Tuesday, December 10, 2019

S.L.O.W.

There's now three columns of blocks together for Country Cousin. Almost.

As I put each one together I was tucking them up under bundles that sit atop of my fabric cubbies so that I could see its progress and make sure that all of the blocks were in the right order.













You guessed it - on the third column I lost my concentration and messed up the order, so there's been some ripping. There will be more because I don't want two of the same blues meeting the way they currently do, but I've pinned it up just to confirm that I had only one mistake and didn't make others in the same column.




There are three more columns to go and one is ready at the machine. I'll wait til my blood pressure adjusts before putting it together as I'm not keen to do more ripping than I have to. Time to put my hands in the air and move away from the machine....M

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Life Is Short, Lick the Spoon

Yesterday was my day to bake a birthday cake for my favourite (only) niece, Julia, so I put the mixmaster through its paces bright and early. How to you like the 'tattoo' on my mixer? Words to live by 😄. It was a gift from Julia last Christmas and I only recently got up the courage to figure out how to apply it. Isn't it fun?













We have several people that we gift tins of cookies to at Christmas so, despite the haul from last weekend's bakeoff, there were still a few more recipes that I wanted to make up - you know, the ones that you'd miss if you didn't bake them - so, while the cake was in the oven I decided to make up a batch of Thimble Cookies. Love those raspberry centres surrounded by that little ring of crushed pecans.







Then while the cake was cooling I made a batch of Toblerone Shortbread. It is a quick recipe and they always get rave reviews.












After the cake was iced I still had a bit of energy so I moved on to Fudge Brownie Cups.













I love making these little bites because it gives me an excuse to use my tiny little tins that I picked up on a trip to Paris several years ago. Its a lovely walk down memory lane.










And they always look great on a plate of sweets. Oh, did I mention that they are delicious?













I decided that if I put my mind to it I could finish up all of the baking that I needed to do for the holidays, so I quickly mixed up a batch of Fanciful Ribbons. The combination of raspberry and the hint of almond in the glaze just says Christmas to me.











Last on the list were my Pecan Shortbread. This is one of my favourite cookies - a lovely combo of chocolate and nuts and a wee hint of cinnamon. There's also a nice crunch and I love enjoying one (or two) with a cup of tea.

So, it turned out to be an unexpected day of baking, but, with the possible exception of a Gumdrop Cake, I think that my baking is finished and that's a terrific feeling. Today, its birthday party time!...M

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Striving For Progress, Not Perfection

#QuiltBee: Country Cousin quilt blocks
While I have resolved to finish up Country Cousin before I start in on anything that is waiting in the wings I have to say that I am not really enjoying working on it - I think I'm too impatient to get it finished up.











#QuiltBee: Country Cousin quilt blocks
Despite my grumbling I do have all of the 8" blocks made now and once they were laid out they didn't look too bad at all.












And I am taking some small satisfaction in knowing that the small design wall is now cleared off.












#QuiltBee: Country Cousin quilt blocks
There is no way that this will be a full sized quilt - these are all of the blocks that I'm prepared to make - but I think that I'll add a few borders to see if I can stretch it out a bit. There are blues in my stash that have been hanging around for way too long so hopefully I can kill two birds with one stone.

This will be a charity quilt so I'm trying to get my head into a better space as I sew - nothing charitable about sewing through gritted teeth 😄.....M

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Bakers Gonna Bake

Well, all the gals showed up on Saturday for our annual Christmas Cookie Bakeoff with their A game in hand.













They didn't waste any time digging in to the dough...


















and took their jobs very, very seriously 😉. Soon the race was on to see who could get pans into the oven first.












In no time at all the tables began filling with a delicious variety of goodies,













and the gals in the decorating department worked their magic.













We even had a little four-legged friend overseeing quality control. The gals saw to it that any 'eaters' were dealt with immediately.

Of course, all had to be decked out for the day with their favourite cookie bakeoff tattoos. My niece Julia created four terrific new designs this year, and they were a big hit.











Our long distance baker, Lori, drives about three hours to join us so she had a little bit of a later start; this diversion in the hills of Wilno (Canada's oldest Polish settlement) might have added to that. It was well worth it though - she picked up some yummy fudge and butter tarts to share over lunch.










So, once again, freezers are stocked with tins of goodies and I have it on very good authority that a bit of sampling might already have been done, with a hot cup of tea, of course.












Did I mention that we set a new record this year? 2,307 cookies were baked in approximately 10 hours using ONE oven!












Despite the long day, everyone was still smiling when it was all said and done.

















I feel so blessed that this crew is prepared to go all in on this tradition every year - the baking, the carol singing, the laughter and the great meals, and often one or two new faces. It truly is a special way to launch 'the most wonderful time of the year'!....M