Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sparkley Sugared Cranberries

SUGARED CRANBERRIES



Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar

1 1/2 cups water

1 12oz. bag fresh cranberries

3/4 cup superfine sugar (or grind your own using regular sugar in a food processor)



Directions:



1. Rinse and drain cranberries. Remove any mushy berries and discard.



2. Cook granulated sugar and water in a medium sized pot over low heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently.



3. Add cranberries to hot liquid and stir. Pour berries and sugar water into a large bowl and refigerate overnight. (Use a small saucer on top of the berries to keep them submerged.

4. Drain cranberries in colander over bowl. Reserve the syrup for later use.

5. Sprinkle half the superfine sugar on a foil-lined baking sheet. Dump the cranberries in the sugar and shake the pan to coat. Continue adding sugar and shaking the pan until all berries are coated.

6. Allow to harden for a few hours and then serve and enjoy. Berries are best within a day or two of preparation... But they're so addicting I've never been able to test out whether they'll last any longer!

Happy Thanksgiving!

~~~Anne

Monday, November 23, 2009

Send a FREE Card of Thanks to Our Military Members

Happy Thanksgiving!

In the spirit of the holiday season, please take a moment to visit www.LetsSayThanks.com .

Once there, you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a an American soldier who is currently serving in the Middle East .

Though you can't select who recieves your card, it will go to a member of the Armed Services who cannot be home for the holidays.

How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send at least one card of appreciation!!!

Sending a card is FREE and the process is simple and fun. Wouldn't it be wonderful if our soldiers received a bunch of these cards of thanks?

Regardless of your feelings about the current "war situation", our soldiers need to know we are behind them and support their efforts 100%.

Sending a card takes just 10 seconds and is a wonderful way to say thank you to our dedicated military members.

Please take the time to send a card and then pass on a link to this post so others can do the same.

God Bless America and Happy Thanksgiving.

~~~Anne

Thursday, November 19, 2009

We Whisk You A Merry Kiss-mas!

Are you looking for a simple, inexpensive, and original gift for the ladies in your scrapbooking club, bowling league, or for your children's teachers? Head over to your local dollar store to pick up the supplies for this sweet gift.

Materials:
Cloth kitchen towel
Metal whisk
Hershey's Kisses
Clear plastic sandwich bag
Bow

Directions:
Put a generous handful of Kisses in baggie. Open the loops on the whisk and tuck in the bag of candy. Wrap the towel around the whisk and secure with a bow. Add a little card that reads "WE WHISK YOU A MERRY KISS-MAS!"

What are you doing to prepare for the holidays? Please head over to Basketmaster's Weavings to share your projects and recipes on "What We're Working On Wednesdays". I can't wait to see what everyone is doing :-)

Hugs and blessings~
~~~Anne

Friday, November 13, 2009

How to Make a Ristra


Okay, I’m totally late for Nancy’s “What We’re Working on Wednesdays”, but better late than never, right?

I, once again, had a hard time sleeping last night. I finally decided to get out of bed at around 4:30 this morning. I put on a pot of coffee and cleaned up around the kitchen for a bit (I was already miserable, so why not add to the pain!). Anyway, I noticed that the last huge pile of peppers from our chile harvest were ripening at an alarming rate, right there on the counter in my(now clean) kitchen. “Lazy Anne” thinks they’ll make a good addition to the compost bin. “Crafty Anne” knows she can absolutely do something fun with the chile. “Crafty Anne” thinks a lot faster than “Lazy Anne”. Guess who began making her first-ever RISTRA at 5:00am???

It was actually an easy project. Tying all the knots was strangely relaxing, and knowing I’ll have plenty of dried chile pods to use this winter made the process that much more satisfying.
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Want to make one of your own?
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Ready, set, go!
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Gather your materials:
- Chile peppers
- Twine
- Scissors
- Raffia

Cut a long length of twine (l-o-n-g, about 10 feet or so.) Double the twine and tie a knot at one end. Begin making a series of slipknots with your doubled “rope”, as pictured above. Try to make the knots fairly close together, but don’t worry about the placement too much. You’ll fill in any “holes” later.

Begin poking the stems of your peppers into the slipknots. Tighten each knot as you add more peppers.
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After about every third pepper, weave the twine around the stems several times and knot to make a cluster.

Continue the process until you have a “foundation” for your ristra. The length of your foundation depends more on your personal preference and the number of peppers you have. (I had a lot of peppers! My ristra is about 22 inches long.)
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Cut more pieces of twine in lengths of about 6 inches. Begin attaching more peppers by simply tying double-knots to secure them to your foundation. Snip off the ends of twine to about ¼ inch. ( I have also tied in some raffia in the picture above.)

Hold up your ristra often to check for gaps. Add more peppers as needed, attaching to the foundation AND the stems of already tied-in peppers. (Always include the twine part of your foundation when adding more chile.)

We’re getting there, but you can still see “bald spots”. Add more peppers. As your ristra becomes more fuller, you’ll have to dig around a bit to get the ends of your string through your arrangement. Don’t worry. If your knots are tight, your ristra can withstand quite a bit of manipulation.
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Tie in more raffia for decoration and texture.
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Whew! We’re almost finished. We need to add a loop so we can hang our ristra.

Wrap and tie tightly the remaining end of your doubled twine around the pepper stems at the top of your ristra. Wrap until you are left with a loop about 2-3 inches long. Attach raffia to the top of the loop by knotting. Wrap the raffia around the twine, and finish by tying the raffia into a bow. Add additional raffia or other embellishments, if desired.

Here is my finished ristra. Not bad for a project I finished before the sunrise! Not too bad at all. (Okay, really. I totally LOVE it and am feeling very impressed with myself right now!) I’m thinking I may have to get an earlier start on making ristras next year. They’d make awesome and unusual Christmas gifts for family and friends who don’t live in the Southwest.

Hugs and blessings~
~~~Anne

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Recycle a Light Bulb into a Reed Diffuser

My friend Nancy over at Basketmaster's Weavings has started a new meme called "What We're Working On Wednesdays". Just in time for the holidays, it gives us the opportunity to share our current projects and recipes with the blog world. Please visit Nancy for more details on how to participate in this fun project.

OK. On to my Recycled Lightbulb Reed Diffuser...

I'm going to show you how you can get from this:
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To this:

Ready, set, go!

Mix Your Diffuser Fragrance:
In a bowl or jar, mix 20 drops of essential oil or other fragrance with 6oz. high-proof vodka or grain alcohol (100 proof or higher). Add a couple of drops of food coloring if you wish to tint your fragrance. Set the mixture aside. (I used Christmas Forest Fragrance Oil from Bramble Berry and a couple of drops of green food coloring in this project.)

Create Your Diffuser:
***Wear protective eyeware and rubber gloves for the first step.***
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Wrap your lightbulb in a towel. Smack the end of the lightbulb with a hammer to break the seal and release the filament and innards. (You’ll try to be gentle at first. Don’t be. Apparently, lightbulbs are not nearly as delicate as they look!)

Pull out the innards with needle-nosed pliers and rinse out the lightbulb with water.

Attach feet (I used clear glass “vase gems) with glass-friendly adhesive.

Cover the neck of your diffuser to clean-up the look. You can wrap it with raffia, ribbons, fabric, cork… I used a bit of embossing copper on the project pictured.
Glue on embellishments, if desired. Fill with fragrance mixture and insert reeds. Enjoy!

Hugs and blessings~

~~~Anne

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