Thanks to Kym . . . finally! and mittens, tea and blankets

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This gallery contains 28 photos.

This is mostly a long-overdue Thank You to Kym. I promised her (some years ago, I have to admit) that I was going to use her pattern to make myself a tea cosy. And then life happened and I never … Continue reading

Happy New Year, my friends!

For some of you I know the first day has come and gone and it’s business as usual again. but I am still up and it’s not yet midnight on the first, so I’m sort of still on time.

I hope you all had a good Christmas; it’s different for everyone and it’s different every year, but still . . .

IMG_5930Our tree, an artificial one, which the cousins bought two years ago after Spooky had moved in. A real tree would prove too much temptation, was the idea. This year the tree was not on the dining table, but next to the tv. It went up on Christmas morning and was put away at the end of Boxing Day, after Spooky had managed to get up and knock off one of the ornaments and was looking seriously like he wanted to climb the tree.

Below is a very poor shot of the table decoration cousin M made by putting a string of faery lights inside a huge ;brandy snifter’ made of¬† strawberry glass. It’s so lovely, but the photo doesn’t do it justice., really.IMG_5924

Our Christmas was good; quiet, but the usual feast. I found stockings at a dollar store and used them as ‘carriers’ for a couple of small gifts for the cousins (and myself), including a chocolate ‘orange’ in the toe.

And the cat instructed me to wrap and deliver three packages of nuts to ‘the staff’ as he likes to think of us.

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The Lord and Master of the House

We also had more of this between Christmas and New Year’s Eve:

And I received this as a sort of joke gift, but I really like it:

It’s an alarm clock with two features I need: (a) the sound changes every few seconds, becoming more and more insistent and (b) if set correctly, it will roll off the table and ‘run away’ if you don’t shut it off promptly . . . and ‘hide’. Of course I don’t use the ‘run away and hide’ option! I shot a couple of short videos of it ‘running’ but can’t share them here. Too bad. ūüôā

I don’t know if anyone will remember when I was on a basket-making binge early in the summer, but I finally dug out the largest one; it’s meant to be a workbasket so I can take my projects with me in the car and not have the needles poking through the plastic (and the annoying rustle of plastic bags). Besides, I’m working away from using plastic whenever possible. Anyway, the large photo is of the basket body and the other two are the straps, which will cross over the centre of the bottom and be held in place by a third piece (not shown ’cause I forgot to take a photo). They will let me carry the bag slung over one shoulder.

I haven’t finished stitching on the handles yet, but am telling you to increase the ‘guilt factor’ I’m SO good at beginning things, not so good at the final steps.

And in the meantime, I had another “great idea” I thought I’d make some popcorn and cranberry strings, but quickly realized I didn’t have enough time and there was nowhere to hang them. So the idea morphed into just feeding the birds . . . with bird balls.¬† So I popped a LOT of popcorn, added both bags of cranberries and melted a pound of lard and poured it over the lot. Mixed it will by hand, then realized it wasn’t going to form nice tidy balls, so I packed it firmly into my spare yoghurt containers, with the string in the middle (see the photo of the strings). WE shall put them in a box on the back porch tomorrow to freeze, then decant them one at a time into a mesh bag to be hung in one of the trees. I only hope the birds like them, as cousin M is not enthralled with the idea. He has read up on bird feeding and has his own ways. I, on the other hand, leapt before I looked, as they say. Oh, well, as I say . . .

They do look rather pretty, though, don’t they? We have been feasting, too, did I mention that? I was too slow to get a photo of the bird and the side dishes. But I did take pictures of the baking . . .

The first three pictures are the shortbread I made on the 31st. I had another bright idea, this one a success: I melted two squares of unsweetened dark baking chocolate and the same amount of semi-sweet; this in a mug. I had to add a bit of milk to make it soft enough to dip the shortbread into. In the end, cousin S simply used a table knife and frosted them while I phoned my Auntie. She made the cute face on a couple, too; only this one remained by the time I had the camera out. ūüôā The next picture and the last two are of the same ‘tart’ in the old-fashioned sense. In it are some of the last of the Macintosh apples from the tree here. There is one more tart in our future, I think and then we shall have to resort to frozen cherries, also from our tree. It’s a hard life we lead here, believe me. ūüôā¬† The remaining two pictures are of some of the butter tarts I made from a recipe my sister J sent to us. I like it best of all I’ve ever eaten. These are the first I’ve made and it was surprisingly easy.¬† It’s a pity I’m giving up sugar on the 8th, isn’t it?¬† but I know I’ll be healthier and my food won;t ‘go to waist’ as much in future.

Cousin M loves old things as much as I do, although his are less of a sentimental nature and more of an investment. Still . . . I thought I’d share these photos of a lamp with cast iron work that dates to the 1880s. I’m sorry the pictures are poor; my camera phone is an old one and not the clearest or best for photography. Its reservoir is also strawberry glass, more lovely than you can tell here, even with the light behind it.

I have pretty much finished one side of the pocket scarf but can’t remember if I shared this photo or not. The other two pictures are of the knitted tea cosy, which I have been stitching up the sides. I won’t finish that, as I want it to fit the teapot my sister has; it used to belong to my Aunty in Edmonton and, since I have her wee coffee percolator, I wanted my sister to have the teapot. she prefers tea and I mostly drink coffee.¬† Or at least I used to. I don’t know if you can tell, but the cosy is of green cotton like the yarn used for dishcloths. I took a close-up to show you the stitching; it makes ridges down the sides.

We had to go to Vernon just after Christmas and the cousins needed to stop off in Armstrong on the way back. The landscape pictures show how misty it was that day.

They dropped me at my LYS and I was so careful watching my step as I entered that I missed the sign on the door saying they were closed for inventory until the New Year.  However, they recognized me and remembered that I was not local, so offered to let me buy the yarn I had on hold. I was waiting for an order to come from Scotland, but that may take more weeks, and, as I was in the neighbourhood . . . so now I have the dark chocolate brown I need to complete the pair of Fair Isle style socks, if you remember.

. . . and two balls of green, dark and light, which I had meant for a pair of rather special socks. I’m now deciding if I still want to do that or if I’d rather have a nice waistcoat to keep me warm.¬† I do like the paper bags they pack the yarn in, don’t you?

I’ll stop here. I’ll need more to write about in a few days. I haven’t finished the post I’d intended for today, nor the Big News post, so you shall just have to keep on Anticipating.

And for those of you on the other side of the equator, here’s what I woke up to this morning, on the first morning of a new year . . .

So lovely, but it can go away now, any time soon will do . . . I’m not quite ready for spring, but spring like weather would be rather nice. It went to -18 C last night, but warmed up a bit today.

This is the purple poinsettia we gave to our Auntie in Princeton. I sent my cousin there some money to pick up a blue one, but those had sold out, so she chose this instead.

Auntie M Poinsettia Christmas 2017

I wish you all the very best in the coming year; whatever that may be for you.

Much love from here and may this be a year when we share the Light between ourselves and with others.   ~ Linne

Passing on the Light 01

Thinking about Christmas . . .

Christmas wish 02I am posting this a bit early so I can catch those of you who live west of the Date Line and are already in the midst of Christmas Day. I wish you all Joy, Peace, Love and Contentment this Christmas and more of the same in the year to come. May you have music, books and time to create whatever makes your heart sing.

Christmas Norway late 1800s 01

Norwegian Christmas card from the late 1800s; with Nisse!

It’s a mixed bag, Christmas, isn’t it? The ghosts of Christmases Past are more noticeable today, for one thing. I was, like many of you, I expect, remembering some of those days and the people who shared them with me. Family, friends, sometimes acquaintances. And you, here in the Virtual Village, are part of my Christmas now, too. I like that. You come from around the globe, both hemispheres.

 

Christmas glas baubles 02

Lovely, delicate glass balls like the ones from my childhood

The ghost of Christmas Present is here, too, in the thoughts of all those whose lives have been made more challenging due to political decisions and the like. I’m not in a position to do much where I am, but earlier this year, after the Manchester bombing, I offered to donate a small sum to one of the funds. The person to whom I directed my wish told me there was plenty of help forthcoming and that perhaps I might want to do something more local. I thought that was very good advice and so I have donated twice to local organizations; one that helps our elders and also to the Salvation Army. My parents supported the Sally Ann, so that was partly to honour them.

There is a reason why I only buy Allsorts at Christmas. Well, more than one reason, but the first is that I find them SO tempting. Second, we had these at Christmas when I was young/er. Third, my RN sister J loves them, too, and we have often given or sent them to each other as part of a Christmas gift. I finished off the first bag the other day (it was a rather small bag) and then found these two days ago in a different grocery store. They come from the Netherlands, which is generally a good recommendation. I usually don’t like buying things in bags I can’t see through, but these were the only Allsorts on offer, so oh, well . . . and I am happy to report that these were delicious and just the right chewy-soft texture. You will note that there is more variety in the mix, but still no blue beaded ‘pillows’ It’s not that they taste andy differently, it’s just that I expect them to be there. the plain black sticks are wonderful. I understand that some of you don’t like / eat licorice, so I have eaten your shares already. The rest of you, if you want any, had best get a move on. They are going rather quickly!

I have some good news, too: I finally finished the second tuque (and because ou asked: that’s called various names globally, such as watch cap, beanie, stocking cap and more)

IMG_5901tuque

tyoÕěok/

noun

CANADIAN

 In the picture you can see the tuques with the co-ordinated ends of the pocket scarf, which is still not finished.

I was thinking about the saying “Think Globally, Act Locally” and I think that often I get caught up in the emotional maelstrom that follows large events such as Manchester and I forget how much even a small donation can do at home. My “Act Locally” choices have tended to be rather small, but significant,I think. Re-cycling everything possible; re-using, mending, making do in so many ways. (my bookshelves were a mix of apple boxes stacked on their sides in a chequerboard fashion to allow more room between them, and boards laid across concrete blocks. I gave away the concrete blocks before I moved, but I still have the boards and old wooden locker doors. The apple boxes I haven’t seen for a couple of decades; they are in my storage and likely have dried out a bit and will need some gluing or nailing or both.)

I also ‘save’ things that are being thrown out, if they look at all usable or fixable. It’s not for nothing that I consider the ravens and magpies and their kin to be my close relatives!

Christmas glas baubles 03My parents had a few of these on our trees. They wee so delicate and beautiful! I do love the older ornaments so much. The ones below, too, were lovely.

Christmas glas baubles 01

Well, it’s Christmas Eve here and nothing done yet. So I have a few small things to wrap and a bag from the Cat to the Serfs to put together. Those of you who have cats will surely understand. Spooky rarely makes a sound, but he iwll go to the door to the back room where his food dish is, sit down and look at you. He knows that there is another door he could use that is always open, but no, this is a training session, apparently. And it works . . . he is so cute, still kittenish, but not so much trouble in the making as he was last year.

I’m off to help with supper prep, so once again I wish you all:

christmas wish 03

No time for music linkies now. Next time . . .

Have a wonderful day and I hope your feast is as good as ours.

Love and Light, Hugs and Blessings to you all.  ~ Linne

 

 

Notes on my day and some good music

I didn’t write anything last night and found I missed it. I do know most of you are busy getting ready for Christmas, so it’s fine if you don’t see this until after the holidays.

IMG_5844The allsorts are pretty good, but the package contents have certainly changed; only one triple-decker (the white piece; technically, I suppose it has five layers, but I was counting the non-licorice parts), only one other piece that was not pink and/or black (the yellow one). Where are the round pillow shapes with blue beads? Lots of pink ones, but still . . .IMG_5881

We have had more snow and the trees looked particularly lovely today as we drove to town.

 

I took the Hvite Pepperkaker dough out of the fridge tonight.

It was denser than I expected, so instead of trying to roll it out and cut shapes from it, I simply sliced it thinly and baked. The results were similar to shortbread, which I had not expected.

I have finally picked up all the stitches from when I frogged the smaller tuque back to just above the pattern, unpicked one more row to make sure the stitches are facing the same direction and have begun (again!) to knit the crown. I do hope that this time it lies flat, well, rounded, but not ruffly as it did the first time:

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Have a lovely day, my friends; I’ll be back soon. ~ Linne

Right . . . music! What was I thinking?

The Peace Poem and Last Night I had the Strangest Dream – with John Denver. Thanks to my RN sister and her husband, we were fortunate enough to see him in concert twice. I still miss his work.

Peace Train by Yusuf Islam (stage name = Cat Stevens)

From the award-winning documentary, “Playing For Change: Peace Through Music“, comes an incredible rendition of the legendary Bob Marley song “One Love” with Keb’ Mo’ and Manu Chao. This is the third video from the documentary and a follow up to the classic “Stand By Me” and the incredible “Don’t Worry.”¬† (notes from youtube)

 

 

Day 21: a very short post

Hi, my friends. Here is what I woke up to this morning:

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Cousin M and I went in to Salmon Arm, where I was able to do all my christmas shopping in a couple of hours. This is what we saw on the way there and back”

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When we got home, Cousin S had left me this before going off to work:

A lovely herbal tea with licorice and slippery elm bark, among other things. And some of the shortbreads I made yesterday. It made for a welcome break.

It’s been a very busy¬† day and is now almost midnight, so this will be short.

I did make the Hvite Pepperkake¬†dough and it’s in the fridge for overnight.

IMG_5831I translated the British weights to Canadian measures and am not convinced I got it right. I had to leave out two cups of flour. But it seems like the right texture and I guess I’ll find out tomorrow when I bake it.

While I was out, I bought myself a wee Christmas treat. The cousins don’t eat candy and I rarely do anymore, but at Christmas I always have some of this:

I had to eat some so the rest would fit into the container . . .

This is the last of my daily posts. I’m going to aim for weekly for a while, but we’ll ssee. I may post in between when there is something special to share.

A very happy Solstice to those of you who celebrate the return of the Light.  I shall be thinking of you  tomorrow. (today already, for some of you, anyway)

Thanks for hanging in with me during these three weeks. It’s been fun.

Now for some music:

Tshinanu by Kashtin. They are Canadian and I have loved their work for years. Don’t think they perform currently.

Merry Christmas, Everyone, Great Big Sea & Friends, Gift Of Giving Show¬† I love the message at the beginning of this and couldn’t have said it better.¬†

Another of my favourite Canadian groups,The Rankin Family singing We Rise Again. Too bad the audience noise is so loud; still, Raylene’s voice is amazing. And here is a different recording of that song, this time more clearly.

Peace and Harmony to you all . . .  ~ Linne

stonehengewinter

Winter Solstice at Stonehenge 

 

 

Day 20: √Üthelfl√¶d . . . was she ready?

Æthelflæd_as_depicted_in_the_cartulary_of_Abingdon_Abbey

Æthrlflæd

 

A thought crossed my mind today, as thoughts do; I was thinking about Christmas and the fact that I am not really ready. The name √Üthelred the Unready was the first thought and then I wondered if there was a feminine version of the name, so I looked it up. Ms Google can be an obliging friend at times . . . But I have no idea if Ms¬†√Üthelfl√¶d, who succeeded her husband, √Üthelred the Unready, was also Unready. Perhaps she was not. She is a very interesting person, though, but I’ll leave it to you to look her up.

I also learned that, in fact, the epithet “Unready” actually meant ‘ill-advised’ and was a pun on his name, which means ‘well-advised’. I knew immediately that you would all be waiting with bated breath to learn these facts, so there they are . . .¬† Any idea why I am ‘unready’? And no pun intended or existent. Ah, well . . .

So I have spent much of today not preparing for the Day, but rather immersed in one of a series of mysteries, one with¬† descriptions so realistic that it is often depressing. But I have to know what happened next . . . I used to read non-stop, pretty much; more than a book a day for many years, and over the past months have read hardly anything. Until I discovered e-books, at which I once sneered, as I love the feel of a ‘real’ book in my hands, the older the better; the smell, the look, the touch, it’s all part of reading for me. Sitting hunched over the laptop is not quite the same thing. Still, at least it’s reading. And I have also found out that Amazon has an amazing variety of free e-books for Kindle¬†and an app that lets one read them on a smartphone or PC or laptop. When I found the Amazon books, I spent two days going through the first 400 pages (about a quarter of what’s available in only the section :Classics;) and downloading the books that I’d always meant to read, or re-read in many cases.

an-old-fashioned-girlEverything from ‘Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm’ to Plato.¬† I¬† had forgotten what a natural appetite I have for reading and learning. But I haven’t touched any of those except ‘An Old-Fashioned Girl’ by Louisa May Alcott. The rest are waiting until next year. I’ll be sharing my resolutions and plans in a week or two.

In the meantime: I did no baking today, and no preparation of the various cookie doughs that need refrigeration overnight, either. And tomorrow Cousin M and I are going to town to shop. I want to buy some things for their stockings, so will have to give him the slip for a while.

I still have an email to finish composing for my winners (see yesterday’s post) and, of course, music to locate. The music takes me the longest, as I always find myself lured down memory lanes, roads not taken and just plain jaunts cross-country, musically¬† speaking. A close second to reading, is music . . .

For today, then:

A song that made me intensely homesick for BC all the years I was living in Edmonton: The Hills of Ardmorn by The Corries, whose music I loved long before I came across Runrig. Beautiful voices and harmonies.

kate and anna mcgarrigleCanadians Kate & Anna McGarrigle and friends (Rufus Wainwright – son of Kate -, Emmylou Harris, Mary Black, Karen Matheson, Rod Paterson) perform Stephen Foster’s Hard Times Come Again No More during the Transatlantic Sessions. (If you haven’t heard of the Transatlantic Sessions, do look them up.)

More of my favourite Christmas music: Pete Seeger’s Working Class Christmas Tunes. I like them all, but Ode to Joy on the 5-string banjo, with my favourite lyrics, is wonderful.

Off to write that email now. Much Love and Light to you all. ~ Linne

Day 19: Winners!

I was busy today again and did begin baking. Not Selma’s goodies yet, but I did get two batches of shortbread made.

The first was a fairly common recipe that I made especially  for cousin S, as she is on her last week of work before retiring and is tired.

IMG_5751¬†These were the ones with white flour, granulated sugar and butter, plus a bit of vanilla. Very good, indeed! As you can see, that recipe made four dozen, although there are a few less now. ūüôā

And then I made the Scottish oat flour ones I shared the recipe for recently. But I doubled the oat flour and halved the rice flour. They are also very good, delicious, in fact, but the oat flour has made them a bit too textured for us. So I shall ‘have’ to make another batch and go back to the recipe and follow instructions. How hard can that be?

 

But I know what you really want to hear: who has won a small ornament? Well, that was easy, as it turned out . . . only five people left comments, so each of you is a Winner! But we knew that already . . .

And the winners are:

Marlene of “In Search of it All” I’ve been reading Marlene’s posts for several years now, and have learned much from her, especially when it comes to facing the challenges of life. Her positive attitude inspires me every time I visit. Marlene’s interest in books and stitching are only some of the things that make me feel connected to her.

Jessie of “Twinny Acres” and “Rabid Little Hippy” Jessie’s been too busy to post for some time now, but her past posts are well worth reading. I connected with Jessie years ago, too, and am grateful for my introduction to permaculture via her posts. She led me on to other blogs where I continue to learn about this and more. Jessie crochets, too, and has learned to do things I dream of learning, like making cheese and soap and all that.

Jan of “The Snail of Happiness” Jan is another inspiring writer and makes me think about the impact of some of my choices. I have been thinking about choices and consequences for decades now, but there is always more to think about and new choices to be made. I was doubly delighted to see her name come up, as I earlier won a prize from her! Soup, Socks and Baking are a few of the things we have in common.¬† Also, Jan’s Thankful on Thursday posts have inspired me at times to write my own.

Selma from “Eclectic Home & Life” I have been following Selma for years, too. A few years ago, 2014, I think it was, she held a series of crochet classes in her home and invited anyone online who wished to join in. I was the only online participant and it was so much fun (except tat I never once got to taste any of her delightful Norwegian treats. Selma made one of these for each week’s participants. We have Norwegian backgrounds in common (Selma is from Norway, but lives in England), also crochet,¬† knits, loves traditions, baking and more.

and last, but not least,

Jon of “Writing House” I connected with Jon’s blog years ago, too; then, as my life became more complex, I stopped visiting many of the blogs i was following and his was one of those. Not a conscious choice, by any means. Jon has a knack for wordplay that I enjoy very much. He is an author, but I have yet to read any of his works. One day, when I am reading print books again.

 

Runners-Up:

There were two people who ‘liked’ my post but did not leave a comment. So I have decided to make them a wee something, too. They are:

Sue Dreamwalker from “Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary“, “A Dreamwalker’s Thoughts”¬† and “Dreamwalker’s Garden” I have followed Sue for years, too, although sometimes I have forgotten to get over and read her posts. I especially like the Sanctuary posts and feel that I have much in common with Sue. Her latest post on a holiday to Oban with her husband really resonated with me.

and

Ina Vucik of “Croatia, the War and the Future” Ina has been an activist for some years now. I have known people who had to leave Croatia because of the war and the poor economy. Ina’s blog is very informative, if you have an interest in that area of the world, its history and its future.

I have email addresses for all of you lovely readers except for Jon and Sue, so if you could drop me a line at maelinne (at) hotmail (dot) com, I’ll have a few questions for you. You may put “Winner” in the subject line; it will help me to find them in the midst of all the daily mail.

As to the rest of you, I’ll be sending an email either tomorrow or the next day. Now, I DO know it’s nearly Christmas, so there is no rush on responding. I do understand.

Your gifts will be created after Christmas and I will post when I mail them, as well as emailing each of you. I’m quite excited about doing this, more than I expected, but I am wondering why I chose a time so close to Christmas . . . oh, right, it was the 500th post!

Thanks to everyone for leaving a comment; I so appreciate your taking part.!

I am re-posting a photo of the pocket scarf, as Jill from “Nice Piece of Work” has said she isn’t getting them where she lives. That may be due to them being a larger pixel size or whatever you call it . . .

On the right is the front, showing how I am working in the new colour; on the left is the back, with an extra skein of yarn stuffed in the opening so you can see the pocket. The bottoms have yet to be finished, as I’ve decided to do a few rows of the new colour and then stitch them closed. I do envy people who live lives of simplicity <sigh>¬† ūüôā

All right, music . . .

Christmas in Vienna 1999 by The Three Tenors

Duelling Banjos with Joe Brown and Richard Collins

and a little-known Canadian group, Shanneyganock, from St. John’s, Newfoundland, singing “Grey Foggy Day

Wishing you sunshine and harmony today. Love ~ Linne

 

Day 18: Musing about Mishaps on Monday

This is Sunday the 17th and at midnight I shall close commenting on the Day 5 post. Tomorrow I will put names of all commenters in a festive container and pull five. Those lucky people will receive a small ornament (not necessarily a Christmas ornament, I know some of you don’t celebrate Christmas. I’ll be contacting the winners and you may specify then. So DO go and leave me your name, will you? It doesn’t matter to me if you are a long-time follower or someone new who just happened upon this space.¬† ‘Everyone is welcome to participate.

Musing is a good work, I think. I did think of others first, but they weren’t alliterative enough. Good thing, too. ūüôā ‘Moody’ might have been a tad closer to the mark.¬† I’ll get to that . . .

Today the cousins made stew for the next five days’ suppers in the crockpot. It smells as good as it looks. I was not involved this time and there were no mishaps.

But I made the dessert for tonight and tomorrow: Selma’s Mocha Roulade.. Back in 2015, Selma was holding crochet¬† lasses at her home and online followers were invited to join in, which I did.¬† She was teaching new stitches every week and often shared photos of the participants; work on her blog and on facebook. My red striped ripple cushion is shown on this page and three down is a corner of one of my blankets. It was such fun! And every week Selma baked a special treat for everyone to have with their tea or coffee. It was the only feature I had to miss out on . . .¬† ūüė¶

My Red ripple cushion

Sometimes ‘winging it’ works out quite well . . .

The recipe for the Mocha Roulade is what I linked to above, though. And this is how it went today . . . this is a recipe that I follow pretty closely, in spite of my tendency to follow wild flights of fancy when in the kitchen. I separated the eggs, but partway through realized I had dumped the yolks in with the whites due to being distracted by my thoughts. Arrgghhhh¬† I took one of the eggshell halves and attempted to fish them out, breaking one in the process. As I’m sure you know, egg white will not whip in the presence of any fat and egg yolks are fatty. In the end, I put the egg whites into a container to use in my baking this week and began again with four more eggs. (two of the yolks had made it into the proper dish).¬† And then I got out the stick blender and began whipping them. Part of them whipped, but the rest did not. I’m not sure why. I even added a pinch of salt and 1/8 tsp of cream of tartar as both are helpful when whipping egg whites. Finally Cousin¬† S came to see how it was going, took pity on me and whipped them up in the KitchenAid bowl. I don’t like using other people’s expensive machines, so tend to do things as I always have, by hand.

Then I cut the parchment to go in the pan. But this was a glass pan with sloping sides, so the parchment wouldn’t stay put. I took it out creased it, tore it a bit, got another piece and finally had something that would sort of work.

IMG_5732After I removed the baked sponge from the oven, I did manage to turn it out onto the fresh parchment without mishap. Just . . . I managed to roll it, but it was on the thick side, as the pan was a bit too narrow for this. It makes me miss my own tools and supplies so much . . . And having my own kitchen, with things where I can find them easily.

 

IMG_5733

As seen from one end

 

So, once it was cool and I unrolled it, it looked like the photo above.¬† But I persevered. I’m nothing if not stubborn . . . or should I say ‘single-minded’?

 

 

 

IMG_5734 Cousin S kindly used the KitchenAid to whip the cream, too, and that went well. I spread most of it on the sponge.

Doesn’t that look tempting? And can you see the potential problem? Yes, it’s just too narrow to roll up again. But I went forward bravely and added the halved grapes; I’d cut enough for the size I usually make . . .

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Well, I forgot to photograph the Roulade in its finished state, I guess. So half of it is already gone somewhere in this picture . . .¬† I’d held back some of the whipped cream and some of the grapes, as I’d planned to decorate the top of my ‘log’ once it was rolled up. But we added those to our servings and enjoyed them anyway.¬† The good thing about this sort of kitchen mishap is that it’s all edible, in the end.

The Roulade was pronounced a definite success and cousin S, who is not partial to grapes, had a second helping, which I think is a great compliment.

This is much like a Jelly Roll, but has no flour in it, so it is perfect for people who hae Celiac disease or are simply gluten-intolerant. It is very light, so a perfect complement to a filling winter meal. I hope you try it; if so, do let Selma know how you liked it.

I will be baking some of Selma’s Christmas cookies/biscuits this coming week and will share my experiences with you. And I need to get a move on with the making of gifts. I bought three stockings at the dollar store yesterday (Saturday) and have been planning what to do with them. They don’t need decorating, just filling.

christmas popcorn cranberry strings¬†I have some cranberries, too, so I need to pop some popcorn and get out a needle and thread, to . . .¬† This photo is from the internet, and it shows cranberry strings exactly like the ones I used to make. I don’t know if we will use them indoors or put them outside for the birds’ Christmas feast. I’ve always liked how these look; the handmade thing is definitely ‘me’!

I shall be posting some news on New Year’s Day, my friends, so watch for that. I still can’t believe that a week from Monday will be 2018!

Are you making resolutions? I am . . .¬† I like making them and I don’t beat myself up if I don’t achieve them. I always manage to master at least a few and I do find that setting goals moves me a step or two closer to the realization.

Well, this is good . . . it’s only 10.30 on Sunday night and all I have to do is find some music to share. I think I’m going to go with classic carols from here to Christmas Eve. And something else for those of you who have different celebrations at mid-winter.

Here are three hours of Christmas carols, all instrumentals, so you can start it playing and then go on with your last-minute making, baking, wrapping, or  . . .

Tears are Not Enough by Northern Lights, a super-group formed of many of Canada’s top performers. The lyrics are”

As every day goes by
How can we close our eyes
Until we open up our hearts

We can learn to share
And show how much we care
Right from the moment that we start

Seems like overnight
We see the world in a different light
Somehow our innocence is lost

How can we look away
‘Cause every single day
We’ve got to help at any cost

We can bridge the distance
Only we can make the difference
Don’t ya know that tears are not enough

If we can pull together
We could change the world forever
Heaven knows that tears are not enough

It’s up to me and you
To make the dream come true
It’s time to take our message everywhere

C’est l’amour qui nous rassemble
D’ici a l’autre bout du monde
Let’s show them Canada still cares
You know that we’ll be there

If we should try together you and I
Maybe we could understand the reasons why
If we take a stand every woman, child and man
We can make it work for God’s sake lend a hand

Mu favourite garage band ever: The Travelling Wilburys. singing End of the Line

“Well, it’s all right, even if you’re old and gray,

Well, it’s all right, you’ve still got something to say . . .”¬† and so we do . . .

travelling wilburys 01 Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, George Harrison. I wish they had had time to create more than two albums (they made Volume One and Volume Three;  there was no Volume Two; it was a sort of in joke and it makes me laugh.)

Have a lovely day today, my friends; I wish you Sunlight and Serenity.  ~ Linne

 

Day 17: Shopping on Saturday, Sharing on Sunday

A last reminder: remember to add a comment on the Day 5 post so your name will go into the hat. You have until midnight tomorrow (my time; PST)

Today was pretty busy; the cousins and I went to Vernon for a few things, including my baking supplies. We had lunch at the Red Robin, as we often do. They have a great loyalty programme and even better food. The best fish and chips I’ve ever had, and I’m from the coast!¬† But I don’t order that very often; I like my veggies too much. Today I had the “Avo-Cobb-O Salad”; just what it sounds like – a Cobb salad with avocado chunks. I should have taken a photo. It has plenty of salad for the base; a mixed garden salad, I guess¬† you’d call it. Then there is a hard-boiled egg, half a tomato, chopped, bacon, half a chicken breast broiled perfectly, half an avocado, and a very generous portion of crumbled bleu cheese. I t think that’s it, but there may have been more. I had a side of those wonderful fries, too. There was a sale on, a buy one, get one half off, but at the end, the server gave us half off on both the burgers, so it was a very good deal. We older people like our good deals! And he got a good tip in return. Servers like their tips!

IMG_5553

Spooky napping atop a high bookshelf

Then we went to a store I am not fond off, but the prices are good. The Great Canadian Super-Store. In a way they are good; there is a large variety of goods, for one thing, but the store is just too large and it’s hard to find things unless you shop there regularly. There is a sheet of paper in a plastic sleeve at the end of each long aisle, listing the things to be found in that aisle, but the print is too small for me to read. Luckily, the cousins helped me find what I needed. One good thing: in the Asian section we found a large package of cardamom for about half the price of a small bottle of the spice. I am planning to begin Christmas baking tomorrow, using some of cousin S’ recipes, some of my own and some of Selma’s. That link will take you to all her recipes that use cardamom; I am considering the cardamom cake with coffee drizzle, but it’s a rather large item for just the three of us (when I’ll be baking cookies and all¬† that); perhaps I will leave that for when we have company or go visiting. The chocolate and cardamom cookies (farther down the page), on the other hand, are calling my name . . .

IMG_5724There

 

was a very small selection of cookie cutters, too, but I did buy four. You will see two hearts in there; that is so I can use one for baking and one for crafts. The teddy bear is not Christmas y to me, but I have an idea.

IMG_5723¬†This set of three I chose because I do like to have a Santa shape. The reindeer I’ve never seen before, at least not as only a head. And the one in the middle is definitely not a candy cane. I think it might be a gift with a bow on top.

IMG_5725And I did¬†want a star, but this was the only one available:¬†¬† I can’t imagine using it so much taht I will need the cushioned edge.¬† To me, this is a good example of useless waste. More plastic and all that. But I did want a star . . .

Now, I do have a lovely collection of old cookie cutters, one set stored in the metal container used by the friend I inherited them from. But, as with everything else, they are ‘somewhere in the storage’ and not accessible.

i an’t tell you how much I look forward to the day when I unpack all my things, discard what I no longer need and finally get to enjoy the rest.

In the meantime, I simply buy replacements and try not to think about it too much. I may get to share these with someone else once I have my own again.

IMG_5726 Our next stop was a dollar store where I hoped to find some hair gel. Nope, nothing. But I did find a bath brush, some red buttons  and these:

I can use these for biscuits, which was my first thought. And I mean savoury biscuits, not English biscuits or cookies. But they will also be handy for cookies. I plan to make the traditional sugar cookies and some I will cut into round shapes, sprinkling  them with sugar on top and pushing a single raisin into the centre. I tend to cut donw on sugar except at Christmas, and usually would not add it on top, but in this case I will be doing it to honour my great-grandmother whom I never knew. My Mum and all her siblings remembered those cookies well and I want to revive the tradition. Great-Grandma made them on a regular basis and because raisins were expensive, I think that is why she only put one on each cookie.

I will also use pairs of these to form wreaths and then decorate them with a little icing.

Remember the pocket scarf? It’s been growing, but slowly. I frogged the top back a couple of times, but I think I like it like this. I had to buy another skein of yarn to use up the two leftover bits of grey-blue, dark and light. But the colour isn’t an exact match, so I had to think how best to join them. I am doing this for now:

You can see my solution in the bottom right picture. I will continue until¬†the light colour runs out, then continue with the new colour and the same on the other side. Once the sides are long enough, I’ll graft them together at the back of the neck.¬† But I still want to bring the colour down to the pocket level, so I’m thinking I will then pick up stitches along the bottom and knit a few rows before I sew up the bottom to form the pockets. And perhaps I’ll crochet around the top of the pocket, then up both sides to where the new colour goes solo. That’s what I get for being an idea person; never-ending projects . . .

So, that’s it for Sunday. Music for today:

Feeling stressed? listen to Bobby McFerrin singing ‘Don’t Worry – Be Happy‘ Robin Williams is in the video, too.

Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo Ľole of Hawai’i¬†singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I hope to have baking photos to share next time. Have a beautiful Sunday, everyone.

Warm hugs ~ Linne

Day 15: Christmas Baking & a Shortbread Recipe

Well, it’s been an interesting exercise, posting daily. I’ve never tried to do this before and it may be a while before I do it again, at least as a set piece. ūüôā¬† Anyway, I’ve been sitting here racking my brains as to a suitable topic.

I thought about all the Christmas baking I did when my boys were young. Of course I have no photos here, but I think I’ll write about some of that anyway and use pictures off the internet.

Although at the time I was doing most of the Christmas baking we had no electricity and thus no refrigeration, I would begin baking just after Hallowe’en. The things that kept best were made first and the others closer to the big day. My boys didn’t get much in the way of sweets during the year; I didn’t want them to develop a sweet tooth like mine. Generally, bread was the only thing we baked. Christmas was different, though, and I loved to go all-out for the holidays, then we were ready to returnto simple living once it was over.

jam kettle 01The first thing I baked was often the Christmas cakes; I made a variety of shapes and sizes, mostly due to using my bread pans and the like. I used my old jam kettle to mix the dough in. It looked similar to this one, without the handle on the side (just the bale) and, of course, was much older. It showed its long history of jam-making.

The recipe was my own and if I ever find it, I will share it with you all, but not this year. It’s somewhere in the storage.

Once the cakes were baked, I set them, one at a time, on a plate covered with a large piece of cheesecloth, two or three layers. I punctured the cake all over and then poured brandy slowly in the top, letting it soak into the holes; No worries; by the time we ate this, the alcohol had all evaporated, leaving only a delightful flavour. I wrapped the cakes in the cheesecloth, then in waxed paper, then finally in aluminium foil. Then the cakes were packed and put away in the cool mudroom for the next year. (After the first year I made these cakes, we always ate the aged ones.

I made two separate pound cakes, too, in my largest bread pans; one with halved green maraschino cherries and one with halved red cherries. When the cakes were sliced and arranged on a plate with the colours alternating, they looked very festive. Usually, I use whole wheat flour, but the pound cakes were made with white.

Each year I made gingerbread men and also a gingerbread cake. The latter was baked in my largest rectangular pan and was left un-iced. I felt we were going to have enough sugar without icing the gingerbread!

Humdingers 01

Humdingers similar to mine

For cookies, I made hermits (with oats, raisins, walnuts, coconut, and more) and an unbaked cookie that in our family was known as ‘humdingers’. These are rich and chocolatey and I will see if one of my sisters has the recipe. You know where mine is!

 

I loved to make the traditional sugar cookies, too; those we cut out with cookie cutters in Christmas shapes and added the details with icing.

Sugar Cookies 01

Sugar Cookies

I used my Mum’s trick of making a waxed paper cone, then snipping the end off (you have to be careful not to make the opening too large, so go slowly with the cutting if you try this). You can tape the edges or simply be careful. Spoon the icing into the cone, fold the top down and squeeze it slowly. I made several cones and a different colour of icing went into each one.

I made other things, too, but these were the yearly mainstays. And, of course, the Scottish Shortbread! I have made them with oat flour and with rice flour (they are not Scottish if made with only rice flour) and with cornstarch. Our favourite s were the ones with a mixture of oat flour and rice flour.  (using oat and rice flours together goes back to at least the 1800s)

Scottish Oat n Rice Shortbread 01

Scottish Oat Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread

Ingredients:

  • ¬†1/3 cup oat flour or 1 cup porridge (rolled) oats
  • 1 ¬Ĺ cups rice flour
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400¬įF. Lightly grease an 8″ round cake pan. To make storage easier, you may want to use an 8: square cake pan.

If you are using the rolled oats, grind them in a blender to make your own oat flour.

Place the oat flour (or ground oats) in a mixing bowl and add the rice flour, powdered sugar, and salt, blend well to combine.

Add the butter and mix well with a wooden spoon (or you can use and electric mixer on medium speed for 2-3 minutes) until the batter comes together and forms a dough.

Press the dough into the prepared round cake pan and use a knife to score it into 16 wedges. If you are using a square cake pan, score the dough into 16 bars.

Bake for 10 minutes at 400¬įF then reduce the oven temperature to 250¬įF and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye on them the first time you make these, as ovens differ. Remove the shortbread from the oven and turn the oven off. Using a sharp knife, cut along the scored lines while the shortbread is still hot. Place the pan back in the oven but do not turn the oven on. Let the shortbread sit in the oven with the door closed for an hour while the oven cools down to let the shortbread dry out and develop a crisp texture).

Remove the shortbread from the oven and allow it to cool completely.

Store in a covered tin to keep the texture crisp.

Well,that’s it for today, I think. If more comes to mind, I’ll add it to another post.

Music for today:

Lead With Your Heart by The Canadian Tenors  (The entire album is here)

I have loved this one since I was a girl:

The French Song by Lucille Starr

Have a great day today. The weekend is nearly here!  Peace & Insight  ~ Linne