

(poor internet connection and therefore taking forever to upload pics; and, that was the sole purpose of this post.) Ce la vie.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I was finally gearing up to write a monster blog filled with the Halloween goodies we made: green witch finger cookies, popcorn balls, and my chai with honey ginger cream birthday cake. I was going to show pictures of the Cinderella costume that was worth all the blood, sweat & tears.

I then realized that my photo editing software isn't installed on the laptop. (We had a very nasty virus on the thing that took it down for a few days.)

Oh well. Hopefully soon.

I had a very nice birthday filled with my awesome family and friends. I got a lot of gifts. Very thoughtful gifts too. I'm very lucky.

Friday, October 23, 2009

October 23. Welcome!

I made this banner a couple weeks ago. I finally took a picture of it. It's based on Alicia Paulson's birthday banner in her book "Stitched in Time." I made a welcome sign because I just wanted to do a practice banner before I made one for Abby's birthday. It's a quick, simple sew. The most time-consuming and tedious part was cutting out the letters. I blame that on the fact that I couldn't find the straight edge and had to use my rotary cutter.

The bias tape that I used was too narrow (that was a pain in the butt too), but I knew that going in. I just wanted to use up some of my stash and the colors worked well. Also, everything (except the thread and the fabric used for the letters "L" and "M") were thrift finds!

Last night I finished up a hand sewing (yes, I said hand sewing) project from this book. No pictures yet because I'm giving it to my husband for our 8th anniversary.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

October 22. Broccoli Soup.

I felt like making soup yesterday even though the weather was warmer than I'd like for this time of year.

I decided upon SouleMama's broccoli soup since Abby loves broccoli. We went to the local produce store and hooked ourselves up with broccoli, potatoes, red onion, and leeks. We stopped at the next store to buy bread.

We came home and got to chopping.

I found it odd that there weren't really any spices or seasoning. I figured (hoped) that the onion and leeks would take care of the flavor. Nope. It was so bland tasting to me. I added salt. And more salt. Then some sharp cheddar. Then I remembered that I had vegetable soup base and tossed in around 1/4c of that. Much better.

I used fat-free half and half instead of the heavy cream. I was expecting a thicker soup. It was very thin and brothy. Abby was unimpressed. Joe doesn't eat broccoli.

It may be better if velveeta was added to it. I don't know. What I do know is that I have what seems to be gallons of broccoli soup for myself. *sigh*