Ten Gables Cottage

Ten Gables Cottage
Ten Gables Cottage

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

White Radishes

Hi Everyone,
Last night I went to a garden club meeting and received some lovely white radishes from our speaker, who is a Florida master gardener. I thought the radishes would be very hot because they are so big, but surprise, they aren't but a bit "peppery" and are quite delicious! He said they were just an "emergency" crop as his pumpkins got too much water and rotted, so he just threw in radish seeds and got a huge crop of large radishes really quickly.
I learned that the first thing one needs to do when starting a garden is to get the soil tested. You need to know  what the soil may need to make it better, and you may have to adjust the soil pH because it governs how available nutrients are to plants. I realize that my attempts at gardening have been at the hit and miss sort of category, so I am keen on learning a better way. So, after I find out what is in my soil, what it is lacking, I can move on to a plan. In Florida,vegetables can be grown year-round if attention is paid to the appropriate planting dates.Right now, in late December and early January, I am harvesting broccoli that I planted in October. My cabbages are beginning to form heads. In January, I can plant lettuces, onions, English peas, Southern peas, peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, spinach, squash, both summer and winter, watermelon, bush beans, pole beans, lima beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, celery, carrots, cauliflower, collards, sweet corn, chinese cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, endive and kale.  Mercy! Would even my 5 acres hold all that!! So I will select a few and try them, but I must go by the Farmer's Almanac as to the correct plants days!
Have you heard of that before? You see, it is recommended by the state, that one plants according to the moon. There are certain times when your garden will do well and other times when it won't. My parents and grandparents always planted by the moon. O.K. So now I must get the soil tested, add what it needs, buy some seeds or plants, study the moons influence on planting, consult the almanac, prepare the soil and plan the garden. Then I can begin. Why do I want to do all this?
Well, vegetable gardening offers much. There is fresh air, sunshine, exercise, mental therapy, fights stress, plus nutritious, tasty and fresh veggies, even economic savings. So, as I make my New Year's resolutions, learning more about gardening is at the top!

            Happy New Year to everyone. May you have good health and happiness in 2014!!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Best Dessert.....Pavlova

Hello Everyone,
I hope your Christmas was extra special in every way! My family had a wonderful Christmas! We had some very special meals and lots of rich desserts. Our church had beautiful Advent services and a wonderful
Christmas Eve production. We had family come from afar and family from closer to home. Lots of laughter and fun filled every corner of the house! It is a great time of year and now we can look forward to the new year, make some resolutions to not keep, and look forward to days ahead. One of my very favorite desserts is Pavlova. You never see it here, but in Northern Ireland, I have had it numerous time, when visiting my daughter. Well, we decided to have it for Christmas, and I must say, it was truly spectacular! Egg white made into a meringue that was crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside, with a cream cheese topping, real whipped cream and then a strawberry/orange syrup with sliced berries. Oh My! A thousand Yums! It will be in my memory a long, long, time. I will make another one for Valentine's day.....maybe go on a diet until then.
Your comments on Pavlova are welcome!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

Getting Ready...

Hi Everyone, just a short pause in all the activity to write a few lines and show some photos of Ten Gables. Maybe the candy canes will show Santa the way to the front door!

I was getting ready for a little dinner party here. I put the silverware in the little stockings...sort of fun. The village in the background was poured and made in ceramics and then I painted all of them It was fun! That was years ago and I put them all out every year.
The tree is up, but it needs lots of wrapped gifts under it and today is gift wrapping day! So soon, it won't look so lonely!  Well, I am off to wrap packages and hope you are having fun preparing for Christmas. I first must put on some Christmas music! More soon. Have a great day, Egretta

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sandhill Cranes

Hi Everyone, I am so thrilled that a pair of big Sandhill Cranes have selected my yard for a place to stand around in, eating bugs, and maybe they will even nest somewhere! Do you remember the previous post I had about a pair who had nested in a drainage pond just off a busy highway? And then in rained so much that the nest was almost covered with water and some people rescued the eggs and moved them up on dry ground. The hen went back to sitting on the eggs and one of them did hatch. That was miles away from where I live, so this is probably not the same pair.

Anyway, I am thrilled and hope they like it here and stay around. They are so regal, standing about 5 or 6 feet tall and with a huge wingspan whenever they stretch them out. 

It was hard to get a photograph of them as they move around and the wind was blowing, so they turned  their backs to me most of the time to get their faces away from the wind. 
Here is a painting I did a couple of years ago of a pair with their chick. It is a huge painting and is just leaned up against the wall in my studio. I need to either sell it or hang it!
   I'm busy working on 4 paintings for a lady that will be Christmas presents. Back to the drawing board...hope you are getting all your Christmas decorating and baking done. I still have much to do!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Yummy Treats and a New Painting!

Hello Everyone on this beautiful December day! At least it is beautiful in Florida. It is in the seventies here and gorgeous with a very blue sky with a few puffy clouds and sunny. It is a good day to be outside and I hope to decorate my porches later this afternoon. I want to share a couple of quick and easy, delicious Christmas treat recipes with you first. The top one is Crock pot Fudge. It can be put in the crock pot and left for 3 hours and you have delicious candy ready to eat. 
Crock Pot Fudge Recipe
Put the following ingredients in the Crock Pot in the order given and let cook on low for 3 hours.
Then stir all together and drop by spoonfuls into tiny Christmas paper cups.
2 jars honey roasted salted peanuts
1 package German Chocolate
1 package semi sweet chocolate chips
1 package of White Almond bark.

Now, the above treats are called Reindeer Noses. You spread pretzels out on a cookie sheet. Put a white chocolate kiss in center and bake in a 275 oven til melted. Add an M and M candy after you take them out of oven. I didn't have the kisses, so I used little squares of white chocolate and turned the heat up a bit, then when soft, I sort of spread the white chocolate out with a knife. Not quite as pretty as the kiss would be, but still yummy.

Here is my latest watercolor painting of pink poinsettia flowers. Hope  you are enjoying a nice weekend wherever you are!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Decorations and Hand Painted Card

Hi Everyone, 
At the craft bazaar, I bought this little glass snowman from a lady. She had glued together two clear class bowls found, I am sure, at a dollar store and then sprayed them with spray snow and after it dried, added the features and made him scarf and hat. Very cute. Got to find a place to put him!

My grandson, Austin, helped me put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving and to decorate it. This year I decided to use all the old ornaments that were handmade or those given as gifts or bought on our travels. Every ornament has a story and that really makes it special.

The three caroling dolls were made by my mother in the early 60's. I love their old fashioned faces that she embroidered on. They are very special to me. 
I think I must be in an old fashioned mood altogether! I painted a couple of cards this year and then printed them out on the computer. The colors don't look as bright as in the original, but they have that old fashioned look. They remind me of cards from the 40s or 50s. I never start early enough to get all the things done that I want to do before Christmas, do you? I wonder when one should start in order to get it all done....maybe before Thanksgiving, especially the card making. I did do a lot of ornaments early on. Today I am getting some ornaments and candy packages ready to mail. Got to run.....I hope you are busily enjoying your holiday preparations, too.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Blogging news

Hi everyone,  I hope you are preparing for a lovely Thanksgiving with family! I am taking a blogger break for a few days, just because I need some time for myself and to get ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is a very busy time, as you know. So, if I am absent for a while, just know that I am still  being creative, still thinking about you and still looking at all my favorite blogs.
Here are a couple of things I am working on, to leave you with and I will be back soon, in a week or so. Happy Thanksgiving! Egretta

"Penny Rug" Ornaments. The story behind Penny Rugs is that long ago, ladies made round circles from woolen scraps, saving and using every available scrap, and made the circles into "pennies", then sewed them together to make rugs. Instead of making a rug, I made Christmas ornaments from the circles. They are addictive! I am still making them!

I am also making some chenille snowmen from an old chenille bedspread. The nose is made of felt and sewed on. Hats are from socks and dish towels!

More of the Penny Rug ornaments. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"Halloween Treats and More"

Hello Everyone, Are you ready for little trick or treat kiddos to come by for treats? We never have any, but Margaret surprised us last night by bringing over some yummy cup cake treats! Just look how cute they are and delicious, too. Check out the knife with "blood" and the ghost and monster, too. 

I don't know which is the cutest, but we ate a green one each, last night and the flavor of it was Key Lime, so that was delicious. I think the knife one is spice, so we will soon find out!

I don't decorate a whole lot for Halloween, but do put out this little bobble head cat, just because he is so cute!

I just concentrate mostly on Fall, and get out my grandmother's Carnival Glass Punch Bowl and cups. Maybe a little apple cider will go into that later.

  Pumpkin themed decor is so cute and this guy can sit in the dining room until Thanksgiving. He is made of canvas and stuffed and always brings a smile to everyone.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Iris Appliqued Quilt and YoYo Tote

Hi Everyone, I hope you are having some beautiful Fall days. Here in Florida, it is hot, but there is a little bit of color....hardly enough to detect unless you really look! However my church is gearing up for the Christmas Craft and Quilt Bazaar and above is the quilt I appliqued and pieced for the bazaar. After I got it all together, a group of the quilters did the hand quilting. We will raffle it off on November 16 at the bazaar.
Some of the proud quilters...

I've also been making ornaments and totes with yoyo decorations, as the above bad shows.  

A closer view of the iris quilt. The pattern was an old one my mother had. Click on it for an even closer view.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Crafts for Christmas Bazaar

Hi Everyone, I am busy getting ready for the Craft and Quilt Bazaar at my church, as well as another local craft show, called Crafts in the Woods. I thought you might like to see a few of my creations! The above little ornament is the Peace Lutheran Church Mouse!!

Another version.

The birds are made of yo-yos, which are circles of fabric gathered up. Several yo-yos are stacked together and tied, then a pom pom glued on top as the head. Wings and tail are made of felt and tiny black beads are the eyes. I started doing red birds, then added the Blue Bird of Happiness and have also made some white "Snow Birds". I thought our Northern residents would love the little Snow birds.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October Tea

Hi Everyone, Today is a very typical Fall day in Florida. It is warm (most people would think hot), but the sky is that deep Fall blue and there is a breeze and the air feels less humid than usual. It is a very pleasant day and I want to do some gardening just before sundown. That is, to me, the most beautiful time of day to garden in Florida, as it is cooler and it seems very still and quiet.

My son and two grand boys are coming tomorrow, so I made my son's favorite cookie, which is Molasses Crinkle. I will give you the recipe at the end of the blog. He got it for me from a friend's mother when he was in high school and I have made them ever since. They are especially good in the Fall and spiced tea goes well with them. As you can see, I added a cinnamon stick to the tea for a little extra flavor.

I got out a few accessories that say Fall, such as the tea cozy...just because the roof looks golden color!
There is one of those battery operated candles in this vase. I received the vase years ago from my brother and sister-in-law. It was full of Fall flowers, but I love it as a lantern! The wreath is made of felt. I found it on holiday in Micanopy, Florida.

My next felt project will be to make some of these. I always have far too many projects going!

Have you tried Constant Comment tea? It has oranges and spices in it, and is delicious.
Another felt piece I found in Micanopy. It would be fun to make these, too, to place at each setting at the table as favors.
I hope  you are enjoying these Fall days as much as I am! Recipe:
                                Molasses Crinkles
1 cup brown sugar,packed
3/4 cup shortening (Crisco)
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 flour
2 tsp. soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
Cream first 4 ingredients, add dry ingredients and mix well. Chill. Roll in walnut sized balls and dip top of ball in sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet,  and sprinkle a drop or 2 or water on top each ball. Bake 10 to 12 minutes at 375 degrees. Enjoy!