Thursday, May 17, 2018

Rhubarb Time

Today I was at my sister's acreage and we harvested the rhubarb. That means that I can make my three favorite rhubarb things.
The first is rhubarb sauce.  I simply cook 4 cups of rhubarb in 1/3 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar.  Sometimes I add a tablespoon of lemon juice but not always.  Cook for 5-10 minutes until the rhubarb is tender.  Serve warm over pound cake or the very best is to serve it over chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

The other two rhubarb things includes a favorite cake that my friend Cheryl Kolar often made. It was a signature dish that she enjoyed making.  The crusty sugary topping made the cake unbelievably good.  Whenever I make it or eat this dessert, I think of Cheryl.  I have renamed the recipe in her honor - CK's Rhubarb Cake.

The cake is quick and easy to make.  It is delicious made using either fresh rhubarb or frozen. Moist and great made into muffins and served as a breakfast pastry.

And check out the recipe for rhubarb crisp that is a family favorite and another quick easy recipe.  






Jellies and jams are quick and easy to make and make great gifts for the holidays.  And nothing beats the taste of fresh jams or jellies.  So much more flavor than commercial products.












And then while we are at it read a book or two about strawberries (can't find any about rhubarb).
Cook-A-Doodle-Doo by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel.  And you may wish to make the magnificent Strawberry Shortcake.  http://mcbookwords.blogspot.com/2011/12/little-red-hens-magnificent-strawberry.html

Other books include: 
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood

 and
Little Sister and Month Brothers by Beatrice Schenk deRegniers, with illustrations by Margot Tomes. -- in this book Little Sister is sent out to gather strawberries during the month of February.  This is a Ukrainian folktale that includes motifs similar to those in the Cinderella tale.












Saturday, March 31, 2018

Spring Time Is Just Ducky: Sewing and Books

... ...

One of my favorite classic titles is Ducky by Eve Bunting with illustrations by David Wisnewski (Clarion/HMH, 1998).  I actually have the original art work for the cover of this book, in my "art gallery."  The title is still available in paperback.  Two of my other favorites are by my friend Toni Buzzeo, Dawdle Ducking, with illustrations by Margaret Spendler (Dial, 2003).  There is a sequel, Ready or Not, Dawdle Duckling (Dial, 2005).  If you are interested in ducks you may want to go to Toni's site and download her "Teaching About Ducks" list of sites about ducks https://www.tonibuzzeo.com/EDUCATORS_files/teachingaboutducks.pdf 

But meanwhile these books gave me inspiration for transforming a set of plain white towels into a housewarming gift for a family with a small child.  This set is child worthy.

This is a standard set of towels: two bath towels, two hand towels, and two wash cloths.  I got these at Target.  They are soft and the bath towels are generous in size (30 inches x 54 inches) and 100% cotton.









We have a pattern that you can access here.
There is a list of items needed, on the graphic to the left.  The large (JUMBO @ 1.5 inches wide) rickrack is difficult to find but you can order it from the Ribbon Retreat in a variety of colors.  You might find it locally for less.


Using the HEATnBOND LITE® we stabilized a piece of yellow plush large enough to cut out two ducks and two wings.  Remove the HEATnBOND from the back of one wing, iron it on one duck.  Do the same for the orange beak. Then position the duck on the towel, and press the duck onto the towel.  Use a satin stitch (orange thread on the top and match the towel color in the bobbin) to go around the beak.  Replace the orange thread with yellow and satin stitch around the wing.  Then while the yellow thread is in the machine use that thread to blanket stitch around the duck (skip sewing around the beak as that is already adhered to the towel.
Once the duck is on the towel we are ready to add the bubbles and the water (rickrack).  I used the ends of three different sized thread spools as the guide for cutting out three different sizes of circles.  Before beginning I stabilized a strip of blue plush (the width of the piece of fabric), approx. 44 inches long and 2 inches high.  On the white backing of the stabilized fabric I drew the circles and cut 2 large ones, 2 medium, and 2 small ones for each towel.  I cut four circles for the hand towels, and three for each of the washcloths.  Place the circles randomly, in an upward stream - largest at the bottom.  Once the placement pleases you, remove the adhesive backing, iron the circles/bubbles onto the towel, and then stitch them down, using matching blue thread as the top thread, and the towel matching color in the bobbin.  Use a blanket stitch to sew these circles/bubbles down onto the towel. Then sew on the circles/bubbles onto the wash cloths and the hand towels.
The final sewing step is to sew on the rickrack.  You will need approximately 1/2 yard for each bath towel.  Sew the light blue rickrack first - seam it on one side, turn and pin horizontally across the towel.  The rickrack should be positioned in such a manner that the duck appears to be swimming in the water.  When you reach the other side, Fold a piece of the rickrack under and top stitch so frayed edges do not show.
Then replace the light blue thread with dark blue to match the dark rickrack and sew on the dark rickrack in the same manner that you did with the light blue rickrack.  Position the dark blue rickrack in such a manner that it almost interlocks with the lighter piece.
The final sewing item is to create the eye on the duck.  Put black thread in the top and use a stitch that you would normally use to sew on a two-hole button.  Repeat the stitching so the black thread makes a significant eye on the duck.  Repeat with the second duck.  Finally...

The very last thing you should do is to find some great ducky books to tuck into the package.  In addition to the classics I cited above here are a few more that you might consider.






 

Additional titles suggested by readers

Of course the very popular and classic title, winner of the 1942 Caldecott Award.


If you have a great ducky book to add to this list, please cite it in the comments section.
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Visit Greenfroggifts on Etsy for the latest choices.
Order cookie cutters, aprons, and baker's cloths from Green Frog Gifts -- unique gifts -- many $10.00 or under.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Happy Pi Day 3-14

Celebrate this day 3-14 by baking miniature apple pies as celebration favors for friends and co-workers.















Phter books that feature pies in include:




Visit Greenfroggifts on Etsy for the latest choices.
Order cookie cutters, aprons, and baker's cloths from Green Frog Gifts -- unique gifts -- many $10.00 or under.