Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cracked look plastic Easter egg tutorial



Just created--unique plastic Easter eggs to fill with candy.  If  you want to try this too, check out the tutorial on Make it easy crafts!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Yo---gurt



Are you a yogurt fan?  I know it’s good for you and I’m Greek so I’m supposed to love it right? For me it’s kind of a love-hate relationship.   How so?  Let me explain.

My grandmother used to make yogurt in her kitchen with milk and cultures from a previous batch.  She would put it in an earthen jar and wrap a sweater around it to keep it warm while it became the creamy, delicious yogurt that you could eat plain or with just some honey added. 

When I grew up, I made my own yogurt using her recipes but I used a thermos instead of an earthen jar and sweater.  And it was delicious.  I used it in place of sour cream.  I used it to make dressings.  I drained it through a strainer to thicken it. (Thus becoming Greek yogurt) The only time it was sweet was when I added honey.  Fruit was a no-no. 

So, fast-forward to my busy today life.  I don’t make yogurt anymore.  And my refrigerator is a yogurt graveyard.  There are containers of every brand sitting there just waiting for their sell by date to expire.  I don’t like any of them.  Every time a new flavor or kind comes out I buy it.  I take a few bites, grimace and then toss it in the circular file. (Trashcan)

So after my latest purchase of “Greek” yogurt with the limited edition flavor of chocolate mint, I can it after a few forced bites and vow to never to buy another “new” flavor again.  Sorry yogurt makers everywhere.  Who are you kidding anyway?  Yogurt does not and never will taste like a slice of Boston cream pie! 

But it is good made into a tzatziki sauce for Gyros.  It’s delicious as a substitute for sour cream on baked potatoes.  It’s wonderful to use when making dressings for salads. And if you must have it sweet a dollop of honey is just divine. 

Yogurt recipe

1 quart of milk
2 tablespoons of plain yogurt (starter)


Bring starter to room temperature.  Pour milk in a heavy pot.  Heat milk till it reaches 180 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Stir so no top skin forms.  If you don’t have a thermometer, let the milk come to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Cool to 110-115 degrees or when you hold your little finger in the milk for a slow count of ten, the milk has cooled sufficiently.  Thin the starter with four tablespoons of cooled milk, add to the pot and stir to blend.  Pour mixture in a wide mouth thermos, cover and leave undisturbed for 5-6 hours.  When mixture has reached a thick consistency, refrigerate.  If your want it even thicker drain in a strainer over a bowl. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Free printable quotation...live for the day




I remember way back when I was a kid my mother always had the book "The Power of Positive thinking" by Norman Vincent Peale sitting on her bedside table.  She’d read it often and many times quote passages.  


This past weekend I was feeling the pressures of daily life and mulling over those ever-present to-do lists. Tiredness finally caught up with me and I had to catch myself. As I lay wide awake in bed mulling over my tomorrows I remembered a quote my mother often repeated from her favorite book.  "Don't take tomorrow to bed with you."  In other words, live for the day.  Funny but it is just as relevant today as when it was way back then. Enjoy this printable and when you have a rough patch at work, life or health you will have some words to remind you not to worry about tomorrow and just enjoy the day.

Thursday, March 20, 2014



Check out my tutorial for the Sculpey sitting duck figurine.  My husband who is definitely a man's man and doesn't really say much about decor or crafts, walked in and looked at the clay mallard sitting on the shelf and just smiled.  He told me,  "that's your best design yet".  And coming from him, that was a real compliment!

Happy Spring everyone!  It's almost 70 degrees and finally sunny!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Cooking calamity or just Greek serendipity?




The other night as is usual I started to fix dinner.  I got my pork chops in the oven and then tried to decide on what to make as a side dish. I opened my cupboard and found I had red potatoes, green and yellow squash, onions and some frozen green beans.  It started to look like a very delicious medley to me so I cut up the potatoes and squash into chunks.  I chopped my onions and put the potatoes in the microwave to slightly cook before I added them to the large frying pan.

Now when I cook I don’t really measure anything out.  I toss in a dash of this, a pinch of that and call it a day.  Usually it all comes out pretty darn good and I’m not bragging when I say that most people consider me a pretty awesome cook, but occasionally when one cooks like that there are apt to be mistakes made.  Sometimes they work to an advantage.

I put some olive oil in my pan and heated it slightly, added the partially cooked potatoes, squash and onions and cooked on medium heat till the potatoes started to brown.  Then I added the frozen green beans and stirred.

So since I was in a hurry (I still haven’t got used to that darned DST) I reached in my spice cabinet for the seasoning salt and before I realized it I had added a good dash of cinnamon! 

Now how many of you know that the spice used in savory Greek cooking that you just can’t quite identify is, in actuality—cinnamon?  Since I’m Greek I just figured, yum!

Well, it turned out quite delicious, I did add a bit of seasoning salt as well.  Maybe I need to separate my spices a bit better because although this turned out pretty darned good, I can only imagine how awful cinnamon rolls might taste if I mistakenly used seasoning salt!!!!

Greek style veggie medley

Red potatoes, cut up in bite sized chunks

Green and yellow squash cut up in similar sized pieces

Chopped onion

Finely chopped garlic

Whole green beans

Light olive oil for cooking

Seasoning salt

Cinnamon

Black pepper to taste

Put the potatoes in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for about 5 minutes, until they are partially cooked.  Meanwhile put some olive in the pan and heat on medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook till they are slightly transparent.  Add the partially cooked potatoes and cook until they start to brown. 

Add the squash and green beans and stir together.  Add about a teaspoon of cinnamon and a sprinkle of seasoning salt and cook for a bit longer till the squash and green beans are tender.  Add some freshly grown pepper and enjoy.

Don't forget to enter the Make it easy crafts giveaway  to win the two 5 x 7 notecard prints of my original art!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Giveaway on make it easy crafts



As most of you know I run two blogs.  This one, which is more focused on art and writing and Make it easy crafts which has all free craft tutorials.  A few months ago I started a Facebook page for Make it easy crafts and the reaction has been beyond expectations.  So when I reached 500 likes and counting I figured I would run a giveaway to say thank you. I am giving away two 5 x 7 blank inside notecard prints of my original art work.  "Paint the fields" which was featured on a cover of Equine Marketer magazine and "First mate." which placed in in an online art contest.  These cards are suitable for any occasion or they can be framed.  The giveaway runs for one week so enter today.


~Crystal

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sleep time savings



So it’s daylight savings time in good old USA.  My question is this…why? I am beginning to think it’s a form of mind control.  I just don’t see how taking an hour away from our day is saving anything.

For the next week or so everyone will be walking around yawning.  We will oversleep and jump out of bed in a panic.  We will come to work with two different shoes on and way too much blush. We will glance at the clock and wonder where the heck the day went, that is, if we remember to even change our clock. In an effort to catch up on sleep we will nod off in front of the TV at 7:30…5:30 in retirement homes.  And since our animals don’t subscribe to any sort of savings time, they are on the pre-savings schedule.

Already late and rushing to get dressed his morning my cat opened my bedroom door and trotted in with her tail held high.  She gave me a look that said, “It’s freaking way past my breakfast time, so let’s get cracking!” I escorted her out.

While I am staggering down the stairs and slopping cat food all over the counter and myself, I am thinking how nice it would be to live in Arizona…where they don’t save any time.  And daylight just stays put

Monday, March 3, 2014

In like a lion



Well, it's the beginning of March and true to it's word In came in like a lion. Unbelievable as it seems yesterday was in the 60's and today its barely 20 degrees and snowing.  To think I went out yesterday with just a thin cotton shirt on!

And I don't need to mention that the supermarkets looked liked they had been looted again.  Now I'm just wondering when it's all over, how I will get down the hill by my house that they never, ever plow!

Not complaining though...I still love snow.  Enjoy these photos and take a snow day...

Thank goodness Crystal thinks about feeding us in all this snowy weather!






But when?  Little geranium asks, Is it going to be my turn?




Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Busy, busy, busy

No time to sit back and relax?


Now that my daughter has graduated from college and my son is in the air force, one would think that my life should be settled down.  I shouldn’t be so busy. I should be getting bored right about now, right?  Um… no.

Life, I find, is kind of like a pail of water.  You stick your hand in that pail of water and when you take it out, guess what?  The space it was taking up in that pail of water is already full.

Your kid’s grow up and you think that things won’t be so busy, after all you don’t have to pick them up after track and you don’t have to take them for this lesson or that lesson.  Homework is no longer an issue.  Unfortunately that’s not how it goes.  Other things just take up that space! 

It’s even the same at the grocery store.  When all the kids were home and I went to grocery store I practically had a coronary every time the cashier gave me the receipt.  I don’t think I ever saw my son when he wasn’t consuming something.  I don’t know for sure, but I’d swear he even ate in his sleep.  A gallon of milk every two days was the norm. The refrigerator became an additional cooling device during hot summer days thanks to the door swinging open every few minutes.

Now it’s just the hubby and I.  We eat out a bit more.  I buy ultra-pasteurized milk in the quart size every three weeks or so. I don’t use near as much paper towels but even so, when I get the bill for my groceries each week, it’s the same!

Ok, so long gone are the days of picking up my daughter from a friend’s house with two different shoes my feet while she looks at me with the obligatory eye roll. (I mean just how do they roll their eyes like that and not get a headache?) And I won’t rush out of the house with my shirt on inside out while I try and make it on time to a PTA meeting. Even so, I still feel like there are not enough hours in the day to finish my do to list.  Yup, a pail of water.



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