Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Cards, 2011 edition

I haven't been all that crafty or creative as of late, in part due to the craziness that is the new job and grad school. Last years family-imposed hand/home-made gifts was a huge motivation for crafting - I think I need to impose that on myself again in the future, simply to make my self do something creative on a regular basis! I really enjoyed making Christmas cards last year and decided to give it a whirl again this year.

I had already decided to do something in a tree-theme with some green origami paper and several stamps I'd bought through Paper Source - this store is one of my favorite sources of stamps, papers, funky gifts, their catalog is full of beautiful and colorful pictures. Further inspiration came as I flipped through a recent Paper Source catalog.
some trees and
some papersource catalog pictures

Friday, November 25, 2011

Year of the Pie #11 & 12: The Simplest Cranberry-Apple Crumb Pie & Maple Pumpkin Pie

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our family is fairly consistent year-to-year in what we have at Thanksgiving dinner - there's something about tradition, I suppose. We had turkey, stuffing, green beans, apple-herb rolls, kidney bean salad, homemade cranberry sauce, roasted carrots and parsnips, and sweet potato casserole. Dessert consisted of two pies and cranberry mousse.

My sister and I were assigned desserts, and everyone knows that it's not Thanksgiving without pie! Hopefully these two pies (plus a bonus dessert!) will partly make up for the baking pie-atus (get it?) I've been on as of late. We were charged with making an apple pie, a pumpkin pie, and cranberry mousse (my favorite holiday dessert - and SUPER easy to make).
cranberry-apple pie
maple pumpkin pie

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Paper Elephants

Well, I found an excuse to be crafty this past weekend! My roommate's birthday was earlier this week and I decided I want to make her something.

She has an affinity for elephants (a tasteful affinity, of course), so I wanted to do something along those lines. Mostly because I've only lived with her for a few months, and I haven't got her totally figured out yet. Elephants come up enough in our random conversations that I decided it was appropriate to follow that theme.

If I'd had more time (maybe next year) I might knit her an elephant, or a hat with an elephant. But, being short on time I needed to come up with something else. Cue my bin of craftiness.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall is in the air

August was a bit of a busy month; I returned from grad camp in late July and had roughly two weeks to get packed and on the road to Vermont. I arrived at GMVS late on the 15th after a very rainy drive. Needless to say, most of the unpacking waited until the next day.

My apartment is cozy (read: tiny), but nice. Over the summer the wall-to-wall (ugh) carpeting was ripped up and pergo flooring put down. Zoe's not so much a fan - it's hard for her to grip, and it's most evident when she tries to get quickly from one side of the apartment to the other. There's just a little bit of slipping and sliding.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Crafting in July

I've been on a bit of a crafting hiatus (at least a pie-baking hiatus) since I was away for the start of my grad school program for three weeks, although I did manage to be a little bit crafty at grad camp (as we have affectionately dubbed it - it really did feel like camp most of the time!).

We were journaling almost every day, so I was drawing and sketching a lot.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Year of the Pie #10: The Easiest Apple Pie

Happy 4th of July!

The 4th here on the island is really incredible. There are TONS of people downstreet for most of the morning. The parking lot is closed off to cars and there a bunch of booths for PIE, the Fire Department, Friends of the Library, ICMS, the Land Trust, the Childcare, a penny raffle, the French Club, and each of the high school classes has a game booth, the Lions Club hosts a food booth (mmm. . . crab rolls), as well as countless others interspersed. The parade goes by twice, with fire trucks, ambulances, little league teams, the town band, random floats by island businesses and groups of friends, and more - all following a theme set forth by the 4th of July committee. This year the theme was "Breaking News" and the floats were fantastic. Oh, and Vinalhaven experienced its first flash mob, too.
no, really, it is easy!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Year of the Pie #9: Golden Delicious Apple Pie with Oatmeal Crumb Topping

Well, it was inspired by the above-named recipe, but ended up being a Cortland Apple and Craisin Pie with Oatmeal Crumb Topping.

The end-of-school potluck staff party was this afternoon/evening, and last week I signed up to make a pie. I knew I wouldn't have time to bake today, what with it being the last day of school and all, so I baked it on Sunday; the crust was done up in the morning, and the pie was completed (late) last night.

next time I'll try it with
the golden delicious apples

I've made tons of apple pies over the past few years. It really doesn't take much to make one - apples, some sugar, a few spices. And a pie crust, of course. But, as I mentioned when I started this little venture, I want to follow the recipes in this book, and follow them as closely as possible. Since I made the rules, though, I can also bend them as I see fit - and this time I saw fit.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Summer is one of the busiest seasons on the island, with what feels like a million different things going on. This summer will be no different. School ends on Monday for the kids, Tuesday for us, and, on Wednesday I'll be starting up with the gardening crew. There will be the usual potluck bbqs, various concerts, the 4th of July madness, after work visits to the quarry, hikes with the dog, the Island Benefit Challenge (watch out for the sister team), summer Silver Threads Artisan Show, and more.

But come August, my life, and my living arrangements, will change immensely (and become slightly crafting-challenged).
I've take a job back home in VT, teaching science at a small independent ski school in the heart of the green mountains. This new job doesn't feel like it will be too overwhelming as my teaching responsibilities will be very similar to those here on the island, so I feel pretty prepared for the transition. At least the teaching part of the transition. The move overall, however, is bittersweet. I'm excited to make some changes in my life, though I'm definitely sad to be leaving the island. I do feel incredibly connected to the island, so I know that I am not leaving it for good. But, it will be really nice to be closer to family, and in an area of VT that I really love. And did I mention that it's a ski school? Mostly downhill, but a small group of nordies that I hope to be able to help out with.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Year of the Pie #8: Sumner, Washington, Rhubarb Custard Pie

 'Tis the season for rhubarb! This is the patch of rhubarb here at the Margaret Adams' house: 
hello rhubarb!
I'm a huge fan of rhubarb, and when I was invited to a pie party last Thursday, I knew I had to find a rhubarb pie in the book to bake up. I had several options, and most were traditional, straight-rhubarb, or strawberry- or berry- rhubarb. SO typical. So, I opted for the Sumner, Washington, Rhubarb Custard Pie.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rock the Socks

Now that spring is (mostly) here, I'm in a bit of a knitting funk. I can't settle on a project. Oh wait, I never can settle on a project. . . hence the random bags of partially complete sweaters or hats or creatures.

I think part of my spring indecisiveness is that most of my major projects are straight up wool, and wool isn't that fun to knit in the spring and summer. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Winter Clay Class

I'm finally getting around to posting photos of my clay creations from the winter clay class my friend, S, the art teacher here on the island, put together for PIE.

Everyone had such creative and unique ideas. There were critters, sugar bowls, planting markers, fish, planters, buttons, water bowls for pets; some folks had crazy talent on the wheel, others could take a potato-like lump of clay into a bowl or wall hanging in no time. All very cool creations.

Glazing was equally cool; sometimes it was a guessing game as to how the colors would come out after firing. And there were some pretty sweet exploding glazes (see below!) that left little sparkly splashes of contrasting color over a light-colored base. The glazes also varied based on whether you started with the gray clay or the brown clay.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Year of the Pie #6 & 7: Extra Rich Lemon Custard & Strawberry Chiffon Pies

Happy Easter! Another two-fer this round, in honor of the Easter holiday and Easter dinner with friends.

I knew I was going to bring a pie for dinner, but arriving home mid afternoon on the Saturday before Easter didn't leave a lot of time. Not to mention the (sometimes) limited selection at the store, and the last-minute trip at 30 minutes before closing. I wanted to make a pie that evoked a sense of spring considering today was cold and rainy (and snowy in parts of VT and NH!). My original plan was to make just the Extra-Rich Lemon Custard Pie. The author describes this as a basic pie that's easy to assemble - just a few liquids to blend.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fabric To Go

My friend Nicole does internety things, including blogging her often weekly "Too Cute Tuesday" crafting evening, complete with a themed cocktail to go with the craft. The crafts are always cool, and range from cooking to fabric crafts and everything in between. A few of us on the island keep saying we should start some weekly crafting. . . maybe when winter is FINALLY over (yes, we did get a reprise of winter as an April Fool's joke from Mother Nature. . . though I secretly don't mind the snow).

Back in January, the craft was oragami-ish, cloth takeout containers, modeled after the cardboard takeout container and which one of the TCT crafters had seen on another blog.  It reminded me of the plastic reusable ones that are sometimes sold around the holidays. I actually have one that Mom used for packing Christmas cookies a few years ago. I loved the idea right away - very "green", which is, of course, all the rage these days. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Year of the Pie #5: Maple Custard

March can be a bear weather-wise. Snow one day, 60's and sunny the next. At least there is one upside to March in northern New England: sugaring season! As a tribute to the liquid gold that comes but once a year, I found a Maple Custard pie in the book.

This is a pretty simple recipe with only a few ingredients - heavy cream, maple syrup (REAL maple syrup), sugar, vanilla, salt and egg yolks, in a flaky crust, and is very easy to prepare: "combine all the filling ingredients in a large bowl and whisk briefly, until evenly mixed." Seriously. The crust took longer to make! Only one bowl to wash? Sweet!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Year of the Pie #3 & 4: Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pie and Joe's Stone Crab Key Lime Pie

This round of pie is a two-fer! Given that much of the winter months are spent in hermit mode here on the island, March is when we start getting restless for some socialization. A friend/fellow teacher decided it was time for a potluck, and set forth plans for this evening. I decided to bring a pie. Or two. I based this reasoning primarily on the fact that I couldn't decide which pie to make, but also on the type of pies I was stuck on. One is chocolate-peanut butter - sort of rich and wintry, the other is key lime - a hint of spring. Kind of like March, winter isn't quite over, but spring is just around the corner (though in northern New England, spring can sometimes yield a snow day in April). 

ingredients for a pie or two. or more.
I may have looked at an extra pie
recipe when making the grocery list.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Crafternoon in Driggs

I just got back from a great trip to Driggs to visit college friends, K & A, and hit the slopes at Grand Targhee. I got in two fantastic days of powder skiing (amazing!) on Sunday and Monday, we made a touristy visit to Jackson Hole (picked up some WY yarn!) on Tuesday, and on Wednesday we took a snowshoe land tour, then had a quiet afternoon of crafting & cocktails. A's family was visiting as well, so crafternoon included A's mom, K, and I.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Year of the Pie #2: Blackberry Silk Pie

When the bag of frozen blackberries fell out of the freezer while putting away groceries the other week, I decided it was time for another pie. This year was a banner year for blackberries; between the bushes on one of my daily walks, and a friend's over-laden driveway, I was able to make at least 1 pie, 4 jars of jam (I'm halfway through them) and freeze at least 4-5 quarts of berries for later. Now it's later, and time to start using the berries; definitely wouldn't want them to sit in the freezer through the whole winter!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Furniture Facelift: Two Sidetables & an Ottoman

say no to crack
About a month ago I found a a small ottoman at the swap shop. Aside from the cracked seat, it was in good shape; it even has wheels for ease of moving it around the apartment! I didn't really need it (I don't really need anything from the swap shop), but I knew it would make a great foot rest for the arm chair, and the cats clearly need another object to sit on.

When I brought it home, I promptly put it in my neighbors empty apartment until I could find time to do something to make it slightly less ugly, or at least a little more comfortable. No one wants to sit on a cracked seat. Knowing I needed to give this seat a face lift reminded me that I should finally get around to giving a couple of side tables that I've had for a while a face lift, too. I had planned on painting them, but my apartment doesn't have a lot of space for such activities. Next door they went to wait their turn to be refurbished as well.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Year of the Pie #1: Osgood Pie

So I had to start with the Osgood pie. Believe it or not, when I first flipped through the Pie book to start this venture, it fell open to this pie. For those who don't know, my middle name is Osgood (my paternal Grandmother's maiden name). And for those of you not on the island, Osgood is a well-established family name out here. Seems like a fitting place to start. According to the author, as well as several web sources, there are two origins to the name: either it's the name of the original baker/cook, or a shortened form of "Oh-so-good". 

I've decided to follow each recipe as closely (close being a very loose term, of course) as possible which goes against my better judgement. My better judgement (and baking instincts) kicked in on this one, but not until the end.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Homemade Christmas

The family decided at some point this past year to do homemade christmas, and keep it lowkey. Most of us followed the rules, and most of us waited until the last minute. Mom still hasn't completely finished a few things, but we got to see the assorted makings of said gifts.

Several of the things I made were requests or suggestions, and a few I had to come up with because the recipients were being most unhelpful ("I have no ideas. I just want to get rid of stuff"). I didn't wait until the last minute to get started, but I was definitely finishing at nearly the last mintute.

Without further ado, here are 2010's homemade christmas gifts.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Year of the Pie? Oh, my!

According to Weekend Edition Sunday from January 2nd, pie just might be a trendy food this year - surpassing the ever-popular cupcake. Granted, it was a short story, it still made me happy. I'm a little nervous about the whole trendy "thing" but I loved pie before it was trendy and I will stay true no matter its status.

While I am a huge fan of cupcakes (and have been known to vacation in cities that have shops devoted to the cupcake) I am a much greater fan of pie. I love the entire process, from crust to filling to assembling to enjoying the first slice. Pie for breakfast the next morning can't be beat. A dream of mine is to open a pie shop possibly with my friend R from CO who is a much better pie crafter than I. Perhaps someday.
wedding pies!
Prior to that, I plan to steal an idea from friends who were married several years ago; rather than the traditional cake, or the now-trendy cupcake (both of my siblings went with this option so I figure I need to mix things up a bit), they opted for wedding pies. I arrived in Durango late the night before the wedding and helped R finish off the fleet of pies. The variety was enough to satisfy all the guests, and the bride & groom wore aprons to cut their pies. It was fantastic.