Tuesday, November 30, 2010

To Do Tuesday

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go...

Okay, it's the last day of November. That's Christmas season, y'all. And it's especially looking like Christmas in my sewing room (what passes for a sewing room around here - I'll give you the grand tour another day).

I have our community center reserved for tonight for a little sewing party. Might just be me and Rendy, but we're going to be busy bees working on Christmas. Here's what's on my list for tonight:

Sew at least one new dress for Kit

William's boy doll

Just discovered this art journal here and I must make them for my munchkins. I might even get one too!

Can I just say that I'm longing for the days when handmade goods were appreciated as gifts? At church, instead of choosing gifts, maybe even making them and then wrapping them, now we are instructed to just buy gift cards. It's just so cold and impersonal to me. I'd love to make a little girl a doll and blanket and one of these art journals. Now, it's just about giving people money.

It makes me glad for those who do still appreciate handmade gifts. I'm even making a commissioned apron for a friend at church - he's one of those perceptive husbands who listens when his wife says she likes something. Well, she told him I made pretty aprons and he e-mailed my husband and we picked out fabric and now I'm making an apron for her. I hope she likes it. I'll take pictures, of course!

But that comes after my finals and such. Classes officially end on the 10th, and I have just one final on the 13th.

And here's my early Christmas present - I discovered yesterday that I will graduate in June, if all goes as planned! Hooray!

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Christmas Kitchen

Corrie over at retro mummy is the inspiration for this post. So here's what will be coming out of my kitchen this Christmas - some are traditions and some will become such.

The first - peanut brittle. Aaron is not a cookie man, and we paid out quite a bit for a baking and pastry education, so let's produce some candy! He gets a tin of this every year under the tree. I'll have to make more this year though - Laurel is a fan now too!

Next: December 15th will be our family Doughnut Fry. A family friend back in Kennewick has been doing this their whole married life and we're officially adopting it this year. We love doughnuts and we like our friends and family. Aaron chose the date because it is not only part of the Christmas season but because it also celebrates Bill of Rights day. Yes, we're flag-waving Americans around here and proud of it.
This coconut cake is heavenly. I just made one for Thanksgiving and I'll be making one for our church Christmas party.
Aaron and I fell in love with these coconut macaroons this year. We have some special family members whose favorite cookies are coconut macaroons. Will be shipping some out in December!
Spritz cookies. It's all about the butter. I've been making them for years, first with my mom, now with my kids. We like the tree shapes and the stars. I don't want to think about how many pounds of butter I will use up creating gift tins for friends. I know some people like to give a variety of treats, but I like to give just a bunch of one thing. It's easy on me, they taste great and the kids don't fight over them.
Course, I have to get through my finals first before I start baking. But I'll be going to the store to stock up on butter and sugar. 'Tis the season.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Can I leave it up forever?

Loving my new blog decorations. I'm limited at home regarding decorations for Christmas. Still creating what I want. In the meantime, I thought the blog could use something fun.

Busy week this week - and some sewing time on Tuesday night. Getting together with my sewing buddies for a few hours after bedtime. I'm super excited to get some projects done for Christmas.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

You. Must. Try. These!

Okay, my first Thanksgiving dinner as hostess was a success. The turkey was perfect, the gravy was spectacular (well-worth the four, count 'em, four pounds of shallots), the dressing was yummy and the mashed potatoes were just dandy.

I have an oven space issues, however. As in, not enough. So I was wracking my brain, trying to figure out how everything was going to arrive on the table on time and hot. I was not leaving out my yams. Even if I was the only one eating them.

Enter my gorgeous slow cooker. This girl has been coming to my rescue more often than I'd like to think. So I did a little Googling and lo and behold, it's been done. Candied yams in the slow cooker. I just peeled, sliced, layered with brown sugar and white sugar and butter and four hours later, awesomeness. I kid not. Oh, and I pulsed the sugars with the scrapings from a vanilla bean. When they were all done, I put the yams and most of the liquid in my mixer and whipped them up. Topped with marshmallows (don't judge) and I was in yam heaven.

This one is on the list every year now. I will get my kids to eat them. Who wouldn't like something with toasted marshmallows on top?

And now that I've fed my husband one of the best meals he's ever had (he can't stop going on about that gravy), maybe he'll fix my sewing machine tonight so I can sew tomorrow. Homework can wait. I need some crafting time.

Happy Thanksgiving all! I hope it was a lovely day for everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Thanksgiving Menu

Because we're on our own for Thanksgiving this year, and because I know, I just know, that my kids will most likely eat only a few things on the menu, I'm making what sounds good to me.
Here it is, in all it's excess and glory (links provided when possible):

Herb-Roasted Turkey with Shallot Pan Gravy

Sausage, Cranberry, and Pecan Stuffing

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Rolls - lots and lots of rolls from my zoji

Ambrosia - Gran's recipe, and this is all for me - oranges, coconut, pecans and maraschino cherries - Heaven!

Mom's Famous Orange Jell-o - and I even have the Jadeite green mold just like hers - I searched and searched on e-bay for one for quite a while. This is the. best. jell-o. ever. It's orange jell-o, boiling water, orange sherbet instead of cold water and a can o' mandarin oranges, drained. Awesomeness. We've been eating it in our family for years and years. I can't imagine Thanksgiving without it.

Brown-Sugar Glazed Yams with Marshmallows - I must have these. I will eat them all myself if needed.

Brussels Sprouts with Onion and Bacon - Aaron and I share a deep and abiding love for brussels sprouts. Yeah, we're weirdos.

Carrots with Shallots, Sage and Thyme - my kids love carrots, so we'll see if they eat these

And for dessert:

Chocolate bundt cake - for the kids
Pumpkin tarts - for Aaron
Lemon tarts - for me (I might share for Laurel)

I'm not meaning to exclude my kids from the process. I know what they will eat (turkey, potatoes, maybe carrots, definitely jell-o and rolls for sure) and I know that I want more than just kid friendly food. I also want them to see adults enjoying different things. James and Will can be quite adventurous if they see Aaron and I enjoying something.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving Plans!

I have big plans for this four-day weekend coming up. They are primarily centered on my family and feeling grateful, but I've got other things on my plate too. Such as:
  • catching up on homework, maybe getting ahead (don't count on it - how boring!)
  • fixing my sewing machine (today) so I can work on some projects
  • Of those projects, I think I can crank out two Christmas quilts
  • avoiding any shopping like the plague - I know there are great deals, but dealing with crowds of bargain hunters is not my idea of fun. I'll stay home with the leftovers.
  • decorating the "kid" Christmas tree - we bought a tiny one years ago and it's going in the kids' room this year.
  • decorating the house for Christmas - getting ready for the Christmas tree
That's a good list, isn't it?

Okay, I might go buy one thing. A rotary cutter. Mine is clearly not wishing to be found. I cleaned (and I mean REALLY cleaned) yesterday and still no sign. It's gotta be hiding under the washer/dryer or something. So rotary cutters and blades are on sale at JoAnn's for $6.99 on Black Friday. I'll be there at 6 a.m. (or whenever they open - I'm up early anyway) to get one so I can use my fabric therapy for finals coming up.

Have a lovely Thanksgiving week!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hot date

No, silly, I do not have a hot date with Gordon Ramsay. I'm a married woman. He's married. But I could have a smidgen of a culinary crush on him. Just a smidge.

No, the hot date is with my awesome husband who is as much a Hell's Kitchen junkie as I am. We don't have a TV, but we do watch our HK episodes on We were going through withdrawals a few weeks back during the World Series. But Chef is back and we're watching the latest tonight. SO excited.

And then we get to fix my sewing machine together. The old girl needs her tension fixed so she can get me through the holidays and continue to provide fabric therapy for me. Poor girl - she needs a break!

That is all. I'm keeping my fingers crossed I win a Go cutter. Because a little business idea is bouncing around in my brain and I'm wondering how great it is. We shall see.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Go! Giveaway round 2

Yet another Go! Giveaway, this time over at Simply Solids.

I've got big plans for one so it would be awesome if I could win one instead of buy one. But we'll see. Here's hoping the random number generator works in my favor this time around!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

When life gives you grapefruits....

(also known as Jennie can't find her flippin' rotary cutter!)

You make do, that's what you do. And let Aaron eat the grapefruits.

I've had a ginormous stack o' HSTs that need to be cut - because they aren't quite yet HSTs. Do I need to explain?

So I sat down with my new scissors, my stack o' blocks and started cutting. Sure makes me appreciate that little wonder of a rotary cutter that is still in hiding.

But I got something done, so that makes me feel good.

Still, I'm running out of projects to do that don't require a rotary cutter or a wonky-tension sewing machine.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So Here's a Question....

I love my husband.

He can fix lots of things.

But he can't fix everything, although he tries. He has successfully extracted many many pins that little fingers have stored inside my sewing machine. But, in the process, he has also made some adjustments to my sewing machine that are giving me unsatisfactory results.

My tension is off. WAY off. So now he has to take it all apart, again, and try to figure things out. He refuses to let me spend money to have someone else look at it. Not that he knows exactly what he's looking at all the time, but he's a figure-outer kinda guy. So I now have no sewing machine. Again.

I will grant you, he did figure out the blown fuse problem. That was pretty impressive.

I just want my machine back. I need the therapy time.

So I wish you happy crafting. I'm off to my corner to sulk until I get my rotary cutter found (turns out he put it somewhere - where, we still don't know) and my sewing machine back.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Winner Winner

I'll have to figure out how people post a picture of the random number generator. I have witnesses that I used it - I was going to just do eeny-meeny-miney-mo, but Aaron though I ought to do it the right way, even if there were only three of you.

I feel torn about this. It's like inviting your entire senior class to a party and three people showed up. But three awesome people, so who cares who missed it, right?

Okay, so the winner of the lovely fabric is (drumroll please):

Adrienne, who likes to sing the second and third verses of the national anthem. If you don't know them, look them up. The third is my most favorite, and here it is, in honor of our winner:

Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto "In God is our trust!"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Okay, I got chills just typing that! We need to hear that verse more often. I'd tell you to e-mail me your address Adrienne, but I know it already. I'm thinking my next giveaway will be something that is finished. Little coin purse? Some Christmas potholders? I'm going to keep at this.

One other thing! There is a lovely giveaway over at Retro Mummy. Fat quarters - lots of them - in the sweetest prints imaginable. Just looking at them makes me baby hungry, but only if they are babies of the female variety. Adrienne, you are so lucky!

Okay, I'm blessed to have three awesome boys. But the girly stuff is beyond cute.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I just love finishing projects. Even little tiny, easy ones like these little beauties:

They whipped up so fast and simple - just have to put a snap on the inside and embellish the outside with a button or something else cute. Super fun and completely from scraps - that's always a great thing, right. So, friends and family, don't be surprised if you end up with one for Christmas!

And then there are big projects that just needed two rows to be done. And so, while introducing my children to the Sound of Music, I finished this off. It's a perfect, large, snuggle on the couch lap quilt size, although with some borders and binding, just might work for a twin. You know, I'm beginning to get serious about the twin beds in the master bedroom....

I also finished a few pillowcases for fun. That's the trouble I'm having these days. I have Christmas sewing that needs to get done, but I can no longer do it in front of my inquisitive little kids! So I'm stuck doing that at craft days (oh darn, need another one!). And I still cannot find my rotary cutter. Grrr. I'm beginning to run out of already prepped projects. Girl's gonna need that soon...

In the meantime, happy sewing!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sewing Day Recap

Since Rebecca asked, I might as well 'fess up. I did get some things going during my sewing day. I've just discovered how quickly piecing together a quilt is compared with fiddling with doll clothes. Love making the clothes for my girl and her dolly, but the hemming and gathering and facings and all that are time consuming! I almost completely finished a Christmas dress for Laurel's doll. That's it. Sheesh!

So I'm really glad I'll get to have yet another one of these days. Because I've got quite a bit of sewing to do in not a lot of time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day and a Giveaway!

First, I have to say that I love this country and I love veterans. I'm married to one. I'm the granddaughter of two, the sister of two, and the friend of several. We owe a lot to these men and women who risk so much and sacrifice everything so that we can be free, and that others can be free too. Democracy and freedom isn't just for Americans.

Okay, now to the part that most are interested in. You are dying to hear about my super productive day, right? That's why you're here. Well, it was awesome. We had about 13 ladies show up all day and we got to visit and work and it was just what I wanted it to be. And we planned the next one, because we had such a good turn out and such a good time.

Oh, and the giveaway. If you don't know the routine, here it is:
  1. For one entry, leave a comment. That's it. But to make it interesting, tell me your favorite patriotic song.
  2. For two entries, link it to facebook or your blog. Or both, for three entries. Leave me a comment for each extra entry.
That's it. And you win what is pictured above - 4 half yard cuts of this lovely decor-weight fabric in blues and browns - perfect for fancy grocery bags or anything else you might think of. Giveaway closes Sunday and I'll announce a winner Monday.

Let's roll!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Go! Giveaway

Before you get excited, I am not giving away a Go! cutter. Don't hate me.

But I am telling you to zip yourself over to Lavender Ridge and enter the giveaway (thereby reducing my chances, but I won't judge you).

If you win and you are my friend, please share. I will if I win!

Happy crafting - and look for my not-quite-as-exciting giveaway tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

To Do Tuesday

I am up to my eyeballs in papers - papers about Marianne Moore, papers about some critic's opinion of Marianne Moore, my own poems to write (and I've written one about quilting, one about waiting tables, and one about ice cream - I take the advice of "write what you know" to heart).

But I'm getting giddy with excitement that Thursday is coming so soon. I have projects prepped and ready to go - doll clothes for Laurel and Grace, a boy doll for William (he's been asking for one!), dinosaur families for the kids, pillowcases, cute little clutches, bags, zipper pouches, and a sleeping bag for Will's doll. Phew. I won't get it all done, but won't it be fun to start it?

There's really just one thing on my to do list for today.

Find my rotary cutter.

So embarrassing, losing that. A child has not found it, as we have no bleeding fingers in my house presently. But I am at a loss. Just another reason why I need an entire room dedicated to sewing and cutting and crafting. Then the supplies don't have to leave their room.

Oh, and I will be having a giveaway on Thursday, in honor of my craft day on Veteran's Day. So be prepared to work for this giveaway (okay, not much, I promise). It's my first, so I hope it goes well.

What's on your to do list - even if it's not crafting?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

To Do Tuesday

Unfortunately, even though I'd rather be creating something, I get to spend most of my week studying for a mid-term, writing the rough draft of a paper and celebrating three birthdays. That last one, that's the good one. I'm SO excited for birthday week this year. I've had their presents for two months now and it's KILLING me to have to keep them hidden. Ask Aaron. I'm terrible with secrets.

But I do get some time in the afternoons when I can't get any studying done and my kids are happily playing. So I've managed to almost finish my chimneys and cornerstones quilt top. My one craft goal for the week is to have it finished. Then we're off to Gran and Opa's house for a family party. Hooray!

Happy sewing!
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