Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Solstice

I just finished this cozy read by Rosamunde Pilcher - Winter Solstice.  If you're looking for something to warm your heart this time of year, I highly recommend it.  It begins in London but the characters all end up on the grounds of an Estate-turned-hotel on the Scottish coast (a bit of a plus if you've been reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and are now interested in Scotland).  It's a bit predictable, but sweet and relaxing and heartwarming as well.  Enjoy!

Besides reading, I've been keeping busy with a bit of this and that to get ready for Christmas.  Yesterday I finished up some more felt birds from the patterns I printed at the Down East Thunder Farms website.  It's nice to simply print a pattern, cut and stitch it without having to invent something or figure it out.  Plus it's relaxing to do a little hand stitching, and the results are pretty cute!  Here are are some of the ornament gifts I made:

The eastern bluebird,

the snowy owl,

the ruby-throated hummingbied (with a toothpick beak)

the common crow,

and the chickadee!
 The chickadee is now adorning the rustic card holder I wrote about in the previous post, but most of the others have already gone to their new owners.

I've done a little baking as well.  One thing I decided to try is this recipe for homemade dog treats, one of the first things I ever pinned on Pinterest.  There are only 4 ingredients and the dough mixes up and rolls out very easily.  The neighbors on both sides of us are multiple-dog households, so I thought I'd share them.  I can't testify to how they taste, but they've got a nice cup of peanut butter in them and Cassie just loves them!

I also made a pan of this 5-ingredient Graham cracker toffee:
I topped it with chopped almonds and coconut and they are rich and scrumptious!  If you like toffee and need an easy-to-make party contribution or gift, they are perfect.  Try not to eat them all yourself!

 I only did a little real baking this year because I've finally gotten out of the mindless eating habit and I don't want to get back into it over the next two weeks.  But I had to bake at least a few cookies and I chose these:

They are the classic Jewel brooch cookies, gingerbread (from a box mix), white chocolate-dipped pretzels, and coconut macaroons.  We have enough to pick on ourselves and some to give away, so I think that'll be it for me as far as holiday baking goes (except for maybe a cheesecake for dessert Christmas day). 

Most of the shopping and even wrapping are done, so now all I have to do is the Christmas cards.  They're going out a little late this year, but better late than never!


Vivien Zepf said...

Your ornaments are lovely! I'm going to have to see if I can't make something for my mom next year; she'd love it. Thanks for the link.

Norma Schlager said...

Love the birds! Happy New Year!