Nan's Nappies

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New Dining Room Floor

Sewing has been a little more challenging lately. I promise that my next post will cover some of my latest projects. I had mentioned the floor in an earlier post and promised I'd show pictures at a later date.  Well, here it is.

I don't know if any of you live in an older home but I do.  My home was built in 1946.  It seems that it always needs something.   In the past few years we have undertaken major remodeling.  We've had two large elm trees, and two maple trees removed.  Inside, we've had the living room carpet removed and the beautiful oak floors refinished.  We also painted that room.  We moved our bedroom upstairs when my daughter moved out, and when my husband was able to move here full time, we converted my son's old bedroom into an office.  Both of those rooms had to be painted.  Then we had the kitchen and upstairs bath totally gutted and remodeled.  

Two weeks ago we removed the carpet in our dining room.  We weren't really prepared to pay for refinishing at this time  but for various reasons that carpet HAD to go. We thought we would discover more oak flooring , put down an area run and refinish the floor at some point in the future.  But we didn't find oak.  Instead, we discovered this  ugly mess.  

We're not sure which owners decided to do this, but they had put down ugly do it yourself floor tiles.  Then at some later date, they, or another owner, decided to take them up.  They must have decided it was too difficult, gave up and put carpet down.  The black adhesive was sort of like tar.  We knew that our dogs and grandchildren could not get anywhere near that mess.

We called Eastern Shore Hardwood Floors.  The company is owned by Rob Kilchenstein and used to have the name of Chesapeake Hardwood Floors. They refinished our living room floor and we were extremely pleased.  We had old furnace vents removed and they repair the hole to the point where you'd never know there was a vent there!  Here are the "after" pictures.   We  also removed some old electric heat units from the baseboard. Central heat and A/C was another big improvement several years ago.  Now we need to paint the wood trim and get an area rug.  What an improvement!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Custom Blankets

I have a girlfriend who makes blankets and then picks out designs for me to embroider on them.  We work together to make a blanket especially for the little baby that she has in mind.  Each one is carefully designed to match the baby's gender and personality of the family.

This first blanket was designed for a long awaited grandchild.

  This one was for her first born grandchild.

This little boy's daddy is hoping his son will like baseball as much as he does.
I love this little design.  It covers four of the major sports and the star glows in the dark.

For the son of a farmer.

For a precious little girl.

I use large thermal blankets.  They are excellent for swaddling.  I made one using the above design but did it in blue for a little boy.  I then made a coordinating beanie and burp cloth. The thermal blanket and the set can be ordered from my Etsy shop.  Just click on the photos to go to my shop or click on "Nan's Nappies" under the preview selections from my shop.  If you want different designs, just ask.  Any of the designs on other items will work on a blanket also.

Thermal Knit Baby Swaddling Blanket

Infant Gift Set

Blankets also make great wedding gifts.  One customer gave me a really nice fleece blanket she found at Ikea and asked me to embroider it for her to give as a wedding gift.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Buttermilk Oatmeal Berry Muffins

Blueberry season will soon be here again.  I still have a few quart size bags in my freezer.  I love them!  They are such an easy little berry to use in so many things.  As I made these this morning, my 3 year old granddaughter came for a visit.  She walked in and said " Oooh!  Whatcha making Nina?"  I lifted her onto the counter top so she could watch as I put in each ingredient.  Oh my goodness how I love having another grandchild  who can share the joys of baking with me!  After they were done, she, along with her little brother helped eat several of them.  They were wonderful with my morning coffee!

Buttermilk-Oatmeal Berry Muffins

I use the Saco Buttermilk powder but you can add 1 TBSP of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk and let it stand for 10 minutes, and you have a wonderful and easy substitute. I didn't use the walnuts because my daughter is allergic but I'm sure they would be wonderful! I use frozen blueberries but you can use any berries that you choose.
1 1/8
Old Fashioned Oatmeal
vanilla extract
flour, all purpose
baking powder
baking soda
light brown sugar
butter, softened
1 1/3
Generously butter ( I use PAM) 18 standard size muffin tins. Place on rack in center of oven . Preheat oven to 400 degrees. I did not do this. I just put the batter into cold muffin tins.
Blend oats, buttermilk and vanilla in a medium bowl; set aside.
Combine egg, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl (I used my KitchenAid mixer) and blend well.
Add butter and beat for 1 minute.
Add buttermilk mixture and blend well,
Add dry ingredients and blend until flour is just incorporated; do not over mix.
Fold in berries. ( Since my berries are frozen I don't have to be too careful because they aren't as delicate as thawed berries)
Fill muffin tins 1/2 full dividing the batter equally among the 18 tins.
Bake until muffins are lightly browned, about 15 to 20 min. Turn out onto rack to cool.
Servings: 18
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/18 of a recipe (2.1 ounces).
Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.
Amount Per Serving
Calories From Fat (24%)
% Daily Value
Total Fat 3.29g
Saturated Fat 1.86g
Cholesterol 12.32mg
Sodium 275.3mg
Potassium 71.04mg
Total Carbohydrates 20.33g
Fiber 1.05g
Sugar 10.76g

Protein 2.1g

Jacobean Hummingbirds

So I am a little embarrassed to say that I had to look up the meaning of Jacobean.  Here is what I found on Wikipedia.

The Jacobean style is the second phase of Renaissance architecture in England, following the Elizabethan style. It is named after King James I of England, with whose reign it is associated.

The Avid Embroiderer Blog ,,  says Jacobean is generally associated with crewel workings and often characterized by the fauna, floral and the beauty of forests. 

Once I saw the pictures I immediately realized that I had seen a lot of Jacobean work and didn't know that was the name for it!

I found these Jacobean applique' hummingbirds on Designs by JuJu.  ( and fell in love.  I had to get the collection and try it out.  These designs are definitely more time consuming than other applique' but the results are well worth the effort.  I bought a plain purple t-shirt for my first attempt .  What do you think?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Honey Oatmeal Bread

I made homemade bread to go with our chicken noodle soup the other night.  I posted pictures on Facebook  ( and had some requests for the recipe so here it is.

The recipe is in my cookbook that came with my Kitchenaid Mixer almost 20 years ago.

In a small sauce pan combine :
 1 1/2 cups water,
 1/2 cup honey ( I used Agave Nectar)
 1/3 cup butter

 I like to use Agave Nectar because it has a lower glycemic index and is lower in calories.

Place the sauce pan over low heat until the liquids are very warm ( 120-130 degrees F)

As you can see from my thermometer, I got the liquids too hot.  It is important to let them cool before adding your yeast or you will kill the yeast!  I was in a hurry, as usual, and didn't want to wait for it to cool so I filled a bowl with some ice cubes and placed the pan on top. I kept stirring the liquids and in under two minutes they were the correct temperature.

Set the liquids aside.

In your mixing bowl place 5 cups all purpose flour.  Again I changed the recipe.  I used 3 cups bread flour , not all purpose, and 2 cups whole wheat flour.  I sometimes subsitute 1/2 cup ground flaxseed for 1/2 cup of the white flour.

To the flour add 1 cup quick cooking oats.   I do not like quick cooking oats and always use Old Fashioned Oats.

Add 2 tsp salt and 2 packages of dry active yeast.  I always use the jar of Bread Machine Yeast which says 2 1/4 tsp equals 1 package of yeast .

Attach the bowl with the dry ingredients to your mixer with dough hook attached.  Mix on speed 2 for about 15 seconds.

Gradually add your saucepan of warm liquid to the flour mixture and mix about 1 minute.  Add 2 eggs and mix an additional minute.

Continue mixing on Speed 2  and add up to 1 1/2 additional cups of bread flour 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clings to hook and cleans the sides of the bowl.  Knead on Speed 2 for 2 minutes longer.

Place in a greased bowl ( I spray mine with Pam or equivalent but you can also use Crisco or butter in the bowl)  When placing it in the bowl, try to form a ball with the dough.  Then you can either turn it over to get the top greased or spray more Pam on the top of the dough.  Cover with a cloth or piece of wax paper and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk about 1 hour.  If you want it to rise faster, turn your oven on to 200 degrees.  Once oven is warm, turn it off and place your bowl of dough in the oven.  You will know when the bread has doubled if you press it with your finger and it tried to bounce back.

Punch dough down.  That is exactly what you do!  Use your fist and punch it straight down in the center.

  Spray or grease two loaf pans.  Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a loaf and place into greased loaf pan.  Cover and let rise again until doubled in bulk for about 1 hour.

There are various methods for shaping.  I sometimes place the ball of cough on a flour covered board and roll it out to a rectangle about the width of my bread pan.  Then , beginning on the wide end of the dough I roll it up like a jelly roll, tuck the ends in and place it in the pan.  This does give the bread a good consistency.  If I am too hurried, I just kind of mold it into a loaf and put in the loaf pan.

Turn your oven on to 375 degrees.  While it is heating, take a small bowl and combine 1 egg white with 1 Tbsp water.  Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of each loaf.  Then sprinkle with some more oatmeal.

Now it's ready to go in the oven for  around 40 min. or until the tops are golden brown.

This bread is great fresh from the oven.  The next day it's best when heated a little in the microwave or lightly toasted.  That is my favorite way to eat it!