Monday, December 19, 2011

Tee Shirt Scarves

My Art and Soul Group makes some sort of craft item a couple times a year but we are always looking for at least one gift we can make at Christmas time. This year Judi showed us how to make tee-shirt scarves.

I found that out of one X-large men's crew neck tee, without side seams, I could get 2 bracelets, 1 scarf and 8 circles (quart paint can size) for a flower.
If you have a rotary cutter it will make the job faster and easier.

Spread the tee out so that it is smooth and even. Cut about 1 inch apart thru one side of the tee but stop at least 1 inch from the other side. Do this for the body of the shirt and the sleeves see red lines.

Gently stretch each loop out it will turn into a string.

On one end choose 6 strings and cut one side only next to the top edge. Now you will have 6 long strings connected at the top. Separate by 2's and braid, when you reach the end leave about 8 inches of fringe and tie off the ends.

Now run your hand thru the middle of the uncut edge and gather together so you have one big circle and the single braid. Then grasp the end of the braid and loop it up making a shorter circle inside the large circle of strings.

You can then use the longest string of fringe from the braid to wind around the part gathered in your hand to bind it off. When you have covered the uncut edges then pull the end back thru to tie off.

You now have a tee shirt scarf!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Winter Photo Session with Alice and Jason

View complete photos HERE.

It was a perfect winter afternoon to take photographs. It is a week before Christmas and the weather required only a light jacket, just enough sun was peeking thru the clouds to get some wonderful shots of this lovely couple. These are just a couple photos from their session. We later learned that there was a black bear and 2 cubs in the woods just above us. Too bad they didn't show up in any of the photos but I'm certainly glad they stayed away from us.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Penguins

On Sunday mornings, I stop at my friend Terena's house to pick up eggs. (They are the best tasting eggs in the world and supply is limited so I am not going to tell you where to find her, HA). When I got out of the car I was greeted by the cutest group of birds EVER! If you look closely you will be able to see where the chickens have visited the penguins and left a surprizing amount of feathers behind. I guess they were upset that these fine birds took over the yard.

Can you tell what she used to make them?
Here's a hint: old bottles, acrylic paint, cardboard, felt and I think the hats and scarves are from dolls or little socks. I bet they belong to her daughter, Morgan. hmmm I've got a bunch of little socks left over from making sock snowmen one year now I know what to do with them.

Kudo's to Terena for once again coming up with a novel idea that brought a smile to my face.

And thank you Terena for raising the bird house a little higher so I don't hit my head anymore!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sourdough Cranberry Walnut Bread

This is a no Knead Bread, easy to make and my husband's favorite breakfast bread. I have my own starter that I keep in the fridge. There are a couple of sites that I like for recipes and instructions. and You should be able to find instructions there about the stretch and fold method and starting your own starter.
This third picture is of the dough after it has raised the 1st time. I use a stoneware bowl that I cover with a large plastic bag. After the 2nd stretch and fold I cut the dough in half , putting each half in a parchment paper lined proofing basket. In this 2nd picture you can see the proofing basket and the clay baking pot that I soak in water while the oven is heating up. I then pick up the bread by the parchment paper and put in the clay baker. You can see the parchment paper still in the baking pot. I found this to be much easier for me as I did not like cleaning up with out the parchment paper.
Here is a close up of the baking pot with the loaf of bread now removed
from the parchment.

My Recipe
3 cups of whole wheat flour
2 cups of whole grain spelt flour
2 cups of water when using spelt without the spelt and using other flour only use 1 1/2 cups of water
3 Tablespoons of Honey
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1 1/2 teaspoon of yeast
1/4 cup starter
1/2 cup cranraisins and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. (I'm guessing here on the fruit and nuts, as I don't measure, adjust to your taste)
Bake at 450 for 35 minutes with the lid on then another 10 minutes without the lid.

Add and stir all wet ingredients first then mix salt with flour and add to wet ingredients. Mix well. You should now have a wet, shaggy dough. Cover with a plastic bag and set in a warm, draft free area for 1 hour.

After 1 hour you are ready to do your first stretch and fold. To do this, separate dough from bowl with a dough scraper, add a little olive oil around the bowl so that dough does not stick to bowl, Then think of the dough having 4 sides. Grab the first side and pull up stretching the dough then fold it over to the other side of the bowl. Now rotate the bowl 1/4 turn and do the same maneuver until you have done all 4 sides. Now dust hands and bread with flour then cover again with the plastic bag. Do this a total of 3 times always recovering.
The last time divide dough and put into parchment covered proofing baskets. I only have one proofing basket so I found a corning ware dish about the same size of my other clay baking pot (not shown) and I use it as a proofing basket and it seems to work just fine.

Bake at 450 degrees in a preheated oven for a total of 45 minutes. 35 minutes with the lid on and 10 minutes without the lid.

After it has completely cooled on a wire rack, I store the bread in a ziplock bag with the parchment paper. Since we keep our bread in the refrigerator the paper seems to keep extra moisture from forming.

This recipe was adapted to fit our tastes. You would not normally add yeast to sourdough as the starter is your fermenting agent. The bread is very dense and moist. The cranberries add just the right amount of sweetness and the walnuts give it a lovely crunch. You can of course substitute fruit and nuts of your choice.