Sunday, November 17, 2019

Quilts, wild yeast bread, and other goings on.

Well, I've been doing to twice daily feedings of my 'mother.'  I've made the bread each Saturday for, I think, three weeks now.  It is getting better each time, but still doesn't have a great taste.  Not sure if I just need to be patient and let the yeast mature or what.

 It looks good but it tastes more like English muffins than bread.  Kind of hard and thick.  I took half the mix and made some delicious sourdough cinnamon raisin bread. I accidentally doubled the cinnamon, brown sugar, and raisins...oops!  The recipe was to make two round loaves of it but I wanted one regular bread loaf.  Doubling those things didn't hurt it a bit.  In fact, it was outstanding.
I'm going to continue the twice daily feedings for at least another week, then transition it to a refrigerator mother, and feed only once a week.  I don't want to give up on it too soon.  I love the thought of making bread the way our ancestors made it centuries ago.

I've finished a couple of quilts lately.....
This is the one I did for my friend and her husband, made from the shirts of her son that passed away a few weeks ago.  I used the Nova pattern.

I had my heart set on making two of these Christmas throw quilts for the twin beds but after I finished one, I just wasn't that thrilled with it. The backing was from Hobby Lobby and wasn't a really good quality flannel.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't match the checks.
So I decided to make the second one in a different pattern.  This pattern is called North Star and I really like it so far.  Of course, it takes more fabric than the other, so I have had to order a few more fat quarters.  This is my progress so far....

Have any of you discovered pomegranate seeds?  Oh my goodness, I love them!  They are so yummy with homemade granola and vanilla greek yogurt.  Trying to eat healthy over here :)
They have lots of flavor and fiber.  I've also started a couple of things recently to try to build some bone.  My bone density test this year was not good.  Surprising since I run.  I've joined Osteostrong.  I hope it works.  It is a weekly session using four machines.  You push/pull to get to a certain weight which is supposed to activate the cells that build bone.  I'm willing to try it because I really don't want to go on the medication.  I've been doing it for six weeks and have increased my strength 25% since starting.  I feel stronger too.  Of course, that isn't all I'm doing.  I'm also working out with weights 2x a week at our workout center we have at the job site. I've only been doing it about three weeks.
It's that time of year and it seems like everyone and their brother is decorating already for Christmas. I am just not one to do a lot of decorating but I have been pulling a few things out.  We will be having our Sunday School class over for a Christmas party on the 21st, so I guess that means we will need to get a tree.  There have been a few years recently when we didn't get a tree. Without the kids, parents, family, or guests, I just haven't wanted one.
I can't end this post without a picture of the grandkids.  I get to go visit in less than three weeks and I am so excited.  I will be helping my son take care of them while their momma is on a girls weekend. I've had fun buying some crafts and things for us to do.  I want to make it a very special time for them, and keep them busy so they won't miss momma too much.
They are growing up so fast.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Wild Yeast Continued

Tomorrow is bake day!  I'm so excited.  I've tried to follow the directions to ensure my success, but since I started a day early, I figured I'll have a little left over for pancakes, except I will need just a little, I added a couple extra feedings into the week's schedule.  I should have enough for the two pans of bread and some yummy sourdough pancakes.

I prettied the things up that will stay on my counter.  A nice old glass jug for the distilled water, and a glass lidded container for the flour.

This is what it looked like today.....
Just look at all those luscious bubbles.

The book recommends baking the first couple of pans in round glass baking dishes.  I found some cheap at Big Lots today ($7 each) but I wanted to make a loaf too.  The recipe is the same for both so I'm doing one round artisan style loaf and a somewhat wider than normal loaf. MaryJane Butters, the author of "Wild Bread" recommends glass containers with lids to keep moisture in while the bread rises. I'm expecting a 6-8 hour rise.
I was not able to find regular loaf pans with lids however, I found three of these small rectangular glass baking dishes, with lids, in my cabinet.  Yay!  They are just slightly wider than a regular loaf but I think will still work great.  I have all my supplies ready for tomorrow.  Stay tuned.  I will post pictures even if they don't turn out.  I'm sure I'll learn something if they aren't quite right, but I am hoping for the best.

Sourdough is a very healthy bread -  doesn't spike insulin, packed with nutrients, easy to digest.  So if you are a bread lover like me, why not try to make the very best?  I so hope this will become a new hobby.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Wild Yeast, and a new project.

Trying my hand at making a wild yeast sourdough.  I started it last weekend but it didn't do well, probably because I didn't follow the directions like I should have.  I now have a renewed drive to be successful, and have poured over the book, "Wild Bread," learning what I need to do.  I've got the supplies, the recommended flour and water, and I'm ready....

I am also trying to get the hang of homemade crusts.  I've made two now and I think I'm almost there.  I started with lattice on my pie I made yesterday, but quickly gave that up.  It has a 'rustic' look (read lattice failure- ha) but it tasted great! It was a peach/apple. I didn't have fresh peaches and used canned but it was still a great pie.

I used some of my half-way failed sourdough mixture in a regular yeast bread mix and it gave it a little punch.  Tasted good.  I have two little grandkids that love to bake too.
In the sewing world, I have some new projects.  I received a sack full of shirts to make a sweet couple a remembrance quilt.  Their son passed away a few weeks ago. Still need to get them cut into strips and hopefully I'll have enough to make them something pretty.  I also decided to make a couple of new Christmas throws for the twin beds.  I received the fabric earlier this week. I am excited about making those.  I am using "Little Tree" by Lella Boutique, and using one of those postcard patterns called Cloud Nine.
Can't wait to get started.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Oklahoma Vacation

My sister and her husband live in Broken Arrow, OK.  The hubby and I made a recent trip out there to visit.  We had a few places in mind to check out.  On our first day, we went to Pawhuska to visit the Pioneer Woman's Mercantile.  Pawhuska is in the Osage county and named after an Indian chief,  in Indian territory of 1872.  I'm sure you know Ree Drummond of Pioneer Woman fame.  I first found her blog about 10-12 years ago.  I thought she was hilarious.  Evidently she is also a very smart business woman.  She has transformed the small town of Pawhuska.  Check out her website.

A cowboy welcomed us to Pawhuska....
Her pizza parlor....
 In front of the Merc....

 In the upstairs bakery of the Merc...
 View of the inside of the Merc, from the steps leading to the bakery....

 It was a beautiful store....

 Sister, brother-in-law and hubby waiting on our table at her restaurant....
 She even has a high end hotel......

 Our next stop was Woolaroc, the wildlife retreat and museum of Frank Phillips, of Phillips 66 oil fame.  A very interesting place. So much history.

 Lots of wildlife.

 The entrance to the museum was beautifully decorated.  It was filled with Phillips collections, famous art work, archeological finds, a large gun collection, and even the actual Woolaroc airplane that won the Dole competition for flying from San Francisco to Hawaii in 1927, just months after Charles Lindbergh had done his flight from New York to Paris.  Frank Phillips helped fund the flight of aviator Art Goebel, Jr., with special aviation fuel and of course, the name "Woolaroc" panted on the side of the red and blue monoplane.

The grounds of Woolaroc covers 3700 acres. It was originally established as Frank Phillips ranch retreat where he entertained dignitaries, socialites, entertainers, and business men.

 Frank Phillips was a very, very wealthy man.
 Frank Phillips had a party each year.....I copied the following from the Woolaroc website.

Cow Thieves & Outlaws Reunion
Frank Phillips was fascinated by the “Old West” and wanted to preserve the history of the Cowboy and the Outlaw. Frank devised his own special way to salute the old-time outlaws as well as the cowhands and the Indians of the Osage. Starting in 1927, he hosted an annual party for them at the Woolaroc Ranch. He organized the hard core regulars (genuine cowboys and tough guys from the area) into an association and summoned them to the Ranch each year. He called these annual blowouts the “Cow Thieves & Outlaws Reunion.” Nothing before or since ever quite compared!
Frank assembled a team of associates to help him plan his party.....Pawnee Bill who had helped stage Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, the Miller brothers from the 101 Ranch along with Frank’s own ranch manager, Grif Graham who was the former sheriff from the area. His party intended to salute the survivors from the territorial days “when men were men and women were respected.”
The party consisted of cowboys, Indians, outlaws, ranchers and area businessmen. The Reunion was a colorful affair attended by a variety of locals – old trail riders, horse traders, US Marshalls and a sprinkling of Frank’s personal guests, including Phillips Petroleum directors and other businessmen whom he was trying to impress.
Frank’s ground rules for the party were quite simple.....any wanted outlaws would be granted a day of grace for the reunion. If there was an outstanding warrant, the law officers in attendance would have to wait for another time and place to serve their papers. Second and last rule: all guns and grudges had to be left at the main gate.
Now, let’s fast forward to 2006.....the wonderful party that had such a rich history had grown tired and had lost its once famous “allure”. Rather than to let such a wonderful event simply fade away, eight people who loved Woolaroc formed a committee and were determined to put this party “back on the map again”......and to say they were successful would be anunderstatement. Today, the party is trumpeted as “the best in the State of Oklahoma” and anyone who has attended would be the first to agree with that statement! The party is held on the same grounds as Uncle Frank’s first one in 1927 and it very often is able to conjure up some of the spirit and characters of years long passed. A crowd of 750-900 people gather for an evening of great food, entertainment, art to buy and true Old West friendship. Uncle Frank would be pleased!
Because of the great success of this party since 2006, Woolaroc has been able to complete the following improvements:  

 Restoration of the historic Lodge home
  Renovation of the Museum
  Creation of the Children’s Playground
  Renovation and improvements to the Heritage Theater
  Improvements to the facilities at Clyde Lake
  Creation of the very special “Walking Trails” at Woolaroc
  • Cow Thieves & Outlaws Reunion has a very rich history at Woolaroc.....a history that you can still be a part of each Fall.
Sounds like fun, huh?
 Our last day in Oklahoma was spent driving around Tulsa.  My husband had never visited and there are a few landmarks you must see when in Tulsa.  The Golden Driller, at the fair founds is one.  He is 75 feet tall and was built in 1952.....
 Another is the praying hands at Oral Roberts University.  I know a lot of controversy has occurred at this university, but you must admit the praying hands are impressive.

And of course, we did some riding on route 66....
We split the trip home into two days, driving to Jackson, TN on Thursday afternoon and then on home today.  It was a great visit with family, but like always we are happy to be back at home. Hope you enjoyed this little tour of Oklahoma.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Another bench and playing with a camera.....and our kitty

I wanted to make one more bench.  This one was for my master closet.  I currently use an old bar stool to sit on while I put my shoes on but my legs aren't quite long enough to make it comfortable.  I kept thinking I could do a better job on this one.  Well, I am not sure I did a better job, but I did learn some things.  I learned that wood filler works great for pocket holes.  I like it much better than using the Kreg pre shaped hole fillers. I learned that you can thin out stain with mineral spirits. I also learned that you have to be very careful when trying to make a pocket hole in a 2x2 using a double hole Kreg jig.

See where all that wood filler is?  That is where I blew out the side putting in a 2 1/2" pocket screw. My hole was too close to the edge.
 Wood filler in light orange.

 Sanded and ready to stain....
 Stained and wiped off.  It was still very dark, so I wiped just a few seconds after I painted the stain on.  I was using dark walnut, so really what should I have expected?  A dark stain!
 In the closet, ready for use.  Well, almost.  I still need to put a few coats of polycrylic on it.

A few years ago when I upgraded to an iPhone with the Portrait mode, I sold my DSLR camera.  It was too big to tote around and it seemed the iPhone took pics just as good.  Well, I miss the fun of trying to use a DSLR.  I cam across a really good buy in one recently, so I am again having fun playing with it.  Yes, the iPhone still takes great pics but I do want to learn more about how to take pictures using custom settings.  So i watched a very informative Youtube video today on my specific camera and had some fun.....
 I never get enough of this beautiful little room.

 Hobby Lobby fall faux flowers....
 One of my few real plants in the background.
I evidently hurt my back on the weekend bench project.  I could barely walk last night and am really taking it easy today.  Ice on the back, ibuprofen and rest.  Really wanted to run this morning when it was 60 degrees but I could barely walk.  It's the pits getting old!  But...I am very thankful to be able to take a day of rest and spend it watching a video to help me learn something new.

Almost forgot.....had to snap a pic of our one-eyed cat Jesse.  In his favorite chair on the screened porch.  We almost lost him last year with a nasty eye infection.  We chose to remove the eye when it wouldn't heal.  He has done great.  Even catches a few moles and rabbits with his one good eye.