Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016 Year in Review

The year 2016 is winding down and some have purchased party dresses and are ready to ring in the new year.  Being traditionalist, AppleJack and I will ring in 2017 the same way we rang in 2016--snuggled under our warm down conformer cutting zzzzz's.  We are party animals!  I usually watch at least one of those network TV shows which gives  the year in review, you know the ones.  The network gives a rundown of top news stories and of influential people who have passed.  As I watch these shows, my mind tends to wander (especially when they talk about all the negative things) and I find myself taking my own inventory of what I have accomplished and what I would like to accomplish in 2017.  As I put my list together it is always a little scary and sometimes disappointing because I want the list of accomplishments to be a loooooong list of finishes.  Here goes:

Hooking:  American Eagle Chair Mat
Not a stellar year for hooking, I did use my stash wool and am pleased I was able to make something I had seen on a blog come to life.  This will make a nice addition to my patriotic collection.

First the larger quilts:  Just One Star was quilted and the binding sewn on by my 89 year old Mother.  Susan, the long armed quilter did a fabulous job with the quilting.  In addition to being a prize winning quilter, Susan is just a super nice lady.  My Mother enjoys hand sewing the binding, she says it gives her something to do in the evenings and the quilts are more cherished  knowing her hands are a part of the quilts story.  Each time I see this quilt it makes me smile.

North and South (could not locate my photo)  The piecing is finishing and I have an appt with Susan in early 2017 for the quilting.  Due to my own ambition, the making of this quilt became a major project.    Setting this quilt took hours.  Hopefully, after Susan works her magic with the quilting, this quilt and I will be friends.

Jo Morton's:  Am giving myself a huge pat on the back for the making of three Jo Morton quilts, yes three:  Be My Valentine, Sadie's Quilt and Christmas log cabin (could not locate the photo of Be My Valentine).  Jo Morton's are teaching me patience and accuracy and to appreciate my Itty Bitty Rulers.

Primitive Gathering Frivol: Crown of Thorns  Lisa, Primitive Gatherings is a huge proponent of starching her fabric pieces.  Perhaps in 2017 I will try her method to see if it improves the accuracy of my quilting.

Wool Applique:  I treated myself to a wool appliqué class with Rebekah Smith in Mooresville, Alabama.  Rebekah was wonderful, the class was awesome her designs are just to my liking.  I have been watching YouTube and improving my blanket stitch.  (I have learned to make a three stack wool penny with backing).  There are many wool appliqué projects and wool in my stash and I see many wool projects in my future for 2017.  Oh, Rebekah will be releasing her second book in June.  Preordered thru Amazon, check.

Stitching:  Yes, after starting this sampler in 2012, I finally finished, framed and enjoyed for Christmas 2016.  It's Stacy Nash's Christmas at Hollyberry Farm.  I also finished three Stacy Nash club kits offered through Country Sampler;  December 25th pinkeep,The Gift is Small and Love is All and Sampler Sewing Bag.

A strawberry from Erica Michaels.  Quaker Berry is stitched and is off a the finishers.  I also see more Erica Michaels strawberries in my future.

Ahh Annie Magnolia (my photo file is not playing nice and I could locate a photo of Annie) aka Anne Pennsylvania Peacock.  Annie has been in my stash for more years than I am willing to admit.  Am so glad, Annie was stitched, framed, traveled and is living in Arkansas.  The best part AppleJack, his daughter, and grand daughter sat around a bond fire and talked about his life with his Grandmother, the real Annie Magnolia.  

I always want the list to be longer and finishes great.  Oh well, there is always next year, after all the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.  Hope springs eternal!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Country Sampler-Stacy Nash Club Schoolgirl Sampler Spring Sewing Bag

Country Sampler-Stacy Nash Club
Schoolgirl Sampler Spring Sewing Bag
Linen --Weeks Stash
NPI silks

A finish is always exciting.  Let's not talk about the number of club kits I am behind, instead let's talk about the one just finished.  I changed the linen 32 count Raw Belfast Linen to a Weeks linen in my stash.   I also changed one of the colors, it went better with my finishing fabric.

Since this is a sewing bag I am including some felt for needles.  I saved a fabric wrap by Moda--it looks like a measuring tape and will be including across the pocket.

It's off to the finisher and fingers crossed this will be a project to share with the stitch girls when we reunite in March.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Pecan Pie Bars

Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups dark corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • Heat over to 350 degrees F
  • Combine 1 3/4 cups flour, softened butter and sugar in a bowl.  Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs
  • Add the 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • Press crust mixture evenly onto the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch ungreased baking dish
  • Bake 18-22 minutes or until the edges are very light golden brown
  • Combine filling ingredients
  • Evenly distribute the 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans over the hot partially baked crust
  • Pour the filling ingredients over the top of the pecans
  • Bake 30-35 minutes or until filling is set and knife inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean.
  • Cool completely (refrigerate overnight)
  • Cut into bars
I find putting the pecans on top of the crust and pouring the filling over the top of the nuts helps the nuts to evenly rise to the top.  Cooling the bars completely is a must.  Since the bars need to be completely cooled before cutting they can be made ahead which is another plus for a delicious carry out dessert.  One of the stitch girls made these pecan bars for the last gathering, they were delicious!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It is a most wonderful time of the year and very busy time of the year:  baking, shopping, wrapping gifts, mailing Christmas cards.  One of my favorite trees, my all handmade ornament tree.

 Another view of the hand made ornament tree.  AppleJack asks me how many hours he thinks I have spent stitching these ornaments, I have no idea.  Each time I see this tree it makes me wish I had spent more hours.

The snowman ornament took on special meaning today:  It was 73 degrees yesterday and I was raking leaves and sweating.  We awoke this morning to a chilling 23 degrees and snow!  Don't think a white Christmas is forecast but certainly a cold Christmas.   Brrrrr sure glad we have those mugs for hot cocoa

Merry Christmas!  

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Feather Trees and Baskets

Feather trees were first created in Germany in the 1880's or 1890's and are considered one of the first types of artificial Christmas trees.  Goose, turkey and swan feathers were a plentiful commodity on the farms and easily transformed into Christmas trees.  Feathers were dyed green and wired to wooden sticks and then drilled into a dowel into the shape of a typical white pine German tree.  Artificial berries were attached onto the ends of some branches and wire candle holders adorned others.  The branches were placed some distance apart so ornaments were easily hung and admired and lit candles would not burn other branches.  The American market was first introduced to feather trees by German immigrants in Pennsylvania and Texas.

AppleJack and I have used this feather tree for many Christmas seasons.  Don't look to closely--some of the red berries at the tips of the branches are missing, our cats, Miss Katie and the General, ate the berries.  The tree is decorated with miniature white oak baskets, some barely measure one inch.  We have been collecting the baskets for several years.  The baskets are a reminder of our Appalachian heritage.  This year we were fortunate enough to find more miniatures at the spring wool festival in Dickson.  The sampler behind the feather tree is Stacy Nash's Christmas at Hollyberry Farm.  Gulp, the design was released in 2012, it took me a few years, but I finally have a Christmas sampler to enjoy.  Kinda makes me want to stitch another Christmas sampler, maybe after I finish stitching And Heaven and Nature Sing.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Christmas Memories by Liberty Hill 2008

December 2008

This Christmas memories box is meant to be a replica of a present that a child, living in about the late 1800's might have received for Christmas.  A handmade box filled with special little presents such as sewing smalls which included a needle book in its own wool pocket, a ring to keep her threads on, a Christmas tree thread winder and a little house to hang on her scissors or to wear as a necklace on a ribbon.  In the decorated box, there might have also been a special ornament for their tree and some candy canes.  As you use this little box, may it bring Christmas memories of your own.

Liberty Hill

One of my favorite Christmas enjoyments!  This Liberty Hill Christmas box is placed under the Christmas tree with the stitched or handmade ornaments and enjoyed from one Christmas season until the next.  Thanks for the memories Liberty Hill.