Whenever I am down- feeling low and uncertain in life- I do three things:

first- I read incessantly.002

  • Like this little mouse I walk around with a book and read

wherever I may stop.

second- I cook or bake.010

There is nothing like food or cake to lighten your mood.


pineapple cake with cream cheese frosting and raspberries!

And finally- I knit.  I knit a lot.



And I’m still knitting.  I work myself out of depression.

My husband would like it better if I would clean when I’m down.

I only clean when I am feeling happy, though.  So right now-

my house is a mess- but every one’s tummy is full.

And my hands, neck and head is warm.

What do you do when you are down?

Book and craft- (maybe even, ART!)


 I found this book at our local used book shop/funding literacy campaign.

It was torn and they were going to toss it, but I loved the illustrations- needlework with antique

fabrics, sequins and felt.

So I rescued the book, cut out the torn page( thankfully it didn’t affect the story) taped two pages

together to make it whole, and then I made the two felted sea horses to go with the story.



When I began felting my wool pieces some years ago, I wanted

to try out the process and used a pair of gold wool slippers I had

knitted but was not fond of- and they became a very small pair of

gold wool slippers that I had no real use for anymore.   But I didn’t

throw them away, because I like the texture and the reminder of

how much wool shrinks when felted.

So I rummaged through my old fabric trunk, came up with some sheets

of yellow felt and appliqued the seahorses onto the slipper.


Then I added some identifying stitches, an eye and sequins.

I used the pictures from the book to make the pattern for the

Sea horses- I wanted them to add to the fun of identifying the

hidden or Secret sea horses throughout the book.

We sent them off on Monday to Oyster Bay- I’m hoping the little boys

enjoy the book in person as much as they did when I read it to them on Skype.

020 And then – because I had gotten rid of a pair

of slippers, I made another pair.


I crocheted some faux fur on the edges- they remind me of lions.

And now I’m going to knit a couple of hats- I found a pattern I can follow

and like- and am going to teach my niece to make a knitted hat over the

next week.   We are going to Chincoteague for a couple of days so that

will be our evening project!

Seasoned and specialty salts- BACON SALT!


I made these up for my family.

We were going to meet tonight to celebrate the fact that we are family.

And that we missed our time together over the holidays.

But there is a huge snowstorm on the way and possibly 9 1/2 inches of snow.

So- it may be a while before I get to give them these little tokens of love and

good taste!


Bacon salt, fine sea salt w/herbs de Provence, Vanilla

salt, and Black Hawaiian  salt with hickory smoke.

Olive oils and balsamic vinegars.


Bacon, pink Himalayian salt, and 3 colored peppercorns.

I found the recipe here, on Chopinandmysaucepan.

I added just a bit to sauteed cauliflower and it was transformed!



Vanilla salt- Hawaiian red salt and vanilla beans- great

in cookies, salted caramel Anything, lightly salted on

sweet muffins.


Fine sea salt w/herbs de Provence.

This is great on pasta, in pizza dough, on any veg that needs

a little pizzazz!



Black salt with hickory smoke.

This is perfect on pork shoulder to make pulled pork.

Or rubbed onto turkey breast before  roasting it.


All packaged up and ready to go

But I’m not going to see them tonight.

So- if you were supposed to be there tonight- I’ll try to get

them to you.

And if you are reading this and want one of these salts-

let me know and I’ll send some to two of you chosen randomly!

Summer Garden


NOT mine.

My garden looks very new.  And slightly uncertain.

I took too long to plant- spent too little time caring for it.

And although my containers are looking rather nice, the garden

itself is not up for public display, yet.

But Saturday, I went to Ally’s garden and took a little tour.


The garlic is looking fine!  She made some scape pesto last week

– although she hasn’t shared the recipe- I hear it was VERY good.


Here we are admiring the bean tower- there are tiny little velvet beans



The basil and nasturtiums are so happy!


And the thyme was blooming!


It was toe tappingingly tempting!!


And the lavender was lush with blooms.



So I picked some and made some lavender wands.

I think Allyson has better dirt than I do.

The secret to a good garden- timing and dirt.

Handmade pay it forward


Got this from my nephew’s blog– he got it from a friend.

I’m not sure if it is against the rules, but I’m going to try to

enter on both of theirs and see what the “pay” looks like!

Here are the rules:


I promise to send something handmade to the first 3 people who leave a comment on this post saying that they will also participate in Pay It Forward – 2011.

Those 3 commenters must fulfill the following requirements:

1. You must also participate in Pay It Forward on your blog, making this same offer to 3 other people.

2. The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it must be sent to your 3 people *sometime* in 2011.

I did this on Facebook and ended up with a wonderful chocolate ganache cake.

It is a lot of fun and I love the promotion of people making stuff for each other.

So- what do you think? 

What should I make?

What would you like?

And comment please , even if you don’t want to sign up.

I haven’t posted lately and I miss hearing from you.  Smile

Hanging with the icicles!


Sub zero temperatures.

This is not about the weather.  Or at least, not complaining about the

weather.  But we have been going through a cold snap.


My rhododendren is partially encased in ice.

In fact there is a symphony of ice sculpture around the house.



Even my glass bowl of marbles is frozen in place.

So I’m spending a lot of time in my kitchen.

Where I can be warm inside and out! Smile


There is nothing like beef stew and dumplings with fresh bread to warm you up!


And if you want to warm up your kitchen, make a batch of granola- nutty and grainy-

salty and sweet- baked for 4 hours at 275 degrees F !   It makes the kitchen toasty and

the aroma is just plain wonderful!  Bakeries don’t smell this good!!!

I could put up recipes.

Do you want them?

Because I’d RATHER show you some pictures of buttons.

I collect buttons.  Or I did.

I’ve used them in a lot of projects.


Like wreaths…





And pins and trees-


I just can’t find my button box right now.

And that is frustrating.

Kind of like hanging with icicles- cold and drippy with only a puddle at the end.

I’m going back to my craft room to look again.

Wish me luck!

Guess what I’m knitting?


AND following a pattern to make!


Handwarmers- or fingerless mittens!

I made the hat a couple of years ago.

The scarf I knitted up whilst watching Lord of the Rings.

And the fingerless mitts ?  Allison of Yellowbird Yarn Room- –

my knitting coach and friend shared a copy of a pattern she

was making.

So – I now have a whole winter knitted set!


And it is so warm and “toasty” *!

*- toasty is the name of the pattern for the mittens!

What are you making ?

Pocket book slippers- in a couple of hours!



Size No.10 Needles
4 Ply chunky yarn
Cast on 5 sts.
Knit 6 rows.
Next Row: Increase in 2nd stitch of each row until you have 22 stitches on the needle.
Next Row: Increase in each stitch to 44 sts.
Next Row: Knit 2, Purl 2 for 6 inches.
Next Row: Knit 2 together across giving you 22 sts.
Next Row: Decrease in 2nd stitch at beginning of every row until you have 5 sts.

Knit 6 rows.
Cast off, fold in half and sew the K2, P2 sides together and the 5 sts on top together to form strap.
Decorate with buttons or beads , embroidery, ribbons- whatever your heart desires!


They are really cute and quick to make!  And they fit into your purse!


I made these today!


DSC01418 I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time.

Since summer’s end, actually.

But things went awry.

I made plans, started working on projects- but some major parts of them didn’t come to fruition- so I started thinking up new plans.

And then I started working on some gift exchanges and that brought me back to the earlier idea of giving away a gift from Steps on the Journey.

I wanted to make note cards- but it just didn’t come together.

So- I have a pumpkin tea cozy- and some Santa cinnamon stirring sticks that I made to give away to one of you, my friends and family in the blogging universe.

Leave a comment, or a verse, or a seasonal wish between now and next Thursday ( when I will be in Chincoteague!) – and I will send you a happy little knitted pumpkin cozy for your teapot and a cup cozy to match.  I may even throw in some homemade chai tea mix- and cinnamon stir sticks.

I’d love to hear from you!


I may not be able to get it to you before Christmas- but it will be nice in the new year, as well.  🙂

Finding St. Nicholas and a spice cookie recipe



image image

I was a little reluctant to start these cookies.  My expectations were too high.

I was hoping to make in gingerbread and icing that which I could hardly sketch with pencils.

But they turned out quite nice, in my opinion.


They started out rather amorphous shapes.

Then I outlined them with royal icing.

(basically egg whites, cream of tartar and 10x sugar)

DSC04802 DSC04803

Then after painting them with a white glaze, I started defining the design.    Because I wanted them a deep red, the icing needed a lot of red food coloring, and even then it wasn’t dark or rich enough, so I added a sprinkling of red sanding sugar.  This added the depth of color and a wonderful texture.

DSC04805 ,

The smaller St. Nick had a small ball spatter that gave it a more rustic look.


I had a lot of red icing left- so I made some apples as well and added gourmet red sugar to the look-

DSC04810 it sure added to the sparkle!

Here’s the recipe for the cookies- I tried to convert it for you metric users.

(If I were you, I’d double check my measurements- I’m not a whiz at math!)

Spice Cookies


1 cup (227 grams) shortening

3/4 cup (652 grams) brown sugar

3/4 TBS cinnamon

3/4 tsp of ginger, cloves, nutmeg

2 large eggs

1 cup (342 grams) molasses

3/4 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

4 1/2 cup (482 grams) AP flour


Cream together shortening, sugar,spices- add eggs, beating in until smooth.  Add molasses, again beating until smooth.  Stir in dry ingredients, mix until you have a sticky mess!  Well, maybe not a mess, but the dough is quite sticky! 

You will be adding flour when you roll them out – but for right now stick into the refrigerator, and leave overnight.

Roll out and cut into shapes- or make into balls and roll in sugar and bake at 375 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 8-10 minutes


And decorate to your heart’s delight!

Now I’m off to make the stuffing!