Monday, November 29, 2010

30 years, a link and a recipe

First of all, today is Mike and my 30th anniversary! We went out to dinner last night at a nice Italian restaurant. (Nothing is open on Monday.) I had shrimp francaise and he had shrimp and calamari.
Mike gave me a beautiful card this morning. He always writes romantic and funny things inside. Even after 30 years, it's nice to still be romantically in love with each other.

I promised Granny J the link to the pattern for the man's hat and scarf, so here it is:

I finished the set yesterday. I made the scarf shorter than the picture. Mike likes to tuck scarves inside his coat so it's just big enough to do that.

And here's a cookie recipe:


1 Cup of Butter
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 Cups of Flour
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1 1/2 Cups of finely chopped walnuts
Powdered sugar

Cream the butter. Add everything else except the powdered sugar. Roll into balls (about walnut size).
Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 35 minutes.

Cool a little, then roll in powdered sugar.

BTW, that really is a whole tablespoon of vanilla!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Starting Christmas Cookies

Today I mixed up the dry ingredients for a variety of Christmas cookies I'm planning to bake. I put them into labeled plastic bags, then put the bags into empty protein powder containers. Mike gives the containers to me when he's done with them and I've gotten such good use out of them. They are short and fat with big, wide tops. You can stuff a lot of filled-up plastic bags in them!

This year I hope to make:

Spritz Cookies (definitely!)
Inside-Out Almond Joys
Salted Nut Rolls (they sound like Paydays--we'll see)
Toffee Bars
Crispy Cinnamon Coins
Lemon Spritz Cookies
Butterscotch Eggnog Stars
Meltaways (aka Butternut Balls)

If you have a lot of baking to do, pre-mixing your dry ingredients means you make the big mess with flour, etc. all at once. When you want to get to the fun part--actually making the cookies, the hard work is mostly done for you!

A lot of these recipes are new to me, from an insert in "Cuisine" magazine. If I can link you to the recipes as I make them, I will. Or I will give credit where it is due. Suffice to say I admit none of these are my own original recipes, LOL! (I should play around sometime, though, and maybe come up with something new!)

In other news: I have a new Wii Fit Plus that Mike gave me for our anniversary (30 years, on Monday). I had a blast playing with it this morning and hope to take off 10 pounds by Valentine's Day. I also 'supervised' (ha,ha) while Mike and James put up our Christmas lights outside!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Finished!

Hmmm...I like that title. I should aim to finish things by every Friday!

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving! I have put about half of my fall stuff up in the attic and have brought down a few bags of Christmas decorations. I won't be decorating until the first of December but I want Fall completely put away by then!

On top is a hat that I'm giving my husband for Christmas. It will have a scarf to match, which is almost done--maybe for next Friday, LOL?

Below is another shawl in the same pattern as the one I made for Dr. Ahuja, but in a soft, chunky yarn and with a different border. The nobbies are created with one slip stitch, then one triple, then another slip stitch. I skipped one stitch in between each knob to allow for the two slip stitches. This one is probably for me since I'm always cold watching TV.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Christmas Crafting

In between bigger projects I like to do things that are finished quickly, preferably in a sitting or two. The little snowman and the 'doily' above fit the bill. They are from a great site I recently discovered, "Fave Crafts." The site offers many crafting patterns and even some e-books, for free! Here's the link:

They send you e-mails. Some are commercial but the subject lines make that clear. I only open up the crafty ones. The little snowman is part of a whole family. The 'doily' is supposed to be an ornament, but I think it's too big. I actually changed the last round of it. It will make a pretty coaster, I think. Can't you just see a nice mug of hot cocoa sitting on it?

My other big crochet project is a hat and scarf in brown for my husband. I'm doing them at the same time, alternating between the two, so I will finish them together. I'm about 85% done with both. I'm also about 90% done with the wrist warmers I've been making for Katherine. Stayed home from work this morning with a bad cold, so I watched "Home Alone" and did about 10 rows on my husband's scarf. That's the nice thing about crocheting and knitting--you can do it while you watch TV.

On the vest project, I did the other side seam and the front. Sewing the front (around the neck and down the middle) took some finagling, but it worked out okay. I will take a picture when I press it nicely. I need to find some killer buttons for it, something really sparkly.

BTW, is anyone else a surprised as I am that Thanksgiving is next week? Didn't we just finish putting away our summer things?

Friday, November 12, 2010

More on the Vest

I did one side of the vest. I sewed the armhole, as you see in the picture above (pre-ironing). It is open at the bottom.
Then I opened the vest out and lined up the underarm seams, matching main fabric to main and lining to lining. I stitched along the sides, from one hem to the other.

Flipped it inside-in and got this result. I'm so glad it worked!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Started My Christmas Outfit

I started my Christmas outfit recently. I'm going to wear a vest with pants I already have and a white blouse. The top photo shows the outside. In the bottom photo, I turned back the outer fabric so you could see the lining. The outside is a brocade in dark blue and silver. The inside is a shiny fabric. I should really jot down the names of fabrics when I buy them.

The darts and shoulder seams are done. After I press these pieces I'll sew them together. I'm pretty sure I know how to do this. I haven't made a vest in years.

I had originally sewn the side seams of the outside, then I realized that makes it almost impossible to finish the armholes without a binding. So I took out the stitches. I think the way to proceed is to sew around the opened armholes (or armscye, if you prefer) and to open out the side seams and then pin and sew right along from the hem at the back to the hem at the front. I'll try to take pictures of this procedure.

Not sure if I'll make or buy the blouse. I'd like something satiny with somewhat puffy (but not too puffy) long sleeves and a collar. No ruffles, though. I don't want to look like something from "Interview with the Vampire." I did have to take a closer look at LeStat's blue vest in the beginning of the movie, which I watched yesterday, as it was almost the same colors as this one. Fortunately, not the same pattern.

I think the lining fabric was actually meant to be used to make a sari. It's pretty on both sides. So's the brocade, but it was the dark blue that jumped out at me!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nice new blog with a giveaway!

I found the nicest new blog today: Bayberry Cove! And she has a wonderful Thanksgiving giveway (drawing is on November 15th). Please visit her at:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Easy Wallet Notepad

How many times have you been in a store and suddenly had the thought there was something you were supposed to get, but you just can't remember what it was? Here is a little tutorial for a super easy notepad to keep in your wallet at all times. I plan to use this one to list things I need to finish Christmas gift crafts. That way, if there's a good sale on something I need at Joanne's or Michael's, I won't forget to get it.
First, you need a few sheets of notepad paper (or cut some up). You could even use those last few pages from the little spiral assignment pads your kids have left over from school. You know, the ones you have trouble ditching because there are 3 blank pages inside? Just cut off the raggy edges.

You also need a scrap of nice paper, like this Christmas paper I had left over from a few years ago.

Take a sheet of pad paper and use it to mark off the length and width.

Cut out the cover paper. You could trace it all around and cut with scissors, of course, but I love this thing.
Stack the papers up and clamp them together.

Stitch the pages together. I used a saddle stitch. Then, decorate the front any way you want--another good way to use leftovers from scrapbooking projects!

Now you have a little notebook that will fit nicely in your wallet (in case you are like me and don't like lugging a pocketbook around) and you'll always have your 'needs' list on hand!

I am linking to "It's Sew Stinking Cute" for Craft Thursday. Head on over there and check out all the great projects from our fellow bloggers!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

An idea and a question

We had about 40 trick or treaters and ended up with a surfeit of leftover candy. I put some in a big jug (actually, an empty Protein Powder container) and it is in the freezer. I will use the candy for stockings and recipes.

But one thing I did not freeze were all the leftover Reese's PB cups.

Does anyone know if you can freeze Reese's? Does it mess up the creamy peanut butter center?

Also, I have an idea to chop up some of them and mix them in with peanut butter cookie dough I have in the freezer. Obviously I would thaw out the dough but I think Reese's mixed into peanut butter cookies would be totally decadent. Don't you think?

BTW, candy corn is so cheap now--like 50 cents a bag. I have found that if you mix it with freshly popped and salted popcorn (I don't use butter), it tastes like a popcorn ball without all the fuss. And you have probably already heard that candy corn mixed with peanuts tastes like a Payday bar!