Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gifts in Jars/Apricot Oatmeal Jammers


My teenage grandsons always come up with creative homemade gifts for Christmas since they both are on a  non-existent very limited budget. They have aunts and uncles and grandparents to gift so you can see how the cost might add up quickly. This year they came up with this really nice idea. A complete cookie kit in a jar. I made the recipe last night and it turned out delicious! Quick easy and oh so good. What a great gift.




Oatmeal-Apricot Jammers
Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  •  2/3cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 1/2cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1 cup uncooked old-fashioned oats  
  • 2/3 cup coconut (medium unsweetened) 
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup apricot jam
1. Preheat oven to 350* Grease 9x9 inch baking pan; set aside.
2. Beat butter and sugar 1 minute in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed. Add egg and vanilla, beat 1 minute more.
3. Sift flour and baking powder together. Add to bowl along with coconut and oatmeal; beat 2 minutes on low speed or until well combined.
4. Press 2/3 dough into prepared baking pan. Stir jam until smooth; spread over dough almost to edges of pan. Sprinkle remaining dough over jam; press lightly with fingers. (I used the whole jar you see in the picture.)
5. Bake 33 to 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool completely in pan before cutting.
For Gifting:
Layer dry ingredients in 1 quart food storage jar with tight fitting lid in the following order: brown sugar; combined flour, salt,baking powder and cinnamon; oats; coconut; pecans. Seal jar and cover lid with fabric. Attach gift tag with instructions which include the wet ingredients and attach with ribbon.

Now on to some yummy of a different nature.


Blog Anniversary Giveaway


 Have you been drooling over those luscious  red fabrics that Connecting Threads came out with recently? They sold out almost as soon as they hit the market. I fell hard for those and I was able to score some for my very own. Here's the fun part - my blog anniversary is coming up on February 3 and I'm going to share some of these wonderful fabrics with you, my readers. I really want my followers to know how much I appreciate them.

If you would like some of this Connecting Threads red fabric all you have to do is:
A - Become a follower.
B - Leave a comment. Got any inexpensive, fun gift ideas?

Simple. I'll be picking the winner on February 4. You can enter more than once so check back and enter whenever I post until then.

Only my followers can win this one but I promise you'll be glad you joined this give away. 

Until next time, 

 




Monday, January 28, 2013

Still In Provence

I'm still in Provence but headway is being made!



Those 20 connector blocks are finished and I just could not resist putting them up on the wall along with the focus blocks. I had to get a peek at what all this was going to look like and I'm thrilled with the preview!



First of all this is going to be a monster! Seriously huge. The setting triangles are a gorgeous red polka dot and then there are borders, oh my! 

Be sure to click on Patchwork Times to see everyone's design wall creations.

Blog  Anniversary Giveaway


Have you been drooling over those luscious  red fabrics that Connecting Threads came out with recently? They sold out almost as soon as they hit the market. I fell hard for those and I was able to score some for my very own. Here's the fun part - my blog anniversary is coming up on February 3 and I'm going to share some of these wonderful fabrics with you, my readers. I really want my followers to know how much I appreciate them.

If you would like some of this Connecting Threads red fabric all you have to do is:
A - Become a follower.
B - Leave a comment letting me know how you might use it.  

Simple. I'll be picking the winner on February 4. You can enter more than once so check back and enter whenever I post until then.
On B, I won't hold you to it just give all of us some red inspiration. (Hint: Valentines Day is coming up.)
Only my followers can win this one but I promise you'll be glad you joined this give away. 
  
Until next time,
 

 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Egg Money

Here is an explanation of sell by date and packing dates on your egg cartons: 5 Things You Didn't Know About Buying Eggs. Just some of the reasons why I go to all the trouble that I do to raise and keep a flock of hens. If I couldn't raise my own I definitely would be hunting around for a source for farm fresh eggs. Some things are worth the price if you can swing it at all and I would rather spend money on good quality food before buying other less necessary (to me) things. Even when we lived in the heart of the city we had a hen named Miss Liz who gave us an egg a day. She was hatched as part of our son Zack's first grade nature project and lived in our back yard for seven years along with two dogs and some rabbits. Miss Liz died peacefully of old age and the dogs were pretty upset because they didn't have her to play tag with anymore. The rabbits are a whole other story!


 Right now we have Silent Bob and the girls. Nine beautiful hens who give seven to nine eggs a day in good weather. If it's cold or dreary outside the hens lay less and as they get older they will produce fewer eggs. Right now Bob and the ladies are in the prime of life so they're all producing well.


What in the world do I do with all these eggs you might ask?   Chris and I do eat a fair amount of eggs. We have no fear of good farm fresh eggs and I use them for baking and cooking without qualms. My son's family lives down the road and they benefit from having Grammy's flock so close by as well. That still leaves quite a few eggs left over and those I sell to friends for $2.50/doz. That's about half the cost of free range eggs in the market. I'm not trying to make money off my friends. They don't feel right taking the eggs for nothing so I just charge them something and we all feel OK. I usually bring the eggs to town on quilt group day in a cooler, collect my egg money and then we all go to lunch!

Speaking of egg money did you know that traditionally on the farm the poultry where the province of the farm wife? The poultry yard was usually built close to the house so she could take care of the hens, geese and ducks and proceeds from the sale of eggs and feathers belonged to her. Her egg money to use for cloth and pins, ribbons and notions. Of course it also made it easier for her to catch that hen for Sunday dinner too.

Until next time,



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Creating a Chalkboard

I need to get organized! I've said it before but this time I mean it. Really. Well at least in the sewing room. I need to get organized in the sewing room. I can't remember what I've got going on from one project to the next. What was it I wanted to do after this table runner gets finished? Which quilt did I send to the machine quilter and when did I send it? I had a great idea for a quilt to do once I finish this baby quilt but now I forget. I've tried keeping a journal but then I loose it. I am kind of a mess. I decided to try a bulletin board of some kind. But if it's a pin board I'll just jam it full of junk in no time so I made a chalk board. Here's how I did it. If you want to make one here's what you'll need.


Masking tape, chalk board paint (any color you like), primer, foam brushes, a level and paint supplies.
I have a door leading to the bathroom in my sewing room. Perfect for my chalkboard. Using the lever and masking tape tape off the area to be painted. Make sure the edges are good and secure so paint doesn't leak under. 



Prime the area. if you can get the primer tinted a similar color to the chalk board paint. I didn't do this so I mixed some of the chalkboard paint into the primer and it seemed to work just fine.

Believe it or not this primer is slightly mocha color. The chalk board paint is a nice chocolate brown.
After the primer has dried, it only takes about an hour, you can start painting on the chalk board paint. It goes on just like regular paint but it doesn't cover very well and you'll need several coats. The CB paint takes about two hours to dry between coats. You want an even coat not real thick. I used foam brushes for this step. I think a foam roller would have worked better but I didn't have one.

This is what it looks like after the first coat.

Here it is after three coats. Several thin coats are better than one thick coat because you don't want a bumpy, lumpy surface.
After you're satisfied with the coverage and the surface is completely dry remove the tape and ta da.


This is how I plan to use it.



Until next time,

circa 2011 The ORIGINAL Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop








Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Singing the Internet Blues

Yep, we're still singing that same tune and I'm sure I don't have to tell you how tired I am of humming the blues. I can receive email but not send and I have zero wifi. Intermittent access is what I think we're calling it and I'm waiting for parts to arrive which MIGHT fix the whole thing. I've been just too discouraged to even try to blog but that doesn't mean I've been sitting on my tush - far from it!

Remember this project?



It's finally completed!!! Chris has been been working diligently away whenever illness, holidays and weather would permit and I've been helping whenever I felt like it could. The planking was completed in a ice storm. Over the last two weeks with the help of our teenage grandsons we moved six tons of rock by wheelbarrow full. I do not exaggerate it really is six tons, I know because I paid for it by the ton.





Lots of raking and leveling invloved here. New lighting was installed too.




Those large pots and edging await spingtime and some kind of planting. Any suggestions? Must be cold hardy, draught tolerant and deer resistant. In my experience there is no such thing as deer proof!


I love the way it turned out and it's about half the size of the old deck which means about half the upkeep.

Until next time,

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Held Hostage

That's right I've been held hostage by my Internet provider and I'm not happy about it. We've been timed out because we were naughty. Remember I told you the whole family were here over the holidays and with family comes lap tops, smart phones, I pads and Kindles. Evidently by Christmas day we managed to consume all the band width available on my satellite plan and BOOM! We were cut off. But not right away. Oh no. First it was a slow down which I blamed on the weather.Those of you who live in the country know that satellite service is our only option and satellite is subject to the vagaries of weather. If there is too much cloud cover, if it snows, if the dish ices up - no internet. Anyway, slower and slower until eventually we might as well have been using dial up. You remember dial up? Horrors! And then by January 5 absolutely no connection AT ALL!

Anyway, I finally called to complain and was informed about our SEVERE violation. After much discussion we decided to go with an equipment/plan upgrade and so you have before you faster satellite service and more band width whatever the heck that is. In truth we have not had an upgrade in maybe 8 years so it probably was time and the Internet does seem to be running faster but what do I know. I can watch a YouTube video without those annoying stutters I had come to expect so...



It's amazing how much sewing I can get done without the distraction of blog hopping! I worked steadily on the connecting blocks for Memories of Provence and this is as far as I've gotten so far. These measure 6.5" so far and will eventually be 12.5" unfinished so half way there. I'm anxious to complete the connectors so I can lay the blocks out and see how the quilt will look. The pattern calls for 20 blocks but I always make extras just in case of a flub. Those two on the left are wonky so they don't make the first round cut, glad I made more that I need.


River is 6 months old now and knows how to relax
It has been so cold and icy here that all we want to do is stay by the fire and River has perfected the fireside snooze. Doesn't she look comfortable? And yes my kitchen floor really is that muddy - there's a sleet storm out there people, notice the rubber boots by the fire.

Until next time,

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

How Lucky Can I Get?

I don't want the new year to get any older before I tell you about my good fortune. Back in December Michelle at Michelle's Romantic Tangle held a 12 Days of Christmas Mystery Giveaway and I was one of the super lucky winners. Since I am a died in the wool mystery fan this was a no brainer to enter and the day I chose to enter featured a giveaway of Death of a Schoolgirl, The Jane Eyre Chronicles by Joanna Campbell Slan an author and series completely new to me.


I won a copy of the book and I can hardly wait to dive in. Jane Eyre has always been one of my personal favorites. As a child I always felt that this fictional heroine and I were somehow related (can you guess that I was a somewhat dramatic child?)

This brings up an idea I've been kicking around. I'm thinking of starting a books page on this blog where I'll list books I've read I think you all might enjoy. I must warn you though that my taste runs to murder and I don't necessarily go for a nice happy ending. What do you think?

Thanks Michelle for the giveaway and I'm so happy I found a fun and interesting new quilt blog to follow too.

Until next time,

Monday, January 7, 2013

Designe Wall Monday/New Beginnings

Yes, it is a new beginning for me at least. My first post in 2013 and my first design wall showing for the new year. What a whirlwind the holidays were for us here on Dogwood Lane Farm. Before I get to all that let me show you that I truly have managed to get back into the sewing room for a little needle therapy this past few days.



I finished the twelfth and last focus block in my Memories of Provence BOM and I've cut out all the lattice blocks. I've even made a start on piecing them! This represents my determination not to let this quilt languish in the 'some day I'll finish that one' pile. I love the way the seemingly disparate units come together to make a stunning whole.



Now for a small Christmas report. The house was filled to the rafters with family for nearly two weeks which was truly a blessing. Our Southern Calif. sons and their families were able to be here although not at the same time and that made the holiday all we could wish for. Unfortunately along with family came some kind of bug that must have hitched a ride on Santa's sleigh 'cuz it arrived the day after Christmas and stayed until long after New Year. I have felt lousy for weeks now. Coughing can still be heard ringing down the hall!


A tiny Christmas Fairy
Lastly, I've been playing around with my new Christmas gift. A Cuisinart electric pressure cooker, isn't she a bute! I was almost too terrified to try it out but nothing ventured nothing gained so I jumped in and I LOVE it. I can make a pot of beans in 20 minutes in this baby! Wow! I'll let you know how other meal experiments go.



I leave you with my favorite photo from the holiday, hands down. My son Chris fixing his daughter's hair in front of the bathroom sink. So stinkin' cute.



Linking up to Patchwork Times Design Wall Mondays, thanks to Judy for providing us with so much inspiration week after week.

Until next time,