Monthly Archives: December 2017

Cinnamon Rolls

For Christmas breakfast, I made cinnamon rolls. They are one of my breakfast favorites and are very similar to Lloyd’s family’s Christmas tradition (Monkey Bread), so we thought this would be a nice Christmas tradition of our own. I originally found this recipe in my bread machine cookbook and have been making it, with some variations, ever since.

Step 1: Plan ahead. The rolls need to rise in the fridge over night and the dough needs to rise by itself for a couple of hours before you put it into roll form so start early. (This is why I don’t get cinnamon rolls as often as I like.)

Step 2: Make the dough.

  • 1 egg plus enough water to equal one cup
  • 3 tbl oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast

Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir until well mixed and the dough forms a soft ball.

Step 3: Wait. Cover the dough with a wet cloth and let it rise for 2 to 4 hours.

Step 4: Make the filling:

  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbl cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Melt the butter before adding the rest of the ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

Step 5: Make the rolls. Roll out the dough into a rectangle roughly 12 by 6 inches.

Spread the filling evenly on the rectangle of dough.

Spread the filling evenly onto the rectangle of dough.

Starting at a long end, roll the dough tightly into a roll.

Starting at a long end, roll the dough tightly into a roll.

Step 6: Prepare a pan. Grease either a standard muffin tin or an 8 by 12 inch baking pan. For this batch, I used a muffin tin because I’d heard they were good for cinnamon rolls and figured I’d give it a shot. It actually bakes them much more evenly than when I use my regular rectangular baking dish so this will probably be my new standard.

Step 7: Slice the rolls. Cut the roll into 1 inch slices and place them in the baking dish.

The rolls sliced and ready to place in the muffin tin.

The rolls sliced and ready to place in the muffin tin.

The rolls fit nicely into the muffin pan.

The rolls fit nicely. They’ll expand during the rising and baking process.

Step 8: Cover and refrigerate over night.

Step 9: In the morning, bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

They looked really nice out of the oven! My prettiest batch yet.

They looked really nice out of the oven! My prettiest batch yet.

Step 10: Make the glaze.

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tbl milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Thoroughly mix all ingredients.

Step 11: Glaze and enjoy.

Merry Christmas morning!

Merry Christmas morning!

Blown Ornaments (Guest Post)

Merry Christmas! Today, we have a guest post from Lloyd’s Dad:

Jasmine and Lloyd live a minimalist lifestyle that, although I do not emulate, I admire. This year for Christmas, they let Alice (Lloyd’s Mom) and I know that for years they have stated that they don’t want presents and this year they mean it. This left us with a conundrum. After a little thought, we came up with the answer.

We give our boys and their partners books every year. Although Alice and I read totally different stuff, we are both avid readers and our boys have picked up the habit to greater and lesser degrees.

So I declared books are not presents, but necessities and bought ones for Lloyd and Jasmine that I want to read next time we get to Seattle. That left the issue of a gift. Both Lloyd and Jasmine are “crafty” – as I understand it the current term is “makers” – as this blog attests to, and they both appreciate that trait in others. Thus, an idea was born.

tree

My Dad made different things that were sold at our church’s Thanksgiving church fair every year. One year, he made a Christmas tree to hang bulbs from. I think he made a dozen of them to be sold and one for each of his children. After his death, I copied the one he made for me and gave one to each of my boys. Lloyd and Jasmine keep theirs up year-round. Lloyd had also made us a blown glass Christmas ornament during a trip to Corning glass several years ago.

workshop

We live in the NC Sandhills, an area well known for the white sand that abuts a dark red clay of a prehistoric shoreline. We have pottery, brick, and glass makers in abundance. A local craft guild had a blow your own Christmas ornament class and I availed myself of the opportunity to make one for Lloyd and Jasmine.  Although mine is a simple sphere and Lloyd’s was a more complicated pulled design, I like the one I did and I know Jasmine likes purple.

both ornaments

Knit Lace Shirt

I’ve been a little distracted from blogging lately, but it’s time to get back into the swing of things and post some of my recent projects! First off is my latest knitting project from one of my favorite knitting books. I’ve had my eye on this shirt for a while now, but just never found yarn I really wanted to use until I was working on my knit wrap jacket. It took a lot of yarn so I entertained myself by looking all over the yarn store while it was being wound and found some really nice bamboo silk yarn. I decided that this was the right yarn for the shirt and immediately had my next project planned!

It knit up surprisingly quickly. I’ve always been really impressed with the patterns from this book as they always look much more complex them they really are. They also have nice finishing details, which I really like.

Two different lace patterns for this shirt! I really like knitting lace.

Two different lace patterns for this shirt! I really like knitting lace.

I really like patterns that continue across the back like this one.

I really like patterns that continue across the back like this one.

Overall, I’m very happy with the way this turned out and am looking forward to wearing it now that it’s winter.

Soaring Eagle Park

For some reason we were smiled upon by the weather this weekend and, while it got below freezing, it was sunny! We needed to take advantage of the sun when it was around so we went on a hike at Soaring Eagle Park and the surrounding open space. It was a really pleasant walk; nothing crazy but some cool mountain views, a swamp, the obligatory lake, and 3 hours walking around on iced-over muddy trails.

There is a surprisingly large amount of open spaces around the park so we will certainly have to come back and explore all of the surrounding areas and enjoy all of the various walking paths in the area.

Half-frozen swamps. Only about a half inch of ice, so not enough to walk on by a fair bit.

Half-frozen swamps. Only about a half inch of ice, so not enough to walk on by a fair bit.

I wish I had remembered my DSLR instead of cell phone camera.

I wish I had remembered my DSLR instead of my cell phone camera.

Beaver home on beaver lake! Jasmine promised to bring a sewing machine upon request.

Beaver home on Beaver Lake! Jasmine promised to bring a sewing machine upon request for Christmas.

This is par for the course for the walking paths.

This is par for the course for the walking paths.

Copper Windchime

As you have probably no doubt noticed, we have been focusing a bit more on travel and less on making things on the blog. This stops today! I think the issue is that house repair and repainting doesn’t make for the most compelling content.

But, for Jasmine’s birthday, I broke out of the building funk and made some windchimes. We had some tiny windchimes from the previous owner, but we wanted something more in our style. So I made some copper and wood windchimes which better fits our aesthetic. The drawing for the chimes is given below.

You need 5 ft of 3/4" copper tube, 1 ft of 1x2, 5" of 1x5, and 50lb nylon twine.

You need 5 ft of 3/4″ copper tube, 1 ft of 1×2, 8″ of 1×6, and 100 lb nylon twine. Use this drawing and you’re good to go.

Fabrication is pretty easy, especially if you are handy with knots. I recommend an Oystermans Stopper Knot for the ball, but use what you like. The trickiest part is cross drilling the holes in the copper tubes. I highly recommend a spring loaded centerpunch.

Post drilling / pre cleaning.

Post drilling / pre cleaning.

Cleaning. Steps o any metal cutting - deburr, file, sand, surface treat if needed (I did not in this case)

Cleaning Steps for any metal cutting: deburr, file, sand, surface treat if needed (I did not in this case).

Threading the twine through the tube was surprisingly tricky. Conveniently we had a wide selection of yarn needles.

Threading the twine through the tube was surprisingly tricky. Conveniently, we had a wide selection of yarn needles available.

And I couldn’t leave you hanging without a chiming video, so I hope you all enjoy and feel like making something yourselves now.