Monday, December 19, 2011

Recipe Card: Forgotten Cookies

If there's a cookie that reminds me of childhood it's, by far, the Forgotten Cookie. We always had the recipe taped up in my mother's cupboard right next to the stove. Our family friend Patsy would make them whenever she visited us. Upon finding the recipe, copied one day in haste, I see that it also says it's Aunt Filly's recipe, although I don't recall her making them. I'll have to inquire further!

The recipe (a copy, not the coveted original)
These are simple, sugar-filled cookies which give the feeling of eating a cloud filled with chocolate chips. Simply heavenly. Simple to cook and a great recipe for children to create (with the help of an adult, of course). These Forgotten Cookies are meringue cookies, called "forgotten" because the last step requires putting the cookies in the oven and turning the oven off leaving them overnight to "forget" and be found, happily, in the morning hours.

2 Egg Whites
2/3 Cup Sugar
6 Ounce Pack of Chocolate Chips
1 Tsp Vanilla
Cookie Sheet lined with aluminum foil
Whisk or hand blender
Mixing Bowl

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium size mixing bowl mix 2 egg whites (forever) until they're stiff and stand in peaks:

Perfect peaks

Mix in sugar, chocolate chips, and vanilla. I was lucky enough to have my friend's homemade vanilla! Delicious!

Dollop the mixture onto the aluminum foil covered cookie sheet. Your cookies will fluff up while cooking to about 1.5 times the size of the dollop you put down.

Place your cookie sheet into the oven and *get ready for this* TURN THE OVEN OFF! Do not open the oven. Leave the cookies in the oven overnight (5-6 hours). They cook in a nice low decreasing heat. In the morning, you'll have some delightful goodies to test!

These make a great bake-ahead treat for parties in the holiday season when you just don't have all of the time in the world. And if you leave some in the oven for Santa I'm sure he'll be happy, too.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Take a Look at my Jewelry Box

 If there's anything that I love to collect it's jewelry. A second is pottery and we'll get to that in a later blog post, I'm sure. For today, I wanted to start a series with a little show-and-tell about my favorite jewelry pieces. Each piece of jewelry that I own has a story connected to them. We'll take a look at some special pieces in this on-going series. I hope you enjoy!

1) These earrings were a creation of mine under the guidance of Lisa Salsbury from Willow and Me Jewelry. Lisa taught a Precious Metal Clay (PMC) workshop at my former arts & crafts school Sweetland Retreat. Lisa is a wonderful instructor and taught me how to use this amazing technique to preserve my favorite tree's leaves. A friend of mine sent me some leaves from a magnolia tree in South Carolina. I was able to use them to imprint onto the PMC and fire the clay to form these silver beads. I love wearing these earrings and they always remind me of my time living in the South.

2) This is a ring that I wear every single day. Well, let me take a step back here. My boyfriend Bryan bought me this ring from Monkitree in Gardiner, Maine. They had listed a few photos of new pieces they had just gotten in from jeweler JudyB Designs from Portland, Maine. I "liked" the image on their facebook page and commented on how gorgeous it was. A couple weeks later Bryan gave it to me after he'd saved enough money to purchase it. He said it was our "going steady" ring (!!!). I wore it all the time and only took it off to wash my hands. One afternoon I took it off at a local restaurant bathroom to wash my hands and had left it on the sink by accident. I went in not ten minutes later and it had been stolen! I was inconsolable. I felt naked. I was beyond upset. Bryan ended up contacting Judy and had her create a new ring in the same design with an equally gorgeous piece of labradorite. Somehow it was even better than the first one. I wear it non-stop and now don't take it off when I wash my hands. Ever. Lesson learned. 

3) A gorgeous necklace by my friend Jennifer Lisa of Quench Metalworks. I've wanted it for so long {along with many other things from her amazing shop} and it came up for auction at two different fundraisers and I bought it both times! The first time I gave it to my friend Laurie O'Neil and the second time I finally got one for myself. I'm on a mission to "learn" to wear necklaces because #1 I'm really fidgety and play with them way too much and #2 I still don't know how to pair them with earrings which I have to wear all of the time. I'm learning...see the next item.

4) I won these gorgeous silver earrings from a giveaway on Sometimes Sweet's blog. These lotus  earrings are from Chrissy Gemmill Jewelry and they are simply wonderful. They're the perfect earrings to wear with necklaces and I couldn't be happier to have found them... or I guess they kind of found me! These are super new to my collection and I adore them!

5) These are a pair of earrings that I made a few years back as a collaboration with my friend Bob Matus. Bob is a woodworker, lobsterman, photographer, and I'm sure he has many more tricks up his sleeve. He made the wooden hoops and I simply added the dazzle beads. His etsy shop, Heron Cove Wood Carving, has some wonderful items: hair forks (I have the whale tale!), spoons (yep, got some of them, too), and some more earrings! I wear these at least once a week. A personal favorite and I remember the beautiful day when we had our little crafty afternoon and made them.

Isn't it funny how these items, no matter how small, can hold such memories?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Big Giveaway Feature

My birch bark earrings are among the many GREAT giveaways this week over at

Be sure to head over there and check out the many items being given away by November's sponsors. Just think of all of the goodies you can get for FREE... I see a thrifty Christmas in your future!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A sneak peak at some special pieces...

 I've been really getting into making necklaces lately. I am an earring girl, through and through. I've started purchasing some necklaces for myself and I'm "learning" how to wear them regularly. It's started a resurgence of me making necklaces, which have been so popular that they don't make it to my etsy shop... my friends have been purchasing them so fast! So today my goal is to make several necklaces to post to my shop so everyone can share in my new passion!

Asymetrical necklaces are a treat. This piece was made with a found resin and floral charm. Found in the sense that they were originally a pair of earrings and I lost one of the earrings. I've been holding onto this charm for several years waiting for it to tell me what it wanted to be. Now a friend owns it and it has a brand new journey to enjoy:

Another magical piece that I've enjoyed creating for special requests: Bracelets. If there's anything I'm less apt to wear than a necklace it's a bracelet. Again, earring girl here. But a couple of my friends have been asking me for bracelets so I answer the call. And what a pleasure it has been to make them! I even specially bought some nice rainbow agate and fire agate focal beads to make more bracelets for my etsy shop. 
This first bracelet is made of enamel covered penny beads that I get from a local bead shop (who gets them from a local bead maker) here in Maine. These four penny beads represent my friend Alisha's four children (3 boys and 1 girl). 

Here are a couple examples of some earrings I've created with these same penny beads:

More necklaces, bracelets, and Constant Galore coming soon!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Teacup Pincushions

A couple of years ago I grabbed some great vintage teacups and my sewing needle and whipped up this idea for pincushions. I was collecting teacups with no real purpose in mind. Here and there I would pot a plant in this one and use that one as a catch-all on my desk. Then I thought: pincushions. Sturdy, classy, and those little saucers would hold all of your odds and ends!

This yellow vintage one was the first of them all (already sold!) : 

And a fun collection of colorful teacups and even more colorful fabrics and I suddenly had a collection of these things. You can find many of these and more still available in my etsy shop:

1) This rad yellow milk pitcher is fitted with a bright purple floral fabric 2) This pastoral scene is complimented with the red floral fabric, no saucer 3) That dahlia fabric is just stunning 4) Gold rimmed with pansy fabric 5) vintage Japanese pottery with floral cushion 6) bright red cushion with black and white checkered saucer.

So fun to create and super colorful to dress up your sewing room!
Visit the pincushion section of my Etsy Shop for more details and other styles.
You can find my entire shop here

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Recipe Tutorial: Super Simple Pimiento Cheese

Let's chat a second about cheese. It is a delicious creation which, I can only assume, was sent down straight from the heavens. Add in some pimientos and now we're talking about a delight sent down from a heaven full of rock stars. You know, the ones that you wish you could party with. Well, that's how I felt the first time I had pimiento cheese.

I was living in the sunny south in Charleston, South Carolina. I remember going to a little cafe in some small town in the "upstate" and seeing grilled pimento cheese sandwich on the menu. Well, now they had my attention. I ordered it wondering what it would be like and when it arrived I realized that I had made one of the best discoveries of my lifetime. Classically served between two slices of white bread, grilled to perfection, and a sweet tea on the side: Rock Star Heaven.

So I began asking local friends for recipes and did some of my own tweaking and came up with this super simple recipe that anyone can make. Have at it! Try it on a sandwich, with crackers, pretzels, or on top of a burger. And I'll tell ya, this recipe is highly adored by my favorite blogger at 145 Crazy Road!

2 cups of shredded Sharp Cheddar
4oz jar of Sliced Pimientos
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
Salt & Pepper to taste

Small Food Processor

Let's talk EASY recipe: Put all of the ingredients into the food process (include the liquid from the pimiento jar) and whip it up until the ingredients are all blended together well. Place in the refrigerator overnight and it will thicken up when it sets.

And there you are! An easy and delicious item that can be used for lunch sandwiches, potluck dip, burger toppings, and so much more. Some other variations include adding garlic, pickles, and other ingredients. I find that this recipe is super simple and always a huge hit! Enjoy!

About the author: Joy Ribisi traded in her sunny summer-all-the-time-beach-cruiser-flip-flopping-Southern-living ways for the quiet farm life of New-England-log-splitting-snow-shoveling-earth-digging-lake-swimming life in Central Maine, some things never change. Like enjoying comfort foods.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Homemade Ricotta Cheese recipe

Homemade Ricotta Cheese!
I am amazed that, in my 33 years of life, I never knew how easy it was to make ricotta cheese.  A cheese I love so much I never bothered to learn the right way to pronounce it.  Who cares?  There's no telling what I'm saying with a mouthful of ricotta, anyway.

So I was flipping through a magazine and BAM, there it was.  A little chunk of Heaven on a to make ricotta at home.  And it's super simple!  So being the benevolent person I am, I demanded that Joy grant me author access to her blog so that I could share it with her fine readers.  By the way, this is Jamie, Joy's twin sister.  Most people mistake us for each other anyway so call me whichever you'd like.  I'll just secretely hold a grudge.

  • Half gallon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (I really like things salty and added a bit extra)
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
That's it for ingredients, I swear!  

Then for supplies you'll need:
  • Cheese cloth
  • Large pot
  • Strainer
  • Large bowl
  • Slotted spoon
hot milk
First thing's first, put all of the milk and kosher salt in the largest pot that you have and get it boiling. Don't do as I did and think your second largest pot is big enough. It's not. Get the bigger one. Milk likes to boil over and burnt milk does not smell good.

if you crisscross the cloth it'll look more beautiful
While that's boiling, line your strainer with 4 layers of cheese cloth. Then put the strainer on top of a large bowl, like so:
Put this over that and then this thing inside of this one.

lumpy milk
Once the milk has boiled, turn it down to a simmer and add the lemon juice.  Stir until lumps form, about 3-5 minutes.  Those lumps are golden bits of ricotta cheese that you are going to stuff into your mouth soon! 

don't make fun of my slotted spoon, I know I need an upgrade
Take a slotted spoon and scoop out all of those lumps and put onto the cheese cloth.  Let drain for 5 minutes.

you can eat it now
That's it!! You can eat it with a spoon (my preferred method), add it to a pasta dish, or refrigerate for up to 4 days.  YUM!!!  Did you know it was so easy?! Now you do!

Like the pottery featured? I got it from the peeps at Clay Coyote Pottery.  Like the red kitchen napkin?  So do I, it's mine.  But you can buy one of your own from 5 O'clock Crows.

Friday, September 9, 2011

And BINGO! ... Then there was a journal!

It all started with some seemingly innocent vintage bingo cards from my etsy shop. I'd sold about 80 of these gems by this point and I had one full set left. A nice new customer from California convoed me to ask if I could send these to her pronto-style since she was teaching a workshop the following week and really wanted to make sure she had them in time. I can pop these into a Priority Mail envelope like nobody's business so of course I said that I could accommodate that request. I also offered the couple extra bingo cards that I had that didn't fit the set of 13 I was offering in my shop. She was so excited and we started talking about what this workshop was all about. When she told me the future existence of these bingo cards were going to be some fun journals I was pretty excited. She offered to send me a sample journal after the workshop and I was just about over the moon with excitement. What a treat!

I scavenged these bingo cards about a year before. They belonged to a grange hall and were lovingly used by the ladies of the Wayne, Maine grange (say that ten times fast with a mouth full of Ritz crackers!). I tried to convince myself that I would make journals with them. I dreamed of having a large collection of journals to write my every thought in. To capture moments in scrapbook style. To fill craft fair tables. Something. But no. Nothing. So I decided to sell them all.

And a couple short weeks later here it was. A gorgeous package in the mail addressed to me. Now I also have a HUGE fascination with getting mail. Not like normal people, I'm pretty sure. I mean that I have a little process in going to mailbox. I walk out the back door (which is really our front door but located in the back of the house. The actual front never rarely gets used. I think it's a Maine thing that I'm still getting used to) I gaze at this large tree we have in our yard and check if it's autumn yet, then I check on my garden and see if anything's ripe, then a little stroll across the street to the mailbox, which is constantly broken, and then a hopeful tug on the cover to see if there are any treasures inside (this whole process is shot to hell if it's snowing out, in which case I usually just pull up at the driveway on my way home from work and jet across the street as quickly as possible to grab the mail). 

So this one day it was there. I quickly opened the package to find a gorgeously packed gift:

The tag, the handmade gift wrap. I mean, seriously. This woman was after some sort of prize. And she won it. I almost didn't want to open it so I took pictures of it to enjoy forever:

So I forced myself to open the package and found inside a gem of a journal made with the almost famous vintage bingo cards:

With some gorgeous details to boot, this is going to be a treasure for me always:

It reminds me of my grandmother, who loved to play bingo. We used to play at the kitchen table when she came on a rare visit. The maps reflect my love of travel... This very well may become my travel journal. Or my sister and I have talked about making this our journal of the whacky things that have happened in our house. Or maybe it'll be a bird watching journal. Who knows. I'm just happy to have it.

*Learn this craft and others in Jeannine Stein's books: 

Visit Jeannine's blog to keep up to date with her great projects: Ink-Stained Book Arts

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New things from old things

So it all began about a year or so ago when I started an album on facebook asking my friends to "Mail Me A Letter or Something" -- and did they ever! One of my my intriguing things that I received, other than the coconut with my address taped to it (see below) was this old earring and necklace set sent from my dear old friend Sarah. Sarah and I have known each other since she was skipping around the playground pretending to be a horse and I was selling little handcrafted trinkets below the jungle gym (some things never change). This little collection she mailed me had the most wonderful story:

The original pieces along with Sarah's letter.

So I waited. And waited. Stared at this set. I didn't want to take it apart for fear of cursing the mojo attached to each little iridescent dangle.  Would a pack of flapper ghosts suddenly find me in my faraway Maine farmhouse and force me to do the Charleston? Would I really mind that kind of punishment? Probably not. I'd even film it and show everyone I encountered.

The time finally came. People kept asking me, "What did you make from that flapper set?" or "What the hell are you waiting for?" So one day I stopped waiting and just started taking it apart. I created three pairs of earrings the first night (with another night of crafting yet to come) and created these beauties that I'm quite proud of:

This is the pair that Sarah and her mother selected to love up.

These chalcedony earrings already sold on Etsy!

This floral set is still for sale on Etsy.

And this is the coconut that I found in my mailbox: