Friday, January 30, 2009

Bumble Bee Bag Giveaway Winner!

One of my favorite daily blog reads is over at Bumble Bee Bags (see sidebar). Christina (Mrs. Bumble Bee herself) is a busy mom of three active little boys. She sneaks in sewing when she can and was sewing like mad before Christmas in order to open up her new on-line store. Anyway, she had a give-away a little bit ago and I was the winner! I got my package in the other day. Well, you see, according to the give-away, I could pick either a small or medium bag set... I chose the medium, although it was a terribly hard decision between size and choice of material. When I got my package in, she sent me TWO BAG SETS! Her generosity is overwhelming! And the bags, wallets and key fobs are really, really beautiful! She is an excellent seamstress and makes up her own patterns! Please hit my sidebar where it says Bumble Bee Bags (the big picture logo) and take a peek. When you get to her blog hit her logo and it will bring you to her store. Even if you don't buy, look anyway as her bags are quite cute! Thank you, Christina...
Oh, my goodness, I just visited her blog and she has another giveaway...
Quick, go leave her a comment and enter!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lemon Drop Cookies

I decided to join in on Finny & Donks 2009 Adventures Craft:along. For January the choice was to either make a man's hooded sweatshirt or these Lemon Drop Cookies. I took the easy way out and made the cookies. They are dangerously good. If you'd like to join in each month, you can visit and have a little fun. No obligation, of course, just pick and choose what you'd like to do. Now to find one of those big kids so they can put the thingee on my sidebar...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Gift for My Friend

My friend's birthday was the other day and I'm going to drop her gift off to her tomorrow when I go visit my parents. My friend and I go back a ways... 18 years to be exact. Our kids used to play together. Our boys used to play guns in the 'forest' which was really just a few trees in the schoolyard across the street from my friend's house. Back then it was O.K. for boys to play with their guns. Now of course, that's a real no-no. Our boys seem to have all turned out just fine despite the games they played. I thought she would like some of these Plushche I made tonight. They are soooo good. They're a German (Mennonite?) sweet roll. I got the recipe from

I also thought she would like a couple boxes of tea and this Tea Wallet I made. I got the pattern/tutorial from here: This went together very quickly and I will make one for myself and one for my Mom's friend.

Here's an inside pic. I thought my friend, Sue, would like it. To me, it was a walk down Memory Lane. You see, we used to sip tea or coffee on the front steps while our kiddoes played. We would shoot the breeze, solve the world's problems and some of our own, too. I miss living where I used to live, or maybe it was just the times. None of us worked, we all had kids, and none of us had much money. But we had good times... We've watched our kids grow up (although I still have some that are little and growing!) and we've celebrated in their success and cried on each other's shoulders during our hard times in life. Yup, Sue's my good friend, my very special friend. Happy Birthday, Sue!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Upholstered Chair

We had an extremely rare occasion yesterday... Gary and I were home A-L-O-N-E! Never happens... NEVER! But it did happen yesterday. Kyle and Casey were working and Corey brought the four girls skating at the rink in Simsbury. They were gone for three hours. We have a rink in the back and I tried to convice him to just go out back with them and skate but he wanted to bring them out. It turned out very nicely as Gary and I had no one home. At first it felt kind of weird, but we made up for that by making good use of our time. Gary... the sweet guy, taught me how to sew years ago. You see, his mom wasn't one to do any coddling... if you needed something done, even if it was sewing, she'd show you how and you were on your own. She really did her kids a favor because my husband can totally take care of himself in all departments: home & car repair along with all domestic duties. So guess who upholstered the chair? Nope, not me...(too busy ironing) Gary did! Now I did pick out the material because, well, even though he can manually do things, forget his taste. It's horrible. But he took apart the the old chair cushions (due to the dog chewing a hole in the seat cushion) and used that as his pattern. Everything went very smoothly until he came to 'quilting' the back cushion. My machine just couldn't handle the bulk. He broke four needles in the process and I learned some new bad words I never heard before! Luckily the little ones weren't home... They like to repeat the bad words :) But now that it's done, I think it turned out really nice. I'm really happy with it. Now on to several other upholstering projects....

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pretty Shelves

We've had a productive weekend. I've been complaining that I needed some shelves to get more counter and cabinet space and my husband suggested shelves over my appliance/work table that houses my wheat grinder, yogurt maker and mixer. The wall was kinda bare anyway so he made the shelves and loaded 'em up. As you can see I made great use of the new space.
I'll be back tomorrow with a few more pictures of our weekend... it was a goodie!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Old Fashioned Taffy Pull Tutorial

It's been bitterly cold here in the Berkshires lately, so what better way to spiff up a January day than with an Old Fashioned Taffy Pull! I'll give step by step directions here with pictures, but at the end of this post I'll just give you the directions. There's no need for you to print off anything but the simple directions but I thought you'd like to join in on the fun... So here we go!

First assemble the ingredients in a large sauce pan. Taffy only uses 4...
1-1/4 cups light brown sugar, 2 TBS white vinegar, and 3 TBS butter. Bring to a quick boil stirring once, until the mixture reaches 270 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and add 1/2 tsp vanilla.

Pour into a well-greased (buttered) jelly roll pan and let spread. Cool for five minutes.

Wash everyone's hands really good, ...

don your pretty aprons and then...

butter up everyone's hands really, really good!

And here the fun begins! Start pulling...

and pulling...

and pulling, until you get a long rope that has white streaks.

Then twist into a rope...

cut into pieces and enjoy! Although the taffy tastes really yummy, the really fun part is making it!

Old Fashioned Taffy
Combine in a saucepan:
1-1/4 cups light brown sugar
2 TBS white vinegar
3 TBS butter
Bring to boil stirring once, then boil 'til 270 degrees F on candy thermometer.
Then add 1/2 tsp vanilla.
Pour into a well-buttered jelly roll pan and let cool for 5 minutes.
Butter everyone's hands, form teams and begin pulling. Pull for at least five times without breaking and taffy gets white streaks. Stretch taffy into a rope and twist, then cut into pieces.
This recipe and directions are loosely taken from the book:
Mrs. Sharp's Traditions by Sarah Ban Breathnach
I changed the recipe just a bit by increasing the butter from 2 TBS to 3TBS.
This is a wonderful, old-fashioned family-fun-filled book. I've used it over several years and go back to it time and time again. With the economy being where it is, if you don't have the book it's more than worth the money. You will find many frugal, fun, past-time ideas to spend with your family.
Check back as I plan on utilizing the book more and more!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cassidy Learns to Knit

Just had to share my cutie-petutie, Caressa, all dressed as a princess and no castle to go to...

Cassidy's first knitting project, a little pocketbook. She's as proud a can be!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More Winter Knitting

Kaleigh made me this lovely hat and mitten set for me for Christmas. I've been wearing it each evening during my walks with my husband. They're made from the patterns I've listed on here before and they're both free on the net. She used Lionbrand wool; I can't remember the name, but it's the 'tweed(y)' looking one. It's nice and warm, and quite soft too! I'm so glad she made the for me as I needed them really badly and have been too busy knitting for other people to even think of knitting for myself. But quite soon, I'll get the needles clicking for me, but first I have a couple other things to finish up.

A woman that my husband works with is switching over her VCR collection of movies to DVD's. She has given us about 150 tapes so far and has a couple more boxes to go. She's also giving us her old VCR player. The movies range from children's to adult comedies, action, biographies, romance and classics. You name it, she had it. We are so very grateful for her generosity. I honestly didn't know what we could do for her as she has heart problems and diabetes, and she's elderly. So I thought she could wear a pair of fingerless mitts while driving.
I have a bit more knitting to do and then will hopefully get to work on some embroidery... I'll be back soon with some more pics!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I'm a bit late, I know... Do you like the pic of one of our kitties? Caressa thought she would dress him up in a tutu. I'm not sure he liked it but no clawing, hissing or biting took place, so I guess it was alright!
I have a few projects I'd like to get accomplished this year. Now I'm not saying they'll all get done, but they're on my list. Care to take a look?
Household Cleaning/Repair Projects
Wax Kitchen Chairs
Clean grout between floor tiles
Clean (possibly paint) outer cabinets
Clean and organize inside cabinets
Replace any old spices
Clean stove - move and clean under and behind
Clean 'fridge, inside & outside, under and behind
Possibly tear down old paper & paint/wall-paper

Family Room
Hang new shelves
Replace rug

Small Bathroom
Tear down paper & redo(thanks to the littlies they ripped some paper off the walls and now I have to replace it. It was my favorite bathroom in the house... very cute)

Family Bathroom
Clean cabinet & make curtains for spring
Clean closet

Master Bathroom
Clean cabinet
Clean large towel basket

Laundry Room
Clean closets - replace with new shelving
Clean cabinets and possibly re-paint
Replace old, worn towels

All Bedrooms - clean closets, etc., and throw out clutter!

Finish flooring in entryway
Make shelving for tapes and DVD's
Reduce clutter

Make new chicken coop
Utilize/make square foot gardening
Clean shed and reduce clutter
Clean garage and reduce clutter
Replant garden by my bedroom
Restain both decks

Reupholster living room glider
Upholster office chair
Upholster sewing chair
Sew valance for kitchen
Sew new table runner
Sew spring curtains for family room
Sew spring curtains for large bathroom
Possibly sew slip cover for family room chair
Sew two new flannel shirts for myself

I'm sure I'll be adding to this list as things come up. And I'm not doing all this stuff alone. My husband has a lot of jobs on here, too!