Hello from home – journey with a sourdough starter

Hello from home – journey with a sourdough starter

Hello from home! See where I am so far with my journey into sourdough and sourdough starter.

I imagine most of you are at home right now- we are here anyway. Only the essential workers are around but I sure am glad that they are ! There are some local stores that are providing curbside pick up where I can get milk, eggs, flour, handmade bagels (yum) and some more things that have proven to be necessary items in our home. Toilet paper? well, that is another story isn’t it?

Bob and Rita sourdough starter

I finally took the dive into Sourdough- and what a dive it’s been! It’s like having another pet ( or in my case 2) since I wasn’t really sure my first starter was working. I started another one using whole grain flour instead of all purpose. There are so many articles, hints and tutorials on the web it can be quite daunting but I found one that worked for me from The Clever Carrot.

They are both thriving now- and were born on April 2 and April 4. Their names are Rita and Bob.The photo above shows them just starting out again after taking away the “discard” portion.

Rising dough for focaccia

Sourdough discard

There are lots of recipes for sourdough discard on the web. So far we have made waffles a few times, pancakes, again a few times, crumpets, focaccia, biscuits and pizza dough .

Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia

The current experiment is whole wheat sourdough burger buns. My burger will be veggie but I see them as great substitutes for sandwich bread. They are rising right now and will be baked later today. I’m really looking forward to how they taste. Who knew there were all of these things to do with sourdough?? and I thought it was just about baking bread- the things I am learning through this quarantine time- amazingly useful stuff!

ETSY shop is busy!

Along with tending the sourdough every day the orders have been coming in steadily from the ETSY shop. That has been great . Between feeding the starter and responding to customers there have been rugs made and wool dyed. In fact, there is wool soaking right now and some ready for listing.

Gone are all of the things that were on the list to do- clearing cupboards and sorting through boxes. Oh, that hasn’t happened, but other things have taken up all of the time- essential things.Those will go back on the list, but for now- other things seem much more important.

A few new wools with more to follow

Some of the wool will be sold in bundles since it seems to look better as a collection rather than a single piece. Others are listed as singles- like the spot dyes. Those spot dyes- so beautiful and fun to create! There may have to be a spot dye day in the near future.

Blue spot dye
Antique Blue Green bundle
Blue Cupboard Bundle

New linen “Keeper Sacks”

Trying to be creative with some linen sacks that were made long ago. Boy, those percolated in my head for a long long time, but they came out pretty sweet and have been put together as a collection with bundles of like colored wool. The red bundle sold almost immediately . There is a blue collection listed with more wool than the red. Probably a neutral collection will be next up.

Linen “Keeper Sack”

Making Masks for Maine

Oh, the mask making- how could I forget that?? For a while it felt like a part time job, but now that there is a system in place, they go much faster. They are being offered for free with a $50 purchase in the shop while there are some made up. The others have all gone to Sewing Masks for Maine. I read a post about how the recipients are having fun choosing which ones they like best and even giving them names. It’s gratifying knowing that it is bringing a wee bit of joy to the health care community in these challenging times.I have some more to make either today or tomorrow.

A new way of connecting

Zoom– who knew this was going to be the way to communicate with one another? We have coffee and lunch dates with our family. That has been interesting and quite fun- it’s like having everyone together at home, only on a screen! The daughter and son in law in Scotland are able to be with us too. He brings loads of creativity to the chats. You would have to witness them, too hard to re-create here. Let’s just say its been fun and adds some laughter when we all need some. I can.not.wait. to give them all real hugs though.

Well the buns are out of the oven and smell great! Hopefully they will taste as good as they smell.

Sourdough burger buns

So as I say hello from home. In Maine, know that things have been happening here in our humble dwellings. We are busy busy! There were some thoughts of gardening, but then it snows again, and again, and again…. Spring is coming- we can feel it!! The birds are trickling in to the feeders. We have to take those in at night because there have been bears at peoples feeders already. Since we have been through that in the past we are trying to avoid that again. They really do a job on things when they show up!

I’d love for you to say hello from your home and tell me what you have been up to. I’m off to the Post Office, with mask on, to ship packages to folks who are crafting. I’ll pick up some flour and bagels at the Cafe, curbside, and head back home. Gracie will come along for the ride- the highlight of her day.

Stay well friends. Hope to hear from you soon!

Where do you find inspiration

Where do you find inspiration

Where do you find inspiration? Mine comes from the most unusual places sometimes. Driving down the road catching something out of the corner of my eye and think to myself ” that could be good, or what if I did this instead?” Inspiration is absolutely everywhere- if you let it in.

Ann Wood Handmade

Do you subscribe to the Ann Wood Handmade newsletter? She sure gives one lots to think about! So many sweet ideas with things you probably already have at home. Cardboard, fabric scraps, cereal boxes, paper mâché . Give her a look- you’ll be amazed, AND inspired! She often has free projects to download too, because she is nice like that. Someday I may even be lucky enough to take one of her workshops- in better times. Those must lie ahead for us.

Color, color

I look to colors around me- colors to turn into my hand dyes. I am anxiously awaiting everything green to start showing outside. I love the color green- so full of life, promise and possibility. I have some green wools that I need to list now in fact. I need to get the dye pots ready for more in the days to come. It keeps my mind busy and is a great distraction from the daily news.

Spinach green wool

Right now, outside my window there is a variety of browns – not the sunniest of colors, but if you look closely at them- they can be wonderful in their own right. Tree bark- it’s texture and subtle variations of color- the branches that are just beginning to think about buds on the end. The golds of last seasons grass that lay on the ground- just starting to show as the snow melts. My husband itches to get out in the garden- he is out there now pulling up things from last fall that were neglected- things he can uncover as the melt continues.

Magazine ideas online sources?

Look through some magazines, gaze out the window, drink a cup of tea and contemplate. What can you see in your minds eye? What can you now create because of it? Watch some tutorials of how to create something. I plan to watch a Deanne Fitzpatrick youtube later today. I know how to rug hook, but maybe something she does will spark my imagination in a different way.

ETSY customers looking for projects

Several ETSY customers have ordered patterns, requested special items and just buy linen. They are itching to do something with their hands- to go to that place where you lose yourself in the moment. That place of inspiration- of color- of design.

Have a look at various ETSY shops- see what they are creating. Taproot magazine- Amanda always has inspiring stories. There is a recipe that looks yummy (right on the webpage) AND I may be able to hide the parsnips in it – but Art has a nose for parsnips… A local shop, Fiber and Vine has ideas- follow her on FB to see what needle felted projects or knitting she shares.

Inspiration is everywhere- Like mentioned before- you just need to let go, and let them in. Enjoy your day – turn off the news and explore what nature or books or people have to offer. It’s a whole wide world out there to be discovered, even if it is from your own home.

What are you doing while sheltering in place?

What are you doing while sheltering in place?

What are you doing to help right now? Are you listening to the experts and practicing social distancing? practicing sheltering in place? We are barely into this and I am sure that people are already feeling like they can loosen their restrictions. Sadly, we can’t. I know that I am having a hard time with it myself but am being as vigilant as possible.

Hooray for the postal service and grocery clerks

I venture out to the PO every other day- wearing gloves and staying away from folks. Waving at friends from afar. So very strange, yet so very necessary. I applaud the postal workers and the grocery workers. I bet they are afraid too, but carry on so we can all carry on.

mask being made

Sewing masks

A local group of nurses has organized people to sew masks for health care workers, food bank workers, cancer patients and the like. I am currently making masks to feel like I can at least do something to help.

Thank goodness I am a crafter and just happen to have all of the materials that I could ever need for this project! Fabric, yup- cotton fabric- yup, elastic- got it. Thread, scissors, , sewing machine- all the things. Who said hoarding is bad? I am just always prepared for who knows what! Like I always say… you just never know.Maybe that’s because I am a baby boomer and lived with people who had experienced bad times.

Having a stocked house

We are in the place now- of not really knowing. It felt very sudden- no one truly had proper time to prepare. I was talking to a local friend yesterday and she said . ” you know since we live out in the middle of nowhere we always buy extra anyway!” How true. My son said I have been preparing for this situation for 20 years. Funny, Bill.

lentil chili
Lentil chili

I have been hooking, cleaning and cooking. I haven’t been reading though- I should be- it’s on the list. I find myself more drawn to the computer at the moment- reaching out to people all over. Have you done ZOOM yet? I see that many are using it and it has become a necessity rather than a convenience . I did for a meeting last week and there is a possibility of doing some meditation and a bit of yoga soon. It is pretty cool that we can do that.

Listen to the experts

Our daughter just received a text message from the government to stay home!!! She lives in Scotland. That is pretty serious- she doesn’t remember ever receiving a message from the government before. Unfortunately, our country seems a bit divided throughout and each individual state is making recommendations for themselves. Not to get political here, but is that really the best? Perhaps we should- nation wide – be listening to the health officials-

Working at home

So, we are home. We are working. My husband already had an office set up so he is in good shape. I have switched things around- and I like my current set up. We won’t be having any company anytime soon, so what I have done works for now. I have taken over a room, well, two rooms really , for work purposes.

guest room  now office

We were going to put together a separate building for my studio space this year- BUT, the way the stock market has gone, I doubt that will happen. Very disappointing, but maybe we can repurpose a shed that we have somehow. It will all work out. I’ve done without so far- this was just a dream. Time will tell.

So I can’t help thinking about the WWII situation in the US. I feel like the sacrifices they made were so much harder than what we are having to do. Stay home- stay away from others. They were able to gather- so that might have been easier- who knows. We aren’t able to get certain products since people are hoarding- or are they just scared, scared that if they don’t get it now- they never will? There should have been parameters put on purchases right from the get go so this wouldn’t happen. Too late now-

I’ll keep making masks as long as I can and take it from there. It’s a beautiful day outside after a snowstorm last night. We shoveled before it got too heavy. Gracie is thrilled _”what it snowed again!!! – ye- hah!!” boy that dog loves the snow…

I’m going to bake bread today I think-

Keep well. Leave a message- keep connected!

Maine Maple Sunday – not this year

Maine Maple Sunday – not this year

collecting the sap

Maine Maple Sunday- something we have looked forward to year after year. Our family would usually come join us and we would make the trek to a local farm to have pancakes and their sweet maple syrup. The coffee was even made from maple “water” – pretty special.

We would gather family style in their out building/studio at family style tables sharing pitchers and such. Not this year- no gathering, no sharing. I did see on the news last night that there were some local syrup producers who were doing curb side delivery and pick up for people who had pre- ordered.

Syrup ordering

We already pre- ordered our syrup from our favorite producer here in Maine. We will connect at some point to get our gallon. There is no hurry- there is still plenty in the house to get us through for now. It feels good knowing that it is available to us when we can actually meet Steve or Hannah. Those days still lie ahead for now , but just knowing that things will someday get back to normal keeps us going.

We had pancakes in our own kitchen – with Maine maple syrup ( from last years batch). They were good and it felt a little celebratory since we rarely eat pancakes on our own.


When I was a kid we would have them for Sunday supper sometimes. A tradition I carried on when our kids were young. Any excuse to eat pancakes and maple syrup is a good excuse for me! There are many health benefits to this sweet syrup as well. You can have a look here from The Maine Maple Producers Association My current favorite way is on homemade yogurt- yum.

sweet newborn lamb at A Wrinkle IN Thyme Farm

We would love to see the newborn lambs and if we were really lucky, could get to hold one. This particular farm has a fiber business as well so there are plenty of knitters who make sweaters for the newborns, lambs that is. The nights can still be quite cold after all. The forecast for the coming week here is in the teens so these little wee ones get cold!

Thoughts on today

There may be more maple syrup in my day today- why not? I’m not going anywhere- I’ll be cooking up some plans for moving some furniture around and then making up some kits. I have a design in mind for a pillow and should probably finish the 2 rugs that need to be bound AND the Maine rug – should that become a huge pillow? Maybe….

Current project

Current custom order in progress

What are you up to today? Please leave a comment- I’d love to know what you are doing to keep yourself busy during this very difficult time.

Stay well and keep in touch- its so very important to stay connected.

What about today? What are your plans?

What about today? What are your plans?

What about today? What was different? Town being like a ghost town perhaps? No cars except for delivery trucks passing by our house. It was a bit eerie when you think about it. I ventured into town to get the mail and go to the bank. Only the drive through is open at the bank which is fine, but there was quite a line! I’m not used to waiting in Bethel for any length of time! Now if it was NJ? then yes- I remember those waits- glad we left! I notice that there seems to be out of state license plates when I do actually see a car. They must be escaping the city to get here where they think it is safer. Truth is – no place is really safe but it would be hard to be in a city right now.

Falling asleep or not…

I had a hard time falling asleep last night- I think it was 1:30 a.m. when I last checked the time. Nights like that- they catch up to you after a while. I tried everything I could think of except getting out of bed and going downstairs. I was determined to go to sleep! Sleep did find me finally – so what about today? no nap, but I did get a bit cranky with Gracie and Art. Not good.

Trying new recipes

Yesterday I made a carmelized onion tart which was fabulous! Also a peach and raspberry pie from fruit that we froze from the garden last fall. Yum. Today, didn’t feel like cooking at all! Too tired I guess.

I did put together orders to ship as well as looking at another kit in the making. It feels a bit odd to be going about business when the entire world is in a crisis, but it helps center me and takes my mind off the gravity of this virus pandemic.

Our book club recently read The Dog Stars and let me tell you- it was a little too close to home. If you haven’t read it- put it on your list. It is usually not my cup of tea – but I couldn’t stop reading it! Did I tell you about this in another post? Maybe??? I will miss my book club this coming month – we have such a great group.

Good to have a home library

Art’s reading for the day- escapism

Turns out that our home library is coming in handy- since the local library is closed due to the social distancing imposed. It’s too bad there can’t be a way to get some books into peoples hands right now- though I understand the why .

my reading list

Tomorrow as we continue our social distancing- I think it will be prudent to make a schedule of things to do- not just a list but a when , where and how – it may make the day not seem so disjointed. You wouldn’t think that this would be a problem for me- being an introvert and all, but because there is a necessity to it- it seems just harder. Again, lack of sleep doesn’t make things easier.

Plans for today?

SO- what did you do today ? Hooking is in the cards for tonight- still working on the big custom order. That is coming along and some photos should come soon.

MY hands? good grief! can I wash them any more often?? they are just feeling raw! It’s important though. This COVID 19 is serious stuff. Please remember to stay safe – keep your distance and listen to the experts.

What did you do today? what will you do tomorrow? or the next day, or the next…share if you have any great ideas! Until next time- stay well

Things to fill the time

Things to fill the time

Things to fill the time:

Usually this isn’t a problem, in fact there usually isn’t ENOUGH time. Now- that we are home and keeping safe, there seems to be more time to catch up on the things that slip through the cracks.

On the list

I will put more time into blog writing- at least a good effort is in the works. Some time culling my emails- oh boy, that is a disaster and has needed attention forever! maybe they should all just be deleted and start with a clean slate. The photos! phew! yesterday as I was putting together a new listing for my ETSY shop I decided to go about the photos a bit differently. As the work continued the realization came that- man- some (lots) of these need to go! There is no reason to have all of these duplicates in the file. That will be something that needs to happen in increments or I may just lose my mind . Then there is the basement – years of collected things from our kids, our parents and ourselves- THAT needs to be looked at.

New and old kits on sale

Bunny in the Garden kit

More time to work on new patterns and kits. That is something to look forward to. For the next month , as promised, all kits will be 20% off just in case you need something to fill your time. There is all of the wool that has been waiting for the right time to hit the dye pots. Now that can happen too! The wool soaking will begin in earnest this week. The supplies are already here so the fun can begin.

Lucky to be already working from home

Not sure how long we will have to be separated from one another but I consider myself lucky that I already work from home. There are so many that this just isn’t going to be easy for- or for some- just impossible. With the White MT National Forest literally in my backyard- we can go for walks in the woods and not see anyone which is usually how I like it anyway.

Gracie the pup
Gracie and her stick

Cooking, cleaning, organizing

Some unexpected things will probably fill in the time- a bit more cleaning, a bit more creative cooking, a bit more creative ways to keep Gracie busy! The Gracie thing- that will be a challenge. She does love to be outside! But she too likes solitude- just hanging with “her people” – others get her so very excited she can hardly stand it!

I will miss the time spent with the little ones. The newest member of the family was just starting to warm up to me. We were having a grand time the last few visits. Now we’ll probably have to get reacquainted again. That’s OK, that can be fun too. He will seem so much bigger and be able to do more things when we see each other! He is SO CLOSE to figuring out how to crawl and was doing an impressive plank type move last week.Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of that! The other ones are learning corny jokes and send a voice message daily with a new one- very entertaining. They aren’t quite ready to “go on the road yet” but who knows what lies ahead.

It was feeling like spring last week and I had finally let go of the hopes for more outside snow activities. Gracie was over her cough ( yes, apparently dogs can get colds too- who knew??). My skin treatments were behind me and sunlight was my friend again (long story). But now- just when we thought that spring was around the corner- snow is in our forecast. Shoveling was not in my plan for filling time! We were hoping that OUR crocuses would start peeking through like my daughters were last week. Need to wait for that I guess.

Todays advice

  1. Pretend you need to leave the house and go to work – shower and get dressed. I like to stay in my jammies as much as anyone, but this will make you feel more productive ( even if you put clean jammies on after your shower ).
  2. Drink lots of water – have any Fire Cider- take a few shots a day.
  3. Wash your hands often- you know this, but its good to be reminded.
  4. Use moisturizer on your hands – all that washing makes them chapped and that’s never a good thing.
  5. Reach out to someone online or on the phone- daily
  6. Read something positive –
  7. Stay away from negative FB chatter
  8. Don’t watch the news 24/7
  9. Try to eat fruits and veggies- be creative with what you have

What are your plans for filling your time? Stay positive – fill your time with self renewal. Maybe share some recipes, or good books, or whatever it is that keeps you positive during this crazy time we are in.

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