Archive for November 2013

Shirt Blanket: Part 1

Sunday, 11.17.13

“I used to be a ballet dancer” to quote Billy Elliot’s grandmother.  I studied ballet for twenty-ish years.  The result, among many good character qualities and a hatred of tights, is a large pile of shirts. 

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Anyone who has been part of a team or club for a significant amount of time can relate to my current problem that needs solving.  I didn’t want to get rid of them.  Tearing them up for dust cloths was very much out of the question.  They have just been taking up space.

My solution?  Make a blanket.

Yes, I know this will still take up space but will have the added benefit of being useful.  Yes, I know shirts are useful but only if I were still ballerina size.  As a blanket, the shirts will be useful for many years and even have the potential of being an heirloom.  That is if anyone is interested in the fact that “I used to be a ballet dancer” in decades to come.

I started by searching out all the shirts.  Once I felt confident that I had assembled the whole collection, I laid them out on the floor.  Wow that’s a lot of shirts.

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I took some measurements.  The largest design would allow for a 14” x 14” square.  I also confirmed that I could cut that size out of the smallest shirt.  I was five-and-a-half when I started dancing.  Some of these shirts are small.

I want to add some detail to the blanket.  I’m going to do this with strips of black flannel fabric in between the squares.  This will frame them as well as separate the colors that might otherwise clash a bit.

After quite a bit of shopping by foot and shopping online I found a plaid flannel fabric that incorporates the black and colors from the various shirts.  I will use this for the back.

Now came the scheme.  Hours were spent laying them out in the actual pattern.  HOURS.  With all the pieces decided I got to work cutting the shirts into squares.  Even after subjecting her to the HOURS of layout planning, my mom volunteered to cut out the black strips.

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Next will be assembling all the pieces.  Then attaching the front to the back sandwiching the fluff.  Stay tuned….

Oh yeah, I did end up with a pile of dust cloths after all. 

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Cranberry Orange Scones

Saturday, 11.02.13

IMG 0655Cranberries! They are just so pretty and look like they are about to burst with flavor or color.  The color varies so much it is like they are little capsules of color.

Last Thanksgiving I made real cranberry sauce for the first time.  It was amazingly easy and even more amazingly delicious.  This year I wanted to enjoy these beautiful berries for more than just one day.  As soon as cranberries showed up in the grocery store I bought them.  No real plan in mind.  Lucky for me, the same week one of my favorite blogs, Everyday Occasions, posted a recipe for Cranberry Orange Scones.   It is modified from the Barefoot Contessa recipe, which has dried cranberries.  I ended up making a mix of these two recipes.

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Orange zest adds a very subtle flavor to this buttery, creamy dough.

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Here they are all ready for the oven.  Who knew that’s what the inside of a cranberry looks like.

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Ina suggests an egg wash and sprinkle of sugar before baking.  I didn’t do this because I was going to add an orange glaze. I didn’t want it to get too sugary.  It does leave them looking a little pale though.  I think I’ll try the egg wash/sugar combo without the glaze next time.

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Orange zest in the glaze makes up for the paleness.  The finished product is moist with a great tang from the fresh cranberries.  My husband ate one and said, “How many of these can I have….all of them?”  I think I will be making these a lot!

Cranberry Orange Scones

Makes 8

2 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar plus 1 Tablespoon for sprinkling

1 Tablespoon  baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

12 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup half and half

1 cup fresh cranberries

zest of half an orange

For the egg wash:

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 Tablespoons water or milk

For the glaze:

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

4 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

zest of half an orange


In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture.  Mix with your electric mixer on low until butter is the size of peas.  (I used my hands to combine the flour and dry ingredients.)  Measure half and half in a measuring cup, add eggs and lightly beat.  With mixer on low, add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients.  Mix until combined.  Fold in orange zest and cranberries.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  Sprinkle more flour on top of dough and pat into a disk approximately 8-9 inches in diameter.  Cut the disk into 8 pieces or cut into circles with a biscuit cutter.

Place scones on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar (if desired).  Bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes.

To make glaze, stir together orange juice, zest, and powdered sugar.  Drizzle over slightly cooled scones.



About Manorette
I'm Margaret and I like to make things: in the kitchen, on my knitting needles, with the sewing machine, and for the home. Manorette is a delightful home to share my inspiration and maybe some goof ups. It is never a grand manor.