Friday, September 28, 2012

Tips for Better Sweet Rolls

When I was growing up, my Aunt Jo would make a lot of sweet and dinner rolls and bring them to our house to eat.  She must have had a small family at the time and needed someone to bake for (She did have 7 children but they are all younger than me). Oh, how I loved it when she would bring her baked goods.
When I grew older she gave me her recipes and I have been using at least one of them ever since - Caramel Twists.
Now I've learned a couple of tips to make them even better. 

 Sweet dough recipes are basically all the same.  Mine uses a little more butter and less sugar than my friend's, but other than that there's no difference.  I like the idea of more butter.  To me, that means more flavor.  It just depends what you like.

Tip #1.  Don't add too much flour when mixing the dough.  The more flour, the heavier and drier the dough.  I mix mine in a Kitchenaid.  I don't add all the flour at once that the recipe calls for but add  and mix some at a time.  Humidity makes a difference in how much flour you need.  I add it until it starts pulling away from the edge of the bowl, but still is quite sticky.  That makes for easy raising and soft dough.

Tip #2  This is a French tip from Julia Child that I just learned.  Let the dough take its time in raising.  Don't use a fast method, like a little heat from the oven.  Keep the temp at 70 or 72 degrees and let the dough take 3-4 hours to triple in size.  If your dough is soft and sticky, it will raise that high. Time adds flavor to yeasted dough.  It's not more work to raise it slower, it just takes planning.

My Caramel Twists sit in a pan of butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and nuts.  That makes them so scrumptious!

 I bake my cinnamon rolls and add some cream cheese frosting.

 These are some of my favorite treats to eat.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Karen's Quilt

 All over flowers and leaves.  I wanted to match the hibiscus in the quilt.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hawaiian Flowers

I finished the piecing of this quilt and am quite pleased with how it turned out.  I didn't know if it was going to be rather blah, especially with the dark sashing and dark blocks, but now that it's together I do like the look of it.

 It could be a lap quilt or a lawn quilt.

 I even have it scheduled to be quilted as if it was a customer quilt.  I'm learning to do that so that mine get done also.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

Baby Clothing Quilt

A customer came into our shop and brought her daughters' onesies and pj's from babyhood, so I'm taking them all and turning them into a lap quilt for her two daughters.

 Step 1 was getting them all cut out to a couple of different sizes and seeing how they'd all line up for a qult. I decided this was a good layout so I took pictures of them.

  I'll now add interfacing to the back to stabilize them and I will buy a light pink for a 1" sashing in between all the squares.  I do have a print that will work well for borders.


Here are Eloise and Juliet enjoying the quilts I made for them (not out of their clothing).

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sandra's Quilt

She used Oriental fabrics in this one.  She did a great job of piecing and the colors are beautiful.

 A close-up

 and the back.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Diapers for Dolls

Eloise has really been enjoying her dolls lately.  She like to hold them and say "SH!!!" because they're sleeping and she likes to change them.  So I thought she needed some diapers to help her along.
I made 4 little diapers from flannel and cotton.  You can find a tutorial and pattern at Skip to My Lou
 and Bee In My Bonnet also has a tutorial.  That's where I first saw them.

 I made little wipes to go with them.  Eloise wipes everything with them.

She wanted to put diapers on all her dolls.  They are all named Juliet (her baby sister).  Once in a while they are named Mike, Paul and Joseph, after her baby cousins.

Juliet even knows how to remove diapers from dolls.

Eloise also likes taking pictures.  Here she's taking one of her dolls.

Monday, September 17, 2012

On My Design Floor

I've had these Hawaiian fabrics in my stash for a few years coming up with just the right plan for the large, beautiful prints.  Since I joined pinterest I started a board for large print quilts and that has helped me to easily see different ideas that I could use for these fabrics.
 I can't find the name for the one I used as my inspiration, so here it is as is.
These are the 2 squares in this quilt.  It is a great scrappy quilt.

 It took me 2 hours to do all the cutting and then about 3 hours to get it sewn this far.

 As you can see from this picture, I came up one square short.  Now how did I do that?  I might just shorten the quilt, or if I want to take the time, make another square.

Maybe I'll even get it sewn together today.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Teri's Quilt

A T-shirt quilt.  Guess where this person went to school.
 I stippled this one, which is what I tend to do on all T-shirt quilts.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sheri's Quilt

I'm back into the swing of customer quilts again.  And they just keep coming.
I love the fabrics on Sheri's quilt.  She did a nice job. 

 The quilt is flowers, so I quilted flowers.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Something to Brag About

On with my French baking.  Yesterday I made a couple of  bâtards. These are similar to baguettes only shorter and a little thicker.  A very French product.

 The ingredient amounts are exactly the same as I always use for my Spaghetti bread, but the method is quite different.  Again as for the croissants, the raising time is much greater.  You want the dough to raise 3 1/2 times it's original size, so more time is needed for raising.  I started this bread at 8:30 a.m. instead of 2:00 p.m.
The forming is also different and I also heated up a large brick to stick into a pan of hot water in my oven to create steam.  You also brush the bread with water a few times in the baking.  That gives it its nice brown color.
It's all in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  She has lots of illustrations to help you also.

 The French often break the bread and they don't use butter.  This is also a great bread for those sub-like sandwiches.  They were some of the best.
This is linked to Linky Party  Tuesday.

Monday, September 10, 2012

French Cooking

One night after being home for about a day, I found myself dreaming of the food that I ate in France.  We would wake up to fresh, light, airy croissants and baguettes.  I especially loved the croissants.
For lunch, you'd find sandwiches made with baguettes that looked like they could be dry, because the crust was so brown, but they were so soft.  Those sandwiches were wonderful. 
And then dinner with all their meat and wonderful glazes.  Yum!  Let's not even talk about desserts.
So I woke up one night wanting to try to make croissants like the French.  I got on the computer and found a Julia Child recipe and decided I wanted her books and learn to make some things the French way.
I told my husband what I wanted and that night he came home with the surprise for me.

 The recipe in the book was a little different from the one I found online, so I took from both of them.  My croissants weren't quite as light as the ones in France, but they did turn out pretty good.  It's not something you go into lightly, as it takes about 24 hours from start to finish, but only 5 minutes of your time every couple hours.
I'm finding out that proofing temperature is very important.  She lets the dough rise over 3 times it's original size and you don't want it to rise too fast.  I thinks slower and longer is better than quick.

In France, no one bakes breads in their homes.  They all go to the neighborhood Boulangerie to get their breads and pastries for the day.  Fresh every morning.  In fact, they line up to get their bread. Out to the street.
 It was also so good to get back home to my family.  The little ones change a lot in that time.  Eloise is talking a lot more.  She always wants to be read to.

And Juliet is turning over and if you give her a smile she always has one for you.

This photo is one that was sent to me while on my trip.  I just thought it was so nice to see Eloise really enjoying her Grandpa.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


We spent our last few days in Paris. I've been here several times and it is probably my favorite city as far as large cities go. We rented an apartment on the Left Bank in the 6th district.  It is an historical building with a modern apartment.  We really liked it.  There was lots and lots of activity on the streets below till early hours of the morning that we could look out upon, but we could also close our windows to the sounds.
 You can see my girls looking out of our apartment windows.

A view looking down the street.

We came by train.  First a modern train station in Avignon to the Gare de Lyon in Paris, the grand old train station.

We were within walking distance of Notre Dame, only a 10 minute walk, so we went there the first afternoon after we got settled in.

Then we crossed the bridge and walked over to the Louvre and the Tuilleries.  The entrance to the Louvre is the pyramid in the foreground.

The next morning we tried the Met.  We made our way over to the Eiffel Tower.

My girls say they had a love/hate relationship with my walker.  The Eiffel Tower had two long, long lines.  One was to get tickets.  The other was to go up. My walker got us special assistance to instant tickets and the elevator up.  It was so nice not to be in those lines.
But those metros!   Lots of stairs.  No elevators.  Maybe once in a while an escalator.  So they carried my walker up and down stairs.

 Here we are on the Met.  Grandma was always good at taking these kind of pictures.

We then walked to the Arch of Triumph 

and window shopped on the Champs-Elysees.

Even car companies like Mercedes have a shop on this street.

That evening we took a river cruise on the Seine.

The next day we took some of the day to go to Giverny where Claude Monet's home and garden is.
I like his paintings and wanted to see his home.  We couldn't take any indoor pics but here's a few of his house and gardens.

 Doesn't this one remind you of one of his paintings?

When we got home we took a little walk over to the Luxembourg gardens which are just a few minutes from our apartment.  What a nice place to relax.

They have a pool where the children can sail boats.  And others sit in chairs all around it and the gardens just relaxing.

Our last day in Paris that is just what I did.  I decided not to go with the girls to Montmartre because I knew I wouldn't last as long as they and I can't manage the Met without them, so I took a quiche, my book, and my knitting and went to the park, after window shopping around my neighborhood.
They went up to Sacre Coeur

 and then went to the large fabric store in that area.  They said there is nothing like them at all here.  And as they are seamstresses,  they drooled over all and bought just a few.

We had dinner that night in the oldest restaurant in Paris, Cafe Procope.  It was a nice ending to our time in Paris and France.  All the food in France was so delicious.

Here are a few mountain tops in Greenland on our way home.