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Cinnamon-- A Christmas story of two loaves

Category: Life happenings | Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 4:48 pm

Many years ago I became an avid homemade bread maker and took over the cinnamon bread for Christmas morning breakfast tradition that my Mom had started when I was a child....slaving over the dozen or so loaves from proofing the yeast to baking. And a new generation of family members began to expect this tradition every year. Two and a half years ago my oven died and as of yet I have found no really compelling reason to replace it, besides it makes great storage space in my small kitchen.

This year I finally remembered that when Mom had found frozen loaves of unbaked bread in the grocery store freezer section, she had started using those instead of making the dough from scratch....if it was good enough for Mom it was good enough for me.

I put the loaves in the fridge to thaw....didn't take as long as I expected. When we returned home from the movie on Monday the rising dough had filled the bag and had to be cut out. Got two loaves all done and on to rise. They were small loaves so I thought I would try baking them in my toaster oven instead of taking them to Lisa's unbaked the next morning.
Did you know that bread dough will burst into flames when it touches the heating element in an oven??? Well, I didn't.

After they cooled, I cut off the burned sections and covered them with aluminum foil ....then forgot to refrigerate them to prevent further rising.
Christmas morning I you remember the episode of the I Love Lucy show where she takes this 6 foot long, 2 foot high loaf of bread out of the oven?.... that is what I thought of when I turned on the kitchen light yesterday morning.
They were huge and flopping over the sides of the small loaf pans....a picture of Jabba the Hut flashed before my minds eye, not a pretty sight.
I pulled the loaves from the small pans, but them in larger ones....we baked them when we got to Lisa's.
They had collapsed into the pans and looked terrible and I explained why that was.

But they were both gushing over how good it tasted and how nice it was to have my homemade cinnamon bread again, I just didn't have the heart to tell them the rest of the story.

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To Sew or Not To Sew

Category: My Crafty Side | Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:27 pm

That is no longer the question. I started sewing when I was 10, Mom showed me how to thread the old White brand sewing machine that had been her Mother's and off I went. She sewed clothes for herself and me and I had watched her often enough to know what else to do. The machine had a knee lever instead of a foot pedal so I didn't have to be able to reach the floor.
I laid my doll down on a piece of grey pre-pleated fabric that she had left over from making me a shirt, with a pencil drew around the doll to make a pattern for a skirt and blouse and soon my doll and I had matching outfits of grey pleated skirts with white blouses. And I was hooked on sewing, my doll had more clothes than I did before long.

From the 7th grade thru 12th grade I took Home Ec classes each year...half a year learning to sew and half the year learning furniture styles and cooking. Don't ask why we had to learn furniture styles, it was the late 1950's that is just what girls were supposed to learn. I only remember learning to make two things in 6 years of cooking classes .....mayonnaise and chicken aspic. Now ask me how many times I have made either item in the 43 years since I graduated from high school, besides the aspic was vile.
But during the sewing half of the year I not only made the required class project, usually a skirt and blouse or a dress, I also made 4 or 5 home projects. When each was complete I would wear it to school for the teacher to grade.

I also sewed my finger...not once but twice!! Once in the first year of sewing class, I pushed too hard while guiding the fabric under the presser foot, it slipped on top of the foot and the needle went in and out of my finger right next to the fingernail and literally stitched me to my project. Teacher cut the thread and sent me to the school nurse who called my Mom who took me to get a tetnus shot.

Second time I was sewing at home, got distracted for a split second and this time the needle went thru my fingernail, thru the bone and curved like a fish hook on the other side when it came out and hit the feed dogs. Daddy had to dismantle the machine and take me to the hospital emergency room where the doctor pulled it out. THAT one really hurt.

Over the last 51 years I have made clothes for me and my daughters, vests and shirts for Randy, various curtains, throw pillow covers, Halloween costumes, three formal Prom dresses for Lisa and the wedding dress for her first wedding. In 1986 I started making quilts.
I have had various sewing machines over the years, usually second hand ones but I was never without a sewing machine more than a couple of weeks since I had so much sewing to do. My latest and last sewing machine was a really nice, brand new Elna 6003 bought about 10 years, I spent thousands of hours sewing with it until I lost all interest in sewing about 5 years ago at which point it was packed away in it's carrying case to sit under my craft table until a couple of days ago when I put an ad for it on Craigslist.
Last night a lady and her husband came by to check it out, she fell in love with it and it became her Christmas present from her husband.

It was sort of a bittersweet moment when they carried Elna to their car. I knew she would have a good and useful life once again, the kind of life she was made for but at the same time I was kind of sad to see her go. Elna and I had some great times together and made some beautiful items.
So today starts the first time in my life, especially since I started sewing 51 years ago, that I am without a sewing machine on purpose and have no desire to have another one and boy does that feel strange.

This blog entry has been viewed 1443 times

I know FRED is under there somewhere

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:54 pm

The cold spell we had starting Friday night brought three nights of below freezing temps and winds gusting up to 35 miles per hour.
The freeze took down most of the perennials and all of the annuals. Time to do the cutting back so they don't look quite so sad and pull up the annuals.
The Snapdragons are still blooming, there is one lonely Blackeyed Susan struggling to hang on and the Sedum Autumn Joy is really beginning to bloom.
Surprisingly the Common Sage, the Curry plants and the third generation this year of some annuals that reseeded in the large planter came thru just fine.
One of the Lavenders is mostly dead but there is new growth down at ground level.

The Cyclamen, Fennel plants and two as yet unidentified plants spent the cold weekend in my newly lighted and warm bloom house.

The high winds laid bare the pecan and hackberry trees, so FRED is under a good layer of leaves. Some are now in the compost barrel, I can rake up more as needed.

It seems wintery weather is over for now, the days will be warming up into the 50's and 60's for at least the next two weeks. After christmas I think I will work off the stress of holiday shopping and preparations by cutting things down and digging some things up. I have two suffering Hawthorne bushes to move to a sunnier location too.

I haven't been out in the garden much for the last two weeks, now after puttering around out there this morning I have this stressed out feeling of already being two months behind. Arrrrggghhhh, isn't gardening supposed to be relaxing, rejuvenating, invigorating. I really liked living under the delusion that everything was as it should be out there and it could get along without me for a few weeks.
I need snow, about a foot of snow all over everything....a foot of snow that will hang around at least a month and a few hot toddies, I liked my delusion and wish to visit it again. The snow is difinitely right out, but I have the ingredients needed for a nice hot toddy or two or three :)

Oh, have mercy, I haven't even started on plans for the front yard yet. So now I am 3 months behind already.....I have got to get those toddies made.

This blog entry has been viewed 755 times

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