Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Scrumptious...Pasteis de nata

A warm welcome to you, dear friends...♥
I hope you'll join me for a lovely cup of tea this morning...
and perhaps one or two of these scrumptious little tartlets...?

Ever since I first tasted these delightful Portuguese custard tarts, I have loved them...
The other morning I thought it would be a good idea to whip up something delicious for teatime
and then remembered I had a recipe for these lovelies somewhere...

What I love about Pasteis de nata is that they are not too sweet...
Perhaps I may be considered strange, but I do not have much of a sweet tooth and generally would choose a savoury treat over a sweet one...these are an exception...{{Smiles}}

 A little history about Pasteis de nata...
Pastéis de nata were created before the 18th century by Catholic monks at the Jerónimos Monastery in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belém, in Lisbon, Portugal.
These monks were originally based in France and loved these pastries which could be found in local French bakeries. 
At the time, convents and monasteries used large quantities of egg-whites for starching of clothes, such as nuns' habits. 
It was quite common for monasteries and convents to use the leftover egg yolks to make cakes and pastries, resulting in the proliferation of sweet pastry recipes throughout the country.
Following the extinction of the religious orders and in the face of the impending closing of many of the convents and monasteries in the aftermath of the Liberal Revolution of 1820, the monks started selling pastéis de nata at a nearby sugar refinery to secure some revenue. 
In 1834 the monastery was closed and the recipe was sold to the sugar refinery, whose owners in 1837 opened the Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém. 
The descendents own the business to this day.
Since 1837, locals and visitors to Lisbon have visited the bakery to purchase fresh from the oven pastéis, sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar.
Source:  Wikipedia
And now of course you would like the recipe...you will be surprised at how simple they are to make and how very delicious they are...
  Portuguese Custard Tarts
Recipe Courtesy:  Fresh Living Magazine, April 2013 
 Makes 12-16 Tartlets
1 roll puff pastry
1tsp castor sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Custard Filling:
2tbsp (30ml) cake flour
2 cups (500ml) fresh full cream milk
1/4 cup (60ml) cream
4 free-range egg yolks
1/4 cup (55g) brown sugar
Pinch salt
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp (5ml) vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 290 degrees Celsius.
Roll out pastry thinly and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
Rightly roll pastry into a sausage and cut into 1cm rings.
Press each pastry round into base and up sides of each cup of a greased muffin pan.

Mix flour into a paste with a little milk and combine with remaining ingredients in a saucepan.
Stir over a gentle heat until custard thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Don't boil mixture.
Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve if need be.
Pour filling into pastry lined muffin cups until 3/4 full.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden.
Remove tartlets from pan, cool and serve. 


Pasteis de nata are best eaten straight from the oven and served with either coffee or tea...hmmm... ♥
We decided to have a mini tea party...everyday is a good day for tea party, wouldn't you agree?
And a tea time treat is a wonderful incentive for little ladies to complete their tasks diligently and cheerfully too...{{Smiles}}

 Wishing you a happy new week, dear readers...
Do you have any special plans for the upcoming week?

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Treasures this week....❤

What a delightful week passed us by...
Productive, pleasant and peaceful...days that were happily filled with both work and leisure!  {{smiles}}

 "Have regular hours for both work and play; 
make each day both useful and pleasant, 
and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. 
 Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, 
and life will become a beautiful success." 
 ~ Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

I decided to compile all the little ''treasures'' I discovered this week and share them with you, dear readers...

I enjoyed a lovely little baking sesson one warm afternoon this week...these darling and oh~so~delicious custard tarts were the result...recipe coming soon...❤

Nancy and I spent a very pleasant afternoon sewing together on Tuesday...
We created a pretty summer outfit for Sofia with sweet pink fabric we had on hand...
Nancy made the peasant blouse and headband whilst I worked on the tiered skirt.

Whilst I am not a big fan of board games, I enjoyed an evening of Trivial Pursuit...or rather our attempt at it...with my mom, dad and sister, Nancy.  
Oh, how we laughed at the questions and most especially at our answers...  
We are hoping to make a board game evening a weekly occurance...

I discovered how dearly I love old hymns...and how few I know by heart...
This week I have been humming, singing and pondering 
the richness of hymns and the words penned by men and women who truly tasted hardship yet chose to praise and give thanks to the LORD in the midst of pain, sorrow and loss...

This is one of my favourite hymns...❤

"Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief and pain;
leave to thy God to order and provide;
in every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end."
 ~ Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel

This week I resumed my walks...how delightful to whistle for the dogs, pull on my boots and meander through the fields and gravel road surrounding the farm.  
I don't think I could ever tire of this route for although the beauty is sparse and rugged, there is a deep joy to be found in spotting tiny flowers amidst brown grass or withered leaves...  
A drier winter means less greenery, but there is still a great deal to enjoy when on a country walk.

How quickly potatoes grow after beautiful, refreshing rain!  
Nancy and I were just about to set off on a walk on Sunday afternoon when a strong wind came up, bringing with it wonderful rain!  
Oh, how we have needed water...the LORD always provides in time...
My potato patch soaked up the life-giving water and a couple days of sunshine combined with clean water means I have another vigorous afternoon of hoeing before me!  {{smiles}}

Aww, baby smiles never cease to bring delight!  
Little Caleb is such a darling baby boy...he has now begun wearing more boyish outfits seeing as he outgrew his baby clothes in less than four months!
He is perfectly precious in his wee tracksuits and dungarees!
Lately I have been very challenged to spend more time in prayer and in the reading of the Word...
I am purposing to ''not look into the face of man before looking into the face of GOD" each day and oh!  My time of quiet before the LORD has been blessed and wonderful...
He has given me a renewed desire to serve Him and seek a deeper, richer relationship with Him!

 Flowers gracing a vintage planter...

I am dreaming of Spring days...  
Springtime weather is most certainly just around the corner...winter is making her way to the Northern Hemisphere and warmer days are swiftly approaching!
I must take pen to paper and begin planning all that I hope to sow this season...{{Smiles}}

We have been planning a wonderful occasion for all the sweet young ladies we know...
A Springtime tea is coming up soon and oh!  
I am so looking forward to sharing the delights with you...
At the moment we are crafting and sending out invitations... 
As the tea is for girls ages 9 and up, both Beth and Gabrielle will be attending..  
You can just imagine their delight!  {{smiles}}

I have also been sewing for Heart❤made as and when I have time...
I hope to share what I have been making very soon...

...And thus another blissful, busy week draws to a close...

What brought you joy this week, sweet readers?

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Thursday Pearls

 "Watch out for the slightest inclination to be careless about such things as reading the Bible, going to church, praying, and the taking of the Lord's Supper. Beware of shortening your prayers, Bible reading, your private communion with God. Be careful that you do not give way to a thoughtless, lazy manner of using weekly services of the Church. Fight against any rising disposition to be sleepy, critical, and fault-finding, while you listen to the preaching of the Gospel. Whatever you do for God, do it with all your heart, mind and strength. In other things be moderate, and dread running into extremes. In matters of the soul fear moderation just as you would fear the plague. Don't care what men may think of you.
Let it be enough for you that your Master says,
"make every effort."

~ J.C. Ryle 
 "When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

~ Psalm 61:2, NKJV
Blessings and love in Christ Jesus,
Painting:  A Young Girl Reading, or The Reader. Jean-Honoré Fragonard

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Sewing for Sweet Little Girls....

The house fairly quiet, unusually so in fact...
The pins were scattered across the table and the fabric laid out...
Patterns were traced; the scissors fearlessly cut through the pretty 
printed material before the sewing machine began humming steadily...

Today my sister, Nancy, and I spent a pleasant afternoon sewing together 
which was a rare occurance indeed given our opposite personalities....{{smiles}}

Nancy worked with beautiful dark pink summer cotton to 
make a simple peasant top whilst I used a printed cotton and a 
light pink cotton for a girl's tiered skirt...
The two of us confered with one another as to the style and 
choice of fabric before we began our seperate afternoon's tasks...

The little girl we were sewing for just happened
to be our littlest sister, Miss Sofia.
Now, sweet Miss Sofia is in dire need of pretty clothes...
She is a true farmgirl and doesn't like to keep her clothes neat 
and clean when playing outside with her sisters...
Thus, we decided to sew something feminine for her that 
would be reserved for special occasions or when going to town...

The two of us were busy as bees and when little Sofia awoke from her nap, 
she was required to have us fit the garments before we continued with our sewing...
In between the evening milking, cleaning and supper preparation, 
we completed both items and did the final fitting just as Sofia made her way to bed...
Now she has a gorgeous summery outfit 
which is many things indeed...feminine, modest, comfortable 
and just right for an adorable four year old such as Sofia.

^A precious almost-five-year-old little lady...Sofia

I added ribbons to the two sides of the skirt so as to make hanging
up in the wardrobe simpler...and, but of course (!), 
I hung her new outfit on one of heartmade's covered hangers...{{smiles}}


Look at the little darling in her peasant blouse, beautifully handmade by Nancy...
She even made her a sweet matching hairband and 
added a bow to the blouse, made from the same fabric as the tiers of the skirt.

^Sofia in her new pink outfit, complete with a happy smile!  

^Aww...isn't she a precious little thing?


I have not written much about Sofia of late...but just like Caleb, she too is reaching milestones every day and growing so beautifully indeed...
She has a truly kind heart and is very affectionate towards her family.
She gives the most wonderful hugs and sloppy kisses...


Sofia loves to play but enjoys working as well...and not just 
doing her chores...  I am constantly amazed at how diligently she goes about 
her school work and how focused she is when learning a new concept.  

^ The young gent with his adoring older sister...

She loves Caleb so much...before he was born, she was 
convinced that she didn't want a brother, but as soon as she 
laid eyes upon the little lad, her heart melted...she and Caleb are 
dear friends and could perhaps be a handful as he becomes a bit more mobile...

Ah, and so ends a most delightful sewing project indeed! 
Both Nancy and I agreed that the afternoon was very well spent 
 and we were quite surprised at how quickly 
we finished sewing, considering we had only one sewing machine 
between the two of us and more than a couple of interruptions... 
We have come to the conclusion that we need to be intentional 
about that which we wish to do...  
Each week we hope to make something along the clothing 
lines as we love dressing our sisters in beautiful, girly outfits...  

I don't know about you, but I am always shocked at not 
only the price of clothing in the stores, but also how little there is to be found 
that is feminine and modest...
Young girls today are dressed in modern, skin tight clothes from a very 
early age that does not encourage them to be young ladies or feminine in the least...

My sisters have time to be rough and get all dirty...they shouldn't need to fret about clothes.
And as Julie Andrews so eloquently said in the film The Sound of Music...  
"Excuse me, Captain, but when do they play?"  {{smiles}}

Many days I am shocked by the little girls' appearances...
Not only do they constantly tear and muddy their clothes, 
but they also get their hair dirty and messy, and their faces 
are positively brown by the end of a day's play!
Ah, but they are happy and that is what truly matters...
My mom always maintains that one can see how well a
child has played by how dirty they are at the end of a day!

Hopefully this is the first of many sewing projects for the little girls in our family...
Have a wonderfully creative day, sweet readers...

 "Unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of female excellence, the richest gem in the diadem of her honor." 

~ Webster's 1828 Dictionary

 Today I am sharing this sewing project with...

Monday, 22 August 2016

More Pictures of...Caleb Courage

 Just look at this little guy...  Oh, is he not the most adorable thing you have ever seen?
I am falling more and more in love with this sweet baby boy as the days go by and am still in awe of the fact that he is in fact ours...and my brother...

Caleb will be four months old on August 29th but in many ways it feels as if he has always been here...

As I mentioned in the last post I shared on Caleb, he has outgrown most of his clothes and is quite happy to tootle about in his walking ring...  He has subsequently discovered his voice and the pitch of which proves there is nothing wrong with his lungs!  {{smiles}}
We call his loud squeals (which he does for fun or when he wants attention) his ''Caleb Roar'' as it sounds just like he is roaring!

His gentle spirit is evident, though and what a blessing it is to cuddle him close and savour a precious moment...Caleb loves to hug and give kisses.  
We are truly cherishing these special times with him...

On Tuesday my mom and I went to do monthly shopping...I got to take Caleb while she was busy at one store and walk from shop to shop to compare prices or buy a couple items...
We had such a good time together and it is so funny when folk ask me whether he is mine.  
You can imagine the response when I reply that he is actually my brother!  {{smiles}}


Four months have flown by...just thinking back to the day Caleb was born...meeting him for the first time and waiting for Mom and Dad to arrive home from the hospital...  These arre things that are forever etched in my memory.  Our family walked through one of the darkest, most frightening times in our lives, but never have we felt so near the Lord or experienced His grace in a more real way.
I can only praise Him for His goodness and mercy and for sending incredible people to pray and stand with us.

Aww, I could never tire of looking upon Caleb's precious face or hearing his laugh...and his smiles are enough to melt your heart! 

It is so sweet to hear how much my lovely blogging friends enjoy seeing photograps of little Caleb or hearing about how he has grown...  What a joy to share his little life with all of you!
Thank you for your kind words and visits ~ it is a delight to count you as dear friends in this wonderful community of like-minded ladies!  {{smiles}}

Happy new week, sweet readers...
"Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, 
for He is good; 
For His lovingkindness is everlasting."

~ Psalm 106:1

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Thursday Pearls

 Even when the heart is weary,
Even when the heart is weak;
Even when the days look bleary,
Even when the days look bleak.
Just put your trust in the One above
And He will give you strength and joy
If you will only trust and love.
Even when you lose your trust
And have such little faith,
Just remember to keep a smile upon your face!

~ Poem written by Beth Gray
I love this short poem written by my twelve year old sister, Beth...
When she read it aloud to me for the first time, I was amazed at how poignantly it spoke to my heart...
How often don't we allow our emotions to be the ruler of our countenance and our attitude towards life?
How true that even when we are walking through trials we should keep a smile upon our face so as to be a testimony to others that the love of God resides in us...

"For the joy of the Lord is your strength."  
~ Nehemiah 8:10

Blessings on this beautiful Thursday, dear readers!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Pleasant Wintry Days on the Farm...

What a stormy, grey day it is indeed!  
I watched the cold weather blow in yesterday afternoon from the comfort of my bed where I was curled up under a blanket with a cup of coffee in hand...a rare and delightful thing to be savoured...{{smiles}}

This morning our dear old sweet cow big nasty mean cow escaped from her camp yet again.... 
Thankfully I spotted that the gate had been broken through sooner rather than later, so off Beth and I went with a lead rope and a bucket of food in hand to find the missing cow...
We found her a soon after, blissfully grazing in a field across the way, this was after crashing through the overgrowth surrounding the farm and running down a steep incline (which we had to climb up again).

^ Rebekah and her hen, Edith...

Molly is proving to be a challenge...yesterday during milking time, she decided to kick the pail over and somehow managed to get her foot stuck in it, denting the side pretty badly.  I held on to the pail which resulted in two of my fingers being cut and a couple big tears landing on my cheeks.  
A friend of mine reckons Molly was sent to build my character...I sure could think of a few other ways to achieve this!  {{smiles}}  I am truly happy to have a cow, though and am quite fond of old Molly despite her ill-temper!

Farm life is not all sunshine and happiness as I quickly realised a couple years ago when we first started out on our homesteading journey...
There will always be something to try your patience or cause you to have to stop what you're doing...  Animals will break loose and crops will fail...fences have to be put up and weeds pulled...

It is a wonderful life, make no mistake, but it takes tremendous patience and a  whole lot of good humour at times!  
But I honestly wouldn't trade it for the world...

^ Gabrielle and Sofia in the garden...

...I love being able to look out my bedroom window and see a cow grazing in the field...it makes me smile to think of all that good grass being turned into rich, creamy milk for us to enjoy...
I love watching the chickens peck about in the dirt or enjoy a handful of sorrel I picked for them, knowing that in a little while a song from one of them will tell me a fresh egg has been laid...

I love walking outside to gather what I need for dinner from the garden or basking in the bright sunshine just looking at how the potato crop has grown in less than a week....

I love watching my sisters run and play in the fields beyond; their shouts echoing across the valley.  How happy are they that they can enjoy the freedom of country life!

There are a great many joys to make up for the challenges of farm life and it is important to keep the right perspective and a joyful heart...

In a little while I will head to the kitchen to whip up some delicious butternut and orange scones for lunch.  What a blessing...  {Recipe can be found here....}
Tomorrow morning I will rise early to milk Molly once again, grateful for the privilege of having a cow and fresh, raw milk.
Everyday I will praise the Lord for His goodness and mercy and for graciously providing this rich, wonderful lifestyle!

How blessed am I to be warm and cosy in this home, wrapped up for winter and able to spend the day doing that which I love...sewing, cooking, reading stories to little girls and giving cuddles to my baby brother.

Happiest of Mondays to you, sweet readers...

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Thursday Pearls

"Earning happiness means doing good and working, not speculating and being lazy.  Laziness may look inviting, but only work gives true satisfaction."

~ Anne Frank

"For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."

~ 2 Thessalonians 3:10, KJV

Happiest of Thursdays, my dear friends!
May we always remember what a blessing it is to work...may your hearts be challenged and inspired!


Painting:  September by Edmund Blair Leighton

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Beautiful Fabric Bookmarks ~ A Tutorial

A warm welcome to you, dear friends and happy Monday...
How would you like to join me for a lovely sewing session on this crisp August afternoon?

Let us sort through our favourite fabric scraps and look through our lovely lace and ribbon offcuts in preparation for today's delightful tutorial...  Oh, and don't forget the buttons, for buttons are a must in any crafty project, wouldn't you agree...?

Today I am sharing a new favourite make of mine...beautiful fabric bookmarks!  
I saw a sweet idea for sewn bookmarks whilst perusing Pinterest the other day and decided to make my own, adding a few personal touches, of course...{{Smiles}}


I do hope you'll be inspired to make a couple for yourself or someone special...
I must say, I am quite addicted to sewing these lovelies!  

Let us begin by selecting our desired fabric...perhaps you'd like to make a matching set of bookmarks in which case you could coordinate the fabrics...
Or simply make a couple different ones to put away for gifts...they're bound to come in handy sometime...{{smiles}}

Once you've chosen your fabric, decide which lace you would like to use...I found that broader lace created quite a charming effect...  
Now select a matching ribbon...something intricate and pretty is always a good idea!  {{smiles}}
You could choose a button at this stage too or leave it for later on...don't lose it in amongst all your bits and pieces...

Now you can bring out your oh-so-handy self-healing cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter.  
These three tools I could not live without, my friends...   
However, if you are like my dear mom who prefers being old fashioned by using scissors, you can make a simple template for easy, accurate cutting.  {{Smiles}}

Cut two pieces of fabric measuring 2.75" x 7.5".  
Try to include the prettiest part of the design on the material. 
{I always use 100% cotton fabric...I love the quality and of course the designs are stunning...}

Now cut a piece of thin batting the same size as your fabric.
Lay these pieces aside and trim your lace and ribbon to slightly bigger than the width of the fabric.  Cut another piece of ribbon...preferably a narrower satin ribbon, to 3".


With your ruler and a pen, mark where you will stitch your lace and ribbon on the piece of fabric that is going to be the front of your bookmark.  
I like my ribbon to overlap the lace but this is optional.  
Play around with how low down you would like your lace and ribbon before pinning in place.... 
Now fold your narrow top ribbon in half and pin to the top centre of the bookmark.

Stitch ribbon with matching coloured cotton on your sewing machine.  
The nice thing about overlapping the lace with the ribbon is that you only have to sew two rows of stitches as pictured.  
Baste the narrow ribbon in place so it doesn't move when sewing the bookmark up.

Put bookmark pieces together, right sides facing.  
Place the batting at the bottom as shown - you want to sew on the actual fabric not on the batting as it moves whilst on the machine.  

Sew around the whole bookmark leaving a 1" opening at the bottom to turn it right way around.  
I used a 1/4" seam allowance....


Now trim the excess batting as close to the seam as possible, being careful to not snip the stitching in doing so.  
This stops the batting from bunching when the bookmark is turned the right way around.

Turn the bookmark right way around using e a knitting needle or a blunt pair of scissors to open the corners....

Press with an iron, being careful that it is not too hot otherwise the batting shrinks and causes the fabric to pucker slightly.  
Now, using mattress stitch, neatly hand sew the opening closed.

Topstitch all the way around the bookmark.  
I used a very small seam allowance and first pinned all the way around the bookmark to prevent the fabric from moving about when being sewn.   Use a contrasting or matching cotton.
Secure the button to just below the top ribbon or lower down if you prefer.

And...you are finished!  
What a lovely gift for someone who loves to read and appreciates beautiful, handmade items...  {{smiles}}

I have been adding a couple bookmarks to my Etsy shoppe lately...oh, what fun they are to make!
And...now for some happy news....there will be free shipping on selected Heart❤made items for this week only!

Visit Heart❤made on Etsy HERE.

Happy sewing, sweet readers!

"Think of all the beauty still left in the world and be happy..."
~ Anne Frank


Today I am sharing this sewing project with...