Welcome to Ravenwood Whimzies....sit back, relax, and browse my blog. I hope you enjoy your visit.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

SuPeR bOwL sUnDaY sAlE

It's Super Bowl Sunday
and I'm having a 

SUPER SALE

Save 20% off any item in my Etsy shop.
Use Coupon Code SUPER20 to receive your discount.
 

TODAY ONLY!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

SUPER BOWL SUNDAY SALE!!!!

I'll be having a special

SUPER BOWL SUNDAY SALE!

You can save 20% off ANY item in my Etsy shop by using the coupon code SUPER20!

This sale will only be effective TOMORROW - SUPER BOWL SUNDAY....so if you've had your eye on something in my shop, now is the time to buy!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

New BOM from Buttermilk Basin & FAAP Celebration!

My newest love is wool applique.  I've made a few items, and have a few more works in progress.  I'm also a member of the fantastic Wool Applique group on Facebook, which is where I first learned of the wonderful and FREE


Stacy just put up instructions for the first block in her Mystery BOM, so why  not join in.  I just know it's going to be a fantastic quilt when we are done.  Stacy is so talented.
If you don't do wool applique, but love to sew, I am sure the patterns can be adapted to hand or machine applique with cotton.

Here's my first block.
 

Hope you join in the fun!

***********************
Speaking of talented....the 
FOLK ART AND PRIMITIVES group is gearing up for their latest celebration.

It begins on February 1st.
Come see all the wonderful Spring offerings from the members of FAAP.
We'll also having a giveaway, which makes the celebration even more fun for YOU!

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

So you think you can't make bread??

Good morning all....

Have you even wished you could make homemade bread?
Have you yearned for the wonderful smell of fresh bread coming from your kitchen?
Have you envied other's ability to make bread, but felt VERY intimated by the process?

Well, today I hope to change all that...because
YES
You can make homemade bread,
and I will teach you how!

If you can make a batch of cookies, you can certainly make homemade bread for your family!
I find bread to be one of the most satisfying things to make.  It always leaves me with a sense of wonder, appreciation and yes, it makes me proud!

Let's start with a few basic things you need to know:

1.  Always use bread flour when making your bread.  A recipe may call for all purpose flour - don't listen!  The results will be far superior if you use bread flour.

2.  Pay attention to the temperature of your wet ingredients!
Most bread making failures are caused by liquids that are too hot, which will kill your yeast.  Grab a candy or other cooking thermometer and check the temperature of your liquid once you have heated it...the temp should be no more than 110-120 degrees.  To be on the safe side, I usually use liquids in the 110 to 115 degree range. 

3.  Some may argue with my third point, but I ALWAYS mix the yeast directly into the flour.  Measure out about 1/3 of your flour and whisk your yeast into that...then add your liquid and other ingredients.  This serves two purposes....no more proofing of your yeast in a small bowl and wondering if it is ready and there is less chance of killing your yeast when you add the hot liquids.
My daughter-in-law was having such trouble making bread.  It would never rise correctly and it would end up hard as a rock.   When they were living with us last year, I made a point of showing her this method, and now, she's a real pro!

Remember those basics, and you should be able to sail right through any recipe with great results.

So, try your hand at my easy 
Whole Wheat Bread
recipe
Ingredients:
3 1/2 c bread flour
2 1/2 c whole wheat flour
2 T active dry yeast
1/2 t salt
1 c water
1 c milk
1/4 c honey
3 T brown sugar
3 T butter, melted
2 eggs

I also added 1/2 cup of ground flax seed to my dry ingredients. I love the texture it gives the bread, but it is an option ingredient. If you don't have flax seed, you could try 1/2 c of wheat germ instead.

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of your bread flour and 1 1/2 c of the whole wheat flour. Sprinkle in the salt and yeast, and whisk or stir the mixture to combine.
Heat your milk, water, butter, honey and brown sugar over low heat in a small saucepan. You can also use a glass measuring cup and microwave for one minute or so.  As mentioned earlier...CHECK the temp of your liquid before adding it to your dry ingredients.
Once your liquid is the correct temperature,  stir it into the flour mixture.  Mix well with a heavy plastic or wooden spoon.  Add the eggs and beat well.  No need to use a mixer.  Once these ingredients are well combined, you will start adding the remainder of your flour.  You may or may not use all the flour called for.  Start by adding the whole wheat and stir and add the bread flour until you have a dough that isn't wet or sticky.

Now you are ready to knead the dough.
Most recipes say something like 'knead for 8-10 minutes', but I find that simply isn't necessary.  I knead until I have incorporated enough flour to keep the dough from being sticky...maybe 5 minutes at the most.  I knead the dough, turning and flouring as I go, until it forms a nice mound and is firm to the touch, but not rock hard.

 While I am kneading, I like to run some warm water into the bowl I used to mix my dough.  The water will soften any sticky mess and it will heat up the bowl too.  Once I have finished kneading the dough, I dump the water from the bowl, scrape out any residue left in the bowl, wipe it down with a paper towel so it is clean, and then dry it quickly.  With a cooking spray, I lightly grease the bowl and then place my kneaded dough into the warm bowl.  Cover with a clean towel and let it rise in a warm, not hot, place.  The yeast needs time to develop, so don't try to rush the rising process by placing the dough in a warm oven.  Doing so will result in a fast rise, but the bread may very well 'deflate' once you bake it, and you'll end up with an edible, but very dense loaf of bread that will dry out very quickly.

Let your bread double in size while you are off tending to some primitive decorating!

Punch down the dough and return to your cleaned work surface.
Add a small amount of flour to your work surface and place your dough on it.  Divide dough into three equal sizes balls.

Shape each ball into a loaf size by rolling the dough into a log and tucking the ends under.  Place each loaf into a lightly greased pan (I again used cooking spray) and cover once again. 

Let rise until nearly doubled in size.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and place your loaves in.  Bake approximately 30-40 minutes or until they are golden brown on top.  Tap on the top of the loaf...if it sounds hollow, it is done!
Immediately remove your bread from the pans and place them on a wire rack to cool.  I set mine on their sides so as not to 'squish' the cooling bread.
Slice with a bread knife, slather with butter and enjoy your homemade bread!

This recipe makes 3 loaves.
Now remember, this wonderful homemade bread doesn't have all the preservatives that store-bought bread has, so it won't last forever on your counter.  If you won't be finishing it up in 3-4 days, simply wrap your completely cooled loaves first in a large plastic bag, remove any air, and then wrap in foil.  Place in your freezer.  You can pull it out to enjoy a loaf next week!

Psst...homemade bread makes THE best toast.  I have to say though...
I hereby deny any responsibility for you eating way too much bread.  One of the reasons I try not to make it all the time is that we will EAT it!  It is so much better than the store-bought stuff!

Next week I will share an artisan bread recipe with you.  I will explain the differences in the doughs to you, and give you tips on how to create a yummy and crusty loaf like you would purchase in a bakery....for a fraction of the cost.

But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Matthew 4:4 




Tuesday, January 20, 2015

FAAP Birthday Party Coming Soon!

I am dreaming of Spring...

and what better way to get ready for Spring than with a celebration!!
The FolkArt and Primitives Team on Etsy will be celebrating with a 
*JUMP START TO SPRING* 
Celebration,
to be held in conjuction with the team's SECOND Birthday!!!!
To help celebrate our FAAP birthday, we will also be having GIVEAWAYS!
 Many of our talented artists have donated items to make this birthday celebration a blast!
So, mark your calendars, and tell your friends. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

I'm BACK!!! Projects and Catching up.

 Good morning Prim Friends!  Did you miss me?
It's amazing how quickly time can slip away.  Christmas and New Years seem like months ago already.  The decorations are put away, and most of us are thinking SPRING.  
It's been bitterly cold here for the past two weeks.  Wind chills have made it even worse...we had a wind chill of -17 last week...and it sounds like it will continue to be cold through this week as well.  The lake below is starting to freeze at the end and it must be thick, as we saw two people walking out on the ice when we went to church yesterday.

The 'girls' are NOT thrilled by the weather at all, and spend most of their time 'cooped' up.  They may peek their heads out of the hatch and a few brave ones venture outside, but for the most part they sit and roost in the coop.  Shortly after Thanksgiving, we purchased a pre-made chicken coop.
Hubby and I have been working on the new, much improved coop for them.  We have wired in lights and outlets, added vents and a third window, as well as insulation....and we are hoping to get the walls put up over the insulation this week.  Then we can move the chickens into their new quarters.  It will be about twice as big, with an area for the feed and other supplies inside.....no more trips back and forth to the barn in the wind, cold and rain.  Come Spring, we plan to build a new covered run for them.
The week right after Christmas was beautiful, and while the Mister dug a trench for running wiring, the girls helped out.  
The grandkiddos are growing like weeds.  Petie turned 2 right before Christmas.  He is crazy about tractors and cars, so naturally...grandma had to get him a tractor for his birthday!
 Allie is such a gabby little girl....I snapped this picture of her last week when she grabbed the reindeer antlers from a box of Christmas things I was putting away.
....and little Joey is seen here napping in my laundry basket, while his mommy and I worked on a painting project last week.
I hope to be back to regular posting now.  I needed to take some time off to recoop from all the holiday busy-ness!  
Have a blessed day everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS......house tour

Twas the Night Before 
Christmas.....
and all through the house.....

Welcome to my
Christmas Open House.

I hope you enjoy your visit!

 We'll start our tour in the Carriage Room
#1 Christmas tree - a small prim tree trimmed with blue lights and nutcracker ornaments

I placed many of my large nutcracker collection on these high shelves on either side of our chimney.
 A quick walk through the kitchen.....



...leads us to the Dining Room....and tree #2

This 7 1/2' tree is decorated with all my ornaments from blogging friends.

I made Mr. Snowman....and the wonderful stitched pillow is from Theresa of Dulaney Woods.

Dining Room table centerpiece features a ceramic goose I painted years ago.

Basket under my china cabinet

I just love my vintage carriage!

My Hoosier Cabinet provided the perfect niche for my Nativity Set.
Reindeer & Christmas trees adorn the top of the Hoosier Cabinet.
.....on towards the Parlor...
Tree # 3 is displayed in this old antique I found, along with one of my small quilts, a crock, some Santas and snowmen.


My favorite chair in the entryway displays my newest Santa (also from Theresa) and an elf I made years ago.
...into the Parlor we go...

More small Christmas trees, church birdhouses and a big Santa, flank the fireplace.  The mantel is adorned with my ceramic and wooden Santa collection.

Our 9' tree is at home in the corner of the Parlor....this is the room where we will join with family to open gifts and celebrate. I like to use my antique wooden wagon to pile gifts in.
I only had time to take pictures of some of the downstairs rooms.  I hope you enjoyed your tour!

May you have a blessed Christmas Day.

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. ~Charles Dickens

Friday, December 19, 2014

AND THE WINNER IS........................

Oh my...it took such a long time to count all the entries!  I had nearly 300 comments during my
Twelve Days of Christmas Celebration.

I truly wish I could give EVERYONE a gift....for making my celebration such a success and for all of your lovely comments and sharing! 

After assigning a number to each comment, I then used a random number generator.......

and the winner of Gerald the Snowman is.......

LECIA!
Congratulations Lecia!
Gerald will be on his way to your home tomorrow!

Well...you all know by now I love chickens, and I just had to share this little gem with you before I go...hope it brings a smile to your face.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wKqK46xj8M

Next week I hope to be back with a Christmas home tour.
Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

My 2014 Twelve Days of Christmas Comes to an End

Isn't it amazing how the time flies between Thanksgiving and Christmas?
We always have so many plans and before we know it, POOF, it is just a few days before Christmas!

Yes, next week at this time we will be celebrating Christmas!

For many of you, families will gather, presents will be opened, meals will be shared.  I have enjoyed reading about your traditions.  It has been such a pleasure to share in your favorite recipes, meals and memories.  We've made cookies, decorated the trees, fed the birds, gathered for our dinner and given homemade gifts.  

Your response to my Celebration has been overwhelming.  I have been reading each and every comment, and even if I haven't responded to your comments, please know that I have appreciated them all.  There are just too many to take the time to respond to each and every one.  You have so many wonderful traditions, so many recipes that sound tasty....I think next year it may be fun to have you share along with me...perhaps we could do a Christmas Blog Hop! 

So, my Celebration comes to an end for 2014.
THANK YOU
 for visiting each day and for taking the time out of your busy schedule to stop by and share.  It means a lot to me.

From my Family to yours.....May you have a magical and blessed Christmas!



 As we gather together, let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas.

  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16
 
With great anticipation, children still awaken on Christmas Day to find out what gifts they've received. And as Christians, that's how we should be... like children in anticipation! Just because Jesus has already come doesn't mean the anticipation should stop.
 Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving!

  My wish is that we all be more child-like again in our anticipation. This season, and every day for that matter, we should be as excited about Jesus as the angels are. 
 "Oh, thanks be to God for His Gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15)


Oh yes...the GIVEAWAY!!!
I'll count up all of your comments today and this evening, and tomorrow, I will reveal the winner of my giveaway!  Get your comments in today!
Good luck and Merry Christmas!
Gerald is pretty excited to learn where he will be traveling to...and he is hoping it isn't a sunny spot...because, of course...he is a little concerned about melting.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Day 11 of my 12 Days of Christmas Celebration & Giveaway

Good morning Prim Friends!

Wow...Day 11 already (and even took a couple weekends off).  The time is flying by and before we know it, the magic of Christmas eve will be upon us.
I am trying hard to get all of my shopping and preparations done by the end of this week, so I have plenty of time to reflect, enjoy and celebrate.  
I sometimes wish I could go back to the wonder of being a child at Christmas....everything seemed SO exciting and it was oh so hard to wait until Santa came.  
My parents always let us sneak down and grab our stockings, which held fruit, little toys and oh yes...the CANDY!  Don't you wish you could eat all that candy now and not regret it??

Today I sharing a recipe for my own Peanut Brittle.  Not a year goes by that I don't make it...along with my peanut butter fudge.  It takes a little time to make, and it IS handy to have another person around to help pull the candy at the end, but the result is so much better than any thing you can buy.



Wendy's Homemade Peanut Brittle
This brittle is a tad different than most recipes, as it uses half brown sugar...but that makes ALL the difference in the world, and I wouldn't make it any other way.
Here's what you will need
1 cup of white sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 t vanilla (optional)
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup of butter (and a little more for greasing the pans and utensils)
1/2 t salt
2-3 cups of roasted peanuts - no salt
(I like to buy my peanuts in the bulk section of the store-get them early because they often run out during the holidays)
1 1/2 t. baking soda
large heavy pot
candy thermometer
I forgot to add the baking soda to this grouping before I took the picture.

Spray the sides of your large pot with cooking spray.  I have a non-stick pot in the picture, but pulled out my stainless steel one to make the brittle.  I've used both.
Generously butter two cookie sheets and also two forks. The more greasing you do beforehand, the better!  Do the sides and bottom of the pans well, and make sure the forks are greased up well too.   Set aside.  You can also use cooking spray, but make certain to do a heavy coat! I like to keep the cooking spray nearby in case I need to regrease the forks during the pulling stage of making the brittle.
Pre-measure all your ingredients and have them ready to dump in.  Keep the baking soda and nuts separated into two bowls, so they are handy to dump in when you are ready.  You don't want to have to measure these out when your syrup is ready!
In the pot, combine the sugars, corn syrup, water, butter and salt.  Cook and stir with a heavy plastic spoon or a wooden spoon sprayed heavily with cooking spray.  Don't use a cheap plastic spoon or it will melt!  I don't recommend using a metal spoon, as it will get hot.
Cook until it begins to boil and sugars dissolve.  Continue stirring and boil over medium high heat to 275 degrees register on your candy thermometer.  It can be tricky trying to stir and keep the thermometer in place, so it is handy to have a little help if possible.  Otherwise, just hold it with one hand and stir with the other.  
The mixture will be a light golden color and should be gently boiling over the entire surface.
 Now add the nuts and continue cooking and stirring the mixture until the candy thermometer reaches 295 degrees.  It will start getting thicker and darker.  Keep stirring so that the nuts do not burn.  Keep an eye on them too.  Sometimes I have difficulty getting my thermometer to read 295, but if you see your nuts starting to get too dark, chances are your brittle is ready.  You can double check by pulling your spoon out of the mixture....if the drips from the spoon instantly harden, then it is time to dump your brittle into your prepared pans.
Remove your pot from the heat and NOW
dump in the baking soda  and vanilla (if using). 
I can't tell you how many times I have forgotten to do this at the last minute, so place that little dish of soda next to your cookie sheets so you don't forget.  If you do forget, the brittle will turn out okay, but not as good.
Stir it into the hot mixture...it will foam up a bit, and then
Pour into your greased cookie sheets, dividing evenly between the two pans.  Tip cookie sheets a bit to spread the mixture....let it cool for just a minute and then, using the forks, start pulling the brittle toward the edges of the cookie sheet.  Continue doing this until you can no longer pull the brittle.  This goes rather quickly, but try to make certain you get it as thin as possible.  It is nice to have a helper work on one pan while you do another.  Mr. Whimzie usually helps me out.  I don't like thick slabs of brittle, so we keep pulling until it is fairly see-through.
The hard work is done.  Just let it cool completely, then you can break it into pieces. Store in zipper bags or airtight containers.
  I give a lot of ours away each year by putting in it little cello bags, tied with a ribbon.  Sometimes I add a tag or label too.  Everyone loves it!
 I have included the cute picture I used on my bags below, so feel free to right-click the image and save it to your computer...then print several out when you are ready to package up your goodies.  I use clear packing tape to attach them to the bags.
Enjoy!
 

 
Okay folks....it is time for you catch up on all the Giveaway questions!
The more questions you answer, the better your chances of winning sweet Gerald, the Prim Snowman.  So, if you haven't responded to each day's question, please go back and do so TODAY.
I will be counting up all the entries by tomorrow night, and will announce the winner of my giveaway on Friday!
The giveaway question for today is:

"In 10 words or less, tell me what Christmas means to you."
 
 "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." (Isaiah 9:6-7)

See you tomorrow!
May your day be blessed!

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