Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sugar Cookie Cutouts

Memorial Day weekend, my mom and I made 4 batches of these sugar cookies for a celebration in honor of my nephew being awarded Eagle Scout by the Boy Scouts of America.  This is a great recipe to keep on hand for when you want to make cutouts.  Since there were 2 of us, we got done fairly quick.  I like the subtle flavor that the almond extract gives. 

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon almond extract
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

  1. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Sift together the flour and baking powder, stir into the creamed mixture alternately with the heavy cream. Cover dough, and chill for 2 to 3 hours, until firm.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. 
  3.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness*. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Sprinkle with colored sugar if desired.
  4. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes in the preheated oven, until bottoms and edges of cookies are light brown. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container. 
  *Recipe stated 1/4 inch thickness -- I think they came out better when they were a bit thinner. 

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract assorted food coloring (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
  2. Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity (optional). Spread icing on with a knife.   note:  this icing takes a while to dry.  I let these sit overnight on my kitchen counter with no problems.  The cookies remained soft.

Monday, June 28, 2010

July Goals

Wow, can you believe that the 4th of July is less than a week away?  I feel as though the summer is slipping by and I'm going to run out of time to do the things I want (and need) to do!  So I'm making a list:
  1. Golf at least one time
  2. Go to a beach (we're only a few miles from Lake Erie and some fabulous parks)
  3. Paint our lamp posts in front - ok, not a fun thing to do, but I was planning to do that last year and it never got done!  They're chipping pretty badly.
  4. Get my bike out of the shed and go for a ride

What fun things are you doing this summer??

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sparkling New Designs

I've been listing new earrings in my ETSY shop this weekend ~ I've been working on several bridal orders, so I'm in the mood for crystals and pearls!

Monday, June 21, 2010

New Jewelry Designs

New designs!  I was playing around with some gemstones today and ended up combining pretty blue chalcedony, lemon quartz and rich red carnelian.  These remind me of a sunset!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day Dad!

Cedar Point, Sandusky OH.   Gotta love the babushka!!

Friday, June 18, 2010


Have you watched any of the World Cup?  Until this week, I never knew what a vuvuzela was!  When blown by thousands of people at once, they sound like an angry bee hive - a constant, relentless drone -  continuously through the game.  I find it amazing that the players can focus on their game.  I read that they are banned from Wimbledon and that they are linked to hearing loss.  Good grief!

I was joking with my nephew who is on his high school's varsity soccer team - I have a small cowbell that I bring to the games.  I told him I was going to get a vuvuzela instead!  He just rolled his eyes and mumbled something about his 'crazy aunt'!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Warm Weather Dinners ~ Greek Salad

When it's hot and humid out, the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven or stovetop!  Whenever we grill chicken, I always throw some extra on the grill for later in the week.  A greek salad topped with chicken was my latest creation this week.  Below is the recipe - but I'm not even sure I should call it a recipe.  It's so easy and can be done with any type of salad or meat you have in the fridge. 

Grilled Chicken:  We always marinate ours in low-fat italian dressing.  I like to use Ken's Italian w/Aged Romano dressing.  Boneless and skiness chicken breasts or tenders are what we grill.

Salad:  I tossed together romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, sliced red onion, crumbled lite feta cheese and pitted kalamata olives.  For the dressing I used Kraft's Greek Vinegrette and also drizzled some extra-virgin olive oil on top.

This was the perfect 'cool' meal.  My husband is not a big salad eater, but the chicken on top satisfied him along with some crusty ciabatta bread.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Custom Wedding Jewelry

I recently had the pleasure of creating an earring and necklace set for a bride-to-be.  I'm so flattered knowing that someone's wearing my jewelry on one the most special day's of her life!  I love this design - simple and elegant! 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Etsy Finds ~ Early Bird Cafe

I recently came across Early Bird Cafe, an Etsy shop owned by Mary Hanks. One of my fellow Cleveland Handmade team members recommended her items (thanks zJayne!). I like to start my morning out with either oatmeal or granola topped yogurt. Mary's granola is fantastic - filled with lots of goodies and so good on top of yogurt. I caught my husband eating some right out of the bag - and he rarely eats granola. This is some of the best granola I've had!

I also ordered a sampling of her energy bars - chewy and sweet with dried fruits and nuts.  Yum!  A great snack for work or to take along for our morning hikes. Mary included a sample of her whole wheat lemon biscott.  Again, another winner.  She has a variety of flavors in her shop and I have my eye on her chocolate biscotti.  Wouldn't that be perfect with a cup of tea or coffee?

So be sure to check out Mary's shop on Etsy for homecooked goodies.  And while you're at it, also check out zJayne's shop, featuring recyled products.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Topsy Turvey Tomato

My garden is coming along nicely.  We've had good amounts of rain, which really soaks the ground.  It's so much better than having to water!  This year I planted a good variety of plants, from the usual "Big Boy" and Romas, to some interesting heirloom varieties. 

My husband bought the Topsy Turvey Tomato planter last weekend.  He bragged and bragged as he planted his tomato, insisting that his sole plant would produce more than my entire garden.  Well, 4 days later it was dead.  Wilted and pathetic looking.  Of course I tried to be supportive, encouraging him to try again since it was early in the season.  So this weekend we're off to get him a new plant. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Pictures

I feel like I'm always struggling with getting the perfect picture of my jewelry.  I've always wanted to take pictures of the jewelry on (except earrings) and tried to do this myself - ha ha!  I won't show you some of those pictures!  Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of your wrist? 

So I enlisted my hubby for help, who laughed when I told him to take a picture, but not to worry about getting my face in it!  Here's a few that I like.... any thoughts or feedback are appreciated!  The other pics in my listings are close-ups of the item, so I thought having these a little further away would be good.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

June Birthstone ~ Pearls

Lucky June babies have the pearl as a birthstone!  Pearls are one of my favorite pieces of jewelry to wear.    I still remember my mom letting me wear her good strand of pearls for my first high school dance - I felt so special!  I used to wear them only when getting dressed up, but now I love how they look with casual outfits, especially khaki and denim.

Happy Birthday to anyone with a birthday this month  ♥