Friday, January 28, 2011

Que Sera Sera...

When I was just a Bald Baby

I asked my Maker , "What will I be?"

Will I be pretty? Will I be loved?
What should I tell her? What do you think? I think little Jenny will be okay!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fougasse - Easy to make French Bread

Being a German Immigrant I often get this question: What do you miss most about Germany? Over the years the answer has remained the same. Besides family, of course, the thing I miss most about Germany is bread. After living in the US for over 15 years, I still have a hard time finding decent bread in the grocery store. The first couple of years I was so depressed about the choices here that I tried to bake my own. But living at high altitude, I found it very difficult to bake good bread. I gave up on sourdough breads completely, when one day I managed to produce a loaf that was so hard, it resembled a brick, and my husband suggested we try burn it in the fire place...

But never mind my failures. I found one great recipe that works even at high elevations. It is really fun and easy to make. I make it to go along with soups. The whole family loves the flavor, and the kids have been intrigued with the bread's leaf-shape since they were little and started to reach for the breadbasket.
I found the recipe in a cooking magazine many years ago. It's been so long I can't even recall where it came from. But it's a French style bread called Fougasse.
Here is what you need to make it:
4 cups of flour (I use 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 3 cups of regular flour)
1.5 cups of lukewarm water
tsp of yeast
1-2 tsp of sea salt ( I use 1 tsp since I try to cut down on sodium)
2 Tsp of Herbs de Provence
2 Tsp of extra Virgin Olive Oil plus some more
corn meal

How to make it:
Put the flour, herbs de Provence, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the lukewarm water in the measuring cup. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then add the water with yeast to the flour, add the tablespoons of olive oil and knead everything together. If you have a KitchenAid mixer, you can just stand by and watch as the dough hook does all the work for you. If not, roll up your sleeves and with some elbow grease you can do it. It's not so bad! Once the you have a nice big ball of sticky dough, put a little olive oil into the bowl and coat the outside of your dough ball with it. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place.
After the dough has risen for about an hour split it into two equal parts. Roll out each into a flat roundish disk shape. Use a Pizza wheel and cut slits in the shape of the veins on a leave into your bread. Pull the dough slightly apart to make the holes bigger where you cut it.
Place each loaf on a cookie sheet that you have sprinkled with corn meal. This will keep your bread from sticking to the sheet plus give it a nice crispy bottom crust!
Cover both breads with kitchen towels and let them rise in a warm place. While they are rising, arrange the racks in your oven so that you can bake two loaves at the same time in it! Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rub some olive oil on the loaves of bread right before you put them into the oven! Put loaves in and set the timer for 9 minutes. After 9 minutes switch the two cookie sheets around. The bread that was baking on the top needs to go to the bottom and vice versa. After switching them around continue baking for another 9 minutes or until crust gets golden brown.
Can you smell the beautiful aroma of the Herbs de Provence yet? Yummy! It's so good! And you get two loaves at once. We eat loaf with our soup. The other I used for fixing school lunch sandwiches.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Share The Love of Germandolls Giveaway

I recently added shipping to Canada on all my dolls clothes listings in my Etsyshop. Worldwide shipping is still a bit too scary for me. But I am widening my circle...To celebrate this fact I am hosting this Giveaway. If you were disappointed at Christmas because you don't live in the US and could not participate in a Giveaway I hosted on the NaturalKids blog a little while ago. This is your chance! This promotion is open to people all over the world! Please note that I am not responsible for duties/customs fees if you win this item, and I ship it to you!

Enter now to win one of my sweet Valentine's Day themed Trademark Pocketdresses including a wee red Heartshaped Pocketbaby. The winner of this Giveaway will receive a 12 OR 14 inch dress fresh from my workbench. You tell me what size! The dress will be made from chocolate colored Big Hearts flannel fabric. So cute!

This is how You Enter this Giveaway:
Please note, that friends and family members of GermanDolls and their families are excluded from this promotion. Sorry, NattyKids, that includes you, my friends! Other than that this promotions is open to everybody on the planet earth!
If you would like to enter, please do so by visiting Ulla's cozy corners on the Internet. Please go visit and comment on any of the sites where my shop is present. Don't forget to leave your email address in your comment here so I can contact you if you win!
Here are the many places you can visit and show your love for GermanDolls :
  • Visit my shop on Artfire
  • Add GermanDolls to your Etsy favorites.
  • Become a Fan of GermanDolls and Natural Kids on Facebook (and/or post this giveaway to your FB page)
  • Become a follower of GermanDolls’ Blog right here! Don't' forget to leave a comment.=)
  • Follow GermanDolls and Twitter and Tweet about this giveaway.Blog about this giveaway with a link back to the post.
  • Post about this Giveaway on your own blog and link back here!
This Giveaway ends next Saturday 29th, 2011 at midnight my time. I will announce the winner right HERE and notify him/her via email.
Please not this contest is OVER! The Winner of this GiveAway is DrKeri! Thanks so much for all your lovely comments! I really appreciate all of you so much and hope to give you another chance at winning soon!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Out of Print Fabrics

What is the most money you have ever spent on a piece of fabric? Seriously, tell me the truth! From one fabric-addict to another. I promise I won't tell your husband or anyone else for that matter. I know what it's like being questioned about my bad fabric habit. I think the most I have ever spent on a single yard is about $20 plus shipping (that doesn't count, right?). And that was for Japanese imported Kawaii fabric.

Over my years of dealing with fabrics I have made some interesting discoveries in my search for pretty cloth. It does not surprise me any more that some fabric designers are more sought after than others. In fact, I have come across one or two designers whose creations have become so popular that the price of their cloths has increased more than 10 times. One example is Heather Ross' fabric. I came across her cute designs a few years ago. I remember looking on Ebay and seeing people spending megabucks on cut up PJs made of her designer fabric. We are talking disassembled pants here - not even squares of fabric, people. Wow! I was shocked!

I love Heather's cute gnome fabric designs and have made many a dress with it over the years. But would I shell out well over $100 per yard to buy some of this fabric? Fabric addict or not - I THINK NOT! I simply can't afford it.

So now I have a little bit of a dilemma here. A little while ago I realized that I own a few yards of these precious, rare, sought after Heather Ross fabrics. One is the blue gnome fabric. The other is the purple fabric Matryoshka print. They are both so adorable and I understand why people are after them. So what should I do? Looks like I could make some serious coin selling them off as fat quarters to people who are worse addicts than me. Should I sell them? Or should I turn them into doll clothes? And then, what would the fair price for such a doll outfit made of this rare fabric be? My inclination is to keep the fabric and to use it the way I intended to use it when I first bought it. After all, I am not a fabric seller...I'd appreciate some opinions on this topic!

It does feel rather strange cutting into a piece of fabric that is considered rare and precious by so many people...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Giveaway Coming Soon!

Watch out! Love is on Way! Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Also GermanDolls GiveAway will be held right here starting this coming weekend. So don't forget to visit my blog this weekend and post a comment!
One of my lovely Big Hearts Pocketdresses could be yours if you participate in the Great NorthAmerican GiveAway! Rules will be posted on Saturday.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Strange Guest at Our Bird Feeder...

The bad economy has been tough on everyone. Even the birds! Who can afford to buy bird seeds when people are going hungry and you often feel that that the family food budget is out of control? Of course, I can only speak for our family. I hate to admit that we did not buy any bird food for quite a while - it's been two years or so.

The only good thing for the little guys is that we have had a rather mild Winter in Colorado and not too much snow. That is - until this past weekend. So we brought back the bird feeder from the garden patch - where it had been serving as tomato stake.

Now my little friends are back and so happy. Until another guest showed up for some food. Not exactly the vegetarian kind...I quickly snapped a picture of our strange guest. He was happy the bird feeder was back, too. For different reasons though...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Where to find that fabric? Help!

What do you call a person who is totally addicted to fabric? Fabroholic? Fiberholic? Clothaddict?

I know there are a lot of us. At times the addiction gets so bad that we get depressed over a piece of fabric that is totally precious to us because we ran out of it. We mourn over the last few inches as we cut into them. Sigh! Sniffle. But you may speak freely here and confess to me. I understand!

Or even worse than running out of a certain kind is this situation: Have you ever gone to a quilt fair and bought the most lovely piece of cloth? You bought just a fat quarter, because really you shouldn't have bought this fabric to begin with, since you spent too much money already...But then you came home, and you looked at the fabric, and admired it. It started to really grow on you. Next thing you knew, you were really sad because you began thinking that this was the prettiest fabric you ever set your eyes on. Oh the things you could make with this kind of fabric. If only you had more of it. Soon you started looking at the selvage line, frantically searching for the designer. NADA. It just so happened that the fabric was cut in a fashion that you ended up with a piece that didn't carry that sort of information. Wahhhhh. What to do now?

I am posting a picture of such a fabric here. It is pink and has the heads of roses. The roses have a silvery shimmer to them, they look kind of frosted. The roses are arranged in rows. I used the this fabric as a background for my current Valentine's Day blogbanner. I am posting this in the hope that somebody may see it and maybe know who designed and printed the fabric. If you have yardage of this fabric I'd buy it from you. Make me an offer! I want that fabric!!! Please, pretty please help me out here! I love this fabric and cannot find it anywhere. Maybe you know of ways to find a fabric. I searched the internet high and low. I even found a website called MissingFabrics and tried to post a picture there. I failed. Must try again.

I suppose they don't put pictures of missing fabric on milk cartons...

Confessions of a fabric addict...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Awesome Red Lentil Soup

Finally winter has arrived in Colorado. I was afraid it would never happen. While the rest of the nation appears to have been buried in the white stuff – we have had all but two inches of snow in our town. Our family loves to eat soup when the cold hits. Nothing beats a nice bowl of soup when you come in from a day of playing in the snow. So I sure am glad that the time has come to make one of our favorite soups. Not only is it tasty and nutritious, it also has a pretty color from the red lentils. It looks super served in pretty white bowl! Unfortunately I didn't snap a picture last time I made it. I promise you will love this great vegetarian dish that does not take very many ingredients and is easy to make!

You need:

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 big onion diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
¼ teaspoon of salt or more to taste
¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper
6 -8 cups of low salt chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup of red lentils
2 carrots, peeled and diced
lemon or lime juice
fresh cilantro

1. Put olive oil in a large pot to coat the bottom of the pot. Preserve the rest of the olive oil for drizzling over the soup later. Heat the olive oil in the pot until it is very hot. Add the diced onions and the garlic. Saute until golden and soft, for about 4 minutes.

2. Add tomato paste and spices to the pot and stir in with the onion and garlic. Saute for another 2 minutes.

3. Add the stock, lentils, and dices carrots. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat. Then cover the pot and simmer over medium low heat until the lentils and carrots have softened. This takes about 30 minutes. Add more salt and pepper if need be.

4. Puree about half of the soup with an immersion or regular blender. You don’t want to puree all of it unless you like your soup very smooth. We prefer more of chunky type of soup.

5. Right before serving the soup pour in the lemon juice, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle some cilantro on top.

6. Serve with crusty bread.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy 2o11!

May your New Year be filled with Love and Laughter, my Friends!