Tuesday, November 20, 2007

For the love of cranberries

I love cranberries! It's too bad we only really think about them during Thanksgiving and Christmas. I don't know about your area, but we can only get them fresh this time of year, too. Here are two recipes using fresh cranberries. So, get them while you can and try out these two tasty treats.

Frozen Cranberry Martini
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh cranberries washed and frozen
3 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
3 oz. Vodka
2 oz. Grand Marnier

Pour all ingredients into a blender. Fill with ice. Blend until smooth. You can add reserved sugar syrup (below) to sweeten to taste. Serves 4. Note: This recipe can be made ahead and stored in the freezer. Serve in a martini glass, garnish with a sugared cranberry and enjoy!

Sugared Cranberries (from Cooking Light December 2003)

2 cups granulated sugar

2 cups water

2 cups fresh cranberries, washed and picked

3/4 cup superfine sugar

Combine granulated sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat, stir until sugar dissolves. Simmer (do not boil), and remove from heat, let cool slightly. You do not want the cranberries to pop. Stir in cranberries, pour into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain cranberries in a colander over a bowl. Reserve the sugar syrup for mixing drinks (see above). Place the superfine sugar in a shallow dish. Add the cranberries, roll to coat with sugar. Spread the sugared cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet; let stand at room temperature until dry. Store in an air tight container in a cool place for up to 1 week.

They look so pretty in a holiday bowl. They pop in your mouth, and are a surprizing sweet treat. The contrast between the sweet, candy like shell and the tart, juicy berry is nice. These are great to put out when entertaining, to use as a unique gift, or serve at a cocktail party.

I hope you enjoy these recipes. What are your favorite holiday recipes?

Monday, November 19, 2007

So busy!

I know. I know! It's not even Thanksgiving yet! But Kerry and I are feeling the holiday push already. Are you?
We have our weeks jam packed with parties, open houses, and classes! It is so busy, and exciting too.
We finally added a studio calendar to our blog--look on the right. That should have been a no-brainer, but it took us 9 months to think of the idea. Wow!
So, if you are in the area and want to stop by, you can check it out. If you just want to see what we are up to, you can take a peek too. If you don't have time to stop by and want to get some great Milagro Jewelry, visit our website or our Amazon store and we can take care of all your jewelry gifts for the holidays.
Well, off to stamp some more invitations, bake some pies, address those holiday cards, plan a party, and make Christmas ornaments.
How are you getting ready for the holidays? How do you stay on top of it all?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The tour that never ends...

...and on your left you will find our food and drink station. Today we have some lovely hazelnut coffee and some delicious pumpkin chocolate chunk bread. Help yourself to some coffee or tea, and take a look around.

During our evening events we offer wine and dessert. In addition to the wine glasses on this shelf, we have placed various art pieces that we have each made, as well as some folk art and scrabble tile messages. Click the photo to take a closer look

As you make your way around our studio you will find a plethora of beautiful materials. We have worked hard to sort, categorize and organize the many items we use for our various projects. As much as we have boxed and labeled, it is hard to keep everything at hands reach and aesthetically pleasing. Many our our supplies are kept on this shelf.

We came up with a solution to hide all the mess. We call it the magic curtain. Now you see it... now you don't! We close the curtain when we have guests so the chaos isn't too distracting.

Our big supply table has been a challenge. Our solution has been a dozen or so of the media storage boxes you can find at Michael's Craft Stores. They are perfect for sorting and storing all sorts of items. We have one for rubber stamps, on for ink pads, one for chip board letters, one for costume jewelry pieces, one for children's game pieces, and the list goes on and on and on....

If you read this blog or this one or this one or have seen all the things we have in our studio, you would never guess that our space is really pretty small, only 15 x 20. No, really, it is. We use every inch of it!

One of the best parts of the studio is the wonderful, warm feeling you get when you walk in the door. We hope you feel it too. If you haven't stopped by, you really should sometime. We'd love to show you around!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I found this article on MSNBC today:

Georgia gets rain after prayer, but not enough
ATLANTA - A storm crashed through the Southeast and brought up to an inch of rain in parts of drought-stricken Georgia, but forecasters said the storm likely did little to ease the state’s historic drought.
The rain late Wednesday and early Thursday brought some precipitation to the parched hills of northern Georgia. The showers began a day after Gov. Sonny Perdue led a prayer service on the steps of the state Capitol to beg the heavens to end the drought.
“Certainly, we’re not gloating about it,” Perdue said from a trade mission in Canada. “We’re thankful for the rain and hopefully it’s the beginning of more. ... Frankly, it’s great affirmation of what we asked for.”

The article goes on to talk about the woes of the drought in the South and the devastation brought on by the aforementioned storm. I commiserate with their plight, as Colorado has suffered drought for many of the last 10 years. I was shocked, however, to learn that the Governor of Georgia has such a direct line to the Guy Upstairs. Who knew?

Friday, November 9, 2007

T H A N Komm inn S
In this month of Thanksgiving, I want to take some time to give thanks. I know it may sound corny.....or not. But I may get a little thematic on you for a while, so bear with me... here is my first installment of thankfulness. I will begin with a quotation (teehee)

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful."


I guess this one struck me as a good motto, a mantra even, to always try to look on the positive side of things. As Kerry could tell you, I am sometimes more the optimistic of the two of us. Sometimes that's good, sometimes that's bad.
I recently read on another blog about the "high thought" (It's on Tanya's Blog, which I found via Mary's Blog). I love this idea! What is the positive you can find in a situation? Even a bad one? I guess it is that whole glass half full or half empty debate. I think it is half full. My philosophy is to always look for the positive, even when it is hard to find. Who really wants to dwell in negativity? I have found that if you like to stew in your own negative thoughts, you'll have few friends to share them with.
What is your high thought for today? What are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

"I got a dog and his name is Blue, Betcha' dollar he's a good dog too."

Some of you may have seen my dog Blue show up in posts before. I think he may have even written his own when I was in Hawaii. Well, Blue is a 'special' dog. If you have read the book Marley and Me then you know what kind of special I am talking about. He's not the brightest or the best smelling of creatures but he has good loyal qualities. Recently my husband and I have grown concerned about Blue. He is going on 7 and this summer he really started showing his age. He has gotten very gray and was not too happy with us when we remodeled the house. We had hardwood floors installed in the main living area and tile installed in our bathrooms. The hard surfaces do not help an aging dog with signs of displaysia. After we had the work done, he couldn't seem to figure out where to lay and keeps trying different areas. At night, he used to sleep in our bathroom (yes, we have bought him many beds but he refuses to use them, instead he makes them into his 'girlfriends' if you know what I mean.) but now that the tile is in the bathroom, he doesn't like it. So, he sleeps in various spots around our bedroom. When we use the facilities at night, he likes to change his sleeping spot while we are in the bathroom. Hence we tend to step on him a lot in the dark, since we never know where he is or once we do know, he moves.
Blue has also taken to staring into space - a lot. We call his name and it takes him a few seconds to respond.
He has also taken to a little bit of a meaner attitude with other dogs which is very disconcerting since he has always been the most timid creature.
And just the other night, we had guests over and put Blue up in our room, since too many people make him a bit too excited. We have been doing this for quite awhile and it has always seemed to work well for both humans and canine. But this time, Blue decided to start attacking our door frame. Luckily Lauren came and told us something was happening before the damage went into the unrepairable.
So, what is the deal? If he just an old dog getting grumpy or something else? It is hard to go to the vet and tell him my dog is acting weird what should I do. (And yes, Rick we do use Petsmart vets!) What to do?

Then on the other side of it all with all of his strange annoying behaviors (And I didn't even mention his new elimination method on walks), the children adore him more than I can even express. Last night, Lauren sat with him on the floor when she thought no one was looking and started singing to him like a baby. She laid down with her face right next to his. She even stayed there, although she did make a face for a moment, when his atrocious ass-breathe made its way to her nostrils. Her song was about what a good dog he was and how much she loved him. It reminded me of when we got Blue and the kids, being toddlers, wanted to name him 'Nice Dog." Maybe we should have let them.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

10 Things I Learned

Fall is that funny time of year, I look forward to all that it is, cool, colorful, changing, crisp, cozy, but it has its bittersweet bits as well. It is a nostalgic time of year for me. Looking back, I have been thinking about all the things my mom taught me. I never got to thank her for these lessons. With my gratitude for her, I will share them with you:

1. Save everything, you never know when you will need it. I think our studio was meant to be. Kerry and I certainly had a head start getting it set up, with all the wonderful art supplies that my mom had collected over the years.

2. Surround yourself with beautiful things, in the garden, on your walls, in your home. Those things don't have to be expensive, just put care in what you do and how you do them.

3. Never save the good china, silver or crystal for a special day. What is the point of having all those special things away in a cabinet, or in a box?

4. And, if it breaks, that’s okay. After all, they are just things.

5. Always have enough good food and drink in the house to entertain at the drop of a hat.

6. Everyone is beautiful, in his own way. This one drove me nuts as a teenager. I actually think it was part of a song lyric from the 70's that my mom tormented me with--does anyone recognize it? Always the optimist, my mom could find beauty in anyone or anything. I appreciate it now.

7. Be inclusive, the more the merrier. Holidays and parties were grand affairs at our house!

8. Never turn away a friend. Whatever a friend or relative needed, my mom was sure to try and accommodate.

9. Laughter is necessary and contagious. My home was always filled with laughter and happiness.

10. Be kind, it’s that simple.

It has been almost 9 years since my mom died. It was too soon, too sudden, and we had way too many plans for her to go. But her legacy lives on in our studio. And I hope that I learned enough of her lessons so that I can continue her vision.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

First the good, Kerry and I received an adorable ephermera pack all the way from Canada from Altered Kat at Great Musings. She has a great blog and a really neat website with wonderful ephemera and embellishments. She does lots of giveaways and offers freebies galore. Thanks Kat, for the great packet of things. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Stop by and visit her when you have a chance.

The bad, we are offering a fabulous class next week--The advent calendar class. (see the photo) We loved making this project! So much so, that we each made two. One for December and one for the fall months. So what's bad about this? We only have two people signed up for the class. We may have to cancel!

We offered lots of classes during our first year in the studio. We pulled back a bit during our second year. Our friends and studio regulars started asking for new and different classes again, so we came up with a few. We have lots of interest and few sign-ups.

So many variables go into whether or not some one signs up for a class. the time of year, holidays, money, other time commitments, family, class topic, etc, etc.... Kerry and I haven't become mind readers, yet. Someday we'll have it down and know how to make everyone happy.
In case you're interested, here are our two classes this season. If you're not local, we're sorry. If you know someone in the area of Boulder and East Boulder County Colorado, pass along the information.


  • November 8 (NEW DATE!!) Magnetic Mixed Media Advent Calendars – perfect for your home or as a special gift. Check out our samples to see the possibilities.
    7:00pm – 9:00pm
  • November 27 Collaged Candles and Wine boxes – It’s your call, make as many as you like!
    7:00pm – 9:00pm
    $10 per item

The ugly. Sometimes customers can be tricky. We always hope that our customers are satisfied with their purchases, from Amazon, from our Etsy shop, or from our website. We make every attempt possible to make a customer happy if they are not satisfied with their order. That being said, we have come to realize that some people are hard to please. Others are, in fact, impossible. It is that occasional, impossible person that causes things to get ugly. Recently we had an order for a cute little pendant from our Amazon shop. In fact this pendant has been flying off our bench--we have to keep 4 or 5 in inventory just to keep up! It is simple, it is easy to wear with lots of styles, and it is inexpensive. This pendant is made from something called Crazy Horse Stone. Our gem and stone wholesaler describes this stone this way: Crazy Horse Stone~ A kind of limestone material (from China) exhibiting natural circles and lines of flamboyant colors and combinations. No two pieces are alike. This material mixes well with many colors. Coated with clear epoxy to provide better luster and hardness.

So here is the ugly part, one of the recent customers who ordered this pendant wrote a review (rating us 1 out of 5) that says this: "show and said stone...when real is plastic!!!" Not only that, she has filed a complaint with Amazon against us. This is upsetting to both Kerry and myself. We certainly have offered this customer a refund, but her goal now seems to cause trouble for us.

The truth is, we don't sell plastic jewelry. We don't attempt to misrepresent our jewelry or ourselves in any way. We do want our customers happy. But, how do you resolve a situation with someone who doesn't really want resolution?

So, there it is folks, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I guess we'll tough it out! We hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Spooky coincidence?

Sadly on Oct. 30 my Uncle Tom Emmet Nicholson died from leukemia. We knew it was coming and he wasn't someone that I had seen in over 20 years, but a nice fellow nonetheless. We didn't think he would be dying so soon even though we knew he had been ill. He had only been diagnosed a month ago and progressed badly since then.
So, a sad story but here is where things get strange. My uncle went by both the names Tom and Emmet depending on when you knew him. My grandmother gave all of her boys American first names and Irish middle names. On Tuesday, I was at the liquor store (with Rachel of course) and decided to stock up for the holidays since I had a coupon (I am a coupon queen.) I decided to get a big jug of "Emmet's." Emmet's is what real Irishmen drink instead of Bailey's. It is much less expensive than Bailey's and just as good. As soon as I put the Emmet's in my cart and headed to the check out stand, my mom calls on the cel to tell me Uncle Emmet had died. Odd coincidence? Wait, it gets weirder.
On Halloween, I worked with Rachel and decided to run into my usual grocery store to grab just a few items. As I am standing in the aisle, I hear the loud speaker announce the name "Nicholson." Well my ears perk up since Nicholson is my maiden name. Then the loud speaker person says "Nicholson, Tom Nicholson, please pick up the phone." Weird!
So what do you think? Coincidence or not?

All I can say is "Uncle Emmet, you'll be missed and if you are contacting me, please send lotto numbers."