Friday, December 08, 2017

Snow White

My quilting productivity always takes a hit this time of year, superseded by Christmas prep - shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping. You know the drill. But, in keeping with the fresh dusting of snow that we just received I have progress of Betty's white quilt to share with you; consider it an early Christmas gift.

She seems to be flying through these blocks and already has a number of them together.

Those stunning blocks look even more magical when they all come together.

I just love those little snippets of embroidered colour that pop out of heavy lace.

And she is going to work in these two mementos from her daughter Julia's recent wedding - the hankie that she received and the little heart that Julia gave to her dad; it reads: 'Dad, I loved you first'. How sweet.

In addition to being stunning this project is a testament to how quickly a hand stitched quilt can come together. I'm so looking forward to seeing it grow....M

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The Gift of Friendship

Saturday's annual Cookie Bakeoff went off without a hitch, despite initial fears that Jen and the girls wouldn't be able to make it. But make it they did, much to the delight of everyone.

It always starts out the same. A few days before the big event favourite recipes (along with a few new ones) are pulled out and the selection begins.

Christmas tunes were the order of the day and the butter was out in full force.

And Betty started us off with champagne and orange juice, just to see what it might do for productivity.

The gals in 'shipping and receiving' were on their game and channeling John Lennon (we got smart this year and had everyone bring their tins with 4 or 5 waxed paper liners already cut - it saved tons of prep time)...

and decorators were hard at it...

... til early evening. Those quilting lamps come in handy!

It always amazes us how much we can get done in a day with just one oven.

Drumroll please...this was the tally for 2017 - 153 dozen cookies! Not our personal best, but right up there.

And, by the end of the day - despite close quarters and lots of jockeying for the oven - everyone was still smiling and happy to have goodies for their freezer. Sharing the day together, enjoying the chatter, the laughter and the singing made me realize that the real gift of this get together is a wonderful string of friendships.

As an extra little treat, everyone went home with a handful of stars for their tree.

I have it on very good authority that sampling has already begun in certain quarters (including with the Official Cookie Tester) and the results are more than favourable. I'm already looking forward to next year!....M

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A Great Little Stocking Stuffer

If you have a quilter on your Christmas list (or if someone is looking for a great little stocking stuffer for you) you might want to consider a recent find that I just love. I tend to have several spools near my machine and almost as many bobbins, switching them up as I go, but when several weights of white all start looking the same it's a bit of a guessing game as to which bobbin belongs with which spool. These little gizmos have taken all of the guesswork out of it for me.

They are called bobbini, and they easily keep your bobbin matched up with the correct spool of thread.

This was a system that I had tried for a while - just using an elastic to keep the two together, but the bobbinis are even easier.

They are pliable and rubbery so when you push the wide end into the centre of the spool it collapses and stays in place.

Then just slip the bobbin over the nub on the top. I like to slide the end of the thread into the hole in the bobbin as I do this so that there aren't loose threads flying about. Easy peasy, and no more playing 'match game'. I got mine from Connecting Threads but I suspect that Santa might know of other shops where they are available too. Happy shopping!...M

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

It's That Time...

When I start crawling into bed with my Christmas cookie mags you know that the Christmas Cookie Bakeoff can't be far off. We're getting together on Saturday to bake to our hearts' content and start filling our freezers with goodies, so I'm making a list and checking it twice.

I found this recipe for a Cream Cheese Gingerbread Thumbprint which looks very tasty and would be sweet on a plate, but I'm not sure that I could nail the piped frosting. Nothing to lose in trying though, is there?

And while I've been pouring over mags and recipe books Stephanie introduced me to a gorgeous one that I had not seen before called Bake From Scratch. It's produced in the States and she has picked up four editions so far, so there is lots of eye candy for me to drool over.

It is a truly beautiful magazine, from the recipes (which do not look overly complicated) to the paper stock. I'll have to keep an eye out for it.

It's not all cookies - there's baking of every kind - but there are definitely cookies to tempt me.

I've always wanted to try making Madeleines. Apparently they are best just out of the oven, so they won't make the cookie tins, but some day soon the Official Cookie Tester is in for a treat...

So, I'm prepping my tins and trying to pick my top four recipes. Somehow I always end up with a baking list that is much longer than four recipes but things always turn out - time determines how many of them will get baked. Christmas karma....M