I promised a few postings back that I would begin in 09 to give you a variety of fun things to look forward to such as recipes and patterns and so even before the dawn of 09 here we go!
I tried several new recipes Christmas Eve and these are two I have to share. The first is so easy I cannot believe I haven't done it before and I will be making this to go on everything! Balsamic Vinegar Reduction 1 TB ketchup 1 cup red balsamic vinegar 2 TB soy sauce Mix and bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer until reduced to about 3/4 cup. Careful, it can scorch easily. We dipped the prime rib into the reduction sauce but next time I will drizzle onto plate and lay meat across, it is that delicious. I never thought I would prefer this to my favorite horseradish sauce but I will make this reduction for every steak and roast, from now on. Imagine on a soft roll, with thinly sliced beef.
Roasted Brussels Sprout Preheat to 400 1 pound, very fresh sprouts 3 TB good olive oil 3/4 tsp kosher salt 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
To be honest I did not measure the salt and pepper, so do it to taste if you wish. Cut off ends of sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Toss them in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to sheet pan and roast in single layer for 35-40 minutes until crisp outside and tender inside.... they will be brown. Shake or stir pan from time to time to brown evenly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with more kosher salt and serve hot. Even a die hard brussels sprout hater will enjoy these, or maybe at least tolerate them.
Ivan hanging out waiting for dinner
Ben has been gone a day and we miss him so much. For a skinny kid he sure fills up this house when he is home. We cannot wait to hear about all of his New York adventures.
Most of you have probably been hurrying and scurrying the last few days getting ready for friend and family celebrations. It's been a wee bit quiet here except for the occasional visits from friends of Ben and Hannah. I am still sick and staying close to home but that is just fine because Ben has been around quite a bit, working from his laptop. He has already repaired or set up a variety of electronic machinery here and has declared me a magnetic vortex since I seem to radiate a negative effect on anything with a plug or current. He thought it was my imagination, but right before his eyes a remote that he was using ceased to work once I walked into the room and new batteries could not save it. hmmmmmm
This week I have had several long chats with far away friends; hey Rich, Kristin and Penny, and I love that. Cards are trickling in, I miss that tradition which has all but disappeared. I love the pictures and I enjoy the newsletters, though many people think they are tacky, I say keep 'em coming, in fact send me a newsletter for every holiday. I had to laugh today when Sue's card arrived saying "I had to write cards this year cause hell really did freeze over!" My annual box of chipped ham and barbecue sauce from Isaly's arrived this evening from my cousin Cindi. It's a Pittsburgh thing. Who could wait for the sauce to heat up, we started eating it with our fingers right out of the bag. Such a treat, we love it. I'm thrilled that my kids share memories of something that I adored as a kid, that otherwise they would never get to try. You cannot purchase it anywhere but a small radius around Pittsburgh. My favorite way to enjoy was piled high on very soft Wonder Bread and ketchup - Heinz of course! Bless you girl! So although a slow, quiet week it is full of glad tidings.
As always, I will be serving my standing rib roast and yorkshire pudding tomorrow evening. This year I bought the brussels sprout on their stem so that at least once in their lifetime the kids could see how they grow. I told Ben that I can never completely stop trying to teach them new things and expanding their viewpoints. That resulted in an eye roll. More often now it is the kids who teach me, or my dashboard dictionary which just taught me it is brussels sprout not brussel sprouts. I've been saying it wrong over 50 years! I caused quite a commotion in the store as several clerks and shoppers gathered around to see what this thing was laying on the checkout counter. We are so far removed from living off the earth, maybe that is why so many do not care about environmental issues. They think brussels sprout come in square frozen boxes. Oh, how I long for a real garden of my own. C'mom economy- recover already! Brussels sprout
I hope that all of you have a very Merry Holiday and that we all may enjoy a good New Year. We must maintain the spirit of hope we felt last month and remember that nothing truly wonderful ever comes too easily. We must have patience and we must somehow get back on track to a better, simpler life with less excess and improved human connections. We are all in this together. Stripped down to our core, we are all the same. To those dear friends of mine who need an extra prayer these days, you've got it; I love you and I carry you in my heart.
Blessings to all.
Classes, shows, and special surprises planned for 09. Old Grey Mare is ready to gallop. Yee-ha! Stop by frequently to see what is new, feel free to email me with requests for classes and if you have a great holiday story, leave me a comment so I can share. Please share this site with friends so that we are able to build a strong community of women artists and friends.
Unbelievable snow. I have two broken trees so far ( they just snapped in half) and I'm worried about two more. Hannah and her buddies are thrilled- no school tomorrow. Our cookie exchange tomorrow is in jeopardy. I haven't been out of the house since Saturday morning. (pretty sure I have pneumonia again) I've had it several times before and I'm familiar with the drill. Almost coughed up a lung on Wednesday. Now, I can't go out and feel trapped. It is so pretty out, but dangerous. Hannah just took a walk in the stuff. Very wet, and very heavy snow. Crossing my fingers that I don't have more damage during the night. I'm sure I've lost maybe 25% of plants. In the front yard pic there is what appears to be a large low bush in the rear middle of frame. That is half of a mesquite and half of my chaste tree lying on the ground on top of my broken solar lights. sigh pretty snow...pretty snow.
Took a road trip to CA yesterday for some antiquing and came home with a few new treasures. I'll post pics later. Lovely day, though a bit cold and we skirted the rain that was hovering in the area. Ran into a great friend from San Diego. Dr Susan Stewart, who lived and taught many years here in Vegas just happened to be in the same old barn as we were! What a treat to see her and catch up.
Today was "make the dough day" for the cookie exchange I am hosting with Sue. I am posting the recipe for my Mexican Chocolate Cookies. Warning: Do not quadruple the recipe unless you want an hour long arm workout. What was I thinking? It started mixing up just fine, then I burned out the motor in my hand-held mixer, and had to revert to hand mixing. Called Hannah down for help and I believe she ate as much dough as she mixed. (It is great raw dough!) Too much dough to put into the Kitchen-Aid, so we pulled and stirred for a very long while. Finally got it all incorporated and it is now chilling. Will roll out tonight and tomorrow. Must be bad karma with cookies today. Talked to Pam earlier and she had burned the bottoms of her cookies this morning! If you are attending the exchange-wait until tomorrow to bake.
Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and beat until fluffy. Sift dry ingredients together, add to creamed mixture. Beat until well blended. Divide dough into thirds and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour On lightly floured board roll out and cut into desired shape ( I do hearts). Place on greased cookie sheets or use silpats like I do. Bake in preheated 375 oven for 8-10 minutes. I do not like them crisp, but you decide. Cool on wired racks and then drizzle with melted chocolate. I use a fork. Approx 3 dozen cookies depending on size of cookie cutter.
Another Doodlebug has come and gone. It was so much fun to reconnect with some of you who visited the booth last year and Kathy and I also met some great new country collectors and artists. This year seemed to be the year of jewelry booths. They were everywhere and many vendors and shoppers were wearing their new button bracelets, earring bracelets (yes, that's correct) and carrying chinese takeout cartons full of vintage buttons. I brought home two cartons myself. None of you shall mention to me the dozen or so jars in my studio already full of.........buttons. The button lady, Karen Vornsand was super sweet and even helped me spot great buttons from trays and trays on display. She teaches her button bracelets at Bead Jungle, so check her out!
Amy Gonzalez, of Mittens showed me a wallet that she created and I cannot wait to have one of my own. She sells on etsy and here's how cool she is. She donates a portion of her profits to the NSPCA! She is having her baby boy Brooklyn this week and yesterday she was the cutest pregnant lady ever! Go Amy! mittens.etsy.com. I will have to be patient for my wallet. Baby boy Brooklyn comes first.
We were so busy in the booth that I did not have a chance to snap pics, but I will try to post tomorrow some pics of some remaining holiday wares that are still available. Kathy has a few of the snowmen in pots, and some lovely ivory wool mittens and wrapped ball ornaments. She also has some small crafters aprons that would be perfect for gift wrapping duty. All of her items make perfect teacher, neighbor, secret santa gifts, etc and all are made by hand and with love.
At the last minute I made some organic soaps and some fresh balsam linen bags and they were snapped up! Of course, our best customers, Jan and Wendy were first in the booth and carried home quite a few Halloween pieces from my personal collection. They were hard to part with, but it helps to know they will be appreciated. We love our BC girls! Merci, to all of you who purchased our creations. It is wonderful to be appreciated. If you see anything in the pics you would like to purchase, send me an email and it will be arranged.
Another great gal to check out is Maria Hedrick, a fab quilter who teaches at Quiltique, and she has a booth at Goat Feathers in Boulder City. Many years ago, Maria took some of the earliest classes that I taught here at home, and she has far surpassed this teacher in quilting. Yay Maria!
To those new friends I met, welcome to old grey mare. Please consider joining me for a Gathering class someday, or custom order a class for you and at least five-ten other friends. Check out the older posts to get an idea of how the Gatherings work. Some of you asked how to get back issues of "polished". While supplies last, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please tell her I sent you.
I will try to post pics this week and then I'll post again after Christmas. Till then, I have many dozens of cookies to bake, Christmas decorations to finish, CD gifts to burn, and my Christmas cards are still not done. Ben and Hannah will get my undivided attention starting the 19th. Ben has promised to "tweek" my Blog, so who knows what you'll see coming in the New Year.
We love company at this house, especially during the Holidays, so call ahead and then stop on by!
I wish you all a safe and very Merry Holiday. Several of my dear friends will be having Christmas without loved ones this year. Several families are struggling with issues of the current economy, and some have health related problems. A few are very sad. My love goes out to all of you and please know I hold you close in my heart. May blessings come to all of you.
It is 2am and I am still up doing this and that. Spent a good bit of today pricing and completing items for Doodlebug. Next week it is a full on blitz to make enough to fill up our booth. Kathy has finished some adorable woolen mittens and these snowmen in polka dot pots. We would love to see you Saturday the 6th in Boulder City. Tomorrow I will finish up getting Thanksgiving food stuffs at the market, and do some early vegetable chopping.
I still cannot grasp that it is almost December, and we are finishing up another year. That always brings to mind that Hannah will be off to college in less than a year and that sends me into nervous nellie mode and a wee bit of depression. sigh.
I am very thankful for so many things this year and I am grateful for such good friends. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who stop by here at oldgreymare, and special good thoughts to Lori.
Someone suggested I should mention that I also do decorating and organizing as well as the folk art. You cannot believe how quickly I can whip a closet, garage or room into shape. A couple of Gathering gals have used my services and can share their stories with you if you are interested.
That's about it until after Doodle. I hope to work on some special projects for my home over the Christmas Holiday. If I get anything completed I'll post a pic. If anyone is interested in another finish it night, let me know. So many projects, so little energy to get them done!
Christmas is slowly appearing at Old Grey Mare. Most of the smaller trees are completed, there are maybe two more to go. Next come the three larger ones and the wreaths and the staircase garland. I will be helping Sue do her Holiday decorating right after Thanksgiving, so I needed to get mine done a little earlier than usual. Feel free to stop by, and if you give me enough notice, I may be able to blend up some "cheer".
I am currently getting some folk art ready for Doodlebug the 6th of December in Boulder City. If you would like a preview because you can't make it up there, come on by. I have quite a bit of Halloween, mostly collectibles, some retired (Nicole Sayre and the like) that I am also selling. Doodlebug is such a tradition and will get your holiday spirit off to a great start. Plan to attend. I will warn you. The locals hit our booth before we even get unpacked to find the one of a kinds.
Several of you have asked where to find the magazine "polished" that I contribute to monthly. You can call or email to request a subscription or a recent copy. Ask and I will send you the info. The November issue features my home. That was surreal, seeing it in print, but fun too!
There are no new scheduled Gatherings. BLISS did not have enough registered students so it was canceled. If, however you have 6-10 friends who want a girls day out, get in touch with me and we'll plan and schedule one specifically geared for your interests and group.
Finish it Night was fun and delicious! Kudos to Pam for her basil & tomato pasta salad and to Paula for her yummy banana creme cake. We also had old fashioned mac and cheese ( you know, like they used to do with a white sauce) and spicy wine pot roast. We did not complete any projects but we made progress, ate well, and shared recent tales of our lives.
Early voting is going on right now, so I went to the trailer in the Target shopping center at Silverado Ranch and voted. WOW, this one is so important and meant so much to me. I almost gave a little shout of Hurrah! as I exited but didn't want to "wigg" out the little old lady behind me. ( that is for Sarah :-)) Hope all of you will be voting and if you don't plan to vote, please don't tell me, ever, because I cannot imagine what I would have to say about that!
Another tree is completed, this one in the Master Bedroom. It's all done in browns and creams, some vintage dark golds and felt penny ornaments that I taught and made last year in a Gathering class. I am making more felt ornaments for the tree and will post pics when completed.
Next week will be the week all the Christmas stuff hits Target and Pottery Barn. There are some beautiful stitched linens at Target in greys and cream.They "took a ride in my cart" today. If they are an indication of the Christmas Ornaments to come, I'm in trouble. Sue tells me that she has a Pottery Barn Christmas catalog that she picked up at a PB demonstration last weekend and she says it is mercury glass, glitter and gleam all the way. I popped in there today and I see a lot of bright colors being unpacked..purples, greens, turquoise. That will be great if they stick to that palette, no temptation for me, although, I already spotted a terrific mercury glass compote today. sigh.
Another note: so if the economy is doing so poorly, how come all the stores were packed today? PB, Home Goods, Michaels, Marshalls, Tuesday Morning- all crowded and the people were standing in lines at checkout not just roaming about. Why was I there in this poor economy? Returning stuff I didn't use in the last photo shoot. I found a couple of treasures but they were gifts for others. I also found some great glitter things for the Dec craft article for polished. I am going to do some very luscious Victorian cones in red/silver and green/gold for the crimson and clover theme. Hope to have those completed by the weekend.
Last chance to sign up for Finish it Night, (the deadline was the 25th but if you call ASAP...) and ladies I need to know what you are bringing for potluck, so give me a ring OK? I think we have at least one sleepover guest so far. I had better do the tree in that room next so it can be enjoyed that night. As weird as it is, decorating this early, I have been enjoying the twinkle lights every night. I'll really get some use out of them this year.
Everyone enjoy the shortened week, and come on by to play if you are in the neighborhood. The studio is open and busy.
My dear friend Sue lost her Mom early this morning. Viola passed away with Sue by her side. Viola was an amazing woman with enormous strength of character and a wonderful sense of humor. I will miss her, her stories, her wisdom and all the many hours of crosswords and crocheting and knitting that we shared together. I know doing those crosswords helped her mind stay sharp and clear even at 93. We should all follow her lead and live simple, healthy, hard working lives. Please remember Sue and her family in your thoughts and prayers as they go through this difficult time. "I love ya old woman"
Here are some things we did today in Boo to You! While we waited for everyone to arrive, we munched on pita wedges with red bell pepper, and spicy hummus and Greek tzatziki.
Lunch was Beef Stew with dumplings and/or Chicken Verde soup...most everyone enjoyed a bowl of each. Artisan breads and a mixed green salad with cranberries, feta, and spiced pecans rounded out the meal. Fresh carrot muffins with cream cheese icing and fudge brownies were our dessert.
Boo to You! included eight different Halloween projects.
Hope you will join me December 13th for my very special Bliss event.
The next Gathering, "Bliss" will be held Saturday December 13th. There are 10 spots, and they are available on a first come, first registered basis. This is a very special Holiday event, a combination of Holiday party and Gathering classes. The fee is $125.00 and must be paid in full to reserve your spot. Hope to see you there!
The table is set for tomorrow's lunch of soups and artisan breads. Kits are finished and waiting to surprise attendees. We'll have cool weather so we can enjoy the breezes coming in through the windows. I am going to curl up with a book and anticipate tomorrow's fun. Tomorrow I will be announcing the date for the very special Bliss Gathering . 10 spots only and class fee will need to be paid in full to secure your spot. Bliss will be very special, and I am already so excited I'm playing Holiday music in my studio for inspiration.
Because of a cancellation there is one spot open for this Saturday's Gathering. First call or email-first registered. If anyone is interested in attending a finishing night in November please let me know by October 25th. Thank you.
Everyone, please hold loving thoughts for my dear friend Viola, our friend Sue's 93 year old Mom. Viola was moved to Hospice this week. Sue has had a rough couple weeks caring for Viola at home after Viola took a downturn and Sue is now by her side at Hospice nearly round the clock. Sue could also use your warm thoughts and prayers, and a full nights sleep. For those of you who do not know already, I was Viola's caregiver four days a week all of the last school year. She is very dear to my heart, and I will always treasure our friendship.
Just walked to the mailbox and this was waiting for me. October's cover of polished features my Skeleton couple and I am thrilled! I guess all three Stoddards are having a good month. I am very grateful to Managing Editor Beth Schwartz and Contributing Photographer Jim Decker who make every shoot so much fun and offer encouragement and valuable advice.
Sally Jean's studio: I promised her I would only blog one pic, and it was so difficult to choose, but this sweet light behind the drawn curtains was the winner.
Portland Scenes: Entrance to an apt complex, so lovely my breathing stopped. A quick scene out the bus window, I managed to snap. This is just a lone wall, everything behind it demolished, waiting for a new high rise.
My dripping cat platform bed and the sleeping alcoves for Kathy and Sarah.
Portland. I do not know where to begin the saga of Soldering for Virgins. OK, start at the beginning Z.
SO, I discover that Sally Jean, an incredible jewelry-slash everything-artist) is teaching a Soldering for Virgins class in her studio (wait till you see her studio...sigh, if I could only live there in that room.) in Portland, new home to my son Ben. I sign up promptly and upon sharing the news with gal-pals Kathy and Sarah, they too promptly sign up and the trip is planned.
We flew out this past Monday and spent the next four days creating, eating, shopping and eating, (yes, I meant double eatings because we ate enough to keep six 6 people fed, maybe 8 people....and their relatives). The class was amazing, because of Sally and her husband Brad. Fabulous, kind, funny and so incredibly talented and unique... sigh again. So the studio is too beautiful for words. I can only post one pic, I promised, but I have more at home I can show. I was afraid my soldering ability would be disastrous but I surprised myself, and Sally showed us her first attempts to bolster our confidence, wasn't that sweet? I'm sure with a lot of practice, I can get to be so-so at least! Who cares, it is fun, fun, fun. Too much to tell here, but her studio will be in a November issue of Where Women Create. You must see, trust me.
Spending time with my wonderful son, hearing about his new job, seeing where he lives, meeting some of his friends, well, you can imagine, created tremendous momma pride. No gushing here, but I am so thrilled for him. To top off this already delicious Portland Sundae was a trip to the barackspace, usually known as backspace, a local cafe-gallery, performance art, political gathering space, for the first night of an art show, where my daughter Hannah's Obama art was hanging! To see, check out backspace.bz. Yep, that painting smack on the front is hers! Momma bird is bursting with pride as her two chicks fledge.
Our blisters confirm that we shopped hither and thither, and we share memories of train bloopers and buses, streetcars, and one taxi that appeared out of nowhere just when we had lost hope of ever getting to somewhere, or anywhere but where we were... We shopped antiques, found treasures to bring home for nesting and buttons and ribbons so lush that it took an hour to have them cut and bundled into nests of color, too pretty to unwrap.
Dietary concerns were tossed aside, hell, they were flung Frisbee style, and every day brought meals that seemed to rival those of the day before. Our home away from home was the Ace Hotel which has to be experienced, not described, but a few photos may help. Check out Ace Hotel Portland. I loved it, even with bad mirror lighting, a fear elevating elevator, and a mattress that did not encourage sleep. It explains Portland without ever stepping out the front door. "watch your step Sarah".
It passed in a blur and I had lists of must sees and must dos left unchecked, but alas, that will have to wait until the next Oregon trail. Next time I'm heading for the waterfalls and forests and the sea and maybe I can figure out which way is north and get on the correct airport train the first time, not the third time, and maybe, just maybe, I'll be brave enough to wear a hoodie, not carry an umbrella. To live there would require a major hair chopping, because the wet dog hair-do I wore most of the week, was soooo not attractive, proof was the hair clip holding my bangs off my face that I shamelessly wore home on the plane.
So many stories, but perhaps not sharing them all keeps the memories sweeter, closer to the heart.
I will have pictures up tomorrow.
City of roses-Ben's home, so there too my heart, as here with Hannah.
I have learned a valuable lesson today, one which I already knew but ignored. Back up your computer stuff. Sat down today to send some things and my address book was gone "poof". After an hour with Apple Care, (40 minutes with a language barrier) we discovered yep, it's gone!
I have managed to piece back together from saved emails everyone's address...I hope.
The reason I mention it is this.....if you don't hear from me via email for a while, well, whoops, I may have missed adding you back in. If you check here regularly you won't miss any events. I always send out email alerts first..so if you don't receive one and then see something listed here, please email me so I can add you back on. Again, sorry for the blip. As the Apple Guy says " this almost never happens to Macs." After 4 Macs and no problems, I guess I was due.
Now, just this second, I discovered my one sprinkler station has been running for over an hour, because I was on the phone with India and forgot! Holy cow! . Maybe I should duck and cover, this has not been a good afternoon. Hope you all are faring a wee bit better.
Thanks to all who stopped by last evening for previews and this morning for the garage sale. Special thanks to Pam who ALWAYS makes the garage sales easier for me by sharing her laughter and good spirits, because you know some of those Garage Sale people ("Would you take two dollars for this item marked $50.00?"...I mean, seriously people!) can get me to being cranky, OK, rude. Sorry.
To those of you kind and lovely people that I met today at the sale, I hope you will join us at one of our get-togethers. The next event is Finish it Night in November. Watch for email for date.
I am a tired buckaroo and off for a nap. There are a few Halloween pieces left after the sale. I have 2 Large Skeleton couples remaining, some heart make do's just like in the photo here in blog and several smaller pieces. Call if interested and they will be available at Boo to You!
I am trying to post at least once a week. You will receive an e-mail notice also if it is an announcement of, or change to an event, so that it is fair to all who wish to participate.
To the few who have inquired: Yes, there will be a December Gathering. It is called Bliss. No dates yet. 10 spaces only. Because it will be extra special, payment in full will be required to reserve your space.
Don't forget about the garage sale this Saturday. I'm opening up at 7:30, and will close by 1:00. The weather should be nice in the morning. I do have some Halloween items in the sale. I have 2 Queens of the Skeleton Ball and maybe 2 escorts will be done by Saturday also. I also have some heart make do's completed that we'll be making in the Gathering and some mini skeletons and glitter crows from the Halloween countdown. I have some Easter collectibles and some quilts, reproduction and two vintage. There are great yarns and general household stuff like always. If you are coming Friday night to preview, please call first. Have a great weekend!
Pictures as promised. Halloween has invaded the porch. My beach themed bowls have become fall collections. My Cricket helped with this Trick or Treat Banner for the kitchen. After many shots and many puddles on the floor ( those of you who have met Howie, understand that part) this is the best shot I managed to get of Master Howie in his Halloween hat. My daughter forbid me from doing this fearing I will become one of those old women who dresses her pets up for holidays. But damn the hat was cute.
I am a Mom, an artist, a designer, an organizer. I live a very small, simple life and cherish my children, great reads, great films and my dear friends. My desert dwelling is by default and my heart still hopes to be somewhere green and lovely some day. I love helping folks achieve their dream spaces and teaching friends to be creative each day. I am so pleased you have stopped by oldgreymare.