Wednesday, December 28, 2011

10 Things I love about Christmas

10 Things I loved about this Christmas
Violet playing with the houses and zoo animals.
1.  My oldest daughter (and her hubby) surprised me and came in into town to spend the day. WhooHoo!!

2.  My brat daughter (that's the youngest one this time) woke me up at 4:00 am in the morning shouting "It's Christmas!!"  Daddy slept right through it. Yeah, Dad's are like that. Things like that make life so much fun. I told her we could go start on dinner - and guess what?  She decided to go back to bed until a decent hour!  LOL!!

3.  Because oldest daughter was there, middle daughter and all the grandkids came early! Fun! Fun! Fun, when the grandkids show up!!

4.  Teaching my girls (and oldest daughter's husband) how to make yeast rolls.

5.  Middle daughter's chef husband came in from working at the restaurant and sliced all the potatoes in 3 seconds flat!!  And may I add they were perfect slices! He had them cut before I could say "Stop That's too many!"

6.  The joy of seeing grandkids sheer delight as they open their gifts.  The surprised faces of my own children with their gifts. And my husband that spoils me each year.
Troy and Serena - she's really not a Brat Daughter. She's the best!
She did all the dinner dishes without being asked.
7.  That dinner was ready 10 mins earlier that anticipated.  And only 2 mins after the three little ones began to have a melt down.  Funny how a good meal will energize them back into little sweethearts!

8. Youngest daughter reminded us all it's Jesus's Birthday during grace.

9.  That I found the lost present for my daughter.  It happens every year that I forget one (and this year I forgot 4!)  Middle Daughter forgot a present for her daughter too.  Hmmm...seems the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!

10.  That I have a really good vacuum cleaner to pick up those pine needles!

And now it's time to start thinking about the New Year 2012!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Wishing you joy and peace..

Just two more days until Christmas!  Are you finished  running around trying to complete your shopping, gift wrapping, cooking and cleaning for Christmas?  I'm almost finished.  Just have to get the ham for dinner.

I want to wish you all the joy and peace that Jesus provides. 
Merry Christmas to you and your families.

Enjoy your holiday time and I'll see you all after Christmas.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Turning Dough into Candy Canes

Remember this day? 
When Violet helped mix Cookies?

Finally, last night I had time to turn them into these.
Candy Cane Cookies all stacked on top of each other.
The recipe comes Better Homes and Gardens Homemade Cookie Cook Book.
I changed it up a bit and use vanilla or almond flavoring  in the white dough 
and peppermint in the red part of the dough. (I omit the 1/3 cup flaked coconut.)
This is how Better Homes and Gardens' cookies look.
It bugs me that after making the individual red and white ropes, 
they don't roll them together so that it's one smooth cookie.
But they do a better job getting that dough a nice shade of red.
No matter how the cookies look they taste good.   

If you would like to try them, here's the recipe as I make it. 

Candy Cane Cookies
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
red food coloring 
(the paste color bought at cake decorating places or Micheal  is much better than the liquid form.  The liquid food coloring only makes pink not red.)

Cream first four ingredients. Add dry ingredients.
Divide dough in half and add red and peppermint extract to half. 
Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll a spoonful of dough into a ball and then into a 5 inch rope of each color.  Roll the two ropes together to make one rope. Twist to make swirling pattern. Shape into a cane on ungreased cookie sheet. 
Bake at 375 degrees about 10 minutes. 

NOTE:  I have to use just the slightly dusting of flour to get the dough from sticking to my hands and counter when rolling.  Too much and the two ropes do not stick together.  

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

UFO Goals for 2012

Wow!  Can it really be that time again? Time for Judy's 2012 UFO Challenge!

Well, last year I only finished 3 of my UFO's.  Yep, only 3 out of 12.  And I'm thrilled with those 3!  So I'm playing with Judy again this year.

#1 Angela's Purple and Black Quilt 
    There's a good chance I could finish this one

#2 Homey Prints Quilt
     This was the first BOM I did at my LQS. I had no idea
      back then how to set blocks. Now I have a clue what to do.
#3 Christmas Tree Wall Hanging.
     Yeah, what can I say...I didn't finish it this Christmas.  Maybe by next Christmas.
#4 Brown and Purple Fat Qtr Quilt
     This is a fun and easy little quilt.  I should be able to finish this.
Now for the quilts that are pieced and need to be quilted
#5 Batik Jewels 
#6 Lisbeth's Garden
#7  30's Quilt
      This was another one of those BOM's at my LQS. This was the first time I put my BOM into a setting,  turning a bunch of blocks into a quilt. (well almost a quilt)

#8 Green Bunny Hill

I'll list 8 because some will take more than a month.  Okay, Okay the truth is because I'm not going to finish more than 8 anyway!  LOL!!

I really enjoyed the challenge last year.  I hope you will join Judy at Patchwork Times.  

Merry Christmas,

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Gifts and Sewing

I really don't know what's up with me and Christmas gifts this year. I just don't know what to buy!   As my daughter would say "FAIL".

However, there's no way I'll let that "fail" discourage me.  It's to the sewing machine for a rescue.  

I ran to Walmart and bought some cute fabric and zippers.  Dog Under My Desk has the coolest free tutorial on an earbud pouch.   

Circle Zip Earbud Pouch from Dog Under My Desk 
You'll want to see her other cool things; check out her website and blog. Oh, I do want to say that Erin (Dog Under My Desk) also has a Etsy shop where she sells these and other products. 

One of the gals commented on Erin's site that it took her only 20 minutes to sew this up.  Well, it took me 20 minutes just to fussy cut mine out!!  LOL!!  And another hour to sew it but that did include hiding it as my daughter kept walking through the house. 

I even fussy cut a little surprise dinosaur for inside the pouch. 

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Our Christmas Houses

I enjoy seeing posts about Christmas decorations, especially the ones with oldies, but goodies in them.  So I thought I would share one of our favorite decorations that we put up each year.  It's these little houses.

There's a little dog up near the church's steeple. 
These houses have been part of my Christmas since I was...oh I would say about 4 or 5.  As children we would set them up, trying to be careful to put the little Christmas lights in the houses without poking them through the paper windows.

As children, my sister and I collected and added little animals to the houses.  I don't remember where they came from, and it is totally silly to have a buffalo and a zebra in the village. However, I remember as a kid thinking it was so much fun to have the animals.  Best of all it still delights my daughter and she sets them out among the houses. (There are also monkeys, a cow, a couple dogs, and even a tailless tiger.  I don't know why it's missing a tail.)

 Each year it's set up differently, in different places. We have such a good time discussing where the hippo should live this year, or the little man with only arm. I love that it brings us together and provides us with joy.

This year we added the Abominable Snowman - yes from the Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer story.  I think he fits right into to this silly village.  (See top picture - right side)

I thought we were the only ones silly enough to add "extra" to our houses, until I went to McDonald's today and saw a Christmas Village display. They had added polar bears!!  

Okay - that bear is a little too big for the houses.  But isn't it cute!  How fun is that?

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Little Bitty Betty Crockers Making Cookies

Do you have any nuts you need chopped?

Do you have any cookies you need mixed?

I've got two little sous chefs available!  My little grand daughters came over on Saturday and we decided it was time to be "Little Betty Crockers".  Did you notice that BIG knife Scarlett is using?  See how her fingers are away from the blade?  And little Violet was running the mixer like a pro.  Although I didn't allow her to run it with the spatula in the bowl. (or those fingers either!)

We made several different kinds of cookies in the hopes that Santa Claus will be hungry come Christmas Eve.  I'm rather hoping he's not, I would love to eat the cookies myself.  Hmm...I suppose that is a bit selfish of me isn't it?  I'm probably on the naughty list now.

Merry Christmas,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Flying Geese Book & Ruler by Eleanor Burns Review

Oh I have something so exciting to tell you.  I'm practically jumping up and down because I can hardly wait to tell you this is just so neat!!

Do you all know who Eleanor Burns is?

She's the one that came up with the "Quilt in a Day" concept.  Okay, for those that may not know, there was a time when quilter's used scissors and templates, a very slow and time consuming process.  Using Eleanor's unique methods, quilts can now be made in a fraction of the time and possibly in a day, hence the name Quilt in a Day.   

I was asked by Quilt in a Day if I would like to review a book and ruler.   I jumped at the chance!  (Can you believe that?  How exciting!!)  But that's not the most exciting part - it's actually using the ruler.   It's so fun!

They sent me free of charge: 

And the flying geese ruler. (Rulers come with a complete set of instructions. Yay!)

Large Flying Geese picture shamelessly taken from "Quilt in a Day". 

I bought (separately, and unbeknownst to the Quilt in a Day folks) the mini flying geese ruler.  It also includes this niffy fussy cut ruler, which should come in very handy.

Mini Flying Geese and fuzzy cut rulers with instructions.

I thought it would be fun to have Hubby make a flying geese quilt using the book and large ruler. He is a babe in the woods when it comes to sewing and quilting.   In the meantime, I would make one using the mini ruler set.  

Now for the Review: 

Oh my gosh, this is the easiest quilting book I've read.  The instructions are so easy to follow with plenty of pictures and photos.  There are pictures or photos for each step.  I like that she just has simple step by step of instructions, not lengthy paragraphs to wade through.  

Flying Geese Quilt in a Day book has quite a few different Flying Geese quilts (I didn't count them) which includes yardage amount charts for each quit in the book for each size quilt, crib, lap, twin, queen and king.  Yay! Super easy to figure out.  Let me tell you, this was great when I was at the quilt store and slightly confused because my husband kept adding fabric after fabric to the basket. :-)

I was so pleased Eleanor actually explains exactly how to cut the fabric.  So nice for teaching hubby.   
He Cut

He sewed

He made flying geese!!
And lickity split using the mini flying geese set I did too!
These mini ones are the cutest darn little things!
I think I should have ironed those to make them look better. 
 The mini set makes 4 different sizes, the large two different sizes. 

I'm totally impressed with the book. I really liked that the rulers are so clear for viewing the fabrics while squaring up the geese, the "geese" lines are easy to see.  I've made flying geese many different ways, and I must say this is the most fun I've ever had making geese.  

Hubby had a blast making these and can't wait to make more. 

That's what it's all about right?  Having Fun!!  

Hubby is working on one of the quilts from the Flying Geese book - there are several nice ones that he wanted to make and I'll show you his process as he goes. 

Quilt in a Day did not ask me to give them a positive review.  Only to review the book and ruler.    Thanks Quilt in a Day!  Ya'll Rock!!!

Update:  At the request of Kim C.  I have added the link for Quilt in a Day


Friday, December 9, 2011

Mustache Party

Mark had his birthday this week.  DD2 said we should have a mustache party.  Oh what a good idea!  While we were in the restaurant, and he was not looking we all pressed on our mustaches.  He looked up, saw us and burst out laughing!

It's one of the best jokes we've ever done!

Life's so sweet when you are being silly isn't it?

Sad to say, I look better here than on my driver's license.  LOL!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

As promised...Christmas Tree Quilt

I added the stripped fabric to make it slightly bigger to match the size of the border blocks.
I'm very happy with the way the Walmart fabric looks in these blocks
I still have the buttons and beads add. And during lunch I ran over to Joann's and found this really cool itsy bitsy trim.

Mine sure looks different than the original.

Here's the pattern again.

I've also been busy with real a Christmas Tree.
My daughter always wants a tree as high as the ceiling.  Kids!  Don't they realize I would have to get on a super tall ladder to decorate it?  So I picked the spot were the ceiling is the lowest.  (Ha! Don't those kids know we (parents) are smarter than they are!)
Here's our tree this year.

I love having a Christmas Tree in the house.

Merry Christmas and Happy Sewing,

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A few more things sewn...

I was really having fun in my sewing room.  I made this little thread catcher.  
I didn't have three buttons the same (for each of the sides) so I used red on one side.

And these cute little turquoise butterflies on the other two.

See inside? There's some thread in there.  I wanted to be sure it worked. HeHeHe.

I started again on my Christmas Wall hanging.  I started it last year, Nov. 2010.  

This was November's UFO.  Which I didn't even start on until December! 
I changed it up a bit since I had this Christmas Tree and presents that I could applique on. I'm going to add beads for the Christmas lights.

And then I realized why I never finished it last year.  I don't have any Christmas red or green fabric.   Don't you just hate it when that happens?  

Well, I was at Walmart shopping for groceries - and look what I found!!!

 I just love this cheerful fabric.  

I cut my squares and sewed them up - but forgot to take pictures.  
Tonight I'll take some okay? 

Sorry, I'll have to leave you in suspense...
until tomorrow!

Merry Christmas and Happy Sewing,