Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Around Here...

Well, the purple pantry is coming along, stocked with lots of food and summer harvest. I had to bring in another shelf to hold the squash. Turban, Butternut and Kuri. The Kuri is new to us. This is the first year we planted it. I must say, it's a keeper! We baked some and I milled it and made pie using a pumpkin pie recipe. Yum!!

I have to tell you, there is no making just one pie here, I made 4 pies. I hope to be able to make some more pies at some point tomorrow. I've got a new batch of squash all baked up and ready to go. Some Kuri and a Turban. I'll try to post some pictures.

I did bake some soft pumpkin cookies though. They didn't make it to the icing stage. There are only 5 left! So soft and yummy! We had visitors and Lydia took some to her class because she said they would want some when they saw her eating hers. I sent some home with my niece and nephew and sent some for my brother. And I'm sure everyone here had their share! Maybe next time I'll get to ice them.

At some point, I thought it would be fun to challenge you all to a "Search for the Best and Easiest Pie Crust Recipe" contest. The art of making a good pie crust is something I really want to accomplish. I am tired of buying the already made pie crust (Pillsbury)-although they make the yummiest pie crust I've had-from a box. I have saved so many pie-crust recipes over the years...and I've tried them here and there-but I want to get a recipe that works for me! If anyone has one-I'll let you know when to share it...I'll list some soon and we'll try them and see what results we get! I'll post them on here and by then I should have something handmade to offer the winner! Fun!

I am still working on getting things situated here at home. Things are going so dreadfully slow for me! I am still painting in the basement. Cinderblocks are not very bright, nor are they very pretty, and they certainly will not be inspirational to my creativity-once that begins again! So I'm painting them white, a section at a time, then I put a shelf there and load it up. When I'm done painting and all my things are moved down there-I'll begin the task of organizing and throwing away. I have a bunch of ephemera for collage and altered art...so I may sell some. We shall see!

I cannot wait until it's done! I have some fun things planned to share creatively with everyone and I hope to be able to offer some pretty things and patterns for sale to brighten your own home, goods for ourselves and our spirits and other things to encourage you in keeping a home!

This is my desire-to delight in the Home-Sweet Things and encourage others to as well! I love my home...and one of the results I'd like in my attempts to declutter the overflow of stuff I've accumulated is to replace it (very sparingly) with decorative, yet useful items, not clutter! And to encourage you as you also make a lovely home and place of rest for your family or for youself if you live alone!

Bread cloths, things to decorate with, crochet patterns, knitting, friends who offer items that might encourage you at home, recipe ebooks, other ebooks (I like ebooks, no clutter!), stitcheries, downloadable patterns...and much more! I am really looking forward to it!

Kathy, over at her blog Highlights From Higher Ground is having a special pumpkin week, go over and leave a comment and you might win a set of pumpkin potholders she made. She has a sweet blog and shares fun stuff! See what it's all about on her October 8th post. Check it out!

In keeping with the pumpkin spirit...here is a fantastically yummy soft pumpkin cookie recipe for you to enjoy!

Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Icing

1/2 C shortening
1 1/3 C sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. grated orange rind
1 tsp. orange or lemon extract (opt.)
2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 TB baking powder
1 tsp. salt (opt.)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. ginger
1 C raisins (opt.)
1/2 C chopped nuts

Cream shortening, sugar and eggs together; add pumpkin, vanilla, orange extract and orange rind. (Batter will be funny looking-that's alright!) Beat well until blended. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and spices in medium mixing bowl; stir well. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Stire in raisins and nuts by hand. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.


1/4 C butter, softened
2 1/4 C sifted powdered sugar
3 TB half & half
1/2 tsp grated orange rind

Cream butter. Gradually add 1 C sugar. Add remaining sugar alternating with half & half, beating until smooth. Add zest-beat well. Frost cookies.

And now, without further ado...I wish to bring you Aunt Sophronia's visit to Miriam's house...(you know-the BO one...!)

The next day I went to see Miriam. It was about nine o’clock, and my niece was just taking her place in the sitting room window. She beckoned me in. I said: “Ah! This is the time when you study.”

“That is nothing,” she said; “I am always learning when I talk with you. Let us have a morning visit; you shall stay to dinner. I can pursue my sewing and fancy work, and the study can come in by itself some other hour in the day.”

Miriam’s sitting room was in lovely order. She is trying window gardening, and had a jardinet in one window in fine bloom. A broad board had been screwed upon the window sill. Mark had made for it a rustic frame three inches high, and Miriam had lined that with moss and planted in the moss common vines, as “Love-Entangled,” “Wandering Jew,” “Money Word,” and “Parlor Ivy;” these drooped nearly to the floor. Inside the moss lining she had set an old-fashioned square dripping pan, and filled it with rich earth well piled up; in the center and in each corner was a green flowerpot with a thrifty geranium or Begonia; and between the pots grew low ferns, blue and pink oxalis, pansies and other things, which did not demand deep rootage. It was a very pretty, cheap and easily-taken-care-of winter garden, and over it hung a very handsome basket of drooping plants. I saw in one corner a rather large basket of work folded into neat bundles. I inquired what it was. Said Miriam:

“My time for sewing more than suffices for myself, so this is some work for the Missionary Society, and for the Children’s Home. I have been cutting it out in my spare time for a week past, and now it is ready to sew upon, and as it is here at hand I can set a god many stitches at odd moments. See, here is some pretty work I am doing for our missionary-box. I like to send pretty things away, and I thought the little sums I had to give in this way would go further if I bought material and made it up. If I have more time after that, I will sew on the material of those who have no time to give. After Christmas I shall begin on a set of shirts for Mark. He will not need them before next summer, but you know Mrs. Burr’s rule is to be before-hand with your work, and in warm weather one feels less like sewing and there is more company, and Mark and I may take a little vacation.

Miriam went upstairs for some patterns to show me, and as I heard a know at the kitchen door I answered it. The kitchen was in beautiful order; the floor was covered with oil-cloth, and there were rugs of carpet lying before the table, stove and sink. The fire had been arranged to burn low until needed for dinner; the vegetables for dinner were standing ready in earthen basins of water. I was glad to see that the table and the good work of the sink were covered with oil-cloth. This saves a great deal of time and of hard work in scrubbing. Young housekeepers should remember that they cannot practise truer economy than in investing a little money in things that shall spare them severe labor, and save their time, as for instance, coverings for kitchen floors and tables. I was glad also to see that Miriam had been wise to provide articles for use that were light and easy to handle. Young folks often strain themselves by lifting enormous pots and water pails, when small, light ones would be far more suitable for a small family. Miriam generally uses white metal saucepans and skillets instead of iron. In her kitchen everything was handy, to spare steps. Mark had been at some expense in fitting up an outer shed-room for a snug laundry, so that the washing should not be in the kitchen, where Miriam had her work. He had had a new drain opened, and bought a stove for this work with a stationary copper boiler, beside the clothes boiler. Miriam leaves the clothes bags there, locks the door into the kitchen, and allows the laundress to have one key of the laundry door; therefore, on Monday morning she can come and begin as early as she likes, and she always finds soap, starch, bluing—all that she needs ready. Now while I was at Helen’s the other day, Hannah left her tubs twice to go to the store, once for soap, once for blue. I don’t wonder that that girl never gets done quickly with her work. I saw in Miriam’s kitchen closet a shelf with plenty of bar-soap cut, and spread to dry, as this saves it in the washing; she never gives the laundress soap that has been drying less than three weeks. It is by small economies and cares, such as this, that large economy is attained. One does not, in a household, make some great fifty, or a hundred, or two hundred dollars saving, but it is the little saving of five, ten and twenty-five cent pieces, of half dollars and dollars, which in the year mounts up to a goodly sum total, and these savings represent not meanness, but care; not cutting down the rations of the hired people, not buying inferior tea and flour, and poor butter whereof less will be eaten, but getting the best, and in quantity, and then allowing no wasting. Miriam has in her laundry closet a tea-pot and a little caddy with some tea, so that her laundress can make herself a cup of tea as soon as she lights her fire, and thus not be forced to work on faint and hungry until after the family have finished their breakfast; a plate of rolls or bread and butter is left beside the teapot, and thus the working-woman is heartened for her toils, and can comfortably wait for her later morning meal. Miriam says that next spring she means to have breakfast at half-past seven, and as during the summer Mark will have Mr. Cox’s place, he will be home for a five o’clock dinner; Miriam says she will then have a deal more time to herself, and she means to do all her own dressmaking, and plans for many other undertakings.

And so, Dear Ones, I have come to the end of today's post. It's getting late and I ran up and down the basement steps so many times today I am worn out! Good-night and I shall go to sleep thanking God and dreaming about the Home-sweet things! I pray you will as well. x0

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