Friday, September 30, 2011

New Facebook Store, e-Book (soon) Fabrics, Freebie!

Lions, and tigers, and bears, OH! MY! I am B-U-S-Y! Now that my precious daughter-in-law, Bri, is going back to work on Monday, she and I have been busy ironing out the wrinkles in new grandbaby Remy's schedule. I have the unbelievable joy of watching my exquisite granddaughter full time! (Although, really and truly, I am so sorry that Bri may miss some "firsts.")

In addition to this new, full-time job, I've been working on some new scrapbooking kits (get your free sample, below), a tutu for Remy, my upcoming e-Book, Crafting for Charities, designing fabric to enter in competitions at Spoonflower, and actually crafting. I've opened my Facebook Store, and almost have my new website open, too. (I know, I know; I've been saying that for awhile. But since I work completely alone, how much can one person do?)

I went to my very first Yom Teruah celebration last night, and no, I'm not Jewish. More like Messianic Jewish (a Christian who observes the Torah and Moedim). It was downright, upright, outright, outstanding! The blast of the shofar brought chills to my body and thrills to my heart. Oh, what will it be like when Yeshua returns?? (For my recipe for Challah—egg bread— see below, after the freebie.)

My youngest grandson, Tommy, was doing what little boys do last night and did what little boys do. First, you need to realize that he is five years old, and flying under your own power is still a distinct possibility. He was "flying" from one chair to another when he got too close to the sun, I guess. His "wings melted," and down came our little hero, hitting the hearth and breaking his arm. When my daughter called to update me on her own health problems, she gave me the news. Poor little guy!

I have been designing fabric at Spoonflower—and entering contests. I've made it into the top 10 for "stuffies" (my entry is a jack-o-lantern banner), and out of 400 participants, I've made it into the semi-finals with my "Wild World" ditzy print. I've ordered some of my own fabric and am going to make a pillow for my husband on his birthday. When it is done, I'll post pictures for you.

So here's the freebie, from my kit-in-the-works, Baby's Got the Blues. Click on the image to download. Use of this one is restricted to paper crafts, but you can use the design in any legal or morally-upright way as long as it is for paper crafts. I encourage its use for charities!

Best Challah (Egg Bread)
Adapted from Joan Nathan
The secrets to good challah are simple: Use two coats of egg wash to get that laquer-like crust and don’t overbake it. Joan Nathan, who this recipe is adapted from, adds that three risings always makes for the tastiest loaves, even better if one of them is slowed down in the fridge.
Time: about 1 hour, plus 2 1/2 hours’ rising
Yield: 2 loaves
1 1/2 packages active dry yeast (1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon salt
8 to 8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins per challah, if using, plumped in hot water and drained
Poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling.
1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water.
2. Whisk oil into yeast, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with remaining sugar and salt. Gradually add flour. When dough holds together, it is ready for kneading. (You can also use a mixer with a dough hook for both mixing and kneading, but be careful if using a standard size KitchenAid–it’s a bit much for it, though it can be done.)
3. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Clean out bowl and grease it, then return dough to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. Dough may also rise in an oven that has been warmed to 150 degrees then turned off. Punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.
4. At this point, you can knead the raisins into the challah, if you’re using them, before forming the loaves. To make a 6-braid challah, either straight or circular, take half the dough and form it into 6 balls. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Place the 6 in a row, parallel to one another. Pinch the tops of the strands together. Move the outside right strand over 2 strands. Then take the second strand from the left and move it to the far right. Take the outside left strand and move it over 2. Move second strand from the right over to the far left. Start over with the outside right strand. Continue this until all strands are braided. For a straight loaf, tuck ends underneath. For a circular loaf, twist into a circle, pinching ends together. Make a second loaf the same way. Place braided loaves on a greased cookie sheet with at least 2 inches in between.
5. Beat remaining egg and brush it on loaves. Either freeze breads or let rise another hour.
6. If baking immediately, preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush loaves again. Sprinkle bread with seeds, if using. If freezing, remove from freezer 5 hours before baking.
7. Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. (If you have an instant read thermometer, you can take it out when it hits an internal temperature of 190 degrees.) Cool loaves on a rack.
Note: Any of the three risings can be done in the fridge for a few hours, for more deeply-developed flavor. When you’re ready to work with it again, bring it back to room temperature before moving onto the next step.
Round or straight braid? Raisins or skip them? Straight loaves of braided challah are eaten throughout the year–typically on the Sabbath–round challahs, often studded with raisins, are served for the New Year and the other High Holidays that follow.

Left-over challah makes AWESOME French toast!


  1. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave in the DigiFree category today [01 Oct 01:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 3 post on Oct. 01, 2011. Thanks again.