Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coming attractions...

Just a few of the patterns that i'll be listing soon at Fripperie - stop by to see what's new (er, old, but new...)!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fitzgerald again

I was a bit desperate about Christmas gifts this year, trying to make as many as i could with things i already had on hand.  Happily, i had some printing supplies about, so i decided to adapt this photo of Fitz for a block print - the shot was brightly backlit, and he's a black and white cat, so with all that contrast, it seemed like a good candidate to carve.

I plunged ahead, despite the fact that that i'd never worked from a photo, and it was only the second block i'd ever cut.

I think it turned out pretty well, actually.

In addition to the ones that went out as gifts (or, ahem, will go soon), i sold one to a friend, and there are a few prints available at O'Hurley's General Store in Shepherdstown.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Back to baking

Most of last year, i baked our bread.  It was cheaper, and much, much nicer to eat (especially when hot from the oven, and spread copiously with butter...) than the store-bought stuff.  But over the holidays, it went by the wayside, amidst the general chaos.  But yesterday i finally turned out a loaf, and half of it was gone by the end of breakfast this morning, so i think i'll be doing more soon. 

My secret to making this work in real life is to prepare mixes with all of the dry ingredients that don't live in the fridge - i'll set up about six loaves at a time, bake one, and put the rest on the shelf.  A mix for one loaf just fits in a quart mason jar, and it's not nearly as daunting when you only have to add a few things to get the dough started.

For everyday, i use this recipe from King Arthur Flour, with a few nudges (more whole grain flour, less all-purpose) and substitutions - a buttermilk powder instead of the dried milk (i like the Organic Valley stuff when i can get it), vital wheat gluten in place of the "bread improver" it calls for, and instead of their grain mix, i use a locally milled multi-grain flour from Burwell-Morgan Mill, a restored 18th century grist mill over in Millwood.  Well, i do when i can get it - i didn't get my ducks in a row to stock up before they closed for the season this year, so i'm out until spring.  But as soon as they open up, i'm heading over there to get a few bags!