Monday, November 30, 2009

Turkey Insomnia

Apparently turkey has a chemical in it that makes you sleepy.  I'm having the opposite effect with the leftovers.  I'm awake at 1:00 a.m. after a Thanksgiving rerun this evening. 

It's been a fine weekend, a long one.  I spent some of it packing up custom orders to be shipped out tomorrow.  I spend other parts of it putting away the remains of the holiday, packing away the good china and servingware.  I spent the bulk of it lounging around, doing what other people might call wasting time.  There was some catalog browsing and TV watching.  At one point Husby and I spent time with the cable guy (not Larry) and decided to make the jump from dial-up internet service to the fantastic Triple Play including cable TV, phone, and internet service.  I can hardly wait for that to be installed. 

I've been thinking about some new projects I'd like to undertake.  Polymer clay comes to mind.  I've worked with it in the past with not much luck, but am determined to try again with a little more patience and determination.  Candle accessories is what I have in mind.  We shall see.  If things turn out well I may post pictures, or even put them up for sale.

Other than that, I'm pretty much just sitting around patiently waiting for winter to come.  It's been cold, but the snow refuses to fly.  The Christmas tree is going up next weekend and I would love for there to be a nice blanket of snow outside when I trim the tree and decorate the house.  If not, I'll make do with White Christmas playing on the stereo.

Until then I'll try to survive the coming week.  It will be a busy one at my day job.  I'm also going to work on putting some new listings up in my shop.  Here's a preview:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I'm Still A Pretty Good Cook

What kind of blogger am I, not wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving? I’m usually a day late (or more) with these things. The New Year is coming up and know I will be making a resolution to be more diligent in my well-wishing.

So now that it’s past, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Husby and I hosted this year. Our Thanksgivings are normally spent as guests at his parents’ house, but this year we got to prepare and serve the feast. And I must say, it was quite delicious. Kudos to me!

As some of you know by now, Husby has taken over the day-to-day cooking responsibilities around our house. He’s a good cook and fills me up every night of the week. When it comes to holiday cooking I want to pitch in take over because A) Husby likes to “keep things simple” which is not an option for my holiday meals, and B) I like to keep up on my cooking skills.

Because I don’t cook regularly during the weekdays throughout the year I get a little apprehensive about my skills and big holiday meals make me very nervous because I’m so out of practice. This Thanksgiving was no different. I was nervous about drying out the turkey, nervous about getting everything on the table at the same time, and very nervous about my pie crusts.

The turkey was one of the best I’ve had in my life. Some credit has to be given to Jenny-O and some to Martha Stewart. At Martha’s advice I soaked a four-layer piece of cheesecloth in a pot of melted butter and wine, then draped the cheesecloth over the turkey. Baste every thirty minutes with the butter/wine mixture right over the cheesecloth. Remove the cheesecloth about one-third of the way through cooking time and continue to baste every thirty minutes until the turkey is done. It was golden brown, just like in a magazine, and I’ve never had such a moist bird. Fab!

I didn’t stuff the turkey, but rather prepared the dressing and cooked it in a crock pot. It was hot, moist, and delicious. As for the mashed potatoes, they can be made an hour or two ahead of time and also placed in a crock pot to keep warm. That’s one of the best ideas I’ve heard of. Thanks Mom. I also prepared a pea casserole and an orange/cream cheese/pineapple/marshmallow jello salad which are long-time favorite recipes from my mom.

And on to dessert. Of course one must serve pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. And of course every year there is someone who won’t eat pumpkin pie for some obscure reason, so an alternative also must be offered. Lemon tart. Yow! It was very lemony and really rich. Delicious. My crusts were flakey and wonderful too, thanks to Gram.

Thanks to the other gram, who was kind enough, before she went to the great beyond, to leave her recipe for buns. It was a recipe I was nervous about because for one thing I don’t excel in bread making and for another thing it’s one of those recipes that says things like “a little butter,” and “mix til not so lumpy.” I’ve been in possession of the recipe for over a year and made them for the first time this Thanksgiving. I took my chances with my interpretation of the vague instructions and they turned out beautifully.

I was quite surprised, pleasantly so, at how nicely the meal turned out. There was plenty for all, and because there were only four of us we were able to send leftovers home with Husby’s parents as well as keep a ton for ourselves. We’ll be celebrating with the Thanksgiving feast for several more meals.

I hope it was a great holiday for you all. And remember, the secret is butter, and lots of it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Featured Shop - Connected Elements

About twice a month I contribute an article to the HandmadeMN blog featuring the HandmadeMN members' shops on Etsy. I thought it would be nice to have those articles on my blog too, as I really like the artists and shops I feature, and their wares might add a bit of class to my little corner of the blogosphere.

Husby and I have an affinity for big water. We're fortunate to be within driving distance of the Great Lakes and have made several long weekend getaways to Great Lake destinations.

During our first trip to Door County, Wisconsin we made a stop at a town called Algoma. It was a quiet little town. We took a walk along the shore and I was simply stunned at the rocks of the beach. All of the rocks were smooth, round, and white. Millions and millions of them. I couldn't help myself and starting picking them up. My pockets were bulging and my hands couldn't hold any more. They were all the same, yet all different. I couldn't stop gathering them. Husby finally ran back to the car and brought back a one-gallon ice cream pail for me to carry my rocks.

That pail of rocks is in my studio, untouched. I haven't figured out what to do with them. Imagine my amazement when I discovered the Minnesota-based artist Candyce Fitzloff-Westfield and her lovely shop Connected Elements.

Candyce uses beach stones, as well as elements such as silver, cooper, bronze, recycled glass, resin, and enamel in her beautiful jewelry. Beach stones! Just like the ones I saw in Algoma!

What wonderful jewelry. So beautiful in its simplicity and yet such talent to create such simple beauty. I love the earthiness of it. The pieces look stunning, and yet so natural. Look! More of my beach stones!

Candyce is living the dream, making her wonderfully unique jewelry in beautiful northern Minnesota. She's captured the grandeur and the simplicity of nature in her work. Just looking at it makes me want to sell everything and move to a log cabin next to the fresh water seas.

Candyce sells her work in several shops throughout Minnesota. Online you can find her at Connected Elements as well as at Trunkt.

Now, what to do with my stones...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Live And In Person

This past weekend I worked my last craft show of the year. Each time I work a show I realize how important it is for artists and crafters to get out from behind the computer and sell their wares live and in person.

The show was a hit. There were lots of people in the mood to do some early Christmas shopping. One thing I was happy to see was the multitudes that brought their own bags to carry purchases, saving the earth from dreadful plastic bags. Yay! Environmentally friendly and so much less cumbersome than carrying multiple different-sized bags. Try it next time you go to a craft show or festival.

I also was happy to see so many returning customers. It always makes me feel so good to know my products are worthy of repeat purchases. A special hello to Miss G who is a candle connoisseur with a very discriminating sense of smell, and Sister J, over ninety years old and the most diligent letter writer who is so pleased to see blank note cards for sale on my table each year. Thank you both, as well as all the others who stop by every year. Of course there were new customers too, finding a new appreciation for the silliness of my bottle cap drink charms or the simple beauty of a pure beeswax candle.

I won’t deny the importance of the world wide web and I continue to be grateful for the wonderful venue it has become for me and many other artists and crafters. We’re able to reach people around the globe with our little computers, and it is indeed fascinating. But whenever I can I like to go out and mingle with the people. They give me ideas and allow me to give them the service of custom orders. Their feedback is invaluable no matter if it is positive or negative. It’s so rewarding to see smiles on the faces of the shoppers whether they buy anything or not.

So thanks, all you people I met and remet throughout the year. You made the travels worthwhile with your lovely comments and your support of individual artists and crafters is so very much appreciated.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Crazy Auntie B

A few years ago someone told me I ought to open up a business on the world wide web and I fought it with all my might. My candles need to be sniffed in person, I thought. My trinkets aren’t done justice by the camera lens. It was only a couple of years after that my Etsy shop was opened and what fun it’s been. I love being online and I’ve met lots of really nice people I wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to meet.

But wait, there’s more! Now, not only do I have an online shop but also a presence on Facebook and Twitter! I know, I’ve stepped into the 21st century at long last. Knowing all of you have been connected to these sites for years I’m just here to say, stop by and visit some time. Give me a comment or two. Tell me what you think. Peek into my life, and let me peek into yours. I love getting to know my customers.

Now for the fun part. Freebies! Here’s all you have to do:

1. Fan my Facebook page and/or Follow me on Twitter and

2. Leave a comment on this post with your Facebook and/or Twitter user name so I can Friend/Fan/Follow you, and also so I can contact you if you are a winner.

If you are already my Fan or follow me on Twitter, you can enter too! I'd never give a demerit for loyalty. Just leave a comment with your Facebook and/or Twitter info.

Ten Fans and Followers will be selected at random to receive a holiday trinket from Auntie B’s Wax in time for Christmas. Enter before November 30, 2009. Winners will be announced on December 1.

Ooh, I can hardly wait to see who I'll meet next! What a fun way to kick off the holiday season!

Monday, November 02, 2009


Here’s a little something to keep around in case you don't know what to do with that tuppence jingling around in your pocket and to remind you that a spoon full of sugar will indeed help the medicine go down. I invite you to ponder, WWMPD - What Would Mary Poppins Do? Because she’s almost perfect in every way, most certainly her solutions will suit you to a T.

Get your WWMPD magnet here. Spit spot!

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