Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tropical Island Mood

It was too cold to pretend; she had to put on her boots and jacket to get the mail. She hated to give in to it; but last night's snow made her face reality. The path would be icy, and running was out. She'd freeze before she got back unless she bundled up.

Stepping off the porch, she felt her feet slide; bending her knees, she did the Minnesota shuffle down to the street. Halfway there, she could see the unmistakable silhouette of a little parcel hanging in a bag on her mailbox; what could it be? She couldn't remember ordering anything, and it was too early yet for Christmas.

She reached the mailbox, picked up her post, and shuffled back to the house. Eagerly, she removed her boots and jacket and reached for her box. She quickly sliced through the tape and opened the box. What on earth?!?!? a bag of tiny, gaily colored paper umbrellas and a package of piƱa colada mix. Humming happily, she fell instantly into a tropical island mood.

© 2008 Cynthia Newcomer Daniel

Seed and fringe beads, gold-filled findings. Hand fabricated, princess length necklace.

With special thanks to Gwwn Fisher of BeAd Infinitum, for teaching me to think about beads in a new way.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bling in the afternoon

One of the best parts about getting older is not having to follow the rules. Oh, the big rules still apply; she wasn't that far gone. But the little rules; the ones about what to wear, and when to wear it: those were officially over. Life was too short.

Evening wear? Snort. It's afternoon wear, now.

Why hadn't she realized this decades ago?

© 2008 Cynthia Newcomer Daniel

Seed beads and Swarovski crystals. Based on Kepler's Star, a weave by Gwen Fisher of BeAd Infinitum. Hand fabricated.

In the private collection of Ida Newcomer

Monday, November 3, 2008

Cranberry Relish

She swirled the cranberries in a sink full of water, picking out any that were soft, removing leaves and stems, and letting the inevitable crop of stones settle to the bottom. When she thought she'd finished picking them over, she scooped out the berries, one handful at a time, and placed them into a medium pot, finding a few more stems in the process. She grated the zest from two oranges on top of the berries, and squeezed the juice and pulp over that.

The sugar was next; this was always a guessing game. She added about half a cup; that was never quite enough, but it was better to start tart. After adding enough port wine to cover the berries, she turned on a medium flame and began stirring. She brought the liquid to a slow boil, and turned down the flame to keep it there.

As the berries darkened and popped, the sauce began to thicken. Stirring constantly, she amused herself by smashing the deep red berries against the side of the pot with her spoon. When all the berries had darkened and the sauce was thick, she tasted it; lips puckering, she gradually added more sugar, one spoonful at a time, stirring all the while, until it was just barely sweet enough.

She took the pot off the fire and went on to her next task.

© 2008 Cynthia Newcomer Daniel

Seed beads. Hand fabricated princess length collar using off-loom techniques.