Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

So last night the artsy bug bit me and it hit again this morning.  I looked out my windows and saw massive snow.  If I didn't know there was a main roadway beyond our tree line, I'd think we were alone in the world. As beautiful as it is, I hope the roads are clear by 2:30 as I have to get my daughter to the stables for her riding lesson. Maybe I'll take my camera and get a picture of a horse shivering.  ;)

 In the meantime, dress warmly as we take a walk through my yard.

The snow is really heavy and damp.  It weighs down one of the younger trees. Luckily,
I can still drive under it when I leave later.
 We have 2 streams you have to cross over to get to our house from the road, this is the second from the road.
 I felt bad, I disturbed a doe getting ready to bed down. 
 Whatcha doin?
 The edge of the pond.
 The foot bridge and our house.
The view from the footbridge.

I hope you enjoyed the walk through my yard.  Now get inside and have a cuppa cocoa. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

First Real Snow

Some of you may know that I am an amateur photographer.  My loving husband bought me a Nikon D80 for Christmas in 2005 (or thereabouts).  I love taking it out for fun when I can find a spare minute and good subject.  My kids make great photos but every now and again it's nice to get something a little more artistic.

We had a fabulous snowfall today and it's just damp enough to stick to the trees.  If it stays cold, I see snowmen in my future (tomorrow) ;)

Anyway, here's some pics of the snow at night on my dogwood tree.
The light on the barn gives a blue hue to the snow.

A little blurred from shivering.  Burr, it's hard to be still for a no flash picture.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

O Battenburg, O Battenburg, we love your cakey goodness! ~Quick'n easy recipe

I did it again!  
It's been a while since I've made the favored cake of this house because of diets. The reason for this time is my eldest daughter requested it for her 10th birthday.  I'm about 20 days late for that due to the lack of ingredients and time.  

It requires Almond Paste which is not always easily found in our area. I've seen recipes call for marzipan but I prefer the stronger almond flavor found in the paste. Almond paste is similar to marzipan but marzipan is about 2x the amount of sugar.

Battenburg cake is most commonly found in Britain this day in age, but it is claimed by Germans, French and the English. Food History Jottings has several bits of history on this cake if you care to take a look.  

Mab's Quick and Easy Battenburg Cake (makes 2 cakes)
  •  2 prepackaged boxes of pound cake and listed ingredients on the box
  • 1 jar of Baker Apricot Filling
  • food coloring of your choice (you will need a lot if you don't want pastels)
  • 2 boxed tubes of Odense Almond Paste 
I follow the mixing on the box of pound cake and add the food coloring to desired color.  Pour into bread pan, bake then cool.  I trim the edges of the loaf and cut each loaf into four long pieces.  I roll out the paste between 2 large pieces of wax paper until it's big enough to cover four pieces of cake.  I trim here and add it in over there until it fits.  I will wrap the 4 pieces in wax paper and actually place them on the rolled out paste to see if it's big enough to wrap. Once rolled out, remove wax paper, spread apricot on the paste in a thin layer. (you can leave the outermost piece of wax paper during assembly to make it easier to work with, it will get sticky otherwise)  Place 1 piece of cake on and spread apricot on the side that will touch the other piece.  Spread apricot on top of the two pieces and repeat until you have the 4 pieces lined with apricot wherever they touch other cake.  Then wrap it up, cut it up and enjoy!

I've made St. George's Cross inside for my All Things British loving husband by making 8 pieces of white and 10 of red cakes. I add a lot of dye for a true red cross.  Here's a pic I found online since I couldn't find one of the last one I made.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Holiday Ornament Exchange

So after I got the flat-fold for my Halloween / Fall Ornament Exchange from Jennifer M., I was thinking of trying to make one myself.  Luckily mom was asking for suggestions of how to finish her ornie for the exchange.  I suggested the flat-fold and decided we'd figure it out together.  I grabbed mom's stitched piece, her selected fabric and got to work.

It turned out fabulous!  I was so happy with the result.  I twisted the red and green bead strand we picked and hot-glued it around the edge instead of using regular ric-rac.  Made my little bow for the handmade with love charm that mom wanted included.

Special thanks to Meari for her Flat-fold Tutorial .


The piece I stitched for my ornie was too small to make a flat-fold.
So I decided to finish another way.

I made a last minute run to the craft store for some supplies and inspiration.  I didn't like the various ways I had thought to finish the ornie.

Luckily I found this ceramic tree and a light-bulb went off.   I drew my favorite swirls and some wood grain with some metallic permanent markers to spice it up a bit.  I cut around the stitched part 2 squares the whole way about.  I dug out my trusty Modge Podge and finished it. 

This is the ornie and handmade card I received in the exchange from Joyce.  Beaded snowflakes, blended thread and can you believe it?! Tiny brads!  I would have never thought to use brads to attach a ribbon or assemble a stitchy craft at all.

This is part of why I love exchanges, I can get so many great ideas.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Haloween Freebie

I love Halloween! 
In honor of one of my all time favorite holidays here is a freebie I brewed up.  (insert cackle here)
And the key....

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween/Fall Ornament Exchange

I participated in an exchange in one of my groups for a Fall or Halloween Ornament.

This is the one I sent out.  My partner wasn't particular on which type of ornie she received.
 This is the one I received.  A bunny family riding on a broom!

As you can see I chose Halloween.  I adore All Hallows Eve. 

A flat-fold was made for me.  This was my first ever to get and I think it's really fabulous!

Biscornu Exchange

I participated in an exchange in one of my stitching groups.
This is the Biscornu and goodies sent to me...

The one I sent took 7 weeks to get to my partner and get through customs. 

Pic to follow when I find it....