Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bookbinding Class

Today a dear friend came to my house to teach my sister, cousin, and I some bookbinding techniques. We had a great time and learned a lot.

This one is an accordion style cut from a single sheet of paper.

Dragon book.

This was our first book using the stitching of pages.

Next we made a stitched book with a no glue cover. I wish the picture did it justice.

Lastly she taught us the Japanese stab book sewing method. This one is my favorite. 

I hope everyone had as much fun as I did today and will join us when we have our next book adventure.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cupcake Party!

This evening my cousin/kindred spirit and her daughter came over and we decorated our Samhain cupcakes. Our hands were sticky and covered in frosting and we loved every sugary minute of it!
Crashed witch. I know If I was going to crash on my broom a cupcake would be the ideal landing.
Sometimes even if your taking a dirt nap you need to pop your feet out from under the covers to cool off.
I think some mean little boy pulled the legs off a daddy long legs. =(
Looks like the witches hat flew off before she crashed.
<3Jack Skellinton<3
Our little pumpkin friend watched in horror as we roasted his seeds in some ancho chili powder.
I love this time of year!

Spice up your life: Paprika

Most of us here in the US only know paprika as the stuff that decorates a summer salad or gives hard boiled eggs some color, but it is one of the most interesting spices IMHO. There are many varieties ranging from mild to hot, just like their fruit of origin the mighty pepper. Essentially paprika is dried fruit and contains some of those wonderful antioxidants as well as a nice dose of Vitamin C. Today in my slow cooker is one of my favorite uses for paprika, goulash. This recipe comes from a friend down under (with some minor adjustments by me to suit my taste) and the key is a really good smoked paprika. Find a local spice shop and buy your smoked paprika, don't bother with the stuff in the grocery store. =)

Smoked Paprika Goulash

Olive oil for saute pan
2 large onions, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup Spanish paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
 2 lbs chuck steak or casserole steak cut into biggish chunks
1 and a half cups of water or beef stock
1 6oz can tomato paste
3 medium tomatoes diced
your favorite short pasta
half cup sour cream (optional)
chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat a splash of oil in a large fry pan. Cook and stir onions until they soften and begin to brown at the edges (8 - 10 min). Add garlic and cook a further minute or two. Transfer mixture to slow cooker.

2. Mix together the paprika, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss the meat cubes in the paprika mixture until evenly coated.

3. Add another splash of oil into the fry pan over medium-high heat. Put half of the meat mixture into the fry pan and cook, stirring occasionally until nicely browned on all sides. Transfer to the slow cooker. Pour a bit of water into the fry pan and scrape the crusty browned bits from the pan; pour the liquid into the slow cooker. This prevents the paprika from burning when you brown the next batch of meat. Add another splash of oil to the fry pan and cook the next batch the same way.

4. Stir the tomato paste and water (or beef stock) into the slow cooker add tomatoes, onion, and beef; cover. Cook on High 4 - 5 hours, or on Low 7 - 9 hours.

5. Serve the goulash over pasta (I mix mine together) with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Farmers Market

Today we finally made it to the market to look for pumpkins and gourds. I found two that told me to take them home.
I love the oversize stem on the big guy

Hubby found a roadside stand and picked up his giant...
it smelled of manure though.

We also picked up a bunch of veggies including these lovely squash which are destine for soups and side dishes.

Apples for munching and candy coating.

Sadly, no gourds this time, was it a bad year for them?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Recycling Fun

A few years ago I decided it was time to get rid of those VHS tapes, but how do you do it without more damage to our beautiful home...I found my solution.
 These two end tables are now the property of a dear friend who loves them.
They held my weight when I sat on them so I think they will provide many years of functional earth friendly pop art.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Almost Time

The witches have all arrived and hung their cloaks at the door

Piled their hats on the bed

Some took their stockings off...

 and some left them on

 They all brought their best ingredients
To make a potion or two

So they can gather around the fire and celebrate Samhain with you.

Black Magic Cake

Today I am making a black magic cake. Normally I would make it in a bundt pan, but I opted for a loaf pan so I can send half of the cake home with my dear cousin for her family. I love that we have bonded so much these past months and I also have a new home to ship my baking off to to prevent me from eating it all!


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups white sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup strong brewed coffee

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour your pans of choice 9x13, 2 9" rounds, or a bundt.

 In large bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center. Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Batter will be thin. Pour into prepared pans.

 Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from pans and finish cooling on a wire rack.

 Amun Re not wanting to be outshone by Jak Jak decided to try the tux out for himself in the hopes for a taste of cake.  Sorry my little familiar no chocolate cake for breakfast for you.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Maple Pie

I have discovered my new favorite pie tonight and it's all thanks to a pie I didn't really care for...the shoo fly pie. Last week I made a shoo fly pie simply because I have never had one before and to my surprise I wasn't a fan. After reading many recipes online I saw one that said you could substitute maple syrup for the molasses. Not one to be discouraged and a love of real maple syrup in or on anything I made it tonight and I am in love.

I don't see this one on the counter for very long =)

Star frustration

I found a tute for some very cute paper stars on one of my favorite craft sites and decided I needed to make some for the living room walls. You use 12x12 sheets of scrapbook paper and fold then glue them together. Above are the disassemble folded papers. I chose to make two of them, but only finished one so far.
After much frustration trying to get the shape together I am not sure if it was worth it or not...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bookbinding the next frontier

I admit I am a sucker for learning a new craft, but never before have I felt so intrigued by one. A dear friend of mine offered to teach me in my home next Thursday and since that day I have been watching every video I can find on Youtube. I have already  made a mini book from a pamphlet for my sweetheart of a husband (He should be sainted for taking me to every craft store in the WNY area looking for supplies.).

You may be wondering what is my ultimate goal with this endeavor and my answer is my own spellbook. I have the entire book laid out in my head now and cannot wait to see it finished.

UPDATE: My father has agreed to give me some of his deer leather. Now I'm very excited!


 Jak Jak thinks if he dressed up he would get a roll.

 Little dough balls ready for proofing.

Finished rolls. Once these babies cool I will be having myself a salami and cheese with some of the last of our homegrown tomatoes.

Hubby just got home from work and tried a roll. Looks like this recipe is a keeper.
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package instant yeast
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg
1. In a small saucepan, heat milk, water and butter until warm
2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cup flour, yeast, and sugar. Mix milk mixture into flour mixture, and add the egg. Stir in the remaining flour with salt, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
3. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape into smooth balls, and place on a greased baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with oil then a dish cloth, and let rise for 45 minutes. I use my heating pad under the pan set to low since my kitchen is so cold this time of year.
4. Once risen mist with water and add your sesame seeds. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

The beast in the back of the cupboard.

I have a bread machine that takes up so much room it's ridiculous and weighs a ton, but I just cant seem to part with it even though I cant get it out of the cupboard myself and hardly use it. So today I am making some rolls sans machine. I found a very simple recipe online and figured why not give them a try. If they turn out good maybe I will give up the beast.

Filling time...

Here we go! You may wonder why I have to fill time when most people don't have enough, well a lovely little blood flow disease that has made it nearly impossible for me to work due to joint damage. I spent a lot of time on a social network, but always felt like it was a waste of time so now I am going to toss my bad; grammar, punctuation, and writing skills hat into the blog world.  This blog is going to be my new outlet for creativity and link to sanity.