Thursday, November 20, 2014

34 Days Until A Homemade Christmas!

Its a homemade Christmas here again! I am very excited to be gathering my chicks in one place and we have all gotten busy planning and creating. I love that all of my children had the option to either have a commercial christmas or a homemade Christmas and they all chose homemade. When they discuss the last time we did this they are all so fond of that year and it is heartwarming to hear them say it was their favorite Christmas so far! I just adore my family! 
This year we are dragging other people into it. My daughter-in-law Jill is with us along with my grandson Jon. My son's significant other Sarah will also be in on the fun! So there will be 9 of us all together. I generally get a little carried away because I want them all to have a multitude of things to open. So this year there will be rustic and personalized burlap bags along with delicious handmade bath products and handmade scented coconut castille soap, bath oil and knitted goods. I have also started creating graphics for shirts on my Cameo Silhouette. I have run out of ink in my photo printer so that has been put on hold but I am hoping to get a few "how to" videos up for viewing. The rustic bags are turning out really cool. I have made myself one to hold my drawing pencils and Pit pens. 

I have had so many people so curious and asking "Whats a homemade Christmas?" So perhaps we are spreading the magic and the love. My sister Lisa sent out a message to the family saying she will not be giving gifts this year but she will be making cookies and such for everyone. So it's already catching!!! LOVE that. For my sisters I have decided on Amish Friendship Bread wrapped in lovely pieces of material along with a mason jar of the starter and matching material. If I can find small baskets to hold it at the flea market I will do so. If not then I will probably make a gift bag on the Cameo. Or perhaps I'll wrap it all up in Burlap since it is such a hot item this year and falls into the rustic category. 

There will be more posts following with information on gifts that you can make and give if you want to jump in on the fun. For you Cameo users, I'm hoping there will be ideas forthcoming on how to integrate using our cutter to create beautiful gifts! I am new to the cameo having recently moved away from using my Pazzles cutter. The Cameo Silhouette is a DREAM!! I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a cutter. 

To get everyone started, here is the recipe for the Amish Frienship Bread starter. I will be making mine today so day 10 will be Nov. 30th. I will post pictures of the process as we go. 

Amish Friendship Bread STARTER


1 package of active dry yeast
1/4 cup of warm water 
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup of milk


Dissolve the yeast in the warm water (glass or plastic bowl only) Let stand 10 min.
In a 2-quart glass or plastic bowl combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. 
  Using a whisk, mix thoroughly. 
Slowly stir in the milk and the yeast mixture.

Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature. It will get bubbly. This is day 1 of the 10 days. 
Throughout the process, always leave your starter at room temperature. Keep it loosely covered with a towel or dish cloth. The yeast produces gasses and it needs to breath. Always use plastic or wood utensils. Metal kills yeast. 


Day 1 - do nothing
Day 2- stir
Day 3 - stir
Day 4 - stir
Day 5 - stir
Day 6 - add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk. Stir. Re-cover. 
Day 7 - stir
Day 8 - stir
Day 9 - stir 
Day 10 - dividing and baking day! Today you will add 1 1/2 cup flour, 1 1/2 cup water, 1 1/2 cup milk. 

Measure out equal portions of 1 cup each into jars. Leave the lid slightly loose to breathe or put it in a gallon ziplock for extra air space. There will be approx. 4 to 7 portions according to how active the starter was. At this point you can keep one bag and begin again or use it for baking. Give the others away along with a printed recipe for baking the bread. 

Original Amish Friendship Bread Recipe

1 cup starter
3 eggs
1 cup oil
1/2 cup mik
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1-2 small boxes of instant pudding, any flavor
1 cup of nuts (optional but delicious!)
1 cup of raisins (along with the nuts this is a nice holiday touch)


Preheat oven to 325
In a large mixing bowl add ingredients in the order they are listed. 
Grease two large loaf pans
Dust the greased pans with a mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pour the batter evenly into the pans and sprinkle the top with remaining sugar and cinnamon (I have also added the nuts to the top with the sugar/cinnamon mixture instead of adding all of the nuts to the batter and it is fantastic!)
Bake 1 hour until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 

You are now ready to go! 

As a Christmas gift I usually make double the starter in two separate bowls. Then on baking day I use all of the starter and bake multiple loafs of bread and divide up the other starter as give aways with the loaf. You can also make these ahead of time and freeze them until you are ready to give the loaves away. Make a beautiful gift!!! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ancestor Journals

Lyons Family Luella, Abraham & Hannah
One of the things that will be coming in 2013 is ancestor journals. I have recently obtained photos of ancestors that I didn't know about and they are just to beautiful to resist. Imagine keeping a soul journal where you focus on the spirit of the person or people who went before us. My great great grandmothers name was Luella. She was quite beautiful and I would like a book to honor her and her energy. I think it would be interesting to keep a journal where I log things that are happening in my life and consider what this beautiful Victorian woman might have done or felt under the same circumstances.
 Perhaps I can call a bit of her spirit and guidance into this life not only to honor her but also to draw from the strength of the women who went before me.
Luella Lyons