About this Blog: Bread making recipes, knit and crochet projects, wood working, gardening, digital imaging, travel, cruise ships, Labrador Retrievers, and more....

About the Header Image: Idlebrook Wendy Darling Evensen "Wendy" one of our four Labrador Retrievers.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Norwegian Beef Stew

Good morning,

My Honey made Norwegian Beef Stew this week and it was delicious.  The sauce is extremely thick and rich with a fabulous flavor.

I'm told the recipe is a secret. ;)

Lois




Thursday, July 30, 2020

Elsa and Lizard Yoga

Good morning,

Elsa and her Orange Lizard are doing their morning yoga together.

So cute!

:),
Lois

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Wild Morning Glories

Good morning,

The wild morning glories are pretty from a distance, but can cause havoc in the garden as they cover other plants and flowers.  It seems the tiny black ants are enjoying this one.

Back in the old days of a healthy back, I spent plenty of time in the garden pulling out unwanted plants and grooming those we wanted.  Now I sit back and appreciate almost all of them as they help themselves to my garden.

This particular critter has latched on to a rose bush.  I'll surely cut this wild morning glory back.  It will be good to get a few cooler days so I can spend some time outside.  I'll just let the flowers do their own thing while the temps are in the 90s.

Ah, Summer....

Lois

Monday, July 27, 2020

New Flags

Good morning,

We noticed our flags were worn so it was time to get new ones.  That's an Ohio flag flying under Old Glory.

Also, our flag pole was a telescoping type which made it very difficult for anyone other than Kjell to put flags up and down.  Kjell converted it to a pole with ropes so that we can raise and lower the flag without bringing the pole down.  This also allows us to fly the flag at half staff when necessary which we couldn't do earlier.

Part of the new configuration was purchased;  Kjell designed and manufactured the rest to make it work perfectly.

It is good to have an engineer in the house.  ;)

Lois

Evening Sky

Good morning,

This was the view of the evening sky from our patio after a heavy summer rain.  The sky was clear and the air was fresh. 

So pretty, calm, relaxing.

Happy Summer!
Lois

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Picture Perfect Bread

Good Morning,

Today's bread came out so pretty I had to take a picture.

This batch is egg and cottage cheese bread.  The cottage cheese in the dough gives it a light creamy texture. 

Yum!

Lois



Saturday, July 25, 2020

Penny's Checkup

Good morning,

Our sweet senior, Penny, visits the vet every six to eight weeks.  Penny will be 15 and a half at the end of this month and is still enjoying life.  Above you see her resting in Catherine's lap as they await their appointment time.  Catherine holds Penny because she slips and slides while walking on tile floors.
We didn't wait long before Alicia came out to get us.  Alicia not only works at the vet, she is Penny's fantastic breeder. 
Dr. Gaston also personally owns Alicia's dogs who are related to Penny. Visiting the vet is like visiting family.

 Penny gained .2 pounds this time which is excellent.  She had been losing weight regularly when she decided she didn't want the diet she has had all of her life.  I started making her "Penny Hash" by warming most of her usual food slightly and adding a few more of her favorites. 
Since Penny is no longer eating a raw chicken neck every day, Dr. Gaston added these supplements to her diet. 

 We made an appointment in September for her next checkup.

 Penny is such a sweetheart!

:),
Lois

Friday, July 24, 2020

In The News

Good morning,

This has been in the news lately.  We tried to buy some last week, but the shelves were bare.  This week we scored two cans.  We can make chili again!

;),
Lois


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Cover Girl?

Good morning,

Catherine received a request from the agency that books pups for photo shoots.  Cath snapped this image of Wendy and submitted it to be used on the front of a box of well known dog treats.  We'll see if Wendy gets the call for a photo shoot.

Such a pretty girl!

;),
Lois

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

This Week's Work in Process

Good morning,

I'm moving along on the current custom order Cables and Lace sweater. The front, back and first sleeve are finished.
The second sleeve is on the needles now.  I write my own patterns so when I design the sleeves, I use Excel to work out the increases row by row to match my gauge.  Every twelve rows is a pattern repeat so I place a safety pin at the side of my work whenever the pattern repeats.  It makes all kinds of sense to be able to check off each row on my chart and only have to count to 12 to know exactly where I am so all increases are exactly in the right places.  Similar sweater in the shop here.
This is the beginning of a baby blanket that is also a custom order.  Similar baby blanket in the shop here.
And, this baby blanket that I started last week is nearly finished.  This one will go in the shop when finished and I've made a doll to go with it.  Similar blanket and doll in the shop here.
Catherine brought me this yarn this week.  How nice!  I'm not sure what I'll make with it yet, but I'm sure I'll come up with something fun.  The face masks and ear savers are very popular and every time I turn around I need more of them either for the shop or for someone here in town.  Most of this yarn is great for those.  Face masks and ear savers are in the shop here.

The cream colored flowers I showed you last time are still waiting for me to spend more time upstairs to work on them so that I can get another afghan in the shop.  We spend most of our time downstairs now because our fifteen year old pup, Penny, can't climb stairs anymore.  Instead of her coming upstairs to be with us as she did for so many years, we are hanging out downstairs with her.

 What are you making, baking, growing this week?

All the very best,
Lois

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Wendy's Turn! Different Dog, Different Title

Good morning,

Two days ago I showed you a picture of Elsa and her new title. Today's image is of Wendy and HER new title!
Wendy's title is Dock Senior Excellent!  Yay!  Congratulations to Wendy and her trainer, our daughter, Catherine!

:),
Lois

Monday, July 20, 2020

Perfect Fortune Cookie

Good morning,

Catherine brought home Chinese carry-out on Sunday after the dock diving for the pups.

She got this fortune cookie, but said it was surely meant for me, the bread maker around here.

Do you believe in coincidences?

;),
Lois




Sunday, July 19, 2020

Elsa's New Title!

Good morning,

Our baby Elsa has a new title!  She is now AKC Senior Dock Diver as of last Friday.
 These are the ribbons the ladies brought home the first evening of the weekend trial.  Two of the blue ribbons are Wendy's, two of the blue ribbons are Elsa's, and that big title ribbon in the center belongs to our baby Elsa.  :)

Congratulations to Elsa, Wendy. and our Daughter, Catherine, who is Elsa's and Wendy's trainer.

We are so very proud!

:),
Lois

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Sleeping Beauty Buddies

Good morning,

Sometimes, it is just more comfy to sleep next to your bed instead of in it. 

;),
Lois

(That's Elsa left, Wendy right.)




Friday, July 17, 2020

New Real Estate Listing - Winged Applicants Only Please

Good morning,

We have a new rental property in our front garden.  ;)

Kjell just finished this darling bird house!  We had to keep the first one to enjoy ourselves, but eventually, he'll make a similar one for the shop. 
Kjell's design is genius for security for the winged family and the ability to clean between rentals.  Above you can see how all parts come apart for cleaning.
The floor slides into place.
The front slides down from the top.
 This is an image Kjell took while the birdhouse was still in the workshop.  It is the inside of the front of the house showing the "ladder" grooves so the baby birds can climb out when it is time to fly.
Here's an image of the inside of the roof showing how it will stay in place when slid onto the house and until it is time for cleaning.
So here it is waiting for a new family.  We have it mounted where we can watch from our living room french doors.
 One more important feature:  The roof is constructed with plugs, no nails, so rust will not be a problem.

I'm really excited about this!  This test house is mounted lower to the ground than it will eventually be in its permanent spot in our garden.  Right now, Kjell wants to monitor the weathering of the wood so has mounted it where he can check it regularly.

Come see what other wood items he has made and are available here.    I'm looking forward to seeing the next wood creations from Kjell!

 Happy Summer!

Lois

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Waiting Patiently

Good morning,

This little lady is so very patient.  When Elsa wants to get my attention she doesn't jump around or whine and cry, she simply rests her chin on my knees and looks up at me until she gets my attention. 

When I stop what I'm doing and say, "Hi, Elsa.  Is there something that you want?" she immediately starts wagging so hard she just about falls over.  We play for awhile, I offer to let her out, then she settles down near me for a nap. 

What a precious pup!

;),
Lois


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

O What a Beautiful Morning....

Good morning,

The pups (usually just Elsa) wake me in the morning with kisses and cuddles to tell me they would like to go outside.  I took this image this morning just before 6 AM when the moon was still in the sky and the sun was just appearing over the horizon.

One of the things we missed while at sea (in addition to the family, pups, our kitchen...) was the singing of the birds.  This morning the birds had plenty to say in a beautiful chorus on a cool summer morning.

It is good to be home!

All the best,
Lois

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Inspiration

Good morning,

Do you know what type of flower this is?  I wouldn't have if I hadn't seen it in my own garden.  It is the flower on the top of a carrot.  We've had fun this year planting pieces of veggies we have purchased at the grocery and are harvesting the results already.   We have had "locally grown" (our patio garden) chives all season now.  The carrots have really started to grow and it'll be interesting if there is anything to eat when we pull them out of the soil in another few weeks.

In the meantime, the real reason I took this image is because of the inspiration the flower provides for crochet patterns.  I just love this pretty, intricate flower and the subtle color changes.  I am going to work up some drawings and write down some ideas for making it an afghan pattern.  So pretty!

What are you growing in your garden this year?

All the best,
Lois

Monday, July 13, 2020

Wish Us Luck!

Good morning,

My Cables and Filigree Lace Sweater is in the running for Etsy's Design Awards! 

Wish us luck!

Check it out here!

Thanks!

Lois

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Fireworks in the Garden

Good morning,

As the temperature rises, so does the intensity of the colors in the garden.  Our Day Lilies have exploded into bloom.  These were here when we arrived 41 years ago, but I've moved some of them around the yard.  When we arrived there was a huge clump of them where we wanted to build a stone wall around our front porch.  I moved some to the back yard that haven't survived all the pups at play.  I moved some of them down to the sloping hill at the front of the yard where they provide color and cover a space that is hard to mow.

We know it is July and hot outside when these beautiful Classic Orange Day Lilies bloom.

Happy Summer!

Lois

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Fridge Woes

Good morning,

It's always something, isn't it.

In early June our relatively new Sears Kenmore Elite refrigerator freezer stopped making ice.  I checked and realized the freezer wasn't staying cold enough, either.  We had purchased this wonderful item in late 2016, shortly after we retired.  In the meantime, Sears has gone out of business, but their service is still out there for those of us who have their appliances.  The only problem is the service is now performed by other companies who don't have any incentive to come when you need them and do the job properly.

It took about three weeks to get an appointment with a service technician on June 26.  We adjusted by moving all food to other units in the house and throwing away what we couldn't move.  The repair guy came, told us we needed a new compressor, had one on his truck, and the good news is it is under warranty.  Joy!  The compressor was replaced, we dragged all of our food up and down four decks of stairs back to the kitchen from other refrigerators and freezers in the house.  We had ice.  Life was good.

Then six days later going into the Fourth of July weekend (we had stocked lots of holiday foods), the entire refrigerator/freezer stopped cooling.  I called service again.  The next service date is another three weeks out to July 27.  As a friend put it, we are between a rock and a hard place.  If we start with a different repair company, we aren't covered by the warranty.

We'll see how this works out.  Eventually, this may be an issue to take up with the Better Business bureau.  In the meantime, we are running up and down stairs to get food to fix a simple meal or milk for our coffee.

Except for the drink items in the doors, the rest of the items in the fridge you see in the image above have gone in the trash.  We just don't have enough fridge space to move it all a second time and it was warm for too long to try to save. 
We purchased a car fridge and it has arrived.  We hope to use it on a road trip this summer if travel is possible (Covid-19) and in the meantime will have it in the kitchen for milk for our coffee and a few cold drinks, but there is no way it holds enough for regular household use to be able to cook a meal.  It is in the middle of my bread room which has its own issues.....

It was a whole lot easier on board the ship when I could just call the Chief Engineer (I know him well) who would send a repair person within a few minutes to fix whatever needed to be fixed in our suite.  I was so spoiled....

Seriously, I look around and see our problems are minor compared to what other people are experiencing these days.

Happy Summer!  How is it going at your house? 

;),
Lois

Friday, July 10, 2020

This Week's Work in Process

Good morning,

Here's the current Cables and Lace Sweater WIP.  I got it started, took this image, then after lots of television shows...
... the back is finished.  This sweater is a custom order so is spoken for, but similar sweaters are available in the shop.  Click here for more images and information.   I'm happy to take your custom order for a sweater in your size and choice of color.  Price depends on time and materials needed to make the size you need.

My right thumb gets very angry with me when I knit for too many hours in a a row, so...
...I have started a bright colors crochet baby blanket for the shop.  I'll make a "springy doll" to go with this one to make a precious baby shower or new baby gift.  Here's a similar blanket and doll in pink and white available in the shop.
I've made a few more of these cream color flowers for the next afghan blanket this week, too.  I have fewer than 20 more to make, then can start adding rounds of green for this Green Lovers afghan blanket.  So elegant.  More information and images about similar blankets here.
I'm in the process of designing a ripples sweater similar to a sweater I've already designed and is sold, but with ripples on all edges.  My very rough sketch is misleading because it appears the ripples are much larger than they will be.  My knitting designs are much better than my drawings (no kidding!), but I am able to get my ideas on paper as I start counting stitches and writing patterns.  I'm thinking this will be pretty with a yarn with color changes.  Stay tuned....

So, that's it this week from the South Coast of  Ohio.  What are you making, baking, growing this week?

All the best,
Lois

------------------------------------------------------------
Come See What Else We've Made!
Original and Traditional
Hand Crafted Designs
Made in Ohio, USA
------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries

Good morning,

I keep trying to find healthy snacks for us and these cherries sure fit the bill! 

Yes, some evenings it's ice cream, trail mix, unsalted nuts....  This time I think I did a better job in the "eat healthy" department.

:),
Lois

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Chicken Thighs ala St. Thomas, USVI

Good morning,

Back in our days at sea, we went ashore almost every week in St. Thomas, USVI, to a dockside hut restaurant to enjoy their "wings."  Their wings were actually thighs that were grilled just outside the hut.  Here's my post about it with pictures from August, 2012.

I did make a change to the preparation, this week though.  I prepared the chicken thighs in the oven since it was so darned hot outside. 

Yum!

Enjoy,
Lois

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Hibiscus in Bloom

Good morning,

Our Hardy Hibiscus is in bloom.  This one is a "volunteer" that self germinated and grew by our fence between our driveway and the house next door that has been under renovation for more than a year.  I am thrilled it is there!  ;)

So pretty!

Happy Summer!

Lois

Monday, July 6, 2020

A Fabulous Fourth

Good morning,

Last Saturday night, July 4, we enjoyed watching A Capitol Fourth on our local educational TV station, WCET.  In the past we watched this every year, and after attending Red, White, and Boom, with the Cincinnati Pops at their summer home at Riverbend (no performance this year due to Covid-19), would watch the instant replay of A Capitol Fourth when we got home. 

Every year until his death in 2009 our Cincinnati Pops Conductor, Erich Kunzel, conducted the National Symphony for this event in Washington, DC. Our CPO assistant conductor would conduct the local Independence Day performances.  We were so fortunate to have hours of fabulous entertainment on the Fourth of July.

This year was different, of course.  Early in the evening we watched the President's spectacular Independence Day events live in Washington.  Later, A Capitol Fourth was broadcast with many recently made segments of musicians properly socially distant.  Also included were recordings from previous years of the National Symphony, Military Musicians, and, of course, fireworks.
John Philip Sousa's inspiring music was featured throughout. 
And, as is traditional, the finale was the 1812 Overture complete with fireworks perfectly timed to the music. 

Wow!  What a fabulous Fourth!  It was so wonderful to be able to enjoy it all from our living room
where we were very socially distant from Covid-19.  We were also able to be home with our four Labrador Retrievers who handled well the worst residential neighborhood noise we have ever had in 41 years here. 

Wherever you are, I hope all USA citizens and friends enjoyed the celebrations last weekend!

All the best,
Lois

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Party Beasties!

Good morning,

My Sour Dough Beasties had a party overnight and just couldn't hold their excitement.

This is exactly why it's important to put your container of sour dough culture on a plate if you are leaving it out of the fridge overnight.  I fed it, then left it out overnight so it would multiply those beasties and I could use it the next day, which I did.  The culture smelled and looked wonderful.  The bread I made with it was fantastic.

Of course, I poured a little of the culture in another jar, fed it with a little flour and water, then very loosely put the lid on for the beasties to have another party and multiply.  I sometimes use a crock jar, then put a plate across the top so the gasses can escape easily.

Baking bread is marvelous.  There is nothing to match the wonderful aroma in the house as it is baking.

Lois