Friday, September 13, 2013

Wow! I've had a couple comments on my blog lately and was so excited to hear from old blog friends. It's been a long time, and I felt like I was out if things to say...but times change and I have some exciting new interests and projects. So... I think if I can figure out the new Blogger program...I'm back......

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

“Simplicity of life, even the barest, is not a misery, but the very foundation of refinement; a sanded floor and whitewashed walls and the green trees, and flowery meads, and living waters outside.” -- William Morris

I just splurged and purchased a book from my LYS, "The Art of William Morris in Cross Stitch". (It was 50% off, I guess not many people buy cross stitch books in knitting shops, but oh well, my good fortune!)

I have been a fan of WM for many years. I love his philosophy of the dignity and worth of handmade ojects. His beautiful designs rooted in nature always inspire me. Not only is this great for X stitch projects, but his color combos will be great for knitting inspiration as well.

I also rewarded myself with a few old knitting design booklets that I found at a thrift shop for 25 cents each. They are from the late 50s to the mid-sixties. Some of the designs are laughable (along with the models), but there are a few that are classic and some that actually are back in style. In addition to the designs, some of the ads and the editorial content are really interesting from a sociological and cultural point of view. Ads to turn your old fur into new fashion for instance, or Earn Money Now From Next Season's Hats! Lots of ads for ways in which women can make a little money on the side. Not much has changed, except the methods of achieving the same goals.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Well it's been a long time since I've updated the ol' blog. The past year has been filled with challenges, some good and some that I would prefer not to face. However, it's also been a great learning process for me. I've learned a lot about myself through facing some worries and questions that seem to not have any answers. I hope that I am now at a place of acceptance so that I can move on and enjoy life.

I have spend the past few weeks dealing with all the apples from our tree. Making applesauce, apple pies, Waldorf salad, etc., etc., etc. I love apples, but I wouldn't mind not seeing any for awhile!

We also dried a lot of apricots, canned peaches and tomatoes, made tomato sauces, salsa, and juice. My pantry is stocked, and not a moment too soon. My DH is one of the many thousands waiting to learn if he will still have a job in 2009. It isn't looking good, so since I don't work, that means a real retrenching for our household.

Luckily, we are simple, frugal people who believe in being prepared for things like this to happen. We hope that we'll have enough set aside to last us until one of us finds employment.

But, since our home is filled with good food, a warm fire, and many, many wonderful books just waiting to be read, puzzles waiting to be put together, and yarn waiting to be knit into something cozy, we will weather the storm and hope for a brighter Spring!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I've been so busy lately that I forgot my blogger password and was unable to publish comments!

I just returned from a week in sunny (and hot!) California. Wow, I went from 104 degrees F, to 52 degrees in one day. My body's temp gauge is reeling...

I had a wonderful visit with my Aunt. Saw all the family, went to Monteray and had lunch at Pebble Beach, visited and shopped at Carmel, went for walks with my Mom and my buddy, Angel the dog, and just had a relaxing, wonderful time.

While I was gone, my wonderful husband pained all our garden benches, planted veggies, filled pots with flowers, and did tons of garden work so that I could enjoy it when I got home. What a guy!

Now we are getting ready to take off to our little lake haven for the three-day weekend. We're still waiting for Spring to arrive and STAY here in the Pacific Northwest. I have faith that it will arrive!!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Make Your Own Artisan Bread


In the Dec 2007/Jan 2008 issue of Mother Earth News is a wonderful article on making your own easy, no knead crusty bread. Yes, you heard me correctly, no kneading! I love homemade bread, but I hate the icky, sticky kneading process. Plus I'm always paralyzed by not knowing if I've truly kneaded the dough long enough, too long, too much/too little flour, etc. That's right, I'm bread challenged. However, I've tried this recipe twice now (once following directions somewhat, once not even close) and it turned out great both times.

The secret is wet dough baked in a dutch oven, which allows the moisture to be retained, giving the bread its crispy crust and its chewy interior.


It's easy, but it isn't fast. The dough should be set to rise for a minium of 8 hours and more like 12-18 hours is the ideal. However, I baked the loaf above after only letting it rise for eight hours, and it was wonderful.

As you can see, the crumb is great and so is the flavor and texture. The recipe calls for a 6-7 quart dutch oven. Since it's only the two of us, we have a 3 quart. I simply divided the dough in half and baked two smaller loaves. It worked just fine. This is a very forgiving recipe as I'm sure all of you who have been baking bread for years are aware.


Here are the basic instructions, to read more, visit

No Knead, Dutch Oven Bread

1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting. You may use white, whole wheat or a combination of the two.
1-1/2 tsp. salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran for dusting

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the flour and salt and stir until blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest at least 8 hours or better yet, 12-18 hours at warm room temperature.

The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it. Sprinkle dough with a bit of flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or your fingers, gently shape it into a ball. Coat a cotton dishtowel generously with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal. Put the seam side of the dough down on the towel and dust with more flour, bran, or cornmeal. Cover with another clean towel and let rise for one or two hours until doubled in size. Make sure the dough does not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least 20 minutes before dough is ready, place covered Dutch oven in your oven and set heat at 475 degrees F. (Dutch oven may be cast iron, enamel, Pyrex, or ceramic) When dough is ready, carefully remove Dutch oven and lift off the lid. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process, but that's okay. Give the pan a firm shake or two to help distribute the dough evenly, but don't worry if it's not perfect, it will straighten out in the end.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid (careful, the steam is hot!) and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.

Yield: One 1 1/2 pound loaf (or two smaller ones if using a 3 quart oven)
Adapted from the New York Times

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Happy New Year!

Since January is almost over, I guess that I'd better make good on one of my new year's resolutions and get back to updating this blog! I ran into a bit of a rough patch last year and my time was spent elsewhere. But I feel that I'm back on track again and ready to roll.

I started knitting a lace shawl last year and kept having problems with it. Finally, I ripped it all out and started a simpler design. Well, I don't know what happened, but something went terribly wrong--even the pro at my local yarn shop couldn't tell what I'd done (does it get any worse than that?), so I ripped that out too. I will start again, as I am DEDICATED to completing this project.

However, I did sign up for a knitting class while at the LYS, so I start this Thursday and I'm very excited about it. I'm not sure what my project will be yet, but it won't be the shawl. Perhaps EZ's baby surprise sweater.

We've had a lot of snow the past few days, at least for our area. Yesterday was fun as most people took the day off and the whole neighborhood was sledding at the soccer field. Isn't it fun when everyone takes a snow day and plays? It was hard to tell who was having more fun--the kids or the grownups!

Here are the neighborhood ladies with their canine friends at the soccer field. (I'm the second on the left.) Maggie is happy to be hanging out with her friends Spam and Lucy as well!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Canning Time


Canning Time

There's a wondrous smell of spices
in the kitchen,
Most bewitchin';
There are fruits cut into slices
that just set the palate itchin';
And the rattle and the clatter;
And a bunch of kids are hastin'
To the splendid joy of tastin';
it's the fragrant time of year
When fruit-cannin' days are here.

There's a good wife gayly smilin'
And perspirin'
Some, and tirin';
And while jar on jar she's pilin'
I'm a-sittin' here and dreamin'
Of the kettles that are steamin';
And the cares that have been troublin'
All have vanished in the bubblin'.
I am happy that I'm here
At the cannin' time of year.

Lord, I'm sorry for the feller
That is missin'
All the hissin'
Of the juices, red and yeller,
And can never sit and listen
To the rattle and the clatter
Of the sound of spoon on platter.
I am sorry for the single,
For they miss the thrill and tingle
Of the spendid time of year
When the cannin' days are here.

--Edgar Guest

Well this little poem certainly sums it all up. I have been busy making strawberry jam out of our garden berries. To think that I was going to pull up the plants and start over. I guess that the gardening advice you read about isn't always correct. We've had these strawberry plants in place for at least five years and they are still going strong. We've been enjoying them in jam, on ice cream, cereal, and fresh out of the garden.

I also bought raspberries from our local fruit stand to make some jam and to freeze. We've frozen lots of sweet cherries as well. Next are the blueberries. We will have quite a few this year, but I'll most likely need to buy some to freeze. There just aren't enough to freeze and enjoy fresh.

We are trying to "eat local" as much as possible. That means eating fruit and veggies in season. If we want to enjoy berries on our yogurt or ice cream later in the year, we'll need to pack the freezer!

If you want to learn more about this, check out New American Dream's C3 site. These folks have all sorts of great ideas on how to pare down and