Saturday, December 27, 2008

You have to try these!

Ben's work commute while home

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.

Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


In the words of Tiny Tim "God bless us, every one!"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Justice and Hannah

Howie and Hannah

Hannah walking in the snow last week

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.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

SNOW SNOW and more SNOW!

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.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

CA Treasures

A lovely hand made beaded tag

A cheese box cubby for the studio

An open metal urn filled with vintage tinsel and silver balls

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Road Trip

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.

Mexican Chocolate Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs slightly beaten
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4-6 oz semisweet chocolate melted

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.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Doodle wares

Some doodle wares that came home with us

Here are a few pics of items not yet sold. Email for information about availability.
Kathy can be reached at

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Doodle and Beyond

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! 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 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.

I wish you well.