Life on the creative side

Archive for November, 2011

Let The Season Begin – With Old Fashioned Candy!

During Lisa’s last visit to the Ridge and Blue Antler Studio, we joined my mom and sisters on their annual Christmas Church Bazaar shopping trip that for them signals the start of  the giving season.

Creative kindred spirits filled three stories of two different churches! I’m a little ashamed to admit that it was the first church, Christmas craft show I have been to in many years; not much has changed. There were the standard needle crafts, canned and baked goodies and beaded jewelry; but what I remember most fondly about a church bazaar, that wonderful sense of community, creativity and positive energy, was even stronger than I recalled.

As we made our way through the rooms of crafts, we were greeted as friends by women of all ages, and an occasional brave man. The woman freely shared their recipes, stories and sources with us.  My mom, a life-long quilter, talked shop with fellow quilters; my sister purchased a necklace then briefly struggled with buyer’s remorse when one floor down she found another that she admired equally.  I took home a beautiful crocheted afghan in vivid colors and collectively we took home  delicious baked goods, home canned pickles and some great ideas.  Lisa took a way from her first church bazaar, her first taste of potato candy and the recipe.

When I was a little girl my grandma Jane would  make this delicious treat for her twenty plus grandchildren. Tie on a apron and try making this simple treat, and while rolling out the dough think of grandma, yours and mine.

Recipeold fashioned potato candy

Potato Candylike Grandma Jane use to make

1 large potato

1 lb bag of confectioner sugar + or – (Grandma Jane would tell you that some potatoes are bigger than others)

Peanut butter (a small jar will do)

Dash of vanilla – optional


Peel, slice and boil potato until it is tender

Drain and mash the boiled potato thoroughly

(If you are adding vanilla add it now)

Add confectioner sugar a handful at a time until it forms a stiff ball (some folks sift the sugar but I’m pretty sure Grandma Jane never did)

Roll out the dough to about ¼ thick – using enough confectioner sugar (top and bottom) to prevent it from sticking (add more sugar to dough if necessary)

Spread a layer of peanut butter over the rolled out dough – just go with what feels right here

Roll up dough into a log and cut in half

Wrap each log in wax paper and chill before slicing into ½ inch pieces

Serve chilled

Not into peanut butter? Simply roll the dough into little balls and dust with – what else? Confectioner sugar!

grandpa john and grandma jane turner

Grandpa John and Grandma Jane as they welcomed the grandkids, outside their home, back up in the country

Happy Thanksgiving






The Brooklyn Flea

I have to admit that I have an addiction; flea markets, yard sales and auctions. They satisfy the junking gene I inherited from my dad. Now, for good or for bad, it seems I have passed it on to my own children, or at least to my girls. My son’s addiction is the outdoors and as he carries nearly all his worldly possessions around in his old Jeep Cherokee, it’s a good thing he doesn’t have the junking gene: although you’d never know by looking in the back of his jeep.

My daughter’s, however are a different story.Kate, peruses thrift stores and consignment shops looking for vintage jewelry and baubles to design her Love TT jewelry line. Cindy, my New Yorker, takes advantage of the Brooklyn tradition of recycling items by neatly placing them on the sidewalk, indicating they are free for the taking.  She has repurposed frames, prints, mirrors and books; all collected for free around her neighborhood. But her favorite haunt is the Brooklyn Flea,,  so she placed it at the top of our “must do” list during our recent visit; along with eating at more incredible restaurants in three short days, than was physically possible.

We set out for the market under an intensely blue sky and the morning light playing in the trees intensified the bright hues of autumn. The Brooklyn flea is just a short walk from the loft and soon we had joined fellow treasure hunters crowding the stalls and wandering hopefully among racks of vintage clothing, furniture, books and collectables.

The mood was as light and cheerful as the beautiful morning.  Flipping through a rack of seventy’s era clothing was like standing in my teenage closet and I was tempted to buy a crocheted poncho with fringe; but I resisted. We dug through old jewelry and vintage textiles; admired locally crafted Tee’s, cards and scarves; then we found our first must-have treasure; an old metal desk with three colors of peeling paint, dints, dings and enough cubbies to make it perfect for a studio. But my daughter claimed it first.

 Next her husband found some metal shelving to use as his man bar.

  And I didn’t leave empty-handed; an old shoe rack will make a cool wine rack!

I don’t know if it was the beautiful day, or the mood of the shoppers or the fact we had our truck in the city, but when we finally left the market, the bed of the pickup was full of  newly acquired treasures.

Lovely live edge table crafted from salvaged lumber

Lovely live edge table crafted from salvaged lumber

As anyone who follows my post knows, my oldest daughter married in May; yes the father of the bride is wearing a Hawiian shirt.  If you are new to Blue Antler Studio, welcome, and you can catch up on all the fun by looking at my earlier postings. joyful father-daughter dance to "brown-eyed girl"

Anyway she and her new husband just moved from their tiny  Brooklyn apartment into a beautiful loft. Like he did for our other daughter when she and her husband moved into their first house, my “talented hubby” crafted a beautiful table for the latest newlywed’s new home; and this weekend we made the two-day drive to Brooklyn to deliver them the table.

live edge table crafted from salvaged lumberThe table is not just your average table, it is a seven-foot slab of live-edge, spalted maple and it is a collaborative work of art between the Good Lord and my hubby! The benches are spalted hickory and reclaimed heart pine, left unsealed for a raw finish; unlike the table which my hubby hand rubbed to an incredible sheen. The legs and supports are constructed from galvanized pipes attached to industrial wheels.  It is perfectly suited for the hip young couple and their urban loft home.

live edge table crafted from salvaged lumber


The drive was long but colorful and scenic.

Driving into the city in our pickup truck took nerve, but hubby has nerve, so over the bridge we went.







 When we spotted one of the iconic water towers of Brooklyn,

brooklyn water tower

we knew we were getting close.


we arrived at the lovely, spacious loft  – it is amazing!

And the table…

 live edge table crafted from salvaged lumber

 fit perfectly in its new home.

Over the weekend we gathered often around the table to enjoy great food and wine, conversation and laughter;  toasted the newlyweds and their new home; thanked the Good Lord for making such beautiful things as trees and family and cheese; and of course we bragged and bragged on my hubby and the table.

A Story About Hubby

 I want to tell you a story. This story began several years ago, when my babies were really babies, and my young family was spending a long weekend at a friend’s condo on the beach. My hubby, as he has most of our married life, had to work half a day on Saturday, so the plan was for him to join us in the early afternoon.  But as the kids played in the sand and the sun drifted further and further toward the west, there was no sign of hubby.  Back in the ole’ days when the world was not tethered together by cell phones all I could do was wait and grow more and more impatient.  Just as I was about to pack up, he came hurrying across the beach, still wearing his work clothes.

 Like a little boy bursting with a secret he could hold no longer, my hubby sat down in the sand beside me. Barely aware of the kids crawling over him in their daddy’s home euphoria, and seemingly oblivious to my annoyance, he began…

  “There was an ad in the paper for reclaimed lumber”, he paused, I’m not sure if was for effect or to gauge my mood. Then he rambled on excitedly about an old man, a garage stacked full like a warehouse, something about cypress maybe pecking cypress, walnut or heart pine: Whatever, I knew where the story was headed so I finally interrupted with “How much did you spend?”   He fought a sheepish grin as he held up four fingers. “You spent four hundred dollars on a pile of old wood” I asked accusingly. The sheepish grin took total control as he slowly shook his head no. “You spent four THOUSAND dollars!” I all but shouted.

He went on to assure me that it was a great deal and he would get more for the lumber than he had paid and still have extra for projects.  Well all these years later he has yet to sell a single board foot; not that there haven’t been buyers, but all have failed his screening process.  Through the years he has however shared his treasure with like-minded lumber lovers with  plans deemed worthy; and of course our beloved beach house has lovely cypress doors and window trim, an amazing handcrafted fireplace mantle and a family sized farm-house table for gathering around. This one I have to give him – you did good hubby.

Wine rack created by hubby from salvaged wood…

 The beautiful trim crafted from hubby’s beloved lumber…

 Family gathered around a table designed and built by hubby.