Searching for St. Nicholas

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My daughter in law asked me if I have a cookie cutter for St. Nicholas.

Or if I would consider making cookies for Aidan for that day in December.

I looked at my cutters and I have many of St. Nick dressed up as Santa- but none in his bishop’s robes.  So I am going to cut them out freehand and decorate the cookies with appropriate crosses and mitres and bishop’s crook.

But seriously, I have hundreds of cookie cutters.  I have made thousands of cut outs over the years I have been baking professionally and you would think I had at least one St. Nick.

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I have bears and soldiers, snowmen and bells, pigs and cats, flowers and horses-

rabbits and lions and gingerbread boys and girls.

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reindeer, woodland deer and moose- hands and feet.

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Ra bbits and birds…

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And santas…St Nick 009

But not even one St. Nicholas.


No, not one- but possibly two.

I was working with some rather strange shaped “santas” last night and look what I came up with!

Some cookie cutters just don’t look like anything specifically.

Decorating them can be a real art project!

Take a look at this!

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Winston Knot braided bread!  I got the recipe and instructions here on Celia’s blog.  It was relatively easy and absolutely delicious!   Light and buttery – Frank LOVED it- and so do I.

Thanks, Celia. 

If anyone else would like to try it- go to fig jam and lime cordial  and follow Celia’s tutorial.  You won’t be sorry- I promise!

Take another look-

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Now check out the crumb-

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Try it- you’ll like it!

Yankee Peddler and eucalyptus wreaths

Every year in September- there is a huge craft show/sale with an American Colonial theme here in NE Ohio.  The crafts and foods are made without the use of modern technology, the crafters give demonstrations of their work and there is the wonderful fragrance of wood smoke and cooking food in the woodsas you go from booth to booth.

Aidan and Willow and I had a great time this morning watching the blacksmith make hooks and the candle wicks being dipped into the beeswax, the ladies weaving baskets and peeling apples for fritters.  We ate corn on the cob and fought off the yellow jackets.  We listened to dulcimers being hammered and fiddles being picked and bag pipes being tortured (just kidding, I like bag pipes).

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We saw brooms being made and used a hand drawn drill.

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And danced with the music that was sung for the enjoyment of a happy little boy.

I also bought some eucalyptus and made some wreaths.

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eucalyptus, rosemary and lemongrass

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It smells so good and fresh and looks so ready for the holidays.

Why is it still September?

Green Chicken Pizza?

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Not green eggs and ham.

Would you eat green salsa and chicken pizza?

You should give it a try –  it’s really yummy!

green pizza

I started off making a salsa verde, the recipe is here. And then I made a pizza dough- you can use your favorite recipe or… use this one.

5 cups bread flour
2 tsp sea salt( or less- I like the salty yeasty,EVOO flavor)
1 1/2 cups warm water (105 F)
1 1/2 TBS yeast
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
Proof yeast in half cup of water- you can add 1/2 tsp sugar to expedite this step.
In large bowl stir salt and 4 1/2 cups flour together and make a small well at the bottom of the bowl. Add warm water, olive oil and stir the flour just enough to moisten it, then add the foamy yeast and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon . You may need to add a little more liquid at this point- the dough should be soft and slightly sticky.
Dust surface of counter with remaining flour and dump dough out. Knead for at least 10 minutes until dough is smooth and pliable. You may need to add a handful of flour – but not enough to dry out dough. Smooth , pliable,and slightly sticky is the description of what you want at this point. Then form a ball and place in bowl that has been oiled, cover with plastic and let raise at least an hour til double in size. Now! Punch the dough down, knead gently for at least 5 minutes and let raise a second time until doubled again (around 45 minutes) this second raise is what gives the dough that stretchy, yeasty, Italian flavor. Don’t skip it!
At the end of second raising, shape into desired bread or roll out (or toss) for pizza. Allow to raise about 1/2 hour and bake at 350F until golden brown.

Next grill a large chicken breast.  I rubbed it with cumin and garlic and lemon pepper and then drizzled some olive oil on top and grilled it about 5 minutes each side.  Then tear into pieces if you are feeling a little aggressive, or just chop it into small pieces.  Smear the salsa verde over the pizza crust, sprinkle the chicken on top and add your favorite cheese.  I used mozzarella, romano, and Parmesan.  Drop some pepper rings or olives- or whatever you prefer on your pizza and bake at 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

This is really good pizza- and a nice break from red sauce.

Happy things-

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Some things make me smile- others make me happy.

Mostly it is people and relationships that make me happy, so when some thing makes me happy, I want to share it.

This blue yarn makes me happy.  I bought it from the woman who raised the sheep that grew it.  She handled the skeins like they were old friends and I imagined as she put them into the bag she whispered goodbye.  The dye is called mountain blue and I haven’t yet decided what to do with it, although I have been thinking it would make a lovely large bowl.

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And this sock makes me happy.

I knitted it over the weekend and enjoyed watching as the pattern appeared.

It is tailor knitted to fit my foot and I will be even happier when I knit up it’s twin.

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This little lavender doll makes me very happy!

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I’m always looking for another way to use lavender and this little doll, following the pattern of pine needle dolls adds a totally feminine cast to the herb and needle doll collection.

🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂

What makes you happy?


Psalm 8
A David Psalm

1 God, brilliant Lord, yours is a household name.
2 Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
      toddlers shout the songs
   That drown out enemy talk,
      and silence atheist babble.
3-4 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
      your handmade sky-jewelry,
   Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
      Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
   Why do you bother with us?
      Why take a second look our way?
5-8 Yet we’ve so narrowly missed being gods,
      bright with Eden’s dawn light.
   You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
      repeated to us your Genesis-charge,
   Made us lords of sheep and cattle,
      even animals out in the wild,
   Birds flying and fish swimming,
      whales singing in the ocean deeps.
9 God, brilliant Lord,
      your name echoes around the world.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson


I love this psalm.  I love it even more in this translation.

“…toddlers shout the songs” about the Lord that drown out and silence the noise of unbelievers.  I spent the last two weeks listening to toddlers singing “Jesus Loves Me” with incredible gusto.  (Of course, Aidan also sang, ” I love chocolate, the Bible tells me so”- a sentiment with which I heartily agree .)

I love the macro- micro imagining- down in Chincoteague, the night lights (except the light house on Assateague) are minimal and on a clear night in late summer, you can see the stars clearly- almost like a laser light show.  They do look like “sky jewelry” .  Then on to the micro image of self- are we God’s earth ornaments in contrast to that sky jewelry?  I think so, we just “narrowly missed being gods, bright with Eden’s dawn light”- this psalm is incredible in its use of imagery.

And so, “Brilliant Lord, your name echoes around the world.”

Creeks and Gingerbread cemeteries!


Here are a couple of pictures Jordan scanned in for me.

The first couple are of Yellow Creek- summer and winter.

My sister, Robin, took these pictures about 14 or 15 years ago, but they are much better quality than I could get from the bridge or road.


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These are so filled with memories of happy times- watching our kids grow up messing about down at the creek.

The next pictures are from a scrapbook Allyson made me that holds the pictures of the gingerbread houses I’ve made over the years.  On Celia’s blog, Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, I mentioned in the comments that I had made a cemetery in one of the gingerbread creations I made, called The Village.

I thought you might like to see the Village- but I didn’t couldn’t take the pictures off of the page, so you may have to click and zoom to see them better.


The cemetery is next to the church in the upper right hand picture.  In front of the bare brown trees and behind the big evergreen tree.  The Village has all sorts of activity going on, children sledding and throwing snowballs, dogs chasing sleds, and a snowman being built.


I’m sorry the picture quality is so bad.  I am not a great photographer now- but 15 years ago I was even worse!

A little history for this September evening.

Herb Wreaths

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It is mid September and that is the perfect time to make wreaths with all the overgrown herbs in your garden.

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The nice thing about making an herb wreath is the fragrance that surrounds your enterprise!  I was enveloped in sage- aroma, oils and thoughts (hopefully) whilst making these wreaths. The sage wreath turned into a heart- it was predetermined in its growth pattern.  The artemesia was happy to be a circle.

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Next, I’m making lemongrass wreaths!

Knitting and felting bowls

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Willow asked for some felted bowls for her birthday.

I made five.  I have a real hard time choosing just the RIGHT one of anything- so I always make more so you can choose or just take the whole lot! 🙂

Willow wisely chose the whole lot- and they really all turned out quite lovely.

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They started out  quite large- then I gave them a hot water bath in the washer-

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And presto -chango- they became tight and compact bowls needing only to be blocked into an appropriate shape.

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I added a little felted bee to the inside of this one-

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Happy Birthday, Willow-  you have the whole month of September to celebrate!