31 December, 2009

Danish Puff Pastry

This is our traditional Christmas Day breakfast treat.
My kids could not go down to the beach this Christmas day because they were worried about opening their presents and missing their Danish pastry.
We went down to the beach the next day so we could have Danish Pastry a second time with the family!
The recipe is in the Betty Crocker Cookbook.
My mom made this, my sisters make this recipe and I have made it more years than I can count.
It's easy and bakes while we unwrap gifts. I've rarely seen leftovers.

1 cup all-purpose Flour
1 cube Butter (1/2 cup, softened)
1 - 2 Tbsp water
1 cube Butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup Water
1 Cup Flour
1 tsp. Almond Extract
3 Eggs

Cut 1 cup Flour into 1/2 butter until it crumbs - like making pie dough
Sprinkle water until mixture forms a ball. Add extract if you want.
Divide in half and spread onto cookie sheet --each smooshed out with the heel of your hand to about 12" x 3".
Set aside.  

In a saucepan, heat butter and water to a boil. Take off heat and add flour and extract. Stir until ball forms. Add eggs and stir until glossy.

Spread on to bases. Cover to edges.

Bake in a 350' oven for one hour (60 minutes). Go ahead and unwrap presents, grab another cup of tea/coffee. You'll know it's done when the smell starts wafting from the kitchen.

Meanwhile, mix the white 'frosting'.    2 Tbsps soft Butter, 1.5 cups Powdered Sugar, 1 tsp Almond Extract and 1 -2 Tbsps Milk/water. Mix to drip consistency.

Use all of your white 'frosting'. Sprinkle almonds on top.

Serve it up with a napkin.

They will thank you.


Update on niece's skirt length

I was sewing this Christmas skirt all long-distance from my actual niece with measurements e-mailed to me. You really forget how really tiny little great-nieces really are. Really!
When the waist to knee measurement says around 9" - it's SHORT!
I managed to contain the skirt length to 9" but the netting hung down another 1.5".

I couldn't decide whether to trim the netting, how much to trim, or to leave it alone. - you know - once you cut it you can't add it back on. I was also suffering from TOO MANY PROJECTS TO MAKE AT CHRISTMAS again.
I ended up trimming it even with the bottom of the trim and it was perfect.
We went down to my brother's (grandpa!) beach house on Saturday to celebrate and I trimmed it maybe an half-hour prior to leaving. It was about 45' at Rockaway and my brother has been doing some major remodeling and the oil furnace was fritzing out and it was chilly.
Gorgeous little Sophea is dressed in her jammies which clash horribly with the pink poufy skirt.
But it all fit and her mom likes it. 
Next up - a t-shirt with fabric appliques from the skirt to MAKE AN OUTFIT! Maybe a tie-dye attempt?
That project is due next week when I get a day off and plan to visit my niece and grand-niece.

30 December, 2009

Winter Wonderland

Canbyland escaped the HUGE unannounced snowfall that blew through Portland yesterday.

***Update 12/31/2009. Seriously, Canby and Colton got nothin'. I was just checking out Pozy Gets Cozy and she's got a fantastic snowy Winterland happening in her yard (See post for Dec. 31st).  Even my brother in Wilsonville has a few inches left and it's over 40' today and RAINING.

Chalk Bag

My next to last Christmas Sewing project was making a Chalk Bag for my son. This bag holds the chalk when you are rock climbing. You hang the bag off your belt and it stays open while you climb. When you need to chalk your hands, you dip your hand in. When you are done, it cinches tight to keep chalk from going everywhere.
Some internet searches via google yielded several results from the  outside fabric to how to cinch it to actual patterns plus instructions. These bags retail anywhere from $25 - 40.
I used this pattern and it worked quite well.

My son liked the Swedish flag motif on one bag(swedish ancestery). I used fabric scraps I bought a few years back (for the airplane cover) from one of my favorite fabric stores in Portland. The outside fabric is a weather-resistant blue fabric and I used a purchased 1/8 yd of bright yellow rip-stop-type fabric for the flag. I searched for Grosgrain ribbon in bright yellow but could not find it wide enough.
For the inside fabric, I used a scrap of the soft fleece I used for the airplane cover that goes over the acrylic windshield. It's a  bit thicker than regular polar fleece but similar. I had several barrel locks in my stash but at the store bought one more because I couldn't remember if I had one. I also found nice sturdy elastic cording. The regular cording at this store was kinda crappy and wouldn't hold up to cinching.

Basically - you want the inner bag to cinch - and the outer bag stays somewhat rigid.
I finished the top with some belting - also bought at RCT and added a elastic loop for holding a brush and two belt loops for the carabiner attachment.
I also placed a piece of plastic boning (or use a plastic cinch strap) at the top to fascilitate the rigid opening.

You definitely want to utilize your 'jeans' sewing machine needles (size 18). There are many layers to this bag.  After sewing too many CD holders and this chalk bag and swearing through multiple needle breakages, I need something soft and delicate to sew next.

Here are some other links to interesting design possibilities for making your own chalk bag:
1. REI
2. Blue Ridge
3. Swedish
4. Petzl

24 December, 2009

Two Projects To Go

My great-niece, Sophea, turned ONE years old in November.
I wanted to sew something for her for Christmas but the project needed to gestate a few weeks before coming out of my head.
Finally, I decided to make a skirt with an elastic band to minimize fitting issues.
My niece quickly sent me measurements which was very nice to have.
Sophea's waist is 18.5" and the waist to knee length is around 9".

I wanted to make a full poofy skirt that would flare up.  It's trimmed at the bottom with giant black rickrack with another trim sewn down the middle of that.  We'll see if it looks really cute or really dorky on Sunday. It will probably swallow her whole!
I originally sewed a double layer of netting into the waistband but it wasn't quite enough netting. I added another double layer at the gather seam and this seems to be enough - 4 layers.

My only question is about the netting hanging down too far. I think it is too long but before I go off on a cutting frenzy, I left the decision for a couple of hours of reflection. I think cutting it closer to the hem will balance the skirt better. 
Sophea lives up in Battleground and with my work schedule - it's a bit difficult to make time to visit so this pattern was done with those measurements in mind and my memory to make up the rest.

I've only have one remaining thing to say: No matter how cute the sparkly netting looks at the fabric store - do NOT succumb.
Let's just say a few people have noticed my liberal holiday glitter look this afternoon.

*All of the fabrics, sparkle netting and trims were purchased here.

20 December, 2009

Christmas Crazies

I wanted to get my son who is at school in Corvallis some gift certificates for him to redeem for  some home cooking: a batch of chocolate chip cookies, or a pan of lasagna.

A quick google search turned up some interesting sites like this one. Not quite the postcard size I was looking for. A few other sites, including a tutorial on how to use my own MS Word and Excel to design my own Gift Certificates (No-no-no) and then I stumbled across this easy site.

The form was quick to fill out. Printing was a breeze and out popped three gift certificates on card stock that I will cut to resemble a large postcard.
I am addressing the back side from my son to me and adding a first-class stamp. All he needs to do is pop a card in the mail when he's feeling the need for a care package.

I need three-minute projects so I can spend an additional five 15 minutes blogging about them.  Fun.

This site also has a cute regifting game to play over on the left sidebar - don't miss it!!!

19 December, 2009

Sewing Table

This is the sewing table I want in my craft room. My daughter and I found this at IKEA last year and I find I still want it.  I can totally visualize the organizational possibilities.
You can put castors on the legs so it rolls.
I can't recall if the drawers are only on one side or accessible on both sides.
This would be perfect with a light table built in???

It's only $499.

Dear Santa,
I Been Good This Year.

18 December, 2009

Greetings From Oregon

My local library has a display set up as you enter about Oregon. Books about Oregon, books by Oregon Authors, gorgeous photo books about Oregon - you get the picture. Hard to miss as you walk up to the check-out area.

This book caught my eye; GREETINGS FROM OREGON.
Co-written by  Gideon Bosker and Jonathan Nicholas, it's filled with vintage picture postcards depicting the glory that is Oregon.
It actually leapt into my arms because of the name of Jonathan Nicholas. Originally from Wales, he somehow immigrated to Oregon where he was a semi-famous columnist for the Oregonian.
He was one of the reasons we subscribed to the Oregonian. >>Why are all the newspapers deleting their columnists?
If they go, ....

A quick search on-line found this book as low as $2.16. Hardcover!
Greetings From Oregon is a modest 1/2" thick coffee table book with a very nostalgic feel.

I went with Powell's Books because they had two. One for me and the second for my Mom (& dad). I think she would get a kick out of all the old vintage postcards detailing sights around Oregon. Mom is an inveterate letter writer - I think  a better word might be PROLIFIC.

Now - I just have to go pick them up. Too late for Media Mail (bump city at the PO) and too cheap for Priority Mail.

17 December, 2009

Santa and His Airplane

Here in Canbyland, we believe that Santa delivers all the goodies from his airplane. Tossing appropriate presents over the side of his open cockpit biplane, the toys, book & games all find their way down the chimney with Santa's patented  Magic Dust©  and arrange themselves under the tree. The tree, of course, is decorated with our favorite airplane ornaments.

Christmas tree farms abound around us and while the cityfolk come out to Merrywood for ponyrides and $75 Nobles, we drive about 1 mile to the next street over and get ours for two bucks a foot. Always amazing, our 10 - 12 foot Grand or Noble ends up costing us $12 - every year.

A few years back at a neighborhood Christmas party, a few of my neighbors were hotly debating the 'environmental greenness' of getting a fake tree next year instead of the huge hoary impact of cutting down and throwing away a perfectly good Doug Fir or a Noble or a Grand Fir.

Just the day before the sound of a helicoptor was overhead for hours, ferrying trees to the baler and the semi. Seasonal workers scurry faster than I work trying to keep up with cutting, trimming, baling and loading the truck. These seasonal workers depend on the income these tree farms produce and just so you know -- THE TREES ARE GROWN AS A CONSUMER CROP which employs many OREGON WORKERS.

Of course the FAKE tree sheds no needles. It gives off a clearly neutral scent of old tinsel.  For those of us subject to environmental ethics and allergies, this plastic product is made in China, employing workers at less than I spend per hour on chocolate and has a few extra heavy metals encased in the needle manufacture as a bonus.

How is one to pick?

15 December, 2009


One of the blogs that seriously inspires me is running a contest to nominate someone you know who uses their crafting talents to help people in need.

I nominate Joan Vardenega. She is teaching 4-H sewing as well as cooking to a fantastic group of girls in Columbia County, Oregon (Warren/Scappoose).
She doesn’t have a web site or a blog (yet) but inspires me through phone calls and e-mail. The challenge to create has been raised through her thoughtful interest in not only what her local fabric store in St. Helen’s is promoting, what her girls inspire her to teach, and her knowledgeable feedback to what I am currently creating.

She loves to teach and is always ready to take on a challenge.
She recently completed theater curtains for a backyard theater.
With her 4-H girls, they recently embellished t-shirts with Bleaching, bleach pens, tie-dye and dip-dye.
With me, she recently came over to Canbyland to help me with organizing all my sewing crap into one dedicated sewing room.
She has recently completed teaching a series of garment sewing classes to quilters from her local fabric store, Fibers & Stitches.

Joanie raises the bar.
Thank you.


This is Pencil Girl's Tie-Dye T-shirt. Twisting Spirals.

Many ripped out seams later, they figured out they needed to make the pocket first.
--After figuring out the measurements.
--Don't forget to attach the straps.

Here is the full-size towel with bag attached. All folds up into the bag and the bag has room for other beach or swimming pool necessities.

11 December, 2009

Secret Cool place

I was reading Angry Chicken today and looking around her site and I found this gem at the right.
You have got to try communicating!
Totally efficient.

It's been incredibly cold here in the Willamette Valley.
Ten degrees for days on end at 5am. Almost warming up to 32' at noon.
At least, there is no moisture - so none of the usual Willamette Valley problems of ice, freezing rain, cars sliding...
Today, I crossed over  the Pudding River in two different spots. The Pudding is a very slow moving serpentine river that feeds eventually into the Molalla River.  Because it moves so slow, there is ice forming alongside its banks.

The first spot is where the ducks like to bask in the sun near Aurora, just past the bridge.
The ducks had flapped the water back where the ice was forming and I wish I had a camera - oh right - I'm on a highway here - not the best spot to stop either. But the sunlight hitting this bend, the ice flung up, the ducks keeping to the middle now where the current keeps the water free. It was a picture perfect moment.
The second spot is a horseshoe bend  by the paintball/racetrack place where the water doubles back on itself and catches large trees along the outer part of the horseshoe, again with the sunlight and the ice forming crystaline structures to make another gorgeous photo op.

10 December, 2009

Cool Airplane Photographer

I was following up on ordering this airplane calendar and he e-mailed me that he picked up the calendars from the printer today.  I followed the guys' link to his web page.
tres cool.   Just in time for Christmas for us Northwest Airplane junkies.

09 December, 2009

Wintery Fresh

I made my wreath today.
Filled with Douglas Fir and a bumper crop of Pinecones, Blue Spruce, Nandina, Holly from my Mom & Dad's and Viburnum Spring Bouquet - I like my wreaths in the natural state. Everything smells so wintery fresh.

Most of the fir blew down in a recent gale-force windstorm. The Blue spruce  has needle-sharp needles. The 'trick'? Let the blue spruce wallow for a week and it becomes soft enough to handle.


The air is smokey today at ground level. Neighbors on both sides of me are trying to cope with our 22' cold snap by smoking me out with their wood stoves. This morning when I left for work it was 10' so the day has warmed a bit - must be the wood stoves at work.

My friend, Pencil Girl, is due to come over on Sunday. However, the long-range forecasts are troubling with threats of freezing rain and snow. I'm afraid to make her a wreath. If I make her one, then she won't be able to come over. If I don't - you can see where superstition takes you. Down the road to 'crazy'.
I usually make one for my neighbor Vicki and even Betty. I have plenty of material. And I found a dozen wreath hoops at an estate sale this summer. Actually, this is the second wreath I have made. The first was shipped Monday to Minnesota to my sister.

If I ship my sister a wreath, then she won't bug me for an Oregon Christmas Tree to be shipped to her.

This is what I spied Monday coming home for my mid-day break. 
My neighbors have the cutest alpine A-Frame house.

I think if I had gotten a ride in the buggy, I'd make them a wreath.

06 December, 2009

Dairy-free Cream of Broccoli Soup

Or, was it?

I read about five recipes on-line for Cream of Broccoli Soup and came up with something that is very definitely green but tastes very good.

I took zero photos because the soup was GREEN. I don't think my kids would eat a green soup  if I paid them, but one on-line mom swore her kid loved cream of broccoli soup. Even Gluten-free Girl swears her daughter loves broccoli puree. I don't think you should believe everything you read on-line.

I started off with sautéing some dried minced onions in butter with a dash or two of garlic powder. Then I added 3 cups of homemade turkey stock along with the broccoli, chopped up small.

After seven minutes, I threw in the last cup of broth, realizing I had a lot of broccoli in the pot.
I added some sea salt  (~Tbsp?) and pepper and pinch of Turmeric at this point.

The broccoli took just over ten minutes to get somewhat soft. Tasting it here, I added a dash of hot sauce because we all know hot sauce fixes everything.
I pureed the soup in three batches in my blender and put it back in the cookpot.
Then I added 2 cups of Hazelnut milk (Dairy-free). I had about 2 Tbsp's of
whipping cream left in the fridge and threw that in.

The soup was still not quite what I was after. A little too much texture. Not enough creaminess.

I added another cup of Hazelnut milk to get the right consistency and put two batches back through the blender ( not all of the soup - I wanted to keep some of the texture).
That little whipping air into the milk gave it a more velvety texture.

This was a fast-to-make soup, but, unfortunately, is for an intermediate cook who kinda has an idea in her peabrain about what this soup should be like; taste-wise and texture-wise and how to get there.

Here's my recipe - with room for thought:

Dairy-Free Cream of Broccoli Soup

1/4 cup finely chopped onions or 2 Tbsp. Dried Minced Onions
Butter ~ 2 Tbsp ( you could use olive oil here)
Garlic Powder or 1 clove fresh garlic

2 big florets of Broccoli, chopped up
4 cups stock (mine was from the Thanksgiving Turkey)

3 cups of dairy-free milk (Hazelnut)
Dash of real cream?

Definite Dash of Hot Sauce

Sauté the onion and garlic in butter. A minute or two.
Add stock and broccoli. Cook until almost tender ~ 10 minutes.
Puree in batches in blender. Return to cookpot.
Add dairy-free milk
Puree two batches in blender (not all of soup).


This was enough for two tonight with just enough for tomorrow.


Careful what you wish for

Just in - Wish lists for nephews:
Ian is 81/2 and Eric is turning 7 this month.

You asked for it--here they are--Christmas lists for Ian and Christmas and birthday list for Eric.

Star Wars Clone Commander Blaster
Bib Buck Huner PPO video game
Lego Star Wars Pirate Tank
Up (the movie)
EA Sports sureshot soccer/hockey
Dart Belt Blater or Tommy 20 Dart shooter
Nerf Lazer tag 2 player battle system--Ian really wants this
Nerf N-Strike Vulcan Blaster
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Movie
Star Wars TV game
All Harry Potter movies except #2 (we have that one)
All Harry Potter books except # 3 (have it)
Sapce Police Gold Heist
If possible (note the whimsical wishing) a Wii!
Scavenger Hunt for Kids (by University Games Corporation)
Uberpult (game by Patch)
Tri-Spy (game by Fat Brain Toy Co)
Wobble Deck
Gamewright Boochie
Zome Tool-Crazy Bubbles
Doinkit Darts
Original Fart Machinge
Yodelling Pickle
Lego Star Wars 7676, 8039, 7751, 7675, 7674, 8018
digital camera

Disgusting Science Kit
Tri-Spy (game byFat Brain Toy Co)
Uberpult (Patch)
Scavenger Hunt for Kids (University Games Corportation)
Ice Age 3 movie
River Crossing; The Perilouse Plank Puzzle (game)
Ultra Stomp Rocket
Moon in My Room (by Uncle Milton)
Hexbug (robotic bug)
Magic Science (by Scientific Explorer)
Illustory (create your own book)
Original Fart Machine
Solar Deluxe Educational Kit (Elenco)
Lego Star Wars 8036 (on sale at Target)
Lego Star Wars 8036, 8037, 8019, 7752, 7680


It's not even 7 in the morning on my one day off and I am sitting here cutting out tiny little houses.

I am on the computer to find out what spices go into Cream of broccoli soup and to get ideas on how to adapt it to my food intolerances.
But, here I am, finished with one house and cutting out Martha's next.

I was reading through recent posts on blogs I follow when I found these little gems.

Too many things to do and not enough time. Just thinking of all of the different embellishments one could do to these tiny houses. Oh boy.

If you have a full list of things to do today - link over here and get your schedule derailed.
twelve22 has this house on a free PDF that you can print out.

05 December, 2009

Ramblin' Rocket

Did I mention that Rocket likes to visit his friends every so often?
Did I mention his entire brain is encased in his big lab nose?
Did I mention he's a male dog and really enjoys the marking of his territory.

He has a route.

All the dogs on the street have to sniff and pee on a spot that I call the library. The library is a huge crabgrass circle about two feet in diameter halfway down the street.

My dogs spend a lot of time reading this spot.
And - after they are satisfied with the reading, they lift their leg and pee on top of everyone else.

Last night, Rocket took off after dinner as if he had an appointment or another dinner party to attend. He stumbled in hours later, tired out, barely able to manage the one step into the house. Obviously, a hard nights work for this nine year old dog.

He maintains friendships at the trailer park beyond the pond, behind the Christmas tree farm where the renters live, and likes to sashay by Mabel's house just to see if she'll get hoppin' mad that he is outside and she is trapped inside.

He's always been a wandering dog. He has houdinied himself off the chain using his thumbs to unscrew the chain lock mechanism. He can slip a collar every time and we have never been able to make him carry his id.

Next time -- I am so getting a female dog.

04 December, 2009

Adsense Ads and Blogs and writing a journal

Okay - I admit to being fascinated by the whole Blogger Adsense thing.
This is where you get paid when people click on one of the ads. An advertising thing.

I could get paid for writing really rambling blogs about nothing of consequence.

Every time I post, ads immediately pop up over on the sidebar pertaining to what I just wrote.

I just wrote about my son's pet ferret and, of course, I was also thinking of making ferret gifts for Christmas (COMING UP!). I look over at the sidebar after posting - and  there are three ads for ferret gifts.
I clicked on one - and there was $0.35 in my account. Amazing. (disclaimer: Blogger says I cannot click on my own ads. They say they will pull my blog if I do so (in an effort to get paid more).
But - I was interested in the ad - I found a photo of something I could make out of polar fleece for Miss Luna to play in or sleep in. A great gift idea.

Really - there is a secondary fascination with the ads I see and those ads that my friends see.  They are completely different.

I believe the ads are based on the cookies on YOUR computer plus the hyperlinks I throw in plus the tag words.
Totally fascinating.

For now.

03 December, 2009

Cascade Warbirds Calendar

Cascade Warbirds photographer John Clark has teamed up with fellow members  Al Sauer and Lyle Jansma to produce a calendar displaying their best CWB  aircraft shots from 2009.

Calendars will be available to purchase at this year's Christmas Party but  can can also be pre-ordered by contacting Lyle Jansma  or his website. The price will be $10.00 with a portion of the  proceeds to be donated to the Cascade Warbirds. It is hoped that with  sufficient interest in the project, we will be able to make the production  of this calendar an annual event.

Note from Kathy: Getting more information. Cover is gorgeous.

02 December, 2009

Chocolate Covered Pretzels


I've made these for our Christmas Bazaar for years. They make wonderful gifts as most people cannot resist the combination of chocolate with that little zip of salt.

This year I bought a Wilton Chocolate Pot that melts the chocolate and keeps it warm for dipping.
I bought it with my 40% off coupon here.

The only downside to the pan? It's made of aluminum that when weighed down by the chocolate and you pick it up by the handle -- the handle bends. Knowing that - you don't pick up the pan by the handle.

It does a great job of keeping the chocolate at the right temperature for coating pretzels. I am using chocolate melties sold in the bulk bins here at the Clackamas location. I used some of the bulk pieces of dark chocolate  for my peppermint bark and that worked as well.
  Overall - I like this pan and my old way of using the double boiler - being careful to keep the water condensation from reaching the chocolate is over. The microwave works with pyrex but if the pyrex gets too hot, it will break in half. This pan seems fairly foolproof.