Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Lena Hosts the Christmas Cookie Bakeoff

For two long years we have had to forgo getting together for our annual Christmas Cookie Bakeoff, but this year it was a go! Lena and her mom Julia were happy to host and she dug right in.

She and Nanny were both very careful cutting and placing her gingerbread men. As luck would have it, she was the only one able to enjoy an afternoon nap.

So many favourite recipes were pulled out...

and a few yummy new ones added to the list.

Much of the magic happens at the decorating table in the capable hands of Julia and Jane. Oh, and Betty too (it pays to hang around graphic designers).

Royal icing is the perfect medium to put a new spin on old favourites.

And sometimes things go a little retro.

We were down a couple of bakers this time around but still managed to bake 131 dozen between us, including these delicious shortbreads (again, beautifully decorated).

Lena got a big thumbs up at the end of the day and we're really hoping that she will consider hosting again next year. 

Such a blessing to be able to be together again to share this tradition!....M

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

A Stroll Down Holiday Lane

Our first snow of the season arrived this week. Well, at least the first snow that stayed. With everything white on the ground it seemed like a good time to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee by the window as the world woke up. 

Apparently I wasn't the only one to be excited. The guys down at the Works department couldn't wait to get the plows out and were on our street by 8:30 am, a small miracle considering both the amount of snow (very little) and the fact that on a good day, they don't seem to be able to get here before noon. Ah well, who am I to deny them a little fun?

Anyway, with the world now looking very white it's time to share a little fa la la.

When I was still in Holly Bazaar mode I finished things off with two very snowy runners from a pattern by Cluck Cluck Sew.

It's from this booklet (the one at the bottom) and is appropriately named Holiday Lane

The original pattern was done up in what I would consider primary colours but about a year ago I saw a kit being offered by Sweet Daisy Quilt Shop done up in this lovely, airy collection of prints - red and green enough to say Christmas but light enough to be used all winter.

I just fell in love with the look.

It's an easy pattern to make with just two different blocks - a cute little house and an evergreen tree.

The big bonus for me was that I was able to squeeze two runners from one kit (which, unfortunately, is no longer available) - the only fabric that I didn't have enough of was the white, but that was easy to remedy. It's a little tough to see in this pic, but I used a white on white.

Absolutely love it. So much so that I'm trying to figure out how to use the same elements for a Christmas throw. I'll show you the quilted versions next time....M

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Done, Dusted and Maybe A Few Repeats?

And just like that, another Holly Bazaar is history. For a wide variety of reasons the prep in advance on this one was more than a little hectic, but I made it!

Given my schedule lately, I'm not sure what possessed me to try a couple of batches of a new cookie recipe the night before the big event, but try it I did. These Banana Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies were a great find (from Martha Stewart's Cookies cookbook), and given that they had both bananas and whole wheat flour in them, they were healthy, right? Right. So I tried four of them just to be sure😏before anything was packaged up. Another time, I might add a second egg to make them less cakey, but between The Official Cookie Tester and I they definitely received a big thumbs up.

My baking list had a lot of the cookies that I usually make for the bazaar but, to add a little seasonal touch, this year I also made some Snowflake Sugar Cookies.

Fun as it is to figure out what to make for the bazaar, there's always the relief of the deadline passing and being able to return to the freedom of a less structured sewing schedule and Christmas planning. 

I don't think that I shared the finished star runner and table topped that I made early on, so here they are. 

A very soft yellow polka dot worked nicely for the backing. The stack of fabrics used for this still sits on the corner of my cutting table and I can't help but think that some version of this block would make a nice quilt so I will leave them there a bit longer to see if the urge strikes me.

And these scrappy red and white Peppermint Pines were lots of fun to make as well, so don't be surprised if some day more red scraps get worked up into a Christmas tree quilt.

The happy little HST runner never did make it to the sale as The Official Cookie Tester scooped it up before it left the house, and I can't say that I'm disappointed. Love all those HSTs together. This is another pattern that I can definitely see being made up into a quilt; love the graphic nature of it and the colour possibilities are endless!

So, despite thinking that I've knocked several items off my TO DO list, I think that I may have inadvertently added a few more onto it!....M

Monday, November 07, 2022

Three Days and Counting

Time is running short to have everything ready for this year's Holly Bazaar on Thursday and I am happy to say that I'm in pretty good shape. Last on my binding list are the set of four Peppermint Pines Christmas tree placemats; two finished and two to go.

I've backed them with a tiny red and white pin dot and am using the same to bind everything. I love the way that they are all the same and yet all different. And I seemingly never tire of using that Jingle Bells panto for many of my holiday pieces.

Given that there is so much going on in the trees, I've kept all of the tree trunks in the same red and white dot to establish a bit of commonality, but other that that, no two are alike....M