Oops!  I’m Late!

Oops! I’m Late!

I promised y’all a post on Friday, and here it is Saturday evening!  I’ve been busy and wiped by turn. This past week has been busy.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook will have seen the cushion covers I finished this week.  I knit the cream coloured ones as the front and back of a pullover sweater for myself. They are from Handcrafter Cotton. I had to resize the sweater to fit, and design my own sleeve pattern. That’s where I stopped many years ago.  So I decided enough is enough. I did not want to finish the sweater and I liked the colour to go in my living room.  Into two cushion covers it went!  A friend gave me some fabric for backing.

What really started me going was the desire to finish the cushion covers from the pieces I knit last January (2020). This yarn is a gorgeous soft bamboo.  I used the same fabric to back these as the previous cushions.

Having finished cushions, I turned my eye towards rug hooking. I watched Tracy Jamar’s retrospective of her work over the last twenty years and really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed my time with Donna Mulholland and the other ladies on Thursday.

I finished “Autumn” while on Zoom with Donna, et al, but I’m not showing it here until I’m satisfied with it. If you want to see it in its current condition you’ll have to check Jean Ottosen Studios on Instagram or Facebook.  I’m not happy with it and plan to change it until I am.

I then turned to home reorganization and decluttering.  A friend came over Friday afternoon and evening to help. She has very good spatial sense. I was impressed. I’ve only had to change a few things since she left.

Today I went for a walk with my walking buddy. We just started walking regularly this week. It’s been very good for me.  I hope it is for her too.

I’ve also been exploring new recipes with my new Instant Pot. It’s been illuminating, and yummy!

Well,, that’s been my week in a nutshell.  I didn’t get everything done I wanted to, but I did finish the cushion project. One baby step at a time!

Monday Meanderings

Monday Meanderings

Hi everyone!  I have made some moves in planning more crafting this weekend. I definitely took a good long break over the holidays. This week I will be off sewing cushion covers with a friend. Time to change up the cushions in my living room and bedroom. I’m also contemplating seat pads in the eating area of our kitchen. Now if I were smart I’d be hooking all these! But I need these, like yesterday, and have more hooking plans on the horizon.

I’ll also be attending Tracy Jamar’s Zoom talk through In The Studio on how she went from there to here in her hooking. I am curious about her work and her transition when she downsized, as I am in that position myself.

I’ll also be attending a show and tell with another group of rug hookers via Zoom. Donna Mulholland will be demonstrating how she finishes or stretches her pieces over a frame. Should be fun!

I received some homework questions from Nadine Flagel for Workshop Week, which is Feb. 1st – 5th. I’m looking forward to getting in the groove again. I’ve signed up for three classes.

I still have two hooked pieces I want to finish – Autumn and my South Korea rug.

As for my reorganization efforts, I finished the spice cabinet.

Then worked on clearing my counter.  Here is a before picture:

Here is an after photo:

Finally! I can see the back of the counter!

Then I emptied my linen closet and moved all my fibre dyeing equipment and supplies, and most of my dye books, into it. I had about $30 CAD worth of help from Dollarama in the form of portable shelving and lidded bins. I’m going try and get decent photos for you. Here it is from two angles – a dye kitchen in a 24” linen closet!

It is a lot of work settling into a new home.  But it’s also very satisfying when you find a good home for the things that matter.  I had hoped to do my dyeing separate from the food kitchen, in my laundry room.  However someone had other plans for the laundry room.  Thankfully I use fairly safe dyes and follow strict dyeing procedures!

Well that’s my current update.  It’s a busy week and I better get at it!  Have a great week everyone!

 

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Well I did not accomplish any crafting this week. I did accomplish a lot of decluttering and reorganizing. Mostly in the kitchen.

Today we ran errands in the morning and had a meeting in the afternoon. Then off to pick up a 2×4 from some friends in our bubble. Of course that meant tea. I love tea with friends!

What did we want with one 2×4? The 2×4 was cut down this evening to make one spice stand in the kitchen cupboard. Tomorrow we’ll do the second one.

This all started when the square glass spice bottles I ordered from ULine arrived today. I spent the evening transferring spices from plastic bags to jars. I often cook with spices, using them instead of salt and pepper in my food. I also cook a wide variety of food. I love cooking! There were close to forty different spices to make room for in that cupboard.

The 2×4 was cut to fit the width of the cupboard and laid flat about an inch from the back of the cupboard. Then another piece was laid flat on top of it, but pushed back to the back of the cupboard. About 2/3 of it resting on the 2×4 piece below. It created a step like situation on which to set spice jars.

This is a very temporary situation until we have our kitchen renovated, which we hope will happen this year. It’s better than the previous situation, which was having a hiking boot box full of spices spilling out onto the countertop!

Here’s to tomorrow. May I get the second shelf done and then work on moving my dye equipment and supplies upstairs!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

May 2021 be a whole sight better than 2020!

We received our second big dump of snow this past weekend. It is melting almost as quickly as it fell.

I took the week between Christmas and New Year’s off.  I spent a lot of time visiting in my five person bubble and talking to family and friends on Zoom, FaceTime, Messenger, WhatsApp and the phone.  What did we ever do before technology?!

I’ve done nothing in regards to rug hooking, or quilting, or sewing.  I’ve had a complete break. However, I am going to have to get back into the swing of things soon.  Workshop Week is coming up the beginning of February, and I’ve signed up for a lot of classes. I have some prep work to do.  I need to pick out a poem for one class. I’ll use one of my children’s poems again.  I’m just not sure which poem yet.

  • I also need to finish binding my quilt and fixing the hand quilting,
  • I want to finish my South Korea rug,
  • I need to finish my nephew’s Grampy gift,
  • I need to finish my “Autumn” wall hanging.  I’m so close!
  • and I need to clean up my studio. It’s a disaster!

On the house front, a friend in our bubble has offered to come help me organize my kitchen a bit better. Hubby and I have been looking for furniture that might help.  We spent a lot of time reorganizing last week.  Of course one thing leads to another, and by the end of our part of the  “kitchen “ reorganization we had worked on every room in the house.  We still will need our friend to come mid-January and help us finish the job.

So, while I have not been hooking or quilting or sewing, I have been rather busy.  I am looking forward to getting the house more organized and making it more livable. May 2021 be a good year for that.

If you’ve been reading, thanks! I’ll check in with you on Friday again.

Merry Christmas !

Merry Christmas !

A busy week visiting within our Covid bubble. Exchanging cookies and gifting a pie to the neighbour. Baking…and baking….

The cookie exchange cookies disappeared quickly. I made Hubby some of my version of the mini brownies from the store – just to keep him out of the cookies! The recipe is from an old website of an old acquaintance. I can’t find it online now. So here is the recipe for Bernadette’s Brownies.

Bernadette’s Brownies

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream the sugar and shortening in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add remaining ingredients and blend till smooth. Either pour into a greased 8×8” pan or divide into 24 mini muffin pans with one side foil cupcake liners. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes.

Bernadette’s Brownies

I made more Danish Butter Cookies. This time I made the Almond-Cherry Cookies. I also made an orange flavoured cookie dipped in semi sweet chocolate. Only I didn’t have any oranges for rind, so I grated up some clementine rind. Now that’s tricky business! Clementine rind is thin!

Chocolate Dipped Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted and softened
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons grated orange peel (I used clementines)
  • 1 egg
  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl press flour into butter to blend. Okay, this is where I gave up initially. I washed my hands and used my fingers to break up the clumps of butter and mix it with the flour. Much easier and quicker.

Add sugar, orange peel, and egg. Stir until a stiff dough forms. You can refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes at this point if it’s too soft to roll. Otherwise, roll it between two pieces of wax paper to approximately 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 1 x 2” bars. Place 1” apart on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool. Melt chocolate chips in microwave in 30 second increments. Be sure to stir between microwave sessions. Dip cookies halfway in melted chocolate. Place on wax paper to cool and harden the chocolate completely Makes 30-40 cookies.

Chocolate Dipped Cookies

I also made my Ninety Minute Rolls from “Dining on a Dime” cookbook. Only I use a different method. If you feel brave enough to take on yeast, read on!

Ninety Minute Rolls (modified)

  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast (one package)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted

Mix flour and yeast together in big bowl. put sugar, salt, and butter in smaller bowl. Heat water and milk to lukewarm, either on the stove or in the microwave. Add lukewarm water and milk to salt, sugar and butter. Stir with wooden spoon till butter is melted and the salt and sugar have dissolved (doesn’t feel gritty under the spoon).

Stir liquid ingredients into dry. Stir till dough forms. Knead a few seconds till everything holds together. Place a dishtowel over it and let sit 10 minutes. Then knead on oiled or floured surface (depending how tough the dough is) 20 minutes.

Let rise 15 minutes, or till double in size, in a warm draft free place with a dishtowel overtop. Punch down and divide evenly into roll size amounts. This should make 8 or 9 rolls (I often quadruple this recipe). Place formed and pinched rolls into 8×8” lightly greased pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.

Ninety Minute Rolls

I wrote on Monday that I’d made tortiere for the Holiday season. We often serve it Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. My recipe makes enough for both days for 4 people. I have modified the recipe by using my ex-sister-on-law’s pastry for the crust.

So here are the recipes for both. As you can see from the size of the pastry recipe, it’s a good idea to set aside a whole day for the pastry and make pies and tortiere at the same time.

Shirley’s Pastry

  • 1 pound vegetable shortening (or lard!)
  • 5 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon salt (this could be cut in half)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar

Sift dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening until smaller than pea size. In a one cup measuring cup mix egg and vinegar. Add cold water to make one cup. Mix into dry ingredients. Shape into balls to roll out between sheets of waxed paper for pie crusts. Makes enough pastry for four double crust pies, or several tortiere!

Tortiere

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs, finely chopped (I use my food processor)
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoons thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • One recipe Shirley’s pastry, or enough pastry for two deep double crust pies.

Put oil in a large pan over low heat. Add all ingredients but pastry. Mix well. Cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 30 minutes. Cool. Line 2 – 8×8” pans with pastry. Divide meat filling between them. Cover with pastry, seal, and prick with a fork to allow steam to escape. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes.

That’s it for my Christmas post everyone! Have a great Holiday Season and Merry Christmas!

Meandering Monday

Meandering Monday

Good morning everyone! It’s a slow meandering kind of day here. It’s overcast and raining off and on. The snow that fell last week will soon be gone.

I slept in this morning. Last evening we had a friend from our Covid 5-person bubble over for a cookie exchange, supper, and game. It was a fun time.

I made tortieres and pies yesterday. The tortieres are in the freezer for the holidays. One of the pies was for dessert last night. I am reserving the other pie for a neighbour who plowed our driveway last week unasked. These guys are the nicest neighbours we’ve ever had. He’s been very good about explaining things to Hubby about the house and the neighbourhood.

This week I am hoping to work more on binding my quilt. Once I’m done that I have to go back and fix the hand quilting. It was originally quilted about forty years ago and, what with all our moves, it has seen better days.

I’m feeling a little tired today, and still have errands to run. Plus I want to fit a walk in between rain showers. I’m off to make a grocery list.

Take care everyone! Have a great week!

Christmas Preparations

Christmas Preparations

Hello all! Christmas preparations are underway here. I am busy cooking for the freezer. Yesterday I had Hubby’s help in making a huge pot of Hearty Salmon Chowder from Anne Lindsay’s “Lighthearted Everyday Cooking”. We had some for supper and froze the rest

Hearty Salmon Chowder

I made cranberry sauce yesterday, using a long time favourite recipe from “From Old Nova Scotia Kitchens”, modified, of course. Cranberry sauce was one of the items requested for Christmas Day dinner and I am happy to oblige.

Homemade Whole Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce (modified)

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Put this all in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes uncovered. Boil hard for 3-5 minutes. Then pour into sterilized cup canning jars. Makes 2-3 cups.

Lemon Tea Loaf

I also made another lemon loaf, just so I could take photos and share the recipe with you, my readers. Well, okay, it was so we could enjoy it too! Here is the slightly modified recipe. The original is from Anne Lindsay’s original “Lighthearted Everyday Cooking”.

Lemon Loaf (modified)

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, unsalted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Rind of one lemon

Prepare pan by lining sides and bottom with tin foil, shiny side up, and lightly greasing with butter. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cream sugar and butter. Add egg and yogurt and mix well. Add milk and mix well. Combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Stir into egg mixture. Add grated rind. Pour into a prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour.

Remove from oven. Leave in pan. Let cool 3-5 minutes. Mix juice of one lemon with 1/4 cup sugar. Spoon over top of loaf evenly. Let sit till until lemon juice and sugar soak in a bit. Then lift from pan, peel off tin foil, slice, and serve.

Aside from that this week has been busy with arranging a safe way to acquire Christmas gifts and devising safe ways to give. Tis the season for online e-gift cards folks!

Talk to you all on Monday!

Monday Morning

Good evening everyone! 🙂 We are in the full swing of Christmas here. Friday night we were at a friend’s place, decorating, enjoying a wonderful lasagna, and playing games.

Saturday we were out for a walk and I was thinking about Christmas cards and gifts. We also got into the last of the Christmas baking – a lemon tea loaf I had in the freezer. I’m not baking anything else till just before Christmas, if then. Hubby and I just like it entirely too much!

Sunday I made a decision. I wrapped a few last minute gifts and mailed a few last minute greeting cards. Yes, I still mail greeting cards. They are ones I’ve had made of my wall hangings. People are so surprised to get them. I like the process of picking a certain design for a certain person, writing the card, and mailing it.

Sunday Hubby mentioned I hadn’t been doing any hooking lately. He’s correct. I’ve been busy with other things. However he’s after a particular wall hanging to go over our electric fireplace after New Year’s. It won’t be ready then, even if I hooked straight through from now to then. I am taking a bit of a break.

During this break I am busy continuing to downsize. I am sorting through items my children might want to give to them.

Today we were at one daughter’s to deliver her Christmas gift. She is working most of Christmas. Then our second daughter dropped by our place for her gift. She, too, is working Christmas. It will be a quiet Christmas, though there are tentative plans to make Zoom calls. But I have a feeling Zoom will be overwhelmed. We’ll see. We may have to make do with a phone call.

Well, that’s it from here. I still have all the sewing, quilting and rug hooking to do…probably after Christmas. Have a great week everyone!

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Well my creative weekly review is short and sweet today. I didn’t do anything creative. I decided to take a break and deal with some things we’ve been putting off since our move. We’re working on organizing finances, rewriting wills, stocking the freezers for winter, and enjoying the season by using technology to visit with friends and family.

The Christmas season is in full swing here. I was helping a friend decorate her Christmas tree Monday, and I’ll be helping the second friend decorate later this afternoon. I mailed my first batch of cards this week, and hope to mail another batch today.

I did bake one batch of Danish butter cookies. I split it into four parts and made two parts Finnish nut logs, one part cherry topped butter cookies, and the last part apricot jam filled butter cookies. I put half in the freezer for our two person cookie exchange, and then Hubby and I ate the rest! Granted it was about 12-18 small cookies, but still! I promised Hubby I’d make him more before Christmas.

Danish Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1-2 tsp. Water, if needed
  • 2 1/2 cup flour

Put everything but water in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Mix until it forms a smooth, pliable dough. If dry, add water. Gather dough into a ball and knead briefly. Can be refrigerated up to one week.

Now for the fun! You can make different types of cookies with this basic dough! I make:

  • Finnish nut logs which are this dough rolled into ropes and dipped in beaten egg before being dipped in a mix 1/4 cup almonds to 2 Tbsp. sugar. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes.
  • Raspberry Ribbons where you make a rope, press an indentation down the centre, bake 10 minutes, fill with raspberry jam and bake another 5-10 minutes. When cool you drizzle them with 1/2 cup icing sugar to 2 Tbsp. milk.
  • Cherry cookies. Make 1” balls and place on baking sheet. Just cut maraschino cherries in half and push a half into the centre of each cookie. You could also push a whole almond in instead. And you could add 1 tsp. almond extract with the teaspoon of vanilla extract when you make the dough.
  • Apricot cookies. Form 1” balls. Dip in beaten egg, followed by a mixture of 1/4 cup chopped almonds and 2 tablespoons sugar. Press an indentation in the middle of the top with your finger. Bake 10 minutes. Then spoon in apricot jam. Bake another 5 – 10 minutes.
  • There are other options. These are some from “Scandinavian Cooking” by Beatrice Ojakangas, an old cookbook in my possession. I combined several to create the Apricot cookie recipe.

Enjoy the cookies!

Monday Ramblings

Monday Ramblings

The photo attached to this post shows the Tree Decorating Party food. We made two types of chicken wings, vegetable sticks and hummus, homemade brown bread a spinach dip, mini spinach quiche, and shrimp canapés. A friend brought us pumpkin tarts as a surprise. There were four of us and we had a great feed! The food lasted a day or so here. Don’t know about what the others took home. It was a great feed!

I’ve done nothing crafty since Friday, but hopefully this week I’ll finish a few projects. I’m still stopped on the moose cushion cover, the quilt, and my rug hooking. I think it’s the miserable weather. That plus preparations for Christmas.

This past weekend I spent visiting with relatives online. Today I helped a friend decorate her Christmas tree. Tomorrow is errand day and appointment day. At some point I have to do some Christmas baking. Maybe tonight. Plus put in another grocery order for curbside pick up. I may get to my crafting Wednesday. We’ll see.

Here’s hoping my blog finds you all well and enjoying the season as much as possible in this strange year of Covid-19. Thanks for reading!