November 30, 2006
No shop update tonight. I started listing things and Etsy is having a temporary problem where your images will not load if you list something. Bah humbug! So these are just a few little pictures to help you get a taste of what's in store! Adorable ornaments made by my mum, who sells under the name From the Hands of the Farmer's Daughter. I've been bugging her to get a blog - isn't that a great blog name? She hand stitched every ornament with miniscule stitches and they are all made of wool felt. So beautiful the pictures don't do them justice! The happy part is, if they don't sell they get to stay on my tree, hehehe! Whoopee!
Advent starts tomorrow! This also means my daily click at http://www.harpold.com. Leslie Harpold does a virtual Advent calendar every year and I love it so! Check it out!
P.S. Big store update tomorrow, many many many Christmas ornaments, a baby blanket and a nifty reversible beret. All compliments of my mum this time, she's hip to the trip!
P.P.S. I see that my stats are up so I know that people are visiting. If you read this, comment and tell me who you are and a little bit about yourself!
November 28, 2006
I'm officially nuts, I'm up at 5:18 and I have not been to bed yet. I just finished up cleaning out my Wists and discovering the beauty of tags. Tags are beautiful because I can tag things "Christmas" and then they appear in one handy dandy place. A virtual letter to Santa if you will. Looking over it makes me laugh a bit, because most of the items are $25 and under. I'm an easy girl to please I guess! The only expensive item that I actually have high hopes for is the coat...because uhhhh I need a coat. Or I'll freeze. Practical, practical, practical.
Wow I'm tired!
November 26, 2006
So here we are with my blogging commandment breaking imageless post. I'm going to show some love to a few artists that I've been digging on.
Awhile ago I signed up for a MySpace account for Geek+Nerd, in addition to my personal account, to use as a marketing tool. I was hesitant to do it, because I didn't want it to be just another thing to do, and also I wasn't sure that it would bring me in touch with anyone that I wasn't already tuned into via "blogland." Well I was wrong! I get new friend adds every day, and I've found a myriad of great artists that I never knew about.
One of those artists is Kate Sutton, who I am starting to be convinced that she somehow is in tune with my life. Her recent posts just crack me up, because I totally relate to her illustrations. Like Ideal Home. Matt and I were recently looking at Vanagons and Westfalias and dreaming of how awesome it would be to just take off and camp in it. Alas the Vanagon in our pricerange to quote Matt "Smelled like ten dead hookers." Disgustingly gross! Kate's artwork is much better! I also love her newest post Addiction. Whoo hoo for Tea Drinkers Anonymous! Her Etsy shop is full of goodies I can't afford right now, and I love the little birdy pirate character that pops up in a lot of her pieces. To recap, Kate Sutton rules!
Now on to another fine lass! Amber of Cotton Candy Vomit friended me on MySpace yesterday. I have to say, I was a little hesitant to check out her page because of the "vomit" but boy was I pleasantly surprised! No vomit here! Just cute cute cuteness! I am in love, nay LOVE with her Rainbow Scarves. Possibly the cutest thing ever...
...aside from this. Which is now all mine! This little parcel arrived from England last week and was purchased from the fabulous Velda. It is Decole, of course, who else makes such sickeningly sweet products? It's the perfect little tea for one set and I think that I might have to go have a special cup of tea and do some Christmas knitting! Cheers!
November 22, 2006
There are so many more things, I could go on and on! Instead I'll tell you about yesterday. My mom and I put together my harvest pie for Thanksgiving dessert. They're sitting in the freezer right now, and we'll bake them while dinner is being served so they'll be fresh and bubbly from the oven when we're ready to eat them!
I've been baking this pie for a couple of years now. The recipe is adapted from MS Living Christmas Cookbook. It's chock full of harvest fruity goodness. I'm going to include my version of a Pate Brisee pie crust as well. If there is anything that I don't shortcut when it comes to cooking it is pie crust. HOME MADE IS BETTER! It truly is. Once you get the hang of making pie crust you'll never go back!
Makes 2 9"-10" pies
7 baking apples sliced
7 Bosc Pears sliced
4 tablespoons flour plus more for work surface
1 1/3 cups of sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 cups fresh cranberries (12 oz)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl combine apples and pears with flour, sugar, nutmeg, and lemon juice and zest. Add cranberries; toss to combine. Set aside.
2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out pate brisee (recipe below) to two 12"-14" rounds. Fit dough into two separate pie plates*.
3. Fill pie shells with fruit mixture; dot with butter. Pull the edges of dough over fruit, I leave the edges rough, so that the pie is rustic looking. Brush dough with cream. Sprinkle with sugar lightly and evenly over filling. Place the pie plate on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
4. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 350F; continue baking until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 1 1/2 more. If crust browns too quickly, drape aluminum foil over the top. Let cool before serving.
* I have a great trick for getting a round of dough into a pie plate. Take your round and fold it gently in half. Now fold it in half again. You should now have a wedge of dough. Take that wedge and put it into one quadrant of your pie plate. Unfold twice and your dough is in the pie plate. No torn dough!
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
2-3 teaspoons of sugar*
2 sticks of chilled unsalted butter cut into pieces.
4-6 tablespoons of ice water.
1. Place dry ingredients in bowl, stir to combine. I use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry mix by hand. I think that this leaves larger chunks of butter, thus a tastier dough than doing it by food processor. Do this until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
2. Add four tablespoons of ice water. Using your hands gather the dough and press it into a ball. If it does not come together, add more water a tablespoon at a time until it does. Divide in half and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Chill at least an hour before rolling out.
*The original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon. When making desserts I use 2-3 to make a subtley sweet dough.
November 21, 2006
I've done it! I've finally finished my first sock - and it only took me like three months! Hahaha, well I think that I would have finished it a lot faster had I worked on it consistently. I've been so busy with Christmas crafting though, that I've barely made time to work on it. Oh I am in love with this sock! Everyone told me that this was a challenging first pattern, but these were the socks that I absolutely had to make! and now one is all done! Whoo hoo!
In other news I've been getting some fun mail. My ornament swaps have started to come in! Now this first one I did via Swap-bot and the mitten ornament is from Stephanie Lynn who has a gorgeous blog! The Christmas tree ornament has come to me via Cristina from Portugal. As far as I can tell, Cristina does not have a blog, but she should! This is so simple and beautiful. You can't quite tell from the picture, but the tree is outlined in clear seed beads sewn on individually with red thread. The seed beads make this really subtle sparkly beautiful outline. So pretty! I can't wait for the other ornaments to roll in - boy do I love fun mail!
EDIT: I forgot to add - my mum is coming over today and we're working on prepping my pies for Thanksgiving. Pictures and a recipe tomorrow.
November 19, 2006
Today is my son's first birthday. He would be one year old today had he been born alive. For anyone just coming to this blog you can read Liam's story here.
I have felt this weekend looming upon me for weeks. Yesterday I looked at the clock at 9:30 am and thought, this is the moment one year ago when we found out that our son, our first son was dead.
There are so many things that I haven't done during this year that I've wanted to do. Aside from all of the joys of having an infant that we have missed out on, I have not visited his grave. I don't even know where it is, to be honest, as I haven't been to the cemetery since the day that we buried him. I have not developed the disposable camera that contains pictures of the few hours that we spent holding him in our grief. I know that I have to develop it soon, but I am so frightened that some camera lackey will accidentally destroy the only visible evidence that our baby existed.
This year has been so filled with great joy and devastating sadness. I have not cried today, and I didn't cry yesterday. I have cried oceans this entire year and these days, that I thought were going to be so hard, weren't as hard as I thought that they would be. I miss this little being that I carried with me for 35 weeks every day, but life goes on, because it has to.
Maybe I'm rambling...but I just had to say something about it, because if I can't hug him and squeeze him on this day at least I can think about it.
Happy Birthday Liam Michael Cost, my angel baby, I still miss you more than anything.
November 16, 2006
In other news I almost went to the craft room in the sky this morning! I was driving down Route 1 and there were two cars in front of me. The car two cars ahead obviously didn't know where they were going. They suddenly braked to turn right and the car in front of me braked as well. I braked and swerved into the turning lane to avoid hitting the car in front of me when my car fishtailed and then did a THREE QUARTER turn into oncoming traffic going the other direction. I didn't even get a scratch - I am so lucky! Everyone is so lucky! I just sat there having a complete coronary before I could pull it together and drive on. Did anyone stop? Nope. Grr to stupid drivers braking.
Now I've got Cass in the crook of my arm as I type this and boy am I a happy girl to be alive!
November 15, 2006
November 14, 2006
Hi, my name is Cassiopeia, or Cassie for short. Sarah is really tired right now, so in lieu of her brilliant writing skills you get a picture of my cuteness. Sometimes Sarah stashes her sewing projects in this little cubby and then of course I go to sit on it. Because I sit on anything important in this apartment. Especially if it belongs to Matt, because it kinda makes him mad. But I think it's really funny!
November 12, 2006
The votive is one of the many candles that my mum and I made the other day, again for Christmas gifts. We made some larger ones, 5-6 inches in height, same diameter and a bunch of little votives. It smells delicious! I brought this one home to burn for my very own!
The stack of polka dotted fabric is the latest edition to my Amelie inspired kitchen. I actually got these quite awhile ago, I just never shared them on here. The green napkins were six for $1.50 and the red were four for $1.00. I love them!
Last night I attended the event at Artstream Studios that I spoke of before. It was such a lovely evening filled with dance, poetry and artwork. I ended up going alone and I wish that I had been able to bring people with me. For two reasons really, one because it was a great little gathering and two because I'm always so painfully shy when I'm by myself. I wanted to talk to some of the poets but I ended up lurking about and just saying hello to the few people that I know. This drives me crazy about myself. Once I know people I open up like a bottle of champagne, every bubble striving to burst all at once in excitement. But I'm so shy at first meeting. It's to the point where I don't even understand why or how I've met my closest friends - even my husband! Some people I can just talk to right off, and that's how it has always been for me.
Anyways, away from that little personal rant! I've decided that I really love listening to poetry, much more than I like reading it. And that's not to say that I don't enjoy reading it. I just think it's much more of a commitment to hear that voice of another in your head. To see those visuals that you did not dream up. It is ever so much more fun to listen to someone say it outloud. I think my brain is able to process this quicker, making the poetry more enjoyable. One of the poems that I heard read aloud last night I had tried to read earlier in the evening on the gallery wall, and I found myself struggling not to let my eyes skim. That's what I've become in this land of the internet - a skimmer. Impatient. But when read slowly and cautiously from the author's own lips it became a different thing. I was patient and attentive. So interesting to discover things like that about one's self!
November 11, 2006
I had a moment of complete frustration today fighting with bloglines to acknowledge my feed - and I'm still not sure that it does and waiting and waiting and waiting for my ancient computer to pretend to work. I let out a sigh and looked out my window. Peering at me from just above my monitor was this fabulous site. An absolutely perfect, rather enormous bird's nest just hanging out on the top of my neighbor's tree!
The sky was so blue today - it was such a perfect backdrop for this photo. The weather has been so warm and lovely, but this bare tree is a sign of the wintery days to come. I can't wait!
I have been all about hot drinks and homemade food lately. I'm going to make a sugar syrup with oranges and star anise that I saw in the lastest Living, (I'll let you know the verdict).
For now I just want to advise my readers, in moments of frustration, change your perspective. You never know what you might see!
November 10, 2006
Then I looked in to blogger, and turns out you can host on your own site, and still use the blogging software. Joyous of joy! I'm still fiddling with the template to make it look "me" and I need to update a million links, but here I am: http://www.geekxnerd.com!
No pictures today, I will leave you with links:
I splurged on these ballerinas.
This morning I'm eating baked oatmeal for breakfast
I wish that I had the money to shell out for this pirate ship!
That's all for now - yay blogger for making my life easier!
November 09, 2006
Well I guess it's a good thing that I didn't sign on for blogging everyday in November, because I'm obviously not good at this game! Pooping out in the first week - pah!
I do have a nice little something to talk about today though! Swap love! I received my pin cushion swap package from Stacey. It's a cute wristlet pincushion. The top piece of fabric is a vintage kimono and it's backed with blue felt and a little pompom closure. My pictures don't do the kimono fabric justice. It's a much more vibrant pink. Thank you Stacey!
Yesterday I went over to my parents' house to work on candles for Christmas presents. My mom bought molds this year, so we won't repeat last year's paper towel roll fiasco. (Summary: Yes Martha, they do have a lovely textured rough look, but they are almost IMPOSSIBLE to seal. Running wax everywhere!) I scored three pounds of Acacia beeswax on Ebay, so we melted that down. I'm not going to use color or scent this year, because the wax has a lovely honey smell. I cannot wait to see how they turned out, because I had to leave before we could release the molds.
After the candle making we went to down town Rochester. Now this is where I grew up, and I can tell you that I never really felt an ounce of pride about it. Rochester has always kind of been scuzzy by reputation. However, the downtown has really cleaned up in the past couple of years. There are actually restaurants that are worth eating in and a few interesting shops. We only had minutes to spare so my mum took me to Artstream Studios. My goodness! It was a crafty oasis. For the first time in my life I actually saw "art" in a store that I'd be willing to shell out for, if I had any money worth speaking of. They had smaller hand made items that were completely reasonable as well. Claudine Hellmuth prints. Artists I had never heard of that were amazing and many local! I was so proud that something like this would be open in my hometown!
The studio is hosting a collaboration between dance students from
Elysium Dance Project, which is run by a former teacher/mentor of mine, poets and visual artists. They'll be doing an in studio performance this Saturday evening! I'm so there!
Artstream also has a very cool online store as well. I think I'll be checking out the "art under $30" section. Whoo hoo!