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August 2007

Personal Journal part 3

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Lastly I wanted to share a few journals that inspired me. Remember your journal is only for you, it does not have to be perfect (see all my mistakes) or amazing. It only has to make you happy.If you know of any or have a wonderful journal on-line, send me a link and I will add it to the list.

Sis Boom

By Sun and Candlelight

Abiding

Gumbo Lily

Eye Of Wonder

The Garden Of Pink Shadows

Several of you have said you hate writing or have sloppy handwriting like me. I have to tell you practicing calligraphy has helped me sooooo much. It is sort of like knitting, in that it forces you to slow down and focus on each step. For me while I write my mind is racing with all my thoughts and trying to add using my hand while all that thinking is going on, is very hard for me. So I sort of end up all over the place. Calligraphy  (just like knitting, I think every dyslexic should learn to knit) has helped me focus and slow down. I will tell I personally hate those calligraphy pens with the nibs. I like calligraphy markers much better. I have two kinds, one wide and one narrow. So find what works for you. Here is some links and practice paper to help you xoxoxox

Calligraphy Lessons

Lefthanders Learn Calligraphy

Calligraphy Paper

Handwriting Paper


Personal Journal part 2

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I have never really kept a journal. Maybe it is because I HATE writing, although I love communicating. I wish I could just have you all over for tea, it would be soo much easier. So when I saw journals on-line were people were cutting out images from mags, well that I could get into. I am the queen of magazines and have pilesssss of them around. At first I just cut out a lot of pretty pictures and let that express my thoughts. But I really do want to feel more comfortable with writing, as I also want my girls to. If you have not noticed, mostly how I teach is starting with me and the girls seem to follow suite.

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I started to think about how I could incorporate more writing. I looked for pictures that would motive me to write. I actually made a box, were I put phrases and quotes to encourage us to write. The girls and I will pull out our journals, pick a quote and write about it. This and 70 glittery gel pens have made writing much more fun.

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But I do not just use this book just as a journal. Actually there are lots of different ways to journal. I wanted my girls to see me using my book in different ways, so they would not feel bound to "journal" in only one way. I have horrible handwriting. The actually act of writing, just makes me bonkers. What you see here is after 2 years of diligently trying to have better handwriting and it is still bad. Better then before, but still sloppy. So I do lots of copy-work and practice.

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I've added poems, house-hold tips, I copy books (like image above is from Joie De Vivre book), how I think the world should work, pretty pictures and why they are pretty. Anything that speaks to my heart and encourages me to write. So I encourage you if you are not one who likes to write or journal, maybe cutting up a pretty magazine might inspire you.

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Personal Journal part 1

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Mama loves butter, don't you see?

And-on good biscuit-so do we !

Mama loves something better than that-

She loves her Children plump and fat .

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I have been meaning to share my birthday gift to myself. The girls and I each have each have sketchbooks and copy-work books. But mine was getting shabby (not in a shabby chic way) and needed a new one. Plus I wanted to breath some new life into our books. I have seen several journals on-line (I will write about those in another post) that really motivated me. In this post I will share what I got and next post some of what we have been doing.

I decided since this was my birthday gift, I was going to get good and pretty supplies. I knew I wanted a large sketchbook that was spiral bound. I wanted it to be able to expand as I added thing like ribbons and buttons to it. I also wanted a hard cover, not a floppy one. I found one (after looking at 8 stores) at Barns and Noble. One of the things I like about this sketchbook is the inside edge is serrated. So if you want to pull out a page it would be easy and have a clean edge. The cover was icky, so I gussied it up !! I want to thank Andrea, because of my order from One Hundred Wishes, my cover turned out so charming. I even used her business card and ribbon. I thought the sentiment was perfect for my journal.

Because I am so scattered, I have found it best to keep all my craft supplies grouped together (Like all my felted wool in one suit case). So I made a little bag to hold all my supplies. I love Bend the Rules clutch. I just made a long, skinny version.

The poem above is from the picture on the journal. Ofcousrse it is a mama and her babies. I loved this poem, it made me smile.   

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My list of supplies:

Pencil

fine tip sharpie

calligraphy markers

gel pens

scissors

eraser-pencil

ruler

bone-folder

sketchbook

Andrea posted about these wonderful metallic pencil's. I love them, thank you xoxox

Coccoina Glue Stick

Oh my goodness, I can not tell you how yummy this glue stick is. It is made in Italy and smells like the world's best marzipan. The only thing is I want to bake every time I journal !!!!

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Yumy Finds

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I hit one of those amazing yard sales last week were they are lots of antiques and everything is a quater or fifty-cents. Look at this large wonderful framed print, $3.00 yeah. I am so drawn to any picture of mother and child.  I got a lot more but this is the highlights (Sarah I thought of you as I was filling up my box xoxoxo) Thank you for letting me share.

PS. I will share about my lavender tea soon. I just need to write out a recipe for all of you !!!

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My Over-night Maple Rolls

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My good friend Susan, shared her grandmother's version of over-night dough, that can be made into cinnamon rolls. Thank you Susan. I love overnight things, so I do not have to cook as much in the morning ;-)

I changed Susan's recipe a bit because I wanted make a maple version. I added maple syrup to the dough and made a maple glaze. I also added toasted pecans, because I think they go so well with maple. But feel free to play with what you like. I listed my ingredients and Susan's, so you can see both and see what you would like bestI did want to say I changed the baking time. I baked mine at 325% for 5-10 minutes longer and found the rolls cooked without the edges burning and I did not need to cover with foil. So as I have said before, everybody's oven is different, but try baking these at 325 instead of 350 and hopefully that will work better for you

PS. Look at these baby shoes filled with baby tears plan. I saw at the fair and I thought these were so sweet. What a wonderful way to use those outgrown baby shoes !!!!!

My Over-night Maple Rolls

2 cups water

1 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup butter, 1 stick

1 tsp. salt

1 pkg. yeast

2 eggs, well beaten

3 cup whole wheat pastry flour

3-5 cup all-purpose white flour

Spread dough with 1/4 cup soft butter, 2 cups chopped, toasted pecans, 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon.Follow directions below to make and bake dough. This make two rolls, eight pieces each. I cooked one roll and put one roll in the freezer. I just set the frozen rolls in a pan about 5 at night and they were ready in the morning to bake.

Maple Glaze

Drizzle maple syrup in 1 cup confectioner sugar until you get desired consistency.

Susan's Overnight Rolls
4 c. water
2 c. sugar
1 c. shortening (butter)
1 T. salt
1 cake or 2 pkgs. Yeast
4 eggs, well-beaten
12-15 c. flour

Boil water and sugar 5 minutes. Add shortening (butter). Remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm (you can hurry this by placing in the fridge, but don't let it *overcool*). Stir in salt, yeast, eggs. Add flour a cup or two at a time, slowing down when dough approaches a nice soft (not sticky) * dough texture. You may not need to use all of the flour (don't get to the point where the dough is heavy). Knead.

Make dough at 2 p.m. Let rise, covered, in a large, clean, oiled bowl til 5 p.m. You can use two bowls if you don't have a large bread bowl. Gently knead down. Let rise again, covered, til 8 or 9 p.m. Shape into buns. Place in greased pans. Let rest on counter overnight. Bake in morning at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes. ( You may need to cover with foil partway through baking if rolls are browning quickly).

I simply spread butter over the rectangle of dough and sprinkle liberally with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon (I don’t add soaked raisins or nuts, but you could). Roll up the rectangle. Seal the end. Slice into rolls a good two inches wide (high). Place them an inch or so apart on cookie sheets or in pans (metal works best). In the morning, bakes as directed above, but make sure they’ve cooked long enough to be done. You really don’t want them *too* done—they’re just so soft and moist and delicious when done right. Mix a glaze (almost a frosting) with some butter and powdered sugar and enough milk to make it between pourable and spreadable (oh, and add some vanilla, too). I glop some of this on each roll, spreading with the back of the spoon so that it touches the entire exposed surface of the roll. Use plenty (this is not a health food!). It runs all down through the spirals of the rolls

* I noticed this recipe says to not have sticky dough but with adding the maple syrup instead of sugar the dough will be sticky. I also leave my doughs on the wetter side, because as they rise they loose the stickiness and make a moister bread.


Knitted Pillows

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I have not done a huge amount of crafting this summer, summers always seem to be like that. But I did make a pillow. My mother made me this amazing pink pillow for my birthday. I LOVE the pale blush pink and the peal gray together, very Coco Chanel to me. Look how she used a large gray mother-of-pearl button and a smaller pink mother-of-pearl flower button. . Well she bought one skein of the same yarn in this luscious sea green-blue, but fried-out on knitting after my pillow. So she also gave me the skien. I knitted it in the seed stitch and only did one big front panel. Then I took a large piece of bark cloth and wrapped around the front. I sewed it on three sides and added the large gray mother-of-pearl buttons. It was soo easy and I am happy the way the bark cloth pulled all the colors together. I will save these for Christmas, for this year I am having a pink and blue Christmas

PS. You will never guess who is coming to my house tonight, for a lavender tea. I will share all soon xoxox

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Becoming Jane

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I was able to get out and see Becoming Jane. Sighhh, I have struggled what to write about it. The best description for this movie is a really wonderful piece of chocolate with a fake filling. My complaint about this movie is basically the same one I had about the Miss. Potter movie. Too much romance and not enough of these wonderful ladies lives. I mean is all they have done and who they are just boiled down to a romantic story. And this case a story that we have not a clue even happened (from what little I know about Miss. Austin, she danced with this man 3 times) If this move had been pure fiction, I would have loved it and cried my eyes out. But instead the whole time I keep thinking, they do not know that happened. I refuse to give my heart to a movie that so embellishes the truth.

But I will say it is beautiful, very English and like a perfect bon-bon (except of the lacking imperfections I mentioned above). So I do think everyone should see it and enjoy what there is to enjoy. But I am hoping Hollywood will begin to think more of women and their accomplishment and realize they do not have to only give us frosting, fake frosting at that. We want cake. Pretty, yummy but real cake !!!!!!!

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Nicemattersaward

Sweet Debi at Just As I Amawarded me the Nice Matters award.

"This award will be given to those that are just nice people , good blog friends and those that inspire good feelings and inspiration! Those that care about others that are there to lend support or those that are just a positive influence in our blogging world!"

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Dear Lisa at Pink Paint and Rosesawarded me the Power of Schmooze award.

"The Power of Schmooze Award is for bloggers who effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship."

Thank you Debi and Lisa, you are both such kind and thoughtful ladies. I really appreciate that you even thought of me, let alone thought I was deserving. I know I am suppose to award others, but I am too overloaded with life right now to try to pick someone. It is always soo hard, I love all of you and hate to try to narrow it down. So I think you are all schmooze and are very nice xoxoxoxo


Chocolate, Chocolate Zucchine Loaf Cake

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     It is the time of year when one is blessed with a large, over-grown zucchini's. What is one to do with them? Well a cake is a perfect way to use up over-grown zucchini. I was given a huge zucchini last week and decided to make some muffins and a cake. Using the same recipe I filled muffin tins and froze them unbaking. I also made a large loaf cake out of the same batter. You could also bake this in a round cake pan. If use small loaf pans then this recipe will make two small loaves.

    About this recipe, I decided having both coco powder and chopped chocolate would add a more complex flavor. Plus with the week I have had, I needed all the chocolate I can get ;-)

    Also as with a lot of my recipes I use both melted butter and oil. I do this because the butter adds flavor and the oil adds moister. My big pet-peeve usually about this type of cake it they are too sweet and too dry. So the oil helps keep it moist. I also use buttermilk for a tender crumb. Adding a small amount of instant espresso will boost the rich chocolate flavor.

    Lastly I bake it at 325˚F, not 350˚F. Most recipes for this type of cake call for 350˚F but that is too high (well in my humble opinion it is). This is a big loaf cake and it will take a while to bake.  At 350˚F the outside will be done long before the inside, thus giving you a dry cake with overcooked edges. I will say that everyone's oven is different and you need to work with your oven. I would suggest try baking this at a lower temp and see how it does. I am much happier with my cakes when I do. Also start checking it at 40 minutes, as soon as the center come clean when you insert a skewer, pull it from the oven!!

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Chocolate, Chocolate Zucchini Loaf Cake

Wet ingredients:

1 cup sugar (I use evaporated cane)

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1/3 cup oil (I use mild flavored olive oil)

3 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 TBL. vanilla

2 cups shredded zucchini (I run it through the food processor)

Dry ingredients :

1 1/2 cups flour (I used half white/half whole wheat pastry)

1/2 cup coco powder

1 TBL. instant espresso powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chips


Pre-heat oven 325˚F. Grease a large loaf pan or cake pan.

In  large bowl mix wet ingredients. Then sift together dry ingredients and stir into wet. Add chocolate chips and pour batter into greased pan.

Bake 325˚F for 45-55 minutes, or till center is cooked.

Let cook 5 minutes before pulling the cake out of the pan.


Wee Garden

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Thank you for all the encouraging notes. David is doing better and hopefully will go back to work this weekend, fingers crossed. I am slowly trying to pull my home back together. Even though I hate cleaning, I really hate it when my house is falling apart all around me. So slowly life is getting back to normal.

Thanks to Alice at A Number Of Things I found this wonderful shop and blog Wee Garden Oh what fun inspiration. What I loved about her ideas, is a lot were small and doable. Sometimes the fairy house ideas I see are amazing but quite ambitious. I like the idea of just a small simple chair in a tiny pot. Her gardens, well you could spends days there. She sells all the little chairs, arbors, fences, ect. Her book is on my want list. Check it out and be inspired. Her blog is set up a bit different then most blogs. To read her entries, go to blog archives.

Also Echoes Of A Dream has posted an amazing fairy house. Look at the end of the post !!!!

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I am still here

Hello, just a quick note to say I am still here and have not forgotten about the blog or you ladies. David is still in a lot of pain and he is not handling it well. He seem to feel pain quite acutely. He can not lay flat yet and has to sleep elevated on the couch, which means he is not sleeping well. Thank you so much for all your kind notes it means a lot to me. Yesterday was a particularly bad day and all your supportive notes really helped me get through it. I will be back when I can xoxoxoxo


Nurse Maid

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Hello Ladies, I will not be around for a few days. Hubby is having his deviated-septum surgery and some work on his sinuses today. So I will be playing nurse-maid for a few days. Pray for me (and him), I am not a very good nurse and can not stand the sight of any blood. Luckily David knows this and does not really look to me to take care of him unless he really needs me. But I will be baking him lots of yummy goodies to make up for it. Thank goodness he married a cook, not a nurse !!!!

Have a lovely weekend and remember to do something yummy this weekend. Each day is a gift xoxoxoxo


This and That and Thank you's

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Thank you ladies for all the creative and cleaver names, much better then anything I would have come up with. I had the hardest time picking a name. I really did love Carol's suggestion of Flora and Fauna but I also agreed with Abby that they should have storybook names. Chloe then reminded me that Sleeping Beauty's two fairy godmothers were called Flora and Fauna. So that settled that. I also loved MizSmoochie's idea of party hats. I was going to make them each their own (I did glitter the hats Ms. Glitter Fairy but you can not see it in the picture) but then I realized Mayra our bunny is into eating any paper she can get her hands on (she also love to kiss Fauna), so sadly only Flora can wear a hat. But as a good mother, she is only holding it for her baby Fauna till she is bigger or Mayra stops eating paper !!!

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I received my yummy and amazing goodies from One Hundred Wishes. I loved everything Andrea and it was all wrapped so wonderfully. We loved the lollipop. Thank you and I look forward to my next purchase !!!

Also dear Jill is having a giveaway every month till December for products from her amazing Bittersweet shop. I have been a lucky recipient of Bittersweets soaps and products, not only are they yummy but perfectly packaged and beautifully presented. Thank you Jill, you are one of the most generous and giving (not to mention energetic ;-) person I have ever meet. I know all this blessings you are sending out will come back to you in three fold.

Well the smelly sponge issue, it very interesting. I plan on trying everyones ideas. I did trying microwaving it but it was still smelly. I also tried throwing it in the dishwasher and that worked. But I will try the other ideas. I can tell I do not know much about bacteria, because I am getting the ideas from you ladies that a wet sponge, leads to bacteria and bacteria leads to a stinky sponge. Well I did not know that, I am so clueless. It is amazing my family is still alive. I live in constant dampness. So I am still thinking of what will work best for me. I might knitting some cotton wash clothes and then have a scrubby pad when I need it. But thank you again for all the ideas and input. I will try them all xoxoxo

                                                      

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Smelly Sponges

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Smelly sponges, now there is a nice topic. But maybe I am the only person in the world who has problem with her sponges always being smelly. They get stinky long before they wear out. I was complaining to Angie, who told me her trick. She soaks her sponges overnight in water with some oxiclean. Well she is right it works great. I also add a drop or two of lavender oil, to sweeten the non-smell. If you have a sponge cleaning tip, I would love to hear it.


Gussy Up A Lampshade

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I saw this lamp at the Bainbridge Rotary auction several years ago, for $4.00 and it was love at first site. I will not tell you the story of getting up at 5 am, waiting with thousands of people, to then run, fall and have thousands of people behind me (and to their credit they stopped and helped me up), run though half a large high school to be the first to get my lamp. But it is a true-love story and love always wins out. The only shortcoming (all loves have a short coming) was the shade. Very plain.  Wanting something smashing befitting my all-to-beautiful lamp, I started playing with the shade and this is what I came up with. I had these wonderful ribbon roses and dear friend had hand-died and made for me. I had been hording them for the right project, I am soo glad I did. I just glued some ribbon and the roses on the shade. To add to the rose theme, I had this crochet collar that has these little roses on them. It is hard to see in the picture the but the roses have two rows of petals on them. The collar just slide over the shade. A match made in heaven. This is my lamp next to my side of the bed, on a old doll's changing table that was made by a friend for his daughter. It works great for a side table. So what lamp-shade can you gussy up ????????


Raspberry Galette

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We have moved on from strawberry heaven (I have 70 pounds in my freezer) to raspberry heaven. I am busy putting raspberries into lots of things. This raspberry galette was a big hit. It is sooooooo easy to make.  But there is just a few things I want to say about the recipe. Of course!!! I am so sorry my recipes posts are always so long but there is a lot I want to say about the recipes. I really want you readers to understand what I am doing and why. I get a lot of questions about recipes and the thing I see over and over again is that people do not understand what they are doing. It is sort of like math. You can do the equation but you do not get why or what you are doing. I think if everyone understood cooking better they would feel more confident.

So first of all a galette is a French term for a cake or tart, often filled. What I made is also called a free-form tart because I just slap a piece of dough on the parchment paper, filled it with filling and pull up the sides. It is not precise or perfect, as you can see with mine.

It is usually made with a pie crust but mine is made with puff-pastry. And there is a good reason why. Puff-pastry cooks faster and that is important in this recipe because we are using fresh raspberries. You do not want these raspberries to cook long. You do want them to cook but still mainten some shape. So puff-pastry is perfect for berries or fruit that really does not need a long time cooking. Like peaches and plums.

The other thing is use only fresh berries, not frozen. The fresh berries extract a bit of juice but frozen ones, would extract a LOT and this crust can not hold a lot of juice. It would be running all over the place. so no frozen.   

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1: Roll out a defrosted sheet of puff-pastry to size you want. Do not worry about the shape. Put pastry on a sheet of parchment paper (it will make life so much easier to get the pastry of the sheet after you bake it). Set in the center enough fresh berries but keep a good 2 inches around side clear. I use about 2 pints here.

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2: Just fold edge over berries and sprinkle with sugar. I also sprinkled the bottom of the crust with sugar before I set the berries on it. Put galette on a cookie sheet or flat pan and set in fridge for 1/2 hour to let the dough rehard. Then it will puff better. While galette is in fridge Pre-heat oven.

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3: Bake as package directs. Mine was 400 for 20 minutes. Pull out and cool. Serve with a generous dollop of homemade whipped cream and more fresh berries. I really like having the contrast of the cooked berries and the fresh berries with the yummy whipped cream (with a dash of cassis in the cream. Framboise would also be good but I did not have any) sandwhiched in between the berries. Some grated chocolate over the top when it first came out of the oven would be lovely too !!!