Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Family Food and Gifts

Christmas has gone and we're nearly into the new year. I hope all of you had the wonderful Christmas that we had with our daughter and family.  It amazes me that we receive gifts that are so 'us'.  It's hard for me to pick just the right gift without an explicit description.  Ex:  Item on granddaughter's Christmas, silver, not gold.  Question: Big jewelry, dainty jewelry, statement jewelry?  So I gave up on jewelry and bought her a gift certificate.  I wrote on my Christmas list that I like jewelry...any type of metal.  Also would like to have a leather bracelet.  So I received a gorgeous unique gold tone bracelet with leather cords laced through the chain.  I love it!!  The leather and beads on it are green and I received two other green bracelets.  They can even all be worn together, and I had no green bracelets in my jewelry drawer. How perfect it that?!! 

Because the trip to Seattle is getting to be too hard on DH (dear hubby) we had dinner here with joint effort on preparing the meal.  Our granddaughter brought an apple caramel pie, DH baked a sour cream pecan pie and made a smoked salmon pate with his 'secret recipe' smoked salmon.   I made a cranberry relish from a recipe I got recently from a friend.  Our daughter brought a ham, scalloped potatoes, and after she arrived she cooked a wonderful vegetable dish from The Chew.  (Recipe below).  What a great day!  We're so fortunate to have loving family within driving distance. 


Squash and Sausage Sauté


¼ lb. sausage
½ tsp. chili flakes
4 c. butternut squash (peeled and diced)
4 c. Brussels sprouts
½ c. chicken stock
4 oz. goat cheese
3 T. olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Place a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.
When the pan is hot add a drizzle of olive oil,
followed by the sausage and chili flakes.  Cook,
breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon
until the sausage is nicely browned and mostly
cooked through (about 5 minutes). Add the squash.
Season with salt and pepper and cook until they start
to get some color (5 – 8 minutes).  Add Brussels sprouts. 
Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 more minutes. 
Add the chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pan
to deglaze. Dollop the top of the casserole with goat cheese
and drizzle with honey to serve. 

Cover the skillet to help the goat cheese melt and to keep the
dish warm.  Don’t stir the vegetables until they are crisp and
caramelized.  Peel the outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts so
they don’t come apart 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Brass and Glass

I've been creating glass flowers using found glass, china, ceramic for years. A few weeks ago I was going through my stash and saw some brass items that looked interesting.  Hmmmm, I thought...flower.  I combined the two brass items with an amber glass candle holder that had an open bottom.  Hubby screwed the brass pieces and the spoon on the back (for slipping into a copper pipe) together and I glued the candle holder in the center.  I love it!!!  I'm going to be searching for more brass pieces. 

I love making flowers for the garden and have branched out into creating them for inside use.  I call them 'wall flowers'  I say 'inside' because I use old jewelry for the centers and I'm not sure how well they would hold up outside.  I could probably seal the jewelry  with a weather proof sealer.  Maybe I should give the seller a choice of inside or outside.  If they want outside I would seal the flower centers and put the spoon on the back for placing in the pipe or a hanger for hanging on an inside wall.

I only have three 'wall flowers' listed on etsy so far.  I'm wondering how much interest there will be for them.  I got the idea from a friend who said she would be more apt to hang one on an inside wall.  Of course even the outside ones can be hung on a wall or fence using a bracket on the wall to slip the spoon handle through.  I put a metal hangar on the back of the 'wall flowers'.

I've also been making home decor items from found objects....candle holders, serving plates, candy dishes, sculptures, etc.  For awhile I had two shops, one for outdoor art and one for home decor.  I decided it was too time consuming to keep up two shops, so I'm fazing out the home decor shop and putting all the items into RecycleRoom.

Check it out.  I've been busy creating and listing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What I'm Thankful For

When going through the ups and downs of life it's sometimes hard to think there's much to be thankful for, but we're really very fortunate to live in a country like ours.  Even though we have poverty, crime, hunger  (and I'm not downplaying the seriousness of this) we enjoy so much more than war torn and third world countries.  Here are some things I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving season:

1. A warm home with a cozy gas fireplace for a little extra heat on a cold, wet day.

2. A loving husband and family. Some of us will be gathering together for turkey and all the trimmings.

3. A beautiful area of the U.S. where we live.  Mild climate, beautiful views of bays and mountains.

4. A wonderful church where the Bible is taught, the pastor is super and the members are friendly.

5. Exceptional medical care locally and within forty five miles driving distance.

6 Our little dog KCee who went to doggie heaven this year.  We had her for fifteen wonderful years.

7. Close friends who care about us and are always willing to help when necessary.

8. Beautiful and handsome grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

9. A husband who cooks and cleans up, vacuums and does laundry.

10. The fact that I wake up every morning to a new day which is sometimes mundane, sometimes full of surprises.

What are you thankful for?  I would like to see your responses. 

...and a HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all of you out there.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Back in the Saddle Again

I was just blown away when I saw that I hadn't posted here since August!  I'm not sure what I've been doing all this time.  I do know that hubby and I have done some much needed yard work.  Also, last month I flew to Oklahoma to see family members and to attend my 60th high school reunion. Yeah, that shows how old I am!  The reunions in my hometown consist of a three day bash so between the activities and trying to visit with all my family I was a busy girl....errr...woman.  I had a good time, but I'm glad to be home.

Now that most of the yard is put to bed for the winter I intend to get back to creating items for my Etsy shop.  I'm moving all the items from the Artistic Butler shop to Recycle Room.  I've decided it's much easier to maintain one shop than two. The items in Recycle Room have been art for the garden.  Artistic Butler had items for the home.  They're all created with the same type of materials and created in a similar manner so I'm hoping it will work out well.  Check it out.  There are some great items for Christmas gifts.  .

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sultry Summer Sun

sultry summer sun
lazy days
basking in the hot 
gleaming rays

sunrise early morn
golden dawn
children running through
sprinkled lawn

sultry summer sun
rising high
cotton fluffs adorn
cobalt sky

gentle waves play tag 
on the shore
seagulls ride the breeze
eagles soar

fall will soon be here
leaves ablaze
vivid hues replace
summer days.

©2012 Laura Crumm

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Wall Flowers For Home Decor

I'm increasingly becoming more overwhelmed when I see my work room.  So many pieces of glass, ceramic, china and metal to be put together to form art pieces.  I'm always shopping for just the right piece to go with one I have started, then come home with six or more more pieces.  I need to just spend a couple days catching up, but so much of the fun is in the hunt.

A few months ago I opened my second etsy shop, Artistic Butler.  It hasn't been a success story so far, but I'm not giving up.  Because of health problems I haven't promoted it like I need to do.  My garden flowers in Recycle Room are selling well, so I decided to try some of them for indoor wall art in my Artistic Butler shop.  I'll be listing some of them soon.  Here are a few samples.  I'm using found jewelry for some centers.  .

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Home For the Birds

A friend of ours asked us to make a birdhouse for her.  She was open to any design as long as it was painted yellow.  Hubby did the carpenter work and I was the designer.  I bought the brass hinge to make the door at a thrift shop.  I found the rest in my stash except the license plate which belonged to the recipient.   This was the first time I had tried twisting wire with a drill.  Actually, hubby did it, but I told him what I wanted done.  When he was through I arranged the limbs and roots the way I wanted them and he screwed the tree to the house.  Our friend was happy with it.  I hope the birds will be, too.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Beauty

There's no place more beautiful than western Washington in the summertime. The spring blossoms are gone, but there's the later flowers to keep our interest. The skies are blue (at least for a few days), the water in the bays sparkle and Mount Baker with its snow cap is awesome.  Here are a few of my photos taken from Fidalgo Island.  

Dock at Sunset Beach in Washington Park on the northwest side of the island.  I caught this shot just as the sun had gone down and children were fishing from the dock.

Kayak reflection.  I love taking photos of reflections, both water and window.  This is the perfect location for that.

Purse seiner headed for best fishing grounds.  Commercial fishing is a big industry here, both in local waters and Alaska.  

Old boat house on Guemes Island across the Guemes Channel 
north of Fidalgo Island.

Lady of the Sea statue at Seafarers' Park on the east side of Fidalgo Island overlooking the bay.  There is also a monument there honoring all the Anacortes commercial fishermen who have died in fishing accidents.

Every summerneeds 
a sunflower!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Forecast - Warm and Sunny

It was 86 degrees today in sunny Anacortes!  Every warm, dry day we get is fully appreciated.  We had an unusually wet, cold spring.  Hubby is picking ripe strawberries from his patch (I say 'his' because I have nothing to do with the vegetable garden, fruit trees or the berry vines).  He even brought in three ripe blueberries.  YUM!  Wanting long as he picks them.  

I haven't had much ambition since my three surgeries during the last eighteen months, so my flower pots are sitting empty.  I really want to hit the sales this weekend and get a few planted.  One of the nurseries near us is having a 40% off sale on some small perennials and annuals.  Good time to stock up.  

DH (dear hubby) went on a long motorcycle ride today with some of his buddies.  It's amazing what he can do at 81 years of age with congestive heart failure and three months after his sixth heart attack.  I figure when he dies he'll die on the golf course or on his motorcycle.  I have to admire him for not sitting here in his chair day after day like some men do when they develop health problems.

Enjoy the summer wherever you are.  I know some of you would nearly kill for some of our spring rain.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Beach Art

Drifting scent of seaweed 
repugnant to the unaccustomed,
to me, is sweet perfume.

This flora of water’s garden
reveals a tapestry too intricate
to be crafted by human culture.

Sculptured writing on the shore,
penned by the tide, rising, receding,
is not limited to capabilities of mortals.

Raging turbulence,
striking the base of craggy bluffs,
gives undue glory to its power.

As a blanket of dusk unfolds,
absence of daytime’s blaze
creates an aura of solace…

and silent memories linger.

©Laura Crumm 2014


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Clematis Time

I know it's mid spring when the clematis starts to bloom.

It's hard to know which spring flower is my favorite, but the clematis is right up there near the top. We also have some beautiful rhodies in bloom. 

I was finally physically able to do a little work in the garden the last couple of days.  There was a lot of grass growing in one of the back yard flower beds.  We have no grass....except in our flower beds.  I don't know where it's coming from!  I dug, pulled it up and replaced it with some low growing sedum that was spreading over various areas of the yard, just here and there.  There's still a lot that needs to be done.  Hubby and I neither one have the energy to take care of it like we used to do.  I think by next year we're going to need to hire somebody to help.  Here's more clematis photos.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Is there anything more beautiful than spring?  Oh, yeah.  Autumn.  But because it's spring and the yard and gardens are beginning to come to life there seems to be nothing more beautiful than spring.  In our neck of the woods April brings the month-long tulip festival.  Visitors come from all over the United States to see the tulip farms.  It has gotten to be more and more commercial.  Until a few years ago we could go into the fields any time during the festival free of charge.  Now there's a charge for parking, charge for walking through the fields.  I don't blame the farmers.  It's a way for them to make money, but also it became a little overwhelming for visitors to pour into the fields continually.  Here are a few shots that I have taken in past years.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I'm Back!

After over a month of battling health problems...a new knee for me in March and a heart attack for my husband this week...I'm back on the computer again.  Hubby is home, but isn't out of the woods yet so I might not be very active for awhile. I hope to pop in here once in awhile with some news and info on new projects and etsy listings.  If I'm rambling it's because I'm still on pain pills and exhausted from hanging around the hospital three days watching and waiting for news.  Thank God, our daughter drove here from Seattle and acted as my chauffeur. I can't drive until I see my surgeon in a couple weeks.  And thank God for some wonderful doctors and nurses in the Bellingham, WA hospital!  They're awesome!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Late Winter

I didn't think we were going to get any snow this year, but here it is.  It started yesterday and hasn't stopped.  The temperature is 34 degrees so it isn't building up very fast.  One of our rhody's is about ready to burst into bloom. The snow nipped the noses of the blossoms, but they're paying no attention.

 I like the way the snow looks on the roof of one of our bird houses.  We have several unique ones along our fence.  This is one that my husband built.  It's one of my favorites. 

Here's another one that was given to him for Christmas.  The cheerful face looks so happy, even with snow on the top of his head and on his toes.   You can see the snowflakes coming down in the background.

This little hummingbird has been around all winter, along with some of his buddies.  A little snow doesn't deter him from seeking a drink from his 'fountain'. I wish I could have gotten a shot with the snow behind him, but they come and go so quickly it's hard to get the exact photo that I want.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thrift store finds

Aren't thrift stores awesome?!!  Especially when I find a piece or pieces that go with what I have at home in my studio.  I had the bottom piece in my stash for MONTHS before I found the small pitcher to go with it.  I didn't realize until I got home that I had a perfect pair.  I made it into a candle holder for a unique home decor.  I'll be listing it in one of my etsy shops, ArtisticButler, soon.

Do you have some thrift store finds that got you really excited?  If so, please share them with me.  I love hearing about what others come up with.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sea Breezes

Silent breezes
tease a sheer curtain
in the seaside cottage.
Seagull cries
blend with waves
on the shore.

Mingling scents
of seaweed
and garden roses
calm the senses.

At dusk the sky is brushed
with purple and red,
intensifying with each stroke
as the hues spill into the bay.

Across the island
a snow capped mountain
becomes cotton candy pink
as the moon rises behind
silhouetted trumpeter swans
on their journey to water.

Sea breezes
whisper secrets
through fir and madrona trees
as retiring waves say goodnight
to the shore.
                        ©2011 Laura Crumm

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Blog changes...still working on it.

I'm finally getting this blog design somewhat like I want it to look.  Still have a lot to learn, but I'm getting there.  Do you like my new header graphic?  I purchased it from the etsy shop CollectiveCreation.   I loved working with her on getting it just the way I pictured it in my mind. 

Stay tuned as I do a little more tweaking on the design. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Winter Bling

The holidays are over and the gloomy, gray January of 2014 has begun.  We've seen several days of cloud cover and rain....not just the normal Pacific Northwest drizzle, but RAIN!!  I'm looking forward to a few days of sun which is being predicted. 

In the gloom of winter we have a bright ray of bling along our driveway.  Our Witch Hazel is in full bloom.  I love that deep yellow and red challenging the gray sky for dominance.  Our Winter Jasmine is also in bloom in our back yard.  Next summer I'm definitely going to search for more winter bloomers.