Tuesday, November 24, 2015

After the Storm

The bright blue sky, air so fresh and crisp, snow smooth and sparkly. 
Don't you love how bright the world is after a storm? 

 I took these photos Sunday morning after the storm. For being the first snow, it was quite the storm! We went from a warm lingering Autumn to mid-winter overnight.We ended up with only about 8" of snow. Though the predictions were all over from 3" to 12". 

 Because the temperature was so warm when the storm came through, the first bit of snow melted and formed lovely icicles

The little apple tree snow draped.

Isn't Frosty cute? Mom moved him to the backyard for a joke, but I think he might be our new backyard Christmas decoration! 

Friday, November 20, 2015

An Antiquing Mis-Adventure

This is the story of an English sugar pot and how it came home with me.
 I wasn't really looking for a sugar pot, English or otherwise, that day. It was just a pleasant afternoon browsing around the antique shop with my mom and sister.

Poking at the variety of objects, some old- some not so old, turning over a dish here, lifting up an item there, peering into the corners to see what treasures might be lurking in the shadows.

But when I lifted an English sugar pot the unthinkable happened....... the lid slipped between my fingers and smashed into pieces.

As I collected the bits of china I checked the price tag and sighed, of course it was expensive. Thankfully, even expensive sugar pots are not too expensive. But under normal circumstances I wouldn't have bought it at that price.

In all my years of antiquing, that was the very first time I have dropped anything. I was a bit mortified. Curiously enough, I kept hearing little bangs and crashes all afternoon while we were shopping. And my sister reached up to take down an item and some sort of  giant wooden handled knife fell on my head. Thankfully, it wasn't breakable.
Maybe it was a phase of the moon.....

I now have one very pretty, but expensive button container. 
I certainly wasn't going to let that money go to waste! So I glued all the pieces back together and it now sits on my sewing table.

It's a very pretty pot, even if it now is slightly defective.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I may be a bit early.......

I am a bit early, but I have started my Christmas baking! I happened to be in a store with good prices on dried fruit and decided to stock up for fruit cake making and I thought, why not go ahead and get a start on the actual baking? Fruitcake freezes really well and I always make it right after Thanksgiving. 
I also wanted to share a little tip. This time I tried lining the bottoms of Un-greased pans with  parchment paper. It works beautifully!! The paper keeps the loaf in one piece and I didn't have any problems with corners or one sticky cranberry stuck to the bottom. I don't know why I didn't try this before! But I don't normally keep parchment paper around the house and lining pans always seemed a bit fiddly. Another bonus, the pans are a lot cleaner, so quicker to wash!

Christmas Cranberry Cake (Fruit Cake)
1 1/2 cups butter
3 cups brown sugar
6 eggs
3/4 tsp baking powder
3 cups flour
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup dried pineapple
1 cup other dried fruits such as kiwi, papaya, mango, passion fruit (optional)
1 1/2 cups chopped apple
1 1/2 (12 oz) bags fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup walnuts
Mix all dried and fresh fruit in a bowl. Stir 1 cup of flour into fruit and set aside. In large bowl cream together butter and sugar, then add eggs. Mix in flour and baking powder. Fold fruit mixture into batter. Line the bottom of un-greased pans with parchment paper, bake at 275 degrees for about 35-45 mins.
(To see the original post with more info on the fruit I use, see this post.)

After having a sunny and mild autumn, we are finally having typical November weather, dark and rainy. Which just makes me want to bake yummy things! 
Anyone else craving gingerbread cookies??

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Rock Bun Recipe

Have you ever heard of Rock Buns? I hadn't until reading Jane Brocket's blog and books. (Her wonderful blog is at Yarmstorm Press.)
Rock Buns are a traditional English tea cake filled with dried fruit and a craggy lumpy exterior. Something akin to a scone, but chock full of dried fruit with lemon and nutmeg. Even though the name is a little off putting, these little cakes are anything like rocks! And they are my new favorite treat! 

Rock Buns
from Vintage Cakes by Jane Brocket

                         scant 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
                         2 teaspoons baking powder
                         1/2 teaspoon salt
                         a good grating of fresh nutmeg
                         generous 3/4 cup light brown sugar
                         3 1/2 - 5 1/2 ounces undyed candied cherries
                         3/4 cup raisins
                         scant 1/2 cup golden raisins or 9 - 10 1/2 ounces mixed dried fruit 
                              (according to taste and what's in the cupboard)
                         finely grated zest of 1 lemon
                         3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter at room temperature
                         1 large egg
                         1-2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the dried fruit. (If you are using candied cherries, rinse, dry and chop. I just used dried cherries.) Mix raisins, cherries and fruit in a small bowl with the lemon zest. (I used a bag of mixed fruit I had in the cupboard; cherries, blueberries and cranberries; along with the raisins.)

In a large bowl sift the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add the sugar and stir a couple of times. 

Add the butter to the flour mixture and use your finger to rub the flour and butter together until the mix resembles find sand with no lumps of butter remaining. Stir in the dried fruit.

Crack the egg into a small bowl or cup, add a tablespoon of milk and mix with a fork until combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour egg mixture in and mix with a fork. Mix quickly and lightly until the ingredients come together in a slightly sticky dough. Do not overwork. If it is still on the dry and crumbly side add more milk very sparingly. Be careful not to make too wet. 

Using your hands or 2 forks, pile the mixture into 12 piles on the prepared sheet. (A parchment lined baking sheet was recommended, but I just used a greased pan and it worked fine.)  Bake in the preheated oven 25 minutes until the buns are golden brown, with the tiniest hint of doughiness in the center. They will continue to cook when you have taken them out of the oven. Transfer to a wire rack and let the buns cool (although they are delicious warm - not hot- with a a glass of milk or a cup of tea!)

I love all the dried fruit in these! And the hint of lemon accented it nicely. (I used a dash of lemon extract instead of the zest. No fresh lemons in the house!)

Ready for Tea?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Socks- Handknit by Beehive 1940

I picked up this sock booklet at an estate sale recently. Dated 1940, it is full of  socks for every age and type! And since the Fall is the perfect time to start stocking up on socks or working on Christmas presents, I decided to share it today.

"Beehive Sock Yarn is Distinguished for is neat footwork!" 

I love the lace topped sock in the right-hand corner. Hopefully, someday I will get around to making them! (The pattern is scanned at the bottom.) They are labeled as children's socks, but I am sure there is a way to adapt them.

Argyle socks look like they would take a bit more concentration. But I agree, they are "Perennially Smart"!

And what pattern book of this era would be complete without a Service Sock!

The pattern for the lace topped socks.

So, what type of socks do you love? Plain and simple? Something with a bit of dash? Or a smart argyle?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Have-Done-List 2015

Here is this year's Have-Done List!
 Not as much got done this year, but there is not a lot of major projects left to do! This summer was mostly windows and even though I only posted twice about them, we worked on windows many many weekends. 


Autumn Leaves

This fall is just whirling by! I haven't really decorated much, but Mandy hung leaves across the windows. Which is a brilliantly simple decoration and a perfect touch of fall in the living room and dinning room. 

 All is took was a walk through the park to collect leaves, wax paper and an iron to wax the leaves so they keep their color a bit longer, and some string and mini clothespins.

 I love them hanging across the windows! And the colors are beautiful.

Looking through the window to the porch, where there is also a touch of fall, mini pumpkins.