October 28, 2011

A really good idea...

How pretty is this storage for needle felting needles or extra large, long needles, like the kind I use for doll/animal making? The best part is I found all of these glass salt and pepper shakers at the Dollar Store (both for $1). So, I guess that makes it a Dollar Store craft. Of course, you will see, I use these for my glass glitter collection. If you have a few clear vintage shakers, all the better. I have some of my glitters in those as well.

To make a needle holder you will need some wool fiber or a small wad or ball of 100% wool yarn.
Stuff it firmly in your shaker and replace the lid, and put your needles through the holes on top.
Natural wool fiber has lanolin in it, which has the added bonus of keeping your needles in tip top shape!
I also appreciate the fact, that I can leave them in a safe place in between projects, yet readily available. In the past I had used cocktail straws, cut down to size, to protect them. This is a good idea for the extra needles you may have. My fingers have barb scars, everywhere.
Let me know what you think? How do you store your "dangerous needles"?

























October 4, 2011

Fabulous Shortbread...


It has been a while since I have shared a recipe. Be forewarned, you will have a hard time staying away from this shortbread, so, for your own sake, have a few family members or friends around to share it.

We are not discussing the fact that I made these yesterday, I am home alone and there are only three left. Let me just say in  my defense that I have a genetic fault that causes me euphoria at the mere thought of butter. When I was eighteen months old, my mother sat me in the grocery cart and when her back was turned, I opened up the pound of Land O' Lakes (butter), removed a stick, peeled it like a banana and well, ate it. My mother loves to tell this story, and like all children before me, I blame her. She, who hails from St. Louis, Missouri and never stopped talking about "Gooey Butter Cake" and how her father took two buses every Saturday morning to get her one from the preferred bakery. Who leaves a butter obsessed baby(with these sorts of genes), alone with Land O' Lakes?

She also gets the credit for the many children I have, I am an only child. You see, I tended to romanticize brothers and sisters, so I knew I wanted lots of children. Yikes, you think I would have figured it out after the second one; I don't know, maybe after my son turned the blowup pool, upside down on his infant sister????? Fortunately, for me my wise and laid back friend, Linda (one of five children), said, " that's nothing, wait until he hangs her over the balcony in a few years". What? No, no, not my babies, they are going to love and respect and take care of each other, right? Right. Flash forward to Thanksgiving morning, two sisters home from school for break, Mom comes downstairs to find one of them pinned up against the pantry door...no feet touching! (It seems someone borrowed a certain jacket without asking, and someone else found it in a ball at the bottom of a closet, oops.) For the record, no one actually hung anyone over the balcony, threatened, maybe.  No, I am not quick on the uptake. But, I digress...surely you can understand why I cannot give up butter, don't you? 
It's okay, Mom understands.


 I want to hear from you if you do not think this is the best shortbread you have ever tasted!

Shortbread

1 1/2 c. unbleached flour
3/4 c. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 c. plus 3 T. *superfine sugar, divided
1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature (1 hour), cut into 16 pieces
2 t. vanilla extract

Position rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 300 degrees.
Lightly butter (I use the wrappers) a 13x9 inch pan.

Sift the flour, cornstarch and salt into a mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup superfine sugar, and , with electric mixer on low speed,
mix just to blend ingredients. Add butter pieces and vanilla and mix until large (1/4- 1/2 inch) crumbs form, about two minutes.
Very gently, press the crumbs evenly into pan. Don't pack the dough into the pan. Bake until the top of the shortbread just begins to turn golden, about 1 hour.
If your oven is hot, be sure to check sooner. Sometimes it will take an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle remaining
3 tablespoons  superfine sugar over the top. Using a sharp knife now cut the shortbread through to the bottom of the pan in 1 1/2 in x 3 in pieces. Cool completely before lifting the shortbread out of the pan.

*If you do not have superfine sugar; pulse regular sugar in a food processor for about 30 seconds.