Monday, December 28, 2009

Sweet Holiday Pillow

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas. Mine was extra special as my dad was able to come home from the hospital on Christmas Eve! It was more quiet than usual as my parents couldn't come to my house, but we all got together yesterday for dessert and gift exchange so it turned out really nice.
I just finished up this little piece, Seasons Greetings, by Carol over at Istitchaholic blog (see sidebar). It's a free pattern and works up quickly. I like it a lot and it adds a nice little country touch to my Christmas decorating. I used leftover linen I had in my stash and some red and green DMC floss. I added a couple little jingle bells for an added touch. I used some leftover fabric I had from Carol's other design, Noel, that I just finished last week. I'm happy to I was able to squeeze in one more Christmas project before the new year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Blessed Christmas

Glory to God in the Highest, and Peace to His people on earth...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sew Noel

I promised myself I would stitch something special, just for me, for Christmas. I poked around for awhile and stumbled across this beautiful piece, Sew Noel. I loved the contrast between the pure white and bright red and especially liked that it had a church on it. It was a joy to stitch; minimal color changes! I stitched it on white linen with Splendor silk thread in #S820. I did the finishing as a Heavy Weight using the little book, The Heavy Weight, by Judy O'Dell of Just a Thought. The designer of Sew Noel, Carol, is from England. Her blog,, (see my side bar) is delightful. She has a series of patterns that she designs as PDF files for $4.00. She even has some freebies with a purchase that go along with the Sew... series. I have all of them and will continue to buy them as she designs them. I really like her style.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snowflake Cookies

Every year I join in for a Christmas Cookie Swap. I almost didn't join in this year as I thought it was an unnecessary expense. After much thought, Gary and I decided that it would be very sad if I didn't participate so I called my friend back and told her to count me in.

Now I have to tell you, she is a very good friend of mine and here is what she did: she called and asked me what kind of cookie I was making (now, we do talk about cookies and recipes quite a bit so it didn't phase me at all). That afternoon, she came over with bags filled with everything I would need to make 12 dozen cookies!

It's not like my friend is rolling in dough, mind you... she has seven children of her own and doesn't work. But her heart is unbelievably big... She asked me about the silver dragees and I said I was going to decorate the cookies without them as I couldn't get them anywhere (outlawed, you know!) except on-line and they were too expensive. Next thing I know, I got a package in the mail with three sizes of dragees! She ordered them for me! I can't thank her enough... she truly let me, through her generosity, enjoy a Christmas tradition to its' fullest.
Click on the pics to see a close up of the decorating. They are quite pretty. Delicious, too. They are Snowflakes by Paula Deene.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ornaments, Recipes and Memories

This time of year always brings back memories. As each Christmas comes long, I find myself thinking back to my early married years, then slowly make my way to the present. Our tree tells a story, just as I'm sure yours does: first Christmas as husband and wife, first baby, second and so on. Every year I either make or buy my kids each an ornament. Our tree is quite full, though this is the first year my oldest son is officially on his own. I bagged up his ornaments for him so he can add them onto his own tree. A bitter-sweet time for sure. I thought I would share with you some of my favorite hand-made ornaments... The snowman is a piece I made a few years ago. I love the little beads on it and like the way it glistens.

The knitted stocking was made by my mother-in-law who could knit in her sleep! I picture her now, resting in heaven, but surely with knitting needles in her hands and a skein of yarn at her side...

The little lamb ornament is the one I made for Kierra's first Christmas. It's in dire need of some repair work on the top and I will take care of that during the week.

Casey made this sweet ornament for me when he was just three years old. He's seventeen now.

And this is a little hardanger piece that is one of my favorite...
I hope you enjoyed looking at some of my treasured ornaments that are hanging on the tree. For a little gift to you, please enjoy the following recipes that I was busy making today. Tomorrow is my husband's birthday and I'm also trying to get a head start on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day cooking. Hope you find something new to try!
Hot Buttered Cranberry Butter Rum Mix - from Storybook Woods Blog
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, ginger
pinch cloves and salt
Cream ingredients together. Store in freezer, tightly wrapped in wax paper, then a freezer bag. Slice off pieces as needed.
Heat 1/2 cup cranberry juice and 1/2 cup cider. In bottom of cup add a generous tablespoon of butter. Pour hot liquid over juice. Add rum if you like.

Hawaiian Dream Cake - from my good friend, Rose
1 yellow cake mix
1 (20-oz) can crushed pineapple, drained - reserve juice
1 (8-oz) cream cheese
1 (3-oz) instant vanilla pudding
1 cup cold milk
1 (9-oz) Cool Whip or your own whipped cream
coconut to garnish
Make cake using liquid and water for the liquid. Bake in 15 X 10 pan - grease & flour
Blend cream cheese, pudding and milk using a mixer. Fold in pineapple and spread over cooled cake.
Cover with Cool Whip or whipped cream and sprinkle with coconut. Let sit for a few hours before serving and keep in 'fridge.

Jelly Roll
Grease & line jelly roll pan with foil.
Sift together:
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp.salt
In small bowl beat: 3 large eggs 'til thick. Pour into large bowl and gradually add in 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup water, 1 tsp. vanilla.
Mix dry ingredients until smooth. Pour into greased pan and bake for 375 for 12-15 minutes. Check often - after 10 minutes. Done just 'til top springs back. Loosen edges as soon as cake comes out. Turn upside down onto towel. Sprinkle with conf. sugar. Remove paper. Roll cake while hot - cool on wire rack. Unroll cake and remove towel. Spread with raspberry jam and roll back up again. Sprinkle with conf. sugar. Can be frozen... sprinkle conf. sugar before serving!

Chocolate Jelly Roll
Sift & Set aside:
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cocoa

Beat together:
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix all ingredients together and bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes in a jelly roll pan that has been lined with foil and well greased.
As soon as cake comes out of the oven, immediately loosen edges with a knife and invert onto a towel that has been sprinkled with conf. sugar. Roll up in a towel and let cool for at least 30 minutes. Then unroll and smear peppermint stick, mint chocolate chip or coffee ice cream over cake. Roll back up jelly-roll style, wrap with plastic wrap and foil and freeze. Serve with hot fudge (Friendly's is my personal favorite) and home-made whipped cream.

I can't remember who shared the above two recipes with me but they've been in my recipe box for years. I make both jelly roll recipes every year for Christmas Eve and it wouldn't be the same without them. I made each recipe this afternoon along with a home-made pizza for dinner. I'm glad to be out of the kitchen!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Home-made Soap, Mara Shawl and More

I've been away from blogging lately as Christmas nears. It's one of my favorite seasons and I love the bustle that goes with it. I'm not a big shopper to begin with, but with my hubbie still out of work (since July) I've been extra busy this year making more home-made gifts than in past years. We (yes, we, my hubbie helps in the soap-making A LOT) made two kinds of soaps for gift-giving as well as ourselves. We always have our own soap on hand as we truly love it. Anyway, one kind is Goats Milk with Honey/Oatmeal and Olive Oil and the other is a very soft soap lightly scented with Violet essential oil. Neither are glycerin melt and pour. Both are the real-stuff! I made up many, many washcloths with flannel on one side and terry on the other and paired them with a couple bars of soap. Set in a wicker basket and wrapped with some tinted basket wrapping and a pretty bow made up for nice gifts. Each of my seven kiddoes are getting one of these baskets.
*We do have some soap available for sale. They are $4.00/bar. I can fit four bars into a USPS box for $4.95 shipping. If you'd like some, please e-mail me at and put Soap in the message line.

I also made Kaleigh this beautiful Mara Shawl. The pattern was free on-line. For some reason, the URL isn't listed at the bottom of my print out but if you google it in, you'll find it. It's a beautiful shawl and I really enjoyed making it. Kaleigh's favorite color is green so I think she'll really like it. I used Lionbrand Vanna's Choice yarn. Even though it's an acrylic yarn I found it to be soft and nice to work with. I know we can machine wash and dry it too, so that was a very nice plus.

We recently went on a little day trip to New Milford, CT to the Silo. We go every year after Thanksgiving to see the huge Christmas tree. They put it up in a barn and it's live. The story behind the people that own The Silo is quite interesting. Skitch Henderson (now in heaven) founded The Pops where he conducted at Carnegie Hall for many years and his wife, Ruth, was a Vogue model in Germany before coming here. If you live in the area, you may enjoy a trip there. They have many kitchen goodies for sale along with wonderful cooking classes with famous chefs (if you have the pocketbook to afford them!).

We had some pieogre (I know, it's probably spelled wrong.. Polish dumplings in English) making here recently. Everyone got in on the fun and they came out really good. We only make them once a year, for Christmas Eve, as they're a lot of work. My grandma used to make them and my mother-in-law, too, so it's only natural that my husband and I carry on the tradition. We're determined to pass it along so all of our kids have always joined in the work (oops, I mean fun). Well, we try to make the work fun, and it usually is... our kitchen is filled with lots of laughs as we work!

My oldest son has moved out and is on his own. He's engaged to be married in a year and a half. The other day he was going to make Swedish meatballs and called me from the store. He was missing a few spices. He bought them at horribly expensive prices so I decided to make him up a little gift basket filled with some bought spices and some home-canned goodies. It'll be a nice go-along gift with the crock pot we bought him.
I'm nearly done with Christmas gift making. One of my friends has me busy making a few knitted gift items for her, which I'm truly grateful for, but other than that I think I'll put my knitting needles to rest until after the first of the year and pick up my embroidery needle instead. I have a beautiful counted cross-stitch sampler I'd like to finish for myself before Christmas. If I finish, I'll post a pic. To see more of my Christmas gifts, click on my side bar Homemade Christmas and the year. So... what are you all making for Christmas?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving & Jane Austen Book Bag

Happy Thanksgiving! Now that the day is over all I can say is "I'm full!" We had a nice family day, though fairly quiet as our Thanksgiving Day tends to be. Me, my hubbie and girls cooked and baked and then we all ate! Hope your day was filled with those you love and lots of good food!
I finished the Jane Austen Book Bag I made for Kaleigh for Christmas. It's cross-stitched on linen using the pattern from The Sampler Girl. I changed up the colors and added a zipper on the bag.

The bag is lined, too. I really like the Sampler Girl's patterns and will be buying more of them. She has a sale going on until Sunday. I'm trying very hard to be good but I just may have to give in and buy a thing or two! ;)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Busy Hands, Happy Heart

My girls are always trying to create things one way or another. Just for fun, I thought I'd post the picture Caressa (4) made of one of our cats. I'm not sure if you can see it, but she paid a lot of attention to

Kaleigh has been quite busy knitting and crocheting Christmas gifts. She made these cupcakes for Cassidy. A couple more still need to be beaded but they're pretty much done.

She made this doll for Caressa...

and this little purse for Kierra...

She even helped me with "work" knitting and made these up for an order. Kaleigh is just like me that she likes to keep her hands busy. She always has some knitting or crocheting in her busy hands during her 'down time'!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fall Biscornu Completed!

It's finished! My plans for the other night went kabosh! The usual meeting place got changed and I ended up just going to my parent's house for a visit instead. Initially I was disappointed but my dad was so happy we dropped in that I'm glad we went there instead.

Anywho... I was worried that I wouldn't be able to finish the Biscornu because I've never done one before. Looking at it, I couldn't quite figure out how to go about putting it together. One of my friends from the group sent me a link and what a great tutorial the person did.

I was able to follow her directions and pictures and it actually came out right on the first try. I was holding my breath at the end but it all lined up. Here is the link for the pattern for the top part of the biscornu: http://lhfinis
Here is the link for the finishing instructions of a biscornu:
This was such a fun project, I'd like to do more. I was thinking one for each season... we'll see.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Roses Zippered Work-Pouch and Fall Biscornu

My needlework guild meeting is Tuesday night and my needlework pouch was looking pretty shabby. Last night I decided to make a new one to bring my supplies in. I used the same pattern I always do found in Bend the Rules Sewing. I changed the size to better suit my needs. I had some pieces of ribbon, lace and buttons in my stash to use as embellishments.
This is the inside of the pouch. I've used this same fabric combination before when I made a rosary holder. I liked it so much I put away the little bit I had left (I think I only purchased a fat quarter of each, anyway) and was tickled when I found I had enough to make myself a needlework pouch. I had some pieces of ribbon, lace and buttons in my stash to use as embellishments. At least now I have something cute to carry my stuff in tomorrow night.

This is the front and back pieces I cross-stitched over the month. We'll be learning how to put together a biscornu. I've never made one before so this will be new for me. The acorn and leaf border is the back and the one with the green center is the front. Do you see the little acorn buttons? I'll put one on the back and possibly one on the front. We'll see. When it's completed, I'll take a pic to share. I'm looking forward to my meeting tomorrow night. It's with a great group of women and I always have a lot of fun!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Christmas Handbag for Mom

A new handbag was in order for Christmas gift-giving for my mom. I found the perfect fabric for her and I think, the perfect bag pattern. What do you think? I used the Bucket Bag tutorial from the Creative Little Daisy blog (see sidebar) and her directions were very clear. No rip-outs! A rarety for me! I used the tutorial from the Sew-Mama-Sew blog for inserting the magnetic closure. I was pretty worried about that as I've never done one before, but that turned out really easy. I still have a few more things to make in between knitting a few hats for orders. I've been keeping myself busy and out of trouble... how 'bout you? What are you all creating?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hats and Rosaries for Sale

I'm taking orders for knitted hats that will be ready for Christmas. All will be hand knit by me or my daughter, Kaleigh. If you scroll down just a bit you will see a post on several mens hats I knit for gifts for my family. All of those colors or any combination are available. I will also knit womens, childrens, and babies hats. I do have a very pretty pattern for a woman's hat but the photo is not very clear. It has a lace-edged bottom. Kaleigh knit one for me last year and I really love it.
The yarn used is either 100 percent wool or a wool blend. All of the yarn is of very good quality. Above is a photo of some of the yarn for children and babies. That yarn is really beautiful, top of the line... 100 percent wool and soft as can be. If you are interested, please e-mail me and let me know what you would like and what colors you would like. Also, for baby hats let me know if you would like a rolled hem or a ribbed edge. Below are the prices; all include shipping.
Adults - Men or Women...$20.00
Kiddoes - ........ 15.00
Baby - ........... 10.00
Rosary Beads - Please click on my sidebar under Sewing Basket and scroll down, there are two photos of the beads and pouches. They're there, I promise!
All made with glass beads by my daughter, Kaleigh. They really are very beautiful.
Rosary beads - ......$15.00
with cotton pouch ... 20.00
Handmade soap coming soon! E-mail me at

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Healthcare Reform Video Must See

Please take a few moments and watch this video regarding Healthcare Reform.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hats, Hats and More Hats

Gads, you would think all I do is knit hats! Remember I made two for my nephews, the Hello Kitty hat and the baby hat? I talked about those in earlier posts. Well, I knit five more, all for men: one for each of my boys, and one each for my dad and hubbie. I enjoy knitting hats a lot but am now on to some other projects. Right now I'm knitting a shawl for Kaleigh for Christmas and working on a counted thread embroidery Biscourni. I adore counted cross-stitch and various kinds of needlework and am happy to get back to it. My next counted thread embroidery meeting is at the beginning of next month and we'll learn how to put the Biscourni together. I've never made one before so this should be interesting.
I would also like to make a couple Christmas pieces for myself but will see if I can. At least one seasonal piece would be nice to complete for myself.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Meat Chickens

My husband finished slaughtering the meat chickens today. Our freezer is now packed with 20 of our own birds! Mmmmm.....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hello Kitty Hat

It's been a long time since I posted (sigh). Fall is a busy time of year for everyone. The usual tasks of getting ready for winter take over: stacking wood, leaves to rake, (in our case) chickens to slaughter, lots of canning to be done, a garage to clean, gutters to clean, and on and on. We still have lots more to do but I can see it beginning to wind down. The nice thing about this time of year is that the kiddoes come in from playing earlier which means I can get the nightly routine done a little sooner.
I've spent quite a few nights knitting lately. Here is one of my projects, a Hello Kitty Hat. One of the girls will get it for Christmas; not sure which one, probably Kierra. We'll see. It was fun and fast, too. I got the pattern from here: for free. I have another five (yes, that's right, five) hats to show you next time I blog, hopefully tomorrow. Keep an eye out :D

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Burp Cloths and Baby Washies

My friend is going to be a grandma again and asked me to make some baby girl burp cloths and washies. I jumped at the chance to sew with the soft, pink flannel and terrycloth! I ended up making three sets of four burp cloths and three sets of six washies. I think she'll be set for awhile in the clean-up department.
The burp cloths measure 11" x 17" and the washies measure 6" x 6". They are both made the same way: Measure and cut, sew pretty sides facing using alittle over a
1/4" seam, and leaving a 4" or so gap for turning.
Turn right side out, iron and top-stitch all the way around, closing gap at the same time. You can also view a tutorial at and clicking on the March 08 archives. Her post is simply lovely and more explicit than mine.
I will be making more of the wash-cloths, only bigger for Christmas. I'll post a pic when they're done.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Connecticut Children's Medical Center NICU Celebration

Yesterday we spent a fun afternoon at the CCMC NICU Celebration. The event was held for families that had babies that were in the NICU and the 40th anniversary of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. As you probably already know, I had Caressa 8 weeks early. She spent two weeks in the CCMC NICU and received excellent care there. Thanks be to God, she was born healthy and strong and didn't have any complications. Those two weeks will always be a very special time for my whole family.

There were a lot of kids there. The wonderful thing was you couldn't tell the difference between the NICU kids and their siblings. All appeared to be healthy, normal and full of energy! They had face painting...

a bounce-house train...

pumpkins to decorate and LOTS and LOTS of food! A full spread of kid-friendly luncheon fair including chicken nuggets, little pizzas, french fries, etc., and a beautiful cake, ice cream sundae bar, smoothie bar and on and on... We had great fun! What a beautiful celebration of LIFE!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mmmmm... Applesauce

My house smells sooo appley tonight. We canned ten quarts of applesauce and three yesterday. My husband wants to go back tomorrow to his friend's house to pick more apples to make up some apple pie filling. We'll sure appreciate all this apple-goodness come winter. And best of all; the apples were free!
I'm sure you know how to make applesauce, but just in case here's what I do:
Rinse apples, quarter and core
Add a bit of water to a large pan and fill with apples.
Turn heat to medium, then to low, but make sure apples are cooking. Also be sure to keep a bit of water on the bottom so the apples don't burn.
When apples are soft; about an hour or so, put into a seive and mush around with a wooden mallet into a bowl.
Add sugar and cinnamon to taste, or not.
Ladle into hot canning jars and process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One More Japanese Knot Bag

I can't seem to get enough of these. I think the Japanese Knot Bag is one of my favorite projects. I've made quite a few of them. If you'd like to see the others, click on my sidebar under Sewing Basket and there is one on the first page and several on the next after clicking 'older posts'.
I did a little embroidery on it and think Cassidy will really like it. I thought it would be a nice little bag for her to carry her current book in.

Here is a close-up of the embroidery. If you'd like to make one, the Japanese Knot Bag can be found free here:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tee-Pee's and Outdoor Fun

The girls have been having a good ol' time playing in the back yard. Cassidy has been reading about the discovery of America, Columbus, Indians and all that stuff. They have built two tee-pees out of some branches laying around, built a campfire ring from some rocks, and made some "soup" and some other food from leaves and water, etc. They play for hours on end; no fighting, no bickering. All good, plain sisterly fun!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Little Chick Baby Hat

I visited my local yarn store to pick up some double-points and while I was in there decided to browse around a little. I saw this little hat hanging and knew I had to make it for someone I know that is going to have a baby. I thought it was so cute. It's made from Khaki (I think that's the name of it) Cotton. I've used it many times before and thought I might have had the colors in my stash, but noooo, of course not. So this time, I did break down, go back and buy exactly what I needed. I'm happy with the result. Hope the baby likes it, too.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pretty in Pink Tank

My mom knit this adorable top for Kaleigh over the summer. It's called Pretty in Pink Tank. The pattern was made up by a lovely young lady in Pennsylvania. I have her in my side-bar as one of my favorites but here is her address: She has some very cute patterns that she has made up and unselfishly shares the patterns on her blog for free. My mom made this top using Amerah silk yarn in orange/pink varigated. I made the same top for myself but still have to finish the straps. I really should just finish it as I'm looking at only one night's work. If you get a chance, go visit Delicious Stitches. She has a great blog!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Knitted Barbie Clothes

Cassidy loves to play with her Barbies. She could play hours on end all by herself with her dolls, assessories and house. I thought she would like some new clothes so I surfed the net and found a few to knit up for her for Christmas. And of course, a new Barbie is surely on the list.This one needs to go to the hairdresser or something...

Here's another little number I thought was cute. The only thing is that the front was pretty risque, so I closed it up with a little rose. A bit of modesty is important, even for curvy Barbie.

This is one of my favorites; some lace on the bottom. The color is really pretty, too. I got all three patterns from the net for free and used scraps left over from other projects. I think Cassidy will like her custom made Barbie clothes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Nature's Bounty

We have been truly blessed this year with a bountiful garden. We have been so busy picking, canning and freezing the day is gone before we know it. A couple days ago I noticed our pear tree was loaded with beautiful pears. We picked 86 lbs! We peeled, cored and sliced them. We then canned them in the waterbath canner. For some, my husband made pear mince-meat and he canned 6 jars of that. Oh, it's yummy. I'd like to make pies and filled cookies around Christmas time with it. I'm hoping to do the same thing tomorrow; can some and make mincemeat with the rest.

We also have a lot of cabbage in the garden. We picked one today and made coleslaw using our cabbage and our carrots. It was awfully good paired with the grilled cornbread my hubbie made this morning. Do you see why I have mixed feelings about him eventually going back to work? If it weren't for the money thing I think I'd like to keep him home!

We are overloaded with pears and eggs so I made a little stand in front of the house. We have eleven houses on our dead-end street so I don't know if we'll sell too much, but if the neighbors like clean, home-grown food, our little stand is the place to visit!