Monday, December 12, 2011

In the Mail

I grew up in a town that had no door to door mail delivery. Each day ( before any of us had begun kindergarten ) my mother walked us 3 kids up to the post office to pick up our mail. It was a big adventure. We ran along pretending to use the key to open imaginary doors in hydro poles, trash cans, and flower pots all along the way. Inside the post office, rows and rows of shiny silver doors with hundreds of little locks filled up 3 whole walls. Imagine three little kids bouncing around, arms waving,  shrieking " It's my turn to open it! I want to use the key!"  I was filled with anticipation that today would be the day just one piece of mail would be addressed to me!  Although it rarely happened, my enthusiasm never dampened. 
Now, I've gotten used to finding mostly bills, bank statements, and flyers.  
But this week! I picked up lots of special deliveries...  

Air mail from the U.K.!

Christmas wishes from Haley ( she started her own big adventure in September ). 

I miss her...

And then the fabric I ordered arrived. 
Pretty cotton voile, crisp linen and cozy wool.

And again! 
All the way from Japan...

Just look at the special attention to packaging! 

Pattern books. Even though I'm not surprised I'm no less thrilled. 
 Woo Hoo! It's Christmas early!

I read pattern books and cook books like fiction...

I'll be sewing dresses,

and blouses,

 and dresses,

and tops, 

and more dresses.

I love the vintage styling of this one, 

and this one

How pretty! 

Not your ordinary, everyday, old mail...
bye for now - I've got work to do!

<3 K 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

 I usually spend my Saturdays cleaning and running errands. Last weekend I set aside the day for sewing with the girls. 
Just hangin' out, drinkin' wine, eatin' jube jubes, listening to some great music and sewing away.
Laughing and creating. 
From 7 in the morning to 7 at night. No chores, no laundry, no grocery shopping.

I found this pattern on the Moda website. It's called the "lawn chair " quilt.
It kinda does look like one of those old school woven lawn chairs. 
I now have 4 tops to layer up and quilt! 

Esther started laying already! 
Beautiful sage green eggs with a sunny yellow yolk

Woo Hoo! 
Hope you all had a great weekend doing something you love to do. :-) 

<3 Karen

Sunday, November 6, 2011

New Girls

I may have started collecting chickens...
We went back to the chicken auction and I came home with 2 gorgeous Arucaunas. 
They'll lay blue/green eggs! Who could resist that? 
Meet Esther. She's shy so it was difficult to get a shot that wasn't blurry. 

And this is Goldie. Mike named her. ( after himself )
Chickens are kind of like sheep in that they stick together. They move around the yard as a group, always within a couple of feet of each other, doing their own thing.
Except Goldie.

She hangs around Mike. 
We thought it was cute the first couple of days, but expected that it would end once she got used to her new digs.  She didn't give a hoot where the other girls were. Just Mike. For two days, she didn't stray more that 3 feet from Mike. She tried to adopt Mr Vintage too.
I came home from work one day this very week and saw Mike running around the back yard in circles and this chicken running around after him.  "yup, she's following me!"
Insurance broker / chicken whisperer. 

She's much friendlier than she looks.
I'll let you know when I get coloured eggs.

<3 Karen

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Brioche and Bread Pudding

I love love love bread. Especially in autumn. I normally use the dough setting on my bread maker to do the needing and the first rise, but I don't bake in it because I prefer a thinner crust than the machine delivers. It saves so much on time and clean-up. 
My youngest son doesn't trust me to not sneak in some healthy ingredients. He considers everything that's not white to be whole wheat and he'd rather go without - forever - than eat whole wheat!  He prefers store bought, white sandwich bread. I think any sandwich tastes better with home baked peasant style bread. I walk by the bakery at the grocery store and swoon over all the artisan bread you can find now, but I'm too cheap  frugal to buy it when it's so simple to bake your own. So when I stumbled across the  Artisan Bread in Five minutes a Day website I was pretty thrilled. They use a technique that doesn't involve kneading. When I saw the book at Chapters, I couldn't not buy it even though I swore I could find any recipe I needed online, and that I would never buy another cookbook. 
This week I made Brioche. 
You can find the recipe and the technique here.   

You can see that I didn't use a brioche pan and I didn't add the little "tete" on top either.
It didn't matter.
Yum, yum, yum. 
We ate it smeared with butter along with a bowl of turkey soup, toasted with home made grape jelly, toasted and dripping with honey and I used it to make the most amazing bread pudding. 
You should try it.

Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding with Maple Sauce.

In an 8" square pan, lay out evenly :

4 cups cubed Brioche 
2 smallish apples, chopped ( I used empire ) 

Combine and sprinkle over the bread and apples:

1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Wisk together and pour over the bread:

3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup cream 
( or you could substitute 2 cups milk ) 
2 tsp vanilla

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until set.
Serve warm drizzled with Maple Sauce.

Maple Sauce

Combine in a small saucepan and simmer until the sugar melts:

1/3 cup maple sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter 

Sprinkling the sugar and cinnamon on top rather than mixing with the eggs and milk makes the bread and apples all crispy on the top. 

mmm - that's just it. 

<3 Karen 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Chicken Saga

What a long and winding road it's been since I last talked to you all.
It started on my birthday.
I was out of town on a business trip for a few days. I returned to discover some strangers in the coop. 
Where Minnie, Macadoo and Ruby should have been, there were 3 buff rocks and 2 brown leghorns.
There had been a MASSACRE!
Poor Minnie, Macadoo and Ruby had fallen victim to an evil raccoon. And poor Mike! He was horrified! Well, he couldn't let me come home to a coop with 1 chicken! (we've changed her name to Lucky Martha).  So he got on the phone to a "chicken friend " to see if he had any chickens and low and behold,   there was a chicken auction being held in town that very evening. Who knew? He went. He came home with Ginger, Lucy, Gidget, Sophie, Edna and poor bald little Plucky. 
This is our new family.

For a while, anyway. 
We were undecided about what to do for our feather challenged friend.  Banish her from the coop? Take a $1 pullet to the vet?  Euthanize her? I'm sure I can make her better; she's likely suffering from overcrowding and malnutrition. She is granted a stay of execution. 
she gets healthy, happy and grows feathers. 
They're growing up! We should have eggs in about 6 or 8 weeks! Yay! 
And we all live happily ever after. NOT! 
It took a couple of more weeks, but we started to get suspiscious....
Wattles and combs start to get big, feathers start to get showy, tails are just down right elaborate. 
And then - they crow. We can't have roosters; it's against the by-law. Sophie, Edna and Ginger have signed their own death warrant. 
Mike can clean a fish - surely he can clean a chicken. Don't worry. We can do this. It's part of life on the farm, after all.  We do some research ( who knew there are videos on utube ).  Mike does the dirty work.  I can't watch. 
Now we have 4 chickens. With any luck ( ple-e-ase, we've suffered enough tragedy ) we should have eggs in a couple of weeks. 

We went away for the weekend and our great neighbours looked after our chickens. Their chickens are laying beautify brown eggs already. Ours should lay any day. So, our other "chicken friend stopped by for a visit with them while we're away. He pops into our backyard to check on our progress. " those two chickens will never lay eggs" he says. Adam doesn't waste any time, he calls right away. 
Well! I never! The nerve! He's not as smart as he thinks! 
If they're roosters, then why aren't they crowing?
We arrive home Sunday evening and reassure our chickens that all is well. They'll lay eggs when the time is right.
Monday morning there's crowing in the backyard. 
Heavy sigh. I don't have it in me to "take care of this".  The chicken auction is tomorrow. We'll take them there and find them a new home.

Our friend feels bad and he brings over a little jet black chicken. She has a poof on her head. Kinda like Elvis. We're thinking of calling her Elvira. Mike bought an older brown hen too.  She was hard to resist. She's going to live out her retirement with us. We named her Gladys. 
Bye Lucy and Ginger. We'll miss you. 
All this tragedy and then ...

A happy ending 

Our new little Elvira lays her tiny snow white eggs any old place - just never in the nesting box.  I changed her name to Butterfly after Butterfly McQueen in gone with the wind. "Really Miss Scarlett! I don't know nuthin' 'bout birthin' no babies!" I hope she figures it out soon, but really, I'm just happy that she's laying somewhere.

<3 Karen

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Moving Day

The chicken tractor is complete!
-Except that we still need some flowers in the window boxes.

The perfect home for Minnie, Martha, MacAdoo and Ruby.
Mike's grandmother's name was Minnie Martha MacAdoo and she was blessed with 13 children.
Our plan is to bless these chickens with her name and her prolificity ( not sure if that's a word or not, but you know what I mean )

Today's the day. No more baby bed... you're big girls now.

Take a look around.
I think you'll like it here.
( that's Ruby in the front, chewing on a blade of grass )

It's just a short walk down the boardwalk to a lovely yard, complete with fresh grass and a smorgasbord of delicious bugs and worms.

Come on out - see for yourself!

They really are chicken! It took the better part of an hour - and bribery too - for them to risk the great outdoors.
Anyway, they're happy now, and going in and out whenever they please. :-)

<3 Karen

P.S. Blogger won't let me comment on any of your blogs and I can't figure out why.
Hopefully, I'll be in touch soon...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Our Home Away from Home

Hey there! I've been away for a while, but now I'm back. Come on in out of the rain!
( I swear it's rained every day so far this month. Really! )

It's warm and dry inside.

This is some of what I've been up too - more about gardening and lavender foot soak another day. 
A fresh coat of white paint makes a big difference.

I Mike changed the backsplash to ice blue, which sometimes looks a little green - kind of like beach glass.
It was my idea, though.

We Mike painted the knobs white, too. A couple of scrappy quilts makes if feel like home.

I still need to make curtains for the back windows. I promised Mike not to make it too "girly" so I'm looking for a quiet little stripe ( even though I have an old pink rosey sheet I'd like to re-purpose )

Thanks for stopping by. Pop in any time - lock up when you leave :-)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Road Jewellery!

We've been thinking about getting a trailer for a couple of years now. Those of you that know Mike and I won't be surprised that we couldn't make up our mind (s).
The only thing we were sure about was that we wanted it to be small.
We looked at a couple of Bolers. They're pretty pricey even when they need a ton of work.
We looked at some newer ( 1980's ) models, some that were gutted and some that needed gutting.
We finally settled on this 12 ft 1968 Glendette.
Isn't it the cutest thing!

The interior is in great shape and very clean.
There's not loads of storage but way more than the Bolers.

This couch extends into a bed which is about 3 quarter size.

It has a little kitchen with a sink, stove top, and fridge in between the couch and table.

The table fold down into a bed. I love love love the old arbrite table top and there's a little ledge about 3 inches wide that runs along the front under the window.

And there's a bunk over the pull-out couch.
( This is our niece - and the reason for the late post. don't tell her Mom, but we roasted marshmallows on a fork over a candle while "camping " in the driveway yesterday afternoon. )

Even though it looks good the way it is, it's not really me.
I have big plans for paint and upholstery that keep me up at night.
Today, I'm thinking off-white with glass pulls and vintage pillow ticking covering the cushions.
I hope it gets warm enough to paint soon. I need to get some sleep!

Hoping you have a great week ahead!
<3 K