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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I've been working this past week on a sourdough starter. At first I resisted. A week to make a loaf of bread? And what if it doesn't turn out?

As I pondered, I was reminded about what I always tell everyone as I teach applique. "In order to learn how to applique you have to applique. You have to allow yourself to not feel badly about your stitches and accept feeling clumsy with the process. Just go for speed and your skills will follow. Before you know it, your stitches are small and even."

So, taking my own advice (that I'm so eager to give)....I just jumped in. If it didn't work out....what the heck. In order to learn how to bake bread, I'm just going to have to bake some.
I followed Richard Bertinet's recipe in his Crust book. Take water, flour and honey and let it sit. It sits for a bit and then it gets hungry. (A bit like me!) Then you have to feed it....and feed it....and feed it more. But darn if it didn't begin to grow and bubble. It becomes a living organism. If I leave town, Dave's going to have to babysit it!

What a science experiment this whole thing has been. Who knew all of this wild yeast was floating around in my house? (I know I haven't cleaned in a week....but really!!!) There is an entire universe of bacteria and yeast out there that we don't see with the naked eye!

The picture above shows what I pulled out of the oven this morning! The round rings in the dough are formed by the basket as the bread rises.

The basket is in the picture above. I had to order it from King Arthur's flour. See the cuts in the bread top? You need a lame bread slicing tool to make these....you can tell I'm not very good at this yet. It looks hacked up a bit....but Dave thought it looked great. I wonder if my rotary cutter would work better?

Dave asked me, as he left for work, if he needs to bring shellac home to keep this loaf of bread forever....or would he get a taste? (He thinks he's too funny!)

This prosciutto, parmesan, and pine nut roll was made a week ago. I made a bunch and took them to a friend's house. The recipe is from Bertinet's Dough book. I've been warming up left overs in the oven and having them for lunch. (And in case you are wondering....yes I did join weight watchers! I'm using all those points for bread!)

I am going to try and not talk about bread on this blog too much. But it's just so fun and exciting!

Connie Adrian sent the following note and the picture above to me. She writes,

"I wanted to share with you a picture of Snow Garden (first Anniversary of the Heart pattern.) I stitched it on 30ct Weeks Dolphin using the threads as charted. The fabric is actually a little greener then it looks in the picture. I stitched this as a shop model for Reflections Framing and Stitching here in Omaha where I work part time.

Our framer Julie is wonderful at choosing colors and just can’t seem to do projects as charted!! She thinks out of the box and at first I wasn’t so sure when she chose this fabric but it turned out wonderful I think. Since it was to be a shop model I used ABC and the 2010 plus filled in the other letters with snowflakes.

It was really hard to hand this one over to them so I guess I will have to stitch it for myself!!

Happy New Year!

Tammy Wilcox wrote,

"I was reading your blog and I just had to share a similar story about my quilt! I recently completed the "Home Sweet Home" quilt and it inspired my friends and I to to create a stitch-along using the Anniversaries of the Heart series. We plan to stitch one pattern each month this year. Thank you for creating such beautiful designs and providing hours of creative bliss for us!
Attached is a picture of my finished quilt (I did quilt it myself!)"

Riet Klein-Schuurman from the Netherlands writes,

"I'm sending you a photo of the Home Sweet Home quilt that I've made. I only did four blocks, otherwise it was too big. I had great fun making this quilt.

Thank you for the great pattern."

Barb and I love seeing your work. Thank you for sharing these wonderful projects!

Well......back to work. Our warehouse is moving. I'm busy packing up and getting the new warehouse space into shape. If that isn't enough we are getting ready for cross stitch market in Nashville. We have a couple new books and some new patterns to get ready. (More about that in another post!)

Until later dear friends,



  1. Love the bread pics and comments on baking.
    Also like looking at the pics of what others have sewn or stitched. Thanks for sharing!

    Happy Stitching and good luck on the warehouse move!

  2. Thanks for sharing what other people create with your designs. I enjoy getting to see them.

  3. You domestic goddess you! Enjoy your bread-baking! I love to read about it! Can't wait for your market books!

  4. Your bread looks delicious! There is often a sourdough starter at our house but it's my husbands baby not mine!!!

  5. One word - YUM! Your loaf looks beyond scrumptious! Love the pictures (so inspirational) of others work, too! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Not a bread question but ~ will you be an exhibitor at the Quilt Festival in Cincinnati in April? I hope so ~ this will be my first time to attend ~ love it that it will be in Ohio!

  7. Oh that bread looks so good! I bought that Dough book for my DH for Christmas -- he was pleased. :D Lovely finishes from around the world. I can't wait to see what you offer us for market!!

  8. Love your story about the bread. I wish I was there to taste it all and, yes, I think Dave IS funny!

  9. I'm absolutely salivating. I'm such a bread lover and my Avner Laskin book showed up today. I'm dying since these recipes are formulated to be kneaded in a mixer. I've tried adding flour, but the texture goes wrong. I have some fresh yeast in the fridge for some sweet pecan rolls--good sub. My Dave wouldn't have cared about the baker's mark either. :-) There's nothing like a good man with a carb-loving stomach. :-)

  10. I remember making lots of sourdough bread one year in Highschool...during the summer most of my family had gone away on vacation and I had starter growing like crazy. My neighbors were starting to hide when they saw me coming down the sidewalk knowing I was either trying to give away sourdough or zucchini!

  11. Don't you just love homemade bread? Your loaf looks spectacular.

    Can't wait to see the new publications!

  12. Alma your bread looks awesome! I love King Arthur Flour as well and currently have their Blitz Bread about to go in the oven.

    I love seeing everyone's stitched and quilt pieces done. Love Snow Garden on that fabric! Thanks for sharing!

  13. ohhhh BREAD!!!!!!!!!!! I'm learning using the Artisan bread in 5 min a day... yours looks AMAZING@

  14. Love your blog about bread, the smell of homemade bread is a treasure. Enjoy and good luck on WW. It is January and I love to cross stitch and review your books. Life is good and simple.

  15. Just discovered your blog! yaaay! I loved the bread pics and will have to take another look at my King Arthur's catalog for the bowl. Thanks for sharing...

  16. The bread story and pics are great! I've been gathering receipes to try to make some "real" bread - I may have to get that book. Love your husband's comment about the shellac!!
    Can't wait for your next new book!

  17. I can smell your bread from here. They say the way to keep our brains young is to try new things. Not that you need to keep your young. Thanks for sharing..

  18. You are a Renaissance Woman! You go girrrrrllllll!

    Carol E. in AZ

  19. Well? Some of us (me) are wondering; did you slice it? And how did it taste, or did you shellac it? Karmen

  20. Your bread looks wonderful!!!
    Sourdough is my favorite! I'm with Dave! When are you going to cut it?? LOL

    Love seeing how other stitchers have stitched and finished your designs! They are gorgeous!

  21. Darn it, I can just see myself baking bread, I ordered the book...

    Can't wait for the new releases :-). I have been stitching stockings and waiting on the next AotH chart!!!

  22. I love your stitching designs. This may be a dumb question but I am a newbie to stitching what count fabric would you start with if you are teaching yourself?
    thank you, fdssusan@aol.com

  23. My husband wants to bake some bread - I think I am going to order the sourdough starter for him from King Arthur - glad you showed me that bread bowl - need that too huh and a tool to carve - ummm - he can use a knife LOL - this will be cutting into MY fun money ! love all the photos of the finishes - gorgeous! Melody

  24. I use a sourdough starter that I bought from King Arthur. It's delicious! Should you want more good recipes, their website has lots. The sourdough waffles are to die for.....

  25. Okay I give in...I am going to order the Dough book ....I have never in my 65 years made bread from scratch. Only in a breadmaker and that got kind of boring..My sister makes french bread all of the time as well as her egg noodles. She tells me it is easier to make both then to go to the store and buy them. Now, tell me is she pulling my leg?? I think your husband is a wee bit funny in that cute husband style, as I told you before he is a keeper!

  26. I enjoy your bread stories and seeing everyone's wonderful work!

  27. Good luck to you Alma, and Barb, on the move - what a lot of work. And the bread looks awesome. Hope the calories don't come over the web!

  28. Alma, the bread looks wonderful. I have tried to email you, but without success. I just wanted to let you know I was one of your fabric contest winners recently, but have not received the package..
    Thank you.

  29. When I was a stay at home mom I made bread all the time. I loved every minute of it. nothing is so wonderful as the smell of bread. Looks wonderful.

  30. I have always wanted to bake bread. My sister has mastered the technique and it is nothing for her to decide she needs bread with dinner and then knead up a loaf. Yours looks beautiful! Love the blog!


  31. Your sour dough bread looks great. My husband is still perfecting his having got willow proving basket for Christmas. We use Dan Lepard for our bread recipes, how easy is Bertinet to follow?

  32. Loved your original post about Dough, went and bought the book; and the rest they say is history.
    Yes to Lousie it is easy to make french bread.
    Yes to take one family his procedures are easy to follow.
    I have baked yeast items for years, but I will be making it regularly from now on. His process is easy to follow, very forgiving.

  33. Alma, that bread looks delicious! And I wanted to tell you I received your parcel with the mini charm packs I was fortunate enough to win. What GORGEOUS FABRIC!!! I will have to think long and hard about what to make with them. Thank you again for the chance to win.
    Gerda in Alberta, Canada

  34. Your bread looks very delicious!!!
    Best regards...

  35. c'est vraiment merveilleux tout le travail de couture que les filles ont réalisé, et ce toujours grâce à vous chères créatrices !
    amitiés marylin FRANCE

  36. What a lovely loaf of bread, that looks professional!
    Kuddos to you on trying new things, I think you are off to a GREAT start!


  37. I love your designs, and I need talk with you.
    can you give me your e-mail?

  38. Help !!! Can anyone direct me to the book in which the "Home Sweet Home" pattern is published. I have been searching for this pattern ever since I saw it posted on Pinterest. My email address is : gsdfargo@yahoo.com
    Thanks, Michael


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