Friday, July 5, 2013

Homemade Bread!

Looooong ago, I bought this book through some book club.  







Think the recipe has been used enough?     yup  that is about 30 some years worth of yeast and flour spills on the book page.  That's how we find the best recipes in old cook books, right? 





that's because it makes this:    



the best homemade bread recipe EVER   (in my opinion!)     and yes, it does make 'superlative toast'

a few things I do differently

milk:   I use water and dump in a bunch of powdered milk.   milk is good for a bread recipe as it adds to the softness
sugar:  you have to have some sweetener for the yeast to grow.  But you can change the sugar to 1 T of sugar, or just put about a T of honey in. 
salt:   I use 1 t coarse sea salt
lard:  really?   why use lard when you can use BUTTER!! 
yeast :  stays the same but from the jar it is 4.5 teaspoons.   This is a good recipe because you 'proof'  your yeast first.  Put it in a bowl or cup with 1/2 c water.  use water that has been boiled or distilled or whatever because if there is no chlorine in the water, it's better.  sprinkle a small pinch of sugar with the yeast.  If it doesn't grow, it's too old. Sometimes a person stores yeast and it doesn't work anymore.  I usually have a new pkt in the refrigerator just in case because nothing is more frustrating than putting work into bread and having it not rise. 
make sure your milk/butter mixture is lukewarm or cooler when you add it to the yeast or you will kill the yeast.  (that yeast is a picky thing and easy to knock off it's path when you're starting out the recipe) 
eggs  is one of the reasons this bread is soft and rises high   I add them after I put a c of flour in so the cold eggs don't affect the yeast  (yup--that yeast again!)  The fast rise yeast isn't as good, in my opinion, because it seems to make a tougher loaf of bread.  
flour:  I like the 'better for bread'  flour  but often add 1 c of whole wheat flour just to feel more healthy.   bread flour has a higher gluten content (I think)   which helps the bread somehow.  how I don't know but it does make a better homemade bread and seems to rise a bit faster. I could google that but don't feel like it. ;-)

When you beat the batter for 2 minutes it helps the bread  something about gluten and kneading  I read it once upon a time,  so beating the batter and letting it 'rest'  for ten minutes also is in a great bread recipe. 
I add the flour after the 2 minute beating, (sounds like something from a different kind of book huh?)   a bit at a time but not all of the flour.  Then it rests right in the bowl of my mixer for those 10 minutes.  I get a flour sack towel (or any other very clean kitchen towel), get it wet with hot water, wring the water out of the towel, and drape it over the entire mixer and bowl for those ten minutes. 

I knead the bread in the mixer bowl using the dough hook.  (this is my third mixer in 30 years.  They all lived a good long life, one is in another friend's kitchen now because I wanted this larger mixer and it's great for bread especially!)  

then let it rise twice.  I bake it at 350 degrees and when it's starting to look golden, (at about 20-25 minutes_ I put a large piece of foil over the baking bread (loose, just lay it on top of the bread)
if you use glass pans, you can see the crust color.  When it looks good, check the bread by rapping on the top with your knuckle.  It sounds hollow.  (kind of sort of... you get good at this after a while)  

Enjoy!   It's wonderful toast, but if you can't eat two loaves, it's a great bread to share with friends.  Who doesn't like a loaf of homemade bread?   








Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July 2013 Lampwork Beads and Tutorial


July 2013
I’ve been working on some silver pieces to add to my Etsy shop that has finished jewelry.  That is coming within the week. Hopefully!   In the meantime, there are some new pieces in my Etsy bead shop.
These smaller (one inch) lentil shapes to use for nifty pendants.  They look great for summer jewelry.  They can be silver wired or brass, or copper, to hang on a chain or leather cord.

  These are in my Etsy shop! 

And to add to the fun last month (June 2013)   I had a tutorial published in Soda Lime Times, which is a beadmakers' magazine. I love the magazine and was thrilled to write up the tutorial for Healing Hearts.


Between Art shows, some wonderful guests at our home, my fun job at the magazine, (it really is!!), going to Myrtle Beach for a few days,  and I don't remember what else,  it was a busy month!  
 ** Happy July 4th to you all!  (or should I say y'all) !!      
                                                                                                                                               

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Reasons to Wear an Acorn Bead!



It's fall and time to make glass acorn beads.  I love the look and the legends.  Here are a few.  I'm heading to my torch.  Keep an eye on my shop for even more acorns!

The acorn has also been considered to be magical for centuries. The Roman Goddess Diana is very often shown wearing a string of acorns around her neck. The Norse God Thor is said to have taken shelter under an oak tree from a thunderstorm. This led to the belief that if one places an acorn on their windowsill, the house will be protected from lightening strikes.

There is an old legend in Great Britain that the acorn can deter aging. All one has to do is carry an acorn somewhere on their person. This is thought to keep that person young forever. This probably has something to do with the fact that oak trees have a very long life.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bead Embroidery


This is almost a blast from the past.  Except I 'semi' finished this cuff yesterday. It's not totally finished yet, needing the edge work done.   I used to do all kinds of bead embroidery, especially around pieces of fused glass.  Pins, pendants, and cuffs.  But life changes, and other interests in jewelry making came to the forefront.  Whenever I see a bead embroidered cuff, it just looks so beautiful.  I like the swirls one can create using the same color of bead to add a new dimension to the look of the bracelet.  

This is a blast from the past for more than one reason.  It's what I 'used' to do, ages ago, it seems, and I started this piece probably 4 or 5 years ago. Once in a while I would work on it and every time I saw a bead embroidered cuff, I'd thinkof how beautiful they are, and of this one,  half finished in a little container. 

Yesterday I decided to finish it.  Working on it, I remembered 'why' bead embroidery is so fun.  It is a 'soothing' activity.  It was raining outside, the dog was at my feet, and I stitched and planned the next cuff to make.  The next cuff will feature some of my lampwork discs.  Bright?  Earthy?  I don't know yet.  But I do know there 'is' a next one.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Etsy Gift Cards


Etsy Gift Cards are coming soon!

This fall Etsy is launching Etsy Gift Cards. They'll be accepted at all shops that offer direct checkout. That's great! You can give a gift to your favorite people to be able to shop in any
of their favorite Etsy shops.
I love Christmas shopping on Etsy. Handmade gifts, vintage too, and you can find just about anything you like.
Hand knits, pictures, bags, furniture, and of course, very cool jewelry!
I'll post here when it goes live. :-)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Finding Your Artistic Voice

Where have I been?   Just too busy to think of blogging.  We've been on a few trips this summer and so enjoyed them. The Outer Banks for our Anniversary, and then later, to New Hampshire camping with family. I'm ready to stay home for a while!
In the meantime, I'm working up new jewelry for fall Art Shows, and enjoying that.
A friend and I had a little discussion about what direction our work takes.  It was good to think about.  Do you ever do that?  Just sit and think, what 'is' my style, what do I like to make the most?  I love color.  So I am trying to follow that path for a while. The brighter the better.  Looking through magazines is great inspiration. Don't look at the pictures, just look at the colors.  Pretend it's blurry.  Squint your eyes.  What color and design and balance are being used?   You could use this technique for design ideas too.  Shapes and how they interact are well done oftentimes in publications.
It's been a lot of fun following these ideas and I have plans for other ideas using combinations that please me.
I just have to add  a picture of Sparky the Wonder Dog Rat Terrier (and me)  on our vacation to the Outer Banks.  He loved running along the shore and digging in the sand.   I did too.  ;-)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Recycled Tins into Beads

Now isn't this cute?   I had the pleasure of meeting Debbie Austin of the Glass Onion Bead Company.  Her husband taught this wonderful pewter casting class, and Debbie was there to help.  She had taught the night before, this type of recycled bead.   I couldn't resist pawing through all her tin and materials and beads. Here's the link to their shop.

Old tins fascinate me.  Maybe it's the colors and patterns and metal.  (haha probably!)
After many different experiments, Debbie has a very nice technique for using these tins for making beads.
I bought a kit and materials for making these beads, with some other ideas in mind.  But in the meantime, also bought a cute 'Candy Land' necklace for my daughter since it was such a favorite game from her childhood.  Go figure.  Candy Land is such an easy game, but I also loved it as a kid.  Is it the candy?

You might like to purchase a bead or a kit from Debbie.  She is one of the nicest people, as is her husband.  I would love to live near their bead store so I could shop there and visit with them upon occasion.