Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change

Month: December 2007

Sugar-Free Baking

Growing up, we gave Christmas cookies as gifts to anyone not closely related.

Starting at Thanksgiving, my mom and I would start making the longer-lasting cookies (or making sugar-cookie dough and freezing it for later rolling and baking). We'd go to church the Sunday before Christmas, loaded down with tins filled with a variety of cookies, wrapped in ribbons, tagged for everyone we knew (luckily, it was a small church). As I grew older and my younger brothers and cousins were born, we started holding annual Cookie Parties: days filled 4 little boys kept busy rolling, decorating, baking and sugar rushes for all. Most of cookies from these years were best given to parents who could appreciate the ‘skill' of the decorator.

Now that I live hours away from my family, I miss a house filled with cookie smells and countertops that are as piled with cookies as the sidewalks with snow. Last year Mom waited to have the Cookie Party until I was home to help, but this year the boys are older (7 & 8) and they wanted to have their friends over, so they're forging on without me.

I'm also feeling the tug to create my own memories, with my own little family. For the first time ever, Jay wanted to contribute to our Handmade gifts, so as we sat down for a ‘planning meeting' last weekend. I was overjoyed that he thought cookies would be a fantastic gift for his family that we're visiting next week! I immediately started jotting down all the cookies I wanted to make (chocolate chip, decorated sugar cookies, snowballs, brownies, 7-layer cookie bars…) and then it hit us: his family is diabetic. They can have a little sugar (they love my apple pie), but a whole tin of cookies? At least some of them need to be sugar-less. This is a test of our creativity, since, as Sister Diane writes, sugar does a lot more than just sweeten the cookies.

All of my Google-skillz are being tested as I search for sugar-free cookie recipes, but I'm not happy with the quality of the recipes I'm coming up with.
Any suggestions?

Monday Inspiration

This week promises to be full of Christmas making. My to-do list is long but exciting and this week it's my biggest inspiration:

Clapotis for Mom, out of Mati Hari Spinnery's Seasilk yarn, dyed by me.

The gorgeous fibers I got in from (again) Mati Hari Spinnery. Seasilk and merino; I dyed it last week and will spin it up and knit into something for Mom this week, probably handwarmers to match the scarf, or maybe a hat.

Me and Hub are sewing Star Wars Cloaks for my little brothers (like this). It's fun to have a project for both of us and it's good sewing practice.

Speaking of sewing practice, I'm loving the book Sew U.

I'm dyeing to make a neckwarmer like Grumperina's.

What's inspiring you?

Interview love

icicle swirl
I am honored to be interviewed by the Dharma Design blog, as a Featured Artist! You can read the article here. I found the blog and shop through an Etsy forum and am so glad to have discovered her beautiful jewelry. I really love the photographs of her work and her jewelry is really unique.
Wendy features different artists all the time, which is something I love in all forms: getting to know what makes other artists tick. I always flip to the interviews in magazines first (Mary Englebreit's Home Companion has great ones with pictures of their studios) and most of my favorite podcasts have an interview or essay section (CraftSanity – my favorite!, NPR's Fresh Air, CRL with Vickie Howell). There are many many blogs that do interviews but my 2 favorite are Crafty Synergy and the
Featured Seller on Etsy.
I've pondered for a long time doing interviews with artists (in fact, I was a guest interviewer for Create a Connection), but it seems there are already so many…
Do you have any favorite interviews? Is there someone (or some type of artist) that you'd like to see/read interviewed that hasn't been?

Weekly Inspiration

I find inspiration all around me on good days. On not-so-good days, I often wish I knew where to go for an inspiration fix. So, a new weekly feature: Weekly Inspirations. It's my hope to post, on Mondays, those things that are inspiring me today. I'd love to know what inspires others, so please comment, or post your list to your own blog!
This week's list is influenced by my recent receipt of a huge amount of wool for dyeing and spinning, my weekend in Gatlinburg with girlfriends and the upcoming holidays:

  • Elf – the colors, the music, the mood, the illustrations and especially Elf's outfit and those wondrous snowflakes!
  • Corinne Bailey Rae – her songs are perfect for catching up on reading and for dyeing, even her website is beautiful
  • Pies – Since watching Waitress, I've been seeing the world through her eyes, imagining a pie for everything
  • Shari's Friday walks.
  • The new Knitty