Ten Gables Cottage

Ten Gables Cottage
Ten Gables Cottage

Monday, January 30, 2012

Starfruit Muffins

Hello everyone, I am sure some of you are very familiar with Starfruit, or Carambola which is an exotic tropical fruit. Many backyards here in South Florida have it growing, and a friend brought a few to me the other day.

When you cut it, you get a beautiful star shaped slice. It is quite juicy and the taste is sort of like a citrus fruit.

Below is a plate of the sliced fruit ready for me to put on the muffins I made.

The finished muffins are really pretty and tasty, too! I took these to a pot luck dinner and they were a big hit. Below is the recipe. Starfruit is in season now and you can find them at most fresh produce markets.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter softened

1/3 cup sugar

1 Tbs. molasses

1 large egg

1 cup unsifted all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup quick rolled oats

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup chopped starfruit

1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1Tbs. grated lemon rind

12 slices starfruit

Confectioners' sugar (optional)

Grease 12 muffin pan cups. In bowl, beat together butter, sugar til fluffy and add molasses and egg. Beat until blended. Heat oven to 375. Combine flours, oats, baking soda, baking pwd. cinnamon and salt in another bowl. With wooden spoon, stir flour mixture into butter mixture alternately with buttermilk. Fold in chopped starfruit, coconut and rind. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full and top each filled cup with one slice of starfruit. Bake muffins 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and centers spring back when lightly pressed with fingertip. Cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle confectioners' sugar on cake part, avoiding fruit. YUM!

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Pretty Valentine Gift

Hi Everyone, Don't you just love getting surprise packages in the mail?!! Well yesterday I got two and it was so fun to be surprised and open them. I will show you one of them today and perhaps the other one a bit later; part if it was edible!

A special friend sent me two lovely napkin rings made from vintage silver forks! How very clever is that!

Here is a close up of how the fork has been reshaped and repurposed into a lovely napkin holder!

Ready for tea!

My little kitchen nook looks very festive with the heart shaped placemats and the unusual napkin rings. My friend always picks out the most delightful and unusual gifts. She has an eye for just what will fit into one's decor!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Florida Winter Garden

Hi everyone, The frost we had early in the month killed my one tomato plant and all the tomatoes dropped off. They will ripen, though, so I gathered them yesterday. They don't look all that great, but maybe they will be edible when ripened. I could have fried green tomaotes, a Southern delicacy, but I will wait for them to ripen.

I have four rows of radishes that weren't hurt by the cold and am steadily getting radishes to go in our salads.

The broccoli is gorgeous and there is not a bug in sight, or out of sight either, for that matter! I steamed some last night for dinner and it was delicious. I will have enough to freeze some, too.

Even after cutting a bunch, then the shoots will form more and keep producing for a long time.

I think broccoli and cabbages are my most successful garden veggies.

Here are some of the purple cabbages. I also have green ones, too. Notice the dead grass in the upper part of the photo below. We have not had rain in a while and the grass is looking dead from the freeze we had, with no help from rain to turn it green again!

A close up of a cabbage. The way they form and grow is so beautiful. This one is calling me to make a painting of it!!

It is about 80 degrees today, with a nice breeze. What a gorgeous winter day in South Florida.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Tea Cozy and Catering a Party

Hi Everyone and welcome to Ten Gables! Have I had a busy weekend! First I made a friend a large Victorian Tea Cozy for her birthday. I used scraps of embroidered vintage fabric, lace, trims , etc. and embroidered her name on it.

This was for a special friend who owns an old Florida "Cracker House" full of vintage items and collectibles. The pioneers of Florida were cowboys who used whips to crack and help move cows from different pastures or to round them up for market. Thus, the work "Cracker" came into play.

The Cracker house is rather simple with rooms leading one into another and the walls in this house are all made of cypress wood.

A friend and I catered this birthday party in the Cracker house. Here is a photo of some of the food we prepared. We had ham biscuits with apple/horseradish sauce, chicken cheese dip on chips, Benedictine (cucumber) sandwiches, vegetable pizza squares, assorted fruits with yogurt dip and apples with caramel dip, and Bar-b-que meat balls.

In the corner of one of the Victorian bedrooms sat this lovely screen.

The birthday girl collects dolls so one room is The Doll Room and had many kinds of dolls. You may have to enlarge this to be able to see some of the dolls.

The old fashioned bathroom holds a claw footed tub:a chamber pot adds to the decor.

An old ladder makes a good place to hang two little Victorian dresses.

The owner/birthday girl has a house full of all kinds of things....this shows the dining room ready for tea.

The parlor of the old Cracker House still has Christmas stocking hung by the chimney with care! Enlarge to see some of the Victorian furnishings.

Here is the birthday girl herself, Mrs. Cracker House, with her beautiful birthday cake.

A close up of the cake decorated with various fruits and slivered almonds.

A Party to remember!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wintertime in Florida

Hi everyone, Well it has been rather chilly here for a little bit, but almost always the sun is shining even if it is a little cool. By a little cool, I mean in the low 70s or high 60s! We did have a few nights around 40. The grass did get a little nipped and turned brown, but it won't last long.

Here are a few photos from around the house. We still have some pretty color and blooms.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A little tea for Twins

Hi everyone, Right after Christmas, before I took down the decorations, I invited little two year old twins over for a tea party! I set up a little table (actually a foot stool covered with cloth) and all the little chairs I could find with some little friends for the girls to have tea with. There were bears, a Cabbage Patch doll, and a fuzzy snow man.

The little twins had not expected this tea party. They were just going to "visit" with their parents, so were they thrilled. In the center of the table was a little rotating music box and the table held a tiny plastic tea set. It only took them a minute to get all involved in this tea party which went on for about an hour! I was surprised that they played there so long.

There were lots of smiles on faces all around when the tea party was over!

I think I enjoyed it more than they did!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Late afternoon Walk ........

Hi everyone, Last evening, right before the sun went down, I walked around the property to see how badly things were affected by the freezing temperatures we have had. Actually, teh only things hurt really bad were the tomato, pepper and basil plants. The broccoli and cabbages still look good, maybe just the slightest color change on some leaves, but I think they will be fine.
The roses love the cooler weather, I guess.

This bougainvillea is blooming profusely and the color looks great against the white of the house!

Along the property line, there is a maze of various tropical plants, vines and palms. You can see the sun making reddish looking trunks.

The Florida Flame Vine (originating in Mexico) is now blooming and soon, if the cold keeps away, it will be a mass of orange trumpet blooms!

I love the way these very old, big Live Oaks look with the sun reflecting red on them! It is right before the sun sets.

Sometimes a walk about the place is just what I need to put me in a great mood! Awesome nature!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Cotswolds, England

Hi everyone, I have been looking through a beautiful book by Lesley Holmes, A Cotswold Sketchbook, and thinking about how very much I would like to go there to paint, sketch and take photographs. I have looked up many towns there on the internet and the scenery is so quaint and charming! Have any of you been there? I would love to hear about it, if you have! Do any artists out there know of a painting holiday there. Maybe one would do better just going on her own with a friend or fellow artist instead of an organized painting holiday. Let me hear from you if you have been there!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"Making Greeting Cards"

Hi Everyone, It is so cold right now in Florida! Tonight we are supposed to get a hard freeze, so I have been out covering up my big tomato plant, some lettuce and the broccoli and cabbages. It probably won't hurt the broccoli and cabbages, but I fear the tomato will not make it and it is full of nice green tomatoes . I remember the same thing happened last winter!

So today I have been inside painting and working on some projects in the studio. Just for fun, I got out some fabric scraps and buttons, etc. and made a few greeting cards!

Not too long ago, I found so many blank cards at Michaels. Some were nice colors with scalloped borders, some mostly plain and others with borders.

Here are some samples of ones I made. I cut the little sunbonnet girls from print cloth, "sewed" around them with a fine tipped pen. I used a glue stick to glue them onto the card first.

Then I got in the button bag and used parts of silk flowers and buttons to make some flowers on some of the cards.

Some of the flowers were cut from the print cloth, too.They remind me of quilt appliques.

Well it was fun, and I think those who get one of these from me will really enjoy
a handmade card. Now I am thinking Valentine's day!

"Think Ahead"!