Life on the creative side

Archive for April, 2013

Glamping – It’s a Girl Thing

Glamping – it’s a girl thing and it is coming to the ridge!  I’m hosting  a clamping weekend this fall for  my sisters and the planning is already underway. There will be  activities like bread baking, hiking, crafting, outdoor chick-flicks (Mama Mia, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, How to Make an American Quilt- suggestions welcomed) a vineyard picnic, or maybe a trip to the orchard,  campfires and of course glamping up our tents. This weekend sister Edna (my sister not a” Sister sister”) came by to help me on a trial tent glamp-up.


While it’s a must that our glamping accommodations be fabulous, here on the ridge we glamp on the cheap.  To that end,  our yard sale treasures this spring have been heavy on the glamping theme with lovely textiles, accessories and furnishings suitable for making  our tents, which will be pop-ups and picnic tents, fabulously  glamorous. With sister Enda’s pop-up tent and the yard sale’n inventory of lovely stuff, we put together a space that is the essence of glamor + camping.

glamping set-up

Sis arrived with her pop-up tent and a vision of  a filmy, white, shabby chic space; which I love, however I was feeling  a bit more color. As it turned out,  her tent was blue and we had only enough white sheers for three walls, so entered my colorful tablecloths and a touch of  bohemian; the marriage of our visions resulted in  a glorious space with a wonderful vibe.

fabulous glamping tent

The day was windy and we often found ourselves engulfed in a flowy mass of white, billowing in the breeze; so we anchored the bottom of the fabric by threading a string through the hems and securing the string under the stakes at each tent pole.

glamping on the ridge

Then we invited the rest of the sisters out for a preview…

glamping sisters (3)

and a few treats.

glamping eats

glamping sisters

I’m LOVE’N it!

I'm glamping

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Glamping by MaryJane

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Spring Time: Lilac, Peonies, Redbuds and Yard Sales

Spring time: lilac, peonies, red-buds and yard sales.

yard sale finds, vintage candle holders and textile

Yard sale finds, vintage candle holders and textile


Spring time is one of my favorite seasons, OK it’s one of my   four faves, I can’t help it, there is something wonderful about each season.  But spring is about new beginnings and here on the Ridge it  is  perfumed with  lilacs and peonies; adorned  in a virgin green and flushing in the  bloom of red-bud trees. It  also heralds in a favorite  weekend activity –  the yard sale – have I mentioned my people are yard sale’rs. My dad often laments, “Yard sale’n is a disease and I guess I’ve given it to all my children.” But pull open any drawer in my  mom’s house and you’ll  find evidence of her  contribution to our yard-sale’n disorder, particularly when it comes to textiles.

This year my yard sale’n kicked off with  an estate sale.  At  seven forty five, on a very chilly Saturday morning,  my dad, my  sister and I were standing  in line outside of a three story, early 1900’s house . It was a liquidation of an estate of a grandmother; most of the nine children and several of the grandchildren were working the sale. The crowd was heavy with seasoned pickers and the competition  for the good stuff was stiff. Fortunately for me,  I am usually not in the market for the “good stuff”: I am, however, in the market for sweet, lovely stuff.  And on this day, among the crowd of elbows I managed to find some truly sweet,  lovely “stuff”.

yard sale find, vintage clothesline


yard sale find, vintage kitchen scale

Yard sale find, vintage kitchen scale


yard sale finds

Collection of yard sale finds


yard sale finds, collection of candle sticks

Yard sale finds, collection of candle sticks


 vintage inspiration bif

Vintage Vibe For Box Store Shelving

Vintage vibe for box store shelving

. Vintage vibe for box store shelving

As an empty-nester I can verify that when  the chicks leave the nest they leave it far from empty. Each time one of our little darlings set out on their own, Hubby and I found ourselves the keeper stuff – unwanted, but wanted stuff; treasures of childhood, mementos of college days and  a menagerie of mismatched  furniture  usually in rough shape.  These shelves fall into the last category.

box store shelf update before

But after a little creative restyling they look like this…

box store shelf update finished

In fact they turned out so beautiful they were snatched up on the first day of my fall sale.


Although the shelves were in good shape, they looked exactly like what they were, box store shelves. So I took sand paper to them and roughed them up enough so paint would  adhere. I then gave them a coat of a warm white paint and  sanded them again, taking off some of the white paint (more of the paint came off than I had intended or usually want, but this time it looked right so I went with it). Next step was to mellow the paint and any fresh wood exposed from sanding by coating the entire shelf with a dark stain (applied with a brush then quickly wiped off with a rag). Once it was completely dry I coated the shelves with a flat, clear sealer.

Meanwhile I took some vintage wallpaper I have been holding onto, cut it into strips as  wide as the inside depth of the shelves and  as long as the shelves were wide plus  and extra foot or so. With a  spray adhesive I covered the bake of the paper with fabric (I used remnants of old sheets) and trimmed the fabric to the size of the paper. This gave strength to the otherwise delicate paper.  I carefully wove the lined paper over and under the slates of the shelving. To finish I trimmed off the excess paper and secured the edges to the underside of the framing with furniture tacks.

This project turned out so beautiful,, I might have to make another with the remaining shelves in our keepers stash.


A Hearty Basic Bread Recipe

Hearty basic bread:


As I mentioned in a recent post, I have been making  this great basic bread based on  a  recipe posted by Diana Bauman, over at the Humble Kitchen blog,   For the past few days  my son and I  have been experimenting and tweaking the recipe to make an equally simple, but little more hearty, basic bread.  The whole process has been great fun and now I’m ready to share our modified recipe.  It is soooo good and soooo simple you’ll want to throw on an apron and get started.  Let me know how you like this hearty basic bread.

Original “Simple European Style Everyday Bread”


2 1/2 cups flour (you’ll add more as you knead)
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water
extra virgin olive oil

Diana has posted a really helpful video on “Humble Kitchen” where she demonstrates the entire process, I would definitely recommend you give it a view.


My Modified, ” Hearty Basic Bread Recipe”
2 cups flour-unbleached all purpose
1/4  cup almond flour
1/4 cup milled flax seed
1 cup sunflower seeds (next time I think I’ll try pumpkin seeds)
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

The method is exactly the same for both the recipes.

Mix well together the all purpose  flour, almond flour, milled flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, salt and yeast in a large bowl.
Stir in warm water until dough is sticky and shaggy.

shaggy dough

shaggy dough

With floured hands knead the dough right in the bowl for 3 or 4 minutes – you will need to dust  the dough with flour  occasionally (no more than an  extra 3 tablespoons) so you can continue to handle it, but you want the dough to stay light and tacky.
Once the dough is holding together and is  firm and  tacky,  pour about a teaspoon of evoo over the dough

adding EVOO to dough

adding EVOO to dough

Then  using oiled hands gently but firmly knead the dough into a tight ball – this is done by placing your  hands a few inches apart on the top of the ball of dough, gently but firmly force the dough from the top of the ball out, over the side, down and under to the bottom while maintaining the shape – apply enough pressure to keep the ball together and to meld the dough back together on the underside of the ball; repeat this for 2-3 minutes until you have formed a tight ball.

kneading dough

kneading dough

kneading dough

kneading dough
Place the dough into a well  oiled bowl, roll the dough in the oil then cover the bowl  with plastic wrap and  a cloth towel, let  rise for one  hour.

cover with towel

cover with towel

place dough in well oiled dough

place dough in well oiled dough


cover with plastic wrap

cover with plastic wrap

After the hour  the dough should have doubled in size, carefully remove it from the bowl to  a floured surface – don’t compress or punch down the dough, although it will fall.

remove dough from bowl

remove dough from bowl

Now repeat the kneading process from  he previous step until it is once more a tight ball
Place the ball of dough on a cookie sheet,  gently  cut a large X about half an  inch deep across the top of the ball (you will need a razor or very sharp knife).

I use scissors to cut x on top of dough

I use scissors to cut x on top of dough

Rub or brush a bit  more evoo over the top and sprinkle lightly with four
Once again cover the dough with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise for another 20 minutes.

cover dough with plastic wrap and towel

cover dough with plastic wrap and towel

Now pre-heat oven to 500F
After the 20 minutes place it in the  preheated oven  and bake for 10 minutes at 500F- then lower the temperature to 350F and bake for  another 25  minutes

place dough in pre-heated oven

place dough in pre-heated oven

After baking let the bread sit and cool to room temperature  – if you can :)

If you have more self-control than I do, share a photo of your fresh-baked bread.



Back to Basics by Baking Basic Bread

Back to basics by baking basic bread:

I hope you had a wonderful Easter, we certainly did.  Hubby and I celebrated the day of hope and promise  with our son, who is visiting for a short time before  heading off on yet  another adventure somewhere in the world.  We watched the sunrise over the ocean then later dined outside to the sound of the waves and  cooled by  a light ocean breeze.  We spent the day together as we prepared our meal as a team, hubby on the grill, me at the oven and my sweet boy  preparing the alfresco dinning area.

For some time I have been thinking about doing some bread baking, I use to enjoy baking  bread but years of  anti-carb rhetoric had taken away some of the joy; even though  bread baking is perhaps one of the oldest  life-sustaining traditions the world over.  Then a few days ago I was  visiting a favorite blog and came across a bread recipe that resonated with me. Diana Bauman over at Humble Kitchen (you can find the link on my home page under kindred spirits) shared a recipe she described as “Simple European Style Everyday Bread” –  with a title like that, who  could  resist! So for Easter dinner I prepared this beautiful, and beautifully simple, bread for my family. Inspired by the tradition and simplicity of the bread I also decided to make some home-made butter; another super simple process.

Later we gave thanks and shared our Easter  meal together on the porch and dined on steak grilled on Himalayan salt blocks, asparagus casserole, baked potatoes, warm-from-the-oven home-baked bread and freshly churned (blended) creamy white butter – yum!

Home made butter and home baked bread

Get back to basics by baking basic bread.

Making butter in my Ninja blender: Pour a pint of heavy whipping cream and a pinch of salt into a blender or food processor (I used a ninja blender) Blend until a solid clump forms and separates from the liquid (butter milk). I stopped the blending several time to push the whipped cream down into the blades; this process took several minutes.  Strain the clump through cheese cloth, shape (I used a small bowl to shape my butter into a mound but it can also be shaped into a log and gently wrapped in wax paper.  Keep  refrigerated.

 “Simple European Style Everyday Bread”    –