Homespun Gathering

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Jingle Bells and Thanksgiving

Did you know that Jingle Bells didn't begin it's life as a Christmas song?  Its author, James Pierpont, was a bit of a Jack of all trades--seaman, lawyer, music minister, politician, etc.  He lived in Massachusetts as a child and adult.  Eventually, Pierpont joined brother John in Georgia where his brother was pastor.  Was the song written in 1850 or closer to public debut several years later?  We may never know.  We do know it was publicly debuted during a Thanksgiving service in Georgia and immediately popular.  

There are several YouTube videos and written material on the subject, but I thought you might like this one.  Yes, there are Thanksgiving songs, but sometimes you just have to look. 

My mom was given a book from her "adopted" grandfather nearly 70 years ago.  Her father's father died of a heart attack many, many years before she was born.  Her mother's father died only a few years after she was born--car crash I think.

This book is definitely a treasure not only for the family connection, but for the historical window it provides.  They just don't make books like this anymore.

taped inside the book
Mom's work.  Even then home was very important.

While meals set aside for giving thanks were not original to the Pilgrims, their celebration and what it has become are uniquely American.

Until next time count your blessings--God's gifts to you.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Stopping Place

 I have come to a stopping place.  It appears this is as far as 5 yards of six strand floss will get me on 32 count.  I've decided to order 11 more skeins to finish the project.  There should be left overs, but I'll use those on the stocking for which I originally purchased the floss.

The black scarf belonged to my dad.  He died five years ago this December.  I think it's a scarf only my dad could love--to wear anyway.  I found it quite itchy, but it works perfectly to cover up lighter colored pants.  Without it draped over my lap I just can't see the holes in my linen.  It's like having a little of my dad with me as I stitch.

This morning I made another batch of cookies for Thanksgiving dessert at Mom's.  I'm really hoping we don't get uninvited again this year.  No, it's not like that.  The year we got uninvited two of the three of us were quite ill, and Mom didn't want us to share.  I'm almost convinced our son came home with the flu Wednesday afternoon--all the right symptoms.  He fought going to the doctor due to a busy school week, and there was no fever Thursday morning, so we let him out of it.  He was still sick, but off the hook. Now my hubby is all sniffly.  

I've already made the turkey, deboned and made half the stock.  DH bought one of those pterodactyl turkeys for big families, so I have to make the stock in two batches.  If worse comes to worse I can leave them home with some turkey and rice soup and go eat with mom . . . that is if I don't catch it too.
Ginger Cookies with Dark Chocolate Chips
My Circa Home Living Magazine came today, and I almost missed it.  The stamps.  Those coffee pots are just gorgeous, don't you think?  I think my post office might be holding out on me.
Lots of wonderful eye candy in here, and it just makes me happy to window shop.

One of the reasons our son didn't want to miss school was this big concert his high school honors choir was doing with another choir in our school district.  The concert was in a wonderful Methodist church next door to ours.  The acoustics were fabulous for the choirs and orchestra made up of high school, local university students and local musicians.  We heard pieces from Vivaldi, Handle, baroque, Renaissance, etc.  It was absolutely wonderful.  We are so blessed to have a musical son who loves music as much as we do.

Until next time count your blessings--God's gifts to you.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

November Joy

It's been a tough week in France, and I want my French blog family to know my thoughts and prayers have been and will continue to be with you.  I feel confident in saying we here in America stand with you.

Autumnal Progress

I've made quite a bit of progress on Paulette Stuart's Ghoultide Welcome.  You will find my version offers an Autumn Welcome, missing elements and other elements changed a bit.  I will share progress as I go.  The Gathering is in a couple of weeks, and I have decided to fill in the Welcome portion while there.  It's easier not to have to worry about mistakes that way.
Current Progress on Ghoultide Welcome
Mistakes seemed to run rampant when I got to the bottom right of the border.  Can you find it?
The Asian Beetles have landed, and they seem to like me and my linen best.
In the midst of stitching there have been multiple turkey sightings.  There are about 18 turkey hens struttin' their stuff in our backyard and in yards all over the neighborhood.  Where are the toms?  I have no idea, but if Abigail were off leash I'm sure we wouldn't need to buy a turkey this year.  The downside is we'd have to prep it for the oven.  Okay, good point.  I think we're better off buying turkeys.
This past week I began making Springerle cookies.  This year I need to make notes where I will see them next year.  My wooden molds are well-loved and collected over the last 5-6 years.
First press.  Then cut.
This year I decided to use the end of the dough a little differently.  I put some on the mold and rolled it out with a rolling pin.  I just love the look of broken pottery.  Don't you?

I've learned to make a really good crisp impression before the cookies dry 12-24 hours.
Unfortunately, I failed to allow the dough to rest for an hour or so before pressing.  This allows the flour to absorb as much liquid as possible requiring much less when rolling out.  What happens when you forget?  This.
A bubbly crust and cracking even though the detail is still intact.

There should be a cake like interior, but there should not be a split between the top and base of the cookie.  No worries.  They are still edible.  Hooray!  The first batch is always the traditional anise flavor, and makes me smile.  It's not my family's favorite which is another blessing.

I told my DH I needed some Pumpkin Pie Spice at the store.  I also told him I would need at least 3 tablespoons worth for a recipe.  This is what he brought home.  It looks like I have plenty to work on my Pumpkin Spice Springerle Recipe.  It's a new one this year, and I hope it's a winner.

Mom invites us to her house each year for major holidays.  I can't say I blame her.  I'd rather be at the family home on the farm too.  This year I'm bringing the desserts.  This means pumpkin pie or cheesecake.  There is still time to make up my mind.  I also plan to bring an assortment of cookies.  The first batch is a recipe for Swedish Cookies.  I don't know what the Swedes call them, but my family calls them yummy or all gone.
prior to baking
out of the oven
The next recipe comes from a 1998 Good Housekeeping magazine.  Mom sent it to me when we were living in Japan.  Magazines usually have articles or recipes pulled out and the magazine tossed, but this issue was so good I just kept the entire magazine.  I almost began the Giant Ginger Cookies before I realized I was out of the required shortening.  Bummer.  I'll be adding dark chocolate chips to the mix.  Believe me.  It's absolutely delicious.

Pardon the excitement, but two very precious samplers have arrived in the mail this week along with some floss I needed to stitch a stocking.  More importantly one of the colors was needed to start the 12 Days stitch along on Paulette Stewart's blog.  I think I'm done enhancing my stash for now.  I'm one of the outliers that stitches the patterns she has before replenishing.  Please don't kick me out of the sticherhood-lol.
His Eye is on the Sparrow and Dutch Beauty
I have never started a project anywhere else but the middle, but this one clearly had to be started at the top left.  I was a brave girl and did what needed done.  Paulette's 12 Days design calls for three rows of four.  This would be easy to move around if the boxes were all square.  They aren't so I've had to do my math homework [sigh].  Messy handwriting becomes even messier on a tablet, but it gets the job done.
I could have used DMC, but I wanted the dimension and interest overdyes would bring.

Behind but not out of the running
I went into the fridge for a nibble, and look what I found!  This has to be my absolute all-time favorite Japanese dessert.  These are filled with sweet red bean paste.  These go stale quickly, so they are frozen when you buy them.  My husband was in our favorite international market yesterday, so he could pick up some sushi rice.  The quality is great there, and the turnover is really fast, so the bags of sushi rice aren't stale at purchase like they might be at other places with mostly American customers.  I'm very blessed.
Half gone now and extremely delicious.
The sunset in our back yard the other night.  I wish the camera had picked up the deep red blaze we had seen that night.

Putting the cat out for a while tonight I noticed the moon.  So pretty.
Until next time count your blessings--God's gifts to you.