Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ready for the New Year?

Elf on a Shelf was a fun distraction this year. I know I'll have fond memories of him when I break him out next Christmas. I blew up Facebook with his antics around the house. I even took him Christmas shopping with me but was too embarrassed to shoot silly photos in public. Next year...

I made some salted caramel sauce for gifts, and a crudite platter for a family gathering. I keep forgetting to take pictures of food, but I found these on my camera. We've had prime rib, ham, pasta puttanesca, au gratin potatoes, mashed potatoes, potato salad, fancy green salads, loads of hors d'oeuvres, and too many sweets to mention. I may need to dust off my gym membership.

I'm contemplating this scrap buster quilt along hosted by Just a Bit Frayed. Bust Yo! Scraps starts January 12, so remind me, okay? I am scrap rich, so it should be a lot of fun.

I had a little fun with half square triangles today. These blocks are for our guild's monthly block lotto. Our inspiration was the analogous color scheme of blue, blue-green, green and the block design was up to us. The second block I made is more free form. I needed to play after all those HSTs!

Mr. Bones can't resist a basket of warm laundry straight from the dryer. I fold around him until he's left with just basket. Today I felt sorry for him so I fetched his blankie and made him a makeshift crib. He's still in there.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Still Cooking

This book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes has been on my Amazon wish list for a while. I found a recipe from the book yesterday and made a couple of loaves. I halved the recipe just in case it didn't work out, but it was easy and delicious. Alexandra's Kitchen has tons of new recipes I want to try.

Quokka Quilts has cooked up an interesting challenge. I'm sure a few of you have seen the Blogger's Fabric Bundles at the Fat Quarter Shop. It's always fun to see how quilters put together fabric combinations. Now you can try your hand at it. Just pick 12 prints and three solids from all the fun fabrics at the Fat Quarter Shop. It's harder than it looks!

After your virtual shopping trip, make a mosaic of your choices and link it up for a chance to win half yard cuts of all 15 of your favorites. How cool would that be? Free fabric is my favorite! I gave the challenge a try, but I could have spent many valuable sewing hours choosing fabric combos. My quick pick is above.

Dotty, my quilting buddy I got hooked on selvages sent me another one of her creations. Christmas in New York, what could be better? Actually, I traveled to New York one December with my girlfriend and we froze our butts off. It was still fun, but Florida girls should visit the Big Apple in the spring.

I'm on my third half batch of Buffalo Chex Mix. This stuff is addictive. Do you remember calling it "Nuts and Bolts" back in the day? I make it in the microwave now, so I can only do half batches, but it takes so much less time. I was going to try some of the other salty flavors, but we're all hooked on the Buffalo version. They even have sweet versions, but I'm all about the salt.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Did You Survive?

I hope everyone survived the hustle and bustle of the holidays. I even braved the mall two days before Christmas. Crazytown, I tell you. Hollywood and I had a great time though. I love shopping with that kid. She's a bargain hunter and loves to people watch like me. Apparently, Orlando is a huge holiday destination. Might be that 85 degree weather and plethora of theme parks. Did I mention we're surrounded by beautiful beaches? Spend, spend, spend lovely tourists. And drive carefully, I have kids on the roads.

Our big family Christmas get together was held at my Aunt's house. I promised no Facebook photos, so I assume no one wants to appear on my blog either. Chickens! Probably for the best. It got wild. There was eating, singing, dancing, four excited doggies and a wicked Dirty Santa game. We came home with a popcorn maker, buffet warmer and a mosaic tile table. Poor College Boy entertained the tourists at one of the above mentioned theme parks, so we didn't do our family celebration until Christmas night.

Inspector Gadget thinks it odd that I still get the kids stockings, but I've always loved buying and collecting the little things that go into their stockings. The day before Christmas I stumbled upon their baby teeth I had saved in zip lock baggies. Not only is the tooth fairy a pack rat, but she's also so disorganized that she didn't label whose teeth they were. No matter, I stuffed the teeth bags into their stockings. Let's just say the kiddos are constantly reminded how odd their mother is. My work here is done.

Here's hoping your holidays were filled with laughter and great food. Like the song says, it really is the "most wonderful time of the year." Even if your sickly dishwasher dies Christmas Eve. Guess what Santa brought me for Christmas?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

I ignored a few holiday preparations and whipped up this Christmas tree hot pad from Pink Chalk Fabrics. The faux binding is something I will try again. Very neat and easy.

College Boy has declared he is finished with his Christmas shopping. Love his mad wrapping skills. The Amazon box is my present. He also ordered a custom-made dress shirt, bow tie and regular tie for himself. The shirt and bow tie look great on him. We had to You Tube how to tie a bow tie. I wonder if he's going to a ball or something? I find it so funny he's finally into "fashion." I bet he still has his toddler Power Ranger PJs in his room.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tangerine Tango

Pantone announced the 2012 color of the year. Tangerine Tango. I love orange in any flavor. Two More Seconds is hosting a quilt challenge using Tangerine Tango. You can join the Flickr group or scope out their Pinterest board and get tons of tangerine inspiration.

As I read about the challenge, I noticed these wonderful color palettes by Design Seeds. Gee whiz, it's a wonder anything gets done around here. I'm going to have to play with color palettes when I have more time.

If you need more eye candy and much laughter, I recommend Quilt Dad's Ryan Gosling "Hey, Girl" blog post. 

For All Who Served
I received this gorgeous log cabin miniature quilt in my Doll Quilt Swap. The strips my partner used finish at a 1/2 inch! She titled it "For All Who Served" in honor of our veterans.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Easily Amused

I thought this dachshund nativity scene was pretty funny.

I love garlic, onion, yellow squash, zucchini and stewed tomatoes. Too bad I didn't have any eggplant. Not that the addition of eggplant would entice my family to try this. More for me I guess.

Bush Elf
I must live in cave, because this is the first year I've heard about Elf on a Shelf. Those creepy elves from long ago are positioned in various places of your home during December and kids try to find him. The creepy sneaky elves are supposed to be keeping an eye on the kids and reporting back to Santa each night. No one likes a tattle tale.

I wasted an hour this morning learning more about this hilarious holiday tradition. Everyone is so creative in their displays. My favorites were the Inappropriate Elf antics. So I'm breaking out my scary elf and planting him in odd places.

Scary Santa might have to join in on the fun. He is an elf after all. I crack up when I see this Santa each year. I have no idea where he came from.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sew Day Fun Day

Saturday was our guild's Sew Day. An entire day of sewing, eating, and laughing. I finally finished my Flying Farfalle flimsy.
And the Big Chick flimsy. We also watched the film Stitched, which was really good. The quilts in that movie were amazing.

I played with a quilt layout, but need to find more fabric for this one. And a plan...

We had tons of delicious food. I didn't get pictures of the pound cakes, pumpkin cheesecake or fudge. I concentrated mainly on Judy's adorable cheese ball snowman and shrimp tree. Everything was delicious. We nibble all day long.

We swapped handmade goodies. Linda made this adorable chicken tea towel which came home with me. I also won a door prize. This book has been on my wist list for a while. What a fun day!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Survivor Island

I like to play a little game around here I call "Survivor Island." The kids hate this game. Inspector Gadget stockpiles margarine and Vienna sausages at his weekly exodus to Wally World when I play the game. Survivor Island involves eating what is in your fridge, freezer, pantry, and snack pantry (yes, we have a snack pantry). It's a blast to see how creative you become as the days go by. You just have to tune out the audible sighs and whines of "there's nothing to eat" when family members start looking for grub. It's quite fun. We ran out of "blue" milk (skim), so I had to have whole milk in my coffee this morning. Delicious.

I never win this game, but I've been known to be a contender. Now what can I make with half an avocado, blueberries, pineapple, anchovies and Chex Mix cereal? It's like one of my favorite shows, Chopped.

I did have the ingredients for this rosemary bread. We were totally out of bread if you don't count pita and English muffins. See what I mean, that stuff is bread!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Scullery Maid

Tomorrow, December 16 is Free Shipping Day from many online retailers. Over 2,000 retailers are participating. Finish up that Christmas shopping or buy yourself a little something something. Feel free to shop in your pajamas with your beverage and snack of choice. And while you shop, listen to Pandora Radio's Christmas station. I was too lazy to get my Christmas CDs.

The Krazy Coupon Lady had a neat idea for removing tarnish from silver by using cream of tarter and hot water in an aluminum pan. I broke out my grandma's silver and gave it a try. The process did remove much of the tarnish, but not all of it. Then I Googled a hot water, crumpled aluminum foil and baking soda method, which seemed to work better. Cheaper too! I did have to finish the job off with some silver polish. The platters and serving pieces didn't get done because the scullery maid got bored.
But lookie! Shiny silver! My grandmother's service was for 12 originally, but I guess a few pieces went missing over the years. I rescued this silver from the garage sale or poor kids pile when I lived at home. My mom is not very sentimental over material things. Ahem. Or maybe she doesn't like polishing silver. Can't blame her there. The knives have a few dents. I'd like to think my grandparents used them to crack blue crabs. Bet they did!
The serving pieces aren't part of the set. I can't recall how I have these.
Or these miscellaneous spoons. I probably bought them from estate sales or thrift shops. I swear I won't steal your silver if you invite me over.
This odd fork is my favorite. I may eat with it every day. Our daily flatware we use at home has some special bond with College Boy. He won't use any utensils that do not go with that set. You can put a mismatched spoon in his soup, and he'll exchange it. What an odd kid. If he ever moves out, I plan to give him that flatware.

 I did have a little sewing time to make another little case from this tutorial.

Photo credit: Joanna Rutter
And just look at this necklace. Joanna Rutter is an independent British jewelry designer. I found her through one of my Pinterest buddies. Sadly, the Christmas gift window is out, but I thought she was just too talented not to share. Maybe she'll send me a coupon!

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hump Day

I really shouldn't be amazed at the things I find in College Boy's car when I borrow it to go to the grocery store. Because everyone needs a bullhorn in their vehicle. Actually, it might come in handy at the mall parking lot this holiday season. This is why I shop online.

I have stalked this blog for a long time. Check out her mad quilting skills. This little mini I made features some of her amazing applique designs from her Flower Garden Pillow tutorial. Yep, I still stink at free motion quilting, but you can't blame a girl for not trying!

Where's Waldo? Bones thinks he's getting away with something by sitting on the tree skirt. Well, it is a cheapie quilted tree skirt, and animals always want to be on quilts.

I found this sweet little teacup last week at the thrift store. I wanted to make a pincushion, but now I'm afraid to ruin it with glue. My grandmother collected teacups and saucers and the kids and I got to choose one for each of us when she died. I didn't feel right gluing family heirlooms, so I've been on the lookout for a cute set I could use for a pincushion.
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