Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Creativity is the voice of the spirit. One’s art should be the extension of oneself." ~ Martiza Burgos

Back in November, I shared my sister Robin's new Etsy shop, Robino Feltworks. Robin (the same sister who has bee hives) is visiting and brought with her the newest additions to her shop. We shared them at Knit Night, and the agreement was that they are beautiful! These recent ones are all "wet felted" as opposed to using upcycled wool garments. I have included a YouTube video at the end as an example of how "wet felting" is done.

This one is now mine!
Aren't they beautiful! The bottom three are up for sale on Robin's Etsy site!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

“Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn.” ~ Garrison Keillor (Sorry - but this quote was too good to not use!)


A lovely summer evening - one of the few that we have had this season - the perfect backdrop to another BITE. As host, I selected sweetcorn as our theme. We have truly delicious sweetcorn here in Central New York, even though it is still a bit early in the season to get the very best. I chose to do a recipe that I have done before, which is a departure from how we usually do things. I have made Charred Sweetcorn Crepes in the past, and just loved them.

A terrifically easy way to cut the corn off of the cob.
~blended into the crepe batter~
~into a non-stick skillet (with a generous amount of melted butter)~
Achieving a thin coating of batter, and then successfully flipping the crepe - the two biggest challenges - numerous failures that I simply had to eat - oh woe is me........

Now on to the remainder of the meal, including what I intended to do with the crepes! Tierney arrived with our appetizer - Mexican Street Corn Salad with a few modifications - including the addition of shrimp! This was served with chips and was scrumptious!

Chris brought side-dishes  - also Mexican Street Corn Salad, which was a spicier variation of Tierney's dish, and Grandmother's Buttermilk Cornbread - sweet and moist!
To accompany the crepes, I had grilled shrimp and flank steak earlier in the day (I served everything cold). I also grilled asparagus (which Bruce had hunted down for me) and forgot to put it out! In addition to the shrimp and steak, I had sliced vidalia onions, chopped parsley, and a sauce made from plain Greek yogurt mixed with lime juice and cumin - very tart and tasty.

Lastly was Ellen's Sweetcorn Pound Cake with Honey Whipped Cream! So delicious, and honey in whipped cream is wonderful!
Such a lovely evening. I mentioned that it seems to have been the rare night when we could dine outside. We have had a really weird summer - torrential rains, hot temperatures, very humid - not great outside dining weather. I'm so glad that we were able to sit out and enjoy the evening. Next month, at Chris's, we will be crafting dishes that are "sweet and spicy"! I'm delighted to be tasked with dessert - I think that there are endless possibilities!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

"The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves." ~ Carl Jung

I know that I have mentioned before that I have collected things over the years in anticipation of one day having a place near the ocean. When that day finally happened with our purchase of a small condo in Florida last year, I set about gathering those things and bringing them down. Others, I needed to create, like the mirror I posted about last year

A number of years ago Bruce and I were in the car when we passed a pile of discarded windows alongside the road. He pulled over, as per my "Please pull over - I want one of those!" requests! When asked what my intentions for this old window were, I said that one day I wanted to cover it in sea glass and shells for when we had a place near the water! I had been a very "positive thinker" in this regard!

Well - years later, I have finally completed that dream. Armed with a bit of white paint, and sea glass and shells that I had on hand, I set to work. 

I gave the frame a light coat of white paint - I wanted the frame to still look a bit rough.
Next came some decorative swirls!
Then sea glass and shells!
The last step was to add liquid resin to the top. This was my first time using resin and it was really very easy.
The resin allows each piece to look as though it is in water - a bit difficult to see by the pictures - but very cool!

Between the glue (E6000) and the resin (Aluminite Amazing Clear Cast) I put about $30 into this project - I think it came out great, and it will travel with me to Florida the next time I head down!

 I love it!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

"To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” ~ W. Somerset Maugham

Bruce and I live in a relatively large house. Far too large for two people! We have talked about down-sizing for some time now, and while we don't have a specific date in mind, we know that the time to do this is rapidly approaching. We have both begun to weed through things, and to get rid of those things that we know we simply don't want to box up and move. 

I have weeded out fabric; yarn I know I won't use; magazines; clothing, etc., and have found wonderful homes for it all.  This process has felt good - really good! Getting rid of books however - that's a different story. Most have some kind of memory attached to them. I either loved them, or didn't. There are definitely some I never got around to reading, and now they don't seem to interest me. Even the ones that no longer interest me are difficult to part with. I grew up in a household surrounded by books, and they have always been part of my composition. The whole process is a bit like saying goodbye to old friends! 

In my weeding out, I have certainly held on to favorites, and also to those ones that belonged to my grandparents. There are a few that I haven't opened yet, but know that I want to. The remainder? Well, some have gone to the library, and most will go to the Rt. 90 garage sale in a couple of weeks. It's a bit painful!

Parting is such sweet sorrow!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

"I always say whoever can figure out how to make ice cream healthy will be a gazillionaire." ~ Justin Deeley

I have recently gotten in to making ice cream! I told Bruce, and it is pretty true, I enjoy making ice cream more than eating it. I know I mentioned in a previous post that I can pretty much take it or leave it, but that doesn't mean I dislike it! I have had a lot of fun trying out different recipes - anything that is not mainstream is intriguing to me!

   The other day I decided to give Key Lime Pie Ice Cream a try! I am really happy with it!             

As with most of the ice cream recipes that I have tried so far, making a custard with egg yolks and cream is the first step. I have seen videos in the past about how to separate yolks using a plastic water bottle. I had no reason to be skeptical, I just hadn't tried it before. I did it this time, and I must say, it's amazing! I have ended this post with a video on how easy this is.  

Our local grocery store did have a bag of small key limes, but they were the saddest looking little things I had ever seen. Fortunately, they contained beautiful key lime juice. Zest is also added to the ice cream, and I used a regular lime for this.

The custard is cooked stove top.
It is then strained and put into the refrigerator to cool.
The cooled custard is then poured into the ice cream maker (which has been in the freezer over night), and is churned till it is soft ice cream consistency.
I then put the ice cream into a container and put it in the freezer to get hard. While it was freezing up, I made a topping as suggested by the recipe, but I did omit the pistachio nuts. I love pistachios, but I did not want conflicting flavors the first time I made this. I must say that the topping (made with graham cracker crumbs, butter and brown sugar) added a crust-like taste to the whole thing!
I would definitely make this again! I love citrus, and the creamy texture, combined with the crispy, crunchy topping, was just wonderful!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort." ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Many times over the years, I have shared with you my love of knitting, the joy that it brings to me, and my love for the individuals who are my knitting friends. Today, I am delighted to share with you one of those friends, who also happens to be a talented, oft published designer. Diane has had her patterns released in numerous publications, which she will tell you about below, but her most recent addition to the knitwear scene is a beauty that she self-published through Ravelry. Called The Side to Side Linen Top this is a wonderful example of Diane's creative and free-spirited style. 

"This loose fitting top is perfect for layering in the summer months. It is easy to knit and fun to wear over a tank or camisole. The pattern is worked side-to-side and can easily be adjusted to increase the length or width of the finished garment. A variety of yarns can be used to create a top that you will reach for time and time again."

                Please meet my friend, the talented fiber-wear designer Diane Moyer~

Interview with Designer Diane Moyer

When did you learn to knit?
I was very fortunate to have been taught to crochet and knit while in high school by my home economics teacher. Years later, I was able to thank her for the wonderful gift she gave me. I have knitted or crocheted ever since. I knitted right through college and even at most staff meetings during my 36-year career teaching in the elementary grades. My mother taught me to sew at a young age so I guess I've always been interested in creating my own style. As a child, I would play with my paper dolls for hours designing outfits for them. I only wish I'd had Barbie dolls to sew for, but they came along after my time.

Where do you get the inspiration for your designs?
Inspiration comes from everywhere. I love taking a detail or shape from a store-bought garment and translating it into a knit or crochet piece. This first self published design was inspired from a ready-to-wear blouse. My first afghan design came from the tile flooring in the bathroom of a hotel where my husband and I were vacationing. I am rarely without a notebook and pencil for sketching ideas. Look around you at the facade on a building, the stripe pattern on someone's top, or the pattern on the pillow in the furniture store; there's never an end to inspiration!

When were you first published?
I retired from teaching in 2002 and decided to reinvent myself into a second career. I had been changing patterns and doing my own thing for years, so I decided to try my hand at submitting a design. I had a designer friend who had encouraged me to do this for years. She had recently passed away and it seemed like a good way to honor her memory. (Thanks, Barbara - hope I've made you proud!)

My first design was a felted pinwheel purse made with Fun Fur in 100 Purses to Knit and Crochet in 2006. I was thrilled when the design was accepted. Since then I've had designs published in Great Garter Stitch, Freeform Style, and Grannies on the Go. I've also had designs in several magazines: Crochet!, Crochet 1-2-3, Knit 1-2-3, and Knitstyle. I did many designs for Caron Yarns and NaturallyCaron before the company was purchased by Spinrite. Currently I have been designing for Red Heart Yarns.

Why did you decide to self-publish?
I love simple shaped garments that are comfortable and fun to wear. Many of my ideas are not what the yarn companies or magazines need, so by self-publishing I can share some of my funkier ideas! In the future I hope to self-publish some designs that incorporate both crochet and knit techniques and maybe even some fabric. Ravelry is a wonderful resource and seems like a great site to present my first self-published design. The whole process has been a real learning experience and very exciting. I hope there will be more to come in the future.

To see a large selection of Diane's other designs, please visit her design page on Ravelry! 

The only thing that I can add (with enthusiasm) is that I have the good fortune to call this talented woman "friend"!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Date Night!

For the first time in quite some time, Bruce and I had a relaxing night out, just the two of us! We headed to a restaurant in Ithaca that sits right on Cayuga Lake. It was a lovely, warm summer evening - no rain - the second of two such days in what seem like weeks of endless rain.

We had asked for a table outside, but in the shade. After being assured that we were being seated as per our request, it turned out we were in full sun, and it wasn't going to go away. So - we asked to be seated out of the sun, which put us inside, but it was all good! Being 4th of July Weekend, this place was packed! Fun and good food was to be seen at every turn! With only my cell phone on hand, I tried to capture some of the festive atmosphere! 

My Favorite Date!

We need to do this more often!

Happy 4th of July!