Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Clearnance Sale

Just in time to treat yourself with some of that money you got for Christmas!  We've lowered the prices on dozens of our jewelry items.  By lowered, I mean we've cut them in half!   Here are just a few to get you started.  See the rest in our Art Fire shop

Small Aubergine Purple Floral Earrings

Copper and Glass Bead Wire Wrapped Cuff Bracelet

Blue Coral Stitch Floral Bangle Bracelet - Hand Beaded

Green and Gold Beaded Chain Link Bracelet

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The View From My Window

Good morning on this Winter day from Southwestern New York!  Every once in a while I post the view from my window.  Here is yesterday's!  The snow was late in coming, but boy is it ever making up for lost time.


and then a little while later at 9 am....

Nice view eh?

Hope you are all keeping warm.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Oh, Get Real!

    I hate magazines.  The majority of them at least.  There are a few, like National Geographic or Smithsonian that I can tolerate.  Most of them are just fiction mashed in between ads.  Someone gave me a subscription to a couple of them last year for Christmas.  Don't get me wrong.  I love the idea.  I relish the time I can spend curled up with one of them.  It's a chance to forget some of the unpleasant realities of my life.  Open them and you can travel into a fantasy world of what their editors think is reality, or want us to think is reality.

    One that came in the mail this month is titled so you would think it was aimed at those of us living in the country.  What a joke.  One beautiful home owned by rich professionals who moved to a rural area within spitting distance of megalopolis areas made me chuckle.  I live in the country.  I mean IN the country.  There is a lawyer living near us.  She lives over her office and drives a little station wagon. That same wagon has been in the driveway for years.  No glamor there.   The writer glamorizes the goat herd housed in the pristine looking barn in the photograph  Perhaps it was unintentional, but they made it sound so profitable and wonderful. Believe me, there is nothing glamorous about goats!  They stink, they have to be milked every day, their stalls have to be mucked out and they can get downright mean.  There's no time for trips to the big city to buy all that fancy furniture that we country folks are supposedly decorating our homes with.   You can't have white rugs and couches if you raise goats!  Not unless your mud room includes a car wash strength shower.

    Okay, so I got over the goat thing.  Let that two income professional couple think they live the country life.  I'm sure compared to their Manhattan friends, they do.  I  turned a few pages to read something to the effect of "It only looks expensive".  There was a pretty model with a frilly blouse on for the holidays that "only" costs $89.  Eighty-nine dollars for a blouse?  Honey, in my book that IS expensive, especially when there's no way that shirt can be worn for much more than Christmas parties.  I was once told that the only difference between my Summer wardrobe and my Winter one was the length of my slacks.  The thing about it is, they were right, except that in the Winter I tend to wear a turtle neck under the Summer shirts.  IF I had $89 to blow on clothes it sure wouldn't be on a frilly blouse that can't be worn year round.  I might consider getting some new boots though.

   Somewhere in my holiday reading I saw a menorah made entirely out of salt and pepper shakers.  I don't know how many salt and pepper shakers most country folks have on hand, but unless they collect them, I'll bet not enough to light a candle every night of Hanukkah.   I'd make it through the 6th night if I dumped the salt and pepper out first..  Most country folk I know don't keep a lot of stuff they can't use on a regular basis.

   One more rant and I'm done.  A while back one of the magazines dedicated to keeping your house in good form decided it was necessary to advise me about my underwear drawer.  They had a beautiful picture of pretty colored panties all nicely rolled and lined up in a special divider.  Lovely to look at but who the heck looks in your undies drawer?  My white only collection is lucky to make it out of the laundry basket before I need to wear them again.  It only reinforced my belief that magazine editors have absolutely no idea what country life is like.  If you are going to be milking and mucking out the goat barn, you sure as heck aren't going to have the time, or the energy to line your underwear up in neat little dividers.

   When is someone going to write a magazine that is REALLY for the real country life?

Monday, November 29, 2010

One More Featured Bakery

The days when cookies must appear on our holiday dessert table are quickly approaching!  I can't believe Thanksgiving is over already.  I have one more bakery I promised I'd share with you.  I just popped over there and was wowed by her Christmas cookies as well as the rest.  You are not going to want to miss this one!  Hurry on over to Lori's Place on Etsy if you need to fill your holiday plates, but hurry.  She will be closing down December 13th to fill her holiday orders.  Lori's Place is a licensed bakery in the state of Florida, so no worries about the environment your cookies will be made in.

For starters, look at this wonderful Christmas Cookie Mix.

Do they look yummy or what?

This one is a great gift idea.  9 of these beautiful snowflakes come packed in a tin ready to give away. I love how they match the tin!

Look at the detail that went into decorating these traditional trees.  Oh, my.... sure beats the colored sugar I toss on mine!

Lori knows cookies are not just for Christmas.   Here's a peek at some of her other creations.  You will have to check out her shop to see them all.  There are just too many to picture here!

Luau Party Tiki Cookies

School Daze

Royal Frogs

This wraps up my featured bakery list, at least for now.  I hope you found some great places to order your holiday cookies!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Featured Bakery - Southern Girl Bakery

I found another great looking bakery on Etsy just in time for the holidays.  Southern Girl Bakery, "Where every day is sweet".   Take a look at some of their holiday cookies.  I have many of the same cutters.  I just wish I had the talent it takes to turn out such beautiful works of art.  I don't know if I could eat them after all the work that goes into them!

I really like the home made, primative look of their cookies.  Best of all, you get to choose what flavor you would like.  Many bakeries do not give you that option.  Here you can choose from vanilla, almond, harvest spice or eggnog for your holiday treats.  Each cookie is frosted with their special creamy Madagascar vanilla royal frosting.

Your cookies are baked to order.  Ordering two weeks in advance is requested.  I think you'd better plan on grabbing your spot now for Christmas cookies.  As cute as they are, her time spots are likely to fill up fast!

If you want to try to bake your own cookies this year, don't forget we have the cutters available.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Featured Bakery - The Sweet Shop Cookie Company

I promised you more great bakeries, and I found one on Art Fire.  Shannon of The Sweet Shop Cookie Company is selling her beautifully decorated sugar cookies there.   Shannon's earliest memories of baking cookies was along side her Mom who she graciously gives the credit to for her talent.  She has found an outlet for her love on Art Fire.   In her words "The Sweet Shop Cookie Company, whimsical, designer sugar cookies made for every occassion. Our cookies are fun, delicious and affordable."   They certainly look wonderful.  Here are a few of them:

Look at the detail in her snowflake cookies!  I'm ashamed to admit I've been telling everyone how easy snowflakes are to decorate.  I just frost them white and toss on some glitter.  Obviously, Shannon puts a lot more effort into hers!


How about cookies for a baby shower?  I have the cutters, but I've never even attempted to come up with some of these wonderful designs!  Shannon lets you pick the shapes and colors to match your party.

Looking for something a little less traditional for your next bash?  How about some of these "Artsy Stars"
The colors are amazing..

BUT WAIT - There's more!
Shannon can also be found here: where there are even more designs to choose from.   Hop on over and check it out.

All photo's used with permission

Friday, November 5, 2010

Here It Comes

It is a good thing I got my last walk around the meadow in when I did (see previous post).  The next morning there was a heavy frost and now look at it!

The snow isn't sticking to the ground - yet.  It will.  This is Buffalo snow area.  Even if if our sports teams stink, we can count on getting recognized for our snow.  For those of you who do not live near a large body of water, you probably have never seen lake effect snow.  Sometimes I can stop at the top of the escarpment and watch Lake Erie sucking up the water.  You can really see it.  Then, it very nicely skips the low lying lake plain and starts dumping it just about the time it reaches my place.  THUD!  

I still have a couple more bakeries to feature.  I'll get back to them soon for those of you who are trying to get into the holiday baking mode.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Let's Take A Walk Just Before the Snow

Snow is in the forecast for Western New York.  Some places have had a few flurries already.  This is the latest I can remember the first flakes flying.  Yesterday the sun was shining so I thought I'd get in one more walk into the meadow before I can't get out there anymore this year.  Come along with me...

This grove of Sumac trees has been cut back and cut back.  We tried killing them.  We tried burning them.  They just will not give up.  So - I'm going to have to let them grow.  It will make a great "jungle' for my grandsons to play in when they're old enough.

Sumac aren't all bad.  Look at the beautiful reds, oranges and yellows their leaves turn in the Fall!

My Dad planted this pear tree at least 30 years ago.  This year the only pears were on the very top where I have no hope of reaching them, even with my apple picker.  See those tiny dots way up there?   I had to leave them for the critters.

Believe it or not, this is Goldenrod.  It's so pretty and fluffy when it's gone to seed.  Oh how I wish it was a cash crop because I'd be very wealthy.  There MUST be some use for it!

What a wonderful surprise!  Autumn Raspberries still on the vine!  Well, they were on the vine before I took the picture and then gobbled them up.

Another surprise treat.  A late Spring frost killed off most of the apples.  There were two on the tree and I could only reach one.  There is absolutely nothing like a cold, crisp, wild apple.  All those fancy breeds have done is breed the taste right out of them.  They may be bigger and prettier, but they will never taste as good as my wild apples do!

This is a shot of the brush just before the woods start.  When I was a girl this was all open pasture.  Years of neglect and no animals to eat it down have turned it into this.

More Sumac!  It's everywhere.  This lot stands where I would put a barn if I were as rich as I'd like to be.  Can't you see a nice, big, red barn standing there instead of weeds?   All I can do is dream.  

Almost home again.  That's not my place.  My house is much nicer.  I just didn't get it in a picture this time.  The bus used to stop for me out there, many years ago.  In fact, I noticed the bus number on this one was 162.  My bus number was 32.  Oh, it was a long time ago!

I'm back home and ready for a long New York Winter.  I have my jigsaw puzzles ready, lots of projects for Christmas and TONS of beads so I'm as prepared as I can be.  


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Featured Baker - Sunshine Bakes

Continuing our mini series featuring online bakeries, today we present Sunshine Bakes who can be found on Etsy.

Sunshine Bakes is owned and operated by a working Mom who has a passion for cooking and baking.  During her culinary schooling she worked for and studied under a pastry chef and her works shows it!   Just look at these great cookies she has for sale on Etsy at SunshineBakes.

 All of the baking is done in a commercial kitchen which is always an added plus in my book.  What I really like about Sunshine Bakes is they are willing to give you a choice of flavors and colors for your cookies.  Suggested flavors for the cookie dough are Vanilla Bean, Cardamom, Orange, Lemon or Almond.  Don't they sound great?   Each cookie will come wrapped and tied with coordinating ribbon .  Fancy eh?  Just open the box and they're ready for your party.

   I bake, but nothing ever looks as good as the cookies from this bakery.  Giver her a try for your next party.

If you want to try your hand at making some of your own cookies, we have the cutters.  Just zip on over to Cookie Cutter Guy on Art Fire.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Featured Bakery - T and C Bakery

I thought I would do something new for a change.  Instead of just posting boring pictures of metal cookie cutters, how would you like to see some of the things made using the cutters?   I was surfing around Etsy earlier this week and saw the beautiful results some bakers get with decorated sugar cookies. It was just a natural progression to share them with you. 

T and C Bakery

T and C Bakery is owned by Carrie who is a work at home mom with two little toddlers.  Quite frankly, I don't see how she could possibly find time to bake, let alone make the beautiful creations she sells on Etsy.  When I plugged "sugar cookie" into the Etsy search bar my eye immediately went to the above picture that popped up as a result.  I have that Daisy cutter only mine is a little bit bigger.  The big difference is, my idea of "decorating" them is to put a few drops of food coloring into the dough.  Carrie carefully covers each of her cookies with royal icing and painstakingly adds piped details.  I have a cake decorating set - somewhere....

Planning a birthday party?  Wouldn't these "Ice Cream Cones" be a great substitute for that messy cake?  If you HAVE to have a cake to hold candles, send each guest home with a cookie.  Carrie will wrap them individually for you.

 Just so we don't forget that the thermometer is plunging once again and Winter is just around the corner here in North America, here's a wonderful mitten.  Again - I own one just like it.  Never used it of course.   Look at the amazing detain in the snowflake and the "fuzz" on the cuff!

Last, but not least is my personal favorite.

Okay, so it's really a vanilla sugar cookie.  It LOOKS like pizza!  Each one comes in it's own pizza box.  I love it.  

Carrie makes every order fresh from scratch and ships it out the same day.   You can find her on Etsy here:
Check it out!

I'll be featuring a few more wonderful bakers in the coming days, so keep watching.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Just Around the Corner - Holiday Baking and Crafting!

Here in Western New York the leaves are almost completely off the trees. My thermometer is reading 41 degrees and snow is in the forecast for this week. That can only mean one thing. Holiday baking season is starting. In the past I've baked so many cookies for the hoildays that I had to start this early and freeze them. The wonderful thing about sugar cookies is you can freeze them right out of the oven and decorate them later when the kids and grandkids are around to help.

Here's is another great gift idea using cookie cutters that can wait until the last minute. Gather up a bunch of cutters and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper then mix up your favorite fudge recipe and pour it into the cutters. Let them set up firm and pop each one, cutter and all into a festive clear bag. It makes a perfect gift for teachers, the mail man, and anyone else on your list you need just a small present for. It's a "now and later" gift because they get to keep the cutter.

Need a unique, quick gift? Melt some wax with some scent and color and pour it into cutters. Poke a hole in the top, sting a ribbon through it and you have a good smelling ornament for your tree.

There are many more ideas online. Just plug "cookie cutter crafts" into your search engine and see for yourself. Suckers, ornaments, soap.... the list is a long one.

Here are a few of our holiday cutters to get your creative juices flowing. Dig out your old ones, buy some new ones and just have fun creating!