Monday, December 29, 2008

What have I been doing lately?

Wow, the holiday rush is already over! Here are some photos of what's been keeping me from blogging lately. At least I had the presence of mind to photograph a few things along the way...
Here are most of the lavender sachets I managed to get done as gifts or additions to gifts. I started with a piece of lavender fabric and used bonash fusible powder to adhere on scraps of yellow, green and purple fabrics as well as Angelina fibers. I covered parts of it with tulle or netting and fused everything together, then free-motion stitched over the top to hold it down better. Then I sliced the piece up into about 12 rough squares (about 4" square) with a pinking rotary cutter. I embellished each square individually with flowers, lace, and additional stitching, then sewed a backing on like a pillow and stuffed in the dried lavender I collected in August. I just finished the last two last night...who
will I give those to? I think I owe one to my youngest daughter...
Next, here is a sample of some
of the baking I've been doing. As teens, my sisters and I used to start baking after Thanksgiving and freeeze each batch as we baked them. By Christmas, we had four or five varieties of cookies to eat and give away. This year I also managed to get in four or five batches, only two of them being particularly labor intensive (the thumbprints and the gingerbread). The thumbprints (the recipe calls these "Jewel Brooch" cookies) are my family's absolute favorites, as they are mostly butter and melt in your mouth. The recipe (which I usually triple) is as follows: Mix 1 cup plus 2 T flour with 1/3 c sugar. Add 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter and mix as for piecrust until coarse crumbs are formed. Add 1 egg yolk and 1/2 t. vanilla extract and mix with fingers or pastry blender until dough holds together. Form into a ball and refrigerate 20 min. or until stiff enough to handle. Using a measuring teaspoon, put pieces of dough 1" apart on cookie sheet, the shape into balls with floured palms. Make an indentation in the center with the handle of a wooden spoon (or the little finger). Press garnish into the center and bake at 350 for 15-20 min or until golden brown. Garnishes include raspberry jam, semisweet baking chips, an almond half, candied cherries or other fruit etc. (The raspberry jam is our favorite by far, but chocolate chips and nuts are also delicious!) I usually use the egg whites leftover from this recipe for a coconut macaroon recipe (also a family favorite!).
Here is a photo of one of the kittens we got in late October. We are earnestly trying to keep them indoors and they are full of energy so of course they climb. Here is Tigger in the small artificial tree we keep downstairs in the family room.
Maybe I'll use this for Christmas cards next year! Tigger and Honey are loads of fun and extremely soft and cuddly. I managed to get a decent shot of them snuggling together and printed it on an iron-on sheet to make sweatshirts for my daughters.
This was sort of like three blogs in one, to make up for my lack of posting this past month.
I hope to get back into some creative work soon. Meanwhile, Happy New Year everyone!