Monday, January 25, 2010

The cute little cooker

One of the gifts under the Christmas tree, labeled "To Mom", was this cute little rice cooker.

I put it to the test last week and ended up with a perfect pot of rice. It could not have been easier! This is all I had to do -
1) measure rice
2) measure water (doesn't even have to be boiling!)
3) put both in pot and push the ON button
When the cooking is finished, the cute little cooker switches to WARM and waits for the rest of the dinner to be ready.

Being a fan of Alton Brown, I was sure that this cute little cooker could do more than just cook rice. I googled "rice cooker recipes" and discovered enough recipes to flood a paddy!

So far, I have tried goulash, and learned that this cute little cooker browns meat!! The recipe needs some work in the flavor department - **shudder** - but that cute little cooker turned out enough goulash to satisfy the monstrous appetite of my dearly beloved, and me, with leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.

Next, I tried Apple Rice Pudding. This recipe, just as I found it, is ready to share. (Wish I could remember where it came from so I could give credit.)

Apple Rice Pudding
- 2 cups apples, peeled cored, and diced
- 1 cup short grain rice (I only had long grain - worked fine)
- 3 cups water (I discovered after I had put the warm water in, that it was supposed to be boiling. Hmmm)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup raisins (unless you love raisins, this amount could be reduced)
- 1 pinch nutmeg
Put all of these ingredients in the rice cooker. "Tell" the rice maker to COOK. When the rice maker switches to WARM, stir in:
- 1 can of condensed milk (CONDENSED! Not evaporated)
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla
Tell it to COOK again. When it switches to WARM, check to see if the pudding looks ready. If there is too much liquid, tell it to cook again, stirring occasionally, until it looks right to you. Garnish with cinnamon (optional) and serve.

So, all of you that have these cute little cookers... get them out! Alton would be proud.

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. II Timothy 3:14,15

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Tuesday was a day full of sitting, writing, cutting, pasting - all in front of a computer screen.

Wednesday, I was ready for an active form of cutting and pasting (more correctly stated - gluing).

Today, I have a new purse (cutting) and my first gel medium transfer (gluing).

Image transfers have aways been intriguing to me. After reading wa-a-a-y to many how-to books and magazine articles, I took the plunge with one of my photos, converted to black and white. It was a simple matter of printing and gluing it to a small canvas... and waiting for glue to dry.

Because my cutting table was filled with transfer stuff, in all stages of wet and dry, I had to move the fabric cutting downstairs to the dining room table. (How many bowls of ice cream can I have after 104 trips up and down the stairs?)

I'll spare you any more details and get to the results.

I love my new purse. It weighs approximately 35 pounds less than the previous model. Aaaah.

The transfer is a WIP. I decided to try anything and everything with it, so right now it's... nothing. After I finish trying anything and everything, and decide which actions are not worth repeating, I'll start again.

Move over Rembrandt.

For all flesh is as grass, and the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth forever. I Peter 1:24,25

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Procrastination and accomplishment - pt. 2

After thinking I should... then saying I would... then starting the process.... I did it! It took hours and hours, but my Etsy shop actually has 4 cards all lined up and looking 'purty'.

What? You don't know Etsy?

Etsy is a wonderful place to find all things handmade. Anything and everything you can imagine - from the sublime to the hokey, it's on Etsy. And today, I joined the throngs of sellers.

This is the second task on my crinkled, old, to-do list that can be crossed off... I'm beginning to scare myself. Could it be that I'm on a roll?

He hath shown thee, O (wo)man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Micah 6:8

Friday, January 15, 2010

Procrastination and accomplishment

I'm wondering if there is anyone out there (besides me) who does this -

1. Buy supplies and tools to learn a new craft.
2. Take supplies and tools to work area to start the learning process... tomorrow.
3. After a few days, put the products away until there is more time to spend learning the new craft.
4. After a few weeks, wonder, what was I going to make?
5. After several months, forget that you were ever going to try learning something new.
I could go on, but you get the idea.

Stamp carving was my procrastination. Convinced that I could learn to do this, I bought the cutter and the soft mat for carving... and then got distracted by a million other things.

Until today. And now... I am hooked. No one should be allowed to have this much fun! I started with simple shapes and within about an hour I had 2 stamps (plus one small puncture wound and a very late dinner).

This is what the process looks like.

Image transferred to the carving block.

Black lines stay. White areas are removed.

Testing for high spots that need to be cut away.

Notice the cupcake stamp in the background...

... it looks like this!

Aaah, life is fun, isn't it?

Happy is the (wo)man that findeth wisdom, and the (wo)man that getteth understanding. Proverbs 3:13

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Will this color work?

Remember this? Plans A & B? The precious cards in this file are the inspiration for some (if I don't hurry up they're going to be late) thank you cards. So, I am back in my workroom, smudging and stamping, gluing and trying.

Trying is the key word here. Because there is no blueprint, trying, ummm... anything! and everything! leads to the wide world of discovery. I'm having waaaaaay to much fun.

I hope the final product says what I want it to - more than "Thank you for the Christmas gift". I hope they read Thank you for the gift, but even more... I'm thankful for you. I love you!

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Letting go

In the process of making gifts, a person can learn so much more than the how-to of doing something new. For me, it was learning to let go. As a result, the gift became much more than the assembled parts and products.

Sometime in October, I decided to make a scrapbook for my son that would include photos, etc., from birth to college.

The photos were no problem. I scanned, repaired, re-sized and printed. I filled in around them with names, dates and stories.

The first stumbling blocks were just little things, like our matching hospital-issue, plastic bracelets from his birth day and the tiny knots of black thread, saved upon removal after his first ER experience.

When considering the embellishments for the pages (altered art always includes one-of-a-kind additions), I pulled out the treasures accumulated from years of poking around dusty shops and sales. Stumbling block #2 - can I let these go, knowing nothing like them will cross my hands again?

It took a minute or two on both counts... but a gift is only a gift when it costs something.

When my son opened that package, he showed his wife a scrapbook. What he had in his hands was a piece of my self.

Lesson learned.

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. I John 3:18

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Little things

I'm having some trouble getting the writing side of my brain back into gear. The hustle to finish, wrap and tuck Christmas presents under the tree has taken its toll on my creativity.

So, I will do what I always do when the words won't flow... put down exactly what is floating around in my head without any editing-as-I-go.

I have spent the last two days bringing the house back to normal after celebrating Christmas with our family on Sunday. The decorations are put away; the leftover Christmas chili is in the freezer; all the furniture is back in its usual place. The last scraps of tape have been unstuck from the carpet and I'm doing my best to eat up the holiday goodies while they are still fresh.

This morning, I found a tiny remnant of all the happiness on the old zinc counter in the kitchen. (The light was better by the table, so I moved it to take pictures.)

Where did this come from? How did it survive four+ sets of hands cleaning the kitchen? Look at how small it is!

This minute reminder of fellowship, laughter and hugs from the people I love warmed my whole day. God is good to me.

He will bless them that fear the Lord, both small and great. Psalm 115:13