Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Afternoon at the Beach!

Chilly day at the beach,
no swimming here these days.

click clack...

hoods up

hood on

ice toss


Monday, December 21, 2009

Salted Chocolate Caramels

Yesterday before dinner I made these fabulous caramels. I had only made caramels once before and had not boiled them long enough, so it was a fear I had. It isn't fun scraping a gooey mass back into a pot to reboil. I did however boil these a little longer than the recipe said too, my fear. They are soft caramels but they do hold their shape. I cut them into squares last night and wrapped them in waxed paper, I am very very pleased with them.

The recipe was found on Epicurious. Enjoy!

Salted Chocolate Caramels

yield: Makes about 64 candies

active time: 45 min

total time: 3 1/2 hr

It's the sprinkle of sea salt that really takes these caramels over the top, teasing out the creamy richness of the buttery chocolate candies.
  • ingredients

    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 10 1/2 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked), finely chopped
    • 1 3/4 cups sugar
    • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
    • 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt such as Maldon
    • Vegetable oil for greasing

    • Special equipment: parchment paper; a candy thermometer


    Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch straight-sided square metal baking pan with 2 long sheets of crisscrossed parchment.

    Bring cream just to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat, then reduce heat to low and add chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then stir until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat.

    Bring sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt to a boil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, uncovered, without stirring but gently swirling pan occasionally, until sugar is deep golden, about 10 minutes. Tilt pan and carefully pour in chocolate mixture (mixture will bubble and steam vigorously). Continue to boil over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until mixture registers 255°F on thermometer, about 15 minutes. Add butter, stirring until completely melted, then immediately pour into lined baking pan (do not scrape any caramel clinging to bottom or side of saucepan). Let caramel stand 10 minutes, then sprinkle evenly with sea salt. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours.

    Carefully invert caramel onto a clean, dry cutting board, then peel off parchment. Turn caramel salt side up. Lightly oil blade of a large heavy knife and cut into 1-inch squares.

    Cooks' notes:•If desired, additional sea salt can be pressed onto caramels after cutting.
    •Caramels keep, layered between sheets of parchment or wax paper, in an airtight container at cool room temperature 2 weeks.
    •Caramels can be wrapped in 4-inch squares of wax paper; twist ends to close.

    Monday, December 14, 2009

    like a bruise..only prettier....

    I wasn't awake to see it, but my gorgeous black and blue treasury graced the front page of Etsy in the early morning hours this morning! Yay!!

    front page, captured from the craftcult vault

    treasury, with alternatives

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Rustic Primitive, Yet Modern!

    Another new felted wool sweater rug!
    Such pretty colours!

    up close!

    unconventional caramel....

    A lovely treat this morning to have my t-west treasury grace the front page of Etsy! I hope it brought many hearts, views and sales to the talented artisans included! Whoohoo!
    front page

    treasury with alternatives

    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    Lovely Little Rug

    I had set aside a stack of felted wool sweaters thinking I would make a nice big rug. I had a request for a rug recently, and the customer chose part of my stash. This rug is what was leftover in my pile of sweaters, it's lovely! A gorgeous little rug!

    There Goes the Fabulous View...

    I know I am like a broken record but, the constructions workers, working on the long term care wing at our hospital, in my backyard, have started to frame up the first floor on the foundation. It takes our view of the Slate Islands from us. It is a thorn in my side, but one I will eventually get used to. No choice in that matter, luckily we adapt to things easily. I am not pleased though to lose the view, to lose the sunrises, and hopefully not the low winter sun. I hope the roof is not too high..
    a sad day... boo to progress and change..

    early morning as the sun is rising

    Slate Islands peeking through the framing

    Wednesday, December 9, 2009

    Chocolate Dipped Expresso Shortbread

    white chocolate dipped

    topped with shiny dragée's

    Chocolate Dipped Expresso Shortbread

    For the cookies:
    1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 tsp. table salt
    2 1/4 cups flour
    2 tbsp. finely ground expresso beans

    For the dipping chocolate:
    9 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
    1 tbs. vegetable shortening

    Combine the butter, sugar and salt in a large bowl and mix on low speed until the mixture is combined but not smooth. Add the flour and the ground expresso and mix on low speed until the mixture has pulled together. Do not overmix.
    On a lightly floured surface roll out about 1/4" thick. Cut out with your favourite cookie cutters, and place on parchment lined cookie sheets. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Bake in a 300° F. preheated oven for 30 to 60 minutes, until the cookies look dry and have darkened slightly. Cool on racks.

    Melt chocolate and shortening together over simmering water, stirring until smooth. Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate and set them on parchment until the chocolate has set up.

    Makes about 7 dozen, 1 1/2" cookies.
    I used melted white chocolate to dip my cookies into.

    Sunday, November 29, 2009

    Handwoven Felted Recycled Wool Sweater Rag Rug .. Ivory, Yellow and Taupe

    I finally finished this felted wool sweater rug. The components were laying on my loom room floor for a couple of weeks. Life just got hectic here for a while, it is slowing down now. Thankfully!

    ivory, yellow and taupe

    Fire At Last!

    This is my final post about our new fireplace insert.
    It works, the house is warm, well toasty roasty warm.

    pacific energy fireplace insert, inserted!

    Friday, November 27, 2009

    Fireplace Insert is Inserted!!

    We had the fireplace WETT inspected today, and yahoo, it passed!! We will have our first fire in it tomorrow, I'm excited! One more job off the long long list!

    front view

    side view

    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    Fireplace Insert Prep...

    We decided that it was time to do something with the big gaping unused hole in our living room. We are also tired of being so cold in this house every winter. Mark cut firewood in the spring, so we were part way there.
    It's funny how a small job just keeps getting bigger. Today we laid the slate tile so we are on the home stretch, the end is in sight!
    big gaping fireplace

    stainless chimney liner in place waiting

    cut line drawn on the carpet

    Mark getting ready to cut away some of the hardwood floor, scary...

    who knew there's such gorgeous hardwood under that awful carpet

    cutting the hardwood

    ready for the cement board

    cement board going up

    not a clear photo, but the new brick lip to support the front of the insert
    Mark did a wonderful job!

    cutting the slate tile, what a cool tool!

    slate tile in place

    now we have to let this set,
    it will another 48 hours until we can grout
    we're almost there,
    soon this house will have some nice wood heat!

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Pre-Holiday Sale


    For the weekend of 11/13/09 through 11/15/2009 shop with TEAMT on Etsy.com
    and save 10 to 20% on fabulous holiday gifts. Simply search for TEAMT under all items and start saving. Savings will be refunded via PayPal. See individual shops for details.

    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Recycled Textile Rag Rugs

    I have been very busy trying to build my rug inventory up for an upcoming sale in Thunder Bay, with Artisans Northwest. I have also accepted two consignments with different shops. I will discuss these shops in a different post.
    I am weaving for the first time with mixed fibre, using more of the sweaters that come to me in my bales. I was only using pure wool, but have decided to utilize the wool blends as well. It makes economical sense for me, as I was giving most of the sweaters to thrift shops in the city. I will still be donating bags of sweaters but now, not quite as many.
    I have less than two weeks till the sale so I must get at it, get myself busy cutting textile then weaving.

    Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    Boiled Egg For Lunch!

    I had a surprise and great thrill this morning when I came online to Etsy. My treasury was on the front page!
    It is a fun little collection, and I hope the talented artisans have some sales from the exposure.
    Thank you Etsy!

    front page!

    my treasury with alternatives!

    Saturday, October 31, 2009

    Happy Halloween!!

    in the dark


    I am behind schedule this week. I was in the city for most of the week, I had planned to be there for a couple of days but we had a dog emergency. Kinoje bloated, Mark made a quick trip at 4 in the morning. My brother and I met him there and we assisted the vet in putting a tube down the dogs throat to release the gas. Lucky for us and Kinoje it worked. He had bloated seven years ago and had the belt buckle thing done to his stomach so it could no longer twist. I must say when I walked into the clinic I did not recognize him as he bloated so largely. As his hair was standing on end he was stretched to the max. The vets had never seen so large of a bloat. Thank heavens he survived again.

    I normally carve my pumpkin a few days before Halloween but I did it very quickly this morning. I am pleased with it mostly. I wish I know how to make the nose protrude more, I guess it would mean cutting back the rest of the face. Next year!

    Happy Halloween!

    Sunday, October 25, 2009

    North Shore Artists

    I am pleased and honoured to have been invited to join the new group North Shore Artists. We had out first show/sale in Marathon this past weeks end.
    It was a fun weekend getting to know everyone, I think we are a fabulous collection of individuals! It is a very talented group and I am thankful to be invited in since I am not a painter.

    theresa, paul, laura, rita, doug, ellie, pegg, sharon, bill

    Thank you to Laura for the use of her photos!