Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Apple Butter

I've had these apples sitting on the shelf calling to me for weeks now and finally found some time to make them into apple butter.  It's really not that hard, just time consuming.

First, wash the apples and quarter them, don't bother with the peels or the seeds.

 Put the quarters in a big pot, add just a little bit of apple juice.  I probably used a cup.  Heat and keep tossing the apples until they are all soft.
 Mash them through a sieve or a food mill.  This is probably the first time I used just enough liquid to cook the apples and not so much that my puree was too liquid.
 The recipes say to add 1/2 cup of sugar for each cup of puree.  I had 20 cups of puree but only used 7 cups of sugar, plus some cinnamon, ground cloves, some lemon juice, juice of 1/2 a very juicy orange and the orange zest.  I prefer to simmer the butter long and slow, stirring every 15 minutes or so until the butter is much reduced and mounds up on a cold plate.
 Put it in clean jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Ta da!  Lots of very yummy apple butter.

Peace and sweet dreams to you.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Great junk

Yeah, I know the axle is a little bent, but can it be fixed?
This has been a mining community continuously from 1849 to 1959 and during that time over 17 million ounces of gold have been dug, blasted, crushed and hydraulically washed out of the ground.  I love finding the left over bits of machinery, often they inspire my jewelry designs.

I took these photos almost two years ago, never thinking that I would own a house that has the Empire Mine in it's backyard.

The connections and heavy handmade hinges are superb.  I wish I could step back in time and watch them being forged.

We spent the whole day yesterday walking and visiting with a friend.  I'm feeling restored, ready to start up in my studio again.

Enjoy your day.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day

If you had told me I'd spend Christmas Day alone and happy I would probably not have believed you.  Then I spent the last several weeks moving and unpacking and in consultations for custom jewelry and working and delivering those pieces, whew!  I was so mentally and physically exhausted I could barely speak.

So, on Christmas Eve I cooked for my family and a dear friend and I took Christmas Day OFF.  I slept in and around noon I took the boys for a hike.  I was planning on a mile or two but the day was glorious and we said "what the hell" and hiked the whole four mile loop at the Independence Trail.

It felt so good, water to play in, views and blue sky forever, happy laughing dogs and me, no stress, no rush. Make sure to click on these photos so you see the big version.

Bode doesn't think it's worth drinking unless he gets all four feet in, too cold for me.

What a great gift.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Opening Presents

Bode and Dandy had a great time opening their presents.
It's a beautiful day, we're heading out for a hike.

Merry Christmas, peace to your and yours from me and mine.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A week ahead...

I'm trying to get lots done but it seems I can't make everyone else go faster.
My gutters look like porcupines having a bad hair day.  I was expecting the leaf guard gutter guys to show up this morning and waited and waited and waited.  Then I called them and found out my appointment is for next Tuesday, oh bother.
Some days nothing seems to go right.  So I took the boys for a long walk and emptied a few more boxes and now it's nap time as I have a shift this afternoon at the gallery.


Friday, December 16, 2011


It hardly gets any better than this.  Every day I love my house a little more.  Every day, every box unloaded, every small detail attended to make the rooms more beautiful, more comfortable, more cozy and welcoming.

A friend was teasing me about not having Christmas lights up, hopefully those will still happen.  I'm playing elf in my workshop to get some last minute things done and the lighting elf hasn't made an appearance, oh well.  I do have to go to the hardware store today, maybe I can get some light to dress up the boxwood on the front porch.  And maybe hang some icicle lights around the porch soffits and drag the potted tree up on the dining room porch and light that too, and get a little Christmas tree for inside...

It's rather like when people ask me how I get my ideas for jewelry.  It's not getting ideas, it's having the hours in the day to make the things floating around in my head.  It's not how to decorate, it's having enough hours to actually do what I'd like to do.

I'm so excited about my new housemate!

This little piece is going to a great girl for her birthday.  I used 20 gauge fine silver for the moon, it's a pretty piece.

Peace to you and yours.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Some say...

No, no, no, don't paint the wood.  I tend to be a bit heretical about that, figuring that eventually things have to change. This wood was cheap pine, nothing really special even 60 years ago when it was installed.
From this:
To this:
I liked the wood, loved the texture of the old boards with their knots and grooves but hated the dark and gloomy feel of the rooms.

So, Chris Sgambati and his painting crew came in and transformed it into a light filled space, airy and bright.  At my request they filled the million little nail holes but didn't seal the wood so the knots may still bleed through.  There are two coats of paint,  under the white is a rich coffee creamer base, which will peek through with a little hand sanding. It looks like a seaside cottage hidden in the mountains.  I'm completely happy with it now.

My long time house sitter is moving in with me this weekend, this will be her space.  I'm excited to have a young one around again. The boys will be ecstatic having her here.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

A day off...

...from unpacking and arranging.  My friend is here from Minnesota.  Yesterday we wandered down to the South Yuba, it was beautiful there.
And we shopped and ate and wandered some more, it was great!


Thursday, December 08, 2011


What's a guy got to do to get some attention?
Looking adorable works eventually.  I'm actually in heaven having so much to organize and arrange.  Of course, I need to get the blankets into the closet but need shelves installed in there and can't do that because the closets are full of artworks, but can't get those moved out until the display shelves are installed and that requires me to actually decide where to put the shelves and find a talented volunteer to actually put them up, oh boy.

We did get outside to the park this afternoon and hit the new Grass Valley dog park for the first time.  It was a hit, lots to sniff and some big friends to chase.

With every day and every box emptied this house feels more mine.  I knew as soon as I saw it that it needed to be mine so it's very satisfying to make it so.  My bed is more comfortable at night, not surprising since I practically crawl into it but the sense of peace and comfort is there.  And getting up in the morning is sheer bliss,  making coffee in my sunny kitchen, eating breakfast and listening to the boys chase each other around their yard.  I love cooking in my kitchen, the range is exquisite.  I do tend to get a bit distracted playing with the fiestaware though.

I'm watching Ghost tonight, mourning the passing of Patrick Swayze and grooving on Unchained Melody.


Monday, December 05, 2011

Moving Monday

It's all gonna be here today.

I put my new drill to the test and managed to hang this glorious art piece by Michael Larson.  He's a fellow coop member at the Art Works Gallery and makes these fabulous chimes, plus smaller ones and some amazing garden art, metal and glass.  The metal on this one is reclaimed auto springs and a bike chain is wielded on to hold the glass.

This is the view out the door on my back porch now.
The property beyond the fence is state owned, part of the Empire Mine.

Well, time to get going, the floor is vacuumed and cleaned, ready for furniture.  It's hard to remember to breathe.


Sunday, December 04, 2011


I'm pretty sure I'm winning.  Just tonight I got my internet and phone connected, lots of things are moved in already and the big stuff will be here tomorrow.

I'm in love with my Dacor gas range, which so far has produced pancakes on it's griddle and a couple of outstanding if simple meals.
I'm not really sure if I want the extent of my fiestaware addiction out on display but what the heck.  Of course, there's lots more still in boxes and a couple of new colors I don't have yet, marigold?
I think every home owner needs one of these, a sexy little cordless Dewalt drill.  It's posing on the "absolute noir" kitchen countertop, which has sparkles.
And here are the very contented pups, they are loving having their own yard.