Monday, January 21, 2008


There are recipes we all make for special occasions. The reasons vary but inevitably it is out of love. Love for the person who always asks you to make it, love for the person who gave you the recipe, love for the person who enjoyed it but is no longer with us, love for the taste of that special dish.

For me one of those recipes is Baklava. It's name varies by many different cultures but my recipe comes from my paternal grandparents who emigrated to the U.S. from Albania back in the early 1900's. It is a dessert made from phyllo dough, walnuts, butter (lots of it) and sugar. After baking, it is covered with a syrup made from water (Nana used rose water), sugar (or honey), lemon and cinnamon.

Nana used to make the phyllo dough from scratch! If you have ever worked with it you know how thin and tempermental phyllo dough is! It can dry out and crumble in the blink of an eye. It was a labor of love on Nana's part when she made the dough. My father often talks about it and I can only remember in brief glimpses. My nana did not use a recipe like most old world cooks. A little of this, a little of that. My mother would sit next to her and write it down. It is from my mother that I got the written version. Thanks Mom!

Oh, those first sweet, syrupy bites of a diamond-shaped piece of baklava!!!

My first attempt at making baklava was a disaster (huge understatement)! I cooked the syrup too long. After pouring it over the phyllo dough it proceeded to become hard as a rock when it cooled! Needless to say, I now use a thermometer when I cook the syrup. My husband has also gotten into the act and helps me make it. Depending on how many trays we are making it can be quite the event and having two people really helps.

Of my sons only Jeffrey can eat baklava and loves it as much as I do. Unfortunately Michael is allergic to nuts. He prefers my husband's Swedish heritage recipe for Peppakokar.

It is funny how food can help us remember things we thought we had forgotten and the memories of loved ones who are no longer with us. Thank you Nana and Mom for passing this recipe down for so many others to enjoy and for the next generation to pass it on.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Through the Window

This weeks A Muse Addicts Weekly Challenge #25 is to use A Muse stamps to create a window card.

For the cover, I used the Giga Scallop punch adhering it to the front and then used my Creative Memories CCS with the green blade to cut out the oval. It was very easy to do. The image I used was the cute A Muse Octopus stamp. The inside sentiment by Rubber Soul says 'I can't wait to get my arms around you.' A very quick and cute card for Valentine's Day!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

What recipe is your personality?

So here is my recipe. I thought this was pretty neat. Try it out to see what yours is!

The Recipe For Pamela

3 parts Intuition
2 parts Kindness
1 part Panache

Splash of Allure

Finish off with whipped cream

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A*Muse Addicts Weekly Challenge #24

This week's A Muse Addicts Weekly Challenge is "It's Hip to be Square!". The challenge was to use A Muse stamps and make a card that has a square somewhere in the design.

I chose to make a Valentine card using the new Octopus and Inkin' of you stamps.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Get Inspired

A Muse Addicts Weekly Challenge #23 is "Get Inspired". The challenge was to find something that inspires you and use A Muse stamps to make a card based on your inspirational piece.
Boy, did I struggled with this challenge! But I found myself looking at some old Christmas ornaments from when my sons were little and saw the Thomas the Tank Engine ornament. My kids loved watching Thomas on PBS so I used him as my inspiration piece.
Thomas the Tank Engine ornament:

My card:

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008 is here!

Well the new year is here and off with a bang, or should I say storm? We had ANOTHER snow storm today after getting another couple of inches 2 days ago. I know living in New England I should be used to this but we have had so many in the past couple of weeks! By the time February comes around we will have no place left to put all the snow. Oh well, such is life in NE.

I spent part of today making cards and doing that proverbial New Year's activity, ORGANIZING!!! My craft room (aka my kids playroom) needed some cleanup after the holidays and now it is looking a little better. At least the table space is usable. Next will be to tackle the scrapbooking pile to get ready for the ScrapShare retreat coming up in March. I am really looking forward to a weekend of dedicated scrapping time. I get some of my best work done at retreats!

Here is my New Year's to-do list (in no particular order of importance):
1. Spend more time at the gym (cliche I know but I have been doing it for the past few weeks and I like how I feel when I am done working out). A bonus is that I get to spend time with my hubby while working out.
2. Use up my supplies before buying new stuff. This is going to be a hard one. I tend to be a collector of supplies and need to work on being a consumer of my supplies.
3. De-stress my life. No sweating the small stuff is a lesson I need to work on.
4. Accept that there are things about people I love that I cannot change. As my sister says "It is what it is.". So true!

I know there should be more things of my list. But for now this is a good starting point.