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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Can't seem to keep my mind on New Year's Eve!
I have been back to work this week which means being immersed in the world of sewing.
It is my job to come up with classes and projects for customers who buy sewing machines. Fun!
Also, Hancock's has a sale on Simplicity Patterns through tomorrow.
I think some of these retro aprons will make great projects. They have rick rack and bias tape and thread on sale of course I had to stock up....[sometimes I think this job is costing me more than I earn!]

After finding the wonderful collection of aprons above, I found this little gem! It is a pattern for miniature aprons......for the Christmas tree or wherever....they are too cute...will sewing them be proof of insanity??? When will I ever get back to my other creative pursuits???

note: click on the photos to see enlarged aprons....LOL!

Holiday Reading....."A Highland Christmas" by M.C. Beaton. A perfect, delightful Christmas tale. I enjoyed visiting with Hamish Macbeth after returning from Georgia!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Morning in Georgia....(looking back through the photos we brought home!)

A bike and helmet from Santa waits for Lilia. She carries her little brother carefully down the stairs. [He is a load!]

We all watch as they find their treasures! [Grandkids are the best gift of all!!!!]

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Someone in our family takes constant photos. This really helps my blog! Thank-you, certain photographer!
Here we have the creative force behind all the delicious meals we enjoyed over Christmas. My daughter, Laura, studying a recipe down-loaded from the Internet...perhaps for the "Floating Island" dessert....a meringue island floats in a sea of creme anglais (vanilla custard sauce). Heavenly!
BTW, she is wearing the retro apron I sewed for her one a surprise. Laura loves the retro 1950's kitchen scene, complete with frequent decorative use of rickrack and ball fringe!

I'm home now and it is wonderful to be back in MY world!!!!!

I'll be posting several favorite photos...we brought home over 250!!!!

This one is of the Red Velvet Cake.....waiting to be served, then on Andrew's plate on Christmas Day.

The last photo is of me giving Mary a knitting lesson. [Even though I am holding the scarf she is knitting, she is doing a good job and catching on fast!!!]

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to everyone from my daughter's home!

This is the Christmas card I drew for them this year. Of course, just as Laura was ready to send out this card, the dog ran off..... and hasn't shown up yet!!!!

I wish I had a drawing of the entire group of us here tonight. I could add a window for my son and his wife to be looking out from and another one for "us"!

We are having a wonderful evening after a busy day.

We were able to take grandaughter, Lilia, to see the Nutcracker this afternoon! It was delightful! The Fox theater was a perfect place to spend part of Christmas Eve.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Today we headed out for a bit of Christmas shopping at the North Point Mall. Laura wore the jacket we had fashioned with the "petal" trim. Mr. Pear (who wishes to be know as Steve from now on in blogland), and son Andrew were along.

We experienced gracious dining at the food court (not!) It has a carousel so we were able to enjoy the grandson's first carousel ride! He found it to be delightful!

BTW, scroll down about 3 posts and you can read a post by my daughter....we were slow in getting it published!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I first posted this recipe in December 2006.

It is worth doing again, it is one of our family Christmas traditions.

Tasha Tudor Christmas Sugar Cookies
1 pound of (real) butter
2 eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
a pinch of salt
1 T. vanilla
1 t. baking soda dissolved in 3 T. milk

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix until a smooth dough is formed. Form into a ball, dust with flour and chill thoroughly before using.Then break into conveniently sized pieces, adding a bit more flour as needed. Roll out to a scant 1/4 " thickness...or as thin as possible. Dust with granulated sugar and nutmeg and cut into shapes. Bake until light brown in a 350 degree oven (about 12 minutes). This recipe makes 5 or 6 dozen cookies. Cookies may be made in advance and stored in an airtight container.

[The wonderful artist, Tasha Tudor, passed away on June 18th this year, but her life will not be quickly forgotten!]
I am planning to make this dough tomorrow and have it ready to make the cookies.
Mr. Pear and son Andrew should arrive late tomorrow, followed by daughter-in-law Mary on Tuesday. As the house fills up, it will be fun to do some baking together!
I also plan to make some no-bake orange coconut balls.


12 ounces vanilla wafer cookies, crushed
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
sifted confectioners' sugar or coconut for coating
Preparation:Combine cookie crumbs and 1 cup confectioners' sugar; blend in butter. Stir in orange juice concentrate; add vanilla and nuts. Shape mixture into balls about the size of walnuts; shake in food storage bag with sifted confectioners' sugar or coconut. Arrange orange balls in single layer on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet; store uncovered overnight in refrigerator for best flavor. Makes about 3 dozen.

I hope you have a lovely Christmas week. I'll be stopping by your blogs as time permits. [tonight I am on-line late, I'm babysitting the grandchildren and thank goodness the baby has fallen asleep. The parents are out with a party of friends in a limosine for a night on the town!]

One dream I have is to get tickets for Mr. Pear and I to take granddaughter Lilia to see the Nutcracker ballet at the Fox theater downtown. That would be fabulous!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This lucious jacket [$425.00 at JCrew] caught my daughter's eye. Actually she read some blogs about creating a similar one, so she has enlisted my help (meaning I am doing this) in transfroming an off-white collared blazer which was hanging in her closet. Fun????

I will try to get some photos of it it is quite a transfomation process. Removing the collar and buttons. Creating soft silk flowers to flow down in a cascade around the neck and fronts.

On other matters, the dog is still missing. He is missed. However, the gloomy clouds are lifting and Christmas cheer appearing here and there!!! My SIL is even caught smiling sometimes.
Daughter Laura is off to the gym for a workout and is feeling much better after the shingles episode, and granddaughter Lilia is about to come through the front door from the school bus, and will have to change for ballet class. Busy, is asleep for a bit or I wouldn't be here blogging!
Hope your holiday spirits are becoming active and well!

Friday, December 12, 2008

This is my 500th post!
I am still in Georgia where I am hugging grandkids and helping as much as possible (?). This morning we got a call from Jamaica that my SIL's stepmother had a heart it doesn't seem like the best time to head for home, as he may have to go down to the island.

While here, I have had some creative fun. I found a packet of Mary Engelbreit Christmas fabrics so perfect for the retro/rickrack look that my daughter loves. So Grandaughter Lilia and I have been making some Christmas placemats. They are "way cute"! It feels so good to be passing my love for sewing to Lilia!

Lilia concentrating on sewing with a machine from the 1950's...just like the one I learned to sew on!!!

Fabrics from Mary Engelbreit's Jolly Christmas collection.

The finished placemats with cute snow friends!

We have a guest blogger today......

My darling mother has been staying with me for the past month as I recover from what we will call "a 'bout of exhaustion". Yes, the type of severe exhaustion that would cause a celebrity to check into the hospital or book an extended stay at a destination spa, such as Canyon Ranch... well, not being of the celebrity sort, I called Mama! She came, she baked, she cooked, she cleaned, but most importantly, she spent hours with her grand babies. This has been such a special time because without my "exhaustion", I can't think of another year when it would have been possible for us to be together the entire month before Christmas. I am thrilled that all of us now have such pleasant memories of prepping for this wonderful holiday together.
Another great thing about MY MOM is that she is as crafty as they come! No craft is too challenging for this woman! So, when I was laid up in bed, browsing blogs for the first time in months, I came across this jacket. Three days later, my own version was hanging in my closet. Love it!
I started a new blog this week... I have my Caribbean Travel Blog and my Destination Wedding Blog in support of my business... but no blog that let's me join in the real fun of blogging - random rambling posts. So you can visit me at My Eloise and see all the fun we ladies have been up to!
I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I'm reading about Christmas cookies....ginger cookies keep popping up. These have a very cute name, "Ginger Pennies" . I first heard of them on the newsletter from Tasha Tudor's Family. Then found the recipe [it must be an old New England recipe]in an on-line Boston Globe article too! Here is a printable pdf file from the Tudors....They are very tiny and charming and will fill your home with a wonderful scent. Packaged, they make wonderful away pennies in a recession year! LOL!

Ginger Pennies Makes about 25 dozen

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses

1. Set the oven at 325. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt.
3. In an electric mixer, blend the butter, sugar, egg, and molasses. Slowly add the dry ingredientsto the molasses mixture, beating just until blended.
4. Transfer the mixture to a 1-gallon zipper freezer bag. Close it securely.
5. Cut off a small piece of the corner of the bag.
6. Using it as a piping bag, pipe 1/4-inch dots onto the baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 5 minutes or until they are set. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

To do all this baking, one needs the right apron. So this one, Simplicity 4692 will be emerging from my magic* sewing machine. I am using a brown with white polka dot along with a large Kaffe Fassett floral from my fabric stash, so my version will be much more dramatic. [Who needs wimpy aprons???]
* "magic" sewing machine image from 1890's Singer calendar !

[note: We are still missing a large black lab around here...:-( ]

Friday, December 05, 2008

It was a lovely family evening at my daughter's home....St. Nicholas day tomorrow....the tree is up, the mantle decorated. Many other preparations were under way. She is feeling better.

We were enjoying an evening meal of Cuban Black Bean soup (from the Silver Palette Cookbook) and corn muffins which my granddaughter helped bake. [We used this recipe, reducing the oil to 1/3 cup and adding about 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese.]

Cornmeal Muffins
1/2 cup oil

2 medium eggs
1 cup
1 teaspoon
2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon
baking soda
3/4 cup
1 cup
1Into your favorite big bowl, measure the oil. Crack in the eggs and add the buttermilk. Beat with a whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the salt, sugar, soda, cornmeal and flour. Stir casually, but not too aggreively. When mixed, but still lumpy, stop stirring. Oil up a dozen muffin cups. Divide the bater evenly amongst the muffin cups. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before eating.

Everything was perfect....a great weekend ahead...then we realized that the family pet, a black lab named "Gauge", was not with us.....the meal was abandoned and a search through nearby neighborhoods ensued. NO LUCK so far.

So as we head for bed tonight, it is with less joyful hearts as we wait for the phone to ring with a word about the missing family member.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Having to pack and work on finishing some Christmas gifts....but I will soon be with my wonderful grandchildren!

Daughter Laura is suffering from an episode of shingles....her first and hopefully last. As she has a family to care for and a business to run too, she needs some help. I am flying down like Mary Poppins....well, not exactly. But I do feel this is where I need to be now. So, some Christmas gifts may be wrapped unfinished and I know the recipients will trust me to complete them when I'm back home with my creative space and tools!

Mr. Pear will be coping here.

I won't be blogging much....chasing my grandson and caring for Laura's home for the next few weeks.

Just wondering....should I wear my 'Mary Poppins" hat????? [Photo from last winter]

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