Monday, March 29, 2010

Yummy English-Style Scones

Today I will share my English Scone recipe. I made these scones for my Bible study group this past Wednesday and they were gobbled up. This time around I modified it a little by adding pecans, chocolate chips and dried cherries in place of the raisins and dates.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets.

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup finely pitted dates
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold butter
4 eggs, divided
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon water

Put the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix together. Add butter; blend with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat 3 eggs, cream, and vanilla in small bowl. Add to flour mixture; mix just until ingredients are moistened. Knead dough several times on lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half; place each half on prepared cookie sheet and pat into 6-inch circle (about 1 inch thick).

With sharp, wet knife, gently score each circle of dough into six wedges, cutting 3/4 of the way into dough. Beat the remaining egg with water; brush lightly over dough. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on wire rack. Cut into wedges. Serve with marmalade and whipped cream. This recipe makes 12 scones.

The ingredients that I changed  were to use 3/4 cup of chocolate chips (and no raisins) and a 3/4 measuring cup filled half full of pecans and half full of dried cherries (and no dates.)  You can add just blueberries or raspberries; what ever suits your tastes. Also I want to give you 2 tips on making perfect scones. The key to making scones very tender is to not overwork the dough. Also to get just the perfect color make sure your oven rack is in the middle position. Enjoy!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Company Girl Coffee Time

Hello to the Company Girls and all my blogger friends.  Thanks for joining me today. I am always glad for the end of the week as the Sabbath day is approaching and I get to rest and fellowship with the Lord. Life is always so hectic with many things to accomplish or so it seems. A day of rest for the mind and body is much needed and always appreciated. I do thank the Lord for each and every day but the Sabbath day is a special time set apart from all the others for fellowship and thanksgiving to Him. He loves our adoration for who He is...the awesome, loving, just, kind, merciful, forgiving Creator of all the Universe. (I could have gone on and on with words that describe His nature.) Suffice to say we could thank Him every day of our life for being our All and All and it wouldn't be enough. I am so glad we will have eternity to do so.

Today I ran some errands to the Country Pantry. It is a very nice bulk food store owned and operated by a Mennonite family. They have so many wonderful fresh spices, baking items, meats, cheese, nuts and many items to numerous to mention. I like their steel cut oatmeal. The wonderful thing is I can buy a big bag that is equivalent to a box from the store. The difference in price is, at the Pantry it cost $1.05 for the entire bag and at the grocery store it cost $4.50. That is a huge savings. Their spices are cheap also and a lot fresher than what is in the little bottles at the grocer. If you have a bulk store in your area, it is worth checking out to see what they carry and how much you can save. These days, we are all for saving our dollars where we can.

Yesterday I received my swap gift from my friend Ellen in Canada. She is a dear, sweet person with a wonderful husband, and a very cute baby boy named Eleil. We have done several swaps together and it is always so much fun. She has so much creativity and owns her own wedding planning business called 'About A Bride'. She wears so many hats I don't know how she gets it all done but she manages and does it well. I have posted the photos of the swap gift here. Thank you Ellen. I love every thing you made me and the extra gifts. The way you wrapped one of my gifts in fabric was so nice. I like the fabric design and will be using it for a project. I  especially loved the photo of Eliel. We will have to swap again some time. :)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and are able to take time to count all of your blessings. See you next time for coffee. :D

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Vintage Inspired Card

I have been so inspired by the book "Delight in the Details" by Lisa M. Pace, that I decided to try my hand at making vintage looking flowers. This card is the results. I love how it turned out. I used a scalloped circle punch and punched 5 circles out of pages from an old worn paperback book. She has instructions in the book on how to layer each circle to form the flower. I used brown Colorbox ink to make it look even older and paired the flower with some single leaves and a vintage button to finish the look. I also sewed a zig-zag stitch across the front of the card. I will be making more of these. Hope you all have a very productive day doing what you love.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Vintage Finds For Storage

I found these beautiful glass and wire pieces at the thrift sale over the weekend. They were having a sale of 50% off. The average that I paid for each piece was about 15 cents...yes 15 cents. I decided to put them to good use in my craft room to hold some of my supplies. When I work in there now, things I use are readily available and it makes me happy because it looks so pretty. I have no clue why I am on a thrift store kick these days except to say  I found a new book, just published this year, called 'Delight in the Details'. The author is Lisa Pace and she is a mixed media artist. Check out her website at She makes awesome crafts using vintage paper, ribbons,  paint, jewels, etc. It has been fun to check out the thrift stores for something that could be used to make vintage cards for my store table. I can't wait to try my hand at using pearls, old wool, and ribbons in my creating. What is it you love to create and what do you use for storage that is unusual? Tell us about it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cupcake Card

Today will be a quick post.  Mike and I are going to see my mother and take her out for breakfast. I  bought a new stamp set from Achievers a couple of months ago and decided to try it out. It has several cupcake designs and sayings in it. (I love cupcake stuff) Hope your weekend is a good one and you are able to find some time for rest and praise to Him for all your blessings.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wonderful Day Shopping

Hello to all the Company Girls and also my other blogger friends. Hope you all had a wonderful week. Today I went shopping to a town 50 miles away from where I live. The town I live in is only about 350 people. (or so the sign says coming into town, but that was a count from the census about 20 years ago) Because of living in a small, but wonderful little town, we have to go further away to do any serious shopping. My husband was off today so he drove me and we spent the whole day together and had a wonderful time. He is the best person to take shopping as he is never impatient and he likes to bring his reading glasses and a book. If I want to go into a craft store he sends me in to shop while he sits in the car or on a bench and he reads. We found a wonderful thrift store to go to today. It was called the Hope Gospel Mission (I love the name). It was a very big store with lots of stuff in it. I think they had a little of everything and it was so much fun to browse. I found a wonderful spring wreath and a very nice frame for $1.98. They had lots of beautiful glass knick knacks, dishes, vintage fabric, jewelry and many, many books. After we were done shopping we went to Starbucks for coffee and we visited. We talked about our grandchildren Emma and Chloe and how much we miss them. We will see them the end of April as Emma has 'grandparents day' in her 2nd grade class at school. Time spent with them is always a celebration for us. They are treasures given to us by God. We are so grateful for the life we have...our family and good friends and having peace in our heart that only comes from knowing God. I wish you all a blessed weekend.

The wreath I bought at the thrift store for a couple of dollars. When I am done straightening all the flowers and vines, it will be beautiful. I will be using it on the wall over my table at the 'artisan gift store' where I sell my handmade cards.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tundra Swans

Photos courtesy of the Wildlife Services.
I can hardly contain my excitement today to tell you about the latest migrating birds on the pond. I went out yesterday morning with a cup of coffee to walk around the acre and as I looked out I seen two of the most regal and beautiful birds I have seen in a while. They were  male and female Tundra Swans. I could hardly believe my eyes as we have not had any of those stop by for a visit for about 20 years. One of the last ones to show up on the pond  met his demise as somehow he got tangled in an electric wire and died. It was so sad. Even the DNR could not figure out why it seeing them out on the pond swan-tipping  was soooo exciting. In case you are wondering what swan-tipping is, I have included a photo of a swan tipping into the water to retrieve his food from the bottom of the pond. I was able to watch them for about an hour  tipping into the water with their heads disappearing and then coming back up with their prize. Their necks are so long that they were even able to come right up to the ice rim of the pond and extend their necks under the ice to find their food. So here are some facts about Tundra Swans. Their size is about 50'-54" long. The males and females look the same. They do not differ in color or markings like some birds do. Male and female both build their nests and they have one brood a year usually 4-5 eggs. It takes about 35-40 days to incubate and both share in this task. Their food is plants and aquatic insects. They nest on the tundra of northern Canada and Alaska, hence its common name. Migration is diagonally across North America to reach wintering grounds along the East Coast. They are often seen in family groups of up to 20 birds. (maybe these two were mad at the relatives.)  The young are easy to distinguish by their overall gray color. They give a high-pitched whistling like call.

I do wish my camera was of better quality and then I could take my own close-up photos of the migrating birds. Well, maybe some day I will invest in one and until then public domain photos are nice to be able to use. I am off to pour a cup of coffee for Mike and I. We are going out back to see what birds are visiting today. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sew Cute Pincushions

I was going to post today about the new birds that flew in today to rest for a couple days on the pond, but I got busy with a sewing project and ran out of time. Tomorrow I will share that story. Today I will give you a hint about the birds...they nest on the tundra of northern Canada and Alaska and their size is 50-54" long. Does that pique your interest? Good...more tomorrow.  Today I am posting photos of the new pincushions I finished today for sale at Wisconsin Locally Handmade. I had posted one photo a few days ago of my practice piece but I added a lot more to the new ones. They are made using some recycled supplies which I love to do. I also worked on some handmade cards, but that will be for another day too. Hope your day was a sunny one and that you accomplished everything you set out to do.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bufflehead Ducks

Photo of Bufflehead Ducks courtesy of Dave Menke from Fish and Wildlife Service.

Glorious Spring

One of my favorite seasons has finally arrived...glorious spring. This time of year also begins one of my favorite things to do and that is to watch for migratory birds. Mike and I were walking around our acre this morning with a cup of coffee and we seen our first migrating birds of the season. It was three Bufflehead ducks. The male is a small duck with striking white sides, black back, green purple head, with large white bonnet-like patch. They were beautiful to watch as they kept diving in the very cold water to eat aquatic insects.. The Birds of Wisconsin Field Guide says they have a complete migration to southern states and Central America. 

The snow is almost gone on the acre and I have a few plants just starting to come up. It seems that this is the earliest I have ever had anything sprout up except for tulips and daffodils. It is so exciting to go out each day and see the changes in the landscape and listen to the birds sing. You can tell in their songs that even they are happy it is spring. I can't wait to see what birds are out on the pond tomorrow.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I have decided to try and make some cards that have a cleaner design and ended up with these examples. I love the looks of the embossing and the simplicity of the cards. I am so used to making cards that are layered and have more embellishments on them. It was nice to just make them more simple. They sold already so I will definitely make  more.
God has been talking to me lately about simplicity in many areas of my life. It is so nice to be  rid of the clutter of material things and in so doing have a clearer mind and spirit.The Good News of God's Word is always simple and He never complicates it. We are the ones who seem intent many times in complicating the message. We just need to take Him at His Word and believe it is true even when we don't see any evidence of the answers we so desire. He has His perfect will for our life and He always answers our prayer but it is done in His timing and not our own. Thank you Lord for our life and the blessings that come  because of Your love for us.

My Siblings and I

I really love this photo. It was taken in the early 60's and it was on the first day of school. I remember the day it was taken and even though it is black and white I remember the color of my jumper. It was a bright yellow with an appliqued octopus on it. (can you even imagine?) Why I would want to wear anything with an octopus on it I do not know. I remember my hair turned out like I wanted it to after I lost sleep the night before laying on BIG pink smooth rollers. My hair had a natural curl to it and I wanted it to be smooth and more straight. I think my siblings look so cute in their clothes. As the oldest sister I had the responsibility of taking care of them a lot as our mother worked out of the home. I guess that job prepared me to one day take care of my own kids. I did like to cook for them but at the time my abilities were lacking sorely in that department. The poor kids were my 'cooking guinea pigs'. I would try out new recipes on them and my father. I remember once being so proud of a dish called 'Peanut Butter Pork Chops'. (doesn't that sound awful?) Well, it didn't go over very well but my father was gracious enough not to tell me so at the time. It is a good thing for my husband that my cooking got much better, even though in the beginning he suffered through a few awful meals. It is amazing how one little photo can bring back so many wonderful memories (like how much you really love your siblings). I am so glad to have old family photos to look at and smile. What do you remember from your childhood photos?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Trip To The Thrift Shop

Yesterday Mike and I decided to check out the local thrift shop. The cup and saucer are one of my finds. The set is Straffodshire from England and it cost me a whole sixty five cents. Actually they had 3 sets of the same and I bought them all. I have been looking for cups to make pin cushions out of them and I love 'the hunt.' I found lots of other wonderful deals like antique lace, other cups and saucers, a beautiful light green pottery bowl that I am going to fill with shells. I also found a pair of pearl clip on ear-rings that I am going to use on a manila tag that I will soon create. I will wrap the tag with some of the antique lace and will also use some scrapbook paper that looks like old fabric. It is exciting for me to shop at the thrift store because you never know what you may find. I got a whole bag of stuff for under $10.00 and that included a John Sandford book for my husband. It was originally a $26.00 hard cover book for $2.65. He was very happy with this find. The next time you are thinking about an adventure, do visit your local thrift store. You are bound to come home with at least one treasure.
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Sunday, March 7, 2010

New Project

I have started working on a new project for my little business 'Through The Garden Gate.'  Viking Brewery  has a second floor that they fixed up for artisans to bring in their wares and sell them. We each have our own space that we maintain and  keep it stocked with merchandise. I do handmade cards, paper crafts, and whatever else interests me at any given time. Today I made this 'teacup pincushion' out of felt and wool. I am pondering if I want to add more to it...probably a cute tag and maybe a few more buttons. There is a fine line between 'just the right amount' on something and 'too much.' I tend to lean towards too much. Have you had any time to craft lately? Let me know what you have made. :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thoughts of Spring

View of the beautiful pond, seen from the back yard. 
Summer 2009

Cheery wildflowers.

 My one dollar flower bed of wildflowers. The seeds were on sale and gave me so much joy for so cheap.

I seen this mushroom in the side yard and loved how it looked.

Spring, spring, spring...oh how I love that word this time of year. The weather has started to get warm and I am so ready to go out and clean up the yard and look for little sprouts coming out of the ground. I used to have tulips that would push themselves up even through the snow. I remember how excited I would be to see their cheery faces. (reminder to me to plant some this year for that very reason) I am counting the days for the snow to melt and the robins to show up. The pond in the back is already opening up so that is a good sign of the warmth to come. Mike and I love to work outside together getting the yard in tip top shape. I started a woodland garden last spring out back by the pond and I am going to add some more perennials to it this year. Probably some ferns and hostas and some shade loving flowers. The one thing that excites me the most is to see what birds migrate this year and visit us on the pond. We are relatively close to the Mississippi flyway and it is so interesting to see what birds choose the pond as part of their path to get to their destination (which is usually Duluth, Minnesota.) Last year we watched three Common Terns do acrobats in the air to finally dive down to eat fish. I researched where they come from and found out that according to the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation that they inhabit sand and shell beaches, grassy uplands, and rocky inland shores in North and South America, Eurasia and northern Africa. Their species breeds in North America along the Atlantic Coast from the northern Maritime Provinces of Canada to South Carolina and occasionally in the Gulf of Mexico. Wintering grounds are from its southernmost breeding areas on the Atlantic Coast to northern Ecuador and Brazil. Mike and I will soon start looking out over the pond for any birds that are visiting our area. What are you looking forward to this spring?   

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Creative Tuesday

I decided today to post a card that I made for a friend as a little 'Hi, so glad to see you' gift. It is a birthday card so she can give it away to someone. She did inform me though that she doesn't give the handmade cards  away easily but she hoards them...well maybe that isn't the right word...saves them might be better. So this is for my friend, 'Give them away and I will make you more.' Thank you for my friend for liking all my creations and for encouraging me all of the time. (also thanks for the beautiful handmade soap)  Having good friends means a lot. Have you spoken a word of  encouragement to your friend lately? Today might be a good day to do it. :D