Posts tagged ‘gift’

July 21, 2011

Neglected Blog

A little neglect may breed great mischief. – Benjamin Franklin

More business is lost every year through neglect than through any other cause. – Rose Kennedy

A man should never neglect his family for business. – Walt Disney

My blog is suffering from wanton neglect – even my daffodils seem to be wilting…

When making your choice in life, do not neglect to live. – Samuel Johnson

Well, at least, I can say I’ve been living:)


Gloria Dei vivens homo. (The glory of God is man fully alive.) – St. Irenaeus

Whether a dainty cupcake, a massive painting, a mini-mermaid tail or a woolly pair of socks – when I create, I am fully alive!

Magic bubble wands and fluffy tulle – that’s what little girls are made of!

The foundation of my hamburger cake design…

My booth at the Strawberry Festival…

And, my painting…

Sadly, I’ve a neglected blog.  On the flip side, I’m feeling ALIVE!

Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. 1 Timothy 4:14

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May 26, 2011

Danish Dough Hook & 5 Minute Artisan Bread

When I’m at the library, I naturally gravitate to the cookbook section and absolutely lose myself among the stacks. My two younger sons go to their storytime and/or bookclubs & I play, play, play… I love library day:)

A promising book leapt from the shelves – Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, MD, and Zoe Francois. This book made the cut and landed in the library bag.  After taking copious notes and reading it cover-to-cover, I reluctantly returned it. Shortly afterward, I found this website (http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/) and was thrilled to discover I could find all the information I needed right there.

Five minutes a day – yes and no.  Yes, it just takes minutes to prepare the bread on baking day.  But, no, you must dedicate some time to the process i.e. 40 minute rise, 25 minute bake.  Regardless, it just what I needed it to be: some tasty dough available each day for fresh baked bread.

Does anyone else get about 5 different flours for their birthday? No? Really? I’m sorry…

My new bread bucket that just fits in my refridgerator…

My new Danish Dough Hook (Happy Birthday to me!) really does the trick…

I doubled the recipe, mixed it up and now it’s ready for the rise…

Wow – that’s a lot of dough! This should make 8 1-pound loaves of artisan bread…

Already developing a sour dough smell – I’m in heaven…

Instead of making one loaf, I opted for a few smaller rolls…

The result: A fantastic bread with a crust that literally sings when broken (remember Ratatouille?)

Hot bread, fresh from my baking stone, anyone?

Give us each day our daily bread.  Luke 11:3

May 19, 2011

Meet Betty

Let me introduce you to Betty…

She’s my new scrubber, a birthday gift from my 4 year old niece, Cadence.  Just thinking about Cadence with her cute little red glasses and enormous personality makes me smile.  I understand Cadence.  Well, apparently, she picked this particular scrub brush because she thought it resembled her, “Auntie Jane” – so funny!!  Cadence understands me.

I named my scrub brush, “Betty,” in honor of…

“Betty!”

Graeme needed a “girl” when he played cowboys (“I need a gurl” – not sure where this came from, but okay) so I created “Betty” from a chair, boxes, pompoms, nightgown, scarf and paper.  He even picked her name.  I laugh still because it’s so fitting a name for a cowgirl.

Back to Betty & me…  Betty reminds me of Vivian, and I’ve always thought Vivian Leigh is a vision of perfect beauty. Truth be told, I wanted to be Vivian.  In this stunning red dress (the most amazing dress ever fashioned!), she’s simply gorgeous…

Well, Vivian & Betty remind me of this ravishing red kitchen…  Wouldn’t Betty the scrub brush (who can’t be used EVER because it would completely muss up her hairdo) just love being a showpiece here?

A girl can dream, right?  I’m crazy in love with the red Aga oven – my dream appliance (**deep sigh**).  Sometimes, I catch Betty just staring out the window.  I think she’s dreaming, too.

“Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. Genesis 37:19

April 1, 2011

Show & Tell: Brotform Proofing Basket

I’ve always LOVED school and when I was a little girl “show and tell” was the ultimate!  I especially loved “show and tell” right after Christmas and my birthday.  Here’s the beginning of my grow-up version – self-indulgence at it’s best!  I received so many lovely and thoughtful gifts for my birthday a few weeks ago.

Two summers ago, I set out to really learn and understand yeast-based baking.  I’d baked before, but I really wanted something more like a class.  So, I checked out many, many books from the local library (and order others) on bread baking.  Some titles I read included The Bread Makers Apprentice, Crust and Crumb and Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads.  I read these books cover-to-cover and tried many new techniques and recipes (Poolish and Biga bread starters).  My head ached from all the new information, but I loved the journey.

In my study, I discovered the beauty and usefulness of bread proofing bowls.  Well, guess what I got for my birthday this year?  Yes, a Brotform Proofing Basket!!  Love it and I used it as soon as I could….

Not a great pix – but isn’t it just lovely?

My sour-dough bread dough (and do you see my organic bread cloth beside it? *smile*)…

I baked it on my bread stone – look at those pretty lines…

Looks beautiful and tastes yummy!

More show & tell to come…

You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit. Job 10:12

March 29, 2011

Eureka Experience

Last year, I had a EUREKA experience about gift giving. For one thing, the gap between what I wanted to give and my budget widened last year when I made the leap from earning a paycheck to full-time homemaking. Additionally, I love unique, beautiful, handmade, quality, excellent and inspired creations. With many art, fashion, design, textile and decorating classes (and several degrees) under my belt, my taste runs toward the expensive, the artsy and the just plain different from every other Joe. Also, I was just plain tired of “Made in China,” big box retailers,  and the overly franchised everything – UGH!

Like I said, I had a moment.  It was one of those moments where you just want to pinch yourself really, really hard and ask “what is your problem?”  Why not make gifts? Okay, it’d been a few years since I’d sewn and I’m not feeling as artsy as I was say in college. But, it wouldn’t be “Made in China,” it would be unique, it would be personal, and it would be FUN!

And, then I got the brilliant idea of making things in fours.  With 8 nieces and 4 sons – easy math!  I’ve 4 nieces who are between the ages of 13 and 21, and 4 between ages 3 and 7.  This simple idea revolutionized my whole world and I was inspired (so much easier to do life when you’re inspired!).  Now instead of agonizing over what I’m going to get for so-and-so, I have a plan and I’m constantly finding tutorials, patterns and ideas for my next series of fours.

Last summer, I began my journey with four sundresses each with a matching doll dress for my younger nieces.  They were so cute I wanted to keep them all – my sons thought I was a little touched by that point. At that point, I realized my skill-level needs to dramatically increase to compete with the demands of my demanding & creative side….

Well before Thanksgiving, I’d my holiday gifts planned and I was so excited for the Season (a big coup for me). Christmas was probably the least stressful and more enjoyable I’ve had in years.  I’ll have to blog about Mermaid Land sometime in the future – it was grand!

I’ve started my next round of gifts for the older nieces and had earlier bookmarked a really fun pattern – here.  It’s a reversible purse so I needed fun fabrics….

The pattern was really easy to follow and I loved the results!

Please excuse the really old and ugly ironing board cover…  I’ve found some patterns to replace it, but that project is toward the bottom of the list right now:)

I’m really not sure 4 is enough….  I may have to make a few more for kicks!

How about you?  How are you breaking free today from the norm and finding freedom in the challenging and unchartered waters of your life?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1a

May 6, 2010

Breakfast in Bed: Green Style

Perhaps Breakfast in Bed this year should be a bit more…. green….

I just love Zen tea by Tazo – a tasty green tea with a touch of spearment which soothes the tummy and calms the nerves (hence the name)….

And these pretty, potted tea cups from Holy Mountain… I also have a beautiful hand-potted, green tea set. Asian inspired, it includes a bamboo handled pot and a whimsical twist – all the pieces are little green turtles. It’s stunning and a cherished wedding present from a dear friend/mentor. This image also reminds me of my niece who also makes stunning and award-winning handcrafted pottery (she’s incredible!).

These pretty napkins from Etsy completely tie everything together…

And a bamboo tray from Target….

Breakfast in Bed Green-style would not be complete without a yummy asparagus dish. Reminiscent of bamboo, this irresistible green veggie completes the Asian motif. Buy organic asparagus and heighten the greenness (is that even a word?) of this gift.  The perfect recipe is the Asparagus and Leek with Gruyere Quiche from Martha Stewart – delicious! Make it the day before in little tart pans, plate and reheat – it’s that simple (plus you can freeze some for later…).

Add some flowers with simple lines (a single lily or a bunch of tulips), some Green & Black chocolate (organic and fair-trade certified), some exotic fruit, a little yogurt and you’ve a divine celebration of MOM!

For a special hand-made Mother’s Day card, how about an acronym:

G – Gorgeous, You’re make everything gorgeous because…

R – Regal, Our home is a regal palace because…

E – Every, Every day you make me happy because…

E – Each, Each day I thank God for you because…

N – Near, I love when you’re near because…

As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you. Isaiah 66:13

May 4, 2010

Breakfast in Bed: A Mother’s Day tradition

Breakfast in Bed is a Mother’s Day tradition. My children started blessing me when they were still wee guys with Breakfast in Bed usually consisting of buttered toast with jam, Earl Grey tea, and lovely handwritten notes. Whatever the fare and presentation, I felt lavished with love on those special mornings.

With Mother’s Day approaching, here are some images and thoughts on what Breakfast in Bed might just look like this year…

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Theme:

Tiffany Blue Teacup (not mine, but a girl can dream…)A Silver Tray (mine is similar)White RosesTiffany Blue Cloth Napkins from Etsy

Sweet decadence in Tiffany blue

With a presentation this stunning, a simple muffin and banana would appear haute cuisine. Add a little more elegance and authenticity, and place a pain au chocolat on a plain white plate. And the icing on the cake…. A well-written love note to Mother expressing love and devotion – You make me smile because… My favorite memory with you… You inspire me because…

Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars. The Father doesn’t change like the shifting shadows produced by the sun and the moon. James 1:!7