Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Robert E. Howard Cross Plains, Texas vacation

Cross Plains, Texas: Home of Robert E. Howard, Author of "Conan the Barbarian".

We are going to visit Cross Plains in January. I enjoy Howard's short stories - especially those about Conan.

Cross Plains looks like a lovely town to visit on its own merits, too. I am very much looking forward to this little trip.

I believe that it is the little things that make a life large.

Click here for more info about Robert E. Howard, his museum in Cross Plains, Texas, and Project Pride.

Monday, November 12, 2007


My son John is home from Iraq -> safe and sound. We are so grateful. Thank you to everyone who has expressed support!
I am so relieved.
We will continue to think of those who are currently in Iraq and elsewhere but not home.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Very happy news

My son needed his car insurance info. He will be back in these United States very soon. I'm trying to contain myself.

Monday, October 22, 2007

fall soap

Available Oct. 25th:

sugarplum - allspice, cassia & palmarosa
pumpkin pie spice - cinnamon leaf, benzoin, clove bud, ginger, nutmeg, allspice & palmarosa
poinsettia - ylang ylang & clove bud
loofah - lemon & lavender with a loofah slice embedded
anisette - anise essential oil

Most delicious and crispy flatbread

Carta Da Musica
'Music Paper' Bread

I love simple foods.

All you need is flour, water, salt & yeast to make this light, thin & crunchy flatbread from Sardinia.

1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt

Sprinkle yeast into the water in a bowl. Leave for 5 mintues, then stir to dissolve.
Mix the flour & salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast/water mixture. Mix in th eflour from the sides of the bowl to form a stiff sticky dough.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth & elastic. ~10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400F. Put dough in a clean bowl (oiled or not it's up to you) and cover with a dish towel. Let rise for 20 minutes. Lightly flour a baking sheet (or place parchment paper on sheet) and place in the preheated oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
Divide dough into 16 equal pieces. On a lightly floured work surface, roll fist piece of dough to form a paper-thin round, 6 inches across. Cover remaining dough with a damp dish towel and let rest for 2 minutes. If dough ever becomes hard to roll out, let rest 2 minutes. While first piece is resting, begin rolling second piece.
Immediately place rolled out dough on the preheated floured baking sheet. You may be able to fit two pieces on baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes turning the risen round over once, until lightly colored and puffy. Reflour baking sheet; repeat with each shaped dough round.
Remove the breads form the oven and pile them on top of each other on a wire rack. As the breads cool, they will become crisp and brittle.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

sun-dried tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes rehydrated in red wine vinegar, drained and layered in a jar with capers, black peppercorns, the basil I grow on my porch & sea salt with Italian extra virgin olive oil poured over all.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

quintessential quince

The first spring after we moved here, we discovered a quince shrub in our backyard. We are "city people" and didn't know what it was.

I thought it was a type of crabapple, my husband had no idea. He did try to eat one, but they are very tart and impossible to eat when raw.

Later that fall I did a little research and found that it was a quince shrub we had not a crapapple.

The fruit is extremely hard and often mishapen. I love the quince's inconsistent shape. Another fun thing is that it will produce flowers more than one time of year. This year I have harvested the fruit and there are flowers on the shrub. I like that. I also like the fact that this is an old variety and has not been hybridized or genetically modified. I'm not against those things, but I love the simplicity of of plant that is as it always was.

I make jelly out of the fruit, but there are other things you can do with quinces. The jelly is extremely bright and flavorful. Like the apple, it requires no added pectin to make jelly.
The quince has even inspired a poem or two!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Monday, September 03, 2007

chamomile chamomile chamomile chamomile chamomile

Our Chamomile soap is most luxurious. We've used Chamomile five ways for this soap: German and Roman Chamomile Essential Oil, Olive Oil infused with Chamomile Flowers, Chamomile Tea instead of water, a little ground Chamomile added to the soap and Chamomile flowers on top. This is an exceptionally nice soap for those who like hot baths in the winter. Please note that the chamomile scent is very light.
Ingredients: olive oil, palm kernel oil, coconut oil, water (infused with chamomile), sodium hydroxide, rice bran oil, chamomile, essential oils of german chamomile & roman chamomile, annatto seed extract

Monday, August 27, 2007

just rosemary

Rosemary Herbal - Rosemary has been a favorite of our customers (and ours!) for years. That isn't surprising. Rosemary has a fresh, herbal scent.

Ingredients: Olive Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, Coconut Oil, Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Rice Bran Oil, Rosemary Essential Oil, Alfalfa

We love single note fragrances. Rosemary essential oil is so nice by itself.

This soap can be purchased at spartasoap.com

Saturday, August 25, 2007

hanging strawberry plant

This strawberry plant has done wonderful in this weather. My husband dug the plants out of our strawberry patch this past spring. When summer is over we will plant all of the little plants on runners in our existing strawberry patch. It's going to almost double what we have. Next year we will have to put netting on the strawberry patch. The animals and birds eat most of the berries. :)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Aug. 22nd, 2007

I want to express my deepest sympathies to the families of the fourteen soldiers in the helicopter crash in Iraq.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

black pepper soap - black pepper essential oil

Black Pepper - This luxury soap is scented with the oil of the same black peppercorns that you cook with. The fragrance is bold, but not strong. While we enjoy blending, we also love single note fragrances - especially this one. This is a favorite of men and women who buy for men! We've added a little cracked black pepper for fun.

Ingredients: olive oil, palm kernel oil, coconut oil, water, sodium hydroxide, rice bran oil, black pepper essential oil, black pepper
You can purchase this at spartasoap.com!

Friday, August 17, 2007

more of morning's glory

for those who have expressed an interest
...please pardon my lack of skill with the camera...
click on the image to view more of our flowers

link opens in a new window

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007

lookie what I found on myspace today:

Good news for me. My son John is in the Army in Iraq. I haven't heard from him since June 25th and he hasn't been on myspace since July 15th. He doesn't always have access to internet or phones. Here is the good news he posted today.
edited 081107 to add:
John is with the 57th Signal Battalion

Read Bulletin:

Plaidchuck ©1981
Date:Aug 10, 2007 10:27 AM
Subject:to friends, family, and.. (honestly who else matters?)
Body:Sorry its been too long everyone, this is the first time I've had access in a while and i dont have enough time to reply to everyone individually... I miss and love you guys hope all is well.. I have good news!! I will be home by thanksgiving. Sometime in November, can't mention the exact date for obvious reasons. Well thats all I have for now I will try to call everyone when I get a chance.. take care!

Monday, August 06, 2007

sink sank sunk

edited 08072007 because, just because
I got a new sink for my kitchen. I thought it would be fairly quick. It took two days to install the new sink. It seems the "rough in" guys took the term literally. The drain was 10 inches too high.
I don't think they've built a good house since 1935.
We went from this:
to this:
I would have been happy to keep the porcelain sink, but the woman who lived here before us cleaned the finish off of it.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

white tea from adagio teas

I ordered the white tea sampler from adagio teas.

These teas are included in the sampler:
silver needle - delicate tea produced in Fujian
snowbud - light and gentle tea from coastal China
song yang - beautiful white tea from the Zhejiang region
white peony - accessible white tea from coastal China
text courtesy of adagio teas

I love the subtle and delicate flavor of these teas. I drink them unsweetened hot or I add ice.

Next I will try the white darjeeling, since it wasn't included in the sampler.

I almost forgot, I placed my order Wednesday night and receivd my tea on Saturday.

Thank you for the fast shipping! I'll definitely be back.

Friday, August 03, 2007

soul sacrifice

edited 08/04/2007 because I goofed
this bass player personified "cool" to me when I was young.

dragon's blood

Our Dragon's Blood soap is different from the rest. We have developed an essential oil blend (rather than use a synthetic fragrance) and added real Dragon's Blood resin. The incense-like fragrance is a complex blend of essential oils (see ingredients list below). This is a heavy, sultry scent that is popular with both men and women. As with all of our soap, this is sudsy, mild and oh so luxurious!

Ingredients: Olive Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, Coconut Oil, Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Rice Bran Oil, Dragon’s Blood Resin, Essential Oils of Patchouli, Bitter Almond, Amber Essence, Peru Balsam, Bulgarian Lavender, Virginia Cedarwood, Geranium, Black Pepper

And just so you know: Dragon's Blood Resin is from the berries of a type of palm tree and is not from a dragon. :)

Get it here: spartasoap.com

Thursday, August 02, 2007

so cute

I startled this baby bunny while watering my garden. I took a quick photo and sort of "herded" him back to where he was.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The 100th year of Franz Waxman's birth

Franz Waxman wrote the musical score for The Bride of Frankenstein, Sunset Boulevard, and many others. He won an Oscar for the score of Sunset Boulevard in 1950 for "Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture".
If you don't remember these movies or the music, maybe it's time to rent them again and really listen this time.
Read more about Franz Waxman.

edit 07/30/2007 to add videos:
The Bride of Frankenstein
Sunset Boulevard