Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Snowy Week

 This past week our area was engulfed in a snow storm. We had record snow for the month of March, the third most in history! The snow began falling Tuesday morning and fell continuously through Tuesday and Wednesday.
 Since we have had a mild winter so far it seemed fitting to have a snowstorm of this measure. It just wouldn't be winter without snow! ; )
 While the snow fell I was busy doing a number of things. I was able to finish a doily I began last month. It had been such a long time since I crocheted a doily. As a teenager I crocheted one doily after another. My new doily is now gracing our dining room table under an oil lamp.
   A bouquet of bonnets! One of my tasks for our business this week, in addition to a couple of dresses.
 One of my favorite treats is chocolate and peanut butter. I make no-bake cookies almost every week for Jemimah, as they are her favorite, but this week I made a treat I haven't made in years. It is a very simple recipe! You simply combine 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup peanut butter and 1/2 cup honey in a saucepan. Heat these ingredients until melted. Add 1/2 cup of cocoa and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Combine well, then pour into lined muffin tins, filling the tins halfway or less. Chill in the refrigerator until set.
 I also made chocolate granola for the first time. I used a basic recipe, then added pecans and chia seeds. It is delicious combined with coffee yogurt.
 Winston was rather disturbed by the storm. He loves spending time outside. One morning he stole one of Jemimah's little toy horses. Jemimah didn't think he should be allowed to steal her horse, but I was able to convince her to share. I think Winston fancied the horse to be a bit like a mouse, the sizes were close. : )
 Jemimah didn't mind the storm, she enjoyed watching the snow fall. Each day she has a number of projects to work on such as her "cookie dough" aka Play-Doh.
 One book we especially enjoyed this week was "Corgiville Fair" by Tasha Tudor. I had won the book in a drawing at a Tasha Tudor tea we attended two years ago. At that time Jemimah was too little to enjoy the book, I had tucked it away for a later date. Coming across it recently I decided Jemimah would like it now, and she certainly did! Even after I had finished reading a page she would go back through to study the illustrations and point out all of the bunnies.
I just finished reading "The Dim Lantern" by Temple Bailey this week. It was a sweet story set in the early 1920's soon after World War I. It was written in 1922 and if you like books of that era I would recommend Temple Bailey. This is the third book I have read by her, and each has been beautifully written.

Did you see much snow this week?

May you have a blessed and restful weekend!

"For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not there, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater." Isaiah 55:10


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Tea with Granny Sweater

It has been awhile since I shared a knitting project, and it is high time I took pictures of this sweet little sweater! It was technically completed in November, and Jemimah has enjoyed wearing the sweater since then. I waited, though, as its sometimes difficult to find the perfect buttons to complement a garment. I had used some wood buttons I had on hand, but the mahogany color clashed with the "Tea Rose" wool.
I used the pattern "Granny's Favorite", which can be found here. "Granny's Favorite" is truly a sweet design! It was a pleasure to knit and the pattern was easy to follow. My only complication was my choice of yarn! 

Prior to last year I had never purchased yarn on-line. I enjoy the experience of perusing the yarn section of JoAnn's or, even better, the local yarn shop. However after seeing that so many knitters were ordering yarn on-line I thought I would go ahead and give it a try too. In my exuberance of having 150 colors to choose from I did not think to look at the yarn's weight and accidentally purchased fingering weight yarn. When then yarn arrived, I realized my mistake. I decided to hold two strands of yarn together while knitting. This worked out quite well, except for the yoke section. The lace pattern of the yoke required a little extra attention and my doubled yarn was a bit confusing. But in the end it all worked out!
I really love the details of this sweater! It is a pattern I hope to knit again and again. I eventually found the perfect buttons on Etsy here. I was looking for a natural wood button, but wanted something a little more unique than a standard round button.
Due to my yarn mistake this sweater ended up being extra thick and warm, which is just what Jemimah has needed this past week! Winter has definitely returned to our area. I am hoping to begin work on a new springtime cardigan for Jemimah this week.

May you have a blessed start to your week!

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." 
Romans 15:13

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Coffee Yogurt

Today I am excited to share with you how I make coffee yogurt. Over the past several years I found myself placing one little container of yogurt after another on the conveyor belt of the grocery store check out. I would sometimes calculate just how much of my grocery budget was spent on yogurt each week! Needless to say my husband, daughter and I love yogurt. For several years now coffee yogurt has been my favorite flavor. It is not too sweet, but at the same time it is not so tart as plain yogurt. To me, coffee yogurt is just right. : )

Over the past year or two I have read several articles about making yogurt at home. There were so many different ways of making yogurt I became overwhelmed. Finally this year I decided to go ahead, combine a few ideas and give homemade yogurt a try!
To start you need to bring one quart of whole milk to 200 degrees. I am using a candy thermometer, all temperatures are in Fahrenheit. 

You can very easily increase your batch size. Most of the time I purchase a half gallon of milk to make a large batch of yogurt, but for this post I will use measurements scaled down to a one quart batch.
Once the milk has reached 200 degree remove the milk from the heat. At this point I add 4 teaspoons of instant coffee and a 1/4 cup of maple syrup.

If you would prefer to make plain yogurt, then add nothing at this point.

Now wait for the milk to cool to 115 degrees. This may take awhile. I usually check on the temperature every 15 minutes or so. It generally takes over half an hour for the milk to cool to 115 degrees.
While your milk is cooling prepare a measuring cup with 1/2 cup of plain or vanilla yogurt. Each time I make yogurt  I set some aside for my next batch of yogurt.

Once your milk has reached 115 degrees pour about a cup of milk over the yogurt in the measuring cup. This will temper the yogurt. Gently stir the milk and yogurt together. Then add the yogurt mixture to the rest of the milk and stir.
Now you are ready to pour the yogurt/milk mixture into a jar. Gently screw on the lid, making sure it is not too tight.
The next step is to make sure your yogurt is well covered in towels. This helps the yogurt retain heat for incubation. Then place the yogurt in the oven with the oven light on.

Now there are many means of incubating yogurt. That was one of the reasons I felt confused when first reading about making yogurt. So if your oven does not have a light, or you simply would prefer a different means of incubation there are many to choose from. : )

I generally prepare my yogurt right after dinner and then place the yogurt in my oven over night. From what I have read you want to make sure it has at least 8-10 hours to ferment.
Once morning arrives I have a lovely jar of yogurt to greet me! At this point I place the yogurt in the refrigerator to chill. It is ready to eat later in the day.

It is a delicious treat, so creamy! Adam loves to eat his yogurt with granola in the morning. Jemimah enjoys plain yogurt with homemade jam. It is truly a blessing to see my family enjoy the yogurt I make here at home! Not only am I saving money, but I am sure my homemade coffee yogurt contains less sugar than the store bought. Plus it is much easier to add an extra half gallon of milk to my cart than a number of little yogurt containers.

I hope this post has been helpful. If any of you try making your own yogurt please let me know! : )







Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sleeve Ironing Boards and a Pincushion

 Some time ago I shared the story of my vintage sleeve ironing board. Since then Adam has witnessed just how much I use my sleeve ironing board, and was inspired to try making one. It turned out so nicely he decided to make another.
A sleeve ironing board is extremely handy when sewing baby clothes, doll clothes and for pressing hard to reach seams, such as a sleeve seams. Over the years I have learned that ironing is a very important part of sewing and has a great impact on the outcome of the finished garment.
  Both sleeve boards are available to purchase through my Etsy shop. The sleeve board pictured above is available through this listing, while the board with the unbleached muslin cover is available here.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/500723728/old-fashioned-hand-embroidered-calico?ref=shop_home_active_2
  I had just enough of the calico left to sew a matching pincushion. When my mom and I first started our business my mom made several pincushions in this style. They were always a well loved item. The size is very convenient for a number of pins and needles.
  The pincushion is embellished with hand embroidered rose bullions and leaves.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

African Violets

I have many fond memories from my youth of my grandma growing African violets. She took great pleasure in showing us her violets as they bloomed and thrived in her kitchen window. There were a few times grandma gave us violets she had propagated from her own plants, unfortunately they never lived very long in our home due to our cats. My sisters and I had 1-2 cats each!
Last winter I purchased two African violets in addition to a Christmas cactus. I was pleasantly surprised to see all three plants thrive in my kitchen window! Since then I have added two more African violets to my collection.
Throughout the cold winter months it gives me such joy to see flowers blossoming in my kitchen! Just to see some green this time of green is a blessing! : ) Some of the plants in this picture are blossoming now; they all seem to stagger a bit in their flowering cycle.

We have been surprised with an unseasonably warm weekend. All of the snow has melted and we have enjoyed spending time outside. We are brimming with excitement dreaming of spring coming just around the corner, hopefully!

" He hath made every thing beautiful in His time." Ecclesiastes 3:11a


Monday, February 13, 2017

Stuffed Pepper Soup

 Throughout the winter months I usually make a batch of soup every week. Some of my favorite recipes over the past few years have been chicken soup, cabbage soup and cheeseburger soup. This year my sister Rachel shared one of her new favorite recipes- stuffed pepper soup. Last fall I had given my sister a couple jars of my homemade spaghetti sauce. Rachel used the spaghetti sauce in her stuffed pepper soup, in fact she said that  homemade spaghetti sauce made the soup even  more delicious. Since I had several bags of frozen peppers in my freezer, and jars of spaghetti sauce and tomatoes in my pantry I thought it would be a great recipe to try!

Stuffed Pepper Soup:

  • 1 cup rice (prepare with water amount recommended) 
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cups frozen chopped green peppers, thawed
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained 
  • 1 can (14 ounces) beef broth
Directions:
Prepare rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook the beef, green peppers and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, tomatoes, broth and prepared rice; heat through. 

As you can see this is a super fast and easy recipe to prepare! You may use white, brown or long grain rice; they all taste great in this soup. I sprinkle a little parmesan cheese on top of the soup before serving.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we have! Do you have a favorite soup recipe you have prepared this winter? 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

"Little House" Birthday

Over the past year and a half Jemimah Rose has discovered the charm of Laura Ingalls Wilder's beautiful "Little House" books. One day while shopping at a local Mennonite store I purchased one of the "Little House" picture books for Jemimah. She was immediately captivated.
Last summer while shopping at a quilting store I found some lovely "Little House" fabric designed by Andover. I purchased it with a special plan in mind. In September Jemimah turned two and my gift to her was her own pioneer dress, bonnet and pinafore. The dress and bonnet were both sewn from the "Little House" fabric I had purchased earlier in the year.
I hand embroidered the pinafore yoke and added purple ric-rac to the collar. I noticed while watching the "Little House" T.V. series that they often used ric-rac.
Jemimah was delighted when she opened up her special outfit and new "Little House" picture book! It gave me such joy to see my little darling run about the yard on her birthday wearing the outfit I had sewn. For many years my mom and I have sewn pioneer outfits for little girls all over the world through our business The Scarlet Thread. It was a wonderful feeling to see my own daughter enjoying something I have enjoyed for so many years.
 I have so many grand memories of my mom reading the "Little House" series to my sisters and me by the warmth of the wood stove on a winter day. One year she made all three of us pioneer dresses when we attended a one room school house for a day. We were so excited to prepare our own "pioneer" lunch of homemade bread, cheese, meat and homemade butter. We took great delight in making the butter. Mom had a cassette tape of "Little House" fiddle music. We filled canning jars with cream, a pinch of salt and a clothes pin. We had such fun dancing around the table shaking our jars of cream to the fiddle music.
I am grateful to share and create such sweet memories with my own little girl. And I am so pleased to have a fellow "Little House" fan! : )
"This is what the Lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16a