Friday, December 30, 2011

Swarovski Crystal Pearl Sale

Happy New Year to You and Yours!

I'm re-doing my Swarovski Elements Crystal Pearls display and repackaging every last little pearl.

Hmmmmmmm. . .
The more I sell NOW, the fewer I'll have to repackage. I just hate undoing what has already been done! Soooo much easier to just start from scratch with a fresh new batch o' pearls!

Won't you help me?

So for just a couple of days, I'm taking 30% off all Swarovski Crystal Pearls

No minimum, aside from our standard $10 order minimum. You can do $10, easy-peasy! I know you can!

• Supplies are limited to stock on hand - no backorders! 
• This offer expires at midnight on January 1, 2012
     Wait . . . or is that midnight on January 2, 2012? 
     Ahhh, you know what I mean - you have until the end of January 1st.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Street Barbers and Dentists

We're still on the streets of Kashgar in Western China.
There's a whole block of dentist's offices

and barbers set up right on the sidewalk.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Let's Make a Batch of Smoky Almonds!

Mmmmm, Smokehouse Almonds. Got a few minutes? Let's make our own.
Yeah, it's that easy.
Start by preheating the oven to 300°, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Or you can spray it with nonstick cooking spray if you don't keep parchment paper on hand.

Break one egg white in a deep mixing bowl. You can save the leftover yolk to make, I dunno, Hollandaise Sauce or Lemon Curd or Custard.
Whisk it up till it's nice and foamy.
I have a thing for my old-fashioned, hand-crankin' egg beater, but you can use a whisk like a normal, modern human.

When you've got a good little foam going on, add a coupla teaspoons of Garlic Powder, a coupla teaspoons of Celery Salt, about 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt, and a tablespoon of Liquid Smoke.

Liquid Smoke . . . what a weird concept. What IS that stuff, anyway? It sounds so creepy and artificial - but in reality, the ingredients are Smoke and Water. That's it.

And for those of us without a smoker, which I imagine is most of us, it's what's we need to do the deed.

None of these measurements are set in stone - I usually add a little more of each ingredient because I like . . . more. More is good. Too much of everything is just enough.

Stir it up and throw in 3 cups of raw almonds.
Stir it all up until it's evenly coated with ooey-gooey goodness.
Spread them onto your cookie sheet and bake them for 30-40 minutes, giving them a loving stir-around every 10 minutes.

That's it! Easy-peasy, right?

You're welcome.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

GingerDead Men!

6 pounds of Smoky Almonds

10 pounds of Sugared Cinnamon Pecans

and a coupla dozen GingerDead Men!

Early Winter Sunset

One evening last week . . .

. . . and the very next evening . . . 

The sky is on fire!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

More impressions from Western China

Well, I have been a busy bunny this month and have been remiss in reporting my observations from my trip across China!
So here's just a few more pictures from Kashgar.

Kashgar is home to one of the largest statues of Mao Zedong in the world. As you can imagine, in the heart of China's largest autonomous region of predominantly Uyghur people, this statue is not particularly well-loved.
the massively awkward Chairman towers over Kashgar

 I loved this couple! The man was all smiles, pointing to my camera and gesturing for me to take a picture of him and his wife. As soon as I was ready to shoot, he would stand straight, solemn, and stoic, refusing to smile . . . then he'd giggle like a little boy when I showed him the pictures!

I know I already posted a picture of this little beauty earlier, but I was just so captivated by her sweet, shy smile!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Still more Kashgar memories

We slowly wind our way through Old Town Kashgar, stopping here and there to buy scarves and hats and sample meat-stuffed naan.

We eat fresh sesame seed Uighur bagels as they're pulled hot out of wood-fired clay ovens on the sidewalk.
hot bagels!

We stop at a cart selling Houma melons and watermelon, 1 yuan a slice - that's about 16¢ - and gorge ourselves on the sweetest watermelon, slice after slice after slice, the juice running down our chins and spitting the seeds into the street, before we notice that we're smack-dab in the middle of a three-way road, cars and motorbikes and donkey carts and traffic whizzing past us on all sides, which just makes us giggle and makes the watermelon taste all the sweeter.

Betcey and Steven in a watermelon frenzy

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Old Town Kashgar

The streets of Kashgar are alive with cars, taxis, donkey carts, motor scooters, and electric bicycles. They pay no heed traffic lanes or directions, and it's not unusual to see mothers with 2 or 3 children - babies, even - zipping in and out of traffic on their scooters.

The people we've seen are as interested in us as we are in them - this is an area that gets very few tourists.
We were spontaneously invited into a home where women were sewing clothes in bright silk brocades, padded with sheep's wool for winter warmth.
This young girl was winding yarn around her feet to form into skeins
such a winsome beauty!

Children run up to us yelling "Hello! Hello!" - no doubt, the only English they know - then run away giggling.
Old men follow us down the street and point to our cameras, posing for pictures and smiling proudly when we show them their images.
I loved this green-eyed man - kinda looks a little bit like Paul Newman, doesn't he?