Monday, December 28, 2015

Melt in your mouth cookies......

These cookies are not what most people think of as biscotti but they're what I grew up with in my Italian family. My Nani (grandmother) told me that Biscotti meant little cookie - not the twice baked Biscotti we all know of in the stores and bakeries........actually I never knew about the twice baked ones until around 20 years ago. These Biscotti are melt in your mouth cookies - one of my favorites. In our family they were only made for Christmas but I've been known to make them all throughout the year using different colored sprinkles, such as reds & pinks for Valentine's Day.

5 cups flour
3 eggs
1 cup butter
1 ½ cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tbs baking powder
1 tbs almond extract
1/8 tb salt
Sift flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into bowl. Cut butter using fingers into dry ingredients until mixture resembles a coarse cornmeal. Make a well in flour and break eggs into it. Add flavoring. Knead dough about 2 minutes or until smooth.
Add a little more flour, if necessary, should the dough seems too soft and sticky. If too stiff, add about 1 tbs milk or as needed. Dough should be medium soft.
Take a handful of dough. Roll out into an 18 inch rope, ½ inch thick. Cut into 1 ½” pieces. Place on a greased cookie sheet about 1 ½ inches apart. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes – do not let brown, bake until right before they brown. (Caution: it’s best to watch cookies after 8 minutes) Remove from oven. Cool 5 minutes and frost. Sprinkle with multi-color sprinkles. Sit to dry. Store in an air tight container.
Basic frosting for Biscotti
1 lb confectioners sugar
4 tbs boiling water
¼ tsp almond extract
1 tbs butter
Mix until smooth and spread on cookies. If frosting is too thick, add more boiling water, a little at a time. Decorate with multi-color sprinkles.
Note: you can substitute anise extract for almond extract. My Nani put drops of yellow food coloring in the dough – I don’t. My Nani also split the icing into two bowls and put red food coloring in one, green in the other – I don’t do this either – I like my icing white. I have fond memories of helping my Nani make the Christmas cookies each year – we usually had around 15 different kinds that came out Christmas Eve on huge silver trays. There were tins and tins of cookies that kept filling these trays throughout the holidays. These are one of my favorites – they just melt in my mouth.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Mele Kalikimaka

This years inkling ornament is my little hula dancer, Lahela, which translates to sheep's friend. Some family and friends have been getting my inkling creations for years, there are 24 different ones in the collection.  And I'm sorry if some of you that read my blog haven't gotten them but they are a limited edition and in order to get on the list someone has to die and no one wants to wish that on anyone. I've decided that this year is the last year I'll be making them - I'm out of ideas after 24 of them.........if I ever come up with new ideas I'll pick it up again but right now I'm spent..........

Saturday, December 26, 2015

It was a good holiday..........

Santa was good to Bailey this year......hmm, what's this?

 .....oh, it was a rawhide granola bar........but wait, what's up there????'s a new Buster!!!!
 Bailey said he's not sure why he got a new Buster because his old one was broken in just right......he just couldn't see that old Buster was threadbare and had a stink about him that no one in the house could stand any longer.......and he wouldn't have made it through another trip in the washer........

......ah, life is good.........Bailey hopes you all had just as wonderful a holiday as he did...........

Thursday, December 24, 2015

On the loom.........

In-between massive loads of laundry I got another painted warp on the loom. I threaded it to an 8 harness two block twill, both warp and weft are 8/2 tencel.

Here's the first scarf - I'm using a black tencel weft

Second scarf which I almost got finished I'm using a sage green weft

A White Christmas

This is what we woke up to this morning, still snowing hard......looking like we'll have a white christmas this year. Looking at the forecast for today we had decided to postponed our traditional Italian Christmas eve dinner as getting to our house will be difficult as it is, and cousin Jim would be coming from 45 miles south having to come over a pass to get here. We'll try for Saturday as the weather should be better by then.......should be.......

Now to think about what to do with my new found time since I'm not cooking today.........maybe getting a painted warp on the loom and hope the power stays on so it's not too dark to weave...........

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Another great day......

I've been having some good studio 'nesting' days lately. Today was another great day as I finally wove off a painted warp that's been sitting on the AVL for months. Obviously selling roving is getting in the way of my first love......weaving.

I found this draft on I don't remember the name of it off hand and would have to walk down the stairs to the studio to get it.......and I've already gone up and down the stairs 3000 times today.......if someone is interested in knowing the name of it please leave a comment and I'll get it posted later - it is a 16 harness draft. Fuchsia weft here.

Here's the same fuchsia weft at the next color change on the warp. I forgot to take a picture at the final color change.......oh well........

Here's the start of the second scarf on the warp, rust weft here. Warp and wefts are 8/2 tencel.

This is the next painted warp to go on the loom. This will be woven in an 8 harness two block twill. I'm loving these colors I dyed........if one of the finished scarves speaks to me once woven I may have to keep it for myself. This is the next painted warp in the queue but might not be the next warp to go on the loom. I also want to get a shawl warp on the loom. But then there are the holiday cooking and get togethers so nothing will be happening right away.......

Sunday, December 20, 2015

New towels in the shop

I spent a little time at the embroidery machine this weekend getting some towels done and up in the etsy shop. I'm actually a bit ahead of time for Valentine's Day - what a novelty!

I had a crisis Saturday when the machine decided to go wack-a-do. The needle would get stuck down, the machine would shutter and shut down. I got it running again to finish up the towel I was working on but when I started the next towel it happened. I love this cheap little Brother machine, it's been great, no trouble at all.....until yesterday. I called Sam to the rescue. He did what we should never do - he opened up the top of the machine, studied it to figure out how it works, cleaned and oiled it but it was still hanging up. Then he brought out the canned air and started shooting it in there. He spotted half of a very thin washer sitting on top of a gear.......but where was the other half??? More canned air and the other half fell down into the bobbin case. No way could he figure out where the washer was supposed to go but being so very thin it doesn't do much other than to act as a spacer.........and the machine is working perfectly again! Obviously that little piece of washer was sitting somewhere it shouldn't have been causing the problem.  I've put the washer in a zip lock bag so whenever the machine needs to go in for service I can bring it along. So Sam was the hero yesterday........what does one do if they don't have a handy husband/partner???

Friday, December 18, 2015


I've been doing some long overdue nesting and have been having a grand time. I did a bit of this and that today and then late in the afternoon I decided I should start embroidering some towels. I'm actually thinking ahead, very rare, and working on some for Valentine's Day. Tomorrow I'll get back to them - in addition to Valentine's I'll be stitching more sheep, spinning wheels and trees. All will be listed in the Etsy shop as soon as they're finished.

Starting to think about getting back to weaving and have another sewing project planned, an afghan/throw for me.........need to shop for fabric for it so it may be a while.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

It's been a grand day

It's been a grand day even though it's been raining pitchforks and shovels as my friend JoAnn would say. After getting orders boxed up and to the post office, yes people are still shopping for gifts, I edited many photos of a total of 8 scarves so they could be listed in my etsy shop.

An ice-dyed, stenciled dragonfly scarf is one of the new scarves listed.......

.....and an ice dyed, starfish and sand dollar scarf........other scarves listed but not pictured here are hand-dyed, stenciled and handwoven/discharge dyed.

Oh yes, I did go out wearing these leggings and no, I'm not 20 years old. Of course the only place I went was to the post office wearing a knee length coat over them. They're kind of fun for wearing around the house but a little out there for me.

And this was what I've been looking at all afternoon while knitting and listening to an audio book - perfect activity for a chilly rainy day. I'm really thinking I need to do this more often, usually I'm so's time to relax a bit.......

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Felting Landscapes Kits

In-between working on holiday sewing today I put together more Felting Landscapes kits for my Etsy shop. I had run out of two of them and then decided to put together a new one. And of course, since first putting together kits many colors had been discontinued by Ashland Bay so I came up with new versions. 

The new kit is the top one - Sunflower Power. Then revamped kits - middle is Sand in your shoes, bottom is Rain Forest.

Coming down the homestretch on holiday sewing - then I can get back to weaving - whoo hoo.

Snow - what a novelty!

Woke up to snow this morning - not a lot but it's snow. We didn't see one flake here last winter, not one flake.........and very little in the mountains. The year before we had one snowfall and that was it. The past few days we've had torrential rain which, other than driving in it, has been wonderful. Keeping my fingers crossed that our wet winter continues to help end this going on 4 year drought. When out on the deck taking this photo I had a hummingbird buzz me, thank goodness the feeder didn't freeze......will have to watch that and bring it in at night if the temps go down...........

Now off to work in Santa's workshop..........the perfect day for it........

Thursday, December 10, 2015


 This past weekend we were over on the coast and decided to go to the new location of the Coos History in Coos County, OR. We were there fairly early on Sunday which meant we had the museum to ourselves, others were coming in as we were leaving - it was great.

 Ok, not sure what's up with Blogger and pictures with turning this one sideways. I didn't have any better luck using the drag and drop option for adding pictures either - that wanted to put them side by side. Oh well.....hopefully this won't be a continuing issue. Anyhow - back to the photo - this is a huge cedar dug out canoe - very impressive.....just turn your head sideways to view.

Turn your head to see Bailey too - he was trying to sleep on the couch but I kept insisting on taking pictures........

Spent yesterday morning getting wool roving orders dealt with - weighing, bagging, tagging, putting into inventory and back in the etsy shop. What a job it is but this time Sam helped with the weighing part of it - with the process we've come up with it takes 1/3 of the time to do the job with two of us over me doing it alone. Selling roving is a big chunk of my income but I'm thinking about taking a break from it (at least online) to see how I feel about the time it takes away from weaving and other fiber arts/crafts..........sometime after the beginning of the year I'll put that etsy shop on vacation hold and see how I feel about it......right now I'm getting pretty sad about how little time I have to weave and do other things I've wanted to do.

It's been raining here but not too bad like a few hours to the north of us where there's flooding happening. We're supposed to get more rain later and again for the next several days but we're definitely not getting the worst of the weather here in the northwest.

I hope everyone is ready for the holidays - I've got my mailing done and am almost done sewing.....guess I need to figure out Christmas Eve dinner soon but I've still got time for that........

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Elves hard at work......

I've been absent from making blog posts as I'm been busy in Santa's workshop. Unfortunately I can't show what I've been creating but it's all been at the sewing machine this year, several different projects. I still have a few more gifts to sew but since they're for my mother I've got plenty of time - no mailing involved.

Some fun little gifts.......sorry, can't show what they are but I definitely will after the holidays along with a link to a YouTube video to show how they're made........ cards from hand-woven fabric in progress......

......and gift bag making. Those Trader Joe's bags I get when I've forgotten to put my reusable shopping bags back in the car don't go to waste - they become my gift bags for the tissue is old sewing patterns, no need to waste that tissue either........

This afternoon I had to run up to the post office and to the store. I pulled the mustang out of the garage and thought, wow, my feet feel so comfy.........well, I looked down and I was wearing my sheep slippers. I felt compelled to go back in the house and put on real shoes. If it were just the small post office 2 miles away I wouldn't have bothered changing but I was going to town to a big store with lots of walking around and it's pouring rain......thought real shoes would be in order.