Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fabulous Finds...

Now that Christmas is over and the recipients have opened their gifts, I can brag about them here without worry that they will read it ;-)

I try either to make all our Christmas gifts or buy them handmade. This year, three great finds were from etsy...I could have done so much more damage but I restrained myself.

Bliss candles, 2 pack in a holiday box. I ordered spearmint/eucalyptus and white tea & ginger. Both were fabulous and very professionally labeled. I love the rustic lids. My sister-in-law was impressed.
Brainscan organic fair trade coffee, Small World Blend...this smelled divine but I have yet to be invited to my friends house for a cup of java...hmmm, he may just be keeping this all to himself!

Arm warmers from Bows by Jess for my 12 year old daughter. These were originally designed as baby leg warmers but they can also be used as arm warmers. My daughter loved them. She has her own style and was excited knowing she'll be the only one is school with these!

A big thanks to all the fabulous etsy sellers...what would I do without you!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holidays and soap...

Every year I get my children a new Hallmark ornament, so when they leave the nest, their first Christmas tree won't be bald. I love, too, how the ornaments, over the years, genuinely reflect their interests that year. I mean, how does one child go from loving Rainbow Brite to zombies??? Here are this years ornaments.

The leg lamp from A Christmas Story for my 18 year old. How great is that lamp???

A mini version of our own chocolate lab for my animal-loving 12 year old

A "Where the Wild Things Are" ornament for my 6 year old, a favorite book of ours and one I've read to him since birth.

On a soapy note, two new soaps are on the curing rack.

Wishing, inspired by Half Magic by Edward Eager. This was the winner of the "Favorite Children's Book" challenge. A blend of vanilla and cinnamon and a hint of magic.

Dust Bowl, inspired by To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This was the winner of the "Banned Books" challenge and a personal favorite of mine. A blend of camellia flowers, amber, honey, spearmint and a smidge of Dustbowl Days dirt. Very intriguing.

I've redesigned the Latherati labels and am excited to launch them the first of the year. I'm working on some new book scents and am gearing up to post a new challenge sometime in January. 2010 is going to be a fantastic year. I wish you all the happiest of days this coming year.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Food & Christmas gifts...

There is a new restaurant in town that has the best shrimp and crab bisque. Since my budget doesn't always allow me to be so indulgent, I figured I'd better learn to make it myself. I used my favorite recipe website, allrecipes.com, and tweaked this recipe until I made, what I think, is a satisfyingly similar bisque to the Delta Lake Inn. Here is the recipe with my own additions (based on the very helpful comments/suggestions from others who have ventured to make this their own).

Ingredients:
  • 6 tablespoons butter (I used only 4)
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 4 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion
  • 3 cups cooked lobster meat, shredded (I used shrimp and crab)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup light cream (I used half & half)
I also added a can of tomato paste, a smidgen of white wine and a dash of cayenne pepper.

Directions
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper and celery salt until well blended. Gradually stir in the milk so that no lumps form, and then stir in the chicken stock. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the soup begins to thicken. Add the onion and lobster; season with paprika. Cook and stir for 10 more minutes. Stir in the cream, heat through and serve.

Enjoy!
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I finished the photo blocks from this post and thought you might like to see the finished product. These will be going to the grandparents. What do you think?
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And one business note...I'm excited to give you a sneak peak of my newly designed labels. I wanted them to have that aged look but still look modern. I think I achieved it. :-)
Oh and for all of those like me with no photoshop skills whatsoever, these were done in Word. Not bad, eh?


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tis the Season...

for snow...
taken through my dining room window, staying cozy warm, as snow blankets the world

for snow covered bushes...
see that one fall leaf stuck in the branches?

for twinkle lights on the staircase...

and the mantle...

to make Christmas gifts...
I'll post another pic when they are done but here are the instructions for making these photo blocks (great gifts for grandparents!):

Need:
wood blocks (I got mine at Michaels)
ModPodge
pretty papers
pics of your kids (or your dog, cat, what have you)
paint

Directions:
Paint all the edges (I used a plum-brown color); when dry, sand for a distressed look.
Cut pretty paper and pics to fit on each side; ModPodge those suckers down.
Coat with ModPodge.

Done.

You can stack them or line them up; switch the blocks around for new pics, etc. I have a set I made for myself last year sitting on my bookshelf.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Big Label Re-Design Sale...

I'm redesigning the Latherati labels so you have a chance at big savings...buy three, get one FREE! So, head on over to the shop and take a look around, k?