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.

Click the header image to see most current posts.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Shooting from Above - Brevard Zoo, Florida

Good morning,

Today's images were taken at the Brevard Zoo, in Viera, Florida.
It is fabulous to get images such as these.  The animals are in open settings and we are able to capture them digitally so easily...
...when shooting from above on the wooden walkway.
Also up here on the walkway is a gift shop.
 And, my final shot today is of this stork.  He doesn't exactly look like the cartoon stork that brings babies does he!


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cruise Ship Lineup - St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.

Good morning,

Ah, yes, cruise ships as far as the eye can see.  What a cool perspective from here.

Above you see three ships and I have just walked from the furthest, Freedom of the Seas.  Behind me and not in the image is one more ship.

It is actually a very pleasant walk from the ship tied up in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. into Havensight Mall right on the dockside.  After eating the good food on board, I can use all the walking I can get!

All the best,

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

St. Thomas U.S.V.I. Taxis

Good morning,

Of course, I have to go ashore whenever we get to a US port and St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. is no exception.  I always go ashore to mail cards and letters back to the mainland.

Taxis are certainly different here than we find in large US cities.  They are generally converted trucks so that they can carry more people than a regular car.  They are also very highly decorated. 
I didn't need a taxi though, because I was going to the post office at the port.  The taxis will take you into downtown St. Thomas if you want to explore the old part of the city.

All the best,

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Butterfly Bucks

Good morning,

Isn't that a really cool butterfly!  It was a gift from a friend.  How very cool!

She said it is worth $2, but I think it has added value as a butterfly.  :)

Thank you, Doris.

All the best,

Monday, January 27, 2014

Executive Line Up

Good morning,

This is the Executive Team aboard Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas:  Captain, Staff Captain, Hotel Director, Chief Engineer, and Human Resources Director.  The Captain, Staff Captain, and Chief Engineer are licensed marine officers.  All of these gentlemen provide a very informative and entertaining question and answer session during each cruise.

I love how they "play" off of each other's answers to the questions.  If you get a chance to attend one of these, you'll find it worth the time.  These are generally offered on sea days.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Portofino Appetizer

Good morning,

This elegant appetizer sampler was placed on our table for our enjoyment as we waited for our meal in Portofino, one of the specialty restaurants aboard Freedom of the Seas.

I SO have to get my exercise program going again!!!!


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Early Arrival - Port Canaveral

Good morning,

I'm going through some images from about a month ago that you haven't seen yet.  Today's images were taken just before 7 AM when the light was very low, yet the blurred images give a lovely effect.  Above we are on Route 528 on the way to Port Canaveral just as the sun is rising.
And, this is the first glimpse of Freedom of the Seas after ten weeks away from her.  She is "pulled up to the curb" and parked in Port Canaveral, Florida.  I love this image that makes her appear to be "parked" next to all of those palm trees.



Friday, January 24, 2014

Apple Bread Roll Recipe and Flashback to Christmas Day Dinner

 Good morning,

I have had a chance to look through the pictures that I took on Christmas Day as I was baking breads for our dinner and the next morning's breakfast.  This is my Apple Bread Roll that I made up as I went along and will surely make again.

I make the bread dough in the bread machine only through the initial kneading process, then take it out and work with it by hand.

Apple Bread Roll Recipe

Ingredients for bread:

2 eggs (and a third egg to brush on dough before baking if desired)

2 T vegetable oil

2 t salt

2 T sugar

2/3 cup cottage cheese

1/2 cup apple sauce

1/2 cup warm water

5 cups bread flour

3 t dry yeast

Ingredients for filling:

2 apples cored and diced - see image

2/3 stick butter

2 t brown sugar

1/2 t cinnamon


Place all bread dough ingredients in large capacity bread machine in order given.

Set on dough cycle and turn on.

The first dough cycle on most machines is about 40 minutes.

Watch the action to be sure a dough ball forms at least 1/3 way through the cycle.

Add a little flour or water if necessary to get the correct consistency.

While bread is kneading, prepare filling:


Soften apple in butter in pan on stove top.  Add cinnamon and sugar.  Over low heat stir until apple pieces are glazed.  Allow to cool.

When first dough cycle finished, remove from machine and place in a greased bowl for first rise.

Place the bowl in a warm place such as the oven with the light, but no heat turned on.

If you place it out on the counter in a warm place, cover with a damp cloth.

This batch required just under an hour for the first rise.

Keep in mind that the temperature in your kitchen and the mood of the yeast can change the time required for the dough to rise.

After the first rise, punch down/knead gently the dough to remove excess bubbles.

This recipe will yield two full size loaves of bread, but since I was giving some of these as gifts, I used four 7" pie pans to make these bread rolls, placing two rolls in each pan.  Of course, you can make it in a bigger or smaller pan.   Very small pans work nicely for individual servings.  If you use two standard size loaves, bake for 45 minutes.

If you are using crockery or glass pans/bowls for baking, set the empty bread pans in a warm place, too. I use my second oven with the light turned on.

If preheating pans, remove from oven.

Spray pans with vegetable oil, divide dough and gently knead and form with fingers on counter amounts to "roll with filling" before placing in baking pans.

Fill with cooled apple mixture, roll, and place in baking pans.


 Allow to bread to rise once again; this batch took about 30 mins for the second rise.

Scramble one egg and "paint" each loaf with pastry brush being careful not pierce the loaves with the brush.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 mins.

For an extra crusty bread, toss 6 ice cubes into the bottom of the oven half way through baking.


 Turn out to racks to cool immediately.

Click here for more of my bread recipes.

 The breads in the image above are individual loaves for each person at Christmas Night Dinner.  This is a different batch and different recipe.  This one was made with sour cream in the recipe.  I didn't make notes this time, but I know it is similar to others I have made in the past and included in my bread recipes published here on my blog.

 We had several food events during the holidays (doesn't everyone?!).  This particular table is set for Christmas night dinner.
 We would be leaving the next day to drive South so our wonderful daughter made prime rib and everything else for the dinner except for the bread shown in the images above.
 After dinner we opened presents!  Penny received a stocking full of toys.

Penny and Erik had a wonderful Christmas.  It was wonderful to be home with the family this year, but the last few days were extra busy with packing for our trip South.

I have one regret about all of our travels.  We do miss the family terribly, but they are all adults and understand when we will return.  I only wish we could explain to the dogs that we will be coming back and when.  When we get the suitcases out to pack, the dogs get so terribly sad.

The dogs are never boarded, though.  Our daughter (and their agility trainer) and her friends are home with them;  when our daughter travels with us, we have other friends who stay in our home with them.

All the best,

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Needlework Update - January, 2014

Good morning,

It has been another month already and time for another Needlework Update.  :)  I hope you enjoy seeing these each month.  I am glad I am keeping a picture record of what I am making and enjoy looking back at previous Needlework Update posts.

Above is another Cables and Lace sweater;  this one is in off white/natural color.  It is a custom order and has been delivered to the lovely lady who will look fabulous in it!   There is another Cables and Lace sweater available in the shop.  Click the image above for more information.
This knitted cowl scarf is another custom order that has been delivered, but there are similar cowls available in the shop on line.
Light and Bright!  This crocheted baby blanket is light enough to lay over baby's face to keep out the sun and wind, yet warm enough to keep him or her cuddly warm.  Click the image to see more about it.
There are always more turtles...
...hatching, too!  ;)
My Honey has been busy in his wood working shop, too!
 Some of these...
 beautiful hand made, turned wood pens...
 ...are still available in the shop.
 And, last, but not least, My Honey finished this beautiful hand made wood box.  So pretty!  Click on the image above to see more images of it.

That's what we've done this month.  I hope you enjoy seeing what flows off of my needles and from My Honey's woodworking shop.  I truly do enjoy seeing all of your needlework, sewing, wood working, crafting, baking, and gardening.  We have such a fantastic group of talented bloggers out here in cyberspace.  :)

All the very best for another creative month!



Shopping for Valentine's Day?

Come visit our little shop of American Hand Made items.  
Shop from your computer chair and your purchases will be delivered to your front door.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tendering - Grand Cayman

Good morning,

Some ports of call do not have docks big enough to handle large cruise ships so guests tender between their cruise ship and shore on small tender boats.
It is a short ride ashore.  I think it is a fun part of cruising to do this.  It gives you a better perspective of the large ship you are on to see it from sea level.
As soon as one tender leaves for shore, another pulls up to unload guests returning to the ship and take more guests ashore.

All the best,

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Flowers at Sea

Good morning,

My readers know how much I just love flowers!  Today I'm sharing images of flowers that I've taken over a three week period.  I just love photographing them in different light.
The first two images are the same arrangement.  One image was taken with flash, the second in natural light.
Oooh, peach roses!

 Classic red.

 Mother Nature's Beauty
 This arrangement was given to me by a guest who was leaving the ship and didn't want the flowers to be thrown out.  They lasted another whole week for us to enjoy.
 And, the last ones are images taken in different light of yellow roses.

 I hope you enjoyed these as much as I enjoy having them.  So beautiful!