Friday, January 27, 2012

Our Furry Best Friend

The hardest thing about having pets is facing their mortality. Our little old lady, Cookie, (named by our younger son after Cookie's Week, a book he read in first grade) quit eating this week so I left work early yesterday to take her to the vet. At 15 years old and down to only seven pounds she is still full of spirit but can't afford to lose any more weight.
After a steroid shot and aromatherapy (no kidding--kitty pheromones in the cat cage to calm her) she is back home and eating a little. The cause of the problem hasn't been determined--it could be cancer or kidney failure or just stress from all the chaos that goes with remodeling--but after talking it over with the vet we decided not to pursue any extreme measures to determine the exact cause of her issues. After owning several cats I can't say that running extensive tests and diagnostics have ever added to their length or quality of life. Please keep a good thought for our little Cookie.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bake Someone Happy

Woo hoo! It was my turn to bring a snack to a group event this week. Since we have an empty nest at our house we don't need the temptation of a whole cake sitting around, begging to be eaten, so I'm happy when I have the opportunity to make something special to share with a group. I love the combination of cranberry and orange flavors and when I saw the recipe for this pretty coffee cake I knew I had to try it.

Candied Orange Cranberry Swirl Breakfast Bread
Makes 12 servings. 

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon finely shredded orange peel
1 cup sour cream
1 cup canned whole cranberry sauce, stirred
1/3 cup Candied Orange Peel
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 cup chopped craisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch fluted tube pan or an 8-ince tube pan. Stir together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, sale and nutmeg. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar with mixer on medium to high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the 1 tablespoon finely shredded orange peel. Alternately add flour mixture and sour cream, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.

In a small bowl, stir together cranberry sauce and 1/4 cup of the Candied Orange Peel. Spread one-third of the batter into the prepared pan. Carefully spread half the cranberry mixture over batter. Repeat layers. Spread remaining batter evenly over top. Using a knife, gently swirl batter and cranberry mixture. Do not over mix. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack. Remove cake from pan; cool thoroughly on wire rack.

For icing, in a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and orange juice. Stir in additional orange juice until icing reaches drizzling consistency. Drizzle icing over cake. Sprinkle with the remaining Candied Orange Peel and the dried cranberries.

Do you have a zester?
For years I used a box grater to zest citrus fruit for recipes but I find it so much easier with this handy little tool. An added plus is that it's inexpensive and small enough to be easy to store. Happy zesting!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Old Summit Antique Show

Stone Fruit - Colleen Boland Freese
The holidays are over, the Christmas decorations are boxed up and put away for another year and I've sworn off cookies for the foreseeable future, *sigh*. And just when I could use a little pick-me-up, it's time for the Old Summit Antique show in Lee's Summit, Missouri! As usual, it didn't disappoint.
Forged Pieces from Wayne (W.D. Pickers Antique Mall, Platte City)
Spirit of the Home and Darrow Antiques
Early Lighting from Jody (Greenwood Antique Mall)
Candy Containers from Wayne Browning of The Toy Department (Brown's Emporium)
I hope so!

Diane Gish - Antique Cottage (Estes Park) and Forget-Me-Not Antiques (Omaha)
Colleen Boland Freese (Smokehouse Square Antiques)
Country Crow Primitives
Wonderful Lighting from Whitehorse Antiques-Rocheport, Missouri
Ever Seen a Gourd Light?
The best part is seeing friends!
Leslie and Ginger at their booth
Cloche by Ron Schrader
A very fun way to spend a cold Saturday! I'll share my little finds in another post.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Work; Creative, Fulfilling and Updating

Obviously if my New Year's Resolution was to be a more consistent blogger I'm not getting off to a good start! Lots of fun goings on with limited time to sit and stitch, but I enjoyed creating this heart pinkeep for the January Simply Primitives update.
Maggie Bononomi Design
Also working on a whimsical Kitty Cupid design from Bird in the Hand's new Valentine Doodle book...
Work involved preparations for this weekend's MLK events. I played a very small role but it was very fulfilling! The church sponsors several educational and service events for Martin Luther King weekend. On Saturday we hosted a catered soul food luncheon attended by 250 people which included fried chicken, smothered pork chops, black eyed peas, yams, collard greens, sweet potato muffins, corn bread and pecan pie or peach cobbler for dessert. Not a dieter's friend but yum!

While the luncheon was a chance to enjoy traditional African-American food we also learned about some of the issues faced by those who live in the inner city and what one city has done to address some of these things. Tomorrow staff and members will have the opportunity to serve at several inner city ministries.
While work was filled with preparations for this important weekend, home time was spent on the much more frivolous issues of selecting plumbing fixtures and cabinets for the bathroom remodel.
Shamrock Cabinets, Raytown, MO
Too Many Choices!
The thought of having guys constantly working in the house for the next six or seven weeks and the associated noise and dust is scary, but I'm also worried about the restricted access to my little studio.
My studio is located over the garage and the only access happens to be through the bathroom through the little door on the other side of the bathroom...eeek!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Word for 2012?

Here's my final finish for 2011! I spent my time off completing this Buttermilk Basin design that I started at the Primitives of the Midwest workshop in June. That's the last of my Christmas crafting even though the decorations are still up here!
Have you made New Year's resolutions or do you have a "word of the year"? I've thought about this a lot this week and the word I landed on for me for 2012 is "margin", as in managing my time to cut down on the busyness and leave time to pursue the things that are meaningful and rejuvenating. I have a natural tendency to busyness. I can easily fill my days with tasks and leave little room for down time to dream or pursue other interests. The things that fill my days might be good things or even very good things, but my goal is to reach a balance between the pull of work and things that refuel my tank and give me energy.
Last year we spent time in Amish country in Indiana. I admire many things about the Amish but the thing that really impressed me was that they may embrace modern technology, but they do it in a way that fits with their culture and values. Did you know that some Amish use cell phones? Some of the men own cell phones for business purposes, but they only turn them on in the morning and evening to get their messages and return calls; the rest of the day the phones are off. This allows them to focus on their work or whoever they're with instead of dealing with the usual interruptions that come with cell phone ownership. So they have the convenience of technology on their own terms--it doesn't control them.
Sometimes my life is so full of obligations that I'm controlled by my to-do list. You've heard the old saying "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"? Too much focus on being productive probably makes me boring and crabby!  So my goal for 2012 is to really look at how I spend my time and avoid the tendency to over schedule and give myself permission to relax. Thanks for bearing with me on this looong post. I'd love to hear what word you'd choose for yourself for 2012.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year, New Look, New Ventures

I hope you had a wonderful New Year's Eve. We had friends over and spent a very enjoyable evening playing games, including our new favorite, Apples to Apples, and snacking on a variety of hearty appetizers. I usually make the standard Chex Mix and Lil Smokies and this year added Buffalo Chicken Dip, courtesy of Purple Chocolat Home. It was a hit at our house!

With the new year I'm introducing a new look to my blog. I will continue to focus on the same topics as in the past but wanted to simplify the look and feel of my blog.
Design by Maggie Bononomi
I'm also very honored and thrilled to have joined the talented group of artisans on Early Work Mercantile. I will be offering new items on the first of every month here. If you haven't visited Early Work Mercantile before, you are in for a treat! Please check it out and see what everyone is offering this month.

All Designs by Maggie Bononomi

Thank you for dropping by and I hope the New Year is full of hope, anticipation and peace. I have enjoyed getting to know some of you over the past year and your thoughtful comments make my day!