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November 2013
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January 2014

December 2013

holidays........

I've never really been good at recording the holidays. When things get busy, my camera collects dust on the top of my dresser as I dive in to get things done. So while there is a whole lot of magic making going on in these parts.... I have not one photo of "proof" to share with you. I know there's more of you out there like me. I blame part of it on my introvert self...... if I can subtract anything from the chaos, I do. Camera (though I love her) is often the first to go. Laundry is second. Camera is less messy when I ignore her than laundry. The other reason though.... is when magic is happening I want to be in it. I don't feel in it behind a lens.... I miss what happens in the peripheral... I worry about lighting & aperture. Pictures are good.... but life is better. You know? 

And while I hoped to get here & hang out with you a little more the last few weeks..... who was I kidding? I'm guessing you're pretty busy too. So I thought we could just make a date to meet up in the new year, after the holiday bustle clears. We'll make something crafty together. Or talk about food. Or the kids.

Which reminds me.... go get caught up in the magic. Don't even try getting all that stuff on your to-do list crossed off. No one cares if you dusted the cobwebs before Great Aunt so-and-so comes for dinner, or if you made eight different Christmas cookies. Sit in front of some twinkly lights and read with your kiddos.... or sip some cocoa by the fire with your sweet man. Go for a walk after dark and admire the lights or quiet of winter or snow crunching under your boots if you're really lucky..... do nothing. Which is really everything.

Before I go, I have one more little thing I want to share with you. It's a snippet from this year's holiday newsletter, a tiny piece of the toast my brother-in-law gave to his daughter on her wedding day this September. He  was talking about being married and raising a family. It was so poignant for our life this year, and it goes something like this:

“sometimes it will be the hardest thing you ever do, but if love and you stick with it and you do it well, it will be the greatest, shiniest treasure you ever put in your pocket....” 

Wishing you all a bit of magic, love, and shiny treasures for your pocket.

Happy Holidays to you~

xo,

s


make :: peppermint bark

make :: peppermint bark

make :: peppermint bark

make :: peppermint bark

 

I think this is the fourth year I've made this. Always a double batch. This and the peanut butter blossom cookies are the two things my people request this time of year. (peanut butter cookie with a hershey kiss in it.) Me? I like the bark. But I want toffee. I'll be testing this one out this year. And also these. Which is funny because they're both boozy... when what I am really after is the gingery caramel flavor of them.

But back to the bark. I originally found the recipe here. I've gone back to it each year since. But now that I have changed the recipe a tiny bit, I thought I'd post it here. Most changes are due to me picking up ordinary ingredients at the grocery store. No fancy chocolate.... even though I am certain it would be a worthwhile splurge. I also use peppermint oil now, instead of extract. And my dark chocolate layer is bigger, white chocolate layer smaller. Last year the bark was not kid friendly peppermint-y because the oil is so much stronger! This year it is. I must admit to liking last year's batch the best, but see the boozy things I picked out up there? I guess I like treats that will knock your socks off or something..... Anyhow, the bark was restored to it's original peppermint-ness due to my youngest asking me to please make it right because he wants to like it. That's hard to argue with, you know?

It's perfect for giving. And perfect to hide in an inconspicuous container in the back bottom corner of the fridge for sometime in mid January. Not that I would ever do that. Ahem.

 

make :: peppermint bark

 

Peppermint Bark

8 ounces of white chocolate (must contain cocoa butter, I use no frills baker's, 2 boxes)

2 boxes candy canes (12 ounces or so, crushed, but not powdered)

10 ounces dark chocolate (I use ghiradelli bittersweet)

1/2 to 3/4 tsp peppermint oil (depending on how brave you are, my kids like less, I like more)

8 TBSP heavy cream

*The trickiest part of this whole thing is melting the chocolate over low heat. Some people use a double boiler method & I admit to being too lazy for that. I do it over the lowest heat on my stove, watch it carefully and stir often. Double boiler is defintiely the safest way to go though.*

Cover a baking pan or large cookie sheet with foil. Eyeball or mark an 8x12-ish spot on it. Melt half of the white chocolate. Spread the white chocolate quickly and thinly over the area, use a spatula or icing knife if you have one of those. Cover the white chocolate with half the crushed candy canes. Put in the fridge to cool. 

Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate & cream over low heat. Stirring often until smooth. If it seems to get oily looking, add another TBSP of cream. Stir in the peppermint oil. Remove the white chocolate layer from the fridge... and again working quickly, spread the dark chocolate layer over the candy cane layer.

Cool until firm. 25 minutes or so in the fridge.

Melt the last 4 ounces of white chocolate. Working quickly, spread the white chocolate layer over the dark chocolate layer & top with remaining candy canes. Cool for 15 minutes, peel off the foil layer & slice into whatever shape suits your fancy. I like triangles.

*do not add cream to the white chocolate. ever. i tried this once, it all turned into a dough consistency.

*if the dark chocolate layer isn't cool, your top layer will melt together with it making sort of a marbled effect. just so you know.  

*you can use those little peppermint hard candies too, i could just pronounce all the stuff in the candy canes, so I chose them. plus they're just so festive. 

*speaking of candy canes, if your sweet man gets a little crazy crushing candy canes, sift the dusties out with a fine mesh strainer. the dusties make the layers not stick together as well. add them to cocoa. or vodka. if you're a grown-up, you can add the candy cane vodka to your cocoa.

Some other good giftable edibles I've shared in the past: Biscotti, Granola #1, Granola #2, Bertha's Hard Run Fuel

Enjoy! Happy giving. And eating.

xo,

s

 


in the studio........

in the studio......

in the studio......

in the studio......

in the studio......

in the studio......

in the studio......

The last week has been my busiest ever.

Gearing up for the show. Sending out orders. So. Many. Orders. I am (of course) grateful to be so busy, to see this little business doing so well. It's still crazy though, much being learned to do differently this time next year in hopes of creating just a little more balance? 

In the meantime. The studio is where I have been all day. All week. Dyeing up custom orders. Restocking all my silk colors for the show Sunday. Sewing bags, banners, & blankets. I added two new silk blanket colors. Grey & rainbow. Playing around with some very simple shibori techniques for my women's scarves. Moving, and changing, and moving tables and screens and shelves to create a layout for my booth. That's a sneak peek for you. Still need to sew up three panels of linen to replace the brown floral on the screen in the back.

Custom orders are closed until after the holidays and the 16th is the last day to order for holiday delivery, so things will be slowing down in just a few more days. It's taking a lot of extra help from my family to fill my regular shoes. They are working hard too. At this point though, I think everyone is looking forward to next week. Especially my youngest girl, who is in need of some mama time. I think baking cookies and making a few Christmas decorations is on the top of her list......

See you sometime next week.

xo~
s

ps ~ if any of you are local-ish to the Providence area..... you will come out & say hello, right? I'd love to meet you.....

 


gloaming.....

gloam.ing |ˈglōmi ng |noun (the gloaming) poetic/literary, twilight; dusk.

ORIGIN Old English glōmung, from glōm ‘twilight,’ of Germanic origin; related to GLOW.

gloaming

gloaming

gloaming

gloaming

gloaming

gloaming

gloaming

 

:: trying to curb my coffee habit and drink more tea. oregon chai with almond milk and a bit of honey has been my favorite. it's a warm retreat in the busy days. this week especially : my last work week before the big art show next sunday + the last week to get orders out for holiday delivery. it's going to be busy....

:: the sunroom. every morning. soft. grey. quiet. 

:: we found a local farm, as in two miles away local, that let us come shovel a stall full of old manure. she was a gem of a lady & the work went quick. we filled the trailer in no time. or so it seemed. the garden dreams are looking good.....

:: she spilled seeds everywhere when she fed the birds, but we enjoyed the guest who cleaned them up.

:: more trees. because for now i am in love with their lines against the sky and their sleeping shades of grey. the woods are sleeping out back and all is still.....

 

Tell me, what gloaming bits are calling to you, pulling at you to walk slowly, notice them & be still?

Do share.....

xo,

s

(ps ~ the winner of the book giveaway has been announced, congratulations Joy!)

 


Farm. Food. Life. {for you!}

Two weeks ago I sat at Kim's dining room table with a bowl of homemade soup in my hands as we finally got the opportunity to share words face to face. She had invited me to stay at her home so we could attend the Broke Arts Fair together the next morning. We had been emailing each other for weeks and a friendship was easily forged, we have so much in common after all. Love of farms, food, life full of kids. It was magic sitting there, thumbing through the pages of her beautiful book. Putting a voice behind all those messages we had sent back and forth. She is a good soul, for sure. Kind, down-to-earth, and generous. I'm so glad that our paths have crossed.....

And because I really want you to get to know her a little better too, I have something special for you. One lucky winner will receive a signed copy of her beautiful newly published book:

Farm. Food. Life. Photographs & Recipes Inspired by Local Farms

by Kimberly Peck

 farm. food. life. by kimberly peck

 

Through Kim's beautiful photography, you will get to know 12 small farms in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire. There is a delicious recipe for each farm showcased in the book and photograph after photograph of incredible farm beauty. The tomato page is my absolute personal favorite..... swoon!

To read more about Kim & her work, you can visit here. To purchase her lovely book, you can visit her shop(perfect for holiday gift giving!)

Leave a comment below to enter. A winner will be chosen Sunday evening & announced Monday. Extra love to each of you who share this book with friends.... I know you will. You guys are sweet like that.

xo~

s

 

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congratulations Joy! you are the lucky winner of this beautiful book! (comment chosen via random.org)

Thank you everyone for entering & for supporting Kim's book.

xo~

stephinie

 


our elderberry syrup

our elderberry syrup

our elderberry syrup

our elderberry syrup

our elderberry syrup

I've been reading. A lot. Truth be told, I have a new obsession.

Herbs. Medicine making.

We've been trying to drink more herbal teas and we certainly notice a difference after just a few days. I also made some very delicious elderberry syrup. This is something I have been curious about for ages. After listening to an informal workshop this fall at the Taproot Gathering, I was even more intrigued. Elder berries nourish the cell wall, making it more difficult for viruses to penetrate, aka immune boosting powers. Amazing stuff right? 

This recipe is a combination of two syrup recipes from my favorite herb book. Elder berries are especially effective when combined with echinacea, another immune boosting herb. Ginger is warming and nourishes your respiratory system. All good things for this time of year! We all love this syrup. It really seems to nip a cold if you take it at first onset and it has certainly shortened the life and intensity of the virus bugs that have made their way into our home this fall. If one person gets sick, we all take it and we have not had as much sharing of colds between us, which is wonderful. Best of all, it uses all dried herbs! So you can make it any time of year.... though I do hope to find elder berries next fall to make a fresh + local batch. (my favorite source for dried herbs)

Our Elderberry Syrup

1/2 cup dried elder berries

1 TBSP dried ginger root

1 TBSP dried echinacea root

3 cups water

3/4 cup raw honey

*if using fresh elder berries or roots, double the amount*

*echinacea & ginger should be rough pieces, not powder/ground*

Place elder berries, ginger root & echinacea root into a heavy bottomed pot. Add water & simmer for 30-45 minutes. Be sure to simmer gently & not boil, or you will lose too much of your liquid. Drain the liquid from the herbs using a mesh strainer. Be sure to mash and squish the berries so you get as much goodness from them as you can. You should have about 2 cups of liquid. Let cool until barely warm to the touch. Add your honey, stir well & refrigerate. Your syrup will last 2-3 months. Take 1 tablespoon daily for wellness (immunity), and 1 teaspoon every 2-3 hours if sick. (dosage from here.) It can be drizzled over ice cream, yogurt, or even pancakes! Children under 12 months of age should not have honey, but you can add it to very hot water or chamomile tea for them. (this will kill off any microbes in the honey) For adults & older children, let your tea cool to drinkable temperature before adding so you keep some of the benefits of raw honey intact.

Wishing you good health!

xo,

s


thankful + bacon brussels sprouts

thankful + bacon brussels sprouts

thankful + bacon brussels sprouts

thankful + bacon brussels sprouts

thankful + bacon brussels sprouts

I worked all day Saturday inside & Joe worked all day outside. The little kids ebbed and flowed between the two. Tracking in all sorts of debris and making the good kinds of messes kids make when loosely supervised. Joe & I were up late into the night making pies, stuffing & cranberry sauce. More help by little hands who stayed up way past their bed times.

Sunday was a quiet day, dinner was ready early. More of a late lunch at 1:00. We ate and snacked the rest of the day. Painting some pottery fresh out of the kiln, reading by the fire, playing cards. Simple + quiet. I'm truly thankful for these people I hang out with on a daily basis......

I roasted the turkey breast side down. Epic idea. It was the best I have ever made. By far. Maple syrup was front and center in both pies. Maple-pumpkin and maple-bourbon-pecan. I may have eaten a sliver of the latter with my morning cup of coffee. Shhh....

My youngest declared Thanksgiving his second favorite holiday. (Christmas first, of course.) He said it was so much better than Halloween. It may have been the copious handfuls of marshmallows meant for topping the sweet potatoes talking, but I'll take it anyway.

Lastly, a recipe for the best darn brussels sprouts out there. Dice up 6-8 ounces of some good quality bacon, add to two-ish pounds of halved brussels sprouts, spread in a pan and freshly grind a bit of black pepper over them. Bake at 425 stirring once or twice, until the brussels are crisp but tender. (not mushy!) Broil on high a minute or two to brown the tops.

Enjoy.

I'll see you tomorrow for that elderberry syrup recipe I promised last week. Auto-post was supposed to hook you up with that while we were traveling, but something went awry. It's worth the wait though!

See you then~

xo,

s