Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WIP, January 21

I haven't done a "Work In Progress Wednesday" post in a long LONG time.  I know I need to blog more but I'm busy sewing.  Beth and I are working on a new program that celebrates the quilt designer, Ruby Short McKim.  This program is heavy on sewing/light on research---so it is quite a change for me. Today and tomorrow I'll be making oriental poppies:
This poppy pattern is probably one of McKim's most famous.  I'm finding it fascinating the range of her work and how that can be adapted to modern quilting.   What are you working on?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

First snow day of 2015!

This morning I was awakened by Seamus barking:  "The world is white! The world is white!"  
Later my brother Jim telephoned to call "dibs" on shoveling for me (I'm still recovering in the boot).  You may wonder why people call for dibs on shoveling?  Simple:
I bake cookies for shovelers.  
Which brings me to the whole reason for this post.  I have had a variety of people ask me this past month why my cookies are so delicious and why the texture and height is so good.  My first reason is that anyone else's cookies taste great because you didn't have to bake them.   I learned this first hand when Jessica did the cookie baking this year.  It was a sad day for me when her gingerbread cookies were all gone:

 But there are other reasons why my cookies turn out the way they do.  Here are some things I thought of today as I assembled the dough:
1- BUTTER:  my great-grandmother and grandmother swore that you bake with butter.  In stating this, I also have to make an important suggestion.  Let the butter soften naturally.  I could go on about this because I think we as a society are used to cooking/baking "FAST and EASY!" but cookies--like a lot of good things-- requires some forethought and preparation.  Melt your butter in a microwave and your cookies will be flat.  That's just the way it goes.
2--MEASURE properly.  Baking isn't a creative outlet, it's chemistry.  
3- Don't---DO NOT--over mix your dough once you add your flour.  A few turns with the mixer or spoon and then be done with it.  Over mix and your cookies become crumbly.  
4-COOL IT!  Refrigerate your dough before you bake so they don't spread out and get flat.  Once you are baking, be sure your tray is cooled before dropping your dough again.  
So there are my big suggestions for baking cookies.  As my dough refrigerates and gets cool, I'm working on my calendar and schedule for the next year.  Be safe and have a nice cuppa tea or coffee on this cold snowy day!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!!!

Here in Pennsylvania Dutch country, we eat pork, sauerkraut and potatoes to ring in the New Year.  According to my mother, the pig roots forward which is why it is a good thing to eat pork on the first day of the year.  May you all have a wonderful year to look forward to--full of health, peace, and creativity!