Category Archives: Hobbies

Beautiful Women over 50: Kathy, Freelance Editor

My friend, Kathy, is making her living these days as a freelance editor, and a new book that she developed and edited has just come out.  I’m particularly excited about it–and not just because Kathy is the editor.  It’s called Craft Hope:  Handmade Crafts for a Cause, and it is written by Jade Sims (a beautiful woman under 50!)  Here is how Kathy describes the book’s origins, in an article featured on the website of Lark Books, one of the premier publishers of craft books in this country  (to read the whole interview, click here):

A year and a half ago, I was tooling around on the Internet, half goofing off from my then-job as managing editor at Lark Crafts and half hunting for book ideas. I wanted to do a book that offered both beautiful craft projects and a way to make a difference in the world, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to do it. I googled “craft” and “charity,” probably for the 20th time in months, and this time I landed on the recently launched Craft Hope site. As soon as I saw the Craft Hope logo, I knew I loved the aesthetics of Jade Sims, the site’s creator. Part way into her description of the first project—sewing pillowcase dresses and bandana shorts for a children’s shelter in Mexico—I knew I loved Craft Hope and had found my author. What I didn’t know was that I’d also find a friend.

Kathy

After looking over this wonderful book, I asked Kathy to let us feature it on the blog.  I also asked her to send us a description of the book in her own words. What follows is what Kathy, our featured beautiful woman over 50, sent me from her home in Charleston, South Carolina. 

The book, she says, “tells about crafters using their passion to help those in need. Part of the movement of crafts online has been the tremendous number of people sharing their love of crafts through personal blogs. Jade Sims was one such crafting/blogging mother in Austin, Texas. After a few years of successfully blogging, she began to wonder if she could find more meaning from this mix of craft and community, so she launched Craft Hope, an organization that combines love of crafting with a desire to help others. Her first project,” (the pillowcase dress project described above), “brought a surprisingly large response. Her next project, handmade cloth dolls for an orphanage in Nicaragua, resulted in over 400 dolls sent in from all over the world. In July, she shipped 2,614 handmade blankets, booties, and beanies to infants in orphanages in India. These items were sent to Craft Hope from crafters in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, England, Scotland, Holland, and Malaysia. Crafters in more than 100 countries now follow the Craft Hope site, and the audience just keeps growing with each project.

The book Craft Hope presents photos, instructions, and templates for 30+ craft projects by top designers, each matched with a specific charity and with alternative suggestions for local places to contribute the item. It also highlights the charities that are being helped through Craft Hope.com. There’s information on how to give locally, how to give thoughtfully (making sure items are appropriate and useful), and how to empower those you are helping. One dollar from the sale of each book will go to Global Impact, an organization representing more than 50 leading U.S.-based international charities.” 

So, to all our crafters out there, can you think of a better way to spend your time than working on some of the following projects to help  Jade Sims with her important work?

  • Pillowcase dresses for girls in a shelter in Mexico
  • Cheerful quilts for homeless children
  • Soft dolls for orphans in Nicaragua
  • Patchwork Pillows for families in transition
  • Sock monkeys for children in African communities affected by HIV/AIDS
  • Knit scarves for teens who have aged out of foster care
  • Soft puppies for children convalescing from cancer treatment
  • Art Kits for children undergoing heart surgery in Iraq

By the way, here’s what the book looks like:

 You can purchase it on the website for Barnes and Noble.

Sadhvi Loves Poppies!

Sadhvi

It’s the 4th of July tomorrow, so before the summer is over, I want to share some pictures of the poppies that came up this spring in my garden.

I think I might have one or two that are blooming right now, but most are gone.  I’ve seen a couple of birds eating the seeds out of the pods, which helps the seeds to spread.   I always save some seeds to give to others…there is always more than enough poppy seeds to go around!

I picked my favorite pictures so I hope you enjoy them.  For me, having some joy in my life is important.  I don’t think I would be still around at 52 if I didn’t!  So I have planted my garden only with the flowers that make me happy.  It’s one of the main reasons that I love living in Western North Carolina.  It has such a long growing season.  Oh, one of the best sources of poppy seeds to plant is the online store onestoppoppyshoppe.  Seriously, this is the place to go and get you some poppy seeds!  They have an amazing selection…just looking through their online store is a simple delight!

So, on with the show…it really was a spectacular season of poppies!

 

Women over 50:Gardening and a Great Rhubarb Tart Recipe!

Sadhvi

These are certainly interesting times we are living in, don’t you think?  I mean, with so many ways to connect, everyone I talk to is simply overwhelmed with “life”?   If the call is not lost, or they are in the middle of doing something, or their computer is down, or there is another call coming in, or I have to run, god forbid any daytime conversation can go a little deeper than actually hearing stress.  It is very apparent that everyone, even retired people I know, are about at their limit of what they can handle!  Oh, I forgot to mention the pressure to get the latest, or to upgrade.  My husband thinks that I should soon get the iPad, because it would be so good to be able to have it with me when I have clients with me while driving – geez louise!

Therefore, I think it is more important than ever to have something that makes one very happy, that is thrilling even, and does not cost a lot of money.  For me baking something from my garden satisfies that need.  And in the moment it is rhubarb time!

Sadhvi's Swiss Rhubarb Tart

I didn’t grow up eating rhubarb, but being with my Swiss husband has made me very aware that there are some people who consider it a divine comfort food.  Actually, my mom, who grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, also swoons with the mere mention of the word too.  She told me that there was a patch of rhubarb growing in their yard, and they used to eat it raw with a bit of salt on it.  Well, it IS a vegetable she told me!  So when we moved into our home some 8 years ago, I made a point to plant some in our garden.

Sadhvi's Rhubarb Plant

They say that for the first year or so, you shouldn’t pick too much because the plant is getting established.  I went out a few days ago to pick, or rather, “twist”  the first batch, and I made a simple Swiss tart.  It was so delicious that I ate some and decided that I now love rhubarb!  My friend who is German told me that the first rhubarb, called  “May Rhubarb”,  is the most tender and delicious, and he got weak in the knees just hearing me describe the tart!

Here is the recipe.  It’s easy.  Take a break from FaceBook, from email, from the routine of your day, and try it.  You’ll like it!

Continue reading Women over 50:Gardening and a Great Rhubarb Tart Recipe!

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EasyRecipes: Getting Older & the Importance of Chocolate Cake

Sadhvi

It feels like ages since I’ve posted something.  I had a really bad cold, and I didn’t feel like doing anything for a couple of weeks.  I also turned 52.

I had this urge to bake a chocolate cake with white, fluffy icing just like my grandma, Mabel Carter, used to make.  I never made her “7 minute frosting” before, but I thought it was high time now that I am starting to look like her!

After looking hard and not being able to find her recipe in my collection, I decided to make one that sounded just like hers, called “Wonderful Marshmallow-Like Frosting” by Susan Branch that is in her Sweets to the Sweet book.  She has a cult following, and I am one of her groupies.  Here’s what she says, followed by the recipe:

“The classic boiled frosting, pure white, shiny and fluffy.  You’ll need a candy thermometer.

1/3 c. water                                        a pinch of salt

1 c. sugar                                           2 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar           1 tsp. vanilla

Stir the water, sugar, cream of tartar & salt together in a small, heavy-bottomed pan.  Hook a candy thermometer to the edge of the pan & boil without stirring until mixture reaches 240 F.  In the meantime, beat egg whites until stiff.  Pour the 240F syrup over the whites in a thin stream, beating constantly until thick & glossy.  Stir in the vanilla.  Now frost the cake!

I found a simple chocolate cake recipe called “Gateau Therese” in David Lebovitz’s The Sweet Life in Paris.  This is a must read book, by the way.  The following is what he has to say about it…

“Every Frenchwoman I know loves chocolate so much she has a chocolate cake in her repertoire that she’s committed to memory, one she can make on a moment’s notice.  This one comes from Therese Pella, who lives across the boulevard from me; when I first tasted the cake, I swooned from the rich, dark chocolate flavor and insisted on the recipe.

Madame Pellas is fanatical about making the cake 2 days in advance and storing it in her kitchen cabinet before serving, which she says improves the chocolate flavor.  And the Brie she keeps in there as well doesn’t seem to mind the company…”

 

I actually use just one stick of butter, which is probably a few grams less than what is called for, and, since most of my friends are into gluten-free eating, I use ground almonds instead of flour.

9 ounces (250g) bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate, chopped

8 T. (120 g) butter

1/3 cp. (65 g) sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature, separated

2 T. ground almonds

A pinch of salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C).  Butter a 9-inch loaf pan (I used a 9’ round springform pan or whatever) and line bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In a big bowl set over a pan of simmering water, heat the chocolate and butter together until just melted and smooth.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in about half of the sugar, then the egg yolks, and then the ground almonds.
  4. Start whipping the egg whites with that pinch of salt.  Continue whipping until you start to see soft, droopy peaks.  Gradually whip in the rest of the sugar until the egg whites are smooth and hold their shape when the whisk is lifted.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, fold about a third of the egg whets into the chocolate mixture, then fold the rest of the egg whites just until the mixture is smooth and no visible white streaks remain.
  6. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth it on top, and bake around 35 min., or just until the cake feels slightly firm in the center.  Do not overbake!

Try this recipe…it’s really really good.

And, oh, thankfully, it’s Spring!