Good Happy Friday to you all!
I feel very happy as I write to you because I know it’s been way too long since our last chat. Wow! The days roll along so quickly and it seems there is little time for me to slow down lately. I don’t yet feel the quiet rhythm of my days. Since our move, there's been too much to do, getting two boys into a new school, preparing one for college, homeschooling sweet Jordan, and taking care of the home. I intentionally find a few moments throughout the day, to read a paragraph, knit a row, or cook something yummy, and these moments do feel very right, so I think it will just take a little more time. Here we are at another sweet Friday though friends, so that alone is reason to slow down and smile:)
I found some cute little cupcake holders on clearance and wanted to try them out. I really liked how they bake up, and I used this recipe. I think this is the best blueberry muffin recipe I have tried, and I have added it to my recipe box. They were so good! What’s not to like about crumb topping?
A bit of yarn arrived in the mail from Jimmy Beans Wool. A new to me yarn club, and a mystery KAL shawl, had me casting on these beautiful and equally soft yarns, perfect for February knitting. Fabric has been purchased also and quilt batting has arrived, so I will be finishing up a couple quilts and starting a new one for summer.
I think Sunday or Monday I’ll have to plan a day of photography. (The flowers are from my kitchen.) There isn’t much to see outdoors with the trees being bare, and the snow staying far away this year. Perhaps a closer look through my lens will reveal something I’ve been missing. This usually does surprise me with a gift that nature is always willing to share.
I’ve noticed when I tried to spend time writing, as I mentioned with my last post, how much time that will take from my life. I think I am busy enough. Ha. (Understatement;) For now, I don’t want to miss a moment of taking care of my family and my home, and I’ve realized writing would take all of any free time I have.
A little advice then, if you find yourself wanting to do more, and a sweet reminder to myself as well, that maybe what we are doing right now is very significant in itself, and enough by itself to make a beautiful life. At this time, I would much rather get my house in order for Spring, visit with friends, and adore my family. Oh truly, it couldn’t be better.
Wishing you a beautiful weekend dear friends. May peace, joy, and love, be waiting for you at home. Jeannine:)
Hello! How has life been treating you this week? I hope all is very well!
As I neared the end of a baby bonnet, I realized a Picot Edge was required. I thought, ew! Not that I thought it would be difficult, (or maybe I did just a little.) I remember trying the picot edge with crochet once, and well that was enough to steer me away I guess. None the less, this little bonnet seemed to need one, so I pressed on. It turns out "picot edge" is a very general term, and there are numerous types and ways to accomplish the look. The edge on this bonnet turned out to be very easy after all, and I thought in case you haven't tried it, you may want to take a little closer look at a basic picot edge! The bonnet pattern is the same as my last post and can be found here. The yarn is, hmmm,from my stash;)
The first step for a simple picot edge, is to start on the right side and knit two together, yarn over. Repeat across the row. Then, knit 5 rows of stockinette stitch followed by binding off the edge. Like below.
Next, simply fold the stockinette edge, to the wrong side and whip stitch it into place. The finished picot edge is even and sturdy, with a double thickness. It makes a very nice edge for a bonnet. What could be simpler?
Blocking each little picot bump is not needed, but I went a little crazy with the pins regardless.
Winter is playing hide and seek, and the Pear Tree seems to be falling for the untimely little game.
The weather has me missing winter and wishing for sun at the same time. Trips to the market end with me saying yes! Flowers please!
Bluebirds apparently love holly berries. They have been visiting each morning. Seriously, I wish they would never leave.
A big New Year's resolution hit me this afternoon. It's been in the back of my mind for a while. My New Year's Resolution is to stay off the computer, except to pay bills, to write here, and to spend time only on blogs where I have friends. I haven't had time to really work out the details of this New Year's plan completely, but there will be more. Here's how the plan happened:
I needed to go to the bookstore to purchase three books for Jordan's Literature class that starts tomorrow at his homeschool network. (Nothing like waiting until the last minute, I know.) I didn't think the bookstore would even have them, but it did. Yay! While I was there, I thought about how much I love to read. I mean when I'm in a bookstore, it is pure bliss! And well, that made me think of how much I love to write, and sew, and knit, and visit with you. The Breathe Journal, caught my attention, and when I peaked inside, I saw it was more like a goal setting journal, and I knew I had goals floating around my head, that needed to be set for the new year. So I bought it! I also knew as I mentioned before, in some vague way, that writing was going to be one of those goals. So additional journals were purchased, and for week one of the Breathe Journal, I penciled in "write a rough draft poem". And I did. If I write a poem for each of the four week goals, I'll have 12 poems written by the end of the year. This year, you will find me writing more, knitting, sewing, and visiting here with friends. It all sounds very perfect for another year!
Much love to you all!
P.S. Yes! You should do that! Follow your heart:) xox
Happy Sunday to you!
I've set aside my current knitting projects for just a moment, to make a couple wee knits for a friend's new baby girl. The tiny crocheted flowers are so fun, (it's been a while since I've crocheted,) and I will definitely be making more. The pattern for the basic hat is here, and the tiny crocheted flowers are easy, and the instructions can be found here. I'll be finishing up this bonnet too, and then sending them off to my friend in the morning.
We finally got a couple inches of snow, and frigid temperatures have settled in as well. I'm trying to stay inside as much as possible, only really wanting to go out when tea is running low, and I'm thinking of a new flavor worth going to the store for.
Yesterday I started unpacking a few boxes and without thinking about it, I found myself setting up a proper little sewing area. The task of starting up a new sewing machine didn't interest me at the time, but a little peek inside the manual had me threading it up in no time. It's powerful! I can't wait to start sewing everything:)
We have finally brought our chickens home, and being the new chicken owners that we are, we didn't think they would lay in the cold temperatures. To our surprise, there were six frozen eggs in the coop, and later in the afternoon, one perfect blue egg. Apparently 8 degrees doesn't faze them.
Dinners have been simple, warm, and comforting, and sitting with family is a happiness that just never feels old or routine. Every time we gather there, gratitude completely sweeps me over.
A trip to the feed mill leads to the river, and a house with curtains, full of turkeys and ducks.
Wishing you a beautiful week friends, full of happy days and peaceful nights. Jeannine xo
Happy New Year Beautiful Friends!
Did you ring in the New Year with family and friends? Whether you were out celebrating in a big way, or cozy at home in a quiet way, I hope it was grand. I spent New Year's Eve, calling in sick to work yesterday, and again today (I hate calling in), and spent the entire day yesterday in bed, with a cold and flu. It wasn't a total loss however. Channel 9 showed a Downton Abbey marathon, and I watched it in its entirety. We ordered pizza in the evening, and I got up for a few minutes to sit at the table with my family. Regardless of how I felt, it made me so happy to listen to them talk, laugh, and to enjoy food together. So happy!
Today I woke feeling slightly better. Laying in bed is not easy for me at all, and who has time for that anyway? I wrapped a shawl around me, went to the kitchen, poured a cup of hot coffee, and sat down with my knitting.
It was time for me to knit the pockets for my Anna Vest, and I thought a little tutorial about knitting pockets might be nice. Would you like to grab a cup of tea, and take a look together at how easy knitting pockets can be.
Here is the front side of my Anna Vest.
Earlier, I had knit two pocket linings, about 21 stitches by 23 rows, and placed them on stitch holders. I am weighing them down to keep them from rolling. (I love my little stitch clicker sent to me by a friend:) Isn't it cute? It smiles!
Here we go! First, knit in pattern to the start of where the pocket will go. Place a marker and knit in pattern to the end of the pocket space. In my case, 21 stitches. The same as the pocket linings above. Place marker and finish the row in pattern.
Next, knit in pattern over to the first stitch marker, and between markers work in 1x1 (knit 1, purl 1), rib pattern, then finish the row in pattern. Repeat this for three rows.
Then knit in pattern over to the stitch marker and bind off the 21 stitches, or however many pocket stitches you have, removing the stitch markers. Finish the remaining stitches of the row in pattern.
Now, let's attach those pocket linings. On the wrong side, simply work in pattern (in this case, purl stitch) and purl across one of the pocket liners made eariler, removing it from the stitch holder, and then finish the remaining stitches of the row.
On the right side you'll see this:)
The back will look like this, and will be Whip stitched in place later. (Like when the cold and flu are gone.)
When your pocket is done it will look like this, and if you are like me, you may already be thinking about what you will be able to tuck inside. Yes to pockets!
I'm back in bed now friends. Let's chat soon! May this New Year offer you hope and joy. I've been thinking, if we all ditch the lists of resolutions, and just simply pencil in "peace and kindness," it may be a very good year. xo Happy New Year!
Hello Friends! A good and happy week after Christmas to you all! If you are back to work, I hope this week is an easy one, and you find yourselves sailing right into another holiday weekend.
Outside my window, there is no snow. Yesterday I opened the windows for fresh air, worked in the yard, and the boys went for a bike ride. This is December is it not? I'm trying to appreciated the nice weather, knowing that one day soon, I'll be snowed in for the day, but it does feel a bit contrary to this time of year.
The only thing remotely close to the color of snow around here, is a jumper I've been knitting, and want to finish before cold North winds do eventually change course, and sweep across the Midwest. The pattern is an oldie but goodie, Montera 874, by Classic Elite Yarns. The yarn is Cascade 220.
I've been spending my time slowing down just a bit to knit, read, and think about the coming year. (It doesn't get much better than Tasha Tudor's art, her knitting patterns, and recipes all in one place:) There are no definite resolutions made for the new year as of yet, but I do find myself roughly planning, dreaming up goals, such as new writing adventures, the possibility of hosting knitting groups here at home. (Could this be the year? I wonder.) There is a new position at work, which starts in January, and which opens up my schedule for more time to do these things, and for visiting here. Oh the promise of a new year! Wonderful! Are you making plans as well?
Wishing you a beautfiul week! Jeannine xo
We are slowly getting settled into our new home. It was the unpacking of books, and a little organization of yarn and sewing supplies the other day, that helped make things feel like home. There has been some holiday bustle as well. Christmas shopping was done at the last minute this year, and wrapping followed sometime long after midnight last night. Just moments ago, gifts were placed under the tree. There wasn't time for as many types of cookies to be made, and a few boxes that still need to be emptied, seem to compete for attention with the decorations about the house, Yet still we are blessed with togetherness, good food, and gifts to give. It's Jordan's 14th birthday! My heart. We are home. Yes, regardless of the rush, it's a perfectly wonderful Christmas.
Whether you are celebrating the miracle of oil that burned far beyond its day and through the darkness of nights, or the birth of Christ in a manger, with the glory of the star, rejoice! Both gave light to the world. As our holidays coincide this year, we can celebrate together as friends and share our hope in the promises of God.
May the miracles of this holiday season shine in your heart, and may peace, joy, and happiness be your gifts. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy Hanukkah dear friends!
Love, Jeannine xo
Dear friends, you must think I have forgotten about you, but au contraire!! I think about you all the time! I wonder what you are working on. (What's on those needles, in those hoops, and what's in those sewing machines.) I wonder if your days have been peaceful, and what you are planning for the holidays? I hope you are all well! The transition to the new home has just been incredibly time consuming. We decided not to have the kitchen done as previously mentioned, and to instead do some of the work ourselves. We are very close to done now, and I promise to share many new things when we are settled. I am so looking forward to it!
I think the fact that we celebrated Thanksgiving a couple days later, made me appreciate it that much more. With vases and decorations already packed, and sent to the new address, I only had one candle left at stone cottage, but a beautiful card, full of kind words from a friend, made a perfect display for the table.
After dinner, my daughter washed the dishes. She is in front of her husband at the sink. She called all the boys to make them dry. I've called her the substitute mama many times over the years. She is so very special.
The chilly mornings here are balanced most days, with warm bread in the oven...and coffee!
I'm knitting the pockets of my Anna vest. It's such a fast, easy, and enjoyable knit. I should have had it done months ago; but thinking ahead to all those snowy cold days that are sure to arrive soon, there will be plenty of time for finishing, and for wear. (Side note: It seems turtle necks are back in style!:)
Frost covered, misty morning skies, hot tea in warm mugs, wooly knitting, and Christmas cross-stitch. Oh, I'm so thankful for it all, and for this very special time of year.
This week will be our last week at stone cottage. Any sadness I feel has less to do with moving, and more to do with memories of a daughter living at home and growing into a beautiful young lady finding her way, and babies that I kissed, rocked, and sang lullabies to each and every night, and of toddler boys running, and making me laugh while watching them play in the yard, and wishing I could do it all again, only slower. Who knows, perhaps I'll think of these things even more now, and thinking of these memories, is oh so very precious, it could never fade because of a move.
A cottage tale continues as we make our new home our own. Two Christmas trees are already waiting there, and it will be a very special Christmas. I hope you'll join me there very soon! As always, I'll make tea!
May peace, joy, and love fill your heart each new day of this holiday season my friends.
xo Jeannine :)
Hello there friends! I hope today finds you happy, healthy, and anticipating a joyful, family filled, Thanksgiving later in the week if you are in the U.S. My daughter and I are both working Thanksgiving, so we will be celebrating Saturday night instead. This is the first year we will have to change our holiday plans, but we are grateful to be together regardless, and grateful is grateful, no matter the day, wouldn’t you agree? :)
I have been spending late evenings knitting on both a shawl and a vest that I started last year.There hasn’t been much time for knitting, but oh, the calm that comes with these moments, have really balanced out the busyness from hours painting that have been happening each day. The past two evenings, I have laid my head back in the car, and fell asleep while my husband drove me home, only to wake a little later, to the reality that dinner needs to be made. Whew.
I was thinking about how hectic the holidays can be, and also how exciting it can be to count down the days until Christmas. This year, I’d like to experience each day of December to the fullest. That takes a little intentional simplifying I think, as well as embracing each sweet moment. Don’t you just love a good advent calendar? Wouldn’t an adult version be lovely? Maybe yes, but seeing how knitting is even better, I love this idea! Oh yes, this:) I would love to celebrate December and Christmas by making this Advent scarf. A little intentional knitting may be just what I need this December. If anyone would like to join me, we could make it a knit-along. Advent among friends I think would be very special.
Before I go, I realized I have not mentioned to you that I have changed the name of my little blog space. (Thank you for asking dear Jackie, I forgot to answer until now;) I think naming a blog after my home felt very good at the time I began writing here. After all, home is just plain sweet. But now that I am more acquainted with what I share here, and a move is taking place, I think a new name feels right. Although I love our new home very much and parts of it are even more cottage like than at Stone Cottage, I felt that a new name should perhaps encompass not just the house, but all the things I love about cottage living. I welcome you to A Cottage Tale, and I hope you enjoy it.
Much love to you friends! Happy Monday! What are you thankful for? Today I’m thankful for all of you! :) Jeannine xo
Hello! Welcome! I’m so glad to meet you here. I think after many days of juggling two homes, things are calming down, and I finally have time for pictures, writing, and visiting. I’ll quickly fill you in on the details of the house, so we can move on to other things.
We still are not in our new home, although we are there day and night working on it. Our move is planned now for the weekend of Thanksgiving. A new kitchen has been planned, but won't be finished by that time. Our children really want to be there by Christmas however, so we will move in even with the construction underway. After trying to fix the kitchen ourselves, we realized essential things, like the drawers and cabinets, just could not be fixed, and were not usable in their condition. So one day I stopped trying, and went straight to the store to begin the plans.
Our Stone Cottage has not sold yet. We don’t expect it to until Spring, but we will be just fine. I am looking forward to not going back and forth between the two houses however.
Even though there are boxes, cleaning supplies, and paint cans everywhere, blocking pads were packed in the car for a while, and I knew one day I’d need to take a break from working, and block a shawl so it would be ready when the weather got cold. I finally got to it the other day.
Quite by accident, Election day was the first day I returned to my old routine of stepping outside, slowing down, and taking time to appreciate the beautiful world around me. Whoa! I didn’t realize how much I missed the trees, the gentle breeze on my face, and the big blue sky. I returned to the house for a tablecloth and spread it among the leaves to sit in the sun. I thought, no matter the outcome of the election, I can still create my own peace and joy. I remembered also, the greatest joy is found in the simplest things. I walked through the yard then, and heard birds scatter to the trees. When I looked up, there were three doves watching me, and I in turn, loved watching them. I decided, no matter how busy the schedule is in the coming days, or regardless of the stress, (oh the stress), of who may win, or who may lose, I would find joy. (I highly recommend a blanket in the sun;)
Tonight, and as in years past, we went to our son’s band concert. Sitting there, I couldn’t help but think about the images I saw in the news last night of the American flag being stomped and burned. I wondered if those participating had voted. As the band played, I wondered why the nation couldn't be a little more like a school band. A group coming together, from many backgrounds, all with different talents, deep rooted beliefs and opinions, yet working together, regardless of each other’s differences, with a common goal of wanting to make the world more beautiful for someone else. I’m a little proud, that no matter the results of the election, and the different feelings about it in the room, these young adults aren't spending their time tearing down each other, or the community, but instead, are working hard together every day, each year, to honor veterans.
Oh I have truly missed you all. I hope you know I would certainly have been here with you if things were not so, so busy. I’ll be back soon:) In the meantime, here is a little video from the Hazelwood Central Highschool Band this evening. Thank you, to all of you who have served our country. Yay! Happy to see you again! Jeannine
Well Hello there dear friends!
After waiting forever, today is the first day I can say, "Welcome to our new home!" What a crazy time it has been the past several weeks, all the way up to the closing, that didn’t happen yesterday as scheduled, but finally went through late this morning.
I thought you may like to hear a little about the new cottage? I know a visit is way past due, and I’d love to hear how you have been as well! I thought while we visit, I could also share a little story about making bread.
While I’m certain anyone can make bread, I remember years ago, all the effort I put into trying to make bread. It all started with a book given to me by a friend that described making your own yeast starter (no thank you!) I remember all the failed loaves, and finally, the day when I could toss bread together without a recipe or measuring, and actually get a pretty consistent loaf every time. So for those of you who may want to try it and haven’t, oh you really should!
The Cottage at Forest Crest, as I will call it just for now, is perfectly, not perfect, and is waiting for a lot of love. Fortunately, I have lots of love to give, so I think it happens to be a perfect match.
The original chandelier is the first thing I noticed when we bought the home. Its style suits me well. The entire house had been painted with a coat of flat, white paint. I mean everything, from the backsplash, to parts of the hard wood floors, to the back door weather stripping! This afternoon I started to paint the dining room over. I’m painting the bottom half in Barren Plain, and the top half in Calm. Both by Benjamin Moore. I’ll post a picture when it’s finished. Oh I love the colors and can’t wait to show you more!
The first step for making bread is to heat approximately one cup of water and 1/2 a cup of milk. (You’ll find it doesn’t have to be too exact as long as the final dough is the right consistency.) Add one stick of butter. After it gets hot, turn it off and remove from the heat.
In a mixer, place one cup of flour, two packets of yeast, three tablespoons of sugar, and one tablespoon of salt. When bread doesn’t turn out well, it’s usually a problem related to the yeast (the liquid being too hot or too cold for the yeast), or too much flour. When I first started making bread, I bought a thermometer and checked the temperature of my milk mixture all the time. It should be about 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Yeast dies at temperatures near and always at 140 degrees, but the liquid needs to be very warm to work as well. Once the liquid has cooled to the right temperature, add it to the dry mix and beat well.
Our boys have not seen the new house! We will be working on it daily for the next month and really making it feel like home before we “move" there. Our daughter and her husband came by today though, and it was a very joyful time with them...all of us sharing our dreams about the family being there together. I’m so glad Kayla loves it. It’s only a few miles away from where they live.
The other tricky thing about bread is that when too much flour is added, it becomes too stiff to rise. After the initial dough is mixed, slowly add additional flour one half cup at a time and let it mix in, adding more until it is no longer very sticky. It should just barely have a little stickiness to it. Just barely is perfect:) 4-5 cups will likely be the total amount of flour. The dough can also be kneaded by hand if you don’t have a mixer. (It’s quite a workout, but you can do it!) It should not stick to your fingers when done, but it should be very soft and stretchy. The great thing about bread is that if you add too much flour you can always add a bit more very warm water and it will probably be fine.
When I got the call today that the little cottage was really ours, I cooked dinner early, packed up the essentials, and headed out the door. I had planned for this ahead of time, leaving a baked chicken, mashed potatoes, squash, and carrots in the oven for the boys. Then, I went out to the garden and collected the flat stones that have travelled with me from the house where I grew up, to stone cottage, and I put them in a box. Now, they surround the new mailbox, and share the space with sweet, fall pansies.
Next, spray a large bowl and lid if you have one, and add the soft dough.
Cover it and place it on top of a warm oven, in the oven with the light on (omit the towel), or place in a warm room. (Remember yeast doesn’t like things too hot;) Let the dough double in size.
Once the dough rises, punch it down once or twice and you’ll have lovely pliable dough that can be rolled out, put into balls for buns, or shaped into two loaves.
Spray the pan, then cover with a very light cloth or very loosely with sprayed Saran wrap so it can rise again. Now have a cup of tea:) Maybe even knit a while! Life is so sweet when bread is rising.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 20-25 minutes. It’s finished when you can tap the top pretty hard and it is golden brown. I usually brush it with butter after baking.
Making bread is easy and simply requires a liquid (milk and/or water), butter, sugar, salt, yeast, and flour. If the liquid is very warm (not hot), and the dough is soft and pliable, the bread will always turn out fine. Herbs, room temperature cheese or an egg, oatmeal; lots of things can be added to bread for different flavors.
Oh my, I have missed you! Thank you for sending me little messages. I’ll still be very busy in the coming days, but I hope to visit and share updates including a new blog name soon.
Regarding knitting, I did happen to finish a shawl recently, and once the craziness of my days slows just ever so slightly, I will block it. I’ve missed knitting and sewing, but I will enjoy painting for the time being. I have an idea for painting a chest, and turning it into a sewing cabinet. Hmm, Yes! That would do!
Check out that door! Have a wonderful weekend my friends! My wish is that your home is filled with peace, love, and laughter. xo Jeannine:)
A house is made of walls and beams, a home is made of love and dreams. - unknown
Hi, my name is Jeannine. I live in the Midwest, US, in the woods, but not exactly far from town. I am a wife and a mom of four. I spend my time taking care of my family, cooking, knitting, sewing, gardening, and homeschooling my youngest child. I created this space to share my love and gratitude for all of these things here. I'm so happy you stopped by. Jeannine:)