Christmas Magick

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Once upon a time, 30 Christmases ago, the mailman delivered a life changing parcel to our home. It was addressed to me, but I didn’t recognize the address or the handwriting.

Inside that box were three hand knit Christmas stockings, one with my name on it, and the other two were inscribed with my two children’s names. They exactly matched the stockings my husband and his sisters had treasured since they were children. They were made by my husbands maternal aunt on the east coast, who I had never even met!

I was so touched it made me teary. Except for my grandma, nobody had ever made anything this nice for me. I told myself that one day I would learn to knit socks and make Christmas stockings for other children and newcomers to our family. It turns out, socks are my favorite projects to knit!

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Aunt Cal passed on 4 years ago, but last time we met she said her heart was lighter knowing I was going to carry on the Christmas stocking tradition. Making them, and gifting them, brings the joy and light of the season straight into my own heart.

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I’m Back…

 

Hello everyone.  I didn’t just bail on my blog.  I took a fall over a year ago blowing out my shoulder and sustaining a fracture of my right arm just below my shoulder as well.   And yes, of course, I am right-handed.   A stainless plate and 8 screws were installed during surgery and have been holding it all together for a while. Healing from that has been such a trial of patience for me.

 

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I felt like this!

For several months I couldn’t wear a coat, couldn’t write, couldn’t type, couldn’t drive, couldn’t go outdoors to walk by myself, was unable to sew, knit, cook, bake or even hold a book, i.e., all the things I love to do!  Meditation helped me become fairly adept at accepting my limitations and letting go of what I couldn’t do.    My husband has been amazing and wonderfully helpful the entire time.  I am so thankful.

Physical therapy has helped recently, and at this point I can do most of what I love to do, though there are still weight restrictions on what I can lift and I can’t raise my arm very high yet.  Over all, I am feeling so happy and grateful to have my life back, it almost feels like magic.

I have missed my morning walks, and I have really missed reading so many of your great blogs, too.  Here’s to beginning again!

Quilting Fun

I can’t tell you how long it took me to finish this folk art rooster quilt!  I think it has been about 4 years since I started it.  Granted, I worked full time then.  But, I am so happy it is done and hanging on our entry wall! 
The blue potholders were a birthday gift for a friend.  
    
The above potholder is for a pal, too.

 
See this fabric stash?  I seriously need to keep sewing and quilting to even make a dent in it.  Luckily, I really enjoy it mostly in the winter, or I would never get anything else done!  

Granola Magick

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Granola is literally everywhere. It is one of those staples I have hardly given a thought to until I noticed I was out of it.  Last time I went grocery shopping I couldn’t find the brand I usually purchase, and the one I bought tasted a lot like cardboard. Eyyuck!  When I considered the current genetic modification grain issues I decided to try making it myself.

I started researching Granola online, and found several recipes for making it. I learned that there are two different camps of Granola fans. To clump, or not to clump, that is the question!  Every recipe I found differed slightly from the others, but I felt inspired. I loaded up on ingredients and set out to make perfect Granola cereal. It didn’t take long to pick a winner.

I made two different test recipes, both using raw local Honey as the only sweetener. There are recipes online using brown sugar, maple syrup and Brown Rice Syrup if you are not a fan of honey. The honey based recipes I chose called for Virgin Coconut Oil, or Extra Virgin Olive Not only is homemade Granola more flavorful than any I’ve ever purchased, it is super easy to make and costs half the price of store bought. Plus, I know EXACTLY what went into it, which means no GMO’s.

Recipe #1 COCONUT OIL CLUMPING GRANOLA
(This one won the Blue Ribbon at my house!

7 cups organic quick oats (bulk foods)
1 cup raw Pumpkin Seeds
1 cup raw Sunflower Seeds
1 cup sliced Almonds

3/4 cup raw, local honey
1/2 cup Virgin Coconut Oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt

Combine oats, seeds and nuts in large bowl, stir well.

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Combine honey, oil, cinnamon and sea salt in small saucepan. Melt together on very low heat. Add vanilla.  Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture, tossing well to distribute as thoroughly as possible.

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Press mixture onto ungreased cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. I know that sounds weird,  and you are worried it will stick, but trust me on this.  Press the gloppy mixture down with wax paper to pack as tightly as you can.

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Bake at 275-300 convection or 325 regular oven for approximately 30 minutes. Don’t stir! If you stir it the granola will break apart and it won’t clump together.

Pull it out of the oven when granola is a light golden brown, and firm at the edges of the pan. Cool completely, until it is room temperature. Break up with a pancake turner or your hands. A double batch of this recipe will fill a gallon sized glass jar. It will keep at last two months if tightly sealed, but it is so good it will probably never last that long!

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Recipe #2 OLIVE OIL, NON-CLUMPING GRANOLA

6 cups regular, natural oatmeal (Bulk food bins)
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 cup raw Pumpkin Seeds, shelled
1 cup raw Sunflower Seeds, shelled
1 cup sliced almonds

Mix the above dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Combine the following in a small saucepan.

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup raw local Honey
2-3 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp pure Vanilla Extract

Heat the oil, cinnamon and honey together over low heat. Stir in Vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients and toss to coat thoroughly. Press into jelly roll type pan. Bake at 275-300 convection oven, or 325 regular oven, for about 25-30 minutes, stirring and turning mixture every 10 minutes. When golden, allow to cool, stirring every once in a while. Store in tightly sealed jar.

With both recipes, keep an eye on the baking! If your oven runs hot the mixture could scorch. Turn it to whatever setting will bake the granola without burning it.

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Enjoy either wholesome granola with Greek Honey Yogurt (my favorite) or over fruit or ice cream!

Would’st Thy Fortune Like To Read?  

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This is my newest, fun antique store find.  It is called a Nelros cup of fortune, and was made in England. I couldn’t resist it, as a conversation piece in my kitchen hutch if nothing else!  It was probably manufactured in the seventies, as many more delicate, bone china examples still survive from earlier times.

Notice the Astrology symbols circling the plate, and many unrelated, cool symbols circling the interior of the cup.  I enjoy divination via natal Astrology charts, Tarot and Runes, but have never tried reading tea leaves.   My elderly aunt often read tea leaves for fun, but she used a plain, china cup.

You can probably find everything you ever wanted to know about reading tea leaves, or the art of Tasseomancy, by following the link below.

http://divinationbytealeaves.com/introduction-to-divination-by-tealeaves.htm