Monday, December 26, 2011

Sandy’s Boxing Day Sew In! With Give-Aways!

If you are looking for the Mystery Monday Link-Up post you can find it HERE!

I got an email as I was about to head out the door about a Boxing Day Sew in going on over at Quilting for the Rest of Us!

Nonnie wrote:

Dear Bonnie,

SORRY, I did not think of this sooner!

Could you please post a link in your blog to our BOXING DAY SEW IN and give aways.  We figured this is a great way to get some sewing time in.... INFORMATION is on Sandy's blog.   I did post this on the  quiltville mailing list.  I thought this would be a good way for Mystery quilters to get caught up in a fun way
Sure thing, Nonnie!  I’m just headed out the door and glad I caught this in time to post it before I leave for Karen’s.  I took a peek at Sandy’s blog.  Looks like a lot of the quilt-chatter is happening over on twitter,  as well as blogs so if you are a twitter-girl you’ll be able to keep up with what everyone else is doing.

It also looks like there are some great prizes --- just leave your comment, I left mine!  Good luck to everyone!

I’m glad to know that there are lots of us trying to avoid the after Christmas Blitz!  SAY NO to shopping, and YES to SEWING!

Have fun!

Mystery Monday Link-Up! Part 6!

And I’m a bit brain dead this morning!  With all this holiday stuff, I forgot to set this up to go live earlier this morning!

I awoke with a start about 10 minutes ago, sat straight up in bed with an “OH MY GOODNESS!!” And here I am bleary eyed on a day I could have slept in trying to get this typed up and running!

I’m all packed to go sewing today at Karen’s!  YAY!  I packaged up all those triangles I cut the other day, and we’ll see how far I get on them. I can tell you that having all the scrap strips sorted by color family made cutting them SO QUICK!

I’ve taken the ham bone from last night’s Christmas dinner, and it has been simmering in the crock pot on low all night with some 16-bean mix for ham and bean soup.  We’ll have that for dinner tonight after sew-day.

And that’s about all I have to talk about since we enjoyed such a wonderfully relaxed Christmas! I even took a nap --- wonderful!

Let’s link up! If you’ve linked before, you don’t need the directions below, but because we have new people joining us every week, I still want to be sure they know what to do:

If you are a blogger, please link your post showing your Orca Bay Mystery progress on Part 6 ((Or any other part, no matter where you are in the mystery)) below!

Remember that we need the url of the specific POST, not just the address for your whole blog.

To get the correct address in the linky –right click on the title/subject line of the post you wrote about your quilt progress. Chose “copy link address” and paste this url in the form when you link.

You can also CLICK the title line of the post you want to link...and copy the url from the address bar at the top of your browser that way.

For instance, my blog address is  quiltville.blogspot.com but that isn't enough. I can't link to the WHOLE blog, I need the address of the post. The address of THIS post is    quiltville.blogspot.com/2011/12/mystery-monday-link-up-part-6.html  See the difference?

**NOTE**  You do NOT need to include the http:// when you insert your address into the linky!

If you link to just your whole blog, I’ll have to remove your link and have you try again because I can’t fix it FOR you.

We'll leave this open until MIDNIGHT eastern time Thursday night to give you time to write your posts! I LOVED seeing what links came in last week! If you missed those, you can find them linked in the Orca Bay Mystery tab at the top of the blog ---just look at the bottom of that page below the step links for the Mystery Monday Link-Up Links!
Happy Monday!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Afternoon Edition! Free Kindle Book!

Boy, there have been some good ones lately!  I’m snagging this one quickly and sending it off to you just as fast without a bunch of pomp and circumstance, because there has not been much else going on here to write about and include!
Desperate Housedogs is  free today in the Amazon Kindle Store.
Book Description:
 When Caro Lamont, former psychologist turned pet therapist makes a house call to help Kevin Blackstone with his two misbehaving German Shepherd dogs, she expects frantic dogs, she expects a frantic dog owner, she even expects frantic neighbors.
What she doesn’t expect is that two hours later the police will find Kevin dead, his dogs impounded; and that as the last person to see Kevin alive (well, except for the killer) she is suddenly a person of interest, at least according to Homicide Detective Judd Malone.
 Looks like this is the beginning of a series:
The Author, Sparkle Abbey, is the pseudonym of two mystery authors (Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter). They are friends and neighbors as well as co-writers of the Pampered Pets Mystery Series.
The pen name was created by combining the names of their rescue pets - Sparkle (Mary Lee’s cat) and Abbey (Anita’s dog). They reside in central Iowa, but if they could write anywhere, you would find them on the beach with their laptops and depending on the time of day either an iced tea or a margarita.) Visit the authors at www.SparkleAbbey.com
I did go and read a few of the reviews before clicking to get, and this one is the one that made me get it!
I enjoyed this book so much! It's not my typical genre, but the title grabbed me. Three things I loved:

1) When the detective got bit after Caro - it's worded perfectly - I laughed out loud! (there are more than a few of those in the book - the laugh out loud parts)

2) I love the premise and that the books will tag team the cousins - a fun idea and executed perfectly via the brooch!

3) The authors descriptions are excellent; I feel like I've now been to Laguna, and met those crazy people!

Give this book a shot; you'll be glad you did!
I hope there were a lot of kindles found under trees this morning!  I’ll keep posting the freebies that I like ----I don’t post EVERYTHING out there, this blog is much more about quilting than anything else, but I love to read, and am happy to pass the freebies that I find interesting along to you!
Happy Reading!

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

The pumpkin pies are in the oven, filling the house with their wonderful spicy aroma.

Presents have been given and received with much oohing and ahhing all around.

There are plans for settling in and lounging in our jammies to watch more old movie favorites.

Soon I’ll be starting on Christmas dinner and getting that going.

But my day wouldn’t be complete without stopping to wish you all, wherever you are, a beautiful day.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not.  You are a gift to me, and I am so grateful for you!
Enjoy this little ditty --- I guarantee it will make you smile! ((I love watching this guy – he makes me happy all day!!))

PS--- isn't he a brave guy to be seen in public in that ugly Christmas Sweatshirt to begin with? LOL!!

Have a wonderful day!

With Love From The Basement ---

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Truly & Wonderfully Blessed----

And howling my brains out!

I have some of the craziest friends out there, but they know just what will make ME the happiest Quilter on the planet!

Oh how I love you guys!  Really, YOU are the reason I finally got myself kicked into gear with this whole Christmas Feeling this year ---

You were there when I didn't FEEL LIKE IT!

My door bell rang just a bit ago, and there were not just one, not just two..but THREE packages for me to open!
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Even SADIE could smell the yummies emanating from this one…so I grabbed it first…Trying carefully not to get the styrofoam peanuts all over the clean office floor --- I failed!

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OH!!  Goodies!!  And a card!!  This came all the way from Karen L who came with us on the November cruise…..the box was fairly heavy, and I set to opening it.  And you know the rules? One of the cookies was broken, so I had to EAT IT FAST.  According to those-in-the-know---Broken cookies have no calories because they've all fallen out! :cD

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Not only is the box a beautiful gift in itself, but there are matching notecards! Cookies, Bread…and a HUGE Bag of pre-cut tumblers….only about 2,000 of them!  Karen, you sneaky girl, are you trying to pass off your Millenium UFO on to me? LOL!  I LOVE IT!  Thank You!

And Speaking of Millenium stuff ---

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Tracey B sent THIS goodie!

MORE MILLENIUM FABRIC!  Just for ME!! Aren’t the M&M’s cute?  Even if they are about 12 years old by now…LOL! And that wasn’t ALL---

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She sent ANOTHER M&M’s Millenium piece!  And 4 cheddar bowties to boot!  Can you read the funniest part of all?  As far as this Millenium thing goes?

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Hahahaha!!  I think I’m going to have to fussy cut this one and hang  it front and center in my studio!!  OH, this could have SO MANY applications, couldn’t it??!  No….I don’t think the Millenium is over yet --- just wait til the next package is revealed!

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These Flat Rate Boxes are great…you just pull the zip-pull on the side and it opens so easily --- only to find a note that says PLEASE OPEN THE OTHER SIDE FIRST!! >_<  This is typical for me…just call me Wrong End Rita!  ((Or would that be Writa?)) I am a girl of many names – I’m used to it.  Most often I’m referred to as “Messy Bessy”  But I’m told it’s a term of “endearment” :cD

Okay…so I go to open the OTHER end, only now the WRONG end is wide open, and if I don’t place it wrong side down on top of a solid flat surface, everything is just going to just dump out of the bottom!

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Here we are! Right side Up!  A card!  Okay --- we’ll start there…..I will resist pulling the fabric out of the box until the card is read --- oh this is not easy for me, I can tell you!

This came from Alycia D in Marrietta, GA!  Thank you Alycia!

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UHoh!! Do you see what *I* see ((Sung to the tune of “Do you hear what I hear! – It is Christmas after all!!))  MORE MILLENIUM FABRIC!!

Found this at a Quilter’s yard /fabric sale.  Thought you would get a good laugh!!  PS…These are strings left from Roll Roll, Cotton Bowl ---
I love it!  and you know what?  Those 2000 bits won’t even be recognizable by the time I strip it up REALLY SMALL!  I’m thinking 1-1/2” is good…LOL!!!

So what about those strips in the box? Did you ever wonder just how MUCH fabric you can stuff in a Medium Flat Rate Box??

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Holy Mass-O-Scraps, Batman!!  I can’t believe you sent me all of this!  Does this mean you are wimping out on any future mystery quilts that might require copious amounts of neutral strings? :cD 

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I had to put them in their OWN tub, there are so many!  And you know what? From the looks of it, there are lots of 2” and 1-1/2” strips in here…they might have to be pulled to join the other neutral strips in the strips bins that are all so nice and neat now ---

I’ve really gotten a kick out of all the cards and emails and little gifts that mean so much through this holiday season.  I wish I could send you ALL a bunch of squishy packages, and boxes of cookies in the mail.  Thank you so much for making MY life so special, just by your being in it!

I can’t say THANK YOU enough – I just can’t.  You guys are wonderful!

God Bless Us, Every One!

Afternoon Edition–Free Kindle Book!

Bring on the good reads!

This one just came across on my radar and I snatched it right away.  It just sounds fun!

Ruby Lake by Sherrill Willis is free today from the Amazon Kindle store, and has received an average user rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 27 customer reviews. 
Category: Humor / Romance
Book Description:
Sydney Myers has been through several failed relationships in the past year, in addition to other trauma’s, and is now giving up on finding her knight in dented armor. When her boss sends her to Ruby Lake, a small, rural town in northern Wisconsin, the last thing she was looking for was love at first sight, not to mention a place in the world where she finally fits.
Add in her city-savvy best friend, a jealous ex-girlfiend, a famous father, and a coffee shop full of off-the wall characters, and it becomes more challenging for Sydney to manage than a spinning plate competition.
When disaster strikes close to home, Sydney is left with the unbearable choice of her family, or the love she has always dreamed of. Come with Sydney on her journey and laugh, cry and rediscover why some choices are not really choices at all, they are simply fate.
Sometimes when picking a book, I’ll go further down the page and read the reviews…this one has GREAT reviews!
This is the one that cinched it for me:
A wonderful fun read comedic love story. Filled with quirky characters that will keep you chuckling and page turning to see what happens next.
There is even a love to hate character masterly portrayed. If you are a fan of Northern Exposure or Lake Woebegone you will enjoy this read.
Ms. Willis brings to life the small town charm of America and weaves the interactions of its characters in a masterful blend, reminding this reader of the genius,wit & humor of a modern day reincarnation of Mark Twain.
Anyone with a sense of humor, guys as well as gals will enjoy the adventures found in Ruby Lake. This reader is looking forward impatiently for more upcoming adventures of the Ruby Lake gang.
You know the drill, double check to be sure it’s still free, and snatch it while you can!
It’s Boring-Regular-Nothing-Extra-Added-Chocolate-Chip-Cookie-Day.  Even though  it is such a no-nonsense, nothing special cookie…why do I still find myself licking the spatula?!

Christmas Eve!

Here’s poor Sadie Jane, wishing everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS---while in the process of being completely humiliated by Jeff putting blinking antlers on her head.  It’s worse than the “Cone of Shame” --- she couldn’t wait to get that thing off her head!

It can’t possibly be Christmas Eve!  Part of me is a bit bummed that this month has flown by so quickly!  I’m headed to the Dallas area next FRIDAY – how can that be possible?  And the other part of me is happily willing to relinquish 2011 to the archives and start 2012 with a brand sparkling new slate!

Karen, Lisa & I have plotted and planned to celebrate the passing of Christmas, and the survival of another Holiday season by getting together at Karen’s house on the 26th for a SEW DAY!!

I am so happy to be doing this…..this way my crazy family won’t drag me out in the “Day AFTER Christmas shopping mayhem”.  It was bad enough that we had to go out YESTERDAY for a couple of last things --- I needed a few groceries for Christmas dinner, and to pick up a couple things for Jeff --- and----- who’s big idea was it to go out at 4:30 in the afternoon 2 days before Christmas? Never mind --- it’s done.  And I’m not leaving the house for a while!

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Instead of baking cookies….I’ve got piles of triangles cut and ready to sew.  Cookie sheets can be handy in the sewing room, too, ya know?!  These will most likely be going to Karen’s with me for the 26th Sew Day --- that is unless I get some time to sew them here first! 

Oooooh!  Do you see in the bottom left of the yellow section? RUBY RED SLIPPERS?!  Those came home from Kansas with me ((How fitting!)) and just next to it is the Yellow Brick Road fabric! I found a quilt for them to go in! Yeah!

And you know what?  There *IS* no place like home -----

Friday, December 23, 2011

Evening Edition ---Free Kindle Book!

After I sent my last post, I went browsing --- and this came up as a freebie!  I was going to wait til morning to send it, but then realized that it might not be free by morning!  These things are sometimes only available for a couple hours ---or one day---or whatever Amazon deems it to be available…so….consider this an extra!
Napoleon’s Pyramids is free in the Amazon Kindle Store.

Genre: Historical Thriller
Book Description:
What mystical secrets lie beneath the Great Pyramids?
The world changes for Ethan Gage—one-time assistant to the renowned Ben Franklin—on a night in post-revolutionary Paris, when he wins a mysterious medallion in a card game.
Framed soon after for the murder of a prostitute and facing the grim prospect of either prison or death, the young expatriate American barely escapes France with his life—choosing instead to accompany the new emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, on his glorious mission to conquer Egypt.
With Lord Nelson’s fleet following close behind, Gage sets out on the adventure of a lifetime. And in a land of ancient wonder and mystery, with the help of a beautiful Macedonian slave, he will come to realize that the unusual prize he won at the gaming table may be the key to solving one of history’s greatest and most perilous riddles: who built the Great Pyramids . . . and why?
I love stuff like this ---and it was free still when I downloaded it just before writing this post.  Hopefully it still will be for you too!

Remember, you don’t HAVE to have a kindle to read this.  You can read it on your computer or laptop via the kindle cloud app on amazon, or you can download the free kindle app for your smart phone or tablet.

And who knows –---Santa MIGHT be bringing you a kindle for Christmas! Even if you don’t have one yet, if you go ahead and download it to your account on Amazon, it will stay on your personal bookshelf forever ---so it will be ready to transfer over when you DO get a kindle or a phone or tablet that can use a kindle app.

And with that…I’m off to go find a cozy corner and do a bit of reading!

Office Area Redo!

Santa made his way to my basement!

I’ve been working out of an old armoire/desk since moving to NC almost 4 years ago.  ((Can it really be nearly 4 years?  Yep!  February it will be!))  The desk thing was functional, but really limited me to the size of monitor I could have, I couldn’t put my legs “Under” it like a desk, and even though the keyboard tray could extend a bit, it just wasn’t comfortable.

Besides that-- it had seen BETTER days!  A couple of weeks ago I was vacuuming, and I kept wondering WHO had spilled BB’s all over the floor in here…they sure made a racket being sucked up into the vacuum!  Turns out they weren’t BB’s --- they were the ball bearings from the slide out desk keyboard shelf thing.  It was time for this thing to GO!

I’d checked IKEA when I was there with Jason last week --- Everything was very “Minimalist” with no shelves, no cubby holes, no nothing --- and just didn’t fit the kind of furniture I wanted for down here.  I wanted a large desk surface area, and I still wanted drawers.

We wound up at Colfax Furniture Outlet --- they buy the floor samples from the Furniture Market that goes on here in High Point twice a year.  You have heard that NC is #1 in great furniture, yeah?  Well –—what you see above is what we found! Floor model, as is --- GREAT PRICE.  I got the desk, the file cabinet, and a side book case.

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The basement itself is NOT “house beautiful”  It’s an older house, and the basement is more functional space wise than it is aesthetics wise, but I love my space down here!

We moved the other desk/armoire out --- vacuumed ----A LOT! ((boy does stuff get yucky underneath immovable furniture in places you can’t see!!)) and set me up.  The biggest challenge? ALL THE CORDS!  Good grief.  How many cords are there?  We did our best to organize everything in a non-tangled way ---and most of it is hidden.  The other cords --- the ones that go to the surround sound for my audio---are “mostly” hidden by the quilt on the wall!  The armoire kept most of that hidden, but the quilt does its job in brightening up the wall much better.

The ugly thing to the left of the photo is my very small design wall….what was left of a peach colored flannel sheet that has fit the bill just fine.

The desktop is protected by a vintage child’s 4-patch quilt.  It will protect from scratches, etc…and I get to enjoy looking at every stitch while I type :c)

On the future to-do list?  Cleaning out the book shelves and culling stuff I don’t want/need anymore.  Same with the magazines that have accumulated.  I let them sit “whole” until the basket is full, and then I spend a couple evenings going through them and removing the  pictures/ideas I want --- putting them in page protectors and filing them in binders that I call my “inspiration” books –And the rest? Bye bye ---I need to do some more minimizing in that area!

This makes such a HUGE difference in my space down here……now they’ll NEVER get me to go upstairs unless I need a drink or a bathroom break..LOL!

Oh --- and needless to say….NO cookies got baked today!  Maybe tomorrow --- The Hubster is still clamoring for “PLAIN” Chocolate Chip --- with no oatmeal, no raisins, no nuts, no “funny” stuff as he puts it!  I think I can do that ----

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas!

If you’ve just arrived looking for Part 6, you are a day late!  I posted it yesterday as a sneaky Merry Christmas, to everyone.  You can find it HERE!

This little video is one I have to play EVERY Christmas….I just LOVE this, and the original version is always the best.

I hope that your holidays are filled with family, friendship, love and laughter – and of course great food!  And maybe some stitching, or not –But whatever you get up to, MAKE some  wonderful Memories to last a life time!

Lots of love from the Basement --

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oatmeal, Pecan & Craisin Cookies!

It’s DAY 2 of the baking extravaganza!  I only managed to make one other kind of cookie today – and that’s fine with me.  I was deep in digging myself out of the “Other” side of the basement…the unheated side.  Because, you see --- today---heated or unheated was NOT a problem!  Will you look at what our temp is doing today? INSANE!
It’s just about 65 degrees out there, but raining at a pretty steady pace –which took away my first thought of wanting to be OUTSIDE in temps like this.

I have purged, reorganized and repurposed much of the storage room that is off that other side of the basement.  I feel like a kid that’s gone crazy in a donut shop.  And is now sick of donuts and doesn’t want to SEE another one.  Replace DONUT SHOP for FABRIC SHOP and the same holds true.

When you can’t close the cupboards because there is so much in there…when you can’t put another piece of green yardage on the green shelf because it is PACKED FULL ---it’s time to stop shopping and start sewing!

The problem is, haven’t I been sewing all along?  How come everything is still so full to bursting?!
After sweeping up, taking lots of stuff to the “throw out” pile or the “donate” pile…it was time for some kitchen fun.

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For those who thought my Drop Sugar Cookies were pitiful, do these look better? I love thick and soft, chewy chunky cookies and these fit the bill.  Do you want to know how to keep some cookies from spreading too much on the pan?  CHILL the dough in the fridge before scooping it into balls and placing them on the cookie sheet.  It works!  I used a roundish Tablespoon measuring spoon and very chilled dough, and these held their shape while baking.

Oatmeal, Pecan & Craisin Cookies:
· 1 cup butter, softened
· 1-1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
· 2 eggs
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
· 1 teaspoon baking soda
· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 3 cups rolled oats
· 1 cup Craisins ((Dried Cranberries –Also can substitute raisins OR Chocolate chips –leave out cinnamon if using chocolate chips))
· 3/4 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped ((optional))

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, raisins and nuts, if using them.

At this point you can either chill the dough for a bit in the fridge and then scoop it, or scoop the cookies onto a cookie sheet and then chill the whole tray before baking them. You could also bake them right away, if you’re impatient, but I do find that they end up slightly less thick.

The cookies should be two inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.  My oven requires the 12 minute routine, so test as needed.

I’m so happy that everyone was glad about Part 6 of Orca Bay being a day early!  Sew on, Everyone, Sew on!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

About Togetherness

We exchanged the cat door in my basement studio door for a doggie-sized door so Sadie could come in and out!  Before ---she could push the door open and come in, but she’d never shut the door…and she’d let the warm air out and the cold air in since the other side of the basement isn’t heated!

This morning Jeff and Sadie came in to visit..I love the look on her face as he stuck his head through the doggie door…like “HEY! That’s MY DOOR --- What do you think you’re doing?!

I was also talking with a friend this morning…about this, that, everything – about how Jason can’t come home for Christmas this year, because he works til close on Christmas Eve, and has to work at opening on the day AFTER Christmas….and a 3 hour drive is just far enough to make trying to drive up here and go home in the same day NOT any fun. 

I’ve done that drive….drive down to Columbia in one day, and back on the same day.  It’s 6 hours in the car.  What's the point of spending most of the holiday on the ROAD?! Not worth it. And I understand.

I’ve really felt “OUT” of it this year.  Not down in the dumps like some struggle when it comes to holiday depression --- just – I don’t know!  The kids are grown, traditions are falling by the wayside due to the age of the kids, their availability to come home or not…and just life in general.

A comment from my friend really struck me this morning.:
“Have a wonderful Christmas if you can ---Remember, it’s about the togetherness, the time with the family”
And I knew that if this was going to amount to ANYTHING I had to make a move TOWARD my family, and they to me.

I’ve been working hard down here in the basement all month.  DH is at work until late --- they’ve got Year End stuff coming due, meetings and staff dinners and all kinds of things that keep him out til later.  Tis the season!  Jeff has been doing what all 21 yr old single guys are doing…guy stuff!  Stuff with his friends, his computer, and is gone quite a bit.

This morning after talking to my friend I went up and talked to Jeff and said….."We need some TOGETHERNESS! I am downstairs, you are upstairs.  We are under this roof together, and yet we are separate.  I want to do some things to spend this time TOGETHER instead of APART."

He nodded, said "Okay ---"  and I’m sure I could see his eyes start to roll to the back of his head, but I MEAN IT!  My holiday is almost over…I’ve got 5 days past Christmas and my 2012 starts in full swing on Dec 30th!  THIS. IS. IT!

Memories don’t really just happen on their own.  Most times we have to MAKE them.

So today….we made COOKIES!  Just like we used to when he was little.  And I know he was probably not thrilled to be drug out in the rain to the store at 9am to go get the few things that we needed that we didn’t have already at home --- but we made COOKIES!  And we talked and laughed and made a mess and tasted and tested and…TALKED.  And it was priceless.

Martha Stewart, I am not! But I donned a fave gifted apron with the darling embroidery and we set to work.  Yes, It's bad when you have to do a bathroom phone pic in a mirror to show you the apron effect-- I know.  But this is how we bake around here!

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These are drop sugar cookies --- and I bought a tub of cream cheese icing, divided it into 1/3s and colored 1/3 yellow, and 1/3 green.  I was out of red or blue!  And I was not going out in the rain to buy any more food colors!  We are past wanting to do the roll and cut out kind…but these are great.  Okay, I know that they are not BEAUTIFUL, I am not a professional baker and never set out to be.  I'm just a mom.  Just a wife.  And we had fun making these:

Drop Sugar Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup Crisco
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Sift dry ingredients, all except sugar, together.
  3. Cream margarine, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg and vanilla.
  5. Beat in dry ingredients until smooth.
  6. Blend in milk.
  7. Drop by tablespoon about 3 inches apart onto a greased cookie sheet.
  8. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
This recipe works really well as a slice & bake too.
Next Up!
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While the sugar cookies were baking, I started up a batch of yummy soft ginger cookies.  These are MY fave---I’ll go for a spicy molasses/ginger cookie over a chocolate chip anything at ANY TIME!

Do any of you have this K-tec mixer? I’ve had it about 10 to 12 years---have loved it.  But the start/stop button no longer works.  I have to hold down the pulse button to get it to run…what a pain.  There may be a new Mixer on my list for my birthday next month!  I like this one because it is small.  I can put it AWAY after use in the bottom cabinet. I don’t want something that lives on the counter, I don’t have that much counter space. It has a gazillion attachments…even a blender sits on it and whirrs like a champ.  That is --- IF you stand there and hold down the pulse button >_<

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Here’s the dough after I took the beater bar off the top…ummmm…..can you see the two “Let's taste the dough!!” finger marks in there!  One is Jeff's-- one is Mine! Yummy!  Yes, I am a cookie dough lover…raw eggs be danged!

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Dough balls are dipped in sugar and baked…these stay soft if you keep them in an air tight container!
Soft Ginger Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

The house smells WONDERFUL.  We had a great time.  We’ve also got plans for some Chocolate Chip ones for DH – and Jeff requested my Oatmeal/Pecan/Craisin cookies…so we’ve got that coming maybe tomorrow.  And I love Pecan Sandies – they are always a holiday tradition.  I think that’s IT for the holiday baking extravaganza--- the reason I don’t bake a lot?  I EAT IT!

But Hey, it’s the holidays!  And it feels good to feel like it!

Spinning till I’m Dizzy!

Yesterday after returning from the dentist, I sat in my chair at the sewing machine, and fed 4-patch pairs through.  I seriously quit counting.  I had counted them when cutting them, so I mindlessly watched each pair go through the machine, under the presser foot, to be followed in a long chain by umpteen thousand more.

I wrote about how I cut them all with my Accuquilt Studio HERE.

There is a kind of zen feeling in mindless tasks like this, the only thing I had to be careful of was that I was feeding ALL my pairs with the red squares leading, and feeling with my fingers to make sure that those center seam allowances were butted up to each other nice and tight.

I’m not a pinner by nature….I’m quite lazy about it actually, and if I can pinch it with my fingers to hold, I don’t bother with pinning unless I’m trying to match sharp points on triangles.  But straight butted seams?  Just hold them and let the feed dogs take them through!

Oh yeah, and see that duct tape on the machine extension table?  I had to tape it up again because the glue didn't hold. *SIGH*  But it's okay -- my new one also arrived yesterday!  I'm going to take the broken one to a glass shop now and see if they can fix it good enough to use it as a spare.

After the 4-patches were all sewn,  the REAL chore began!

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Does this look like it could possibly be 480 4-patches?!  Well it is….all kinds of fabrics here, if it was red, it went.  It might be a plaid, a geometric, a stripe, a floral, even a few Christmas fabrics found their way in here.  Boy am I glad to put some of this stuff to good use!  By the time a fabric is cut to 1-1/2”, and finishes as a 1” square…there isn’t a lot to see ON the fabric really, just color!

I laid a length of 4 patches down my ironing board…snipped it from the Mother-Pile ---and began to chain press.  Flip, press, flip, press, flip, press --- all the way down the chain.

When I got to the end of the ironing-board-length chain….I snipped them apart.  And one by one, I picked them up and spun the seams on the back like this:

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Why do this at all? Because!  Because these 4 patches will be butted up to each other in the block and this will help eliminate some of the bulk especially when working with small units.  I’d rather be able to butt a seam when joining units than press seams open and have to pin everything – remember, I’m a lazy pinner!

Good thing I had netflix playing mindlessly in the background---It took a good movie’s worth of time to get it all done!

If you want to know more about how to spin your seams, check out this previous post I wrote HERE.

The one big thing to remember…is if you are going to spin them at all, make sure they spin in the SAME direction, either clockwise, or counter clockwise, but NOT BOTH!  And this is determined by feeding all your 4 patches through the machine the same way.  If I started with the red square leading, I needed to keep the red square leading on ALL the pairs.  If I fed one with the neutral square leading --- it would make THAT 4 patch spin in the other direction. If it spins the other way, the seams won’t butt when I go to join it to the next one.

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Here they are!  All 480 of them!  Oh this is going to be a fun quilt!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Oooh! Another Free Ornie!

I was going to wait until tomorrow to post this, but that puts us only 4 days from Christmas, so I figured sooner was better than later!

I love the shape of this one, don’t you?

It pieces in only 2 sections, and finishes as a 4” block.

Dig into those scraps!  Combine this one with the Ornament block from Yesterday’s Post, decorate the whole tree!

Or file this away for next year, because you know what? It would be adorable as a gift tag, or the cover of a needle book as well as a mug rug!

Download the free PDF file HERE

I made a stop today at Sam’s Club….I’m looking for a new desk for my computer – this one is falling apart, the keyboard tray has lost all its bearings---I was wondering WHY there were bb’s all over the floor ?---- It’s old and clunky and needs to GO…but I’m having the dangdest time finding something I like and something that I can afford.  Everything at IKEA was sleek and streamlined and had no drawers or storage. ((Leave it to the Swedes to go minimalist! I have too much STUFF!!)) So I’m looking.  I liked some of the styles at Office Depot, but they are all made with that faux wood stuff.  My sewing table is that "cultured wood product!!" LOL!! and it does not hold up well over time.

Sam’s didn’t have anything either..but look what I DID find!

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The size is AWESOME!  And you don’t have to use those cupcake holder thingy-doodles if you don’t want them in there – they are removeable!
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A 3-Stacker for $15??  I think that’s a pretty sweet deal even without the cupcakes in it!

Am I the only one who gets giddy over the possibility of more plastic organizer thingies??

I’m thinking they’ll travel well for retreats, etc.  I have some of the bigger square ones that ornaments were stored in --- those are too big to fit in my tote, and I think these WILL fit!