Monday, December 29, 2014

Would you Like to Swap Handmade New Year's Cards? & Paper Update & Photos

 I am making handmade papers this morning so I can send out a few New Year's cards-those friends that I didn't send out a Christmas card to especially,
   If you enjoy making handmade cards (which do not need to be limited to paper) and would like to swap with me, I am thinking mail out date to be before the end of January 2015.
  If you would like to swap cards with me, I have a contact form in my right hand column here on my blog-just tell me you would like to and also send me your mailing address, and I will reply with  my mail address back to you.
    Thought this would be a nice way to start off the New Year.
  If you would like to we can show off our recieved handmade cards first week in February on our blogs.

Update 12-30-14

   I spent most of the day yesterday making paper. This time I was working on achieving thinner paper but still having lots of added textures-I needed to re do lots of papers over cause they weren't peeling off the plastic sheet in one piece, so the project took longer-but still fun.
      I did end up with 11 thinner sheets along with my first piece that was way too thick. I used the technique to pour over the mold and went back to dunking into the pulp-water instead. 
   I tried an experiment with the water too. I brewed up a pan full of strong black tea and threw in a few onion skins. My hope was that this would turn the paper a brownish color, and it did yeh! I will make the tea even stronger next time.  I loaded these papers with calendula petals and dried plant materials I had collected last month here in my woods.
    Today I will make another batch and use a deep blue tissue paper to hopefully get a blueish paper, using my own lavender buds and dried plant materials. Also throwing in handfuls of calendula petals and some glitter too. These should be really pretty.

Update 12-31-14

  The papers dried beautifully this morning-love them. I ended up with 23 pieces over two days. I loaded these with calendula petals and other dried botanicals. The blue pages also have a few lavender buds. and I am thrilled that I achieved brown paper with strong brewed tea water.
    I may post a few in my etsy shop

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A ReCap of my 2014

   I shared my gluten free flour mixes, upside down pineapple cake-a huge hit with the guys, Vicki's Grow Your Blog Party, chocolate popcorn recipe-another favorite recipe, gathering of vintage buttons and beads for an applique project, new soap offerings and how to repurpose those soap slivers, and wintry weather and wildlife visitors in view out our living room window



   I tried hexies for the first time and made a set of coasters, that was as far as I got on those this year-I had wanted to begin a hexie civil war quilt which I may still do, I began to hand quilt a small lap quilt in remembrance of Mom before her dementia.  this month was also special meeting new friends-especially Val and Karen both quilters who both sent me quilty gifts. thank you so much again. I also got much inspiration from new friends met through the grow your blog party.


  This March I completed the remembrance quilt and sent it to my brother for a gift. I also was getting inspired to make my first art journal

    I shared blueberry upside down cake-yum, lots of photos of my hike in Ha Ha Tonka State Park, a geese pair decided to "hang out" on our property, I made my first batch of violet leaf balm-which I just love-I had given it all away as samples this month, shared new offerings for my shop, and the recipe for violet jam-soo good-I love spring. I got serious about weaving again, and I started my art journal and I went to a quilt gathering this month too. I also started working in my veggie garden space.



    I made some things with fresh herbs, gluten free pizza-a new recipe, I held a drawing for our geese pair that stayed to start a family-the winning names were Sir John and Izzy, I got lots more completed in my art journal this month, and the little ones hatched-I was not able to get many photos, and by May we had lots and lots of hummingbirds that had returned-we had a record number this year. Mr L showed me goldenseal on my property this month. I dyed a beautiful silk blouse with red onion skins-which is still in my shop, I harvested spring veggies from my garden and I finally got a new computer-that was a biggy for sure. This was a very active month.

 Handmade paper photo 007-2.jpg


   More weaving this month, working in the garden, started using my art journal to enter hand dyed samples and information. I hand dyed wool with mint leaves. worked on finishing a fiber art piece with bears, finally mastered adding spa salts to my soap bars-that was a big deal for me lol, I made a liner for hubbys little cart-that turned out awesome, I cleaned some organic cotton off the seeds from several years ago, and other little craft projects

  This month I finished my handwoven shrug, did allot of gardening and canning and freezing the harvest began I shared lots of veggie and flower photos 

    I finished my fiber art piece this month, more preserving of foods, shared lemon meringue pie, peach upside down cake, I swapped for a pretty bracelet, shared my tomato soup recipe for canning-which is sooo delicious and will do again and I started a sellers blog here on blogger this month


    I did allot of canning this month, and I mastered allot of natural dyeing this month-especially proud of my pokeberry results, and finally a gorgeous yellow on wool. this month I learned about saori weaving-thanks Gene Around this time I did several more swaps for beautiful handmade items for mine.


   I joined in on the World Blog Hog, started thinking more about what to do with my etsy shop, and beautiful fall colors this month, we had a gorgeous warm month too. My biggest accomplishment this month was learning about nature printing-thanks to a group on facebook-I want to pursue this much more in 2015, lots more mushroom canning, and a cool visitor outside our window


    Not much posted this month, I made us Thanksgiving dinner-we always enjoy the left overs the most-lol 
    I also reconnected with a long time friend and started typing up my late sister's poetry so I can publish her works as an ebook.

    This month I learned to make paper-whooo hooo my very first batch; was a learning curve but all the papers turned out nice enough to use-they were grey, my second batch turned out a pretty green-my background photo here, I also decided to just bake Christmas goodies all month long and that is what I did.
      I  made lots of new recipes too,gluten free spritz and pizzelles, stollen and converted some of my favorites to gluten free. Made buckeyes for the first time-guys loved those, made quality dark chocolate bark and 5 pounds of our favorite fudge-I keep it all in the freezer so will last a very long time-treats in the freezer-love that.
     I made a new winter soap bar, and started on hand embroidering quilt blocks that my Mom was working on over a year ago now.
    We will be going over to our neighbor friend Mr L's for his yearly  New Year's Eve shrimp boil fest  good eats for sure as everyone brings the sides.


Happy 2015 everyone! May it be happy and a creative one-to learn new things.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Just Made an Awesome Winter Soup

The weather is changing over to winter all day today-from rain to snow to sleet-sooo I decided to make up a big pot of soup to use up the left over ham.

This is one of those made up soups and it tastes amazing!

Kathy's Creamed Winter Soup

I cut up the left over ham in little cubes, added those to a big pan.

Cut up a whole cauliflower head and simmered til very soft-then drained out some of the water (save the water) and blended til very creamy and smooth.

Add that to the big pan with the cubed ham.

Boil up a big pan of diced potatoes and simmer til just tender-add about half of the potatoes to the pot and drain out some of the water into the cauliflower water and blend for mashed potatoes.

Add the mashed potatoes, then add back in the reserved water as needed-I also added in about 1/8 cup of heavy cream but you can keep this dairy free by just using the reserved water.

I also added in a home canned jar of my trumpet mushrooms, and added lots of chives and a little black pepper-

Yes this soup is soooo delicious. Off to cut up some cheese, with crackers and some olives. Later


Friday, December 26, 2014

Cannollies a Success

       I was really happy with these. I followed the recipe from Sweet Cravings-50 seductive desserts for a gluten free lifestyle by Kyra Bussanich find here 

     I love her pizzelle recipe as it was made with egg whites and sweet rice flour instead of lots of eggs and several starchy flours. I wrapped each one in wax paper and stored in an air tight container, and then filled just before serving. The pizzelles are holding up really well-which is a plus for gluten free. 

   The filling was a traditional one with ricotta cheese, a little cream, flavorings, and sugar. A recipe to make again for sure.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas

To all my readers that celebrate--Merry Christmas

a card just for you:  click here

May your Christmas week be filled with love, happiness, friends and family.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Clouds Clouds Go Away

  This month we have been blanketed with thick cloud cover-so the sun has been hidden for the most part, some days it finds a break in the clouds and peeks out for just a few minutes before being covered up again. The good thing about the clouds is probably that it has kept us warmer-above freezing still, so I like that.

  So those of you with families and close friends are you all ready for Christmas? Doesn't seem like it should be almost here already.
     I have invited our friend Mr L over for Christmas dinner this year, as his family is all scattered now or going elsewhere for the day-so that will be nice.
     Larry's apprentice has been here every day; now that it is winter so Larry is getting a bit caught up on all the work in his business. So for lunch I have been bringing out the cookies and chocolates for the guys to enjoy-Mr L stops by too-gets him out of the house for a bit. lol and I know he enjoys the companionship.

  I can understand now the loneliness that comes at this time of year when we get into our senior years. Unless you have lots of family nearby can be very depressing unless you work at it not being so.
     I try to enjoy the holidays a little more with festive foods.  If the sun peeks out before Christmas I will make up my peanut brittle, if not will just wait til January when we will need a pick me up. I have not made the cannolis yet, I think I will make those Christmas eve or the morning of Christmas. I haven't made cinnamon rolls in years and years so I have been searching for a gluten free version to make-don't those sound good?

   I enjoyed the paper making so much that I will be making more very soon. When I am not baking or cleaning house-I still have a room that needs a major make over-I have been back to hand embroidering some blocks that will go into a quilt. I had sent these to my Mom over a year ago as it was something she could still do at the time. So I am working on getting these finished up this winter and into a quilt that we can use.  At the time I had sent her two different ones-this one with a log cabin and bears, and another one with a man in a canoe. She finished most of one of the bear blocks and told me she didn't like that one-lol and told her not to worry-that this was to be fun. She did end up finishing 4 of the canoe blocks. She did a good job, this was just before her dementia got into the very advanced stage-so I think of her while working on these.
    I am someone that has never liked white in quilts-I prefer an off white or something else. Sooo, I have been thinking about when these embroidered blocks are finished to soak them in some warm water to remove the blue embroidery lines and then either tea-coffee or onion skin dye them-I think they will blend in nicer with the other fabrics in the quilt that way, and I will just like them better.

   I have weaving on my mind still, Plan is to get back to that in January and after the shawl I will be  making for a friend; I want to explore the saori method of weaving, and my big 45" loom is still asking me to get her set up--so glad I have projects waiting for me-and there is more eco printing and hand dyeing, and another on my to do list-is to learn to spin this winter.

  Oh and today is the last day to sign up for a bar of my chunky winter soap giveaway. I will choose a winner on the morning of the 20th-just like my facebook business page, or visit my blogger sellers blog to be entered-links on left side bar  (USA shipping addresses only this time-thanks)

    Enjoy your Christmas and Holidays everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sharing a Giveaway For Fabric

  From my friend Gene I have learned that Pig Tales and Quilts is no longer but her new blog is now Stitch and Quilt

  So to spread the word she is drawing 4 winners to win fabric-perfect for Christmas right?

  Go here to check it out and enter

Saturday, December 13, 2014

December Drawing

  I made a tray yesterday of creamy cocoa butter, olive oil and aloe all natural soap with essential oils-perfect for dry winter skin.I mostly made it for me but decided to sell a few bars and also to have a drawing for one bar-usa address only.
    If interested more information here about the drawing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Today's Handmade Paper-and I Achieved a Pretty Light Green

I changed the wet towel underneath the papers to a dry towel and decided to take a photo.  The one piece of paper that is the lightest in color is almost dry now so that will be the color I believe. I am even more pleased with this batch.

I added to the recycled paper: green tissue paper, a little green silk noil, green and gold glitter, pine needles and dry pampas grass from my backyard, and dry onion skins-which I love in the paper.

Yesterday-my first try with paper making, I followed all the directions that came with the little kit. Today. and after emailing my friend Barbara up and back (aren't online friends just the best ever??) I changed things up a bit: made the pulp with less water, and on the last piece instead of dipping my mold into the water, I instead poured the pulp on to the mold-liked this last method the best when one needs to refresh the pulp especially; after making 3 to 4 sheets with the dip in the pulp technique. So things learned today-which I need to write down so I will remember next time lol

(photos will enlarge just click on them)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas Cookies and Paper Making & Update Wednesday Morning

  Yesterday I converted my favorite gingerbread boys and girls to gluten free and baked those-the guys ate half of them already before I got them hid in the freezer-lol  This morning I did the same thing with my favorite white dough for cut outs and baked them up this morning. They both turned out so good-I decided not to frost the white cookies.
   Through the years I have collected many many cookie cutters, pottery cookie molds, and stamps for making cookies-makes baking so much more fun.
      The gingerbread was so good with the gluten free version that I am going to make up another half batch and roll the dough into balls and use my stamps.

I started baking really early this morning, so when finished decided to clear my extra table that I use in the kitchen of the baking ingredients and set up for paper making.

I am quite pleased with my first attempt-something I have not made before. I had an old Mary Jane Farm magazine that uses recycled paper so tore that up for paper making. I figured it would turn grey with all the ink on the pages and it did.  I also added in embroidery threads, marigold seeds, and red and yellow onion skins. I ended up with 7 sheets. The last 3 are much thinner cause it needed more pulp added but with supper time approaching needed to just finish up. I will definately do this again playing with other paper and add ins. Once they dry hoping to use them to send out some Christmas notes this year.

The first photo shows a sheet just out of the water. The next photo shows a screen on top and a big sponge to remove more water. The next two are finished pieces. 
   I wasn't real happy with  my new blender I bought for this project. I have not been able to locate a used one so needed to buy one. Bought the Oster with glass container but I see it does not blend up the paper real well-so will do that process a little different next time. Less water than what the instructions suggest and smaller paper pieces.
    I also had forgotten to pick up a small sponge when I bought the blender and then remembered we had several of these big sponges for laying tile with-so I actually like this much better-nice and big and thick and picks up allot of water.

All photos will enlarge just click on them

Wednesday morning update:  wow when I got up this morning early I found that my papers are now dry except for the first few that were thicker. I love the color now much better-allot lighter.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

I Found it-an Excellent Gluten Free Spritz Cookie

I had been searching off and on this past week for a recipe that didn't use loads of butter, sugar or eggs, and I found it on Pinterest.

I changed it up slightly, following is the recipe with a couple of my changes. These were so good I ended up making two batches. My spritz press makes larger cookies than the usual smaller cookies which is actually kinda nice. I ended up with close to 3 dozen cookies per batch. These are a delicious almond cookie-kinda like a shortbread but not crumbly. 

Kathy's GF Spritz Cookies
3/4 cup coconut oil-melted or very softened
1/2 cup organic sugar
1 egg-organic or free range if possible
1 Tbsp almond milk-or any milk of your choosing
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour (find in a good health food store, ethnic Japan grocery store, or online-lots on amazon grocery)
1 cup tapioca starch-flour (same thing)
3/4 cup almond meal if dough too soft add another 1/4 cup I did not need to
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. line cookie sheets with parchment paper
Thoroughly cream together the coconut oil and sugar (if you have softened the coconut to oil it will come together once the egg is in-just beat well til the egg is in)

Add the extracts, milk, and egg and beat well. in a seperate bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients-I sift in the baking powder to avoid lumps. Then by big spoon fulls mix well with your hand mixer. I did not need to add in the extra almond meal but if you need to-do now.
do not chill-put right in your spritz press-and press away.
bake 9 minutes-I baked mine about 5 minutes longer which made them a harder cookie.
can sprinkle on sugar if you like or frost

I am making these and freezing most-so we don't eat them all at once-lol  I may put a light sugar glaze on them-I couldn't believe it I bought both red and green sugar sprinkles and they have wheat in them-what? Never even thought to check the ingredients before buying-who knew?

Oh and my papermaking kit arrived in today's mail, along with some quality coffee for the winter months that I ordered from Green Mountain online-now under Keurig I think.   I am off to give my body a rest-no fun getting older as I can't work in the kitchen long days any more. I do enjoy all the holiday baking. It is fun for me--

Have an awesome weekend!!

Friday, December 5, 2014

It Seems Spring is Here a Bit Early

  Mild temperatures and lots of rain has arrived. We can always use the rain here-so I'll take it over lots of snow or ice.
    I think I may finally be on the mends. Got some energy back yesterday-did several loads of laundry early, went food shopping, and when I got back did a few more loads of laundry. Did you watch the live performance of Peter Pan?? I thought it was excellent. I even dug out another embroidery block to work on while watching it last night.
     So have you started your holiday baking yet?  We don't do much for the holidays so I enjoy making up festive goodies. I give allot of it away, and store the rest in the freezer.
    This year I want to make several new recipes-I have been browsing the net and Pinterest for gluten free cookies and such. I have a link to my Pinterest boards on the left side panel if interested-I have been pinning some good ones. I found a shortbread cookie, stollen, buckeyes, and other gluten free cookies and treats. 
    One of Larry's childhood favorites that his Mom would make are the spritz cookies-I have tried to make these several times and just never could get the press to work. I will give it another go this week some time. 
   The gluten free or grain free recipes are actually allot healthier than "regular" sweets-but I still change up most of the butter to coconut oil, and use coconut sugar in place of brown sugar. I also use high protein flours when I can too.
    I am hoping my paper making supplies come in the mail today-I am anxious to do this. I did forget to find a sponge yesterday when I was in town, so need to look in my craft supplies to see if I have something that will work. I think I had purchased a natural sponge that should work.
   Still enjoying having Miss Calico as an indoor companion now-she loves to play, or just cuddle up next to us.

  Wow-I just noticed that  my visitor counter is approaching 200,000  (this is since around 2007) perhaps a giveaway coming up to celebrate

   Happy Friday

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Gloomy Looking Day but Then Not too Bad Really

  Looks like winter outdoors-but no snow, ice has melted but it's damp and cold.

  Yesterday morning I made a chocolate gingerbread gluten free loaf from Karina's site-wow it was so delicious. 
     Did I tell you that I bought me a pizzelle press?  I want to try out a recipe this week-looks fun, and Larry loves cannollis. I found a few gluten free recipes so will try those first.

   Still not getting myself going on a bigger project like I want to, so I have been taking the time to read. I am reading a Nicholas Sparks book Three Weeks with my Brother. It is an older book, at the time it came out  my Mom had raved about the book so I searched it out. It is put together really well-a three week travel trip with the author's brother and mixed in a story about his childhood-a real eye opener on how he was raised. I am also learning about places I didn't know about that he visited-so a good read.

   I may not have mentioned it here before, but a couple years ago I decided to go through my late sister's poetry and put them in ebook form and copyright them for her. She was killed in a car accident just a year after graduating college back in the 70s. She was my best friend ever. I was going through a tough time and she had moved to Denver Colorado so I decided to move out there with her. We were able to reconnect again for a year. During that time she mentioned several times that she wanted to be a published author. I have been wanting to do this for her, but didn't know how to go about it. I have decided on an ebook with Amazon kindle. Back on Multiply blog days, I met an artist Ramya and she painted a piece for the cover. So things are starting to come together now.

  My weaving has also been calling to me-but I have to be in the right mood for the threading as it is rather tedious.
      I also just bought online a little kit for paper making. Something I have always wanted to do but the basic equipment was just too costly that I had seen. My friend Barbara at Pineland's Treasures sent me a link for a medium size paper making kit that is really a nice size for notecards, and was affordable for me. So I went ahead and ordered it. Over the summer I had just thrown out a huge bag full of recycled papers that I had been saving.-see that's why I don't go through my craft room and throw things out. lol The bag was all papers that were recycled papers too. Oh well.  I only send out a very few Christmas cards so I may just make cards this year with my own paper-how fun is that? Will keep you posted on this comes out.

   I finally got  my counter to work here on my page. I changed free counters and still wouldn't work, and then I ran into a tutorial that said I needed to now click on something in the gadget. so  I got it back to working. I have kept the visitors count going since Yahoo 360 days so was pleased to get it going again.

   Also, I just ran into 2 Bags Full blog and Vicki is hosting the Grow Your Blog party again this year. This is always allot of fun. Almost was not going to participate this year-but I get inspired with all the talent out there in blogland.  I have met most of my closest friends here at the party.

  How is your week going so far?


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