Monday, January 30, 2012

Golden Cape

Golden cape made with silk from 1 million spiders

 spider silk, golden orb spiders, eco-friendly capes, sustainable capes, Victoria & Albert Museum, U.K., United Kingdom, London, Madagascar, Nicholas Godley, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style
A cape made from the silk of 1.2m Golden Orb spiders from Madagascar will be on display at the V&A in London this month. The piece took eight years to create and uses fabric not woven in more than a century

Spider cape: Spider cape
A model displays the golden cape, made from the silk of more than a million female Golden Orb Weaver spiders collected in the highlands of Madagascar.

Spider cape: Spider cape, rear view
The hand-woven textiles are naturally golden in colour and took eight years to create. The cape was made by Simon Peers, an Englishman who has lived in Madagascar for more than 20 years and Nicholas Godley, an American who has also worked for many years in Madagascar.

Spider cape: Spider cape, full view
Inspired by 19th-century accounts and illustrations, Peers and Godley started experimenting with spider silk in 2004 to see if they could revive this forgotten art.

Spider cape: Spider cape in the gallery
To create the textiles, spiders are collected each morning and harnessed in specially conceived silking contraptions. Trained handlers extract the silk from 24 spiders at a time. The spiders are returned to the wild at the end of each day.

Spider cape: Spider cape in the gallery
It has taken 1.2m spiders to provide the silk for the brocaded textile and 80 people to collect them.

Spider cape: Detail of spider cape
After silking, the silk was taken on cones to a silk weaving workshop where skilled weavers have mastered the special tensile properties of the silk. In the cape, the main weave is of 96 strands, the lining 48 strands and a large part of the embroidery is made using unspun 24 strand silk.

Spider cape: Detail of spide cape
On average, 23,000 spiders yield around one ounce of silk. It is a highly labour-intensive undertaking, making these textiles extraordinarily rare and precious objects.

Spider cape: Golden orb spider
The Golden Orb spider similar to those used to make the spider cape.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Making Plans

Making Plans
‘Make plans even if they might be a touch unrealistic. One of the keys to being happy is to believe in a beautiful future. Hope springs eternal.’

From ‘Joan’s Way - Looking Good, Feeling Great’, by Joan Collins

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chicken Kiev

Chicken Kiev
8 4 ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
teaspoon garlic power
2 eggs
3 tablespoons water


1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
2 cups vegetable oil

1/2 lemon, sliced
1/4 chopped fresh parsley

To make the Seasoned Butter:
Combine the butter, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon garlic powder in a small bowl, mixing well.  Spread the mixture into a 2x4 inch rectangle on a piece or aluminum foil;  freeze until firm.
Meanwhile, place each chicken breast between a sheet or waxed paper and pound to about 1/8 inch thick, being careful not to tear the chicken.  Wrap and refrigerate until the seasoned butter is frozen.

When the butter is firm, cut it into 8 equal size pieces and place one  piece on each chicken breast.  Fold in the edges of the chich the roll the breast to encase the butter completely.  Secure the chicken with toothpicks.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs with the water.  In a shallow bowl, mix the 1/4  teaspoon pepper, 1p4 teaspoon garlic powder, dill, and flour.  Place the bread crumbs in a separate shall bowl.  Dip the chicken rolls in the seasoned flower, the the egg mixture, then the bread crumbs.  Lay the chicken breasts on a plate and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  When the oil is hot, deep fry the chicken rolls for about 5 minutes.  Turn the chicken over and fry another 5 minutes until chicken is golden and cooked through with no pink showing inside.

Drain chicken on paper towels and place on a serving platter.  Garnish with lemon slices and parsley.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


These cookies are beyond addicting. I made them at Christmas and they were the first cookies to go.

With a Cherry on Top Cookies
• 2 sticks butter
• 1 3 oz. cream cheese; softened
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 ¾ cups flour
• Maraschino cherries
• Preheat oven to 325.
• Cream butter and cream cheese together by hand. Add sugar and egg yolk and combine together. Add flour and vanilla.
• Drain maraschino cherries; dry them on a paper towel and cut them in half.
• Roll dough into small balls and place on a nonstick cookie sheet.
• Press cherry into the center of the cookie.
• Bake for 15 minutes.
note: these do not brown. They are done after 15 minutes or sooner. Allow them to stay on the cookie sheet until they are completely cooled.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cake Stencils

Available at


I used a yellow box cake mix and made homemade chocolate butter cream icing.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup whole or 2% milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add additional milk, if needed to be spreading consistency. Stir in vanilla. Spread on cake smoothly. Put in refrigerator for a while to let the icing set, this allows the stencil to be placed on the icing, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and then lifted gently away, leaving a gorgeous image. Voila!

This recipe came from Moments of Delight.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Happiness by Thoreau

Happiness to you always!
Ruth Ann

Parisian Hot Chocolate Recipe

Parisian Hot Chocolate Recipe

Parisian Hot Chocolate Recipe: Le Chocolat Chaud

When the winter chill comes to Paris, one of the great pleasures is sipping a cup of rich hot chocolate, le chocolat chaud, in a cozy cafĂ©. Contrary to popular belief, most versions of Parisian hot chocolate are made with milk rather than cream, and get their luxurious richness from lots of top-quality chocolate. This cup of chocolat chaud is deeply-flavorful, but not over-the-top rich…so there’s no need to feel guilty indulging in a nice, warm cup whenever you feel the need.
Chocolat Chaud

Parisian Hot Chocolate
Four ‘Parisian-sized’ Servings

2 cups (.5l) whole milk
5 ounces (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, (with at least 70% cacao solids), finely chopped
optional: 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1. Heat the milk in a medium-sized saucepan.
2. Once the milk is warm, whisk in the chocolate, stirring until melted and steaming hot. For a thick hot chocolate, cook at a very low boil for about 3 minutes, whisking frequently. (Be careful and keep an eye on the mixture, as it may boil up a bit during the first moments.)
3. Taste, and add brown sugar if desired.
Serve warm in small demitasse or coffee cups.
Note: This hot chocolate improves if made ahead and allowed to sit for a few hours. Rewarm before serving. I also like to add a few flecks of fleur de sel, the very good sea salt from Brittany.

Ruth Ann

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cranberry Hooty Creeks Cookie Recipe


1 1/4 c flour
1 c oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2/3 c brown sugar
2/3 c white sugar
1 c dired cran raisins
1 c white chocolate chips
1 c chopped pecans
1 c softened butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla


Beat together butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add dry ingredients, blen well.
Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until edges start to brown. Cool on cookie sheet, remove to wire rack.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Christmas 2011

Christmas was lazy for us this year.
We didn't go to any parties or have any - not even our annual
Christmas breakfast.
After having severe chest pains in a store one evening,
I sent Ray to shop for himself.
And I must say that Santa was very good to him!

His favorite gifts were things to work with on his
Amazon book business.

Among many other things he got a
I have fallen in love with it and only let him use it once in a while.  o:)
It's so nice to have type that I can read without 2 pairs of glasses!
I'm reading
'A Study in Scarlet'
ritght now.

I can't wait for Laura Childs books to become available!

Ray put up a very small Christmas tree.
I decorated the coffee table with
'Grinchy Trees'
the bright aluminum trees that Target carried this year.
I bought the 'large' one - about 2 feet tall and
went back for the small ones - about 1 foot tall.
The brilliant colors remind me of the
Whos Down in Whoville!
The battery died in the camera on Christmas morning,
so I will have to send more pictures after we go to town.
With gas prices being what they are,
we travel as rarely as possible.

I wish you all a happy. healthy, and prosperous
New Year!

Ruth Ann

Coming soon!
An all new RaggBaggs!