Bread baking

I haven’t made homemade yeast bread in many years.  Time is one reason, but really, if I make it, I eat it, and heaven knows I don’t need the carbs….or the butter that I will undoubtedly slather on it. I was always good at making it, from my very first loaf, and the first month I learned how to do it I gained 5 lbs.  So there you have it.

I baked bread frequently, though, when I had a house full of kids.  It was an inexpensive way to dress up whatever cheap dinner was being made for 5 or more people.  I made plain breads, fancy breads, rolls, quick breads, muffins, etc.  I was a stay-at-home mom and it was my pleasure to do this.

I baked my first one in many years last week as a gift and since the recipe made two loaves, of course WE ate the 2nd loaf.  I could do no less after poor Jim had smelled it baking, right?  And then I promised him I’d make us our own batch soon, so today was the day.

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Can you smell it?  Mmmmmmmmm……

Christmas was a fine time and now I have some organizing to do before beginning some projects.  I am truly hoping 2013 is my last year of being employed.  My plan is to retire at the start of 2014 and get on with the things I like to do and want to do.  Hope the economy lets me do that!

Happy New Year!

Thrifted treasure

Sometimes thrifting adventures come up empty, but on my last trip to the camper I found a few great things.  I found a full-sized tablecloth that matches some yard sale napkins I bought a year ago.  It is all pastel squares with a raised twill plaid stripe running across it in about 2 inch squares.  I won’t likely use this for a tablecloth because the colors just don’t suit me. (It is just too feminine for most of the family dinners I host) but it will make great fabric for future projects.  I’m thinking purses, tote bags, clutches, etc., or maybe the lining of something.  It’s quite sturdy.  And only cost me $2.00!

I found a lightweight cotton dress for a couple of dollars that has lots of fabric for doll sewing or charitable baby sewing.  It’s a pale yellow with tiny white flowers.  $2.

The big treasure, though, was this cotton velveteen Old Navy jacket for $4.00.

The shape is pure ME….too bad it is not my size….and look at the sleeve detail!…..

and the rhinestone buttons!  The buttons alone would be worth at least $10 purchased new.  Look at the lovely welted pocket.

I even liked the classy, silky lining, even though it is a synthetic fabric.

I bought this blazer for the velveteen fabric and the buttons.  I once made a suit with the exact same fabric for the collar and button flaps.  But I am faced with a dilemna: I am having trouble cutting it up.  I know, I know, I said I bought it for the fabric.  But it’s a gorgeous jacket, made to be worn by someone who will love it as much as I do.  My daughter might fit it, but it is not her style.  I think I know someone who will fit the size and style perfectly, so I’m going to check that out before I take scissors or seam ripper to it.

The person I have in mind probably doesn’t care for the rhinestone buttons and would want to replace them with more natural materials, maybe even wooden ones, but that’s fine, too, ’cause it means I can keep my buttons 🙂

This little blazer is making me very happy.  Right now, I’m just looking at it, but when I get the chance to check out the situation, it might make someone else happy, as well.  And that’s pretty good for $4.00.

ADDENDUM:  My pretty blazer found a home today, which made me happy all over again 🙂  11/24/2012

Collecting for far-off projects.

I am collecting acorn caps for a future project because, well, this IS the time to find them in abundance and vast variety. I’m going to eventually be making some little people using the caps for caps, of course, and also using felt, pipe cleaners, beads,wool roving for hair, perhaps some synthetic flowers for faerie skirts and some embroidery floss. Salley Mavor wrote a wonderful book about this that you can read about at:

http://www.amazon.com/Felt-Wee-Folk-Enchanting-Projects/dp/1571201939

Sally wrote this so that you can make these for your own children or relatives, but I may jump off into some original designs and make them for craft sales when I retire. I am going to do some experimenting with designs, so it’s probably going to have to wait for retirement, as I just can’t give it the time it requires at the moment. But I’m gonna be ready! Various acorn caps can be found online and probably at some local craft shop or other, but there is some enjoyment in the gathering process and some satisfaction in using what is right here underfoot.

Here is a sampling of what I’ve gathered so far, ranging in size from less than 1/2″ to just under 1″ and in different depths and shapes:

This is going to be a fun project when I get time for it.  Retirement is coming in 14 mos. and 2 weeks, but who’s counting, right?

Almost three months!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted on here since July 4th!  My sewing room organization came to a standstill due to health issues and then vacations.  Two of them (the vacations, that is.)  We were away for 11 days in August and we have just returned from 9 days away again.  We do love our time at the camper but we are home now till next May. 

I have not been totally without projects, though.  I did finish my curtains for the camper, finally!  I forgot to take photos of them while there, so that will have to wait till next spring.  I also felt the need to make simple, square coasters while there, too.  I got tired of my wood/cork ones sticking to the bottom of the glass and then letting all the water fall on the table, anyway, getting our playing cards, papers, etc., wet.  Not helpful.  Anyhow, I bought some lovely flannel (1/4 yard made 8 coasters!) and I left 4 of them at the camper, bringing the other 4 home. 

These are actually a MUCH darker blue, but it doesn’t matter.  They are functional and washable.  They don’t clink, clunk, stick to my glass or drip water everywhere.  And they were fun and EASY.

After laundry, shopping and a doctor’s appointment Monday, then it was back to my job for the rest of the week.  I actually have two more Md. appointments this week and then next week I begin one month of jury duty.  Not excited about that, but the government doesn’t care.  So how come it’s my second time (last one being over 25 years ago) and my husband, who is nearly 70, has never been called??? Hmmmmm????  How does that happen?

Maybe this weekend I can work some more on the sewing room.  I need to pull nearly everything out and then figure out where to put the two (I hope I can use both) cabinets.  Then put stuff back in the best order I can arrange.  I think some things are going to be edited and some are going back in the “other sewing room.” (don’t ask 😉

I will come back with updates on all of that. 

I did manage to score some lovely things at the Goodwill in Wytheville, though, and will have some photos of that, too.   Coming soon…!

Organization of the sewing room—the very beginning

The first thing I needed to do was to get all my ribbons in some semblance of size and type.  I don’t have so many that they need to be organized by color, as long as I can see them all and they are not a tangled mess–which some of the skinniest ones were because I bought them in a bag of “end cuts.”  Cheap, but a mess.

I bought some large storage jars at Target and the largest one holds two gallons.  I have placed everything in there that is at least 1/4″ wide.  I purchased old fashioned, one-piece wooden clothespins from the craft store.  You used to be able to get these in the Dollar General for a buck or two, but now the craft stores know they are being used for crafts and they jack up the price to about $9 for the same amount of pins 😦    Any ribbon that wasn’t already on a spool or in a package got wound neatly on a clothespin and taped to keep it from unwinding.  All of them fit in the large jar with room to spare for more in the future.  It’s still wild, but not tangled, and I can search easily through them when I’m looking for a color. 

Then I wound all the smaller ones (approximately 1/8″ or less) on more clothespins and put them in a one gallon jar.  I have clothespins leftover and plenty of room for more ribbons.

Step One is complete.  I may put these in my cabinets (I’m still working on the large plastic cabinets) but if I don’t they are still okay to leave out on my workspace or on an open shelf.  They are all together and won’t gather dust in the jars.  

Yay!  Back to painting and repairing the cabinet 😦

Study in Hydrangea

I have been working on projects but nothing is completed and ready to photograph just yet, so I will give you a quick update, followed by photos of the plant that is most lovely in my garden right now.  I’ve been working on upcycling some plain men’s (because they fit) T-shirts, following some ideas I found on Pinterest.  Got one more to complete and then I’ll post some photos.

I have two large (6′ tall) plastic cabinets of the type you use for garage storage that we inherited for free.  I really need these in my sewing room, but they are an ugly grey-green color and that will not do in my “rose garden” themed sewing room.  So I’m trying a primer (Zinzzer 1-2-3) that is supposed to make regular paint bond with the plastic.  I’m doing one first to make sure it works and then will do the other.  So far the primer is on and it needs to cure for a week to get the best adhesion.  I’m not going to try to short-cut that and take a chance that my hard work was for nothing, so the final painting will be done next weekend.  Photos to follow.

{ADDENDUM:  We had a terrible thunderstorm run through here last night, with wind gusts up to 70 mph and it blew my cabinet off the deck, despite having turned it face to the wall with the doors shut!  It ripped off both doors, blew out the shelves and caused some large scratches in some of the primer.  Hubby is going to try to repair it, but it means I have to sand and do some re-priming 😦  I hate doing things twice.  Today was the day I was supposed to put the finish coat on it!}

Here comes the hydrangea!  This is not the well-known variety that has flowers that are round like big snowballs, but I don’t remember the variety that it is (it was a gift several years ago.)  This is the best season they’ve had so far and I’m thrilled with them.  My photography skills are nonexistent and I really wish I could convey the brightness of the blue and the way the sun shines through it.  The color and light effect is a lot like the large blue morning glories I’ve had.  Gorgeous!

 

Chicken Enchiladas

We had rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and I took the leftovers off the bone and saved them for this recipe I found on Pinterest: http://joyful-mommas-kitchen.blogspot.com/2011/09/white-chicken-enchiladas.html

It was a big hit with both of us and I would happily add only two changes for you to try.  I added some sliced, caramelized onions to the chicken/cheese mixture, but I would add more.  I used a medium onion and I think a VERY large one would be better.  Also, the recipe calls for one very small can of chopped green chilis and at least another half-can would be an improvement.  Or maybe just a little bit of crushed red pepper flakes.  I’m not one who likes things very spicy-hot, but even I think this recipe is on the bland side and my timid palate would like more heat.  With those caveats, I give you the finished product.

We had the leftovers with oven-roasted, fresh, local asparagus tonight.  What a fantastic combination!  Oven roasting is my favorite preparation of asparagus–easy and amazingly good.  I usually just use olive oil, kosher or sea salt, and fresh ground pepper before roasting, but I added some parmesan cheese tonight and…is there anything that isn’t improved upon by adding cheese?  Just sayin’. 

Have a great weekend!

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