Sunday, January 30, 2011

FALL OF my opinion...

I've just this week finished Ken Follett's
This is a sweeping historical epic,
the first of a new trilogy.
Beginning in 1911, it spans
World War I and the years leading
up to it, including
the Russian Revolution.
Sorry, but there were just way too
many words here for me.
If I had not been listening to this novel
as a recorded book, I doubt I would have
gotten through it.
I wish the author had concentrated a
bit more on the characters' stories
and less on the political intrigues.
I found the love story between Lady Maude,
a rich British society woman,
and Walter, a German military attache,
the most compelling parts of the book.
My other big complaint is that there were just
too many convenient historical coincidences.
True, there are characters from Wales, England, Russia,
Germany, France and America, but how could
each of them always be at the forefront of
significant historical events?
Follet has set the stage for the trilogy's next
chapter which will deal with World War II.
Not sure if I'm up for it...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dried Cherry Chili

What could be better than a steaming bowl
of chili...

...on a wintry day?

Dried Cherry Chili
Makes 8 servings

2 c. lower-sodium chicken broth, divided
4 oz. dried tart cherries, chopped (3/4 c.)
1T. olive oil
1 T. chopped chopped garlic
1 lb. ground turkey
1 roasted red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 T. plus 1 t. chili powder
1 1/2 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground coriander
1 t. dried mustard
4 c. chopped fire-roasted tomatoes
1 (16 oz) can black beans
1/4 c. chopped cilantro

Heat 1 c. broth.
Place cherries in a small bowl.
Add hot broth and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a 4 qt. saucepan over medium heat.
Add onion;
saute about 5 minutes, until onion is soft.
Add garlic;
cook 1 minute.
Do not brown garlic.
Add turkey;
cook until it is no longer pink.

Add bell pepper, chili powder, cumin,
coriander, mustard and oregano.
Cook over medium-high heat,
stirring occasionally,
about 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes and remaining broth;
bring to boil.
Reduce heat;
simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes.

Stir in beans, cilantro and cherry mixture.
Continue cooking until thoroughly heated.

Perhaps top it with sour cream or

grated cheddar cheese, or
maybe both?

If you really want a feast,
also bake a skillet of
Sour Cream Corn Bread

It's enough to make you glad it's cold outside!

I'm linking this post to
Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum
Tasty Tuesdays at 33 Shades of Green
What's Cooking Wednesday at Not So Homemade
All Things Inspired at All Things Heart and Home

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New in My Etsy Shop Today

I've added two new items to my Etsy Shop today.

This hand knitted, all wool hat has a
close fitting black crown with a
wide turn-back brim of off white.
You can read about it here.

The red wool knitted flower brooch
(read more here) is
detachable and can be worn on your lapel...

...your hat, bag or wherever you need
a dash of panache!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Upcycling a Sweater

Last week I saw an interesting article
on the Etsy blog (find it here)
about recycling an old sweater into mittens.
I decided to play around with the technique
using a felted sweater.
Unfortunately, my blogger's instinct
didn't kick in fast enough,
so I didn't get a "before" picture.
The "Women's" sized sweater became
the "Child's" sized one you see above
after felting.
I was able to get one mitten
from each sleeve.
After stitching them they look a little plain
so I'm going to embellish them, but with what?

The first place to look is my button box!

Buttons, or stitching???
I haven't yet decided.

Aren't these cute?
Kate had a sweater with them on it
when she was a little girl.
I see a pair of kid's mittens in my future,
just to use these buttons.

I haven't yet embellished my mittens,
so I can't show you the finished results.
Other duties call today and
I need to work on an order, so...later.
But, I did get this little guy made
out of some of my felted scraps.
A little sheep made from real wool!
Now that's recycling!
I'm linking this post to
All Things Inspired at All Things Heart and Home
Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday...Crafts

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Off to a Lovely Start!

What a lovely surprise I got this morning!
Sipping on my first cup of coffee
and catching up on my blog reading...
WHOA....what's that???

has awarded me
The Stylish Blogger Award!!!
I must make mention that this
is extra special to me because
My Notting Hill is the first
blog I ever discovered and read regularly!
So, thank you so much My Notting Hill!
In the spirit of this award I am to tell you
seven things about myself:
1. I love the color combination of red, blue & yellow.
2. I cook one day a month at Meals on Wheels.
3. Owning Buttermilk Cottage is one of my life's greatest satisfactions.
4. My daughter Kate is the sunshine of my life.
5. My best friend is my sister, Nanniepannie
6. Listening to a recorded book and knitting is my idea of multi tasking.
7. I can never have too much yarn or fabric.
The second responsibility of this lovely award
is to pass it on to
ten of my favorite blogs,
all of whom you'd enjoy knowing!
Hope every one's weekend is
off to as lovely a start
as mine has been!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Look What I Found!

I have three windows here at
Buttermilk Cottage
that I have planned to someday
fill with stained glass
since I bought the house
six years ago.
This past weekend I got lucky
and found the piece for one window!

This window is on a landing

as you come downstairs and
overlooks a not so attractive roof.
Last year I had the windows
replaced (better insulation)
with unadorned glass because I knew
at some point I wanted stained/leaded glass here.

This is the window from the front entry.

This is a shot of the window from the back

staircase in the kitchen.
The window lets in light to an otherwise
dark staircase, and has made a nice
ledge for some violet pots.
Otherwise, it hasn't added much
in the way of beauty.

But look at it now!

I was delighted to find a panel
of leaded clear glass
that fits the space nicely.
What an improvement!
Now all I need to do is find a new place
for my violets.
I'm linking this post to
All Things Inspired at All Things Heart and Home
Boring to Better at Savvy Southern Style
Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday...Crafts
Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Sunday, January 16, 2011

LITTLE BEE by Chris Cleave

I just finished LITTLE BEE by Chris Cleave.
It's one of those books you carry around in your head
for days after you finish it.
LITTLE BEE (published as THE OTHER HAND in England)
is a brutal, funny, sad story with a strong moral
dilemma at it's heart, "What would I do?"
LITTLE BEE is a story about the
crossed paths of two strong women characters,
Little Bee, a Nigerian teenager and
Sara, a successful British career woman.
Their traumatic and chance meeting on a beach in Nigeria,
(which the reader doesn't witness until midway into the book)
is the crux of the entire book.
I recommend this book, but advise, it is not light reading.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Violets are Blooming!

It may still be snow covered OUTSIDE my window today,
but look what I have on the INSIDE!

This morning our local weatherman said,
"The snow is over."
(From his mouth to God's ears.)
Although it's still quite cold,
the sun is shining and we're
supposed to reach the 40s tomorrow.

I have always had violets in my house

and they reward me well.
My grandmother grew violets and I like
to think, my ability to grow them
comes from her.

This is one I started from a single leaf.
It's coming along nicely, but hasn't yet
shown it's true colors.
Violets need to be "pot-bound"
to bloom.
They also like to be watered
from the bottom.

Here's my newest violet,

still in it's early stages.

I've got to run.
I've got a big pot of chili simmering
and bread baking.
Some very nice neighbors have kept my front
sidewalk shoveled and cleared of snow
this week, and I'm delivering
dinner to them as a surprise!

Hope all of you have a wonderful weekend.

This week you can find me linking at
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Spotlight Sunday at Not So Homemade
All Things Inspired at All Things Heart and Home
Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Good Read for Housebound Days

Today (Tuesday), it occurred to me that other than taking Daisy outside periodically, I haven't left my house since last Friday! The time has gone fairly quickly, mainly because I've spent a chunk of it reading SAFE HAVEN by Nicholas Sparks.
Is Nicholas Sparks a romance writer? Although his books can surely be classified as "women's fiction" I think his work is on a higher level than the romance genre. While I don't find his books unusually thought provoking,
he is a master storyteller.
We're all familiar with his works:
THE NOTEBOOK (I thought the movie was better than the book)
He writes the kind of books that are perfect for reading during a few snowbound days, or days at the beach.
SAFE HAVEN is probably my favorite of the books I have read by Sparks.
Its the story of a young woman, Katie who begins a new life for herself in Southport, a small eastern North Carolina town. (Sparks himself lives in NC.) Her life begin to take shape as Katie finds a job, a place to live, makes a friend with a neighbor Jo, meets and gradually falls in love with
Alex, a widower with two small children. All this is contrasted with the life she left behind.
SAFE HAVEN deals frankly with the horrors of abusive marriage, the situation Katie has fled from and her fear of being found by her husband Kevin. He is a detective in Boston and very good at his job, so Katie's fears are credible. The story builds and becomes a real page turner.
As is often the case with Spark's novels, there's a little twist at the end.
The book has a very satisfying ending, but I'm not sure it needed that last twist.
Have you read it? What do you think?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Homemade Granola--Good 'n Healthy!

Just like 99% of the rest of America,
I vowed on January 1, to try and
be more healthy in my eating choices.
(I am delighted to tell you, thus far...
what is this...Day 9?... I'm doing...
...pretty well.)
All that being said, I came across a recipe for
GRANOLA, which sounded promising.
I'm needing something for snacking
that doesn't make me feel guilty.
I made it yesterday and I think it may
fit the bill!

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine in a large bowl:
4 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1/3 c. sliced almonds
1/2 c. shredded sweetened coconut
2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt

3. Whisk together:
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. apple juice

4. Pour over the oat mixture and
stir to coat thoroughly.
5. Spread mixture in an even layer
on a large baking sheet.
6. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown,
stirring twice during baking time.
7. Let cool.

8. Add:
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. dried cranberries
Serves 12
(230 calories per 2/3 cup serving)

Store granola in a airtight container.
I tried it on some Greek yogurt--
have you tried that?
Linking this week to the following parties:
Not So Homemade
33 Shades of Green
All Things Heart & Home

Friday, January 7, 2011

Dress Warmly!

It's snowing AGAIN here today!
What's with these weather systems?
When I moved to East Tennessee,
granted, many years ago,
snow was somewhat rare.

( View from my desk.)
Last winter we seemed to have snow all season.
So far this year, that also seems to be the trend.

Buttermilk Cottage's Red FUSION Yarn

Oh, well.
I'll probably stay in today and knit.
Dress warmly if you go out.
Do you have a warm hat?
You can find one here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Animal Prints--Hear Me Roar!

Animal prints--like toile, they're a classic.

They never go out of style.

They go with anything you put with them.

Beautiful as they are,

the general consensus seems to be

"a little goes a long way."

You don't want to look like the beast is wearing you!

Aren't these chic?

I'm actually ready for bifocals, but there are so many cute readers available, I haven't taken the leap yet. I found these last year at TJ Maxx. Since I can never have too many (a pair in my purse, knitting bag, beside the bed, beside my reading chair, in the car, you get the picture), I can justify having all of them!

I found this fabric just before the holidays. Because of the hectic holiday pace, I had to put it away for a while. Last weekend, I got busy with it.

Just because one's a knitter, doesn't mean one has to be sedate!

Twelve pocket circular knitting needle case.

Here is the most beautiful example of animal print. And these spots are right where they should be and stay.
This week I'll be linking with
Images 1, 2, 3 and 8 are from Google Images.

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