The ruminations of an artist on art & life...art quilts, beading, knitting, drawing, painting, printmaking, bookmaking are all my passions, I love to explore creating....

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

This blog on long Vacation --check out new blog!

Hi--I am now immersed in Peace Corps training on St Lucia island in the eastern Caribbean, so I have started a new blog called ISLAND DISPATCHES---please check it out here:

http://dominicaislanddispatches.blogspot.com/

this blog will be on an extended vacation....for not sure how long, but I invite you to follow my new adventure..hugs to everyone! Aurora


Saturday, January 05, 2013

Moving Onward...

My news for the NEW YEAR is that I have been accepted to join the US Peace Corps ! and I am leaving the country in about 18 days for my assignment and training in the Eastern Caribbean.


Looks pretty idyllic--huh? but the Island where I will be volunteering has alot of poverty---not always apparent behind the tourist industry's promotion of paradise. But more about that in a later post--after I am there and know more. This I do know: the average temperature is 85 degrees year round, it is a tropical rain forest, and the least developed of all the Caribbean islands.

Some of you may know that in doing this I am following in my parent's footsteps--they were in the Peace Corps for 2 years around 1971 and were sent to Jamaica (also in the Caribbean). In fact, their service there and hearing so much about the Peace Corps from them over the years, is one thing that inspired me to do this.

So, I am leaving Seattle on Jan 23--not long off at all! and very busy packing and dealing with last minute affairs. I plan to start a NEW BLOG about my Peace Corps life, and will probably not be posting much here. However, when I get the new blog up and running (hopefully soon), I  will post a link here for everyone.


oh! and in case you are wondering which island by now?---I am going to Dominica Island (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic)....see above? it is in red on the map....


I really lucked out with this location and plan to make the most of it and help all I can. So far, the Peace Corps tells me I will be doing "NGO Development"---which could be almost anything. I won't know until I complete my 3 months of in country training exactly where I will be or what I will be doing....so for now I'm just going with the flow and letting that mystery be. I know everything will be ok and I am on the right path....

Monday, December 31, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Scrappy IPad Mini Case

I recently purchased an IPad Mini, and I didn't want to pay another $40-$50 for a nice commercial made case for it--but I did want it better protected when I took it with me---so I created this case from fabric scraps. Hence : THE SCRAPPY IPAD MINI CASE. The case has a velcro closure, and has a padded lining.

 front of case (with flap closed)

 front of case--with flap open

back of case

Now I can take my IPad Mini with me anywhere, and it is stylishly protected. Oh, and yes--I do like this device--especially for the portability.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

A Very Merry Vintage Christmas #3....

I love vintage Christmas images, so each year I share some here...












Monday, November 26, 2012

The Fruit Cake Haters Holiday Fruitcake

I bet you are thinking fruit cake already??? well, this fruit cake is better if it can "age" a few weeks before you eat it so I am sharing this scrumptious recipe now. Bake it now for eating around Christmas time. I call this the FRUIT CAKE HATERS fruit cake because even avowed fruit cake haters LOVE this fruit cake made with all natural dried fruit (and rum!)

The Fruit Cake Haters Holiday Fruitcake

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

1 big bottle brandy or rum
(one year I used very dark Jamaican rum --which my folks brought me from Jamaica---to soak the dried fruit in---and when we first tasted the cake we discovered --to our great disappointment!---the rum taste was so strong it was inedible. But when I told an elderly friend about this--she said--"Honey, you just but that fruitcake away until March and then try it." So we stuck the fruitcake in the back of the refrigerator for a few months and when we next tried it--that rum fruitcake was really delicious!)

About 7 -8 cups pitted, chopped, dried fruit
(I use a mixture of raisens, prunes, dates, dried cherries, dried pears, dried apples, dried peaches, dried apricots---all organic, natural and unsulphured if possible)
1/2-1 cup candied orange and lemon peels
(you can purchase these, but I make my own candied citrus fruit peels--these are great in other holiday goodies, also--so I make a big batch each year)
(
Note: whatever you do --DO NOT use those commercial candied fruit mixes in the recipe--it ruins the recipe)
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup honey (or molasses for a dark cake)
1/2 cup softened butter
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4-1/2 cup brandy or apple

cheesecloth

Chop all the dried fruit and citrus peels into about 1/2 chunks---sometimes it easiest to cut the dried fruit with kitchen scissors---and place the fruit in a big bowl. Pour the brandy over the fruit--enough to cover the fruit totally. Cover this with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 3-4 days---the fruit will soak up all the brandy.
(Note: if you don't cook with alcohol, you may use apple juice to soak the fruit in)

After the allotted time, thoroughly drain the fruit in a strainer--but save the juices. Stir together the dry ingredients, pressing out any lumps. Cream honey, butter, and eggs. Then stir in the dry ingredients. Fold in the soaked fruit and the nuts, adding enough of the liquid from soaking the fruit to make a pourable batter (not too runny though--like a cake batter). If you don't have much fruit soaking liquid--use apple juice or brandy. (Note: there will be less batter than fruit--but it will be ok)

Grease breads pans and line the bottom with greased parchment paper. (important step--don't omit the parchment paper!) Pour batter into pans--filling only halfway. I usually use a mix small and large bread pans. I like the small pans for gifts.

Bake at 3oo degrees for about 3 hours with a pan of hot water on the bottom shelf of the oven. The tops will be golden brown and cracked and a toothpick will come out clean when they are done. Cool for 20 minutes in the pans before carefully removing. After the cakes are completely cooled pour brandy (or rum) over them, and wrap each cake in cheesecloth you have soaked with the brandy (or rum). Seal up in tinfoil and place in the refrigerator to age. This fruitcake definitely improves with age, but also can be eaten right away.

So bake a batch of these fruitcakes and be pleasantly surprised by how yummy they are. I'm off to purchase the dried fruit and rum now....

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tis' the Season for Holiday Wreaths


We are starting the winter holidaze...so here are some non-traditional Holiday Wreath DYI ideas from around the web....










a cookie cutter wreath (to let them know the cookies are coming!?)


Cork Holiday wreath---(here's good use for all those wine corks you've been saving)


Hey! a Marshmellow wreath! (hang this one out of the rain)


 

Aren't these fun?? I'm sure you--my creative reader--can come up with your own crafty DYI holiday wreath....so put on some holiday music, get craftin' and have fun!!! of course, if you want to try and make any of these----just follow the links provided.