dinsdag 29 september 2009

Three or more Tuesday...Starlings

You will think, there she is again. It's birds again!!! I promise you this will be the last bird topic for a while.
It started almost a year agoo that I noticed that a small flock of birds settled for the night in the little wood across the street from our house.
We live at the border of a small community, a little village and at 300 feet from our door we have a very bizzy road that leads from one town to another.But across my door there is a little field with some pony's in and behind and beside that there is a very small patch of land that is wooded. In that stands a very big tree that is dead at the top. I noticed that the birds perched there for the night.
It gave a bit of life to the street since they chatter a lot. This summer I noticed that more birds have settled in our little wood across the street and it seams that every day there are more.

It started in the summer around 8, 8.30 in the evening that from the north west behind our house small flocks of birds apeared. First you see a few, maybe 20 and then there is another flock and another and another....

After a few weeks it seamed they came from everywhere. After a while the tree with the dead top was not big enough anymore and the birds settled in the surrounding trees.For about one hour the chatter and talk about the day gone by, fight for a place to sleep and then when the evening falls settle down for the night.

Arround 5 in the morning the chattering start again and around 7 they fly away to forrage for the day. Now, autumm is in the land they come home more early, around 7.30 in the evening and only leave around 6.30/ 7 o'clock. They always come from the same way, the northwest, fly to settle down to the southeast.
I am still not certain what birds they are. We think they are black starlings but we do not know for sure, it could also be a small sort of crow.
Once the evening falls you get great pictures like the one below.

Thanks for coming by. See you next week.

vrijdag 25 september 2009

Foody Friday Mom's chicken cassarole

This picture is taken on the moment that my mother put her dish on the table and I happened to have my camera on hand and thought of you lot and said lets take a picture for Foody Friday.
It is a simple cassarole dish but you can prepare it in advance and freeze it if you want.
For 4 eaters you need 4 skinless chicken breasts cut in large pieces of a whole chicken devided in 10 pieces.
2 medium white onions
sweet paprika powder
pepper and salt
1 can of apricots
1 small bunch of white seedless grapes
1 big glass of dry white wine
some butter to fry the chicken in.
Take a large skillet and brown the chicken pieces. Breast meat will only take a few minutes a chicken on the bone will take lots more time.
When the meat is lightly browned and semi cooked add the onions.The onions are not sliced in rings but are cut from top to bottom in 8, so you have moon shapes.
Add them and lett them fry gently. Season with sweet paprika, salt and pepper and then add the wine.Let the chicken get olmost done and then add the apricots and grapes. You can ommit the grapes if you want.
Let cook for a few minutes more and taste. If the taste is not sweet enough you can add a little of the apricot juice or add a spoonful of dark sugar.
Bind the sauce slightly with some corn flower.
We eat it with some crusty french baguettes but this is also nice with some rice or some boiled patatoes.

dinsdag 22 september 2009

Three or more Tuesday Vintage cake stands

That I like cooking and baking is well known to those who follow my blog or know me personally. I also like vintage glass and if you combine the two than you end with the vintage glass cake stands. As you can see I have rather more then three. All together I have 7 stands with foods and a few more without a food. Then they are more cake plates.Once in a while I invite my quiltladies to an afternoon of show and tell and then the cake stands are in full use. Don't the cakes look pretty presented like that?

Here you see a cake stand and a vintage cake plate combined together with a zinc crown on top. I also use them to put on the Christmas table.
This is a bad picture since it is a scan of a traditional picture but it gives you an idea.

The one below is a special one to. I collect Luxval glass of the famous Val saint Lambert Cristal factory here in Belgium and this is an Art Deco cake stand.
Today I made a cake, just because I fancied making one... What better way to present my last glass cake stand.....

donderdag 17 september 2009

Foody Friday canned plums and pears

We hardly ever can something here but this is a recipie from the time my grandmothers still lived that we make every year. It's canned sweet/sour plums or pears.
You need very hard fruit.It does not work when the pears or plums are soft.
Add about 5 cups of white sugar to 3 cups of red whine vinegair and bring to the boil.
Remove from the heat. Add a cinnamon stick or two or cinnamon powder. But sticks are better.

Stone and half the plums or peel and quarter the pears.You need a hard type of cooking pear. We use Conference.
Then put the fruit in the hot liquid and put a lid on it.
Let it stand for a whole day. The fruit should be immersed in the liquid.

The next day you drain the fruit from the liquid and bring the liquid again to the boil.Remove from the heat and put the fruit back in.Let it stand for another day.

The third day you drain the fruit again and bring the liquid back to the boil. Once it boils you put in small parts of the fruit. Let the liquid come back to the boil and after a minut remove the plums but the pears should cook for about 3 minutes.
Do this to all the fruit.
Put the cooked fruit in a jar.Let the liquid cook out a bit. You will see you have a lot more juice then before. Top up the jar with the liquid and close the jar.
Trow away the rest of the liquid.
You will notice that you can get 8 pounds of pears in the big jar below. This was 3 pounds of plums and it hardly filled the jar's bottem.
So I filled this big jar with the pears and put the plums in a smaller jar.
You can eat these immediatly. Once opened you can keep eating from the same jar until they the fruit is finished.You don't need to put it in a fridge.Even a year later the fruit will still be ok.
The vinegair and the sugar prevents it from spoiling.
This is very nice to eat with some cold meat or with some chicken and french fries.

This is the only thing except from jam that my father used to cook. Evey year he made a batch for the whole family. Now he is no more with us I have taken it on myself to make it.

maandag 14 september 2009

Three or more Tuesday Pincushions

Today a simple showcasing of the pincushions I have in the house. You have the kind you just have to own like these small tin pincushions in the shape of animals,shoe's and egg. They are not functional at all for a real seamstress. But they are fun to look at.
Then you have the beauty. It is handmade by an artist and I love the whit and the humor in it.You can use it very well but it is to beautiful to use and to fragile. But it makes me smile all day long.

Then you have the functional one. This one I love very much too and I use it all day long, every day.
I saw a simular one as this one in a quilt class I was teaching and I asked the lady where she has bought it. She said a friend who is a wood turner made it for her . Al her quilt friends had one too.
So I ordered one from her and took it to classes I teached. Every one thought this was a beautiful but also very handy thing and wished to buy one too. But the other lady was someone who I only met once or twice so that was not an option.
In the end, another student of mine, had also a friend who was a wood turner and he made all of us these beauty's. In total he made almost 60. All of my quilt lady's wanted one in the end.
He used very beautiful pear wood and every one he made whas slightly different in shape.
He made the yarn holders from sturdy long nails instead of fragile wooden spindlesI have in my first one. He also added a needle holder witch can also holds your timble on top. And I added the hook so I can hook a small pair of scissors on it.
The actual pincushion is half a ball of styrofoam witch can be exchanged when needed. I use this pincushion for more then ten years and it is still as nice as the first day I got it.
I hope you enjoyed my show and tell. See you next week

donderdag 10 september 2009

Foody Friday, a fishy day!

All is quiet in the house. I am going to fix a salad of tuna and advocado to fill my sandwich with. Our Caitlin is having a wash and BlumaBlue is watching the outdoor view...

So, I peel and dice my advocado's and sprinkle the juice of half to one lemon over it.

All of the sudden, there is pandemonium in the kitchen. Cats come from everywhere. Mauwing and turning around my legs....What has happened???
I opened a can of tuna, you see, to add to my advocado's! The can jus has to say, psstt and there they come. From all over the house. Usually when I open a can of tuna it is for the cats but this time it was for me but of course they could'nt know that.
Even the cats that where outside where at the kitchen door in seconds.

In case of a fire, I know how to get the cats together....
I don't have to explain how, I pressume?

So, I add 3/4 of my 2 small cans of tuna with some mayo and the flesh of 2 advodaco's.

The rest of the tuna and the juice out of the can, I put in little bowls on the ground.

Now we all can enjoy our tuna lunch! Jack, the red Maine Coon on the right is to much a gentlemen to mingle among the crowds. He waits until he gets his own bowl!

I know, it does'nt look very appetizing but I can assure you that it tastes great on a sandwich, a crusty piece of baquette or a cracker. Very nice also as hors d'oeuvre or appetizer.


dinsdag 8 september 2009

Three or more Art Deco buttons

About a year agoo, Annie came to my quilt class with a big tin in her hands.
It was the button tin of her late aunt who died a while agoo. She was about 90 then.
She offered us to pick out of the tin whatever we wanted to have. Non of the other studants had a lot of interest in the buttons but I began to delfe in it and discovered more and more beauty's from the thirties. Even the Annie herself was amased what I discovered. Since I wanted so many of the good buttons I offered to pay her for them but she declined. Thanks again Annie, for these small treasures.
Above, the more colorful dress buttons. Most of them are in an early plastic and some, like the ones with the flowers are glass.

Some very thin buttons on the right. They are real flimsy.
On the left, even on the card, some sturdy buttons for a coat.

A whole set of buttons with birds. I think these must be bakelite. The birds seems to be handpainted.

These coat buttons are truly wonderful and very Art Deco.
Very big buttons. I think of Bakelite in very strong geometric shapes. Most of them are more then 1 inch in diameter.

And then , glass buttons, a favarite of mine. I especially love the little ball shaped button in the center with the black stars in it. It's a shame I only found 1 of those.

In the box where also some old spools and some buckles and brooches and a few metal buttons.
These are two sets of buckles that where intact. How pretty they are. I have never done anything up to now with all these small treasures but I enjoy having them, just to look at.
Hope you enjoyed my story.See you next week.

donderdag 3 september 2009

Foody Friday Grand Marnier cupcakes

Recently I have been making lots and lots of cupcakes. I especially like mini cupcakes like you see in the picture.
For my sister in law I made the cupcakes on the above picture.
She had a gathering with friends.
These cupcakes traveled the length of Belgium and where 10 hours in transit before they reached their destination.
Muy husband took them to the Belgian coast, a 2 hour drive. There they stayed in a coolbox for 6 hours and then my sister in law took them home, also a 2 hour drive. But they survived!!


Since I started making them I got another order from a one of my kitten buyers who's friend was to be a bride and they gave her a party.
I made her the romantic cupcakes you see above. All feminine and sweet, with sugar roses, butterfly's and fresh raspberry's.

The above cupcakes are my latest invention. They are the Grand Marnier ones.
I make some very nice, normal sized, chocolate cupcakes.
When they had cooled I sponed 1 teaspoon of Grand Marnier over them.
Then frosted them with Grand Marnier buttercream. Sprinkled some real cacao powder on them and toped the cupcakes with fresh orange slices and a sprinkling of chocolade curls.
Enjoy and see you next week!

dinsdag 1 september 2009

3 or more Thusday George Jones cups and saucers...

I noticed recently that there is a theme developing in my latest buys...Birds...
I seem to buy a lot of things with birds...Birdcages, bird statues and now cups and saucers with birds. It's an odd combination if you like and have a lot of cats like me!
Years agoo, I was given these small cups and saucers by a sweet friend after I had been raving about them. She gave them to me as a thank you and goodbye gift after teaching a patchwork course.
They are so very, very sweet with the handpainted birds and butterfly's. I did not want to accept them since they one's belonged to her grandmother but she insisted and I have cared and loved them ever since. The porcelain is so thin that you can look trough them.
There is no mark, but a small handpainted number, so I know nothing of the factory.
Lately I came across some dinerware of George Jones. George Jones ( 19th century) is well know for his very beautiful and now expensive majolica wares.But I did not know that he also made diner wares.
I saw these bits of a tea set on Ebay and made a far to high bid on it and got them . The pattern is called " Almonds".

Then a week later I came across this very pretty George Jones cup and saucer and I could not let I go. It costed me about 20 $ but I think it is well worth this money.

In the same week I saw these darling George Jones cups and plates, also on Ebay UK...I love swallows and nobody wanted them so I bougth them very cheap. Postage was more expensive then the whole lot of 2 trio's and 1 big plate.

Sadly, as you can see, the cake plates where both broken in transit. I was so sad about it. The vendor say she has some more plates of this design so I am now waiting until she offers them to me for the price of the postage.

This darling, gay, yellow tea set is also George Jones and although it has no birds and yellow is not my colour at all, it is so gay and it was so cheap( about 40$ for the whole set) that it had to come home to me. I still have not found a place to put it ...but what a little sunshine it is!!
It makes you cheerful all day long!
See you next week and thanks for visiting.