Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Auld Lang Syne



Happy New Year!  This video is Auld Lang Syne, which I arranged for harp.  It's about 2 minutes long.

Here's a list of the vintage pictures in the video:

1 - Inverary Cross and Castle, Scotland, 1907
2 - family in Queensland, Australia, 1900
3 - boy in Australia, 1890
4 - Flora MacDonald, Scotland, painting by Allan Ramsay, 1749
5 - Crimean War piper, circa 1855
6 - Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, by Samuel Bough, late 1860s
7 - Scottish suffragettes, circa 1910
8 - boy in Australia, 1898
9 - piper and dog in Australia, 1921
10 - Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, by Alexander Nasmyth, 1880
11 - Highland Gathering, Sydney, Australia, 1937
12 - highland dancing, Sydney, 1938
13 - Glasgow University, circa 1895
14 - piper, Scottish Highlands, 1934
15 - Robert Burns, Scottish poet: Auld Lang Syne, late 1700s

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Pachelbel's Canon in D for Christmas



Here's my latest holiday musical arrangement.  It's Pachelbel's Canon for harp plus some chamber instruments.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

We Gather Together



Here's a Thanksgiving song I arranged for harp.  Happy Day!

The vintage pictures in the video are as follows:

1 - From cover of Ladies Home Journal, 1891
2 - Harvesters in Alberta, Canada, 1890
3 - Hopi, 1898
4 - Sami girl in Lapland, c.1930
5 - Hopi, c.1900
6 - schoolchildren in Frankfurt, Germany, 1930
7 - school party in Grand Coulee, WA, 1935
8 - dinner menu, Ft. Mifflin, Philadelphia, 1918
9 - WACs director at Thanksgiving in Frankfurt, 1946
10 - dinner table in Neffsville, PA, 1942
11 - children cooking in Norway, 1957
12 - Thanksgiving postcard, c.1900

Monday, November 11, 2019

New Knit Stitch: The Towel Stitch


The Knitted Towel Stitch

I developed this stitch when I was looking for a way to knit a towel that wouldn't stretch like a sweater when I wanted to use it.  Linen stitch is a good candidate, but it's very slow-going.  Here's what I came up with: the towel stitch!

It makes a thick, non-stretchy fabric.  Fast, easy, and no purling.  Use cotton yarn for absorbency and  larger needles than the yarn calls for--US no. 10 with cotton worsted weight.

The Towel Stitch: How to Do It


Setup
Cable cast-on half the number of desired stitches in a row.
First Row: [Kfb], repeat to end.

Stitch Pattern
Rows 1-10: [K1, sl1 purlwise], repeat to end.
Row 11: [K2tog], repeat to end.
Row 12: [Kfb], repeat to end.
Repeat Rows 1-12 to desired length.

Finish
Last Row: [K1, sl1 purlwise, psso], repeat to end.
Bind off loosely.

(photos: cotton worsted weight yarn, US no. 10 needles)

The Towel Stitch - Knit

Monday, November 4, 2019

Blackstrap Bread



This is my go-to whole wheat bread recipe, which I bake 2-3 times a week.  It makes great sandwiches, and the molasses adds a wonderful flavor.

I make it partly by hand and partly in the bread machine.  But you can use whatever method you like best.

BLACKSTRAP BREAD

1-1/8 cup water
1-1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses or maple syrup*(1)
1/4 cup olive oil
3-1/2 cups whole wheat flour*(2)
1 Tbsp active dry yeast

Stir together water, salt, and molasses until dissolved.  Add oil.  Pour into bread-machine pan or mixing bowl.

Add flour on top of liquid.  Make an indentation in flour and add yeast. Let sit in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Mix ingredients and knead (bread machine can do both).  Let dough rest for about 5 minutes or until it can pass the windowpane test.*(3)

Form dough into a ball, removing bread machine paddle if using.  With 1 Tbsp olive oil in bottom of a medium-sized mixing bowl, roll dough around until coated with oil.  Cover bowl with a layer of waxed paper and then a dish towel.

Let sit for 30-45 minutes in a warm place, until dough has risen above the top of the bowl.

Gently punch down the top of the dough to get rid of big bubbles.  Turn it out onto a floured board and form it into a loaf.*(4)

Place loaf in pan, seam-side-down, cover with waxed paper and dish towel, and let rise in a warm place for about 20-30 minutes, or until it's approximately 1" taller.

Bake at 350 deg. F for 40 minutes (bread machine can do this too).

Remove from pan and cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Recipe Notes

*1. Blackstrap molasses is my favorite sweetener, but an equal amount of maple syrup works just as well.  If you want to use granulated raw sugar, use 1/4 cup sugar and add 1/8 cup water to the recipe.

*2. This amount of flour is just about right if you fluff it with a wire whisk before measuring.  Try not to compact it into the measuring cup.

*3. For the windowpane test, get a ping-pong ball-sized piece of dough and pull it into a thin disc.  Hold it up to the light.  If you can see light through it, the dough has passed the test.  If not, let it rest more.

*4. To form bread dough into a loaf, roll or pat it into a 1-1/2"-thick oval.  Roll it up like a jellyroll, sealing the front of the roll onto the surface of the unrolled dough with every turn--about 4 times.  Roll the remaining flap of unrolled dough up onto the rest, pinching it onto the body of the roll. Turn the roll seam-side-down, pull the ends under, and pinch them together underneath.  Securely pinch all seams, folds, and gaps.

Whole Wheat Bread


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Halloween March



I wrote this little piece for harp--it's called The Halloween March.   You get 52 seconds of vintage photos and harpistic Halloweening.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Easy Homemade Mustard


Mustard Seeds Fermenting in Jar

Having searched the Internet and tried some recipes that gave me bitter mustard--ick--I embarked upon a mustardy quest.  By wading through countless forum posts, I figured out the probable cause of mustard bitterness, and that's water.  It's the water in the recipes that reacts with the mustard and creates the problem.

After much experimentation, here's my go-to, gold-standard recipe, which I make pretty much once a week.  We'll never go back to store-bought at my house.  We are now mustard-addicts.


EASY HOMEMADE MUSTARD

makes about 1/2 cup

1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds (do not rinse)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp blackstrap molasses*
     *maple syrup or raw sugar are fine, also

Combine ingredients in a 1/2-pint jar.

Cover and let sit at room temperature for a day or two.

Process in a food grinder, chopper, or processor until grainy and most of the seeds have been ground.

Keep in refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Notes
  • Do not rinse seeds or add water.  Even the jar should be perfectly dry. Water causes bitterness.  If you have bitter mustard, you can let it sit for a few months, and it will settle down.
  • Depending upon your chopper or processor, it might take a long time to get the mustard ground well enough.  My horrible little Black & Decker chopper takes about 5 minutes.  I hope you have a better machine!
Ground Mustard in Jar