How to ‘Tie One On’ (or two or three)….fleece tie blankets, that is!

Silver White Winters….

and comforters (blankets) for comfort!

March 2015 050

Wow! One week ago we had over a foot of snow. Today, there is no snow and Spring-like weather!

Winter gave me some good hobbies. Making some cozy comforters to provide winter comfort for my loved ones!

First was the blanket for Dad. Something to give him comfort as he sits in his recliner each evening, missing Mom.

Hey...somebody put the afghan over Dd!

Hey…somebody put the afghan over Dad! It’s…on the chair!

I love making crochet afghans! I browse online and through pattern books for new patterns but I still love some of the old standards that are tried and true! The chevron pattern is a favorite. I like the ‘design as you go’ color combinations that you can create from leftover yarn. For this afghan that I made for Dad I came up with a simple crochet chain edging instead of the tassels that you would usually do for the edging. It makes a clean and simple…fuss free, no fuzzy tassels in your face finish!

And my daughter enjoyed the blanket too…

What.....??? Grandpa said I could sit here...and eat here...and use his blanket! :)

What…..??? Grandpa said I could sit here…and eat here…and use his blanket! 🙂

Chain Edge

Chain Edge

draped afghan detail

A nice simple finish.

Comfy and Cozy...for Dad!

Comfy and Cozy…for Dad (and Amanda)!

Okay…so you may be wondering…did somebody pull the fleece over my eyes…or wasn’t this post about fleece tie blankets?

Ah…yes…it is!

One Fleece Blanket

One Fleece Blanket

And another fleece blanket...

And another fleece blanket…

And…there were more. I think I made 6 fleece tie blankets. The blankets for the grandkids were the cutest…and no pictures of those!

One of the greatest little tools, ever, made cutting the fringe SO MUCH EASIER! I made a couple of blankets without this handy dandy little tool…and it was very time intensive and back breaking! If you ever make one of these blankets you’ll want to have this tool. I got mine at Hancock Fabrics.

Fringe Cut Express Tool

Fringe Cut Express Tool…life simplified!

Fall and winter 2014-2015 256

This tool + a rotary cutter will make this project quick, precise and easy!

Once you have all of the fringe cut you simply tie the front and the back layers together. Tied right you’ll have each side showing fringe from the opposite side…a nice look (see above).

So now that our Silver White Winter is melting to Spring…time to pack up the blankets and get on with Spring!

With Spring approaching I’ll get back to work on some of my art projects…like this pastel painting…my boys. I saw a picture, in a magazine, of three boys in a field of flowers. It warmed my heart and I loved it so much! It reminded me of Spring, my boys…and now my grandsons. So…Spring brings opportunity for me to finish this up. I will pass it along to my daughter one day.

Brothers 001

Brothers Three…by Victoria

I have been thinking of all that brings me comfort. For me…there is great comfort in creating something for my loved ones to enjoy…and loved ones…that is comfort all by itself. To be blessed with wonderful parents, family, children, grandchildren, spouse and extended family…I am truly blessed! What great comfort that brings!

Until we meet again…

Wishing you…

The promise of Spring,

The comfort of home and family…

All that warms your heart!

Vee

Pick a Peck of Peppers, Miss Mom, Make Pepper Jelly, Miss Mom…

One of my favorite jellies to make was also one of Mom’s favorites…

Jalapeno Pepper Jelly!

Hot & Sweet Pepper Jelly...on a cracker

Hot & Sweet Pepper Jelly…on a cracker

If you’ve never had pepper jelly you are missing out on a quirky but tasty treat! The jelly pairs well with cream cheese and crackers. I had some Ritz crackers to enjoy my new batch of jelly on but my husband prefers this treat on Wheat Thins. For me…any cracker will do!

I have read that this jelly is an ‘Antebellum’, Southern treat! I can just picture those Southern Belles enjoying this spicy jelly on some fancy crackers! Pepper Jelly and Sweet Tea…yum huh! Mom loved both!

I had planned to make this jelly for a surprise gift for Mom this fall. Sadly…I lost my sweet little Mama this year in June. Making this jelly is just one way that I can honor her. Oh…this may seem a very small thing but I found some healing and great joy in the process. Okay…I had a small break down right there…onward…

One of Mom’s friends (and her manicurist) called Mom…‘Hot Little Mama’! She was…all that and more! My little Mama was “class n’ sass”!

 

Hot Pepper Jelly... for my 'Hot Little Mama'

Hot Pepper Jelly…
for my ‘Hot Little Mama’

I have made the green (Jalapeno Pepper Jelly) many times. The Spicy Red Pepper Jelly is a first for me. I LOVE it! If  you think you’d like to try your hand at making some pepper jelly….go to either link below for the recipes. The Jalapeno Pepper Jelly recipe was one given to us by one of my husband’s c0-workers, years ago. The Spicy Red Pepper Jelly recipe that I used is from Epicurious. Both recipes are very easy to make. One word of caution! When making the Jalapeno Pepper Jelly…use gloves! The burn on your fingers from the pepper oils will burn, relentlessly, for a very long time! I’ve learned! The red pepper jelly is easier in that regard because you just use dried pepper flakes.

Both are pretty…and pretty tasty!

Use these links to get to the recipes for Jalapeno Jelly and Spicy Red Pepper Jelly…

https://sites.google.com/site/recipesfromhomeandtherange/home/jalapenopepperjelly

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spicy-Red-Pepper-Jelly-236699

 

This jelly and this post is for Mom! I know that she would want me to continue doing the things that I enjoy and all of the things that made her proud of me! I am returning to my blog after a very long break because Mom’s spirit and encouragement remain…always in my heart! She is still the light in the harbor…bringing me home on a churning sea. Weather a storm of sorrow, pray for the calm, call forth the joy in remembering her…all this I must do! And…make jelly!

To everything…

Excerpts of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8…

To everything there is a season,

and a time to every purpose under Heaven…

A time to weep and a time to laugh,

A time to mourn and a time to dance…

My Sweet Mama

My Sweet Little Mama

 Fern Bushong Christiansen

July 17,1933 – June 6,2014

I am thankful for a Season shared with this wonderful woman…my Sweet Little Mama!

‘Til we meet again…

at Jesus’ feet…

God Be With You…

‘Til we meet again…

Rest in His love Little Mama!

Vee

A Wreath for Mama

Easy like Sunday morning….and Kentucky style french toast!

Kentucky Style French Toast

Kentucky Style French Toast

Sunday has always been my favorite day of the week!

When I was a young girl Dad and Mom helped each other make breakfast on Sunday. My brothers and sister and I scoured the Sunday Funnies while we waited for breakfast. We went to Church and then came home to the smell of Mom’s pot roast.  In my mind it has always been a day for worship and for family.  Even if I don’t go to Church…I feel gratitude and count my blessings. It’s a Sunday thing!

There is just something about Sunday! The words in the song, Easy, that Lionel Richie sings (easy like Sunday morning) strikes a chord with me.  Just hearing those words makes me feel like it is Sunday…or makes me long for Sunday! It reminds me of days spent with Dad and Mom, my kids and grandkids and those easy peaceful Sundays that I spend now with Poppy (my husband).

Sunday breakfast and dinner traditions remained a constant while raising my family. Even when some of the kids had grown and moved away from the nest, for many years Sunday dinner was still at Mom’s! empty nestGrowing and ‘grown’ children with their own families have busy lives. Sunday was generally the easiest day to get everyone together! I loved those days!

Now…my family lives ‘out West’ and Poppy and I are living in Kentucky.

Sunday is our day. We enjoy easy, peaceful Sunday mornings here in our empty nest and I enjoy making us a special breakfast.

Let me see if Poppy enjoyed it….

Kentucky Style French Toast

Kentucky Style French Toast

A bit like bread pudding.

A bit like bread pudding.

Didn't like it..one bit!

Didn’t like it..one bit!

Inspired by an item on a restaurant menu here in Kentucky, I created some Kentucky style french toast this morning. It is delicious! It’s texture and flavor remind me of bread pudding. A bit of bourbon is added to the egg and milk mixture. I made a bourbon butter sauce last weekend for my hummingbird cupcakes and had some leftover that I froze.  It made an outstanding syrup for the french toast.

The following link will take you to a printable version of the Bourbon Sauce…

https://sites.google.com/site/recipesfromhomeandtherange/vee-s-kentucky-bourbon-sauce

It was an ‘easy like Sunday morning’ breakfast!

I thought of my brother-in-law this morning. He makes french toast for his family every Sunday!

I think each of us must have a favorite day of the week and a favorite family tradition that goes along with it.

‘Til we meet again…

Wishing you a day that fills you with that …

‘Easy like Sunday morning’ feeling,

A day that is blessed simply….and simply blessed with

family and tradition!

Happy Trails!

snoopy

Vee

Honoring Mom, being a Mom and sharing the blessing…Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother's Day Bouquet

Mother’s Day Bouquet

My Mother has inspired me in so many ways. She has been a dedicated and devoted woman, Wife and Mother and I am thankful for her. I am also thankful for the blessings of Motherhood. I have been blessed with children and grandchildren that I adore…they are my life!

Each year, as this day draws near, I reflect on the journey and every thankful day and moment of having my Mother…and of being a Mother.

Blessed…I am!

One small inspiration for today….

My tiny Mamma is no bigger than a Hummingbird! (Well…kind of!)

I have been working on creating some new cake recipes and today my tiny Mamma inspired this one….

Hummingbird Cake, a Southern favorite!

Little Hummingbird Cakes

Little Hummingbird Cakes

My Mother is my Southern favorite! She has Southern roots and she is definitely a lady!

She has southern style…without the accent!

Little Hummingbird Mamma

Little Hummingbird Mamma

Little CakesThese little cakes are so tasty! I came up with a recipe…without the bananas! Who always has bananas…at just the right stage of ripeness? These are tasty…and still have banana flavor (not sharing the secret just yet). They are frosted with my new version of Pecan Praline Frosting…and I wish my Mamma was here to enjoy them. She is pleased that I made them for her anyway.

Wishing you a day full of gratitude for your Mother, Grandmother, Mother of your Children…all Mother’s!

May you appreciate these wonderful women in your life, today and always!

‘Til we meet again…

tell Mom you love her!

Wishing you a day that is blessed simply…

and simply blessed!

Vee

Love Blooms

FUNERAL POTATOES (aka Nauvoo Potatoes)…and we call them ‘HAPPY POTATOES’!

Announcing the death of ‘funeral potatoes’….we now call them ‘happy tators’!

"Happy Tators"

“Happy Tators”

I have been absent for a while…at least not posting much here at Home and The Range. I was beginning to think my  job may be the death of me…I mean my blog! I truly miss this little blog when I’m away!  Home and The Range is my journal of the people, places and things that I love.

Speaking of people that I love…

I had opportunity, a couple of months ago, to spend time with some of my loved ones that live out West. It was a wonderful time! Three of my children (and my daughter’s fiance’) made the trip from Arizona to Utah to visit with me and all of our family there. There was much to celebrate! Dad just turned 83, Dustin (our hero…still battling through his Muscular Dystrophy) just turned 30, Waylon just turned 5, Darryl just turned 53 and one of my daughters is newly engaged.

A few highlights from Home…where family gathers!

And from the Range … some food that we love!

A grand meal shared with loved ones that included funeral potatoes!

"Happy Tators"

“Happy Tators”

This is a popular dish in Utah. I love these creamy, cheesy delicious potatoes! A few years ago my youngest daughter suggested we name this delicious dish ‘happy potatoes’ because funeral potatoes sounds a bit depressing. So we now call them ‘happy potatoes…or happy tators’!

They have been so named ‘funeral potatoes’ because they are often made for the dinner provided for a family following a funeral. The Relief Society in the LDS Church provides the comfort of a home cooked meal for family and close friends in attendance of a funeral. The name ‘Nauvoo Potatoes’ has to do with the history of the LDS Church and Nauvoo, Illinois.

My sister made the ‘happy potatoes’ for our get-together in Utah and I was reminded of how much I love them.  I made them when I got back home to Kentucky as part of our Easter meal. I’m bringing the West and Southwest…to The South!

The green onion adds to the unique flavor of this dish and the crunchy corn flake topping makes this recipe…tops!

There are a few versions of this dish on the internet but I LOVE this recipe that my sister and I use (she gave me the recipe several years ago).

If you would like to try the recipe that my sister and I use …select the following link:

https://sites.google.com/site/recipesfromhomeandtherange/-happy-tators

Until we meet again…

Wishing you the blessings of home, family…and maybe some ‘Happy Tators’.

Happy Trails!

Vee

Find joy in the journey

An Irish Blessing and my first go with Royal Icing…a Royal Pain!

Ahhhhhhhhhh…..

The luck of the Irish must not have been with me during my first go with Royal Icing!

Well, after all, I am Danish and French! My children are part Irish…but they weren’t here helping me make these cookies!

Shamrock Cookies

Shamrock Cookies

One of my goals for this year….try new ingredients, products or gadgets for the kitchen.

My first new product, dehydrated buttermilk….a success! (See January post…http://wp.me/p2e6iL-sz).

Second new product…

Meringue Powder

Hmmm….

I think there is plenty of room for improvement. I’m sure it was baker error!

The purpose of this kitchen adventure was to find a ‘travels well’ frosting.

I am quite fond of sugar cookies and have made hundreds, if not thousands, of them over the years. In all of those years, however,  I have never sent frosted sugar cookies to loved ones. I have been experimenting with ‘travels well’ cookies since moving faw away from kids and grandkids. Standard, frosted cookies have not been in the goodie boxes yet. I have never frosted my sugar cookies with anything but cream cheese frosting or a simple icing (always preferring the cream cheese frosting).  As I understand it, ‘royal icing’,  is a good option for cookies that need to travel or for a crunchier cookie, as the icing that I usually make has a tendency to make a cookie soft after a while, due to the fat content in the icing (butter and cream cheese).

After searching numerous recipes and tutorials available on the internet I decided on using meringue powder. The result was not what I wanted or expected! These cookies did not disappoint in taste but I will go back to the drawing board on the royal icing. The royal icing was a royal pain!

You may notice that my cookies are not perfect!

Luck 'O The Irish Cookies

Luck ‘O The Irish Cookies

What I learned from my research…you need two bowls of frosting. One bowl must be a thicker consistency for outlining the cookie.

Outlining Cookies

Outlining Cookies

When outline is dry… ‘flood’ the cookies with a thinner icing.And the end result…

'Flooded' Cookie

‘Flooded’ Cookie

Some of the cookies that I found online…

All Recipes Easter Cookies with Royal Icing

All Recipes Easter Cookies with Royal Icing

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/royal-icing-iii/

had a consistency similar to that of the frosting that I made.

And…:)

All Smiles...with Royal Icing

All Smiles…with Royal Icing

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sugar-cookie-icing/

these cute little smiley face cookies seem to be a different consistency . The recipe details indicate that the frosting dries hard and shiny.

These are so cute and I must make these to send to a friend out West. It will make her ‘happy little self’ (one of her expressions)…happy!

I will give the Royal Icing another go for some Easter cookies and hope for the desired result.

Meanwhile….

Until we meet again at The Range I leave you with…

Irish Blessing

Vee

Shamrock Cookie

Be Blessed!

My Grown Up Christmas Wish For You!

Gifts from the heart...made with love!

Gifts from the heart…made with love!

This Christmas Season…

As I hustle my way through the Season I try to reflect on the things that matter most to me.

I’m sure we all have our favorite things about Christmas. It is such a wonderful time of year for most of us…but not for all.

I am thinking, more than ever before, about those less fortunate, those who have experienced loss, those who are alone, those who have been rejected, those who have lost a loved one, those that struggle with illness or disease and those with broken hearts.

As I went through my gift list and tried to choose a gift for each loved one on my list I gave much thought to what I might give each one…what would I give…just from the heart?

I would…

Encourage

Comfort

Praise

Support

Love

Listen

Care

Love

These are the gifts that I will try to give…throughout the year!

I have some favorite Christmas songs. One of those songs has always been…

My Grown Up Christmas List

This is a song that has been playing over and over in my mind since our Nation’s recent tragedy and the loss of innocent lives as well as some heartache of my own. It is a song that tugs at my heart…but also reminds me to hope. Christmas is about hope and promise…about our Father’s love.

“My Grown Up Christmas List”

(there are some beautiful videos of this song on You Tube. Here is a link to one that I like, sung by Michael Buble’)

My Grown Up Christmas List “A Message for Peace

Do you remember me? I sat upon your knee…
I wrote to you with childhood fantasies.
Well, I’m all grown up now… And still need help somehow,
I’m not a child But my heart still can dream.
So here’s my lifelong wish… My grown up Christmas list,
Not for myself but for a world in need…
No more lives torn apart,
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts…
Everyone would have a friend,
And right would always win
And love would never end…
This is my grown up Christmas list!
As children we believed …
The grandest sight to see…
Was something lovely wrapped beneath our tree.
But heaven only knows…
That packages and bows…
Can never heal a hurting human soul!
No more lives torn apart …
That wars would never start …
And time would heal all hearts…
And everyone would have a friend…
And right would always win  and love would never end …
This is my grown up Christmas list!
This is my only life long wish. This is my grown up Christmas list!
That every one of us finds and gives…love…forgiveness…hope!
’til we meet again…
My Christmas wish for you…
may you experience …Joy, Hope and Love!
Merry Christmas!
Vee
dscn3580_1186.jpg