Sweet dreams are made of this……….

Living in a small home, storage space is at a premium.   One soon learns to find it where one can.   Our bedrooms have built in floor to ceiling book cases, over every door a shelf has been built to hold items not required on a daily basis.  If there is a space we build a closet or a shelf.

Underneath my bed was a wasteland for dust bunnies (sometimes multi-generational) and bins of fabric.   When I recently decided to downsize my bed size (queen to a double) to save floor space, I decided to up rise the bed.

Luckily, we know a carpenter who understands what I want built better than I could ever express.  Armed with a vague plan and a lot of arm waving, I was able to describe the bed of my dreams.   The bed had to be solid wood, with huge drawers to hide bedding and next season’s clothing.  It had to be a particular height as well for when I’m old and feeble I just want to back into my bed and flop. The bed had to be built in two sections for easy carrying in case we ever move.  And the colour had to be between mahogany and American oak.

bed

And due to my allergies, it had to be stained and painted inside and out before being delivered.  Himself had a only two requests, it had to be sturdy with no knobs protruding.  Apparently he thinks I cram dresser drawers too full and that I curse like a sailor whenever I stub my toe on a bed frame.

IMG_7367

John hit all the marks with his carpentry skills.

IMG_7370IMG_7374

He even built a frame for the bed to sit on. It’s the perfect size for my feet to slide under, not a stubbed toe in sight.

 

 

Posted in Home Sweet Home | 2 Comments

SABLE

It’s official, after spending the past few evenings moving fabric from upstairs to my newly built basement sewing room, there is not doubt about it.    I suffer from an extreme and highly contagious case of SABLE.  Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy. My sewing room runneth over with bins, boxes and bags of scraps.

Last Saturday it became apparent that my daughter Andrea is suffering from the same inflection.  We traveled to Fredericton to celebrate my son in law Ron’s 50th birthday.   Lunch consisted of Chinese take away (so Andrea and I could check out the craft sale at the mall).  The birthday celebration came to an abrupt end when Andrea and I left to take in the Fredericton Quilters Guild Symphony of Spring quilt show.  This was followed by more stash buying at our favourite shop, Christmas Crab Quiltery.

Before, during and after the celebration Andrea and I talked about fabric, fondled fabric, ogled quilts, reviewed fabric on line, purchased more fabric and added quilt ideas to our long suffering “Quilts I’ll make before I die” list.

I forgot to mention that the visit was also in honour of Andrea’s 45th birthday (earlier in the month).  And what did I give her, a gift certificate to Sew Sisters.   What the heck, if SABLE is incurable we may as well enjoy it.

Speaking of fabric stash, here’s the completed Strip Off quilt sent to Julia last Christmas.  I completed the top (barely denting my fabric stash) and Andrea did the quilting.    Each block was quilted with a different pattern and a whole lot of love.

Julia's quilt backing Julia's quilt

 

 

 

 

Posted in Quilts, Sew Mam Sew | 1 Comment

If you like pina colada

Thirty years ago a trip to Calais was a big deal.  At Easter time especially as the American candy was so different from what we could buy in Canada.   I chummed with fine ladies who would always travel south to Calais on Good Friday for the novel Easter treats.  Our first stop would be the local IGA bakery to buy Pina Colada muffins to eat on the trip home.

Through the years I have been trying numerous recipes to duplicate these delicious muffins all without success.  Until now!  I found this recipe in a Robin Hood mini magazine that arrived with the local paper.   The original recipe uses a mini muffin pan or  12 large muffins.  I use the small loaf pan.  I replaced the sour cream with plain Greek yogurt and added a cherry on top.  Apparently the muffins freeze quite well  but the ones I baked never made it to the freezer.   These make a perfect Easter treat without having to declare duty!

Pina Colada muffins

    • 1 cup flour
    • 3/4 cup oats
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 cup low-fat sour cream
    • 1 teaspoon rum extract
    • 1 cup crushed pineapple, well drained
    • 1/2 cup flaked coconut

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Spray 24 mini muffin cups with cooking spray.
  3. Combine first 5 dry ingredients.
  4. Beat remaining ingredients together in large bowl until smooth.
  5. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until moistened.
  6. Fill greased muffin cups.
  7. Bake at 350ºF for 18 – 23 minutes, or until golden.

IMG_7383 IMG_7387

Posted in Recipes, This week's menu | Leave a comment

Don’t forget the sun screen

It’s a balmy 9 degrees at the Point and Himself is itching to start gardening.  Despite the few feet of snow covering the field, he had to get his “garden” fix.   This was the scene a couple of weeks ago when he went searching for the cold frames.  Buried under a pile of snow waist high they were not easy to find.

IMG_7309

We enjoyed fresh greens from the cold frames right up to Christmas Day.  Shortly after that between the snow and a vole who thought he found the perfect place to live for the winter, we stopped harvesting.

IMG_7050

Today with renewed determination and probably a bit of sun stroke brought on by the beautiful weather, Himself once again trudged through the snow.

Armed with a thermometer he tested the inside air temperature.  It was an incredible 35 degrees Celsius, he dug down 4 or 5 inches and the soil was 19 degrees.  No sign of the vole though, it’s probably suffering from sun stroke too.

 

Posted in Garden, My long suffering husband | Leave a comment

To quilt or not to quilt

March is national quilting month with the 21st designated as National Quilting Day. Martingale Publishers recently suggested quilters reveal their bucket list quilt. You know that one quilt that if the stars aligned, the fabric was perfect and the world stopped spinning long enough for you to have a day to quilt.

I have three bucket list quilts, 7 sister, a scrappy Irish chain quilt and a postage stamp quilt. The rest of the quilts I intend to make fall into one of these days I’ll get around to do list.

In our house March has been designated as “not much quilting going on around here” month. But that’s not bad news as the reason is I am finally getting a sewing room. Himself and I have debated long and hard as to how to incorporate a sewing space into our small home. Originally I thought it would be easy to spread out my projects and leave everything in the open to work on when the mood struck.

Living in a small home you need to be tidy, or the entire house looks written off. The bedroom is a pile of carefully sorted boxes of fabric, quilt magazines, baskets of unfinished projects, the list goes on and on.

The pantry is a great place to leave the cutting board but that it doesn’t work too well with cookie dough dropped on it.

Himself was to build the room with the help of my middle grand daughter. After much more debating rational minds preserved and we decided to hire a carpenter.

Construction began yesterday. The carpenter is also building a platform bed with massive storage drawers. I might be getting a sewing room but I still need loads of space to store my fabrics and UFOS.

0ec24be3fcc175e0ae91f99af18dadaf

Posted in Home Sweet Home, Sew Mam Sew | Leave a comment

A gem of a recipe

IMG_7314

With all the cold and snow lately every one needs an extra boost of vitamin C and what better way to get it then with lemon marmalade. I’m a huge lemon fan. I’ll drink hot water and lemon until my teeth ache. Lemon slices marinated in honey is my favourite way to ward off a cold.  Lemon pie, lemon bread, lemon yogurt cake. Don’t even get me started on lemon Greek yogurt.

On Friday I stayed in town after work to visit with a good friend. After a fine supper of fish chowder, she set out a platter of fresh tea biscuits and an assortment of homemade jams and jellies to enjoy with our tea. The highlight  was lemon marmalade. What a treat. It’s sweet and sharp all at the same time. Perfect with tea biscuits, I know it will be a great sauce drizzled over pound cake topped off with fresh whip cream. The original recipe called for oranges but lemons are better.  One pound of sugar equals 2 cups.  I halved the recipe and used 5 cups of sugar, making 8 cups of marmalade.

Marmalade

– 2 pounds  organic lemons
– Wash and cover  lemons with water and bring to a boil
– Simmer with lid on until skins are tender
– When cold, remove from water (save water)
– Cut fruit in half and scoop out (don’t throw away anything)
– Separate seeds from the fruit and the pith
– Strain and save the liquid from the fruit and pith and throw away the pith.
– Boil the seeds in all the saved water for 10 minutes
– Cut rinds however you like for the marmalade

– Remove seeds from the water, add about 4 lbs of sugar (taste it) and boil ’til it reaches jelly stage with a thermometer or test it on a cold plate to see how it runs…add chopped rinds nearer to the end to avoid turning them into ‘leather’.

Usually I put my jams and jellies in a hot water bath but my friend insures me the marmalade stores very well in the refrigerator.

IMG_7325

 

Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment

Another day of fine cooking

It is plus 5 in the sun on the east side of our home.  And wait for it………………it’s not snowing!  For the first time in a few weeks we awoke to a bright and sunny Sunday morning.

Sunday is my day to cook and bake (it’s a great way to avoid housework).  Each Saturday morning I write out the menu for the upcoming week.  Sunday is the day to cook anything that needs extra time, that can easily be reheated through the week.

Today’s choice is Beef barley and butternut squash stew from the Oct/Nov 2010 edition of Fine Cooking magazine.

051107073-01-beef-barley-stew-recipe_xlg

Arugula, Carrot & Celery Root Almond salad is suggested for the side.  Luckily  I just happen to have purchased a bag of Arugula yesterday.   In the fall Himself planted argula in the cold frames.  We harvested and enjoyed this incredible green until Christmas Day.  I can’t wait for spring and our first crop of arugula.

The original magazine includes a recipe for Blue Cheese croutons but I’ll serve the stew with buttermilk tea biscuits.  These were made by my friend’s 92 year mother and are as light as angel’s wings.

Neither Himself or I are non- drinkers.  The wine in the stew gives the smell of a brewery to the house.   We are not big beef eaters either, but happen to have a piece of chuck from our purchase of organic hamburger.

Years ago I purchased a cast iron dutch oven which is the perfect dish for braising recipes.   The stew will be ready when we returning from snow shoeing this afternoon.

Enjoy your Sunday, I know we will.

 

Posted in Recipes, This week's menu | Leave a comment

to brighten the day

It’s another dark and dreary snow storm day.  Everywhere you go people are talking about brighter days ahead.   I thought these pictures would brighten your day.

My great niece Brouke asked for a quilt like her baby’s sister.  But it had to made of bright greens and bright blues and bright purples………and pinks, any pinks.

IMG_7193

Luckily I had purchased a Moda scrap bag recently which contained strips of  Me & My Sister fabric line aptly titled Giggles.

f84e16939b7db5b6da482ddbf344b94e

My generous daughter paid me in scraps for baby sitting lately, so I was able to add more bright greens and bright blues to the quilt.

IMG_7197

The backing will be scrappy with Brouke’s spelled out in the blocks.

I’m sure I’ll be rewarded with a giggle or two from Bourke.

 

 
Posted in Family Tree, Quilts, Sew Mam Sew | 3 Comments

Sunday morning snow coming down

It’s Sunday.  It ‘s snowing, Himself and the kitty are watching Squirrel t.v. and I’m hoping to settle down to a day of sewing.   The Maritimes are digging out from yet another day of snow.  Living at the Point we are blessed with a snow removal road crew who do the best job in the world.

On Friday I left the house at 6:30 a.m. anticipating a nerve racking drive to work in Saint John.  The roads in Springhill and Hatfield Point were snow packed but widely plowed and salted.  Dickie Mountain had one lane bared and at that hour of the morning there was very little traffic.   Once I hit the city, however it was another story.  The roads were snow packed, slippery and difficult to maneuver due to the high snow banks.  The main roads were bad and the secondary roads down to one lane.

Yesterday I drove to Sussex on the old highways, the roads were wide and bare.  Winter has been just a tad too long this year but it won’t last forever.  So make the most of your Sunday, whether you’re squirrel watching, sewing, snow shoeing or swearing at the falling snow.

I’m preparing the perfect lazy snowy Sunday dinner, Roasted Lemon Garlic Chicken with Potatoes and Rhubarb Crisp for dessert.

Roasted Lemon Garlic Chicken with Potatoes

* 3 1/4 – 3 3/4 pound chicken, cut into quarters ( I used 4 thighs, and 2 bone in breasts)
* 3 1/2 pounds of potatoes (Yukon Gold potatoes are best)
* juice from 2-3 medium lemons (Bottled juice can be substituted)
* 2 teaspoons of salt
* 1 heaping tablespoon of oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
* 8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
* 1/2 cup of olive oil
* 1/2 cups of water OR chicken broth

Preparation:  Preheat  oven to 355°F (180°C).
Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters,
lengthwise. Salt and pepper the chicken and potatoes. Transfer chicken
to a roasting pan, and add potatoes, on and around the chicken. Add
oregano, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice, distributing evenly across
the pan. Add water and roast uncovered at 355°F (180°C) for a total of 1
hour and 40 minutes. Half way through (50 minutes), turn the chicken.

greeklemonchickenpotaot

Posted in Home Sweet Home, Recipes | 1 Comment

Keeping warm in a nor’easter

Another week, another storm.  The weather outside is frightful, but inside the smells are delightful.    On a storm day I usually cook up a huge pot of soup, like my Nanny taught me.    We’ve had so many storm days since January my freezer is now full of soup containers.

Today I tried a recipe I  had tucked away in the cooking binder years ago.  The whole house smelled terrific while the braised chicken legs in carrot juice and dates simmered in the oven.   I purchased the carrot juice a couple of weeks back and placed it in the freezer for just such a day.  Brown rice cooked on the residual heat from the back burner.  The meal was topped off with a side dish of squash.

My attempt did not look as picture perfect as this one from Fine Cooking issue 82 but the taste was incredible.

fc82mc058-01_xlg

With a full belly and a wonderful smelling  house I plan to spend the rest of this storm day quilting.   Not a bad way to spend a miserable day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Home Sweet Home, Recipes | 1 Comment