Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year !

Miss Zoe wishes you all a very Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Cinnamon Candy

One year during grade school, my best friend's mom, Mary Boehm, took a candy-making class. Besides luscious hand-dipped chocolates, she learned how to make hard candy -- hot cinnamon to be exact. Just before Christmas vacation, she and a few other mom's surprised us with huge, flat discs of bright red, cinnamon candy! What a treat!

Years later, my best friend became my college roommate. Sharon and I were hanging out together one day during Thanksgiving vacation. It was snowing -- really snowing and not knowing what to do with ourselves, we decided to have her mom teach us to make the candy. We made piles of hard candy: red cinnamon and green peppermint. Instead of pouring it into discs on a marble slab, we poured the molten liquid onto a firm bed of powdered sugar. As it cooled, we broke it into bite-size pieces and filled glass jars to give as gifts to our friends at college. It looked so festive and smelled wonderful!

To this day, Sharon and I still make the cinnamon candy during the holiday season. I can't make it without thinking of Sharon and her mother, Mary. Mary was a peach with the patience of a saint. She helped me sew my first 4-H apron. She didn't yell at me once, God bless her. I always appreciated that about her. Anyway, this year I couldn't find cinnamon oil anywhere, so Sharon came to the rescue and mailed me two bottles from Kansas! This morning I made a batch of this wonderful stuff and wanted to share Mary Boehm's recipe with you.

Hot Cinnamon Candy

Enough powdered sugar to form approximately a 15 x 20 rectangle that is no less than 3/4 inch thick. I removed my cutting board and covered it with foil, then set it on my countertop. I covered it with the powdered sugar creating a "dam" of sorts around the edges to keep the liquid from running off. Just dump and pat the sugar in place. DO NOT SIFT IT. If you sift it, the hot candy will go right through the sifted sugar and make a huge mess. I know from personal experience and I have the new countertop to prove it!

3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup light karo corn syrup
1 teaspoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon cinnamon oil (not extract or flavoring)

Over high heat in a heavy pot, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup. Stir until it bubbles and begins to turn clear. Place a candy thermometer in the liquid. Make sure the tip does not touch the bottom of the pan. Boil until the temperature reaches 298 degrees. It will take a little while, then it the heat will rise rapidly. Remove from the heat and quickly add the coloring and cinnamon oil. Slowly pour the hot liquid onto the bed of powdered sugar. Let cool and break into bite-sized pieces. You can also use other colors and oils i.e., peppermint, spearmint, lemon, etc.

The best part of making this candy is that I know Mary would be happy to know that not only are Sharon and I still best friends, we have continued the cinnamon candy tradition after all these years! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Surprise Visit and New Friend

Last week, I receive an email from Laurie May of
Laurie's Charming Designs. Laurie had purchased some tinsel from me last year and was in need of a little more for a project she was working on. I found more of the tinsel and we made arrangements for her to come to my home for it. We live about 25 minutes from each other, but have never gotten together to visit. We run into each other at various antique venues, but never to visit and get to know each other. In trade for the tinsel, Laurie brought me the cutest little glass magnets that have her hand-painted snowmen peaking through! They are so tiny and so sweet! My pictures don't do them justice but, I had to share them with you. We are looking forward to getting together after the first of the year so she can teach me a new project. Thank you again Laurie! I love them.

Also, I have to share another picture of the snow. It has been really coming down this afternoon out in our neck of the woods. School has been cancelled all week - very icy underneath. My hubby and I struck out this morning and got some Christmas shopping done before more accumulates or things freeze tonight. I wonder if they will cancel classes again tomorrow? Might it be an early Christmas vacation? We'll have to wait and see! Keep warm! M.

Monday, December 15, 2008

First Snow Storm of the Year

There is always something magical and hypnotic about the first snow storm of the year. It doesn't matter if it only lasts a few hours and only leaves a few inches - it is beautiful ! We have a bonus snow day today, so I am making good use of it to finish a few Christmas presents and watch a movie with my hubby. Hope this finds you warm and cozy. M.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Favorite Thing #2

A few weeks ago I said I was going to share five of my favorite things with you. I also said that you would really wonder about my mental status when I shared my second favorite with you. The first was my Converse tennis shoes. My second favorite is something new. (Drum roll here) A blazing fireplace in a box! I discovered this crazy thing this fall. It is a DVD that is a continuously playing fire in a fireplace. I love it!!! It has turned my TV into a very life-like fireplace. Our house does not have a fireplace and I have always loved watching a fire and listening to the popping and crackling associated with it. This DVD is the perfect, affordable solution! You pop it in your DVD player and select whether you want to have fire sounds or music or both. The music isn't exactly "me", so I just listen to the natural fire sounds. VERRRy relaxing and realistic. So realistic, in fact, that my husband forgot it was a DVD and almost suggested that we let it die down a bit 'cuz he was too warm. I know he felt a little silly, but I'm glad he shared his thoughts 'cuz I still look up when there is a pop and crack to make sure the "sparks" don't damage the floor!!!

Miss Zoe, however, can't be fooled. She is very apprehensive of actual fires. In fact she won't come into a room with a lit fire. The little stinker is so smart that she doesn't give the DVD a second thought. Sleeps right on the floor under the TV on the bookcase and ignores it all --completely.

There you have it! My second favorite thing. I will share Favorite Thing #3 with you soon!

I want to thank everyone who visited our space at the Monticello Antique Marketplace this past weekend. It has been a great show thanks to all of you! M.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Show at Monticello Marketplace

So if you've been wondering - "what has that Martha been up to? She hardly gives any attention to her blog - so unlike last year!" Well, let me tell you, I've been busy!!! I have been makin' stuff like crazy. Little stockings, snoballs - big and small, little, old boxes filled with sweet Christmasy things, paper wreaths, soft pink wool stockings, on and on. So, last Sunday, Diane and I combined all our things and set up our space at the Monticello Antique Marketplace. Some of our pictures are below so you can see what we have been up to.
The Christmas show begins tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m.! There are many vendors with wonderful treasures. Maybe I will see you there! In the meantime -- back to work! M.

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