2015 Year review

100_3543I haven’t posted very much in the last two months, what with  the market, craft shows, and Christmas preparations.  I had every intention of blogging about all the Christmas shenanigans, took loads of pictures, and then, never actually seemed to have time to sit down and write. On top of everything else I got sick on Christmas day and that laid me up for six days.

Anyways, I’m on the mend now and thought I would review the amazing year I’ve just had. Things started happening around the beginning of June when I decided that I would finally retire after working at the same company for thirty years.  Six weeks later all the paper work was finalized and I spent my last day at work on July 18th.  My co-workers threw me a party and presented me with a gift basket full of gardening goodies, since they know that gardening is my passion.

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On July 21st I set up my very first exhibit at the Fort Erie Racetrack Farmers Market. I decided to go with my strengths and sell plants. Mostly succulent planters and some perennials.

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I was amassing quite the collection of succulents through propagation and needed a good sturdy work bench, so my husband Pat built me a great potting table.

Woebegone. Did I really just write that?

In early August we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary.  I know its a cliché, but I seriously don’t know where the time went. Good times.

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I spent a busy week with two of my grandchildren during the summer holidays. They always know I will have lots of crafts for them to do and they get stuck right in.

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Morgan with some of her artwork, that she is about to apply to that painting on the wall behind her

Kevin with his lego creation

Kevin with his lego creation

Fort Erie celebrates the War of 1812 every year with a re-enactment taking place on the grounds of the Old Fort. We always take Kevin to it because he loves to see all the soldiers. This year I made him a Red Coat costume, and we spent the day wandering around all the displays.

He’s definitely on the side of the British!!

In late September we took some time and flew out to the west coast to spend some time with my daughter, Becky. Thoroughly enjoyed two sunny weeks in the  San Francisco area.

Becky and Betty

Shortly after our return, I had a mishap with a piece of glitter and spent 14 hours in three different hospitals, but these three girls took good care of me.

Florence Nightingales

Florence Nightingales

The Market, ran right  thru to Thanksgiving Sunday.Since it was so close to Halloween, a couple of us dressed up and had quite a good time.

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I’m the one in the black and red cape

One of the girls invited me to be an exhibitor at an upcoming craft show, so I thought why not. Good opportunity to sell my left-over stock. I had also been selling wreaths and Christmas trees the last few weeks of the market, so I went in to over-drive  and produced enough stock for a two-day show.

I did so well, I exhibited at another two shows leading up to Christmas. Because I had pretty much sold out at the first show, I had to fire up the production line again. Luckily for me the weather was unseasonably warm and I was able to make quite a lot of bespoke products outside.

Halloween was just around the corner as well, so Morgan and Kevin came over to help me decorate.

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they did a fine job

Before you know it, December 1st rolls around and its time to decorate and get ready for Christmas.  I always go all out and this year was no different. Well, except for the fact that I decided I needed one of the “flocked” Christmas trees. Two weeks before Christmas they came on sale, so I treated myself. Best tree I’ve ever had.

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All in all, a great year. See you in 2016

 

 

 

I

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Mincemeat Pies (the easy method)

100_3730_FotorSome people might think they are in the festive spirit when they have trimmed their Christmas tree and decorated the rest of their house.  Not so. In our house it’s not Christmas until there’s batches of mincemeat pies and sausage rolls on the table. Today was that day.  Pat smelled them as soon as he walked through the front door.  Within four hours we have pretty much polished them all off and I will have to make some more tomorrow.

Here’s how I make mine:

Turn stove to 450 degrees

Gather everything you need

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Jar of mincemeat, rum, pastry, icing sugar, flour

I always add extra rum to the mincemeat ahead of time, so it’s got time to infuse into the mixture. I never make pastry anymore, I buy ready-made pie crusts (makes about  18).  That’s not lazy, its smart

My mother gave me these pastry cutters when I got married (40 years ago) and I still use them.  Little bit of nostalgia there

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Lets get started then:

1 – Lightly sprinkle flour onto board before starting to prevent pastry sticking. Using largest pastry cutter, cut out 12 pieces. Then, using the smallest cutter, cut out the same number.  Put large rounds into baking tray.

Do not discard the left-overs, you can knead them into a ball, roll it out and make another 6 tarts.100_3685_Fotor_Collage (2)

3 – Put one heaping teaspoon of mixture into each tart round and then top with the smaller cut-out.  Place into the pre-heated oven  on middle rack ( I use the middle rack  for everything, it’s the only  one I’ve got!)100_3685_Fotor_Collage (4)

4 –  Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown

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5 – I put the baked tarts on a cooling tray and then lightly dust with icing sugar before putting them in festive cupcake cases.100_3685_Fotor_Collage (5)

That’s it.  Some for us, some for family.

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Presentation is everything though, so I set up the Christmas goodie station on the dining-room table. You just never know when you will need a little snack.

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