If you want to take better photos…

Ricky Tims is taking sign-ups now for the 2018 Photo Challenge class. I took this class 3 years ago and learned so much! I’m not only a better photographer now, I have learned to see the world around me better.

If you want to take better photos, learn how to use Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop, and get better acquainted with your camera, this is the best way I know to do it. The class is broken up into two 26-week sessions. Ricky is offering a very good discount right now.

  • November 9 – 30 Registration is 75% off, at $149
  • December 1 – 18, Registration is 50% off at $299.
  • After December 18, Full price, $599

I’ve been part of the follow-up Critique group since finishing the first year of classes. This week’s challenge was ‘self portrait’. It happens every year and this time I finally got a photo that looks like me!

BeckyGoldsmith-SelfPortrait-34.jpg

Steve and I will be NYC visiting Celia and Jeff all this week. Watch for my photos of the big city here, on instagram, and on facebook.

The pecan pie story…

I decided to try a new pie crust this year, using Steve’s Gluten Free Cake Flour and a pastry recipe from Patisserie GF. I made two batches and refrigerated them overnight thinking I’d get the pies in the oven pretty quickly the next morning.

Here’s what I learned: pastry is different from a pie crust. I realized pretty quickly that that was not going to work (my first ‘wrong’). I turned to my no-fail pie crust by Annalise G Roberts that I’ve written about before (click here). Here’s a link to the pie crust recipe but be aware that it is written for the Authentic Foods Classical Blend GF flour. I can’t say how it will work with other GF flours. It didn’t take long to make the two crusts, but it threw me off my stride.

Then I made the 1st pie filling. I used a recipe from United States of Pie by Adrienne Kane, an excellent resource. Her recipe is similar to many except that she recommends toasting the pecans before adding them to the mix.

I had everything measured out, got the first pie in the oven, and then realized that I had not added the dark Karo syrup (2nd ‘wrong). Words escaped my lips but I decided what the hey (hay?) and pulled the pie out of the oven. I added the Karo syrup and tried stirring it in. Not a good plan, so I dumped the filling into a bowl and stirred it up, returned it to the pan and put it in the oven.

At this point, I was beginning to have real doubts about my mental faculties. However, in my defense, Steve was bustling around the kitchen. He was being helpful but I realized later that I am used to concentrating more when baking. Not his fault, it’s on me that I was easily distracted.

I made the 2nd pie, put it in the bottom oven, set a timer for it and waited. It was when the buzzer went off for pie #1 that I realized that somewhere in there I had (3rd wrong) turned off the top oven!!!!! Geez, Louise. No wonder it looked like it wasn’t cooking. I turned up the heat because, why not?

Both pies got done at the same time, they look about the same, and they both tasted great. I was stunned.

Here’s what I learned:

  • If you have a no-fail crust recipe, use it.
  • Pecan pie is very forgiving.
  • 3 wrongs sometimes to make a right.
  • As Buzz Lightyear says: Never give up. Never give in!

Cranberry sauce that can’t be beat…

It’s fast and easy and delicious!

  1. Wash 1 bag of cranberries.
  2. Put them in a microwave-safe bowl with 1 cup sugar. (Use 3/4 cup sugar if you like tart cranberry sauce.)
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then peel back a little to let steam escape.
  4. Microwave on regular 4 minutes. Stir. The bowl will be hot so use pot holders.
  5. Microwave another 4 minutes.
  6. Stir in 1/4 cup brandy OR Grand Marnier OR whatever sounds good to you.
  7. Cool. Eat, or chill in the refrigerator. Then eat.

Join me at the Grand Hotel!

The Needle Art Seminar is a special event in a lovely place and I do hope to see many of you there! I’ll be teaching classes in hand applique, foundation paper piecing, and color. There are 4 other wonderful teachers, giving you even more class options.

Registration begins on Dec. 4 and I’ve been told that last year several classes filled in the first 12 hours. Click here to see the brochure with class listings, details about the event, and the registration form.

Layout 1 (Page 1)Registrations can be sent via email or fax any time after midnight early Dec 4 morning but not before.  That is the best way to register.  Fill out the registration form, scan it into your computer, and email it. Or just fax it. Don’t take a photo of the form and text it because it’s not legible at the other end and you might not get into the classes you want. The classes must be paid for at the time of registration in full.

Hotel room reservations are made by mail or fax using the special form that will be sent to those who are registered for classes. The form is included in the confirmation packet you will receive.  The hotel will not take phone reservations for this package via phone.

If you have more questions, call the number on the form. If that doesn’t work, email me and I’ll provide you with another number.

Fresh Air…

I had the boys, Jack and Bear, today, all day. My strategy is the same as the one I used on my own boys when they were little: take them outside and run ’em.

Fresh air, lots of movement, and by 2:00 or 3:00 I can do what I need to do and they will be too tired to complain. The strategy still works!

I think we walked 3 1/2 miles. That’s pretty impressive for Bear, at 4 1/2. He only sat down at the end, and he did get back up because my days of lugging a kid that size are over. The first park had a play structure, the second park had a lake that we walked around.

The only downside is that I’m kind of tired too… but they are more tired! Judy, their other grandmother, has them overnight. I guess I’ll find out if I did my job tomorrow. My hope is that they go to bed and sleep soundly all night long.

Tomorrow, Steve and I are taking them out hiking again. Outside. I like it way better than screens.

I’ve spotted a magical unicorn quilt!

Debbie Stubbs shared these pictures of the magical unicorn quilt that she made for her granddaughter, Avery, for her 4th birthday. Avery is a very lucky little girl! 

And look at that unicorn cake!

Thank you, Debbie, for sharing these pictures of your quilt. You made a wonderful quilt that Avery is sure to treasure.