Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Favorite Things: Pie Birds and Bundles of Hand-Dyed Wool

I don't remember who first introduced me to pie birds, but my attraction to these highly collectible pieces was instant, loving and long-lasting.  A pie bird is usually made of ceramic and is often shaped like a bird, although many shapes can be found in antique stores and yard sales.  The bird is hollow and shaped so the head is raised and in an upright position, with a tiny open mouth that serves as a funnel or steam vent.  The pie bird supports the crust and steam vents through the tiny opening, effectively preventing your filling from boiling over and helping you attain a nice, crisp crust.  As steam escapes, the bird is said to be "singing" . . .

Antique Pie Bird

When assembling your pie, the pie bird is placed in the center of the shell and the filling is placed around the bird.  The top crust is then draped over the bird like a tent, so the bird supports and holds the center of the crust, with the beak protruding through the crust.  No need to cut vents in your beautiful crust, because as the pie bakes, steam is released through the beak.

The Pie Bird Protrudes Through the Crust

Pie birds are available in various shapes, including blackbirds, song birds, chickens, ducks, people and other characters.  Whether bird-shaped or not, they are usually tall, narrow and always hollow to allow the steam to flow up and out through the hollow center.  Pie birds are also referred to as pie vents, pie funnels, pie chimneys and pie whistles.  They are not expensive to collect--even antique pieces are often available on Ebay for $10 to $20.

Antique Pie Birds Found on Ebay

My family and friends know of my love for pie birds, and they watch for them when they visit antique stores and garage sales.  Every now and then, a new pie bird makes it's way into my china cupboard whey they'll help me turn out yummy apple, blackberry and rhubarb pies with perfect, crispy crusts for the holidays.

Have you tried pie birds?  I think you'll finding yourself collecting them in no time at all, and they'll start mysteriously appearing as lovely little side-gifts in your Christmas stockings and at birthday time.  You won't be disappointed.

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Speaking of Fun and Yummy, Have You Tried My New Hand-Dyed Wool Bundles?  We often need small pieces of wool, don't we?  Just enough to finish or embellish a hand-hooked rug or for wool applique and quilt-making.  I'm updating my website over the next few weeks to include LOTS of new bundles of yummy hand-dyed wool that will be available in 8" x 6" pieces or 16" x 8" pieces, depending on your needs.  Until then, you can see these bundles and more in my Etsy shop.  Just click on the pictures below . . .

Click to See this Bundle in my Etsy Shop

How about vibrant pumpkins, greens and browns?  Can you imagine these soft, hand-dyed wools in your next rug hooking or applique project?

"Pumpkins on the Vine" Bundle on Etsy

Earthy browns and greens, anyone?  These rich wools are perfect for leaves, stems and backgrounds.  And remember, any of the colors you see in these bundles are also available from my website in generous fat-quarter, half-yard and full-yard sizes . . .

Earthy Browns and Greens Bundle on Etsy

What are you working on now?  A quilt, a hand-hooked rug, punch needle?  Are you working with cottons, wools, hand-dyed threads?  How does your current project make you feel?  I hope you find peace and enjoyment as you hook or stitch, and as I head back to my worktable, I hope this post finds you happy and well.  Happy Stitchin'!


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