Look at these amazing salt and pepper shakers designed by Joel Hesselgren, the white column holds the salt while the black column holds the pepper. How much you want of each can be controlled by moving the red block around. You can make these yourself! I am visiting my mom and dad in malvern pennsylvania and we are off to the Lego Store at the King of Prussia Mall for the second time this week, (and it is only Tuesday).
The winter solstice occurs when the sun is over the tropic of Capricorn.It is the shortest day of the year and provides us with the most impressive, drawn out and lingering shadows. If only I could truly be altered along with the light. If only I could take on change the way the world seems too.
and then heat it in the microwave for five minutes on high power.
Take the bowl out of the microwave with oven mitts - bowl will be unbelievably hot!
mix into the hot sugary syrup - 1 and 1/2 cups of salted roasted peanuts
and heat in microwave again for 2 minutes on high power.
Mix it up and heat in microwave again for 2 minutes on high power.
Mix it up and heat in microwave again for 2 minutes on high power.
You are looking for the mixture to become amber in color.
Most likely it is amber by now - if not mix it up and heat in microwave again for 1 minute on high power.
Now very quickly mix in 1 Tbs. of vanilla, 1 Tbs. of butter and one teaspoon of baking soda
(These measurements do not have to be perfect) - pour the mixture out onto a parchment covered cookie sheet, spread it as thin as you can and let cool. Then break the peanut Brittle into pieces and put them into gift bags.
We got a quirky tree this year. The trunk is actually curved, so the center of the top is almost a foot off to the side. We have a lovely copper star tree topper that lights up, but I feared the star would pull the entire tree down if we put in on. So I made this snowy owl out of a white cashmere sweater to top our tree this year - he is not all that Christmassy, but I like seeing him perched in the middle of the branches.
That is my silly son under the sweater and Santa hat. He has been ill for about four weeks and my worst fears were relieved this morning at the pediatric G.I. Specialist at Strong Hospital. We are so fortunate to have this amazing hospital and its staff right down the street. The poor kid has been in a lot of pain and vomiting a couple of times a day for well over a month. We were assured that he shows classic symptoms of a bacterial stomach infection, that is most likely a complication from the flu he had in October. He is taking a specialized stomach anti-biotic and hopefully by the new year he will be right as rain. Let us all count our blessings and help those who have less, bring love to the world and rejoice.
A local store called Arenas is carrying my hand sewn foundlings and owls. Arenas is one of the nicest flower and decorating shops in Rochester and I am honored that the owner likes my work. I will be delivering cards there soon, and I have other miscellaneous items n the store as well. For locals, there is no better place to shop for gifts. After you have enjoyed the eye candy in the store - go have lunch down the block at Orange Glory, freshly made, quickly served vegetarian and more..
Bake it Pretty has posted the tutorial for these adorable cupcake ornaments. If child has a birthday around Christmas this would be a super party craft (I would make the glitter balls ahead though!). Also on this website is a tutorial to make White Chocolate Candy Buttons. I wish I had found it sooner, as I am selling my wares at the Knitting Guild tonight. They would have been a fun give-away. You do need a Button Mold to make these though - so look for one next time you are out and about.
I was given this recipe by my dear friend Sarah. I seem to have trouble creating a consistent outcome for these - but they are my favorite snack, so I continually try to make them correctly.
You'll need: (and the amounts are random as I don't measure for this recipe - likely the reason they rarely come out the the way I like them best - but no matter what you do - they will be delicious).
Two 6 oz. bags of Almonds
Mix up in a big bowl, as you will be adding the almonds, to this bowl about
1 cup of honey
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of olive oil
and then heat it in the microwave for 1 or 2 minutes
Toast the almonds on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for about five minutes. Don't let them burn.
Add the almonds to the hot sugar mixture and let the whole mixture cool for about an hour.
Spoon the almonds out of the sugary stuff with a slotted spoon and spread them in a single layer onto parchment paper.
Now mix up about:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
a tablespoon of Cayenne pepper
a pinch of salt
Sprinkle this mixture onto the sticky almonds, let it sit five minutes or so and then sort of toss them around, you sprinkle more white sugar on until the almonds don't seem too wet. You can put the almonds into a ziplock bag and squish them around more, this way your hands don't get so messy. when they are ready, which means not clumpy yucky sticky messy - place them in gift bags.
I just posted the bird one on Etsy. But the Squirrel has already found a caring family to keep it safe and warm for the winter. Right now I am looking forward to a weekend of holiday parties! Beginning soon, at 4:00! I have to go get dressed!
I am ready to end this selling season, but nervous to find out how the money part will be, or not be, in January. I do just lovemaking these things I make. I want to experiment on some weird dolls and other strange creatures. I also want to knit myself a sweater. But I am going to focus next week on making hand made holiday gifts, so check in for the recipes and quick crafts that I will be sharing, including microwave peanut brittle, candied orange rind, hot mustard and cookies of course.
I created these strange maggots with wings at the torch on Tuesday. I am not sure too many other people will appreciate these characters, but I like them. The glass flowers were made in a class I took a while ago. They are made of Borosciliate, which is kind of interesting glass to work with , but I am bored by the boring clearness of it.
I am almost sold out of fingerless gloves and very busy making a few customs pairs. I made these ivory gloves with pastel embroidery a while ago, but no one seems to like white gloves - so last week I over-dyed them a light brown.
I like the new look a lot and may even keep them for myself - I have one pair of my own fingerless gloves and would like another pair. But they are on Etsy for now, as well as this beautiful Wedgwood blue pair.
Saturday and Sunday I assisted at the more Fire Holiday Open House. It is such an amazing community of artists and admirers. I watched Jen (above) work on these stunning glass birds (below) all day! In the pictures she is making a really large bird, about 11" in diameter. She has a whole flock of the little ones and they are only $75. They are so beautiful and full of character in the most subtle, abstract way. I really believe she will soon become a glass star and these little beauties will be out of most of our reach.
More Fire is open every day 11:00 - 6:00 until Christmas. There are still many beautiful ornaments ($20 each - buy 6 get one free) and jewelry. Don't forget - where ever you do your shopping - buy local and buy handmade if you can.
Jen made this precious baby bird in its blue nest a while ago, and I had been eyeing it at More Fire. My wonderful husband bought it for me for Christmas and it was supposed to be a surprise, but that didn't happen for reasons I won't go into here. I am so happy to have him and see him every moment as I am now working at home and around him all the time.
I have been working so much I have hardly had any time to think. At my old horrible job I had plenty of time to think, a fine example of that old adage - you don't know what you have until its gone. But I am trying to balance my time better and I did do some thinking this morning. A friend of mine turned me onto a wonderful book, The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz.
One of the agreements I have found to be very difficult is the one about not taking things personally. And when it comes up in conversation, many of my friends find this difficult too. I have been thinking about this a lot. And I now believe it is because we are such individuals in our culture. We are supposed to be independent and for the most part work alone and succeed on our own. But this agreement to not take things personally requires us to be a community and to be thoughtful and aware of others and to simply get outside of ourselves. It also requires us to be confident and strong in our knowledge that who we are, what we do and how we behave is right. And we all know how very difficult that can be.
I think feeling criticized is the same as feeling hurt in our culture. But no one wants to hurt anyone else, really. When criticism comes my way I find it helpful to remind myself from where it comes, but not in a defensive way, in a responsive way. I think to myself, this person is feeling something that is having them say or do something that is seemingly hurtful to me, but I know it is not meant to be. I figure that they are in the midst of something that is making them feel less confident or insecure and I do my best to agree with them and say something that may be helpful in strengthening their soul. I certainly don't have this all figured out, or am I able to be confident and kind all the time. Basically I believe we all struggle so much, every moment, I wish we could all help each other more and try to remember what is really pertinent.
The second show I am in this weekend is Second Storie's Indie Market at VSW. This is the best Holiday arts sale in Rochester. Vendors come from all over the eastern seaboard and inland to sell the most original unique and wonderful art. I just cpompleted the purse pictured below. There is only one like it - get there early!
I have been working like crazy. Hardly eating, rarely showering and getting up super early to hopefully have enough merchandise for all the sales in which I am participating. It is amazing how much harder one works when when one is working for oneself. (I like the word one! Because that one to which I am referring is me - just me). I am selling work at two sales this weekend. More Fire, Rochester's wonderful glass hot shop is having their annual Holiday Open House and sale. You should not miss this one! It actually runs two weekends, but come this Friday, get there early and get the best of the offerings of hand made glass at low prices and each piece is completely unique. If you make jewelry there is no better time and place to get glass beads. Elizabeth and Jen spend weeks preparing the Gallery and making beautiful ornaments. At $20 each they are a steal. Also there will be demonstrations of Glass Blowing and bead making. Kids will love love love this show!
I have a number of quite wonderful items in the sale if I do say so myself. This choker has copper green glass beads that I made, turquoise, pyrite and green Czech glass beads all together on knitted silver wire. Below is a bracelet that has amethyst, turquoise, pearls, pyrite and amazing purple and copper green glass beads that I made on knitted oxidized silver wire and black silk thread.
I have been posting to day on Etsy. These vintage buttons are so cool and I have a few more pairs of gloves too. I am trying to take advantage of those Holiday shoppers out there who are looking for unique vintage and hand made gifts. Please be aware of your shopping this year if you have not been in the past - buy local, buy hand made and better yet make it yourself!
Allen and I were married in March of 1991, I assume these pics were taken right around then. I found them while attempting to organize this most disastrously unorganized house. I knit the sweater Allen is wearing for him and the one I am wearing was a custom piece for a dear friend and Art History Professor. We had just gotten our tiger kitten and named him Garth after the Garth in the movie Wayne's World. I am now going to knit some fingerless gloves while watching Roseanne on the TV land network. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
I have been posting quite a few new items to both of my Etsy shops. There are lots of new fingerless gloves at secondseed and some other interesting pieces at secondseedinstitches. I am beginning to go through my vintage button collection, but it has been difficult for me to choose any to sell, but I have forced myself. But don't cry for me, I have plenty of vintage buttons to keep me happy.
I watched Sesame Street all the time as a child. Even when I was 21 years old, I remember returning home from Rome after being abroad for six months, and the first thing I watched on television was Sesame Street. It was such a warm and friendly reminder of my roots. Change is essential to growth and Sesame Street has been criticized for creating the short quick pace that led to generations addicted to adderall and MTV. But I believe that the consistent, exciting and new information provided by Sesame Streeet created extraordinarily talented and creative people. Google came out of it, along with a number of innovations in technology, film and education. Congratulations Sesame Street, and thank you for being there for me and my children. I look forward to watching with my grand children someday.