Saturday, April 30, 2016

Life's Simplicity-The Laundry Line Tablescape

I am sure we all have heard of the wonderful little poem, The Clothes Line by Marilyn K. Walker, (included below) some where in our contacts through the internet. I happen to love this endearing poem. I keep it in my files and bring it out when I feel a little nostalgic. On occasion when I read this poem, I am always reminded that I am someone who hangs all of her laundry outside even though I have a fairly new clothes dryer in the basement. I also use my laundry line even in the dead of winter to hang dry bedding that can be refreshed. Are you someone that uses the laundry line outside rather than your dryer?

There are two main reasons for hanging my clothing, bedding and linens outside. One is that there is no scent, including dryer sheets, that leave your fabric more fresher than the items that come from the outside. After bringing in the day's wash which was outside for most of the day, the whites are brighter and the bedding takes on the crisp clean scent of pure country air. I can't think of a better luxury than to snuggle down into cool, fragrant sheets that have been playfully dancing and fluttering in the delicate breeze all day. Watching the laundry sway in a gentle motion on a sunny day is like watching the waves rhythmically ebbing to and from the sandy seashore or watching an colorful autumn leaf swirling through the air as it falls from the tree. All of them bring about a sense of calm to one's soul.

Another reason why I prefer to hang my laundry outside is entirely one that is in reminiscence of days gone by. It is my small chance to relive "the old days" when I watched my mother stand next to her wringer washing machine and lovingly and carefully run the wet dripping clothes through the wringer into the rinse water on one side of the stationary tub and then once again into the other side of the tub with the fabric softener. After one last trip through the wringer rollers, the laundry was ready for the laundry line outside. If it was bedding, it remained on the line long after it was dry and until late in the day when it was taken from the line and went straight onto the bed. As children, our bath or shower was taken in proper timing with the task of making the bed, so that when finished, we could happily burrow down in those fresh aromatic sheets. The long-lasting earthy scent of those spotless sheets made you feel you were still playing in the brisk outdoors and the exhilarating scent lingered long into the night's slumber.

The Clothes Line

by Marilyn K. Walker

A clothes line was a news forecast,
to neighbours passing by.
There were no secrets you could keep,
when clothes were hung to dry.

It also was a friendly link,
for neighbours always knew,
If company had stopped on by,
to spend a night or two.

For then you'd see the fancy sheets
and towels upon the line;
You'd see the company tablecloths,
with intricate design.

The line announced a baby's birth,
to folks who lived inside,
As brand new infant clothes,
were hung so carefully with pride.

The ages of the children,
could so readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed,
you'd know how much they'd grown.

It also told when illness struck,
as extra sheets were hung;
Then night-clothes, and a bathrobe too,
haphazardly were strung.

It said "Gone on vacation now",
when lines hung limp and bare.
It told "We're back!" when full lines sagged,
with not an inch to spare.

New folks in town were scorned upon,
if washing was dingy grey,
As neighbours raised their brows,
and looked disgustedly away.
But clotheslines now are of the past,
for dryers make work less,
Now what goes on inside a home,
is anybodies guess.

I really miss that way of life;
it was a friendly sign,
When neighbours knew each other best,
by what was on the line.

So in honor of the extraordinary memories of mom's laundry day and the upcoming Mother's Day celebration, I thought it would be appropriate to create a tablescape which expresses those sentimental feelings and cherished memories.

I loved learning how to fold my napkins into these cute little pants that could hang from a mini laundry line with these mini clothespins.  (See my upcoming post on how to fold a napkin into mini pants.)  So darling for a laundry line tablescape.

Happy Mother's Day!


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Summer Time Pinwheel Napkin Fold

Who can agree with me when I say that each new day brings yet another opportunity to learn something new?  As you can see, I have been "experimenting" with new functions in my blog, such as the scrolling slide feature located on the right hand side in the sidebar, highlighting some of my fun dessert recipes.  Hopefully, small added changes like these will allow me to expand my "Kitchen Creations" section of my blog.

And, although I do not have the option of posting my recipes into a really appealing format like those bloggers who use Word Press, I have been doing what I can to use whatever functionality I have available in Google Blogger, such as creating a separate, text-only printable version of a recipe.  Please see my previous post entitled, An Easy Baked Apple Pie Rose Tart.

So now that I mastered some new features, it is time to concentrate on this week's requested post which will include step-by-step instructions on how to fold a pinwheel napkin.  To begin, use a napkin which is made of a fabric that is rather stiff and will hold its shape when folded.

Now lets get started.

Step 1:  Place the napkin fully opened in front of you.

Step 2:  Fold each corner of the napkin to the center of the napkin.

Step 3:  Now fold the left and right side of the napkin to the center.

 Step 4:  Fold the bottom of the napkin to the center of the napkin.

Step 5:  Turn the napkin around and fold the other bottom edge to the center of the napkin.

Step 6:  Now pull the "corner" out from the bottom right section of the napkin.

Step 7:  Do the same for the left side of the napkin.

Step 8:  Take the corner of the right "wing" and fold the point down toward you.

Step 9:  Time to do the other side.  Turn the top section of the napkin around so that it is now the bottom.  (Note:  You will now actually be repeating steps 6, 7 and 8 again to the new bottom section.)  To simplify, I will walk you through the process in the following steps.  Therefore, pull out the "corner" of right side of the napkin.

Step 10:  Do the same for the left side of the napkin.

Step 11:  Lastly, take the corner of the right "wing" and fold the point down toward you and the napkin folding is completed.

Step 12:  Add a few embellishments and.....ta is all done!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

An Easy Baked Apple Pie Rose Tart

Do you love apple pie?  There is something so incredibly tantalizing and inviting about the scent of a warm apple pie just fresh out of the oven.  The flaky, golden crust filled with soft, sweet cinnamon glazed apples.....I can say only one thing.....YUM!  When baking a whole apple pie is not in your schedule, you can get that crisp apple pie taste you desire with an easy baked apple pie rose tart.

These miniature beauties are as pretty and delicious as they are fast and super easy to make.   Start with some ready made pie crust dough or, in my case, I made my own pie crust dough from scratch.   Carefully roll out the dough.  (If you are making the dough from scratch, try to roll it out in the shape of a 9 in. x 12 in. rectangle.  Remember that any remaining scraps of dough can be cut out in various shapes from a small cookie cutter and baked as an embellishment for the tart.)

Next cut 3 Braeburn apples (or any other cooking apple, such as Jonagold or Honey Crisp) in half leaving the apple unpeeled but cored.  Cut thin slices from each half of apple, cutting each slice to approximately 1/8 inch thick.  In a separate dish, mix approximately 3 T lemon juice,  2 T butter, 1/4 C brown sugar, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and a pinch of ground ginger.  Microwave the sauce for 25 seconds or until the butter is melted.  Add your sliced apples, stir the apples to coat them in the sauce and microwave again for approximately 2 minutes (depending on your microwave's settings) or until the apple slices are pliable but not fully cooked and soft.  Let cool.

While the apple slices are cooling, cut your pie crust dough in 6 long rectangular pieces approximately 2 inches wide.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with the additional white sugar and cinnamon.

Now comes the fun part.  Working left to right, line the apple slices across the top edge of the pie crust dough like it shows in the picture below.

Carefully fold the bottom portion of the dough to partially cover the apples.  Make sure the top of the apple slices remain showing since they will form the rose petals of the tart.  

The last step is to begin rolling the dough from left to right while you guide the apples on the top so that they stay in place within the dough.  Place the rose in a parchment paper lined muffin tin.  

After your apples are made into roses, it is time to bake them at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until they are a nice golden brown and baked through.  Let them cool before removing them from the pan and before removing the parchment paper.  Place them on a decorative paper muffin/cupcake holder, dust with powdered sugar and serve with some caramel nut flavored coffee.  These scrumptious apple pie rose tarts have that perfect autumn flavor but are made to look like a beautiful rose freshly picked from the summer garden.   

Below is a link for a printable version of this recipe:

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Summer Lemonade Tablescape

What would you say if we all started summer a little earlier this year?  Having developed a severe case of impatience to begin the warm weather season a bit sooner, I eagerly began putting together a summer-inspired tablescape.  For those of us living in a area where Spring is struggling to make it's entrance and we are still contending with snow, this table should help us all imagine sunny blue skies,  cold, refreshing, tart lemonade and gentle, soothing breezes.  So grab your floppy hat, sunglasses and stretch out on that reclining lawn chair to enjoy a quick glimpse into the summer bliss and playfulness which is certain to come our way.

There is no better way to cool off than with some homemade, cool after dinner mints.  These mints are great served after the fun outdoor picnic of delicious grilled BBQ chicken, creamy bacon and cheese potato salad and roasted corn-on-the-cob.

These little mints are even more refreshing when served frozen!  They make cute little treats for children too. (The recipe will be included in an upcoming post.)

What could be better than a bright sunny yellow watering can for a centerpiece flower vase. I wish I could have purchased one in every color.  I love watering cans!  The exhilarating spray of the cool, crisp water on flowers and one's toes gives instant relief to dry, thirsty soil.

Underneath the lemon yellow pinwheel napkins is the darling dinnerware set, Country Flair by Mikasa.   The set reminded me of the miniature tea sets made for children.  As a child, I could play for hours serving imaginary tea and cookies to dolls and stuffed animals from a whimsical set similar to this Mikasa set.

The little flowered snack boxes seem to add an element of surprise to the table's place settings.

And of course, the lemon snack plates and faux lemons accent the table with a fresh summery look.

The pinwheel napkin and mini accent pinwheels speak of summer days as a child frolicking in the backyard trying to catch the wind which set the pinwheel in motion.

The mixture of colors in this tablescape are like those in a summer flower garden at full bloom.  The pop of turquoise color from the glassware, tissue, flatware and napkin swirl really brings out the color in the plates, cups and tablecloth.   It is a great contrast to the sunny yellow.   Could it be rays of beautiful warm sunshine beaming down from the vibrant, tranquil blue skies?

I hope you enjoyed a bit of summer merriment.  Have a bright and happy day!