Oct 31, 2011

Happy Halloween or Blessed Samhain

So does anyone have plans for the evening? Perhaps passing out candy to all the little witches and ghouls.  Watching some scary movies.  Attending a costume contest thought those might have all be on Saturday.

We didn't get any kids at my house last year so I will probably buy one bag of candy to pass out.  I will also be doing a private ritual to honor my ancestors and to welcome the New Year.

Whatever you may do, please be sure to do it safely.

Oct 30, 2011

Traditional Samhain Recipes

Here are some really great recipes that I found in an Old Witch's Brew magazine from 2009.

Soul Cakes

150g butter
150g caster sugar
560g plain flour, sifted
3 egg yolks
generous pinch of saffron
1 tbsp mixed spice
1 tsp allspice
3 tbsp currants
2 tsp milk
Crush the saffron in a pestle and mortar, add the milk and grind to combine. Sift together the flour and remaining spices into a bowl. 
 In the meantime, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat the egg yolks and add to the creamed mixture a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the sifted flour and spice mix and stir in the currants. Add the milk and saffron mixture and enough additional milk to form a soft dough. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and shape into flat cakes about 5 or 6cm in diameter. 

Transfer to a well-buttered baking tray and place in an oven pre-heated to 180°C and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

The Traditional Bread of Halloween and Samhain

Barmbrack is a traditional Celtic bread served during Samhain with tea, and is the center of a divinatory ritual for the coming year. To make a traditional Barmbrack, trinkets and charms are always added into the mixture. Naturally, your own charms and meanings can and should be utilized as a part of your Samhain traditions. Each charm should be wrapped carefully in parchment or wax paper and placed equally through the bread before its final rise. Remember, when choosing to add charms to your Barmbrack, be certain to warn your guests before consuming!

•1cup of Orange Spice tea, prepared 
•4 cups white flour
•3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
•1/4 tsp Allspice
•Pinch of salt
•1/2 stick butter
•1 package of yeast
•1/2 cup brown sugar
•1 tsp white sugar
•1 1/4 cups luke-warm milk
•1 egg, beaten
•1 cup raisins
•1 cup dried fruit

The evening before, soak the raisins and dried fruit in the brown sugar and tea. Drain before using.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Sift flour, spices and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter.
2. Add the yeast to the teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of the warm milk.
3. Pour the rest of the warm milk and the egg into the yeast mixture and combine with the dry ingredients and the sugar. Beat well and knead until the batter is stiff but elastic.
4. Fold in the prepared fruit. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled. Knead again for another 2 or 3 minutes and divide between two greased 1 1b loaf pans.
5. Wrap the charms in greaseproof paper and then hide them in the dough. Be sure they are well distributed. Cover again and let rise until the dough comes up to the top of the pan (30 minutes to an hour).
6. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, until the top is nicely browned and the bread sounds hollow when thumped.
Keeps about one week in a sealed container, but do note: Stale Barmbrack is still delicious when toasted and buttered!

Remembrance Cookies
These cookies can be made on Hallow's Eve. They can be shaped like people and the herb rosemary is added to the dough as a symbol of remembrance. Some of the cookies are eaten while telling stories or attributes of special ancestors, reminding us that we still have access to their strengths--or perhaps a predisposition to their weaknesses. The rest of the cookies are left outside by a bonfire as an offering. This can be a solemn ritul, but it need not be.

Ingredients for the cookies:
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 c. butter or margarine (softened)
1 egg
2 t. vanilla
1 t. almond extract
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cream of tartar
1 1/2 T. chopped rosemary
Heat oven 375 degrees. In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter, egg, vanilla, almond extract, and rosemary until creamy. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Fold flour mixture into sugar mixture. Beat until dough forms and refrigerate for three hours. Divide dough into halves. Roll out one portion to 3/16 of an inch on a floured surface. Cut out with gingerbread women or men cutters and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat rolling and cutting with second portion. Bake for 5-7 minutes.

Oct 29, 2011

Contest: X-mas Jewelry

Yeah I am one of those people that hate to even see Christmas things on sale in a store before Thanksgiving.  However a friend of mine, Skye over at Creative Chaos, is having a contest where she is giving away not only this gorgeous bracelet but 2 pairs of earrings to go with it.  Be sure to stop over and enter.  Oh and please let her know that I told ya about the contest.

Vegan Samhain Recipes

Pumpkin pie spicesImage by riekhavoc via FlickrNow I am about as far from a Vegan as you can imagine but I know that there are a lot out there so when I ran across these recipes I just had to share.  Some of them...well I am not too sure how traditional they are but they sure sound yummy.

Filling –
1 1/2 packages silken tofu
1 15 oz. canned pumpkin
2/3 cup barley malt syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
Pie Crust –
1 1/2 cups sifted unbleached flour
about 6-7 tbsp. non-hydrogenated margarine
about 2 tbsp. cold water
pinch of sea salt
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Blend tofu in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Pour into a 9" unbaked deep dish pie shell. Bake for about one hour. Filling will be soft, but will firm up as it chills. Chill overnight and serve.

1 small cooking pumpkin
1/2 cup cashews
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (or to taste)
salt to taste
Soak cashews in water to cover for several hours. This step is optional, but helps them blend better. Cut pumpkin in half, remove seeds, and bake cut side down at 350 degrees F until very tender (45 minutes to one hour). Scrape pumpkin from the peel and puree in a blender, with any juices, in batches. Put pureed pumpkin into your soup pot. Blend cashews in blender until smooth and add to the pumpkin puree. Rinse the blender with a little water and add to the pot. Add a little more water if it’s too thick. Add ginger and salt to taste and heat gently for a few minutes to blend the flavors.


Well I was a good girl and went into work yesterday.  I thought that starting back on a Friday was perfect as I could see how my headaches cooperated and then I would have the weekend off.  Smart thinking.  Except I found out when I had been there a bit that I needed a release to work from my doctor to come back to work.  Pretty silly as he had already given me paperwork stating that I was off until 10/28.  Oh well it isn't up to me to figure out corporations and why they work the way they do.

So I came home and ended up spending money on jewelry supplies.  Aren't those silk ribbons to die for.  I picked them up from Marsha Neal Studios.  She has some really gorgeous stuff.  I couldn't resist these as I want to incorporate more textures into my jewelry.  I picked up some sari silk but haven't figured out a way to use it that suits me.  These ribbons are a lot neater.  Should work better for me.

Why is it that I can't convince my dogs to bark at the right times.  Now mind you, they aren't really bad and DO NOT bark all the time.  That just wouldn't be acceptable.  But today they all went off twice,  Looked out the window and there was nothing there.  Not even a kid going down the street.  But when the mailman showed up, they totally missed him.  I want them to bark when someone is on the porch or by the cars. <sigh>

I plan on having a few posts go up today with some recipes for Samhain.  Now mind you, they won't be party foods but real food for the Sabbat.  Hopefully that won't offend anyone but I have never hidden the fact that I am a pagan.
Oct 28, 2011

Beautiful Things

Wasn't hard to come up with things that made me smile this week.

1.  The Witch's Ball.  Had a great time and some of those costumes were to die for.

2.  My headaches lessened considerably.  I have gone from one every day to only two this week.  Time to go back to work.  Though I am a bit worried because my boss's phone is ringing right to voicemail.  Hope that she is okay.

3.  Just got a text from one of my roomies checking to see how I liked her girlfriend.  I remember those days.
Oct 24, 2011

Contest: Earthly Delights Mushrooms

I don't tend to post a lot about food but I love to cook and finding great restaurants.  This contest definitely falls under the cooking category. 

I love cooking with mushrooms as there are many things you can do with them.  Make up a stir-fry, stuff them, add some to your omelet or your spaghetti sauce.  So many delicious ways to savor them.  And when also add in the varieties that they come in.   I haven't tried a lot of the different kinds but I am willing to correct that oversight.

And now Momma at Momma Told Me is willing to help out.  She is hosting a contest for a gift basket of 10 different varieties.  Be sure to check it out.
Oct 23, 2011

Contest: Hand Dyed Embroidary Floss

If you like flosses and ribbons be sure to drop by 'How Was Your Day'.  I have to admit that I don't do needlecraft any more but I can just see so many uses for my jewelry.  I sure have my fingers crossed. 

Winner of the Fall Fashionista

Thank you so much everyone for your patience. know that it took a little bit of time for me to be able to pick a winner.  I did go to random.org to draw the winning number.  I would show you the screen shot but I am not quite sure how to do that.  The number drawn was 290.

Schkinner said...
GFC follower (schkinner)
schkinner at yahoo dot com

I will be dropping an email to the winner and they have 3 days to respond or I will be doing another drawing.

Oct 21, 2011

Beautiful Things

Festhalle, Leavenworth, Washington.Image via WikipediaI really had to think about what to post today as I have spent most of the last week or so hiding in a dark room from headaches.  Got to love the healing process when you are rear-ended.  But then I thought about it and I do have some things to be thankful for.

1.  My primary care physician was really concerned about the fact that I was still having headaches so he sent me to a neurologist to have me check over.  They also had me do a cat scan.  Apparently the accident left me blessed with migraines which will gradually disappear.  This is really good news considering what the other option might have been.

2.  Last Saturday my husband decided that I needed to get out for awhile so we took a drive up to Leavenworth WA.  I had been there before but it was years ago.  What was funny was that we had forgotten about Oktoberfest happening.  We weren't able to stay very long before the headache hit (and thank goodness that I had my sleep mask with me to block out the light) but it was really fun.  And I was able to have a real German dinner for the first time in years.

3.  Another thing that caused me to smile is something that is happening to a good friend of mine.  She is buying a house!  She had found a few houses that she liked but wasn't able to get financing for them as they were too close to another house that she owns.   You would think that she is trying to be a slum lord..please.  The other house she owns is the one that I live in and we are doing a rent to own while I improve my credit score.
Oct 16, 2011

Book Review: Frost Moon

Her Magic Will Get Under Your Skin
Her Story Will Fill Your Imagination

Dakota Frost's Enthralling Saga Begins . . 

In an alternate Atlanta where magic is practiced openly, where shapeshifters party at the urban clubs and vampires rule the southern nights like gangsters, where demure witches sip coffees at the local cafes and mysterious creatures command the dark caverns beneath the city, Dakota Frost's talents are coveted by all: She's the best magical tattoo artist in the southeast: a SkinDancer, able to bring her amazing tats to life. 

When a serial killer begins stalking Atlanta's tattooed elite, the police and Feds seek Dakota's help. Can she find the killer in the dark fringe of the city's magical Edgeworld? What kind of enemies and allies will she attract among the powerful outcasts and tormented loners, who see her as a threat, a seduction, an unexpected champion . . . or as delicious prey.

I have to be honest.  I actually started this book a couple times so obviously I had issues with getting into the book.  Dakota Frost was a a little off-putting to me in the beginning.  But I had agreed to do a review on the book so I pushed myself thru the first 30 pages of the book again and ended up falling in love with Dakota.  She is a hard edged magical tattoo artist with a hart of gold.

Through Dakota's eyes, the reader is introduced to a whole different side of Atlanta.  She is both an Edgeworlder and the daughter of a cop so Dakota straddles an invisible line so she really is the best guide.  And Mr Francis has done a wonderful job of bringing her to life though there are times when I want to strangle her as things, both good and bad, just seem to happen to her.  I really wish that Dakota would take more control of her life.  And that my friends is the sign of a great story when the reader starts to picture the characters as alive.

FROST MOON is one of the fresher Urban Fantasies that I have had the pleasure of reading for a while and I am really looking forward to starting BLOOD ROCK which is the second in the series.  I rate this book a 4.2.

I did receive this book from NetGallery in exchange for the review.  No money exchanged hands and all opinions are my own.

Oct 13, 2011

Fall Fashionista

It's here and this is an event that you don't want to miss.  What's going on you ask?  Well over 200 bloggers have joined together create the premier fashion event in blogging.  All of us will be giving away a prize worth over $50 each.  

And let's not forget the grand prize.  

For every contest you enter, you will get one entry to a contest for a Fendi Mini Beige Red Pochette Bag from Bella Bags. Now how is that for fashion.  I am loving that bag.

Now I bet that you are curious what I am contributing to this wonderful event.  It is a hand-knotted necklace made of freshwater pearls, lampwork beads from JulsBeads, and Egyptian crystal.  This is a necklace that I designed myself and has to be my favorite.  I really had to talk myself out of keeping it and making up another completely.  I want to give my best to my readers.

Here is the pictures and I guarantee that it looks much better in person.  It is pouring rain here it Tacoma and I couldn't get any good pics.

Now as to how to enter.  I am going to make this simple.  Just leave me a comment.  For extra entries there are a few options: follow me, tweet about this contest, or share it on Facebook or your blog.  Please leave a comment for each.  This contest will close on the 20th however since I won't be available until Sunday the 23rd so I will post the winner then. 

And now it is time for the legalese.  Still Blonde after all these YEARS , Fall Fashionista Giveaway Events or the Fall Fashionista Giveaway Event bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes.

Good luck everyone!!

Oct 12, 2011

Fall Fashionista Is Coming!

From October 14th to October 19th over 350 bloggers are hosting giveaways all relating to fashion.  Plan on stopping by on the 14th to see the gorgeous pearl necklace that I will be giving away for this event.
Oct 8, 2011

Sense of Accomplishment

Iron Jawed AngelsImage via WikipediaFor the first time in a week, I actually feel that I have accomplished things.  I managed to fight thru my back pain and headache caused by the accident to make it out of my house to get things done.

Apparently today was the 'Draw Money Out of Your Bank Day' which I didn't know about until I mentioned to my husband that I needed to stop by the bank.  We bank with Bank of America which will soon be changing due to all the fees they are starting to levy on their customers.  They are going to start charging $5 a month to even use your debit card.  It is really getting to be ridiculous.  I was rather surprised that the bank wasn't crowded but I was glad that I didn't need to wait in line.

I then stopped by a girlfriend's house just to chat.  It seems as though we never get a chance to visit anymore as I am always slammed and she has two kids that she is raising on her own and going to school full time. I have mentioned her before and the fact that she has an autistic daughter.  Isabel is doing so much better to the point that she actually asked for a hug.  Normally she doesn't respond to anyone but her mother and a few, very few, other people.  Seeing her respond to me really made my day.

I then went out a friend's house to help him out with editing his book.  I tend to go out there a couple times a month as he does live a ways away.  We tend to edit by committee and it is a good group of people.  I didn't get to stay long, just a couple hours as I started to get a headache.

I was more then ready to get home after that but I did have one more stop left.  I had to get some dog food for the furkids so I ran by Costco.  While I was there, I also picked up a heater for my studio.  There is NO way I was going to be frozen out this winter.  I have too many ideas floating around in my head.  I just purchased my first lampwork beads from JulsBeads and I plan on playing with them.  I now understand why people will pay so much for a bead.  The ones that I picked up were on sale and just gorgeous.

I also managed to get some pictures of my offering for the Very Vintage Fall Hop.  I need to edit them and will have them up tomorrow.   Thank you so much for your patience on those pictures.

And now I sitting comfortably in my recliner catching up on blogs, drinking a glass of sangria and watching 'Iron Jawed Angels.  It is really amazing to think how far us women have come in just a 100 years.  I can't even imagine not being able to vote and speak my mind.  We still have farther to go as far as equal wages but we have come a long way baby.

Well thank you for listening to me ramble on.  Did you have a good Saturday also?

Oct 7, 2011

Beautiful Things

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 28:  Amazon founder J...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeYay!  I am back on track, at least as far as the beautiful things post.  For other things I am still catching back up on.  Gotta love how accidents can really mess up a person's schedule.  There were definitely things that made me smile this week.

1.  I spent Saturday up in Seattle at the NW Tea Festival.  It was wonderful being surrounded by other tea lovers.  For some reason, my household really leans toward coffee drinkers.  I have tried to make everyone see the errors of their ways all to no avail.  I did pick up some delicious teas that I have been savoring.

2.  I am now working back from home which is so wonderful!  It just takes a week and some in the office to remind me of the joys of being able to go to work in my basement.  The furkids are much happier also.  I felt really bad about leaving BeiJing behind.  According to my housemates, she was spending each day moping.

3.  I found about the gift card that I won from work.  It was from Amazon so really useful.  I just preordered one of the new Kindle Fire.  I don't use a Kindle now as when I was getting a new e-reader, I had decided on a Sony as I have more control over what is on my reader.  But I couldn't resist the Fire.  It's like a mini tablet with music, movies, web browsing and of course books.  Of course I have to wait a little over a month to get it but I am looking forward to checking it out.

Oct 5, 2011

Really Blowing It

Doctor's Office in Four Mile Old West TownImage by Photomatt28 via FlickrI feel as though I am totally blowing it here.  I promised that I would get up the picture of the necklace that I made for the Very Vintage Fall Challenge today but by the time I got home from the my massage therapist's and my doctor's office the day was gone and it was pouring rain.  Not very conducive to taking any pictures.  I am really going to have to get a light box since I have started to enjoy taking pictures of my jewelry.  And I have a few things that I need to get pics for so that I can show everyone.

On the accident front, I think that I will survive but it doesn't look like I will bounce back like I did in my twenties.  No broken bones but I am very sore and bruised up.  I have found that if I am sitting up very long in front of a computer that I am getting a headache and my fingers start to tingle.  Don't worry I have it documented at the doctor's office.  I am also going to take my massage therapist's advice and write down every ache and pain.  I guess that is in case I decide to sue.  I did last time and boy I wish that I had had that advice as it was from being rear-ended 10 years ago that I acquired my fibromyalgia.  And of course it reared its ugly head right after I settled.

Well I just wanted to keep everyone updated.  Now I think that I will go lay down with my ipod.  I am just addicted to audio books and lately I have been hooked also on audio drama.  There are some good ones out there but the ones I really enjoy are from Darker Projects.  If you get a chance check them out.
Oct 3, 2011

Very Viintage Fall Challenge

I am going to be running a day behind on this.  I am so sorry but I was rear-ended this weekend and wasn't able to get pictures this weekend due to way too many pain pills.  And I get home too late to take pictures when I get home.  But I promise that I will get it up tomorrow.

While you wait be sure to take a look at the beauties made by everyone else.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton

Boo Beads


Tell Your Girlfriends

Beading Arts

Cynth's Blog

Morning Glory Beading

As I Bead It

SilverRose Designs

We Can Make That at Home

Wild Roses and Blackberries

Laurel Moon Jewelry & Beads

Lutka & Co

Lucid Mood Studio

Bead Lola Bead

MLH Jewelry

Melinda Orr Metal & Clay Jewelry Designs 

Michelle (me)
Beads & Books

Blog by Salla

Falling into the Sky

MiShel Designs

Beads and Bread

Pixybug Designs

Pearl and Pebbles

Pink Chapeau Vintage Jewelry

The Bead Junkie

Oct 2, 2011

Bead Soup Contest Winner!

Sorry that I didn't let everyone know about the winner yesterday but circumstances intervened.  I went up to Seattle for the NW Tea Festival and I was rear-ended.  So last night was spent in the ER getting checked out and then I zoned on pain pills when I got home.  Not seriously hurt.  According to the doc I have severe strain in my neck, shoulders, back and arms.   In these kinds of cases, pain pills and muscle relaxers are just the ticket.

So anyways, I did the drawing today and I will be contacting the winner who will have 3 days to return my email or I will be drawing again. 

It's Kay from KayzKreationz!  Congrats!