Monday, May 31, 2010

Vintage Stitching

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I thought I would share with you this beautiful vintage cross-stitched piece that was passed down to me. It was done by my late aunt, sadly it is not dated. 

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Aunt Edith was married to my mother’s brother.  I wish I had known her better instead of just seeing her once a year at Christmas when I was growing up.   She was the childless aunt who knitted all the nieces and nephews sweaters when we were babies.  We all still own knitted afghans that we received when we were married.    Like me, she did all kinds of crafts and handiwork.  How lovely it would be to spend some time with her now.

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At the thrift store the other day I found this vintage set of petit points .  I love the frames as much as the stitching.

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On the weekend I was lucky enough to win a giveaway over at Tudy's Craft Cupboard,  thanks Tudy!  I’m really touched to have won gifts so beautifully handmade.

Remembering all of those serving around the world on this American Memorial Day,

Diane

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Let’s Bake Bread

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Since I posted previously about baking bread I had a request from the lovely Trish of http://www.quilttalesandcattails.com/ asking if I would provide my recipe along with some pointers.  So I’ve written up this recipe with a few extra tidbits recipe books don’t tell you.  Maybe answer a few of those questions that may come up when your standing in your kitchen with a huge glob of dough in your hands all alone and uncertain of what to do.  Hopefully, this will make the process less intimidating and you end up with yummy homemade bread and a smile on your face.

warm bread

Please read through the whole recipe first and gather up your utensils and ingredients.

THREE LOAF BREAD RECIPE
I let my bread rise in the oven, so as you get started warm up your oven a bit if you choose this method.  Just remember to turn the oven OFF when you put your bowl of dough in.  You can also let it rise on top of your stove or in any other warm spot away from drafts.
In a microwavable glass measuring cup or a bowl combine:
1 2/3 cups total half milk/half water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup fancy molasses
3 tbsp white sugar
1 1/2 tbsp salt

Heat this mixture in microwave two minutes on high then stir, then a couple more minutes, stir.  Do not boil, just heat to make it very warm to just hot.  Remove, stir to cool down some.
Proceed with the next step while the above is heating.

Warm up a very large bowl by letting it sit with very hot tap water in it, then empty it out.

Into large bowl measure:

1 cup very warm to nearly  hot tap water then  stir in     1  1/2 tsp sugar to dissolve.   Sprinkle with 2  tbsp regular dry yeast (not instant)  covering water.
Let stand 10 minutes, then stir well.

Flour
8 cups flour - I use 4 cups white and 4 cups whole wheat or you can use 5 of one and 3 the other – whatever combination you prefer. I also like to throw in some whole flax seeds, maybe a 1/2 cup of ground flax seeds,  wheat germ or wheat bran or some rolled oats.   A bit of each, all of these or none of them.  They add more fibre, texture and taste.     

Are you ready…
Now add the liquid mixture to dissolved yeast along with about 3 cups of the flour mixture.  Use your electric hand mixer or stir vigorously by hand for about two minutes to develop the gluten in the bread.  Now using a large spoon stir in the remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Have a measuring cup with about 3/4 cup extra white flour on hand, you can always add more flour as you knead if the dough is too wet and sticky.  If your dough is really dry just sprinkle it with a few drops of warm water until it starts to behave. Turn dough out onto floured counter top or leave in big bowl to knead for 8-10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.  When you are finished kneading, spray your bowl with oil spray and place your dough inside.  I then stretch a piece of plastic wrap across the top of the bowl and cover with a clean tea towel.  Place it in your warm (not hot) oven (which is turned off, right?) to rise until doubled in bulk for about 1 1/2 hours.  Set your timer.

Prepare Loaf Pans
I use metal loaf pans that are 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 2 1/2". To prepare  pans spray with oil spray and dust with flour even though they are non-stick pans.  You only have to make a large batch of bread once and have them all stick in the pans to never want that to happen again. 

Ready Steady Bake
When your dough has finished rising and you remove it from the oven, warm the oven up again and punch the dough down with one good punch to the center.   Dump dough out onto floured counter top.  Divide with a knife into three equal portions, do not be afraid of the dough you can play with it to shape your loaves it's not fragile.  Work with one piece and keep the others cozy under that clean tea towel.  I knead it into a 'log' shape about the length of the pan, tuck the ends under and even punch it along the top with my knuckles to make the bottom of the loaf flat.  When I have shaped all three I run a sharp knife down the center of each loaf about a half an inch deep.  Then place each loaf into the prepared pans giving them a good push in to fill the corners.
Now place them evenly across the center of the 'shut-off again' warm oven (do not cover) to rise until doubled in bulk for about 30 minutes - if you think your bread has risen enough at this point - let them rise to the shape you want -they will not rise any more when cooking,  turn your oven on to 400 F - DO NOT REMOVE THE LOAVES FROM THE OVEN.   Let cook for about 30-35 minutes.  My oven is newer so I don't shift the breads around midway through but you know your own oven and do so if you want to provide for even baking of the loaves. To check if your bread is done at the end of the cooking time, tip one out of the pan and tap the bottom of it- it should sound hollow and looked nicely browned.  When they are done remove bread from pans and cool on wire racks.

Now you may sit in your kitchen with a cup of tea, inhale the aroma and accept the accolades.  Just as Trish has done, here is a picture of her bread from the above recipe. Bravo, Trish!  Please pay her blog a visit, she can not only bake bread she gets some beautiful quilting done.

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Have a great weekend, Victoria Day for my fellow Canadians,  I’d love to hear from you if you give this recipe a try,

Diane

Friday, May 14, 2010

Misty May Morning

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Back in February I posted my garden view in the dead of winter.  It is now spring here in the Northern Hemisphere where we all hit the ground running the flora, fauna and those brave enough to wear shorts.  My growing season is from May until October.  So as they say “We have a long way to go and a short time to get there”.

This misty spring morning again I share some photos of my front garden this time as it prepares to burst into bloom.

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In my profile I list my ‘occupation’ as the Property Manager of the Sideroad Estate.  I am fortunate to be able to stay at home and have this as my ‘job’.  DH and I are blessed to own a small piece of this earth that we share with all of God’s creatures.  It is our sanctuary.

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Our gardens are organic there are no pesticides or herbicides used on our land.  We manage our old growth woods to allow the maximum amount of nesting sites for birds and to provide shelter for wildlife.   There is a small pond to provide water for aquatic life and ducks to swim.  Six years ago we had five acres of pasture land reforested with native trees and scrubs.

Running right behind our property is the Trans Canada Trail.  It is made from abandoned railway lines and is absolutely fantastic.  From an opening through our fence we literally turn left or right and can walk or bike across Canada.   Here’s wee Jake trying to decide East or West?

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So if you ever find yourself hiking the trail through Canada please detour in at the Sideroad.  Come sit on my bench and let nature surround you, maybe we can talk about quilting and the things we love to do.

Diane

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Happy Mother’s Day

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Mom,

Just as the Flower thanks
the Sun for helping it to GROW,
so I thank you for the
WONDERFULNESS with
which you have bestowed.

Diane 002

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It is for women to remember that we are all mothers for all around us there are those who need to be loved.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

She Shoots….

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….She Scores! What takes the pain out of a trip to the dentist?  Why a trip across the street to my happy place of course.  Chez Thrift is a treasure trove of gently used clothing and household items. It is the thrift shop tied in with our Community ReUse Center.    Two eco-friendly stores that help our local people and the environment by providing funds for programs and by keeping tonnes of perfectly good items out of the landfill.

Every Thursday in May is Mom’s Day at Chez Thrift.  Free tea/coffee and cookies with a lovely sitting area to relax and put your feet up.  The staff and volunteers there are so friendly and welcoming you feel like staying all day. 

The above photo is not from a fantastic blog giveaway win but just my purchases from today at Chez Thrift.  I dropped off my donation at the back of the store, then grabbed a cart and off I went.  I found a few yards of 100% cotton fabrics, a quilting book,  some already cross-stitched hearts, a piece of black-out blind lining and a basket perfect for holding some fat quarters.  All for the unbelievably low price of ……$4.00!!!

Man, was it ever a good day,

Diane

 

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Good Things…

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…come to those who wait!  Back in January I won a giveaway from  Flaming Stitches .  It wasn’t mailed from Scotland until March 11th when the contents of the package were just perfect.  Then off it went on it’s world tour until it arrived safe and sound in my Canadian  mailbox yesterday on May 3rd!   Besides all the yummy goodness in the package such as the Sandi Gervais fq’s,  Irish linen tea towel,  the cutest fridge magnet jigsaw puzzle, an amazing crocheted cowl and fun pattern book there was one other very good thing that came along with the package.

Because of the ‘delay’ the sweet Ethne of Flaming Stitches and I have become friends.   How ‘good’ is that?  So, thank you my new friend for all the lovely gifts.

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Wow, talk about good things!  Shelli at  http://needleinahaystackstitchery.blogspot.com/ had to wait as well to find out she just won big time!  Check out her blog, it’s fun, fresh and  – she’s going to Disneyland!  I won the pattern for this oh so pretty pillow from her last week.   Thank you as well, Shelli a well deserved win for you.

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Hoping the rest of your week is filled with spring flowers and good friends,

Diane

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