Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Apple Cider Salted Caramels...

These are NOT caramels!   I overcooked my mixture by just a smidge and ended up with Apple Cider Salted Hard Candy. It is still delicious!  At Thanksgiving my Daughter-in-Love made the most delicious Apple Cider Salted Caramels. Soft and chewy and so delicious. 
So...I wanted to make them.

She gave me the link to Smitten Kitchen and the recipe. Click here for your recipe.  I gathered my ingredients and got to cooking.  All was going well until...I almost reduced all of the apple cider.  It looked like I had foam only but I continued.  These are very easy to make...if you pay attention.

I poured my cooked batch into my prepared pan.  It looked amazing.  I let it sit to cool off.  And this is when I discovered I must have overcooked it by just a smidge. My caramels are not soft and cannot be cut with an oiled knife!  Ruined!  I was very sad.  Mr. C to my rescue. He suggested I break it up with a hammer.

I took my hard rock slab and a clean kitchen towel to his workshop.  Then I got his big heavy hammer and began to break pieces.  No need to wrap these delicious jewels in parchment paper.  They are in a container and ready for my pleasure.  These pieces merely melt in my mouth!  I am not going to waste them...since I love sugar and all candy.  Yes, I will try to make the real caramels in the future. For now I am enjoying the yummy flavor of my Apple Cider Salted Hard Candy.
We have been having some rain.  So refreshing and the hills are the most divine green colors.  My prayers continue for everyone across our Nation who are experiencing radical weather.  It is unbelievable that Highway 101 remains closed in the Santa Barbara/Montecito area of California.
January days are going by so quickly I just cannot keep up.  So I shall remain Mindful of each and every hour...even if I have no idea what day it is.
Creative Bliss and Valentine HeArts to each of you my dears...<3

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Powder Room Finish...

Before Christmas Mr. C decided to shred our Powder Room. We both agreed it needed updating.  That was only after we each confessed that neither of us really loved the old Victorian look with the dark navy blue wallpaper covered in little pink roses.  Taking that petrified wallpaper off with its vintage border was a lot of work! It only came off in tiny little bits.  It took 8 full days to remove.  Then Mr. C worked his handyman magic and resurfaced every wall. Primed walls and ceiling and then put on two coats of a lovely light shade of gray excellent quality paint.

Now the Powder Room looks brand new and fresh and bright.  No more 1980's bright brass fixtures.  No more dark dated wallpaper and border.  Simple clean lines and just a bit of sexy curves.

Job well done Mr. C!  I do hope there are no more major changes to be done.  It is exhausting and messy and expensive. 
My blog friend Donna of Brynwood Needleworks sent me a lovely little pin with my last order before the holidays. The pin says, "Choose JOY".  Here is what the card reads:
Choose to live each day with joy in your heart.  You have the power to determine your journey.
Achieve your destination through inner strength.  Reach out - let your life be an adventure.
Look for the unseen, listen to the silence.  Open your mind and heart to opportunities.
Believe in yourself and your dreams.  Choose Joy for the Journey!
This speaks to my being Mindful as I travel through each day of 2018.  Thank you Donna Dear.  I hope each of you choose JOY as you travel your Journey.  JOYful January to each of you...<3

Friday, January 5, 2018

Fresh New Year 2018...

I always enjoy a Fresh New Year with its promises of greatness.  I do not make Resolutions however I have selected a word each year.  I wasn't going to this year however it selected me.  MINDFUL
I shall be Mindful of each and every day as I am determined to make the best of every moment.
In the first few days I was able to accomplish this UFO.  I joined in Pam Kellogg's CQ ATC swap.  You can check out her blog here...Kitty and Me Designs.  This is the second Crazy Quilted Artist Trading Card (ATC) I am submitting. 

I am fairly new to Crazy Quilting and I learn with each project I create.  This ATC looks a little wonky but it is merely my finishing zig zag stitching. This is 2.5" x 3.5" which is the required size.  I am calling this one "Birds and Flowers".  I really like the greens and pinks together.
I came across this Lean Cuisine quote from a few years ago and would like to share it with you.
"The road to success is not straight.  There is a curve called Failure, a loop called Confusion, speed bumps called Friends, and caution lights called Enemies.  You will have flat tires called Jobs, but if you have a spare called Determination, an engine called Perseverance, a driver called Will Power, you will make it to a place called Success."
May each of you have a Blessed 2018 with lots of Peace, Joy, Health and Creative Bliss...<3

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Farewell 2017...Welcome 2018...

Saying farewell to 2017 is easy even though I feel like time is speeding faster than I can keep up.  Mr. C and I chose "Discover" as our word for 2017 and it did not disappoint us.  We discovered much in the past 12 months.  More on this as I post.  I managed to make Martha Stewart's Egg Nog Caramels. Click this link for her recipe.   It was almost a soupy disaster however I managed to cut and roll them into little bite-sized bits of yumminess.  Wrapped in parchment paper and bundled to give as gifts they were successful after all.

Having our home listed for seven months with the first broker and then 5 months with the second broker was a huge discovery for us.  We spent a ransom in upgrading everything from the landscaping to re-painting the exterior trim from blue to white and lots of indoor paint and carpet based on each broker's suggestions.  Well! We had only seven people actually tour in person and we had ZERO offers.  Not even an insultingly too low of an offer.  We became exhausted living in a fish bowl 24/7...just in case of a showing.  We also became very discouraged with the lack of effort put forth by the brokers.  December we removed our home from MLS.  As you can see in the photo above, we are not done spending time and money on trying to find a buyer who wants this beautiful peaceful serene home.

Our powder room will be current and hopefully appeal to the finicky buyers there are nowadays.  Mr. C is a very hard worker and he very much deserves to have this home sold.  He is so ready to move out of our native state.  We took a road trip recently to confirm how much our chosen destination tugs at our heartstrings.  Yes, Yes, Yes!!!  Now we merely have to overcome our rapidly declining purse strings and move on...PLEASE!!!
I have no witty year end post.  I do have some thoughts on how I would like 2018 to be kind to us.  I am not going to select a word as I have done in so many past years.  Instead I am going to be much more MINDFUL of how I spend my time and talents. I am in charge of my Creative Bliss...she says while stamping her feet!
I would like to share this quote by Sally Berger which I recently saw on a Mary Englebright image:
"The secret of getting ahead is getting started."  How very fitting for me due to my always waiting for the right time or the right knowledge or the perfect situation.  "If not now...when?"
I have been so grateful for you, my faithful followers, as you share your time and talents with blogland and other social media forums.  I am inspired and humbled.
Blessings for Peace, Love, Bliss and lots more Creativity for all of 2018...xo <3

Friday, December 15, 2017

Harry & David Pears...

Thank you Tom and Joanne for the lovely Harry and David Pears.  Thankfully I opened the box and discovered the pears are ripe and need to be eaten right now!  I believe the instructions inside the box should be on the outside.  Who knew the pears would ripen faster in the gift box left on the kitchen counter for two days.  Well there is no way two of us can eat nine pears right now. So...

I got busy washing and cutting and prepping to save the pears.  Even Mr. C was shocked to see so many pans on the stove.  I made 8 cups of simple sugar syrup.  Then boiled both the syrup and pear slices together for two minutes.

Now my pear slices are cooling. These slices are no longer crisp but rather mushy.  The will have to be eaten like sautéed fruit.  I will be searching Google and Food sites for interesting ways to use these.  I do love a crumble coffee cake or cobbler.

Here is my resulting mason jar and two quart baggies of "preserved" Harry and David Pears.  Do you have any favorite ways of eating "mushy" pear slices? I would love to have you share your recipes.  Thank you very much. 
I have been handwriting my Christmas cards.  Yes, I do prefer to handwrite the envelope address and a personal message inside each card.  Sometimes this is the only time of year we connect with past friends or family and I want everyone to know I am thinking of them with each pen stroke.
Staying busy this time of year is a must, yet we also must take time for ourselves to eat right and get enough sleep and not stress over everything.  Do only what you can do and others will understand.
Merry Christmas Blessings...xo