observations, ideas and inspiration... from my pennsylvania home, garden, kitchen, and studio

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Felice Anno Nuovo! Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  It's been nice taking some much needed time off and just enjoy the holidays with my family and friends.  I'll be back to regular blogging next week and am thinking about a Valentine's Day update.  We are having a party tomorrow evening so I'm sending my wishes early.

Does anyone have any New Year's Resolutions? I'm working on a very small list. Small because I don't want to break too many resolutions! On the top and one of the most important ones will be to organize and de-clutter my house!  I'll be doing a little at a time not to be overwhelmed.....baby steps.

May the year 2011 bring you all joy, peace and good health.  Thank you for visiting my little blog and leaving your sweet comments throughout the year.  It is such a delight!  Looking forward to next year.

Happy New Year hugs,
Jenn :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Icicle Tutorial

I never get to do a tutorial!! 

Seems like everything I do everyone already knows how to.  When I received quite a few questions on how to make these I thought I would post it here for you all. 

This is how I make my icicles.  There is still time for you to make some too!!

~Cotton Batting ~ must be cotton not polyester...just doesn't work well.
~Thicker Gauge Wire
~Instant coffee or walnut stain
~mica or anything for sparkle

  • Cut the batting into strips about 1 1/2" wide as long as you want your icicle to be.  I cut mine about 9" long but if you are putting them on a small tree you probably would cut them 4 -5" long. The length depends on the size of tree you are going to put these on.

  • Next cut the wire about 3" longer than your fabric strips. Make a hook on each with the extra 3 inches.

  • Mix the glue and water together to make a thin runny mixture.  Add a little instant coffee or walnut stain.  Don't make it too dark because they will darken a little as they dry.

  • Place a large sheet of foil on an old cookie sheet.

  • Dip the fabric strips into the grubby mix making sure to coat it well and then squeeze out the excess.

  • Starting about 1/2" below your hook, wrap the fabric around the wire.  I wrap it around once and then go back and tighten it so that it is snug on the wire.   
  •  Lay them on the foil as you go not letting them touch.  

  • When you have as many as you want, (cover and save your leftover glue mixture, you'll need this later) either air dry them or place them in a warm 170 degrees oven until dry.  I turn them once or twice while drying.

  • When dry, bring out your excess glue mixture.  Using a brush, I use a foam brush, lightly dip in glue and run up one side and down the other of the icicle and then sprinkle with mica.  Let dry and you are done.
To make 50 of these it takes about 2 1/2 hours with drying time in the oven.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas week!

Warm winter hugs ~ Jenn xo

Friday, December 17, 2010

icicles, wassail and the christmas suit

Lots of icicles being made today....hopefully only inside not out.  We are too close now not to have a White Christmas!

Then I need to clean my house. It's almost like living in a gingerbread house, everything is coated with spices.  Speaking of which,  I found this lovely recipe for wassail that I need to try.  It's from The Pleated Poppy.  There is TEA in this Wassail!  I think I'm gonna love it.

Pleated Poppy Wassail
4 cups tea – she used earl grey tea, but says any plain tea would be fine, and brews it in her coffee maker.  I'll probably make it on the stove.
4 cups apple juice
4 cups cranberry juice
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
a handful of cloves
a few cinnamon sticks

Pour all this into a big pot on the stove and leave it on low all day long.  Makes 13 cups.

Lastly, what I'm watching today.... another favorite Christmas special.  What's your favorite to watch this season?  I'd love to know, maybe I haven't seen it.  I LOVE Christmas movies!

This is the Christmas episode of Keeping Up Appearances.  It's a wonderful British comedy about the queen of snobs, Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet by her).  She's obsessed by perfection, image, etiquette and breeding and drives her family and friends crazy with her quest to climb the social ladder.  Enjoy!

Happy Weekend ~ Jenn xo

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pretty Christmas Inspirations

Vintage Santas

Love how natural this is.

You all know how I like my white and blues!

This room just speaks for itself.

A wonderful thing ~ Pomanders....learn how to make them here

A cold snowy day.  Chili for dinner and making homemade cookies tonight.  Curling up in front of the fire to watch a nice Christmas movie after that.  A cozy evening.  Hope yours is also.
Sending Warm Hugs ~ Jenn

All photo's courtesy Country Living

Monday, December 13, 2010

The whole package...

that's what I have.  18 years....really??  I still feel like I'm 18 years old.  How thankful I am to be married to him for 18 years.

We met when we were both 16 and dating other people.....just friends.  Then something happened and our friendship grew.  My girlfriend Rhonda was the only one who knew the secret and with a little help from her....we started dating.  And that's how it began. 

We have the romance but 18 years later it's that friendship that carries us through all those crazy times that life brings.

I'm so glad I married him....my best friend.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas is upon us

When did that happen??  My Christmas decorating so far has been pitiful!  I've got pumpkins mixed with Christmas lights outside!  (please don't judge me) Tomorrow is decorating day and for now I'm pretending THIS is my front door...

We've had our open house and will post some pictures from that later this week.  It was a joy!!

Last night was the Christmas online update at Rabbit Hill Primitives website.  I've added lots of little holiday treasures.  If you have a chance, stop by and take a look.  www.rabbithillprimitives.com

I've got Christmas carols playing, lots of shipping to do and then a birthday dinner with a special friend.  A nice day indeed!!  Wishing you all a wonderful happy day also.

Sending warm hugs ~ Jenn

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Early Work Mercantile Update ~ Log Cabin Christmas

"I suppose it all started with the snow. You see, it was a very special kind of snow. A snow that made the happy happier, and the giddy even giddier. A snow that'd make a homecoming homier, and natural enemies, friends, natural. For it was the first snow of the season. And as any child can tell you, there's a certain magic that comes with the very first snow, especially when it falls on the day before Christmas. For when the first snow is also a Christmas snow..."
~Frosty the Snowman

Olde Shepherd is Sold

Yes that's right we've got snow! How appropriate for the first day of December!!

I didn't even realize the date until this morning when I heard Matt Lauer on tv "Good Morning everyone, today is the first day of December"  I actually thought "No Matt Lauer, you better check your dates."  Of course I was wrong (imagine that).

I thought tomorrow was the first day of December and that is why I am a little late in posting my update on Early Work Mercantile this month....a big month too!  It's updated now with a few new offerings....a Primitive Shepherd and a Christmas Pillow.  For more info click the link above.

Sorry Pillow is Sold

I'll be back on track with bloging next week.  I'm getting ready for a Country Christmas Gathering this Friday and Saturday.  We are located in Western Pennsylvania, email me if you'd like to visit, I'll send you directions.

Hope everyone had a lovely and blessed Thanksgiving.  Onward now into Christmastime.  Happy decorating!!

Hugs ~ Jenn :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Inspiration Friday.....Cinnamon Bird Ornaments

I'm sure you all have a cinnamon recipe or two for making ornaments but these little birds just captured my heart. Lydia and I are planning on making a little bird tree this year and these will be perfect. I may decorate them a little more primitive but aren't they beautiful????

  •  2 medium bowls

  • 1 cup ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 cup applesauce

  • Craft glue

  • Rolling pin

  • Bird templates

  • Utility knife, or bird-shaped cookie cutters

  • One straw

  • Wire rack

  • Paper towels

  • Baking sheet

  • Glitter and beads

  • Bottle with applicator tip

  • Length of thin ribbon for each ornament

  • Tissue paper, for storing

  • In a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup ground cinnamon and 1/4 cup applesauce using a rubber spatula.
    Stir in 1/2 cup craft glue. Stir the dough until consistency is smooth and dry. Let stand 1 hour. Applesauce gives the dough pliability, glue makes it firm, and cinnamon imparts a lovely fragrance and a gingerbread color.

    Turn out one-quarter of dough onto a cool, flat surface; flatten with your hands.
    Flatten with a rolling pin to 1/4 inch thick (I like to roll between 2 sheets of wax paper ~ easy plus clean-up is easier).  If dough becomes too dry, spritz with water. If it sticks to rolling pin or work surface, sprinkle with additional cinnamon.

    Photocopy bird templates onto card stock (these are enlarged roughly 150 percent); cut them out, punching holes where indicated. Lay a template over dough; cut out shape with a utility knife (or use bird-shaped cookie cutters). Repeat with each of three remaining quarters of dough.

    With a straw, poke a hole in dough as indicated on template (for hanging). Air-dry ornaments on a wire rack lined with paper towels for 24 hours, turning them over every 6 hours or so to keep them flat. Alternatively, preheat oven to 200 degrees. Transfer ornaments to a baking sheet; bake, flipping once, until dry, about 2 hours.

    Once the dough has dried completely, adorn the birds with markings inspired by nature or your imagination. As you decorate, proceed from the finest embellishment to the coarsest, adding glitter, then beads in order of size. 

    Using a bottle with an applicator tip, spread craft glue over the area you wish to decorate.  While glue is still wet, sprinkle with glitter or beads, holding ornament over a bowl as you work; tap off excess.
    Wait for the first area to dry completely (at least 30 minutes) before repeating steps 7 and 8 on another section. Thread a length of ribbon through ornament's hole, trim the ends to prevent fraying, and knot.

    Once you take the ornaments off the tree, store them, wrapped individually in tissue paper, in a cool, dry place.

    You can also find these instruction with step-by-step pictures from Martha Stewart Living here 

    Have a happy weekend!
    Hugs ~ Jenn

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Working and Watching

    Just a little hello! I've been so busy with holiday orders I haven't had much time to keep up with my blog or blogger friends.

    While I work the day away I watch (or listen to) lots of movies. 'Tis the season ~ for me that is! It keeps me in the holiday spirit while sewing Santas, angels, snowmen and other Christmasy things.

    This is what I'm watching today....

    "The Homecoming" has always been a favorite with my family since I was a little girl. This is part one. The rest of the movie is available on youtube.

    Have a lovely happy day!

    Hugs ~ Jenn

    Friday, October 29, 2010

    A Busy Day

    A little sneak peek.

    I didn't realize when I posted the day (November 1st) for my update that Lydia would be home from school today, Monday AND Tuesday.  Plus toss Halloween and a party into the mix and you have a little craziness.

    We are both having a fun day creating though.....even Hannah

    (I think)

    Happy Friday!  Hugs ~ Jenn xoxo

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    You are the "Apple" of my eye

    “You wouldn't believe On All Hallow Eve
    What lots of fun we can make, 
    With apples to bob, 
    And nuts on the hob,
    And a ring-and-thimble cake.”
     ~Carolyn Wells

    Can't you just smell them? Apple season is here!!  My mom brought over a giant piece of apple pie yesterday that I HAD to share with my family.  Don't tell them but I'm hiding a half a piece waaaay in the back on the bottom shelf in the fridge.  It's my treat for later.  Just thinking about it makes me happy.

    I've been digging through my recipes and here's a bunch of my favorites to get you going.  They are either linked back to my blog or to what I've found to match the recipes in my book.

    Now if I could just find a little time to get to the apple orchard before it's too late!

    ~photo's courtesy to Country Living Magazine

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    Update Coming and Banana Roll Recipe

    I am STILL working on that website update that I keep talking about.  I'm setting the date.  It will be on Monday, November 1st 8 p.m. sharp.  I'll be offering anytime primitives and a few early Christmas primitives.  Be there or be square!  (I think I just had an 1980's flashback from middle school.)

    Can you believe we are coming to that time again?  Christmastime!  As in "deck them halls and all that stuff.  Santa Claus and ho-ho-ho, and mistletoe and presents to pretty girls."

    Hang in there I am going somewhere with this.

    This morning I was planning on making my usual banana muffins with the sorry looking brown bananas I always have left over.  Then I got the mail.  And I received this.  A postcard for Windles Log Cabin Antiques Christmas Open House.  A wonderful open house with lots of goodies.  Thank you Connie for passing along this lovely little gem a few years back."

    Every time I visit Windles my friend Audrey asks me to bring her back some of their delightful banana rolls.  That got me thinking.  I can make a banana roll! 

    So I did.

    Although I think theirs is better.

    But mine still taste pretty yummy.

    Doesn't it always seem better if someone else makes it?

    This is what I did....

    Banana Roll

    Powdered sugar
    3/4 C. all-purpose flour
    1/2 t. baking powder
    1/2 t. baking soda
    1/4 t. salt
    3 eggs
    1 C sugar
    2/3 C. mashed banana (2 medium bananas)

    1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
    1 C. powdered sugar, sifted
    6 T. butter, softened
    1 t. vanilla extract
    1/3 Cup Walnuts chopped fine (optional)
    1/4 C. powdered sugar (optional)

    Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 15×10 inch jelly-roll pan and line it with foil, parchment or waxed paper. Grease and flour that and set aside.

    In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda.

    In a large bowl combine eggs and sugar; beat until thickened. Add banana; beat until well mixed.

    Stir in flour mixture into egg mixture. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, easing it carefully to the corners.

    Bake for 10 - 13 minutes or until center springs back when lightly touched.

    Immediately loosen cake from edges of pan.  I inverted the cake onto a kitchen towel lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar.  But you can lift off and invert onto another piece of wax paper.

    Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake if using a towel while hot, starting with 10-inch side. Cool completely on wire rack....about 1/2 hour - hour.

    When cake is almost completely cooled, make the filling: beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth.

    When cake has cooled completely, (unroll cake if your rolled) and spread with filling.  I then sprinkled chop walnuts (anytime I can add nuts I do since they are so healthy for you but this is entirely optional).  Roll cake. Wrap rolled cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.

    When ready to serve, unwrap cake and place on a platter. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired (sift the sugar through a small mesh strainer for a nice presentation). Cut into slices.

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Pumpkin Days & Blackberry Nights

    This past weekend we went to our most favorite pumpkin place in Ohio. 

    "Pumpkin Farm" is located between Columbiana and New Middletown, Ohio.

    We discovered it last year after leaving the "Christmas in the Woods" festival and now it's part of the tradition.

    They have so many different kinds of squash (or is it squashes?)

    It's hard to pick a favorite...just like penny candy only better!!!

    I brought home that dark blackish green one down there with the really long skinny stem.

    Stems are so important in the pumpkin picking process and you DON'T hold a pumpkin by it's stem!  (My momma raised me right.)

    But if you happen to have kids or grandkids, like the 4 that were there....

    Who seemed to enjoy ripping off the stems... (the cracking just breaks my heart).

    You could stack them to make pumpkin mushrooms or carve faces into them for pumpkin people.

    Just trying to keep it positive here.

    Speaking about positive...

    I know today is Wednesday and I keep forgetting to take pictures for Wednesday Cooking so last night I broke down and made this!!!!!

    And I plan on making this again and again and again, for the rest of my life.  Amen.

    I finally made it Doreen.  It is fantastic!!!
    The recipe is from Vermont Harvest Folk Art's blog.

    I have been wanting to make this since Doreen posted the recipe back in the middle of August!  (Her pictures are much more prettier than mine.)

    I bought the blackberries freshly picked from an Amish farm and everything. Well....school started (math homework uggh!) and fall shows and orders.  Needless to say the blackberries went into the freezer until last night.  I'm sure glad I bought enough to make another 3 crisps!  I'm also sure that this would be just as tasty using frozen berries in the off season months.  I did double the crust just like Doreen said.  It is wonderful.  Go out and buy some berries, it will make you so happy!

    Well that's it for me today.  I'm outta here!  Have a good one.

    Jenn xoxo

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    Nesting Days.....

    I love the gray muddy skies and the crisp autumn air on cool mornings.  It gets me inspired and the nesting urges begin.

    Already this morning I have the crock pot stewing with Ham and Scalloped Potatoes (easy easy) and a few pumpkin head dolls have been made that need to be dressed but.....

     this afternoon I'm going on a search for frosty green pumpkins.  I just need them.  I do.  

     What are you doing on these lovely autumn mornings??

    Thursday, September 30, 2010

    Early Work Mercantile Update Tonight

    I have two offering this month for Early Work Mercantile Group

    Esther...a pumpkin angel.  And a happy field mouse with a great find!

    More pictures and info will be available at midnight tonight.

    Please stop by and take a peak at all the talented artist on EWM.

    Night night :)

    Wednesday, September 29, 2010

    Roasted Chicken and Butternut Soup & Giveaway Winner

    My family loved it.  So much so that we had NO leftovers.  Love at first bite...slurp.

    This was adapted from a recipe I found in Everyday Food magazine.  A perfect fall recipe especially for busy weekends.  You all know I'm all about easy dinners!  This one fits the bill and uses little ingredients. I served it with a nice crusty bread.

    Here's the recipe...

    Roasted Chicken and Butternut Soup
    4 - 5 Chicken Thighs, bone-in skin-on
    1 Medium Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and diced medium
    1 Small Yellow Onion, diced medium
    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    Coarse Salt
    4 Cups Chicken Broth
    1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
    1/4 tsp Ground Coriander
    1/4 tsp Ground Red Pepper (optional)
    1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

    Preheat oven 425 degrees.  In a rimmed baking sheet, toss together the chicken thighs, butternut squash, onion with 2 -3 Tbsp Olive Oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Arrange in single layer and roast until squash and chicken are cooked through, about 30 - 40 minutes.

    Transfer chicken to a plate and let cool.  Transfer squash and onions to a medium pot and add chicken broth and spices.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  With a fork or the back of a wooden spoon, mash most of the vegetables until soup is thick and chunky.  Discard skin from chicken; cut meat into small pieces and add to soup.  Add the bones back to soup and simmer for 30 minutes and then remove them.  I think this give it a little extra homemade taste.  Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

    AND now the winner of the autumn giveaway is....

    CONNIE from Log Cabin Primitives!!

    Congratulations!  Thank you to all who entered and left such kind comments.  I feel like we are kindred spirits here sharing our friendship, lives and projects.  This blog brings me such joy and happiness.

    See you all on Friday with a few more inspirations for fall....unless I think of something else to write about before then :)

    Hugs ~ Jenn

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