Thursday, October 1, 2015

Easy Homemade Apple Crumble

Apple crumble is a great dessert for Fall.  It is warm, comforting, and incorporates a seasonal fruit. Quick to prepare - especially if you have the right tools - and with a crumb topping, this dessert is just as tasty as an actual pie.

a favorite dessert - great to make ahead for dinner parties

The recipe is made with six medium apples.  If your variety is a larger size, five apples are enough.

You will need a 13" by 9" pan.  Coat this lightly with cooking spray.

An apple peeler / corer / slicer is amazing at cutting your time in half when preparing apple recipes. This model from Bed Bath and Beyond works quite well.  The base suctions to a countertop for secure use.

peeling the apples

3/4 cup margarine, softened
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup quick oats
1/8 tsp. salt
5 - 6 apples peeled, cored, and sliced *Golden delicious are a favorite variety*

cinnamon to taste
1/4 cup sugar

Mix the first 5 ingredients until crumbly, set aside. Place apples into the 13" by 9" pan; sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  If you enjoy cinnamon, be generous as it is excellent in this dish.  Place brown sugar topping over all.  Topping will be sticky.  Try and spread evenly.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until topping is lightly browned and crunchy.

apple slices cut into semicircles for baking

sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar

brown sugar topping added and ready to bake

Apple crumble is especially good served warm - not hot - with vanilla ice cream.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Disc Golf Bracelet

My newest leather cuff bracelet design is for disc golf players.  I've drawn the disc golf basket by hand and chemically etched it onto the copper.

Disc golf is an activity that I first tried several years ago.  I found it quite frustrating and challenging as I was just not good.  It would take 6, 7, 8 poor throws for me to reach the basket.  I kept playing with little improvement.  (Fortunately my companions are patient.)

Finally something has clicked.  I am throwing better - which is encouraging me to play each week this Summer. I have improved considerably.  The key has been to keep trying, keep playing. This is truly essential to progress on reaching a goal or learning any new skill.

This past weekend I took part in a disc golf event called the Discraft Ace Race. For a $25 fee, participants received a T-shirt, two new discs, and some swag.  It was a very fun event with proceeds donated to the Humane Society. Rather than keep score, the objective here was to throw aces; essentially a hole-in-one.

Happy that I chose to keep trying disc golf. This gave me the confidence to take part in the event. The highlight of my day was actually making my first ace!

The pictured disc golf bracelet is now available for purchase in my Etsy shop. Do you play disc golf? What is your favorite course?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Gift Presentation Idea: Bouquet

This is a lovely idea for gift presentation.  A sweet, handpicked bouquet. Look a little closer and see the extra touches.

A miniature chalkboard is suspended from flower stems.  This particular chalkboard is from Cost Plus World Market.  They have similar boards with metal frames here, and heart shaped chalkboards here.

Peek into the glass vase and another item can be seen.

A clear glass bottle is floating in the water.  This is holding a printed gift card and note tied with ribbon.  The glass is a repurposed spice container.

Such a cute idea! Something the recipient can enjoy for days after receiving, rather than gathering up the gift wrap for the recycle bin.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Handpicked for May

Looking back through the month of May.  This is a personal log of a few favorite experiences.

Material to work with:
Sterling silver sheet in 22-gauge from Rio Grande. (It is a sustainable material.) This silver is a good thickness; strong yet not difficult to work with.

Home cooked meal:
Simple grilled sweet potato and black bean burrito bowls with spicy cumin garlic drizzle from Laura Wright of The First Mess. Packed with flavor, this vegetarian dish was a hit with my family.  The spicy cumin garlic drizzle is especially tasty.  I will be using it to season additional recipes.

Local musician:
Chad Mills. Got a late dinner one evening and the pub had live music.  One guy with with his guitar. Enjoyed it so much that I called the restaurant the following day to find out who he was.

Greeting cards to send:
With a sentiment for any occasion, Little Low Studio is a great online spot for greeting cards. (She has an Etsy shop too.) The Mother's Day cards I purchased were beautiful.

The Unmistakable Creative. These episodes are candid conversations with fascinating, creative individuals.  Thought provoking and highly recommended. I'm hooked.

I bought this top from Thimble and Acorn.  The organic cotton is so soft, and the colors are gorgeous.  I love the cap sleeves.  Eve, the owner and maker, is fabulous to work with.

Now that Parks and Recreation has ended, I do not watch many comedies.  It takes smart writing to make me laugh. Silicon Valley is brilliant.  Never thought of myself as a Mike Judge fan, but loved season one, and this season is also quite good.

Fresh flowers:
We experienced many gray days this past Winter in Indiana.  I am thoroughly enjoying the sight of fresh flowers in my kitchen this Spring. Handpicked arrangements are especially cheery.

What have you enjoyed during the month of May?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Secret Message Jewelry, Part 2

The intent of this necklace is very simple. I wanted a design to honor special dates without being traditional. The result is small and clean; something that can be worn everyday. Numbers displayed are significant to the wearer while being curious to the casual observer. 

This piece could memorialize adoptions, births, graduations, anniversaries, pet adoptions, or any significant life event. Several different dates may be honored on one chain.

The numbers across the top represent the month. Left to right of the middle row commemorates the day within the month. Bottom numbers side to side are the final two digits of the year being honored. 

Once described as "a mom necklace that doesn't look like a mom necklace!"

 In an earlier post, I featured rings with hidden messages.  This particular necklace may not appear to have a secret message.  However, with limitless possibilities for customization, I have had the opportunity to create a couple that were quite inventive.

This custom request was for 19, 16, 03. The numbers coordinate to letters of the alphabet.

This was for a customer wanting a design that held everything special in one pendant.  The days of the month for each of her children's births are commemorated on a single piece of silver.

My husband and I joked that had I been creating this style of necklace ten years ago, there may have been some interesting requests from fans of  Lost (TV Series).

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Secret Message Jewelry, Part1

Let me share the details behind the making of my new, secret message ring.  It begins with three, fully interlocking rings.  Two of these bands represent people; partners in a relationship.  A third band is hand marked in morse code.  Its characters spell  L-O-V-E.  This third ring, intertwining with the other two, symbolizes a couple forever joined by love. 

Next, I created a sterling silver ring.  The band is tall enough to accommodate the word "ALWAYS" written inside. 

Formed and soldered. Ready for clean up.

The rings were filed, sanded, polished, and then oxidized.  I perform this step with all my jewelry to add character and enhance details - especially with letters and code on this particular piece. Notice how distinct the markings are with a patina.

The interlocking rings are designed to fit onto the silver band and rotate.  A brief video of their movement may be viewed on my Instagram page.  I overlapped the two styles and shaped the edges of the wide band ring in an anticlastic form.  Doing this permanently holds the interlocking rings onto the band.

Secret message rings are available in my Etsy shop.  Shown here is a thin, minimal style with the three interlocking rings only.  Morse code spells out "love" on the eternally joined bands.

 The wide band ring is also offered in my shop.  Made to order in US ring sizes.  An original design from Indyspire Art LLC.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cat Memorial Jewelry

I love cats.  I love incorporating cats into my jewelry designs.  I also love when jewelry holds special significance for the wearer. Then, it becomes a keepsake.

In loving memory of Gandalf, the wonderful grey kitty.

A few short years back, my beloved cat passed away.  I created a necklace to honor his memory and wrote about it here on my blog.  A portion of the sale from each cat memorial necklace is donated to From the Heart Rescue.

I make cat rings in the same style as the necklace.  A customer requested the name of her sweet kitty to be inscribed inside the band, and the idea for a cat memorial ring came about.

The first cat memorial ring was in honor of Moka.

Each ring honors the memory of a dear companion while also providing funds to From the Heart Rescue. This donation is used to lower the adoption fee of a rescued cat awaiting its forever home.

The most recent ring was to commemorate Ruby. I am grateful to Ruby's owner for sharing her photo.  Isn't she beautiful?

Cat memorial rings are available for customizing / personalizing in my Etsy shop.  Each ring is made with love in hopes of helping others to heal after their loss.