Not so Sweaty Palms.....

So, they said snow, and when they say snow, half of Seattle hides, and the other half are just as skeptical as my cat Maggie. So they said snow, and I waited, and waited, and waited.... because I like the snow, and it means that we may be able to burn out beloved 10 year old "snow log". A log that came with the Greenlake house when James bought it, that we moved to the new house.... It has gone thru some snows, but we have not burnt it. I have gotten used to seeing it sit next to the woodstove, in it's solid wholeness.

In any case, it did snow. Which makes for untraditional views of the house...and not so sweaty palms.

Elementary jewelry photography, a how to.

Click on the photo below to enlarge.

Beef Stew Crocker

This is so far my favorite beef stew recipe. It is easy to just toss everything in a crock and let it cook for 8 hours. I love my new crock pot!

So, it's best to brown the meat first, but not necessary. I put mine in a sizzling hot cast iron skillet with a small bit of olive oil until the meat is dark (but not burnt) on all sides. It will splatter so watch out and use a splatter shield if you have one, I used a lid to avoid the little hot splatters.

  • One or two pounds of steak, cut into one inch pieces
  • several large carrots, unpeeled. I used about 5 cut on the bias
  • One pound of small red potatos, quartered. OR one pound of any potato in one inch pieces
  • 4 stalks celery cut into half inch slices
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Cup large sliced sweet onion
  • 8 ounces of mushrooms, whole (okay to omit)
  • 1 - 6 oz can of tomato paste (necessary)
  • 1 - 12 oz can of whole peeled tomatos (san marzano if you can get them)
  • 3/4 Cup beef or chicken broth (not the concentrated cubes if possible)
  • 1/3 Cup red wine (I like cabernet)
  • 1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 minced garlic cloves (I put in 4 whole cloves sometimes)
  • Dried spices including, dill, basil, thyme, marjoram, cilantro, sage, generous!
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • salt optional
So, basically, stick all that in a pot let it simmer for an hour, stir it so that it is all in liquid and let it simmer for 7 more hours.

It is soooo good, and makes several servings so you don't have to cook every night. It's even better on the second day.


So, I did what I said I was going to do. Got up, did my AM Yoga, had breakfast, and went for a walk. It is very crispy out, a slight degree above freezing. Saw plenty of little winged foragers.

There was a knock on the door at 8:30 this morning, which is unheard of. But it was just the insurance guy needing to measure the house. Did some money saving adjustments.

Rocky freaked out as usual to any idea of another person coming to the house. The cats just sit there at the end of the hall peeking out with wide kitty eyes. They are so funny.

I think I'll make some earrings.

I see you there!

So, I like to spy. It makes me feel all secretive and sneaky. What I like is that people are actually visiting my site! How great is that!?

I would like to say thanks, and keep it up! What would you like to see... more recipes? More about the stump in the back yard (cause that could be an award winning documentary). Maybe more about the crazy cats, instructions on one handed typing while holding/petting cat...

More beads! Oh yes, there will be more of that. I am actually working on a new pattern, an actual invention. I thought, that I had invented something with my diamond chain, but it tuns out that I was not the first person who thought of it. Don't you hate it when that happens? here I am thinking, "this is great" and "I feel so special" and as it turns out... not so much.

Krista (my sister who is in Olympia doing fantastic things for developmentally disabled individuals) has a necklace coming to her. I'll have it listed on Etsy, so that she can "buy" it. that will likely be my first sale as sad as it is. We found some fabulous woven and crochet beads to use in it. Then she wants it to be 24 inches long.... ya, I'll get back to you.
Aren't they great! I don't necessarily like traditional clasps as they are so.... utilitarian. Why, when there are literally thousands of beads right in front of me, would I use a boring clasp. So, these will somehow (it's a work in progress with no actual plan) be made into a closure that doubles as a really cool centerpiece. I'll have it on Etsy, with luck, by tomorrow.

I have a plan. All this beading could lead to lazy, so, the new plan is to walk the loop each morning, and then blog. We will see how it goes. It has been freezing each night, so... I guess I will need my cuddle duds (long johns).

Ears to the window...

Recently Maggie Magpie and Rocky Tom Glamour boy Shock and Awe Rockstar have been hanging out together. Not because they are both sleeping on the bed, but actually sitting side by side. They admire the outside and enjoy the drafty sliding door.

There must be moths out there again. Rocky patiently waits till one is able to come into the house when we open the door...

But what is this, there are no moths. Are they just enjoying each others company?

No. It is a rat.
He's a cute rat that eats our pumpkin outside. Upon further inspection, he has also chewed holes into the rubber ducky that will no longer be floating in our basin.

His name is Jack the Nipper, and he is our rat, and we love him, and so do the cats.

Workie workie, my bead space...

This is what I have been doing. It's not exciting. I have sorted all the beads into the sections on my desk. Maggie walks over them occasionally and gets tossed onto the floor. Don't feel bad for Maggie.

I make all kinds of things, but so far my beadwork is for sale at I reccomend that you buy many things!

I ETSY!!!!

You what? Okay, for those of you who don't know (mainly my family) Etsy is a selling/buying resource for handmakers. People who handmake things, or want to buy handmade. Most of you know that I do this a lot.

So, check out my storefront and buy things. I will be putting up some cute little hats (in adult sizes too) and you can look at the price until your birthdays when perhaps the handmade angels will look down upon you and think, PUT A HAT ON THAT HEAD!

Now accepting e-mails about your favorite colors....

Glazed Lemon Lavender Bread

This is the best bread! Traditionally I give out Banana breads for the holidays, but this year I decided I wanted something with a little brighter flavor. So, as requested this is the recipe for Glazed Lemon Lavender Bread.
I made these in little bread tins, but breads are best baked in stoneware if you have it. If you don't, then you can order some from me when the pottery making starts!

  • graduated liquid measuring cup
  • dry measuring cups: 1C, 3/4 C, 1/2C (opt for nuts), Tbs, tsp, 1/4 tsp
  • 2 medium mixing bowls
  • 2 wooden spoons
  • small sauce pan
  • loaf pans (or muffin tins or whatever)
  • pastry brush (not entirely necessary, you can use a spoon if you want.)
  • Shredder for the lemons
  • reamer for the lemons
  • mortar and pestle (or something to smash the lavender)
  • skewer or chopstick
  • 1 3/4 C all-purpose flour (unbleached)
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder (aluminum free is best)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg (find the brightest orange yolks possible, or get some from my parents)
  • 1C milk
  • 1/4 C oil (my preference is expeller pressed olive oil, but I'm picky.)
  • 2 T finely shredded lemon peel
  • 2 T lemon juice (from the lemon that you just peeled)
  • 2 T smashed culinary lavender
  • add 1/2 C nuts if you want, I don't.
  • Lemon juice
  • Powdered sugar
  • lavender (culinary grade), yes you can pick some from your garden if you are sure it is free of chemicals and safe from animals... I choose to smash mine with a mortar and pestle. LiciaPots will be making mortar and pestle sets for your purchase at a later date.
Lets do this thing:
  • Preheat oven to 350*.
  • Use butter (works best) to grease the bottom and sides of the pan you choose to use. Recipe is timed for an 8 x4 x2 loaf pan. I use smaller pans and start poking the bread at 40 minutes to see when it is done.
  • In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, lavender, lemon peel and salt. Make a divot in the center of mixture (see Rocky for more about how to make an excellent divot).
  • In another medium mixing bowl add the egg and beat well, then add the milk, oil and lemon juice.
  • Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. (Using a glass bowl and spatula makes this easier since you can see if you missed a spot. )
  • Spoon the batter into your choice of pan and bake for 50 minutes for a 8 x4 x2. Muffins? start testing batter at 30 minutes, small pans? start testing at 40 minutes... you get it.
A few minutes before you are ready to take the bread out of the oven (don't fret if you already did) place the saucepan on the oven over low heat. Add about 1 Tbs of lemon juice, 2-3 Tbs of powdered sugar and 1 tsp of crushed lavender to saucepan and stir until it just starts to warm but not simmering (again, don't fret about this too much). Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove bread from oven when a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Poke the breads several times with the skewer or chopstick halfway to bottom. Dip the pastry brush in the warm glaze and brush generously over breads. Or you can drizzle with a spoon.

Wait until you can just bear the temperature of the breads and eat them all up! Or, wait till the next day (ha!) and serve lightly toasted with tea. I like to make too many and share them with friends. They seem to like it.

Corner stump, why the house isn't square...

There is a little notch out of the back of the house. We though it was weird until a few things were cleared and we found this.
I'm assuming that it was a huge tree and they spared it when they built the house. It had been cut down some time before we moved here and now it is in the way of James' outdoor workshop. There are no easy projects.

There are several stumps around the yard which will someday be removed with all the changes. We plan on removing the ivy that borders the front of the yard at the street to put in a grassy (not lawn) wildflower type garden. Included will be our neighborhoods only "sidewalk". I hope people use it, that would be sweet.

We also recently collected some large rounds (of tree) from a neighbor that will need to be split and seasoned for next year. Er, this year, winter.

The projects continue.

Baby Hats!

Well, at least one. I have completed "Flower Power" from a pattern on Knitty. I cast on for it yesterday at Let It Rain during their Wednesday knitting group. See that, less than 24 hours later and it is complete! Baby things are fast! I think it keeps me going because there are all the colors that make me want to see what it is going to look like.
Isn't it cute! I changed some of the colors. The alternating squares had to be gold and purple since mom works at the U Dub. I also changed the blue to a red banding since I'm not one for too much blue. Plus, baby is a baby girl. I really like the green color! The flower took a bit of fuss, but all in all, so cute!

Now you've done it...

I opened LiciaBeads! The plan is to make "semi" custom jewelry. Existing patterns in which people can choose their colors. I have found that sometimes it is hard to see the selection of beads and choose. I have just started with the basics. I can, however do all kinds of other beaded things, so if you want an actual custom piece of jewelry, stitch markers, or whatever, let me know.

In any case, check out and let me know what you think. I made some business cards.

Last year, I completed this hat. It's my first completed hat that will fit properly. It's a useful hat. Blue, with a folded cable brim. Knit side to side as I didn't have any correctly sized circulars to knit it in the round. I picked up stitches to complete the top of the hat in the round on short DPN's. No pattern... I like that once a few simple things are learned, I can knit without a pattern. So far, only hats.

I ordered yarn from Elann (which was very highly rated) so that I can make some of the Flower Power hats featured on Knitty. Looking forward to alternating colors.

In other news, we are getting outside. James has removed the shed behind the house, which was used for warm cozy kitty firewood. Beneath it was a surprise (although we are getting used to stump surprises). There is a huge stump base that could have been the reason that the house was built with a notch out of the back. Now that the tree is gone, it's just a strange little incomplete part of the house. It will be an outdoor shop so that James can build things with his loud tools.

Since removing the shed, the back room is much brighter and even gets evening sun.

Happy 2008.