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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Farewell 2009

and good riddance! It's been a horrible year for me, my husband and so many hard working people. For me, it's been the nightmare depression and of course, Scott has had to deal with helping me so it's been hard on him. He's a Ford technician at a large dealership near the city and things haven't been good at most dealerships this year including ours.

Despite not watching the news or reading newspapers, I'm well aware of the fact that so many hard working people have lost jobs and homes. So many have to dig & scratch just to put food on the table these days.

I look forward to 2010 and pray that it brings balance to our economy, healing for those who suffer from depression for whatever reason and peace to our planet.

With that said, I brought a little peace into my own life yesterday. You may remember me talking about the Mason Jar lamp that my dad made for me:

Mason Jar Lamp With Buttons

Well, that lampshade has been bugging me for about 2 years now! It was too plain and boring despite my addition of the beaded trim and braid. The other day, it finally occurred to me to add some roses to it and so yesterday, I did:

Mason Jar Lampshade

So much better now! And it couldn't have been easier! I found some fabric with shabby roses on it, cut them out and glued them on with fabric glue. Voila! A new old lampshade.

I just love the shabby chic cottage look. And I've mentioned several times now that I just adore pink! Pink & mint green! Even when I was little, those were my favorite colors. So more and more of that is moving into my little cottage home!

Moving on to my Garden Crazy Quilt, I finished up Block #4 yesterday:

Floral Crazy Quilt Block 4

The colors look a little dark in the scan but it's really quite soft and pastel. I haven't started on Block #5 yet. This was supposed to be my "winter project" and I'm already almost 1/2 way done with the stitching. I'm thinking of a taking a tiny break and doing a few other things. I have craft ideas that are calling to me. Stay tuned to see what I come up with. You know, there will be glitter!

So what do you all think about the changes to my banner? I was going to add flowers but the lace seemed like enough of a change and enlarging it a bit fills the space nicely. I'll be making changes to the banner in my Etsy shop as well.

In regards to my photo yesterday about my mom's therapy dog Chooch, Christine mentioned that Chooch looks like a senior herself. Indeed she is. Chooch just turned 10 years old back in October. Other than her grey muzzle, you'd never know it. She has tons of energy, she plays and she loves to beg me to take her walking! And do I love to walk her! In her younger years, Chooch was a show dog. She won many ribbons. When she reached the age of being too old for dog shows, she made her way to my mom through our vet. So now Chooch is a therapy dog and she enjoys it as much as the residents of the retirement center do. It's her purpose and it probably helps to keep her youthful.

Well, I've rambled on long enough for one post! Again, I say goodbye and good riddance to 2009!
I wish everyone peace, comfort & plenty of quiet time in 2010! Have a safe New Year's Eve everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Treasures

I hope everyone had a very nice holiday. My birthday and Christmas were both quite nice and much better than last year!

I wanted to share the lovely gifts I received from several of my friends in blog-land. I first saw these on Cathy's blog and absolutely loved them:

Marie Antoinette Art Doll

Mitten Ornaments

I left a messagefor Cathy, telling her how pretty they are. A few days later, I received a package in the mail from Cathy. Needless to say, I was blown away. They are so pretty and such treasures to me. Thank you very much Cathy!

A day later, I received these gorgeous vintage lace cuffs from Freda:

Vintage Lace Cuffs

Oh, I can see these with my black velvet blouse! These are lovely Freda, thank you so very much! They are in my treasure chest.

I actually do have a "treasure chest" that I keep my handmade gifts from my blog friends in. I'll have to share a photo of that with you. It's a box that DMC sent to me years ago and it's perfect for the special gifts that I've received.

I mentioned that Scott took me junkin' at the antique mall on my birthday. I hit the vintage embroidery transfer jackpot as well as the vintage cookie book jackpot:

Cookie Books

2 of these books were $3.00 and the others were only $1.00. There's one from 1924. That is quite interesting. In fact, my mom had to decipher a few things for me! Oh, back in the day!

I promised ya'll a photo of my mom's therapy dog with her santa hat on. Here's Santa Chooch:

Santa Chooch

Isn't she cute? I took about a dozen photos of her and this is the only one that wasn't blurry. I'm going print a bunch of copies of this photo, then mom and I are going to make little cards to take to the residents at the retirement center. They adore Chooch and we thought it would be nice to give them a photo of her next time we go.

In other news, here's a quick update on my Block #4 of my Garden Quilt:

Floral Crazy Quilt Block 4

Just a bit more beading to do and this one will be complete.

I'm feeling a bit more like myself but still rather scattered. I can't decide if I want to stitch now, or start on a few Valentine's or sit here and update my Kitty & Me Banner a bit. As I mentioned a few weeks back, I'm going to expand my Etsy shop and I thought it would be nice to add some flowers to my banner. I think I'll have some tea and a Clementine first and then I'll decide!

Finally for today, this is what we dealt with on Saturday:

Backyard Snow

This is a view of my house & deck from my backyard. Scott felt we needed a photo to remind us of the snow. Ha, ha, ha! I think not!

Well, that's all for today. Like I said, my mind is kind of scattered at the moment. I need to find a way to focus on something. Scott is taking me to JoAnn Fabrics tomorrow for a little shopping spree. To be honest, that's all I've done for the past week! After tomorrow, it's time to sit down and use my stuff.

Quick note to Alayna - thank you so much for your message! I'm glad to know that you were pleased with the Gingerbread Cookie recipe. I've tried several different Gingerbread recipes and that one is the absolute best!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Christmas To All!

I wanted to stop by for a moment and wish everyone a very Happy Holiday Season.

The weather did cooperate yesterday for us. We had to wait a little longer to go out than we wanted to but we did get to the IHOP for breakfast. They were out of the Gingerbread pancakes so I had the Eggnog pancakes and I must say, they were very, very good!

We also went to the antique mall so I was able to do my junkin' and I hit the mother load on vintage embroidery patterns, vintage needlework catalogs and vintage baking cookbooks! Wow! I will post photos during the week.

Despite the lack of sunshine, it was a very nice birthday! Thank you to everyone for birthday wishes.

I'm off to get ready to head over to my mom's house. Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!


A Visit From Santa Claus

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

White Christmas?

I must say, to those who live in a warm climate and would love to have a white Christmas, you can have it! It's snowing again, quite heavily too. Scott and I had to cancel our plans for tonight. The snow is supposed to turn to freezing rain and then all rain tomorrow. I don't mean to sound like a spoiled brat but I do hope that the weather cooperates for tomorrow. I need to go junkin'! I went into the depths of hell last year on my birthday and I've really been looking forward to wandering around the antique mall. I'll let you know in the morning how our roads are.

In the meantime, I just received the loveliest gift for my birthday from my dear friend Kim:

Teacup With Flowers

Aren't these beautiful? And I just love the teacup! I don't think I ever got fresh flowers for my birthday. What a nice surprise! Thank you so much Kim!!!!

I also received the sweetest Christmas gift this week from another friend:

Gingerbread Man

The little boxes that make up this cute Gingerbread Man are filled with yummy treats. I'm saving them for New Year's Day. My parents are coming over and we're ordering Chinese food! I just love Gingerbread Men! He's just so cute!

I made a slight change to Block #4 of my Garden Quilt:

Floral Crazy Quilt Block 4

Cathy left me a message saying that she felt that the blue flower appliqués were distracting. I went and looked at the block and Cathy was right. The blue flowers were overpowering the roses on the hankie. So off they came! I pulled out another little appliqué that I had already painted and now I feel that the block looks more balanced. I have that appliqué beaded now and will move on to another seam.

Well, I've moaned about the weather, shared my gifts and posted an update on Block #4. I could moan about the weather some more but I will spare you! Yes, my Seasonal Affective Disorder Syndrome is rather extreme. The lack of daylight is bad enough (can't remember the last time we had some sun) but trying to make plans around the weather makes me insane.

Is it Spring yet? I'll go stitch on my Garden quilt and think about shamrocks & bunnies.

A quick note to Ann F., I've tried to email you but they keep coming back to me. Just wanted to say thank you for the lovely comments you leave for me.

And a note to Pam, if you would like to drop me an email so that I can reply to you, that would be great! I so much appreciate the comments that you've left for me.

Ok everyone, I'm off to stitch. Have a nice evening!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's Snowing Here....

so I didn't try to go out today. I was going to run up to WalMart and then over to Mom's for awhile but decided it might be best to hang out at home. Scott called me a little while ago and said he would take me to WalMart in the truck when he gets home. What a great guy!

I put my cookie tray together to take over to Mom's for Christmas Eve, did a bit of cleaning (still have more to do) and then I stitched. I figured now is a good time to scan Block #4 so you can see it before I start adding the sparkle:

Floral Crazy Quilt Block 4

As you can see, this block has quite the combination of seam treatments on it. I was looking through my Judith Montano books the other day and decided to try a few of her techniques. The tufted flowers are from one of her books. They're not quite as fuzzy as I wanted them to be. I took a small nail brush and "scrubbed" them at bit. That seemed to fluff them up. It'll be fun to try these little flowers with different threads. Rayon threads might give me some nice results.

The Cretan stitch is one that has always eluded me. I've done it several times but until I started using waste canvas, I was never happy with how it came out. It was like my crazy mind just couldn't figure out how to do it. Well, once I started using waste canvas to do the Cretan stitch, I haven't had any more trouble with it. To learn more about my waste canvas technique, click here.

The blue SRE flower vine at the top was done with Carol Samples "Dream A Seam" templates. I think Carolyn at Evening Star Designs carries them. You might have to email her and ask. I bought my set from Carolyn a few years ago.

Well, that's where I'm at. Christmas Eve is two days away. I'm really looking forward to "junking" with my husband. Scott is going to take me to IHOP for Gingerbread pancakes (I have a slight weakness for Gingerbread) and then he's going to take me to the antique mall. Oh how I love my old junk!

I was thinking about a cross stitch design series for 2010. It occurred to me that a Biscornu Of The Month series might be fun. I may tinker around with that idea a little bit this afternoon. My Kitchenaid is screaming at me but I keep telling it that we're taking a little break at least until the weekend. Ha, ha, ha! Have a good afternoon & evening everyone! I'd better go clean something!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chicken Vegetable Soup

As you know, I don't cook! My mom tells people that the only reason I have a kitchen is because it came with the house! Ha, ha, ha!!!

I do however, boil water and put stuff in it. Then I call it soup. I just made this huge pot of Chicken Vegetable Soup:

Homemade Chicken Vegetable Soup

I haven't tasted it yet but boy, does my house smell good! I was going to make some bread in my Kitchenaid to go with it but I'm getting a little tired now so we'll have a few crackers with it.

I have a little GIVE AWAY if anyone wants it. It's the October/November 2009 issue of Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade magazine:

Semi Homemade Magazine Give Away

I'll gladly send it to the first person who leaves a comment on this post letting me know that they want it. USA residents only please as I will take care of the postage. It's a very nice magazine with loads of recipes and gobs of creative ideas. I'm a "magazine junkie" but I just can't keep them all. I'll talk about my magazine obsession another time.

For now, I'm off to have a bowl of soup and then to wrap my gifts. Happy Sunday!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

And The Garden Continues To Grow

I just finished up on Block #3 of my Garden Quilt:

Floral Crazy Quilt Block 3

The pink leaf pin is vintage and the blue flowers beneath it are from a pair of vintage earrings. They had the clip back on them so I just broke it off and sewed it down.

How do you like my little frog? I have pretty little frogs and toads in my garden. I have snakes too but I won't be adding one of those to this quilt!

Here is Block #4 before I start stitching on it:

Floral Crazy Quilt Block 4

My mom always tells me that I have an incredible knack for crazy quilting. I just tell her it's because my head is crazy!

Have a great Saturday everyone. I'm off to the bank!

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Week Before Christmas

Every year, I seem to have one elusive gift to find. This year, the gift is a heavy flannel shirt. I went to Kohl's, WalMart and Target. No one had them. I kept thinking, geez louise! it is the middle of Winter! Finally, I tried the Sears store and there it was. The holy grail of flannel shirts! Ha, ha, ha! With the exception of wrapping my gifts, which Scott will help me do on Sunday, my work for this Christmas is done!

This morning, I put my cookie trays together for my neighbors, ran to the Post Office to mail my last Christmas package and stopped at the Dollar Tree for some pastel colored tissue paper. I would have looked around there longer but quite honestly, there was a little kid in there screaming her bloody lungs out and I just couldn't take it. You know, my mother never tolerated that from my sister and I. We were either good and quiet or mom hauled our butts out of the store and took us home. She didn't let us annoy anyone else.

Well, I don't want to bore anyone with my whining about the behavior of today's children. I thought I'd share with you my final goody of the Christmas season. Fudge!

Homemade Fudge

Homemade Fudge with white chocolate icing and colored sprinkles! They look like they're right out of the Fannie May store! I included these in with my cookie trays for my neighbors and have enough left to take over to mom's on Christmas Eve.

So now, I'm pretty much free to do what I want to do. I started on stitching on Block #3 of my Garden Quilt:

Floral Crazy Quilt Block 3

If you want to see larger versions of any of my photos, please feel free to click on them. That will take you over to Flickr where you can see them enlarged. I post the small photos for my readers who like me, are still on dial-up.

Anyway, our little garden is growing quite quickly! It's certainly beginning to look like Spring. At least here at Kitty & Me it does. Outside is a grey, dreary, ugly mess! But Spring will come again and in the meantime, we have this quilt to tend to!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Slight Change

I was looking at Block #2 yesterday afternoon and it was bothering me. I was feeling like the sequins on the Irises were covering up the pretty embroidery. After all, I bought the hankies because I liked the embroidery! When Scott got home from work, I asked his opinion and he said, "Girl, take them off!" So off they came:

Floral Crazy Quilt Block 2

Much better, don't you think? So now I'm ready to start on Block #3!

So many of my readers have emailed me to ask how I'm doing. I think it's starting to recede now. I can't say I'm out of the black hole yet but I think I'm starting to see a small ray of light. I'm still tired most of the time and I still take my shower or bath and go to bed between 6 & 7 pm. I'm just spent by then. I've slept better the last 2 nights as well. So, I'm getting there. Thank you everyone for asking!

Before I head off to stitch, I wanted to share the links to a few blogs that I think you might enjoy.
First is The Little Pink Studio. I'm quite intrigued and inspired by Cerri's romantic-vintage style. And it seems apparent to me that Cerri likes pink!

Next is Contemporary Embroidery. Mary Ann pointed me in the direction of this blog and I'm fascinated with Karen's creativity and the style of her work. She works mostly in white with only hints of other colors but the effects are stunning!

Finally, do check out Cathys Crazy By Design blog. Cathy's stitching & sewing is wonderful but she also shares photos of her vintage treasures! Lovely things to look at here!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happiness

My mom always says, "if everyone would stop chasing happiness and start finding someone to give it to, everyone would have it!"

We went to the retirement center yesterday with my mom's therapy dog Chooch, and a huge basket full of cookie bags. I can't begin to tell you what Chooch and those cookies do for the residents. Some are quite perky and cheerful but many are withdrawn, lonely and sad. What a boost to their spirit when they see Chooch and we hand them a bag of homemade cookies. We could actually see a little light return to their faces. That's what happiness is!

Chooch had her little Santa hat on and she leaves it on the whole time! She's such a wonderful dog. Unfortunately, brainless me forgot to bring my camera over to mom's so I don't have photos of Chooch with her Santa hat or photos of the little cookie bags that mom and I made. I am planning on taking my camera over to mom's on Christmas and we'll get a photo of Santa Chooch then.

In the meantime, I finished up the stitching on Block #2 of my Garden Quilt:

Floral Crazy Quilt Block 2 Completed

The Spiderweb is a vintage pin that I bought at a Flea Market not too long ago. The tiny rose is from a pair of vintage earrings that I also found at a flea market. They're the old fashioned screwback earrings so I just took my wire cutters and cut that off then sewed it on. The companion will find it's way to another block on this quilt.

With Block #2 completed, I'll be starting on Block #3 shortly:

Floral Crazy Quilt Block 3

This quilt will be quite Springy! I mentioned when I started it that it will hang in my living room. I have my Lucky quilt there now but I'm wanting to look at something new:

Lucky Crazy Quilt

I do plan to put this together as soon as I have all 9 blocks completed. I'm also planning on putting my Button Quilt together and hanging that over my husband's dresser in our bedroom. We rearranged the furniture in there a few weeks back and over his dresser is the perfect spot for it! Well, he doesn't think so, but I do. If he had his way, there would be a huge vintage Vargas girl hanging over his dresser. I think not. It doesn't go with my decorating style!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Garden Quilt Block #2 Update

It's a cloudy, dreary day here in Northern Illinois. Thankfully, it's above freezing so the snow we got earlier this week is melting. I love it when the snow melts!

I don't have anything too exciting to talk about today so I'll just post an update on Block #2 of my Garden Quilt:

Floral Crazy Quilt Block 2

I'm going to head into my Living Room and add some more do-dads & foo-foo's to this. I made a batch of Chex Mix a little while ago so before I stitch, I'm going to put together another batch.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gingerbread Cookies & Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Well, I think I'm just about done making Christmas cookies. I may do a pan of Peanut Butter bars over the weekend but then I think that'll be it. I plan to spend some extra time just stitching and playing with my stash.

I thought I would share 2 more recipes with you today. Gingerbread Cookies & Chocolate Shortbread Cookies:

Gingerbread & Chocolate Shortbread

I drizzled melted white almond bark on both, added red & green sprinkles to the Gingerbread and pink coconut to the Chocolate Shortbread.

Gingerbread

1 cup White Sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger
1 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 cup Butter, melted
1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
1 cup unsulfured Molasses
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Lemon extract
5 cups unbleached all-purpose Flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine sugar, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Stir in the melted butter, evaporated milk, molasses, vanilla and lemon extracts. Mix well.
Add the flour, 1 cup at a time. The dough should be stiff enough to handle without it sticking to fingers. An extra 1/2 cup flour can be added if dough is too sticky.
Roll dough 1/4 inch think and cut with cookie cutters. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes.

As you can see in the photo, I made bars out of these. I rolled the dough onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and baked for about 25 - 30 minutes. You'll have to watch them because baking time differs from oven to oven. The dough should spring back in the center when you touch it. That's how you'll know when they're done. You should only need a single recipe of this dough to make bar cookies.

Usually, I make Gingerbread Kitties. I use a kitty cookie cutter and then decorate them. I didn't feel up to that this year but the bar cookies came out quite well!

Chocolate Shortbread

1 cup Butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose Flour
2/3 cup Powdered Sugar
1/3 cup Baking Cocoa
Dash Salt

Cream butter & powdered sugar. Add salt and Cocoa. Mix well then add flour. Oven temp: 350 degrees.

I did the bar cookies with these as well but needed a double recipe to fill the pan. Baking time again for bars is about 25 minutes.

I'm not feeling well at the moment. I think I need to move around some. I'll leave you with an update on Block #2 of my Garden Crazy Quilt:

Floral Crazy Quilt Block 2

Oh, one last thing for today. If you'd like to see some real vintage Glitter Houses, hip-hop over to Freda's blog and take a peek! She has a lovely new Glitter House in today's post but be sure to scroll down a bit to see her vintage houses.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And The Winner Is....

My husband arrived home from work last night at about 6 pm. Once he had his beer, (heaven knows if the man doesn't have a beer when he gets home, the world will stop turning!) he drew a name from the basket. So the winner is: Allie A!

Mason Jar Drawing 2

Allie, your mason jar filled with my homemade Christmas Tea Cookies will be on it's way to you in next 2 or so days. Congratulations!

Thank you to all who entered! I really enjoyed having this drawing and am planning on doing more. I have all sorts of ideas rolling around in my head (what else is new?) I will be doing another fun drawing or contest in January.

I received some lovely comments on my Glitter Houses:

Glitterhouse 6

Many of my long time readers know that Christmas is not my most wonderful time of the year! To be honest, the commercialism gets to me. The insanity in stores, the rude drivers, the hurry-up attitude, it's all so obnoxious!

For many years, I didn't even put up a tree. Just a few small things that were pretty to look at but didn't scream at me. I conceded to a real tree last year at my husband's request. Honestly, I couldn't have cared less about having a tree.

I must say, that my glittery little village is quite peaceful to look at. I truly enjoyed making them and after the holidays, I'm planning on doing some more. Anything that gives me a little bit of peace right now is a good thing!

I spent my afternoon yesterday stitching on Block #2 of my Garden Quilt:

Floral Crazy Quilt Block 2

The hand-painted lace at the bottom seems a bit heavy but I'm sure it lighten up with beads & sequins. I have a vintage spiderweb pin that will go in the bottom left-hand corner. I haven't decided on what to do with myself today. I usually go to the grocery store on Thursday mornings but it's a whole 2 degrees outside and I'm not sure I care to venture out in that.

I may do a bit of baking and then start beading this.

I received another lovely package in my mailbox yesterday. This pretty lace came from Gina in Australia:

Lace From Gina

Gina has found some really lovely things for me at her thrift shops. And I do believe that some of this will make it's way onto my Garden Quilt. Thank you so much Gina!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Glitter Houses

Grab a cup of tea and a Christmas cookie and sit back for a bit. I have quite a few nice things to share with you today!

Ya'll know I love old things. Anything with that 30's/40's feel to it is my style. Shabby Chic Cottage is so soft looking and soothing on my nerves! And of course, I love my glitter!!!

I decided a few months back, that because of what happened last year on Christmas Eve (my birthday), if I was going to put out any Christmas decorations at all, they had to be new and they had to be pink. I told my husband that I can't deal with a real tree this year. I can't tolerate the smell. Anything that smells like a pine tree takes me right back to last Christmas Eve when I had lightening bolts & fireworks shooting off in my brain and that is an absolutely horrible memory for me. He agreed that we would not do a tree this year.

So instead of my normal Christmas decorations that I usually put out, I made some new things for this year. I'll start with my pink pinecones:

Pink Pinecones

I bought a bag of cinnamon scented pinecones at WalMart and a can of pink spray paint. I took them over to my mom's house and told dad that I'm spray paint challenged! Ha, ha, ha! I'm just not good with it! So dad sprayed my pinecones pink. When they were dry, I sponge painted them (by hand) and piled on the glitter! The little angel was made by my mom quite a few years ago. I always put her on the top of my tree. I decided she would look cute with the pink pinecones. The tablecloth on my coffee table was another of my mom's projects. Mom made this about 3 or 4 years ago. She also made the pink crocheted doily.

The pink pinecones were fun and are very pretty but my absolute treasures are my little Glitter Houses and Bottlebrush trees:

Glitterhouse 6

I have always loved little Christmas Houses. My grandmother had a set when I was little but after my grandfather passed away, they seemed to disappear. I would have loved to have them.
I found some at flea markets over the Summer but the colors were very bright. I remember my grandma's house were soft and pastel. So guess what? I decided to make my own!

The original vintage houses were called Putz Houses. Named for the company in Japan that made them. They were quite inexpensive, found mostly in dime stores from what my parents tell me.

Anyway, I gathered up some little bits & pieces from my craft supply stash, got out my cardstock and my glitter and had myself a good time with these!

Here's more:

Glitterhouse 7

Glitterhouse 5

Glitterhouse 9

Yes, my snow is pink! I put some quilt batting down and then I covered that with some pink tulle. I arranged my houses and the trees and then sprinkled some chunky glitter around them.

I made the trees too. Well, sort of. I decorated them. I bought the white ones and piled the glitter on those. Then I glued the tiny shiny glass balls on them. The green ones were in with my Christmas decorations so I pulled those out and did the same.

My mom made several houses too. I have mom's in my garden window. Mom's theme was "candy-land". You can kind of see them all in this photo but my favorite is the gingerbread man house:

Glitterhouse Gingerbread

Isn't that sweet? I have some pink trees with the candy houses. I found those at Hobby Lobby. I didn't decorate them. They already had pink glitter on them so I let them be. Kind of surprising for me, huh?

Anyway, that's my pink Christmas. I did hang my vintage Christmas towels on the doors of my Hoosier cabinet and I have another embroidered tablecloth that mom made on my kitchen table. But this is all I can handle for this year.

I must say, I loved making these houses more than I enjoy making cards! The wheels are turning!!!

There are more photos over on my Flickr site. Just click on one of the images to head over there and see them all.

In other news, the drawing for my Mason Jar filled with Christmas Tea Cookies will take place tonight when my husband gets home from work. If you haven't entered yet, there's still time. See this post for more details.

Here is the Mason Jar filled with my homemade cookies:

Mason Jar Drawing 1

And here it is decorated with one of my handmade, glittery labels:

Mason Jar Drawing 2

I will announce the winner in tomorrow's post.

I thought you would enjoy seeing this lovely angel ornament that Mary Anne sent to me:

Angel

Isn't she sweet and beautiful? I have her hanging on the mirror of my antique dresser. You know, I have met so many lovely and talented ladies in blog-land, gifted people that I never would have had the chance to meet had it not been for my computer and my blog.

Which reminds me, I'd like to ask the following ladies to drop me an email:

Sheila
Sandy G
Ann F
Cheryl
Jan

You have all left multiple comments for me but I have no way of reaching you other here. Please email me so I have your addresses for replies.

Finally for today, and ya'll know how much I love this (not) it's snowing outside:

Snow

This is view of my backyard from my deck. I will spare you all my complaints.

Well, I'm off to stitch on my Garden Quilt. Updates coming tomorrow.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Shortbread Cookie Recipe

Judy asked me if I would share my recipe for Shortbread Cookies. I'm very happy to do that!

Shortbread is one of the most versatile of all cookies. There are only a few ingredients and it's a rather plain cookie so it lends itself to all sorts of variations. It also holds it's shape well so it's perfect for cutout cookies, bar cookies, refrigerator cookies and so on.

Here is the basic recipe for Shortbread:

2 cups Salted Butter
2 cups Powdered Sugar
4 teaspoons Vanilla
4 cups Flour

Cream butter & sugar. Add vanilla. Mix well. Stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time.

This is a vary stiff dough. It may seem a bit dry at first so keep mixing until it holds together. This recipe is also easy to cut in 1/2.

To the batch I made today, I added 1 12-ounce bag of mini Chocolate Chips.

The oven temp. should be 350 degrees. Baking time will vary depending on how you choose to do these.

I rolled my dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet:

Shortbread 1

The baking time for this variation is about 35 minutes. If you use cookie cutters or roll into balls, the time of course is much less. I want to say about 10 - 12 minutes but you'll have to use your own judgement. It's been awhile since I've made them that way.

Once baked, I let the pan cool for a few minutes:

Shortbread 2

I want to say about 10 minutes. You'll have cut them while still warm:

Shortbread 3

I have a plastic ruler that I bought just for baking. It's about 1 1/4 inches wide so I use that to make my squares all the same size.

Finally, once the pan is completely cooled off, I drizzle with melted chocolate and add sprinkles:

Shortbread 4

Aren't they pretty? My father and even my husband love these! And I confess, I do like a shortbread cookie on occasion. They're buttery and melt in your mouth:

Shortbread 5

Well, that's Shortbread 101! It really is an easy cookie to make. If you decide to try it as bar cookies, you will need to do the whole recipe but if you want to do cutouts, you may prefer to do a 1/2 recipe first. The whole recipe makes quite a bit!

And speaking of cookies, if you haven't entered the drawing for my Mason Jar filled with Christmas Tea Cookies, please hop over to this post for more details.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Garden Crazy Quilt Block #1 Completed

Before I head over to mom's for the day, I wanted to share my first completed block for the Garden Quilt:

Floral Crazy Quilt Block 1

The little blue flowers in the bottom left-hand corner are from a vintage necklace that I took apart. The hummingbird is from a pair of earrings that a dear friend of mine sent to me awhile back. They're very pretty but a little too big for me and not really my style. I thought I could enjoy my friend's gift much more if I put them on this quilt rather than having them sit in my jewelry box. The companion will also go on this quilt.

Here is block #2:

Floral Crazy Quilt Block 2

The Iris hankie is one of my favorites in my collection! I'll be starting on this block sometime this weekend. At the rate I'm going, my garden will be in full bloom by January!

Judy asked me if I would share my Shortbread recipe that I mentioned in yesterday's post. Yes, Judy, I'll gladly share it. I plan to make another pan of them tomorrow so I'll post the recipe then along with a photo.

Finally for today, be sure to enter my drawing for a Mason Jar filled with my homemade Christmas Tea Cookies! Details are in yesterday's post.

Well, that's it for today. It's 7:45 am and I never really start feeling decent until about 10:30 am. My sense of humor hasn't kicked in yet so I'll leave you will well wishes for a nice Saturday!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Christmas Drawing!

As ya'll know, I've been baking up a storm lately! How did I make cookies before I bought my Kitchenaid? I've already made a pan of Chocolate Chip Shortbread and another batch of Raisin Applesauce. I'll spare you anymore of my applesauce photos. :) My mom loved that last batch I made over the weekend so I promised her some more.

Well, I mentioned earlier this week that I was going to host a Christmas Drawing! I will be filling this plain & simple Mason Jar with pretty little Christmas Tea Cookies and decorating it to suit the upcoming holiday:

Mason Jar

To enter the drawing, simply leave a comment on this post. Please include your first name and first initial of your last name in your message. The names will put into a basket and my husband Scott will draw one name on Wednesday, December 9th. The winner will be announced that evening. Due to the cost of postage, this drawing is open only to USA residents. I will post a photo of the filled, decorated jar and will ship to the lucky winner on December 12th. I will ship Priority Mail via the USPS.

So that's the news on the Christmas drawing!

In other news, my little Garden Quilt continues to blossom:

Floral Crazy Quilt Block 1

I didn't make the little tatted flowers. I found a bagful of them at a flea market awhile back. They were cream color so dyed them and sewed them on.

Well, it's time to drizzle chocolate on my shortbread cookies. Don't forget to leave a comment so I can add your name to the basket!
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