Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Samplers and Sheep

Maria Tilley 1835 is finished and awaiting her frame. She is the reproduction that I have been charting and stitching for Needle Work Press. Vickie, who owns the original was brave enough and sweet enough to let me choose the fabric and silk and adapt the sampler as I chose. ( Since I chose to stitch her on 45 ct. vintage Sand Dune from Lakeside Linen, let's hope she doesn't do that again!) Truthfully, it turned out really beautiful and the labor was worth it. And the good news is that I didn't go blind. As soon as I am able to get her framed, the chart will be off to the printer and available soon after.

Lady's Garden from Carriage House Sampling was a nice change after the last two big samplers. As with many CHS designs, I sometimes wonder initially at the colors chosen, but I always like the result. I chose not to do the back stitching veins in the large leafy things. So now I've picked Country Life back up and I'm making great progress. I had hoped to have it finished before the end of the year, but unless I give up sleep for the next three days, it's not happening.
I've had fun seeing the endless lists of projects planned for 2011. I've also given a lot of thought to what I hope to accomplish next year sampler wise. I'll post my list next time. With the exception of the upcoming Ann Grant from Shakespeare's Peddler, everything that I plan to do involve old, old charts from my stash.

Samplers and sheep...I don't know which I love more. In my perfect world, it would be a sampler with sheep. Every winter, the fields by my home are dotted with these grass eaters. They are brought in and moved continuously from field to field to mow. I look forward to seeing them every year.
One more thing...I received several emails and inquiries about the bird cookie cutter that I used for my cinnamon birds. I wish I could tell you where I got it, but I have no idea. I've collected them for years and most likely found it in an antique shop. It isn't old, so they might be out there somewhere.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season, and here's to a very Happy New Year to come!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What goes around, comes around...

In need of a hostess gift for a Christmas party that we are attending tonight, I had to channel my inner Martha Stewart. What to do? What to make? I immediately thought of my friend Yolande's macaroons. Yolande is THE best macaroon maker ever. Fortunately, I have her recipe, (and you will too at the end of this post). I've shared it before in years past, but it is so worth repeating and maybe some of my new blog readers will appreciate it.

They look like coconut snowballs, don't they? The recipe is supposed to yield a dozen cookies, but somehow I ended up with thirteen. Hey, that's no problem. That one will be my test cookie.

This little plate will work perfectly for them.


And here they are all wrapped up and ready to go. You might be wondering what the blog title has to do with making cookies. Well, Yolande will also be at the party and maybe she'll have one of my (her) macaroons.
Also, the cute cellophane bags were bought one day while out shopping with tonight's hostess. I'm fairly certain she took home the very same bags for her own homemade goodies. Maybe she'll get a laugh out of getting one back.
Yolande's Macaroons
Beat 4 large egg whites until frothy.
Add 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 2/3 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup flour. Beat until well-mixed.
Stir in 3 1/2 cups lightly packed sweetened flaked coconut.
Drop dough in 1/4 cup portions on a buttered and floured cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees until macaroons are golden~about 25 minutes.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cinnamon birds and orange slices...

On my last post, I mentioned that I was going to try my hand at drying orange slices to decorate a small tree. Any normal Arizonan would simply lay the slices out in the sunshine to dry. Eventually, that is exactly what I did, but first I went surfing the net to find a faster way. My Google search led me to this site. Thinking that the microwave way sounded easy, I went that route first. I followed the directions just like it said, and lets just say the slices resembled well-done barbecued potato chips. Not exactly the look I was going for. I then tried the oven method with slightly better results. Not wanting to spend 3-4 hours flipping orange slices every half an hour, outside they went after a short turn. I let them dry for most of the afternoon and they were ready to hang. I think they are really primitive and simple, exactly what I wanted.

The cinnamon birds were super easy to make, and they smell wonderful. Here is my recipe:
3/4 cup applesauce
1 bottle (4.12 oz.) ground cinnamon
1. Mix applesauce with cinnamon in a small bowl to form a stiff dough.
2. Using about 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll out to 1/4 in. thickness. Cut with cookie cutters.
Make a hole in the top of the ornament for hanging.
3. Bake on a cookie sheet at 200 degrees for about 2 1/2 hours. Place on a rack to cool. Use ribbon or yarn to hang.
Here is Scarlett peeking out from her spot on my (okay, her) chair. Our three Bostons do not like to be cold, and they all have to burrow down under a blanket to sleep. Talk about spoiled...
Thank you for all the enthusiasm and love for Sarah. I'll get busy charting her soon.