All Things Andrea

All Things Andrea

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Miss Potter

"There's something delicious about writing those first words of a story.  You can never quite tell where they'll take you.  Mine took me here, where I belong."

the character Beatrix Potter, in the wonderful movie Miss Potter

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Simple Pleasures

I popped in at a food outlet yesterday on the way home from installing curtains for a customer - you can't beat a box of beautiful Clementines from Spain for only $2.29!

Clementines always remind me of a wonderful trip to Spain in December '91/January '92 to visit a college friend....

Broccoli Sprouts

Broccoli sprouts are a nice way to get some fresh greens into your diet without compromising a commitment to local, in-season eating.  It's so easy, and economical, not to mention healthful!

Simply soak 3 T. of broccoli seeds overnight in cool water.  I use a wide-mouth mason jar, fitted with a sprouting lid.  You can also improvise with a piece of cheesecloth and a jar ring.

 Day One:  In the morning, drain and invert jar.  Rinse and drain the seeds/sprouts two times per day until fully developed.

 Day Two

Day Three 

 Day Four
(Switch to a larger screen lid so you can rinse the hulls away.)

Day Five
Store in refrigerator right in the jar.

How cool is that??!! 

I love them on baked potatoes, but often eat a handful of them for breakfast - just because I think it's such a cool thing to be able to participate in growing my own nutritious food in the middle of the winter!

Knitted Dishcloths

I love knitted dishcloths made out of 100% cotton yarn!  In fact, I love knitting them, love looking at them, love using them, and love giving them to kindred spirits who are as in love with them as I am.   

They make wonderful little gifts. 

There's just something soothing about the process of knitting them - the cushy yarn is so comforting.  Maybe because my mom knitted them and gave me the directions??
I often tuck my knitting in my airport carry-on or take it along when riding in the passenger seat of a car.  I have to admit that it is embarrassing when someone asks, "What are you knitting?"  Somehow, the answer "dishcloth" isn't very glamorous or creative, and certainly doesn't dispel the old maid image.  But, I still love knitting them, love looking at them, love using them, and love giving them away.

I just bought a new shade of yarn yesterday.  :)

Here are the instructions:

1 ball Lily Sugar'n Cream yarn (important - must be 100% cotton!)
#8 knitting needles

Cast on 4 stitches.
Knit first row
To begin increasing:
Knit 2 stitches, yarn over, knit rest of row.
Repeat last row to 45-50 stitches.
To begin decreasing:
Knit 1, knit 2 stitches together, yarn over, knit 2 together, knit rest of row.
Repeat until 4 stitches left.
Cast off.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Job Completed!

I just installed these curtains today; it feels good to finish up such a big project!  Actually, the sewing wasn't difficult, but since the window was so big, the cornice board was 96 1/2" long - practically the full length of my living room; it barely fits in a vehicle!  I was eager to get it out of my house so I could have my living room back.  The customer asked me to simply duplicate her existing window treatment in coordinating fabrics to match her new sofa and pillows since she was so happy with the design of the original cornice, swags and jabots.  The burgundy fabric is 100% silk, so I lined it with cotton interlining to give it a bit of body and a soft drape.

Here's the before picture:

It's tricky taking pictures of window treatments, especially in the winter; the sun reflects on the snow and makes it that much more difficult to get enough light inside without the flash washing out the color.  I always try to get a picture so I can refer back to it if necessary.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Vintage Tag

This vintage piece of Tupperware belonged to my Great Aunt Mary Kinsey, thus the initial "K" on the adhesive tape tag.  I'm so glad the tag is still intact; every time I use this it reminds me of her, her legendary cooking, and lovely memories of our family visiting her many times during my childhood.  It also reminds me of my mom (who labeled her dishes that way also!) and the various potlucks and covered dishes that we attended over the years.

I miss those simpler days!

Seeded Flatbread

What a fun bread to bake!  One of my goals for this year is to bake all my breads from scratch.  That way I can eat 100% whole grains and save money at the same time.  I have so much to learn, but I think it's doable.  I was able to conquer Italian bread last summer.  Now, I want to move on to whole grains with the help of Peter Reinhart and some other cooking blogs.  Today I finally got around to baking this flatbread that I had mixed up earlier in the week.  It was such a cool experience!  The dough stretched into place so easily, it was almost as if it knew what it was supposed to do!

I stretched it out on a pizza peel (purchased in November in preparation for this year of bread baking!),

then slid it onto a preheated baking stone in the oven for 7 minutes.
Fun, fun, fun!
(My nephew recently asked me why I use the word fun so much!)
It was yummy on its own as well as with some hummus or dipping oil.
Next time I want to try making it a bit thicker, so I won't stretch it out as far.

Here's the link to the recipe:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rasp Plate

A friend gave me this unique little plate for Christmas.  Made in Spain, it is actually a grater that can also be used as a serving plate  It's ideal for grating a garlic clove, then adding spices and olive oil for dipping oil to use with bread.  I haven't tried using it yet, but am eager to do so!

Great Grains for Breakfast

OK, after eating CRAPP (spelled with 2 P's for emphasis!) for the entire month of December and into January, it is time to get back on track!  It was fun to eat chocolates and cookies and enjoy all the holiday food, but I do believe in and enjoy eating whole foods.  So, I'm ready to eat real food again.  No more white flour and refined sugar every day! 

The January issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine featured an article on whole-grains for breakfast - perfect timing!  I tried the steel-cut oats with pomegranates and pumpkins seeds - wonderful!  I didn't even need to add sugar.  It's beautiful and flavorful, and oh so simple, not to mention inexpensive.  I want to try the quinoa, millet, barley and wheat berries as well.  I had been eating my granola with homemade raw milk yogurt for breakfast, but was ready to try something different.  And, warm oatmeal is comforting on these cold winter mornings.

Give it a try!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Excerpts from The Shack

"The soul is healed by being with children."
- Fyodor Dostoevsky

"Life takes a bit of time and a lot of relationship."

"Do you realize that your imagination of the future, which is almost always dictated by fear of some kind, rarely, if ever, pictures Me there with you?"

"An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children.  He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others."
- A. W. Tozer

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Selvage Pincushion

Isn't this a fun pincushion?!  I saw the idea on a quilting blog and was so excited - I had been saving the selvages from my 1930's reproduction fabric collection for years for the simple reason that I hated to throw them away since they contained the name of the various fabric lines; seeing them always brought back pleasant memories of fabric hunting with my friend Denise.

The selvage strips had been sitting in a bowl in my quilting room because I didn't know what to do with them and wasn't ready to part with them.  Apparently they knew they were destined to be made into a pincushion!  :)

This is a view of the back of the pincushion.  I love the Aunt Grace fabric (Aunt Grace is a line of 1930's fabrics) - I had picked up a few yards of it a while ago, thinking it would be perfect for something, but just didn't know what.  It too was waiting to be used!
The buttons are vintage buttons from the local thrift shop.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Snowmen Family

My dear friend Glo made these adorable snowmen candles for me a number of years ago.  Aren't they fun!  They're made out of mason jars (one of my all-time favorite things!), so that makes them even more special.  I always look forward to pulling them out each January to provide some cheer after the Christmas decorations are packed away.  I marvel at Glo's creativity and the details - the little carrot noses, the blush and eyelashes on Mrs. Snowman, their dear hats.  What a wonderful way to celebrate winter!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Welcome January!

"January, the month of new beginnings and cherished memories, beckons.  Come, let winter weave her wondrous spell:  cold, crisp woolen-muffler days, long dark evenings of savory suppers, lively conversations, or solitary joys.  Outside the temperature drops as the snow falls softly.  All of nature is at peace.  We should be, too.  Draw hearthside.  This is the month to dream, to look forward to the year ahead and the journey within."
- Sarah Ban Breathnach, in Simple Abundance, a Daybook of Comfort and Joy

P.S. - I just purchased this dear little girl's mitten and headband set at the gift shop where I work; they were knitted by one of the residents.  I was so drawn to them!!   I thought maybe I could squeeze into them, but no such luck.  They evoke memories of the carefree snowy days of childhood....  :)

Blessings on your January!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome 2011!

"And now let us welcome the New Year
Full of things that have never been."

- Rainer Maria Rilke, as quoted in Simple Abundance, a Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach

Disturb Us, Lord

I came across this last year; it seems like the perfect New Year's meditation.

"Disturb us, Lord, when
we are too well pleased with ourselves,
when our dreams have come true
because we have dreamed too little,
when we arrived safely
because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
we have lost our thirst
for the waters of life;
having fallen in love with life,
we have ceased to dream of eternity.
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision
of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
to venture on wider seas
where storms will show your mastery;
where losing sight of land,
we shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back
the horizons of our hopes;
and to push into the future
in strength, courage, hope, and love."

attributed - Sir Francis Drake -1577