Saturday, December 21, 2013

All wrapped up......

Well, finally! I made bows this year! I know that in the scheme of all things important this accomplishment is not at the top of the list but my inability to make a bow has always distressed me. I love a beautifully wrapped present. Just couldn't make it happen. Then I read about the Bowdabra somewhere and decided to try it. I have no affiliation with this product by the way. I ordered mine from Amazon and there are online demonstration videos.

A present for Jack sits on a branch of the tree.

A plaid bow sits by my faux chocolate Santa given to me by dear friend Patti many years ago. If it were not faux, I would have eaten it long ago!

My first attempts with the Bowdabra were not too successful but I persisted.

My Featherweight has a new cabinet. My present to me. I ordered this from B&D and it arrived 2 weeks ago. I will write more about this cabinet in another post.

So today I will finalize my menu, listen to Christmas music, knit and count my blessings. I wish you a Merry Christmas or a happy holiday of your choice.

I will join Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday. Stop by and say hi.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Enjoying the view......

I am enjoying the decorations this year. Just a few little touches are left which may or may not happen. I sat this morning and wrote some Christmas cards. We don't send many but the ones I send are important to me. 

My feet up on the coffee table with a cup of coffee, I scribbled away. This felt good.

The Wolford lamps were a Christmas present from good friends. We light them just about every night. They sit on a vintage aluminum tray that belonged to my mother and the whole arrangement rests on a Christmas  runner I made a few years ago. These metalware pieces are fun to collect. Some call them "poor man's silver". Last year I found some Christmas ornaments in by Wendall August. They have a vintage appearance and are a nice addition to the ornament collection.

I make lace ornaments on the embroidery machine. I miss the tinsel that we use to hang piece by piece. I wouldn't have the patience now but we have been watching old Christmas movies and their trees have this tinsel.

Two of the bears I made sit on a child's rocker with an antique doll (who needs some work on her hair). 

My Carolers will live on the Welsh cupboard for a while. 

The stocking are hung on the garland  attached to the railing. We discovered pre-lit battery operated decorations this year. They have opened up a whole new world for us! The tree is real but our garland and wreaths are faux. Real greenery and Florida temperatures are not compatible.

My creche is my favorite and celebrates the true meaning of Christmas. It is the first thing to be set up and the last to be put away. I found these pieces in Marshall's years ago. The set was not complete but the past few years I have found the missing pieces on eBay.

So, this is the view or most of it. I find it hard to photograph the tree as there is too much light coming in from the sliders and shutters.

Thank you for stopping by. Now I shall listen to some music and knit a while!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The day and some thoughts . . .

I love transferware. Enoch Wood's English Scenery has been accumulating in my dish closet for a few years. This was the year to use it. Perfect!

Vintage glassware completed my table and then there was the food! Thanksgiving is my most favorite meal to cook. When my children were growing up, it was the one meal that they would eat without a fuss. So, I was happy and so were they. It was not unusual for me to have two or three kinds of stuffing, two or three kinds of breads, and all the vegetables that would go along with the bird. We would eat at the round oak table that had been my grandmother's. I still have that table and many of her recipes. I treasure them and the memories.

This green works in my house. I found these candlesticks in Arcadia. 

I like to print a menu for these holiday meals. This was the year of the watermark on the menu page. It only took me several hours to figure out how to do this. Love the look. 

The menu is traditional and not as fancy or complicated as it used to be. Nevertheless, we are stuffed and there are leftovers. I think creamed onions for breakfast sounds good.

I hope you all had a wonderful day.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Date Nut Recipe and Brunch with Jacques

You may call him Jack. I do. We used to love to go out for brunch but rarely do anymore. There is usually too much food and so often it is not wonderful or not what we should be eating.

I have been quite enthralled with idea of baked eggs - perhaps with spinach. So Google was consulted and there was a recipe for Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomato from the Daily Meal. It was not loaded with butter or cream (sadly) but actually quite healthy for our Sunday Brunch at home.

You can find the recipe here. We used less spinach and will use two shallots next time. Otherwise, the recipe was pretty closely followed. It was delicious.

The tomatoes and shallots and garlic cook slowly until tomato skins can be peeled off. We cooked the spinach ahead and divided between two au gratin pans.

And off they went to be baked for about 10 minutes.

Jacques, I mean Jack, sprinkled them with shaved parmesan and pepper. Fruit cup and an English muffin completed the meal.

A nice way to start a beautiful day.

The recipe for Gram's Date and Nut Bread is here and below.

Gram’s Date and Nut Bread

1 ½ cups boiling water
8 ounce dates chopped
1 ½ cups sugar
2 T butter, melted
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 t baking soda
3 cups flour
¼ t salt
1 t vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts

Pour water over dates and let the mixture cool. Cream sugar and butter. Add egg and mix. Dissolve baking soda in dates and water mixture.  Add  this mixture, flour, salt and vanilla. Stir in chopped nuts. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 60 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.

I make 4 smaller loaves and bake for about 45-50 minutes. Test center with cake tester for doneness.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The list just seems to get longer

And I am sometimes just overwhelmed. I did get Gram's date and nut bread baked for Thanksgiving.

It is good. We tested it.

 But there are just so many things I want to do and they are competing with what I have to do and then there is the Allergic Contact Dermatitis that has graced my knitting fingers (thumbs and index). I noticed earlier this summer that these fingers were spongy and dry and flakey and cracked. I was also knitting on hand-dyed yarn with metal needles. Yes, I am allergic to nickel and lanolin in wool and most likely some of the dyes. I didn't know. So, I did not knit all summer. I have just started again with alpaca yarn and plastic needles. 5 nights out of seven I soak my hands in warm water, slather on a prescription ointment and put on cotton gloves for the night. An over the counter lotion for the rest of the days and as needed.

I really need to finish this One-Block-Wonder quilt top. Seems a little daunting right now.

I have been playing with my Featherweight sewing machine and did manage to finish a cover for her.

We are looking forward to the holidays and as my fingers get better, I will get back into my "crafty" mode hopefully. In the meantime there is the list of things that need to be done around the house.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I am back in my routine but

I cannot keep my coffee table uncluttered...

The dish is Enoch Woods. The pattern is English Scenery. This transferware will soon go on the table for Thanksgiving dinner. This meal is probably my favorite meal to prepare and I have wonderful memories of family and friends around the table. I shall start baking next week!

The quilted runner is new. I "borrowed" it from a friend and am not sure when I can return it! The colors are wonderful and batiks are a favorite. The Kaffe Fassett book contains the pictures and directions for a shawl I would like to knit. The pattern is Persian Poppies. The book is out of print but I found it on Amazon from one of their sellers. Between Amazon and Ebay, I don't have to leave the house except for groceries and knitting!

The basket under the table is my downstairs office! It needs some attention.

I am spending a lot of time with my Featherweight 221. Gathering the accessories and attachments has been a challenge. The above is a freestanding pinking machine and it works like a charm.

And then there is the knitting....

This is the Zig and Zag sock yarn pram blanket - almost finished!

So now I need to make a quilt..

There is a lot going on and I think it will be fun. I shall use different fabrics and try to use up some of the stash in the sewing closet.

But today I shall straighten out the basket under the coffee table, knit a little, and count my blessings. I shall plan for the week and possibly take a nap on the sofa. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Back to work!

Enough of this cold. I feel much better and have been working in my studio. The boxes are unpacked and the projects are lined up and ready to go. I did make a mystery bag of "stuff" I just can't deal with now but otherwise all is in order.

We came back early this year. For the first time in many years Halloween is not a traveling day. This means candy. 

Normally my embroidery machine is cranking out Christmas items.

This year I made a picture for Christmas. I will do some tea towels and ornaments soon. 3 years ago I made a Halloween wall hanging from a design pack from Anita Good Design. I favor these designs and the ones from Embroidery Library. 

Halloween lace with spider.

The table is set for fall even thought the temperature outside will be in the 80's today! Jack is making chili and I am getting knitting bag ready for next week.

Hope you are having a wonderful day. 


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