Thursday, February 28, 2013

Oatmeal-Nut Pie Crust

This is a wonderful pie crust and is especially good for cheesecake.  I prefer it over a graham cracker crust.  Walnuts equal brain food. You may substitute pecans if you prefer.

Oatmeal-Nut Pie Crust

1 cup uncooked rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2/3 cup minced walnuts
1/3 cup margarine (or vegetable oil, scant)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spread oats in large, shallow pan.  Bake 10 minutes to toast.  Toss with sugar, nuts and melted margarine. 

Press into pie pan.  Refrigerate while making filling.

Yummy!  Can be used this way for a pudding filling - or - filled and baked again as for cheesecake.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Think Deeply, Speak Gently

"Think deeply, speak gently, love much, laugh often, work hard, give freely, pay promptly, pray honestly, be kind." 

Wanda Stocks 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Broccoli and Pea Salad

Alma's Broccoli and Pea Salad

2 cups broccoli, fresh, cut into small pieces (Cuisinart/curved blade)
2 cups frozen peas
2 - 3 stalks celery, diced fine (Cuisinart/squared blade)
1/2 cup almonds, chopped and roasted in skillet (or oven)
1 tsp. dill
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup Vegenaise

Mix all ingredients together after preparing/chopping. Stir until mixed. Serve and enjoy! VERY yummy!

*Use more Vegenaise if you like more moisture.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Kitchens of the World

"I am beginning to see that the things that 
really matter take place not in the board rooms, 
but in the kitchens of the world."

Gary Sledge

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Walk in the Sunshine

Sunny days are rare here during the winter months. So, when the sun decides to shine, we like to take advantage of it! With tea thermos packed, the sunshine called for a walk!

A walk along the river is always interesting. I especially enjoy them in the winter when I know the rattlesnakes are hibernating! Clusters of dry grasses are beautiful as they wave in the gentle breeze and bright green mosses and cropped grasses make a beautiful carpet to walk on.

Our happy companion frisks here and there, seemingly drawn to an old concrete foundation which becomes her own private road.

Large white pelicans show up as tiny dots on the river. It seems they are enjoying the sunshine too!

I hope it's sunny for you today, both inside and out! Enjoy it!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Friendships Coat

Angel in disguise frocked in friendships coat,
Come and rest awhile, read my welcome note.

For here you are safe to eat, drink, and sleep,
Sheltered in our home, promises to keep.

The promise of His spoken from above,
"Take care of strangers, abide in My love."

Angel wings rustle, my heart skips a beat.
At our open door stands someone to greet.

Patsy Clairmont

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hat Making

I suppose it would only be natural that someone so gifted in making ribbon flowers would also make hats. After all, hats create a great palette for all sorts of artistic expression! Ribbon flowers and trims, feathers, ruffles, and tulle can all work together for a stunning effect! So, in addition to silk and satin flowers and trims, Deb shared some of the hats she made. She started by showing us her (antique) wooden hat blocks. Their surfaces were worn to a beautiful patina from use over time. They are the form that heavy buckram is placed over to create the unique shape of a desired hat. The buckram is coated with a vegetable sizing and becomes pliable when wet. It can be molded, formed, tucked, and darted to create the shape the designer wants. After it dries it becomes very stiff and makes a solid foundation for the rest of the hat. At that point, many beautiful fabrics and trims can be stitched on. Deb even showed us how she used builder's Tyvek (high density polyethylene fibers) as a material for some of her hats. They meld, shape, and bond so beautifully when mixed with tulle, laces, and textiles. From fascinators to fedoras, Deb made hat-making look simple yet elegant and fun!

Click on the photo montage for a larger view.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Antique Family

If you look closely, you may be able to see how ribbon and fabrics were used to create flowers used to adorn the garments of this interesting group of people. The flowers are used both pinned onto the gowns or incorporated into the hairstyles of the women in this group. I agree that the flowers may all be live and real, but since we were talking about ribbon flowers yesterday, I am going to assume that's what these are. I found this picture on the wall of a restroom at one of our local antique shops. You are seeing a picture of a picture, thus a bit of glare from the glass in this photo from my cell phone. What I think makes this photo most unique of all is the lace collar that the gentleman is wearing. He fits right into the group and if the handlebar mustache wasn't quite so obvious, he might get lost in the crowd! I wonder --- is the woman sitting in the center his wife and the others his lovely daughters? I suppose we'll never know, but old photos like this do give one much to ponder about. This photo is a delight, and could only be made more of one if they were holding teacups for tea!

What do you think of this gentleman's fashion sense and style?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ribbon Paradise

Ribbons made from silk and satin are so inviting with their gentle patina or glowing sheen. If you love textiles like I do, I'm sure you understand the draw to admire, touch, and create. Making flowers and trims out of ribbon isn't something I have attempted, but I do admire those who have the patience and skill to create with such beautiful materials.

There are images galore of flowers made from ribbon in Google. And here's a Pinterest board of ribbon and fabric flower ideas. But none are nicer than the ribbon flowers and trims made by Deb, a woman who recently spoke to the local quilt guild. It was a chilly winter evening and the meeting room was filled with women who arrived wearing hats, coats, and gloves. We were met by a beautiful display of colorful hats, gowns, and ribbon boards designed and fashioned by Deb. They were exquisite! Such patience and such ability she has! 

Have you made ribbon roses or other flowers before? My mother did some ribbon embroidery (a similar art) and was skilled at making ribbon flowers. Her favorites were always pansy's which she used to adorn baskets, candles, pillows, and more.

Click on the photo montage to enlarge and get a better look.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fine Needlework

"And thou shalt make an hanging for the door of the tent, of blue, and purple, and of scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework." 

Exodus 26:36

*A beautiful "star" quilt made by a quilt guild member. I love its asymmetrical balance.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tofu Salad Sandwich Spread on Toast

Tofu Salad served on whole wheat toast is probably one of my favorite sandwiches. Open-faced, it's pretty to garnish with greens like parsley or new lettuce. Enclosed in a sandwich, it packs well for lunches and is always creamy and delicious. Sometimes called Eggless Egg Salad, I prefer to call it Tofu Salad because there is nothing fake about the flavor of this savory spread! Here's the recipe:

Tofu Salad Sandwich Spread

1 lb. tofu, extra-firm
1 can black olives, chopped or sliced
2 - 3 Tbsp. Bill's Best Chicknish'
1/3 cup Veganaise (don't substitute for best flavor)

Crumble tofu into a bowl. Add chopped (or sliced) black olives, Bill's Best Chicknish', and Veganaise. Stir until well blended. Spread on toast or on sandwich bread. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Tea Kettle Sings

When the tea kettle sings with happiness...

...that is home.

*Appreciating the tea kettle and stovetop at our local grange.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Courtesy & Respect

"Always remember that persons matter more than things. Don't say anything that will leave a sting."

Charlotte Mason

Friday, February 15, 2013

Snow Ice Cream


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sweet Memories

Happy Valentine's Day!

This box reminds me of my childhood. In elementary school, my teacher would set a decorated box on her desk so we could fill it with Valentine's for our classmates. Each student in the classroom would give everyone a Valentine's card. Sometimes they were homemade cards, but the ones I loved the most were the store-bought shaped cards that were punched out of a sheet of card stock. Once signed, they were put in thin white envelopes and a name would be written on the envelope before it was "mailed" in the classroom box. It was fun time for each one of us. I still have the Valentine's card that my first grade teacher made for me. She made one for each of her students. It was a velvety red paper cut into a heart shape. She glued it onto a white paper doily and glued her picture on the front. It made each of us feel so special. I don't know if school children still create and give Valentine's. Do you know? If not, it's a sad thing that they don't have the opportunity to experience such sweetheart fun!

Do you remember making and giving Valentine's as a child? Do tell!

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Valentine

We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.

Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs. 

- William Shakespeare

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sesame Sprinkles

Sesame seeds are highly nutritious, but I assume that for most of us, they are not a staple in our diet. Research shows that they are rich in oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fatty acid that helps to lower the "bad cholesterol" in our bloodstream. Sesame seeds are also a great source of good quality plant protein. They contain anti-oxidants that help reduce harmful free radicals in the body. And they are an excellent source of a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, including niacin, folic acid, thiamin (B1), pyridoxine (B6), riboflavin, calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, and selenium. These nutrients serve many helpful purposes in the body. 

Here's a recipe using sesame seeds that is easy to make, tasty, and versatile. It can be made ahead and sprinkled on foods as desired, used in a way similar to Parmesan cheese or flavored salts.

Sesame Sprinkles

1 cup hulled sesame seeds

1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Place all ingredients in a container and stir. Then, grind small amounts at a time in a coffee grinder (I use one that is dedicated only to seeds and nuts). Place mixture in a jar and cover with a lid. Store in the fridge.

To serve, sprinkle on salads, pasta, or cooked vegetables. Adding lemon juice enhances the flavors! Although this is a great recipe for an afternoon tea party, it is also delicious sprinkled on pizza!

Today I am linking to Bernideen's Tea Time Blog.

Valentine Greetings

Hear me, O Lord, for they lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of they tender mercies. 

Psalm 69:16

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Art of Ironing

Do you have an iron in the house? Do you use it?

Ironing is becoming a lost art. With all the modern fabrics, most garments no longer need pressed if they are washed and dried properly. I've also noticed that standards have changed and it is not always improper to wear something wrinkled! Oh dear!

I have many wonderful memories which involved ironing. I can remember a toy iron that really worked when plugged into a wall. It would become slightly warm and my sister and I would iron doll clothes and hankies on a toy ironing board. Such a toy would be considered a danger to a child these days, after all, it required the ability to plug something into an outlet! But, we used it safely and it provided us with many moments of make-believe fun. As they say, play is a child's work. Some of my first memories of grown-up ironing when I was about ten or twelve years old. A family friend had a baby daughter who had the cutest of clothes! I remember ironing her little dresses "just for fun". As I grew older, ironing became the chore that allowed us to watch television. Being a productive family, it was expected that we be busy working on something if the television was on. I remember ironing many pillow cases and my dad's shirts while watching the Patty Duke Show, Gilligan's Island, The Beverly Hillbillies, or The Lucy Show. Do you remember them?

These days my iron is used for touching up garments when getting dressed up. A suit, skirt, or shirt sometimes needs a little crispness added. But, it's used most frequently for pressing fabrics when sewing a quilt or other sewing projects. Times change, but memories remain. Sometimes it is good when household objects become obsolete, as it signals an improvement and new technology. But, when such objects become obsolete, there is something that is left behind. My children do not have the pleasant memories of ironing that I did as a child. I believe that it's their loss.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprint Cookies

2 cups flour of choice (gluten free if necessary)
1 cup almond meal*
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup oats (dry), blended into flour
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup maple syrup (or agave syrup)
100% fruit jelly in flavor of your choice

Mix all ingredients except jelly together. Drop dabs of dough onto cookie sheet or make into small balls. Make a small depression in each cookie and fill with 1/8 tsp. jelly. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 13 minutes. 

*almond flour can be made by grinding raw almonds in a blender.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Sacred Idleness

Friday, February 08, 2013

Ketchup on a Recipe Card

Everyone one of us has experiences or life situations that become markers of our passage through life. They might seem simple or insignificant at the time, but as time passes and you reflect on your journey, you realize that certain events or experiences help you mark significant milestones on your life timeline. It's fun to reminisce about early life experiences that may have been pushed to the back of your mind. Sometimes an object, note, or card can spark a memory that you may have forgotten. Simple things can bring such a response.

Today I found a recipe card in one of my mother's notebooks. She's been gone for nearly ten years now. I keep her journals and notebooks in my bookcase and enjoy going through them. They remind me of her and the things she enjoyed and of how she thought. The recipe card took me back to a time when I was a teen-ager. Our family traveled across the USA by car for two months. Our travel trailer was pulled along behind us and we visited many interesting places along the way. One place was New York City. We spent a week as guests of family friends who gave us a grand tour of the city. Every single day we visited someplace new! And the recipe that triggered this memory? It's for something our family calls "New York Ketchup". Our host took us to a small vegan restaurant in the city. It was owned and managed by an actor in the musical "Hair". The hairstyle in the postcard above reminds me of him. The hairstyle was the very same!  We enjoyed delicious plant-based burgers and he thoughtfully shared this recipe with us before we left. I hope you enjoy it too! We call it...

New York Ketchup

1 - 6 oz. can tomato paste

1 - 25 oz. can tomato puree
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. lemon
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. oregano
1 stalk celery

Place all ingredients in a blender. Mix until ingredients are homogeneous. Enjoy!

This really is a tasty, homemade ketchup!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Home Treasures

It is fashionable to streamline home decor. Simple lines, few objects, and not much to dust has its advantage. I would love a home like that! It would be a bit like living in a fancy hotel. But, I know I would miss the little treasures that surround me now. Yesterday I spent time reading through a journal handwritten by my great-grandfather many, many years ago. And my husband, while cleaning out his desk drawer, came across a button that he found when he was a child. Its markings indicate that it was once part of the Civil War era uniform of a soldier. Not only does this little button take him back in history, but it also connects to an excursion he took with his family when he found the button in a farm field in Pennsylvania. There must be a balance, as it is our past, our heritage, and experiences that help us connect in a healthy way to our future.

Emilie Barnes, an author who balances the beauty and meaning of home decor with a super organized home, talks about the charm and romance of treasured memories. According to Emilie, treasures can be found in your home, or your mother's, or even your grandmother's home. Sometimes they are stashed away and simply need to be looked for. Over the years, my mother was good about saving and stashing treasures. The simple treasures from our family have been passed along to me. They are probably things that others would not see now value in; items like my grandmother's astronomy book, great-grandfather's journals, dad's  LaCrosse sticks from his teen-age years, and mother's high school class ring. Each has a meaning attached to it. And each meaning deserves to be cherished and held because of their connection to our roots and heritage. Those who came before us are who make us into who we are today.

So, take a look around. What treasures do you have stuck in a drawer, a box, or on an upper shelf?

~ recipes ~ antique utensils ~ aprons ~ dish towels ~ grandmother's china ~ napkin rings ~ tea sets ~ photo albums ~ family photos ~ musical instruments ~ buttons ~ books ~ knick-knacks ~ salt & pepper shakers ~ oil lamps ~ quilts ~ trunks ~ love letters ~ sachets ~ costume jewelry ~ wooden toys ~ dolls ~ games ~ teddy bears ~ sun hats ~ watering cans ~ sea shells ~ first-edition books ~ children's books ~ paintings ~ framed art ~ buttons ~ boxes ~ thimbles ~ needle covers ~ sewing machines ~ needlework ~ samplers ~ lace tablecloths ~ heirloom dresses ~ lingerie ~ hats ~ bonnets & booties ~ hatpins ~ shoes ~ boots ~ gloves ~ tools ~ farm implements ~ enamelware ~ embroidered pillowcases ~

February Poem


Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Managing Collections

Sometimes it is challenging to know what to do with collections. After all, we don't live in museums, but homes instead. Collections sometimes take over and there is no comfortable place left to live. A friend once took me to her mother-in-laws home where I enjoyed a tour that I will never forget! It was a beautiful Queen Anne home, filled to the gills with appropriate period antiques. Elegance, beauty, and style were melded together in such a way that it took a few minutes for me to register that I was in the home of a "hoarder". Everything was neat and tidy, but there were only pathways of open space that led from room to room. I really had a hard time determining where the family actually lived. I remember a space at the breakfast nook where I believe the mister of the home resided. I wonder, did he have a man cave in the garage as well? So, how does one go about collecting and keeping balance in their lives? I can hear a couple of my friends giving a friendly snicker as they read this. I love my collections and how objects connect me to my heritage. Let's just say I work hard at not becoming the hoarder of elegance, beauty, and style that my friend's mother-in-law became.

How do you store or display your collections? Here are a few ideas that can help us figure new ways to store the things we love and enjoy.

~ a small wall display case for thimbles

~ china closets and hutches for china, teacups, and teapots

~ old farm implements hung on exterior walls of a barn or shed

~ antique yardsticks hung on the walls of a workshop

~ T-shirts with logos that feature the growing up years of a son that are made into a quilt

~ a bookmark collection stored in a shoebox

~ old books in a bookcase

~ photos and stamp collections in albums

~ silver teaspoons in a glass pitcher that's displayed on a counter top

~ old postcards in a wooden case

It's easy to get carried away when collecting and gathering. There are times that a collection needs to be sifted through and refined. An object that was valuable to you 10 years ago may now be superseded by a more recent find. It's an opportunity to sell some of the items you no longer cherish, or use them to give to another who is just starting a collection. Occasionally it is difficult to let something go, so finding a technique or tactic that helps you release an object is helpful. Photographing objects and placing pictures of them in an album can be helpful in this case. A picture and a short description can go a long ways in helping you pass along a collectible treasure.

What techniques do you use to help you keep your collections under control?

Visiting the Community Textile Museum

Spinning wheels, an old-fashioned quilt, vintage sewing machines, and pincushions make up an interesting display at our local textile museum. What? A local quilt museum? That's right!

Every community has little gems that are sometimes hidden from general view. They don't mean to be. In fact, they want everyone to know about them, but sometimes they get lost in the crowd. Recently I discovered that our community has a quilt museum that is a regional textile center for quilting and textile arts. It serves as both a museum and an organization that supports guilds for those who quilt, weave, spin, and make baskets. Although these craftspeople have been part of our community for many years, it is only recently that a home has been created for them. And what a beautiful home it is!

My friend, Karleen, and I have been working hard at finding interesting things to do during the gray days of wnter. So, we decided to take a trip to the textile museum and see what was there. It did not disappoint!

The museums mission is to promote both the art and the craft of quilting and textile arts by providing educational opportunities to adults and children. They also strive to preserve the history of the textile arts as unique American art forms. But the goal that pleases me most is their desire to enhance the community by providing a welcoming place for people to share their knowledge and heritage through their love of quilting, weaving, spinning, basketry, and other textile arts.

Community members teach classes in spinning, weaving, sewing, quilting, and basket making. A side room is filled with a dozen new sewing machines. They are available for classes and are often used to teach sewing to groups of children.

Interesting objects are on display; old quilts, wood roving, baskets, button crafts, and a display of dolls from around the world. We enjoyed admiring the dolls.

Looms large and small sit near a window that provides lots of natural light. For a fee, volunteers will give private lessons to community members who wish to learn how to weave by making woven wool rugs.

Across from skeins of wool roving is a small library filled with books about textiles. Patterns, resource books, reference books, and reading books that are related in some way to the textile arts are available for hours of diligent study or casual reading.

Museum membership fees are minimal,yet offer a wide variety of benefits. Classes in subjects like quilt restoration, dating, care, and storage are available. 

And for those who love to shop, or simply love quality handmade items, a small gift shop near the entrance of the store offers handmade quilts, scarves, baby items, hot pads, and various knitted or crocheted goods. It's a great resource for those who want to give someone a "gift of the heart".

An afternoon at the textile museum equals a pleasant way to spend a wintry afternoon. 

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

A Collection

"One teacup is simply...
a teacup. 
Two teacups is service for two. 
But if you take those two teacups, 
arrange them on a glass shelf with a lace scarf, 
and perhaps add a third to keep them company, 
you have something more than the sum of three teacups. 

You have something that can brighten 
your living space and embellish your memories. 
With a teacup or three and an idea for the future, 
you have a collection --- or the beginnings of one. 

And a collection doesn't have 
to be teacups,  of course. 
In fact, if an object exists on this earth 
in quantities more than one, 
the odds are that someone, 

Emilie Barnes

Monday, February 04, 2013

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Crown Gem Cookies

Crown Gems are a sweet nugget cookie. They really are little gems of goodness. Mom Audrey always made this recipe with Mystic Lakes sweetener, a syrup made of a variety of fruits.  It is no longer available, but any liquid sweetener will work just as well. I like to use maple syrup because of its delicate flavor. You can use maple syrup, honey, or agave for this recipe.

Bake these cookies in a cupcake paper that's placed in a mini-muffin tin. These flavorful cookies are perfect with tea.

Tea in the Kitchen

"Afterwards, they always had tea in the kitchen, much the nicest room in the house."

Flora Thompson

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Heirlooms & Memories

"You can create new heirlooms, and the memories that make them special, just by owning them."

Elaine Markoutsas

Friday, February 01, 2013

Violets Galore!

My mother had an affinity for spring flowers. She was an avid gardener and had an English style garden. She worked in it every day, rain or shine! Since she was a kindergarten teacher, she spent her days with small children who were always active and busy. Coming home and spending time weeding or cultivating in her garden was a stress reliever for mom. She loved her daily hour or two of garden therapy. It was rare when she missed a day working in her plants.

Her love for flowers spilled over into her inside life as well. Flowers were a theme seen in her hand embroidery, quilting, sewing, watercolor, and tea service. She was especially fond of violets, pansies, and the color purple.

This could be observed in her collection of violets teacups, teapots, and tea accessories. She enjoyed antiquing with friends. Generally, anything with violets on it took her breath away! I remember one time she took several pieces of her beautiful "Old Country Roses" china into an antique shop so she could trade for something she loved even more: violets. I remember that I gasped when I realized she'd done that!

I keep the violets teacups and teapots in a little blue cabinet. Sometimes they are organized with the teacups hanging on hooks; the saucers arranged like soldiers along the sides and back of the cabinet wall. And sometimes I keep them in a cosy shabby chic tangle, which is how I am enjoying them now. Stacked, tiered, and looking like they could tumble at any moment, they delight my sense of casual style.

A few pieces, like this little teapot, were collected by me. Mom's enthusiasm was contagious and sometimes we would visit thrift shops and antique stores together, looking for things that struck our fancy. Often, they were violet themed items. Although this teapot is covered with purple pansies, they are in the viola family and we always considered them as melding together with violets in loveliness.

Milk with your tea? Isn't this a sweet little pitcher?

And so is this one, although it is not as "fine" as the other one. No gold here!

This violets teapot shows violets in relief. It is full-size and quite stunning, but not at all my favorite. 

It always amazes me how each violet themed teacup seems to go with one another. I suppose it is the common theme, or maybe the common color. Whatever it is, I'm waiting eagerly for the spring violets to bloom in my "tea garden" so I can have a "violets tea party". How I wish mother could come. She would enjoy that.

Lastly, is a violets teapot that was given to me by a friend. It is a treasure. The base serves as a genteel teacup while the top portion holds the tea. It makes a lovely "tea party for one". Speaking of which, I think I shall go create one now.

Think spring!