Friends in Blogland are Like Flowers in the Desert

A beautiful time spent this year with you,
Happy New Year with Good Wishes Sent Your Way...

Good For Man and Beast By Making Sweet Potato Chips

This might be a good New Year Party and Super Bowl Day Snack and a healthy alternative due to the humble Sweet Potato's  anti-inflammatory benefits.  It's high in fiber, loaded with vitamins and is good for skin, hair, eyes, and coat- that's the beast part.  Some dog food incorporates sweet potatoes and if it's good for Lucy, who has more energy than I do,  I have to give the sweet potato a try.

One Medium Sweet Potato, cleaned and thinly sliced on each foil lined cookie sheet.
I've never eaten sweet potatoes except when I microwaved one and ate it as a regular baked potato and another time when I sneaked some mashed sweet potato into the regular mashed and called it a turnip.

Drizzle with oil, Sprinkle with Herbs and Toss to coat.
So, here we go.  I made Oven Baked Sweet Potato Chips, fries are popular, but I thought to try the chips so as to have them as a salty and crunchy snack.  They were delicious and in order to get a photo to show you the finished process, I had to quickly take the bowl and hand it back!
There are several ways to make the chips:

Tossed with Olive Oil or Canola Oil and Your Favorite Herbs and Spices. Placed single layer on a baking sheet.
Placed single layer on a baking sheet, then Sprayed with Cooking Oil Spray then sprinkled with herbs, spices, even finely grated cheese.

Choose one and then bake in a low temperature oven, preferably 200F for about 45 minutes, check on them, give a stir or flip them and continue the low temperature baking until done.  This could take another hour or more +/-.

I started the chips at 415F and that was too high, then I lowered the oven temp to finish the baking.  My chips tasted lovely, but next time I will try the cooking oil spray and use parchment paper lined trays.

These are too tasty to be healthy, but they were worth the effort, although the aroma while waiting for the finished chips was distracting.  Please share if you try these and if you make them a different way.

Christmas Sunrise in Stripes of Candy Colors Before the Beast Emerges

The view from my kitchen window about 7am on Christmas morning was so pretty I took this photo and thought to share it with you.  I don't know what's in the atmosphere to make these pink stripes, there's probably a scientific explanation, but I'd rather just appreciate God's artistry for now.

Christmas was the first day in a while that the sun made an appearance and stayed with us all day.  There was frost on the car windows and a teeny bit of snow on the grass, but crisp, clear, and cold in the 30's F.  How did Christmas find you?  Hope your Christmas weather was beautiful and lots of happy memories were made throughout the day.

Ahh, those cherished quiet moments as above show the calm before the beast awakes.  Not wanting to show off her present, I managed to get one photo which was not a blur of her in perpetual action:

Every Good Wish For You This Christmas

Every good wish for you, that's what I wish for you.
All the blessings of  the season, 
from east to west and north to south, 
Wherever you may be and given freely all the days of your life.

Merry Christmas 
 Happy New Year!

The Bride Gets an Inkjet Copy Transfer and Secret Santa Aceo

There's a lady underneath the old washcloth.  She's going to get a good scrubbing and then she will be fit for entertaining visitors- that would be you.  Why is she covered up?  This lady is an Inkjet Copy Transfer and this is her virgin excursion.  That would be my first attempt with the transfer process and I think the end result is fair considering that.

If you want to try this process too, this is what I did:

Little by little the lady is revealed.
First make your copy on the copier.  All of the info I read said that you could not use a regular inkjet copy, that you must use an inkjet toner based copy, and not a laser copy.  I used a regular inkjet copy.  My image is graciously and generously provided by the terrific Karen at Graphics Fairy.   The image is of a bride in a blue dress and can be found here.  Linking this to the Brag Monday post here and to IA theme  here.

The second step was to paint a 5x7 canvas panel with acrylic paint and let it dry thoroughly.  You don't have to paint your panel and you could use a different surface, wood for example.  Put something under the panel to protect  your counters or desk if you need to, I used waxed paper.

The third step was to cover the copy's good side, the side facing you, with medium gel; I used Liquitex Matte Gel.  Don't miss any spots.  Then take the copy and lay it on the canvas panel with the gel touching the panel.  I read that you could use Modge Podge in place of the gel, but I didn't try it.

The fourth step was to put more gel on top of the copy, cover it thoroughly and evenly, not too thickly and work out all the bubbles and creases with any tool or your fingers.  I used one of those plastic credit cards the banks keep sending to entice me to open an account and I also used my fingers.  Be extra careful not to move the copy.  It'll be wet and want to smoosh around.  Don't let it dance on your panel.

The fifth step is to forget about the panel until the next day, probably at least 8 hours or more.  When it's completely dry, you'll know.  The copy will seem to blend right into the panel, smooth, dry, and flat.
The paper even comes away in little peels.
The sixth step is to take an old dishcloth or washcloth, or something similar and thoroughly wet it and wring it out really well.  Then place it over the panel until the dampness has penetrated, not saturated the copy.  You don't want to soak the copy.  You may need to wet it a second time.  Then use your fingers or the cloth and start rubbing the copy and the paper will release while the image remains on the canvas.  This is better than magic.  Some people use a sprayer to mist the paper instead of using the cloth, but I think the cloth is a more even dampness than the sprayer.

You might say, she's not in the blue dress.  That's because the Chrome printing option kept changing the image to black and white, so I didn't stress over it this time.  I believe if I download the image and save it to my computer then the colors will be as they should.  Also, Chrome printing option didn't have the feature to reverse an image, so she is reversed in the panel, but as long as there isn't any writing it looks okay, otherwise the words would all be backwards.  I also could not resize the image using Chrome printing.

She needs a name, any suggestions?  I've made her look a bit wistful in a distressed setting with the look of old tiles as a mosaic border.  The word, "Love" is in a pretty blue.  She has not been varnished yet, I'm going to test the process again and try Modge Podge as a topcoat versus a Varnish and see which won't disturb the ink from the copy, which I read the decoupage glues would smear.  This new to me process has opened up lots of possibilities- transferring from old magazines, album covers, books, photos, etc.  Do you use this process?

It's been really dark here for the last week or so.  To get a better photo I'm going to have to make a lightbox.  I see a new project to add to the list.

The Aceo Challenge Blog wants your aceos!  A little fun linkup and you get to post a badge on your website or blog if your aceo is chosen as favorite.  Why not add your aceo to the group?  Once per month you can add up to three aceos, so no pressure and you have weeks to complete except this month's linkup closes in a few days.

I decided to be seasonally silly with my manipulated photo aceo.
That's my original photo of a squirrel in my backyard and I went to Picnik to edit and make it just as you see it.  He's perfectly positioned upright, kind of looked like Yoda before I gave him the red nose and hat.  Why not bookmark the aceo challenge blog and join in sometime?

Transplanted Wings

When I murdered the angel, see here,  I had every intention of using bits of her to spruce up the wreath for getting another use out of it.  I like that eucalyptus fragrance, in small doses, and this wreath has sentimental value to me.

So, here is the old wreath with the wings of an angel.
I don't know why I put wings on the wreath, it really must have been due to all the meds I've been taking for the ear problems and vertigo.  Well, it's a little artsy, same as me.

The bow and bells are separate, they just seem to be attached in the image.  The "Merry Christmas" was from another decoration I took apart and added to the wreath.

I think I want to fly away, and these wings make it possible.
Happy Christmas!

Happy Hanukkah!

December 20 - 28, 2011 from sundown to sundown.

To everyone who begins celebrating Hanukkah today,  
I wish you a 
Happy and Peaceful Holiday!

(Image courtesy of Care2.)

Tissue... I Don't Even Know You Pretty Hankie

Tissue?!  I don't even know you.  badadump  Very old and sad play on words there.

I received this clever and CUTE hankie/hanky/handkerchief what do you call it? in the mail a few days ago.  It's from a seller on etsy,  Miss Crafty2 who has some of these in a few different hanky designs. When I saw it I had to buy it if just to keep as a pretty Christmas decoration.  Can you read the poem on the tag she wrote?  (Click the image to enlarge it.)

Recently  I've been looking online for hankies and have found so many gorgeous new and vintage ones for sale.  It's also sentimental to find the vintage children's hankies with older designs before electronics and Big Brother began taking control.

The artwork on some of the art deco boxes just wants to leap into my shopping cart, but I have to be strong and resist.  Some of the box covers would look great framed, and the hankie, too.

Such a little thing, the hanky, a servant and a thing of beauty at the same time.  It's also handy when needed.

If it wasn't an ick factor, would you prefer a hanky or a paper tissue for everyday use?  Do you have any heirloom hankies such as from a wedding or shower?

Sunday Straphanger Anniversary, Kate Middleton, and Radio Wales

It's only taken me about a year to get back to this, but I finally have the photo to show.  My official BBC Radio Wales Early Birds Cereal Bowl!

When I should have been sleeping, (they are five hours ahead of me) I was listening to that radio show over the internet.  I would sometimes listen to enjoy the humor and especially the accents.  I could hear my Welsh Mom in some of their voices.

The answer to the question to win the bowl was, "Kate Middleton."  After listening for nearly an hour with all the wrong answers, I couldn't stand it any longer.  As soon as I emailed the show with the answer a caller also gave the correct answer, but even though here I am in the Midwest USA, the host and the show gave me the prize, too!  I didn't expect to win the bowl, I just wanted to stop the wrong answers! ha ha

Happy ending for Kate and William.  I have my nice bowl.  Plus, it's my wedding anniversary today, Dec. 18th.  Cheers all around.

Question for you:  do you like the change to the blog- I've changed the font style and the colors.  Mostly the change is to make more room on the sidebar to add buttons and other info, but also to make the blog easy on the eyes to read.  What do you think?  I'd appreciate the feedback.

Santa's Cookie Tester

He's a big jolly guy, so he gets the big blue mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream and a teeny sprinkle of cinnamon on top.  Cinnamon is good for blood sugar and with all of those cookies, Santa needs a little faux ho ho dieting here and there.

He won't notice the sugar free hot cocoa as long as there is some dreamily melting low fat whipped cream forming a hazy oasis on the top.  Too much milk will make him sleepy and he has to finish all those deliveries before daybreak!

I've tested the hot beverage and a small selection of cookies.  I think it passes Santa's dietary standard requirements.  The reindeer's carrots and apples are going to be fresh when Santa stops at my house.  Dee, there is a Santa stop for me!

What will  you put out for Santa and his reindeer?

Put the Scissors Down Ma'am

Oh, I hope I'm not guilty of true angelcide.  I don't think that's possible.  After all, the angels are superior beings.  Okay, after hearing Christmas music on the radio since before Thanksgiving  and seeing umpteen Christmas sales commercials a week before that, the frustrations of what Christmas is NOT ABOUT but is thrown in our faces everywhere in a chaotic swell of frenzy, well it just got to me. That, plus my backlog of things undone; especially that backlog.

So...I did it. I ripped the head off the angel.  Angelcide.

Confession:  I've never liked this angel.  Do you feel guilty for buying something that you don't really like?  I do.  It was a spur of the moment purchase a few years ago when I needed a little something, it was cheap and I used it until I could not look at it anymore. That's how my thoughts stood at the kitchen counter with the sentimental old wreath needing a little something to make it last another holiday.  Sacrifice one decoration for the life of another.

The Act: Donc j'ai tue' l'ange. So I killed the angel. I removed her wings, tore apart her edging and STILL she remained sweetly composed and took my abuse!  Cleaning up the counter I threw her head without a body onto my desk.  I tried to cover her up and ignore the pain, but she drilled her saintly silent witness in my vertigo laden neck until the sick puppy in me, said,  Ca suffit! Enough!

Days later she was picked up and tossed in the trash can.  I can still revive her, but I refuse.  Je refuse de vous sauver mon ange.  I refuse to save you, my angel.  Christmas is for the living.   Ceci est vraiment la fin pour l'ange.  This is really the end for the angel.  Repos dans paix.  R.I.P. 

The Verdict: Coupable de le meurtre avec l'intention de refaire les papier peints et le cycle ascendant.  Guilty of murder with intent to redecorate and upcycle. My scissors are safely put away and only two decorations were mutilated in that short span of time.  The sentence was considerate in that this was a lapse, a crime made in stressful times.

Punishment: Condamne' pour observer de vieux films, mangez le chocolat et le the' de boisson, confiez-vous a' Lucy et d'autres choses conformement a' la foi de Noel dans mon couer. Sentenced to watch old movies, eat chocolate and drink tea, confide in Lucy, and other things in keeping with Christmas faith in my heart.

(For some reason this overly dramatic post required a few French phrases.  Je parle un tout petit peu de francais.  I've forgotten most of the correct tenses and spelling since learning French years ago.  If you want to share the corrections, please do!  My keyboard doesn't have the punctuation marks for French.)

Joyeux Noel Mes Amis.


Diet Size Apple Pie

This apple snack is easy and quick.  If you use store bought pie dough, then most of the work is already done. The first time I saw this idea I realized it was all over the web, but credit for where I saw it first goes here.  With a few tweaks away from that recipe, here's a quick, easy, delicious apple pastry snack, diet sized.

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Assemble the Ingredients:
One store bought refrigerated pie crust.  (They come two to a box, and I saved the second pie crust for something else, recipe forthcoming.)  Bring it to room temperature, just leave out on the counter for about 15-30 minutes.

One of your favorite apples, this time I used the Granny Smith; cleaned, peeled, and sliced. If you're using both pie crusts, peel and slice a second apple.

Two tablespoons of butter, melted and slightly cooled.

Cinnamon sugar or just cinnamon if you want less sugar, or a combo of table sugar mixed with cinnamon.  I used Cinnamon Sugar alone.  

Put something under the pie crust to keep it off the counter, I used waxed paper.  Just open the pie crust, no need to stretch it out.  Brush melted butter over crust, sprinkle cinnamon sugar on  top of butter.

With your ravioli cutter or knife or pastry wheel, zip right through this crust, making eight strips.  Look at the teeny one, so funny.

Put your apple on one end of the strip, roll it up.  Repeat 7 times.  Put all the apple snacks on a parchment lined cookie sheet or baking tray. Butter up the tops with remaining butter and sprinkle with cinnamon again.  The parchment will stop you from needing a jackhammer to clean and remove the melted sugar, unless you want the exercise, use parchment paper please.

Bake in a preheated 425 F oven.  Mine were done at 25 minutes, ovens vary, 22 minutes might be average time needed to bake nicely.

I will tweak this again by cutting 16 strips since the snack was a lot of crust to apple ratio.  Still, it was easy and tasty.  Let me know if you try it and how it worked for you.

Fresh Art Mother and Baby Mixed Media

This was made by me a couple of months ago.  I've used acrylic paints, pencils, and clippings along with calendar images, and it's about 5x7 inches.  I'm out of synch with routines due to health concerns, and now the holidays are here so I thought I'd show you this before it gets lost in the vagueness of time and clutter.  Whoops.

My Christmas tree never made it out of the garage and into the parlor last week.  It will definitely come inside and get decorated this week.  It's so cold and lonely out in the garage, sniff.

The colors in the image are a little more vibrant than the actual piece.  I see a few different ideas running in this, what do you see?