Monday, October 26, 2009

Cookies with Nana!

Tommy and Nana baked Ginger Snap cookies together yesterday. The house smelled wonderful and we wanted to share this delicious recipe with you! These cookies are crisp on the outside, a bit chewy in the very center, and absolutely beautiful rolled in sparkly sugar. They are a family favorite during the holidays and are surprisingly easy to make. (And very simple and fun for children to help with!)

First, Nana made the cookie dough.

Cream the following ingredients until fluffy:

¾ cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup dark molasses
1 egg

Sift the following ingredients together and slowly add to the wet mixture:

2 ¼ cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 ¼ tsp. ground ginger
1 ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ tsp. cloves

Once the dough is mixed, form into balls. You can make these any size you'd like, but you may need to adjust the baking time a bit so small cookies don't overcook, and large ones are done. The baking time below is for a tablespoon sized ball.

Tommy helped Nana form the mixture into balls, but he wasn't sure he liked having sticky dough on his hands.

Roll each ball in sugar. We used a large crystal sparkly sugar for this batch, but the cookies are very festive with red or green decorator sugar, and just as tasty with regular table sugar. Arrange the sugar covered balls on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F for 12 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a minute to firm up, and then remove to a cooling rack to cool.

I hope you'll give these delicious cookies a try and let us know how you liked them!

Slow Cooker Taco Filling

This is the second of the 'recipe repeats'. I do hope you'll enjoy it!

ver the past few months,
I've been doing a lot of cooking. Found a half pork roast in the freezer that needed to be used up, so I decided to make slow-cooker taco (or burrito, enchilada - you get the picture) filling. This is the easiest recipe yet, and I tried it the next week with chicken breasts and it was great like that too. Next is to try beef - might try a chuck roast if it goes on sale soon. Otherwise any good roasting type of meat would work.

Approx. 2 lb. meat ( I cut the loin into 1 inch slices so I could brown it a bit for the extra flavor. Chicken just gets thrown in as is. I think I'll brown the beef in slices, makes it easier to break apart later)

2 cans petite diced tomatoes with green chiles - I use the original Ro-Tel, but I know there are other brands out there too.

1/2 - 1 tsp chili powder (amount depends on how spicy you like it - my folks are good with 1/2 tsp - I could go a bit hotter. I used Chili 3000 from Penzeys)

1 medium onion, chopped.

That's it! Just mix it all together in the slow-cooker, and leave it alone. I start my cooker on High to get it going, and then turn it down to Low for the rest of the day. Follow the instructions for your cooker .
When the meat has cooked for several hours - usually 5 or more, break it up into shreds with a wooden spoon. If it seems a bit too watery, you can leave the lid open a crack to dry it out.

Serve as tacos with cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, lettuce, etc. Also especially yummy atop a salad, or stuffed into enchiladas. You can use it anywhere you'd use taco meat.

This is really easy and yummy in anything - I think I'm going to try beef soon and try to make an enchil-lasagna with it...


Perfect Guacamole

I am revisiting a couple of recipe posts from my personal blog, A Little Grey Hare, so that I can share them with you. The first one is a delicious guacamole recipe I worked to perfect over last autumn. It's delicious with chips, or as a spread. I hope you'll try it and enjoy it!

I have tried a bunch of guacamole recipes since I moved here to AZ - it amazes me that some of them call for things like mayo (which I can't eat anyway - but why would you add something that's just fat and eggs to an already creamy, healthy fat?) I played around with one recipe that I found and tweaked it to not be too garlicky (for Mom and Dad) with a touch of heat (for me) I had some Penzey's ground chipotle in the fridge and no fresh peppers, and actually, I like the slightly smoky heat better!

Hope you try it and also that you enjoy!

3 ripe avocados, peeled
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp salt
1 medium garlic clove - minced or crushed
1/2 cup diced onion (I used yellow, but red is really pretty)
scant 1/8 tsp ground chipotle (depending on how much heat you like)
1 roma tomato - 1/4 inch dice

Using a pastry blender (this works REALLY well!) or a fork, mash two on the avocados with the lime juice, salt, and chipotle powder until mostly smooth. Stir in the onion and garlic. Cut the other avocado into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces and add, along with the tomato. Fold in until mixed together, but preserving the chunkiness.
this is good right away, but the flavors blend if you make a bit ahead an store in the fridge - to keep it from darkening, I place in a small plastic storage container, smooth the top, and press a piece of plastic wrap right onto the top, sealing out the air. Each time you spoon some out, smooth it and recover with the plastic. It actually will stay green for a couple of days this way!

I love this with black bean tortilla chips!


Monday, October 12, 2009


Hornbooks originated in England in the mid 1400's. In children's education, they were used as primers for study. Printed paper or parchment was attached to a paddle-shaped piece of wood. A thin sheet of horn, made by soaking animal horn in cold water to remove it from the bone, and then boiling to soften, was attached to the board using tacks, or a thin strip of metal that was tacked around the edge. The horn served to protect the paper from grubby fingers and wear. Usually a hornbook was printed with the letters of the alphabet, the vowels in a line, and the vowel combinations with the consonants in a tabular form. The Trinitarian formula - "in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" and the Lord's Prayer were commonly found following the letters. Occasionally, the arabic numerals appeared as well.

On English hornbooks, a cross appeared before the first row of letters, this was called 'Christ's Cross' and came to be known as the 'criss-cross.' A pupil was expected to cross himself before beginning the lesson. American hornbooks generally lacked the cross, as the Puritans objected to the use of the symbol of the cross.

Often, a hornbook had a hole in the handle for a cord so that the student could wear the book around their neck or attached to a belt. Hornbooks were sturdy, and there is evidence that they were used as bats when playing.

Our newest frame is a hornbook frame - it is finished in a primitive, worn-paint finish. This example has a golden yellow undercoat, but could be done in any color undercoat to complement your work. We have a few ideas that we'll be working up soon for a sampler for this frame as well, and we hope to have one finished and available soon.

Friday, September 25, 2009

New colors and grains

Sometimes we have some extra molding and decide to make it into a frame. When this happens, we use the frame to practice new graining designs or use a new color we've been wanting to try. The first two frames on the page are examples of this. The first is painted in a new color for us, 'Nantucket', and the graining style is based on one by Primitive Traditions' Cathy Campbell. We're tentatively calling it 'Peacock', because that's the first thing that popped into our minds when we saw it on this color, but that name may change before we make it official.

Many of our early frame designs are based on Cathy's, which unfortunately became unavailable since she closed her framing business to focus on designing. We've also been working hard to develop new styles and grains that are unique to us.

The following frame is a new grain that we're calling 'Burl' and the color is 'Mistletoe'. It's beautiful in this color, and I'm excited to try the grain on a more 'natural' looking color to see how it turns out. One of my favorite things is to try to reproduce the look of natural woods, and this burled look, as well as the birdseye grain have quickly become favorites.

It's amazing that such a simple technique allows such varied and lovely results, and we find that the grains vary immensely just between the two of us. Even when Mom and I do the same technique, the grain looks slightly different, making each frame truly unique and original. I think that is the thing I love most about false-graining. I'm starting to branch out into graining some other items too, but since some of these are intended as Christmas presents, I can't share the photos with you until after the holidays!

The next frame is one we've had for a while, but I haven't had a good photo of it until now. It is also based on one from Primitive Traditions. This grain is 'Swirl'.

Lastly, we're always showcasing needlework in our frames, but I wanted to show how nicely they work on other items. The following is an example, using the 'Peacock' grained frame above with a school photo of my son. Unfortunately, there is a bit of a glare on the photo (darned glossy finishes) but I think it gives a good idea of how well these frames work on other types of items. Other ideas might be to frame a wedding invitation, ketubah, diploma, or other cherished item.

We're getting geared up for the holiday season, and are planning a few surprises along the way. Expect a few recipes from our files, a history lesson with a new frame, and perhaps a new cross-stitch design or two.

Blessings to you and yours -

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Chicken Sandwiches

I wanted to start providing simple, quick recipes that you can make and enjoy, but that won't take much time away from stitching or other projects. This chicken sandwich filling is one of my favorites - I came up with it one afternoon while digging through the fridge looking for something spicy but creamy. I hope you'll enjoy it!

Chicken Sandwich Filling

2 cups cooked chicken ( if I don't have leftovers, I like to cook about a pound of tenders - cut into cubes and sauteed in a little olive oil, and seasoned with a bit of salt, pepper, and chile powder. )

1 cup sour cream

8 oz shredded cheese ( I like sharp cheddar or a four cheese mexican blend)

1 small can green chiles

1/4 to 1/2 tsp chili powder (to taste)

salt and pepper to taste

That's it! Mix everything together until well blended. I like to serve this on a toasted bagel. For extra heat, use a chile bagel, or spread on a little bit of jalapeno cream cheese. This filling is good warm or cold, and keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We have a website!

At long last, our website is up and running! We're thrilled with how it turned out, and hope you'll take the time to pay us a visit! The new site is located at It is a work in progress as we add new things, and we'll continue to update you using this blog as well. Coming soon are new frame styles, cross-stitch patterns, needlework tips, a history lesson or two, and some time-saving recipes from our kitchen. Please drop us a line at and let us know what you think! We'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Got the Blues

We just finished this adorable little frame for The Marking Samplar's reproduction of the "Lavinia Merritt Young" sampler. This sampler is worked in just one color of Crescent Colour's Belle Soie silk, and it is just 5 inches wide by 4 1/4 inches high on 40 count fabric. Mom loves alphabet samplers, and this one is very pretty in shades of blue.

The frame style we chose here is Hartford, and the color is Hamilton Blue. The graining pattern is new - and we call it Whisk. It actually took a couple of tries to come up with a grain that complements this delicate sampler without overwhelming it! (Now I have a blue birdseye grained frame to stitch something for.)

We're within a few weeks of releasing the website. The design for the welcome page is stitched, framed, and photographed, and the logo is nearing completion. After a bit of housekeeping and polishing, we expect to be ready to go!

We were also pleased to again be featured in Attic Needlework's August 14th newsletter. Two of our frames appear about two-thirds of the way through the newsletter - one framing Needlemade Design's "A Best Christmas Blessing", and the other framing Carriage House Sampling's "Spot the Horse". We're delighted with the way they turned out!

Stay tuned for much-anticipated news on our web-launch and more!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Getting there!

I'm so excited! Things are really coming together with the web site - today I finished graining the feature frame for our Welcome page, and it will be sealed and ready to go by this weekend. It looks fantastic, and I can't wait to share it with everyone! It is going to be so perfect for the cross-stitch pattern Mom has designed.

I've been really busy lately and every time I get something done and off of my list, I feel so accomplished! We're getting so close to having the site ready it's hard to be patient - I just want to get it launched and out there for you all to view. But we want to make sure everything is "just right" as well, so I'm finding new reserves of patience I didn't know I had.

The construction dust has nearly settled!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Well, it's certainly not getting any cooler here in Arizona, we've been over 100 degrees for over a month now and it's looking like it will stay that way for a while longer. We had the hottest month on record (in 110 years of keeping records here in the valley) in July! We did have an unseasonably cool June though so I guess this is the price we pay. With the heat, we've been making homemade lemonade and orange-lemonade. Mom has the greatest citrus squeezer - it is a vintage Wearever aluminum juicer like the one my Grandma used to have and it is so much better than the juicers made today!

I'm amazed at how much juice this extracts!

The recipe we've been using is so easy, you'll be running out to buy lemons (and oranges and limes!).

Juice from 3 fresh lemons (if making orange-lemonade, use 2 oranges to each lemon - you'll end up with about 3/4 cup of juice. You can make limeade too - again - 3/4 cup of juice)

1 cup sugar (you may need more or less to taste - adjust to the tartness you prefer)


Pour juice into a 1/2 gallon pitcher
Add sugar and mix well.
Add water to fill pitcher, stir until sugar is dissolved
Serve over ice.

Depending on the size of the lemons, you may need to add a little sugar or water - we had some this year that were REALLY juicy and that batch of lemonade was too tart! (Kind of like drinking those lemon-drop candies) We diluted it a bit and added a touch more sugar - cool and refreshing!

The new cross stitch design for the website launch is coming along nicely - it's so cute and I can't wait to get the site running so everyone can see it! It'll be the centerpiece to our new home page. We've also been busily making new frames for some very special designs that will be coming out soon through Attic Needlework. We're excited to get these done and see the finished pieces - and we'll be showcasing them here very soon! In the meantime, here's another sneak peek at one of our favorites:

This frame style is 'Cambridge' the color is 'Lichen' and the graining style is 'Leaf'. We weren't sure how it would turn out when we first started experimenting with the grain, but it has quickly become a favorite - and it photographed so well!

Well, back to the workbench!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Be My Love

This was our first frame - the molding is Worcester, the color is Olde Red, and the graining pattern is Herringbone. This sampler is Be My Love by Carriage House Samplings, and it's a personal favorite! It is stitched with Needlepoint Inc. silks on 40 ct. Vintage Pear Lakeside Linen.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Website Update

I've been very busy the past couple of days editing photos to size and setting up templates for the new site. It's slow going as I'm learning as I go, but a: I'm learning a LOT, and b: it's a LOT of fun! I'm also taking a web design class on Wednesday nights so that's helping me get up to speed.

So far, things are shaping up well - the site (as it exists on my computer) now has photos, a navigation bar that works (!), and a nice, simple design. We like the way it's looking! Right now we're working on getting the logo finalized, and the welcome page design finished. But we're getting there, and hope to be live sometime in the next month to month-and-a-half.

I have a couple more sneak peeks to put up here, and I've been working on writing up a few recipes as well. We hope to put up some tips soon if all goes smoothly (It's amazing how hard it is to get things done with a toddler around!) Stay tuned ~ there's a lot more to come!

Friday, July 24, 2009

History of false-graining

I wanted to write a little bit about the history of false-graining, as most of our frames are finished in this technique. Faux wood graining originated primarily in 17th century England and France, and became popular in America from the late 18th to early 19th century. During this time, faux finishing techniques were so refined, it was difficult to distinguish a false-grained piece from the real wood! These techniques were used on everything from furniture and boxes to wall panels and doors.

Faux painting emerged as a way to make inexpensive materials look like their much more valuable cousins. Woods such as pine were painted and finished to resemble oak, mahogany and cherry, and allowed people to furnish and decorate in a style much more lavish looking than they could afford. In our modern times, the supply of many hardwoods such as rosewood and burled woods are dwindling and have been protected by law, and false-grain finishing once again is emerging as a craft.

We finish our frames in two styles of graining - in some instances we try to simulate the look of a real wood grain. Other graining is fun and fanciful, with colors and designs to accentuate the framed piece.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I've made some layout and design updates to the site since setting it up yesterday. Hopefully you'll enjoy the site and visit often! I'll be putting in some more sneak peek photos as I have time between designing the new site and painting! We look forward to getting to know you, and hope that you'll feel free to leave any comments, and that you'll add us to your follows. Please leave a comment or e-mail us if you have any questions about the frames, or anything else you see here.

Twist Frame

This is a frame we're very proud of - it was custom made for a customer and we understand she's very pleased with it! We're hoping to get a photo of her finished work in the frame as soon as we can arrange to get together. The molding style is 'Williamsburg' and the finish is 'Twist'.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Birdseye Frame

This is one of my favorites - the frame style is 'Williamsburg', and the finish is 'Birdseye'. The color is Sienna with a Raven outer edge.

Primitive Frame

This frame is an example of our 'Primitive' style of finishing. The frame molding style is 'Salem' and the colors are America Red and Raven. We love this little pattern by Stone & Thread. It's stitched with Belle Soie silks on Lakeside linen. Please contact us for details.

Welcome friends!

Welcome to Priscilla's Pocket's blog!

It's raining here in sunny Arizona, and we're working to get the new web site up and running. In the meantime, hopefully you'll enjoy some sneak peeks of our products here and we can get to know you. Please visit often as we plan to update this blog with needlework tips, recipes, and other news.