Sunday, December 04, 2016

A Wonderful Cookie Bakeoff

It's so hard to believe that the calendar has already rolled over into December, but with it comes the fun of prepping for the season and that means our annual cookie bakeoff. For at least 20 years now we've been getting together to bake for a day and it just seems to get better and better. The faces change a bit from year to year (we missed you this year, Jane) but the love and laughter is a constant. It was Chantal's 'rookie year' and she proved to be a natural!

Our happy hostess met us at the door at 8:30 am and we were off to the races.

Things fall into place fairly quickly as stations are set up for mixing, rolling, decorating, packing and cleanup. In no time at all the butter and sugar begin to fly - it's a well-oiled machine.

I tend to be a creature of habit, selecting favourites to bake every year but Stephanie always has a great new recipe or two to try out. Her snowmen were a real hit and look adorable in the tins.

She also gave us a tutorial on making her fabulous cheese crackers, which I have never been able to get the hang of. Might not be a good thing as they are totally addictive.

The decorating crew always rises to the occasion, creating masterpieces with their finishing touches...

almost too good to eat (almost!).

They are masters of royal icing and crystallized sugar!

Many hands make light work and before long tins begin to be filled.

Betty tracks our production as the tins get pack and the tally for this year was 1,709, which might be close to a record. It sounds like a lot (and it is!) but gets divided up for 8 households so we each left with three yummy tins filled to the brim.

The oven was shut off and the cars packed up by 6:30 pm and everyone headed home with their load of goodies (rumour has it that Lori was taste testing all the way home, and she has a three hour drive...).

Everything that came home has passed the inspection of the Official Cookie Tester and he's already planning to enjoy a few with a cup of hot chocolate this afternoon. I think those tins better get into the freezer soon if we plan to still have some left to enjoy over the holidays.

Thanks everyone for keeping this tradition alive and for an absolutely wonderful day. It's the perfect launch to my Christmas and I'm already looking forward to next year....M

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Third in a Series

Pokey probably best describes the speed at which Anna Levens is proceeding, but there is a little progress to report. My third large hexie has now been added to the finished pile.

This will likely be the centre of the star of hexies that anchor the quilt. The cream fabric was the first piece of fabric that I bought knowing that it would be for this quilt. It's been a couple of years already but nice to see it in it's place now.

And I just adore the turquoise that the smaller border hexies are made from (is it wrong to love fabric that much? ­čśĆ ). It's probably the last piece that I bought but it's going to really make the quilt, I think. I've got plans to change the design somewhat as I go and am hoping to find a place to let more of that fabric shine....M

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wait A Minute...

Do you see what I see? My last post had pics of the next block to be appliqu├ęd but when I went back to take a look at it I realized that I had pinned it incorrectly.

There should be three hexies running across the top of the block rather than the vertical placement that I had.

Just a little more maneuvering around the larger print to get things just so and we're now pinned and ready to stitch. Whew - that was a close one! This could be a long, long process unless I get my act together....M

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Yesterday was a beautiful day but my how things can change in a few hours - today is lousy. It's snowy and windy and just a cold slap in the face compared to the last couple of weeks - a perfect day to find some hand sewing distractions indoors.

I decided it was time to take the next step on the large hexie blocks for the centre panel of Anna Levens. This is my first one. It needs a good press, but happily everything lies nice and flat.

The large floral blocks are to be cut 10" and then appliqu├ę a ring of paper pieced hexies over top. I wasn't quite sure what I was doing here because I'm a rookie at EPP so I was pretty generous when cutting the 10" blocks and I'm glad that I did because it gave me lots of room to maneuver. Once it's appliqu├ęd you trim the centre panel seam allowance to 1/4".

What I need to figure out now is whether I remove the basting stitches on the small hexies - if anyone knows I'd be happy if you let me know. If I need to remove them I'll wait and do that after all of the large hexies are together. I think once the centre seven hexies are joined I will revert to adding the remaining hexies the way that I usually do, just eyeballing my seam allowance. I just find it so much easier.

So my second block is pinned and ready to go.

I put a little dab of Roxanne's temporary basting glue at the inside point of each hexie once everything is pinned and so far it and the pins have kept everything where I need it to be. Fingers crossed that the second one goes as well as the first!...M