Monday, December 28, 2009

The Holidays

The holidays are almost over.  We've eaten too much and had some wonderful visits with friends and family members.  It's time to start putting away the decorations..maybe New Year's Day.  We had a wonderful family get together at my daughter's home.  I was given many wonderful gifts and the big suprise was the apron my granddaughter, Kimberly, made in school.  I thought she was going to give it to her mother, but she decided she wanted to gift it to me!  I love it.  I had given her three fabrics from my stash to choose from as it really didn't make sense for her to go to the store to buy fabric when I have so much right here.  I'll be wearing this when making next year's Christmas Cookies instead or wiping my hands on the sides of my jeans while baking.
Looking forward to a full and fun New Year!
Here I am posing with my new apron.
Please post comments, I love to read them.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas To All!

It's Christmas Day and I'm still making cookies for our family get together tomorrow. 
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Cookie Time!

Well the countdown is here. My shopping is almost completed so now I'm focusing on the cookies.  I read a friend's blog yesterday and she posted a recipe for Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies.  So I gave them a try.  My dough was not holding together well so I added about 1 TB of cold water.  My first batch I took out of the oven at 10 min. to check them and the centers weren't cooked.  They just needed a bit more time. 17 minutes seemed to work with my oven.  I'm a chocolate lover so I drizzled melted cho. chips over the cookies when they had cooled.  Thanks Rayna for the Recipe!
Give 'em a try, they are delicious and easy!

1 Cup soft butter
1/2 Cup brown sugar (I used light, she uses dark.  Either will work)
2 1/2 Cups sifted flour
1 TB cold water-I added this as my dough was not holding together well.

Beat butter and sugar till fluffy, stir in flour till smooth.  Divide dough in half and refrigerate till ready to roll out.  Roll out first half of dough on floured surface, quite thin, cut w/ cookie cutter of your choice.  
Bake 15-20 min at 300 (or 325) or until lightly golden brown.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Dinner and Craft Time with Friends

I had some friends over last week for my annual Holiday Dinner at Diane's.  I wish I had a larger home with a nice dining room so I could invite everyone, but I'm thankful to have my home and it is big enough for me most of the year.  I thought of adding a room off the kitchen several years ago so I'd have a nice dining space to have family and friends over.  It never happened, mostly due to finances.

I think the dinner went well.  I used some recipes from Better Homes and Gardens December  issue.  I made the stuffed pork loin, string beans, roasted potatoes and a fruit plate my friend Donna brought to the dinner.  Everyone said the meal was delicious and I know I liked it.  I'll cook the pork and green beans again soon!  The green beans were especially easy to prepare so I thought I'd post the recipe here if anyone would like to give it a try.
"Sauteed Green Beans with Shallot Crisps"
Prep time 20 min.  Cook time 14 min.
Serves 8, each serving 100 calories

1/3 C cooking oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
5-6 shallots, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
2 lbs. green beans, trimmed
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

1. In a small skillet heat oil over medium high heat.  Add half the shallots.  Fry 3-4 minutes, until crisp and dark golden brown.  Remove from oil; drain on double-thickness of paper towels.  Cook remaining shallots.  Set aside.
2. Cook beans in a large pot, covered, in enough boiling water to cover for 6-8 minutes until crisp-tender.  Drain and submerse in ice water to cool quickly; drain well.
3.  Heat a 12" skillet over medium high heat.  Add butter and oil, swirling to coat skillet.  Add beans.  Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until beans are heated through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a serving bowl and top with shallot crisps.
MAKE AHEAD:  Shallots may be prepared up to 2 hours ahead.

I had requests for this recipe it was soooo good.  A great way to enjoy green vegetables!
After dinner we had some wonderful apple pie one of my friends brought over. 
When we finished dessert, it was craft time!
My friend Bonnie supplied the plaid flannel for the snowmen, thanks Bonnie!  We also made a "test" piece at her house a few days before the party.  I wanted to make little "kits" for each person, but ran out of time so I just handed them out to them.  I sewed the snowmen and their coats on my little singer.  They did the rest.
Here's a picture of the ornaments each person made.  They enjoyed hand sewing, stuffing the snowman, and dressing him.  Some sewed a small bell to the end of his cap.  Sharing the holidays with friends is such fun!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Middle School Arts Project

Friday night the 6th grade Franklin Middle School students did a presentation that included singing a song they wrote about Franklin, calling square dances and square dancing themselves.  The beautiful quilts along the front of the stage are the results of the blocks each of the children made during the project.  Many volunteers from the the community were involved and it was a success!  The quilts will be donated to local charities.

In a previous post there is more information on the project if you missed it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

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Snowstorm and Beautiful Birds

We had quite a good snowstorm today.  It started early A.M. and continued for most of the day.  They closed the office I work at on Wed. so I've been cleaning and decorating the house all day.  The tree looks pretty good, especially when I found the rest of the lights that needed to go on it.  UPS delivered my order from LLBean today, quick delivery!!  Now I have to wrap presents.  So much to do.

I was sitting eating lunch this afternoon and looked across out the window to see a beautiful Cardinal!!  I love them !  I grabbed my camera and took lots of shots.  Most of them came out pretty terrible, out of focus etc. probably because it was snowing so hard (I think the auto focus got confused).  But I like this one and a couple of others.  I'll be making cards from them and listing on my Etsy Shop.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Art Quilt Challenge

Today we got the news! The theme for the 1st quilt challenge is the word, COMFORT. I have a lot of ideas swimming around in my head but don't want to over think it. One of my good friends is a Health and Hospice nurse so that comes to mind as one idea. Many others, so I'll see where it takes me. I can't post it here until I've finished it and posted it to the challenge site. We will be making a 12" x 12" mini quilt every other month so this is due in February.

Snow arrived last night! It was so beautiful, large, fluffy flakes, great to make snowballs. Yes, I had my first snowball fight of the season. It wasn't too serious and a lot of fun. I'm having a difficult time posting pictures to my blog, so I'll have to get that figured out pretty soon so I can share more pictures with you.

I had a good time yesterday going to some nice little shops with my daughters and two of my grandkids. My good friend Muffie was able to come over from the coast to join us. We went to a farm that had the funniest goats. They look like they have smiles on their faces. I didn't have my camera so didn't get any shots of them. The kids fed them some bread, and it was all so cute with the snow falling around them.

Off to see if I can find some partridge berries with my sister so we can make some berry bowls. We'll have to check under the snow!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Everyday Stuff

New England is in a warming trend I think. Today it has been in the 60 degree range and were in the month of December!! Boy I'll bet when the snow decides to show up, it will really hit us.

My granddaughter "made" the basketball team today. Last night she told me they had to cut one more girl so she couldn't say for sure she would be on the team. I really never doubted she would be on the team. She's a very dedicated player and loves the sport. She's almost teenager but hasn't gotten the attitude that goes along with that yet. My other granddaughter will be a teenager in January and thankfully she's a good kid. Sometimes she can get pretty loud when her older brother bothers her...sometime by just breathing on her food? Got to love 'em!

I found a professional photo lab that I'm happy with so I think now I'll send out pictures I sell to them. They do a wonderful job and since one of my printers is acting up, it's good to have a backup plan. I've listed some specials on my Etsy site, buy two 5x7 note cards, get one free. I've also listed some note card packets on specific subjects i.e. Nature, Show Cars, Holiday cards. I also have available now 5x7 and 8x10 prints. I'm hoping this all works out. I've had so many people over the years comment in a positive way about some of my photographs, that I thought I'd give this a try.

I'm looking forward to this weekend when I'll be joined by my two daughters and my best friend for a day of Christmas Fairs/shopping.