Wednesday, January 25, 2023


Cranberry pear crumble from Southern Living.  It's so good.  It was in either the November or December issue.

Brought to you by me because I can.

About a week ago my laptop lost internet access, no network choices, no nothing.  And today, I fixed it.  Yay! me!  In the interim, I'm been using an old laptop but I've been limited in what I could do.  I am so relieved.

I've decided that the end of January will mark the end of my decluttering process.  Just one more week.  For all that I've donated and discarded, things look pretty much the same and that amazes me.  Except for the attic, that looks a lot different.

This last week it's the sewing room, and that's as daunting as the rest.  I'm glad, though, that it's me going through everything and not someone else.  That could be humiliating. 

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Changing Things


My kitchen is small.  It's hard to know where to put things and make the most of the space.

I've had the spices in a cabinet over the stove, but I've felt bad when Winnie comes to visit because she loves to cook, and she isn't tall.  (Although she never complained.)  And like everyone else, I had expired spices in that spice box

So for now, most of the spices are resting in a drawer.  I can see what I have, and that's nice.  I still have some containers that are too big to fit there, so it isn't a perfect fix.

I've been working, really working, on getting rid of things I no longer use.  I did that once, when I moved here fifteen years ago, but I've accumulated things since I've lived here.  And I moved some things I never should have even brought with me.

It's slow going, and it's a sad process.  Things change.  I no longer need all those back issues of Quilting Arts because my quilting is different now.  Sadly, I took the things out of the tote that the grands called the art box and which would come out on a regular basis.  They probably don't even remember the art box.

That electric griddle, which I loved, had to go.  I had dreams of having people over for brunch like I did in my past life, but not this one.  How many store-bought quilts do I really need?  How many spools of half-used ribbon?  And why did I think I needed to save those sewing machine boxes?

Even though it's sad going, I'm moving toward my goal.  I want to be able to go into my little attic and easily find exactly what I'm looking for.  I want my basement floor to look uncluttered.  I want to go into my sewing room and not find things on the floor.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Baking Tonight

 Joanne was blogging a day or two ago about finding a recipe for oatmeal bread, and it just happens that I'm baking oatmeal bread tonight for a potluck tomorrow.

This is my favorite bread recipe ever, and I've made so many loaves over the years.  It's from More With Less by Doris Jansen Longacre.  I think most of my Mennonite friends have this cookbook and we all have our favorite recipes from it. 

The next recipe after Oatmeal Bread is a wonderful Cornmeal Yeast Bread. 

My cookbook was a gift from my mother, and it was copywrited in 1976.  You can get an updated version from Amazon or from Ten Thousand Villages. 

For rising, I usually turn my oven to 150 degrees, then turn it off before putting in the dough. 

Oatmeal Bread

Combine in a large bowl:  1 cup quick oats, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 tablespoons butter.

Pour 2 cups boiling water over the mixture and stir to combine.

Dissolve 1 package dry years in 1/2 cup warm water.  When the oatmeal batter is cooled to lukewarm, add the yeast.

Stir in 5 cups white flour.  (I usually use 4 3/4 cups.)

When the dough is stiff enough to handle, turn on to a floured surface and kneed 5 - 10 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled.  Punch down and let rise again.  Shape into two loaves and place in greased 9 x 5 x 3" pans.  Let the loaves rise.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes.  Cool on rack, brushing loaves with butter for a soft crust.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Wonderful Advent Calendar

I was gifted this Advent Calendar from Sarah and Winnie.  Nine little windows with a little jar of jam or honey behind each.  The glass jars have red and white gingham-looking lids.  Yesterday's jam was peach apricot.

I've had some overdue alterations to do.  One was a pair of black denim jeans with a really heavy side seam.  It was the first time I've seen my new sewing machine in action for thick fabrics.  The needle  acts like a jack hammer, pounding through the thicknesses.  A little disconcerting but it worked well.

I've loved, loved my Viking Quilt Designer for many years.  It has a smaller platform that I've always appreciated, and it sews like a dream.  For alterations, it's been my go-to.  Yesterday, though, I decided to put it into semi-retirement.  It will come out for retreats and for hemming dainty cuffs and other small things.

My newer machines also sew like a dream, and they have LED lighting.  That's a big deal when sewing dark fabrics.  Their touch screens are much larger, and the new one has a needle threading system that I could only have dreamed of.  At a touch of a button, the needle is threaded.

It will take a while to get used to the empty space on the table where the Quilt Designer used to sit.  It's sewn a million miles and deserves a rest.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Restoration Banner


The beginning of a series banner.

A long time ago friends gifted me with a piece of an old tattered quilt.  It's lived in a dresser drawer until now, when I used it in a banner for a Restoration series.  It's the piece on the top.

That was the first week of four.  Week two had a few more strips, and week three a new quilt piece with little squares.

Week four, above, had little surface pieces added to make the new piece like the old one.  Kind of.  I embroidered lace snowflakes for more antique-y effect.

And now, it's a new day and I need to get it out of my car and deconstruct it.  Maybe tomorrow for that.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Happy New Year!

 From my favorite author, Silas House:

New Year Prayer

Find a body of water, and be still beside it for a time.
Build a fire and watch the flames.
Sit on the porch.
Lie on the grass.
Light candles.
Take a deep breath.
Write a letter to someone.
Discover something new everyday.
Tell stories
Listen to old people.
Ask them questions.
Give to others when you can and treat yourself occasionally.
Read real books and newspapers.
Always buy the grocery store flowers if they catch your eye.
Remember there is power in moderation.
Learn to cook or bake a new dish.
Enjoy every meal.
Savor your food.
Drink water.
Every chance you get, hold a baby.
When the opportunity arises, dance.
Always swim or wade in the water.
Study leaves.
At least once this year, pee outside.
Be completely quiet.
Turn your favorite song up loud.
Sing along.
If someone makes you feel bad all the time, get away from them.
Laugh with others.
Laugh when you're alone.
Spend time with animals.
Don't judge.
Think this:  "There  but for the grace of God go I" or "Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
Forgive others.
Forgive yourself.

And I'll add another:  Read a book by Silas House.  You won't be sorry.

Happy New Year!