Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gingerbread Houses

My boys always make their own gingerbread house with their grandma every Christmas. They’re getting to the point where she just gets all the stuff and they no longer want or require her help for construction!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Little Girl Popcorn Felted Bag

This is the felted bag I made for my niece who turns 3 today. The only major difference being that using the popcorn made most of it end up on what is technically the “inside” of the bag. But once you felt them, you can’t really tell the difference anyway, so I made that the outside and put the I-cord handle on and she’s got herself a cute bag now!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Magnetic Memo Boards

This is one of the things I made for the kids gifts to teachers.

Go to your local sheet metal place and have them cut some pieces custom for you. I had them do, I think, about 9 x 11″. Then you bend back a couple inches on the bottom for it to stand up. Get your glue stick and some complimentary scrapbook papers, hot glue embellishments to a couple of magnet and voila! You’ve got a useful and attractive memo board the person can keep on their desk or work area. Everyone that got ‘em loved ‘em!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Mother Daughter Felted Bags

These are the felted bags I made for my SIL and niece for Christmas. I used the same yarn for each, the only difference is my niece’s bag is smaller and I made her I-cord handled. For my SIL’s bag I lined it and sewed on handled. I hope they have fun having matching bags!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Vicky's Felted Bag

This bag I made for my stepmom. She likes pink and black and I decided to jump into the wide world of lining the bags, hadn’t done that before. The first one turned out OK and I made a couple of mistakes, but this one went great and I think the lining looks fantastic!

I used Cascade yarn in Black and added in Trendsetter yarn in Sorbet (12) and I added some eyelashy stuff at the top. If I can find my “pattern” around here somewhere, I’ll post the dimensions later. I bought handles to put on instead of doing the I-cord. It turned out great and I think the second best of all the felted bags I made for Christmas gifts.

I found my notes. Before washing (which is all I wrote down, ugh!) it was 16″ across the bottom, 10″ high, 13″ across the top. I knit the Trendsetter thru the whole bag then the eyelashy stuff is the top 3″.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Chocolate Thumbprints

This ends up being one of the favorites on the cookie tray by many of my recipients. And it’s also probably the messiest one to make, too!

Chocolate Thumbprints

1/2 C. butter or margarine, softened

2/3 C. sugar

1 egg, separated

2 T. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1 C. flour

1/3 C. baking cocoa

1/4 tsp. salt

1 C. finely chopped walnuts


1/2 C. powdered sugar

1 T. butter or margarine, softened

2 tsp. milk

1/4 tsp. vanilla

unwrapped Hershey kisses

In a mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, egg yolk, milk and vanilla until light and fluffy. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Cover and chill 1 hour or until firm enough to roll into balls. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, lightly beat egg white. Shape dough into 1-inch balls (or use a cookie scoop); dip in egg white, then roll in nuts. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment. Make an indentation with thumb in center of each cookie. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until center is set. Combine the first four filling ingredients in a small bowl; mix until smooth. Spoon 1/4 teaspoon into each warm cookie; gently press a chocolate kiss in the center. Carefully remove from baking sheet to wire racks to cool.

Cream Cheese Finger Cookies

Even being a chocoholic, these cookies are my favorite ones on the plate this year. They are so good with coffee or well, by themselves. They’re just yummy! I don’t have a picture of the finished product for some reason but the dough is such a nice dough, I think that’s why I took a picture of that. Without further ado…

Cream Cheese Finger Cookies

1/2 C. butter (no substitute) softened

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 tsp. vanilla

1 3/4 C. flour

1 T. sugar

dash salt

1 C. finely chopped pecans

powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, sugar and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in pecans (dough may be crumbly). Shape tablespoonfuls (or use a cookie scoop) into 2-inch logs. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar and cool on wire racks.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dipped Gingersnaps

These cookies make the whole house smell SO good when they’re baking and they make a nice sized batch too!

Dipped Gingersnaps

2 C. sugar

1 1/2 C. vegetable oil

2 eggs

1/2 C. molasses

4 C. flour

4 tsp. baking soda

1 T. ground ginger

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

Additional sugar

2 pkg. vanilla chips

1/4 C. Crisco (I use butter flavor Crisco)

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and oil; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in molasses. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Shape into 3/4 inch balls and roll in sugar. Place 2 in. apart on baking sheets (I line my baking sheets with parchment paper). Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until cookie springs back when touched lightly. Remove to wire racks to cool. Melt chips with shortening using a double boiler (using a saucepan doesn’t have as good of results, it can scorch). Dip the cookies halfway. Place on waxed paper to harden.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

English Toffee

As per requests from the readers on my “regular” blog, I’m posting the recipes and photos from the Christmas cookies I made.
English Toffee
2 C. butter (no substitutes)
2 C. sugar
1 T. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. milk chocolate chips
1 C. chopped pecans
Grease a 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan; set aside.  In a heavy 3-qt. saucepan, melt the remaining butter.  Add sugar, corn syrup and salt; cook and stir over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 295 (hard crack).  Quickly pour into prepared pan.  Let stand at room temperature until cool, about 1 hour.  In a microwave, melt chocolate chips; spread over toffee.  Sprinkle with pecans.  Let stand for 1 hour.  Break into bite-size pieces.  Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies

This recipe is doubled and yielded 4 dozen cookies using a cookie scoop which I think was slightly larger than the original recipe called for but, oh well.

1 C sugar, 1 1/2 C butter softened, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 egg yolks, 3 C flour, 1/2 C baking cocoa.  Extra sugar for rolling.
1/2 C butter softened, 2 Tb. brandy, 2 C powdered sugar
48 maraschino cherries with stems drained on paper towels, 1 C semisweet chocolate chips, 2 tsp oil
  1.  Heat oven to 375.  In large bowl, beat sugar, butter, vanilla and egg yolks until light and fluffy.  Add flour and cocoa; beat until well combined.
  2. Shape dough into balls (with aid of cookie scoop to maintain uniformity); roll in sugar.  Place on cookie sheet.  With index finger, make indentation in center of each cookie.
  3. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until set.  Remove from cookie sheets, let cool completely.
  4. In medium bowl, beat filling ingredients until smooth.  Spoon about 1/2 tsp. filling into center of each cooled cookie.  Press cherry into filling.
  5. In small saucepan, melt chocolate chips with oil over low heat, stirring constantly.  Spoon or drizzle melted chocolate over cherry on each cookie.  Let stand until chocolate is set

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Felted Bag # 1

I’m making six felted bags for Christmas gifts, and if I manage to finish up the last one, I’ll try to make each of my boys a scarf in their school colors (or something NOT girly, because that would NOT be cool).

Anyway, here is the first bag I got done. With before felting and after felting photos. I may put a button on it, haven’t decided yet.


Cast on 36. Knit 16 rows. After I began the sides, knitting in the round, I knit 4 rows of Cascade black before I began adding Trendsetter Yarn Sorbet color 1027 every other row, then finished with 6 more rows of just the black. I made an I-cord 40″ long for the handle and the purse itself was 14″ wide and 10″ tall before felting. After felting, the bag was 10″ wide and 6″ tall. It turned out great and will be perfect for my sister-in-law who is not flashy or extroverted, she likes things simple and this bag is just that.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Notre Dame Scarf

Another day, another scarf. I am working on a ton of felted bags though, so I’ll post those, they’re coming out fantastic!

So, if you read my “regular” blog, you’ll know we are Notre Dame season ticket holders and make many weekend pilgrimages during the fall months to games.

We also stay with our very dear friends who live there (and are cheering on game day as well) and I like to make them my guinea pigs for some of my creations.

They have a 12-year old daughter who is not a girly girl, but she is a huge Irish fan. So, I told her mom I’d make her an awesome, not girly, scarf to wear to Notre Dame games. And I got it done this week to have hubby take to the last home game this season against Army and give to Brookie.

Notre Dame scarf pattern (such as it is):

size 17 needles

Cast on 9

Yarn used: Rowan Lurex shimmer (made in the UK) this gold yarn is supposed to replicate the Gold Dome. The blue yarn is schoeller/stahl Portofino Souffle in color 4719 marine (made in Germany).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Preschool Snack

Sammie had to take snack for preschool today. And, yes, I like to try and have “made” stuff rather than store-bought if I have the time. And, I also like to make things where she can help, because she is becoming very interested in helping in the kitchen, as the boys were also at her age.

Mini-Hamburgers (total sugar, preschoolers love them!)

Thin Mints

Nilla wafers


white frosting

Using green food coloring, color the coconut green. This is the “lettuce”. Using red food coloring, color the frosting red, this is the “ketchup”. Put frosting on bottom Nilla wafer (bun), secure thin mint (hamburger patty), put frosting on top of thin mint, sprinkle with coconut, place Nilla wafter on top. Mini-hamburger!

We usually make a few per child and put them in snack size ziploc bags so each kid gets their own bag and the “hamburgers” stay together until eating time!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Scrapbooking On Empty

Had an all-day crop on Saturday at church, fundraiser for our youth group. And normally, I look forward to having 12 hours of solid scrapping time. But, I wasn’t “feelin” it, my brain and creative juices were NOT in scrapbooking mode I guess. You know how you have to have that switch turned on in your brain to get some good layouts going on? I just couldn’t find that switch yesterday I guess. So, even with the shame I feel at how poorly these layouts came out, I’m posting a few of them anyway. Because, for better or worse, those things are now DONE. Finished. I scrapbook all hubby’s fire department stuff and it gets very repetitive, so you’ll have to assume I’ve done much more creative layouts in his previous scrapbooks.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Scarf for Kim

My friend Kim (of which I have many Kims in my life for some crazy reason) is a fabulous gal. And her birthday is the day before Thanksgiving, at which time, I will not see her. But I do have time to get together for lunch with her this week and wanted to give her her birthday present early.

Her favorite colors are lime green and pink. So, while this scarf may not be your cup of tea, it is totally up her alley and she will love it. I will have to try to remember my camera to take a picture of her wearing it.

I used 17 needles and cast on 10.

My yarn selections were Crystal Palace Squiggle Yarn Tulips and Cascade Yarn Venezia in color 115. These yarns were very easy to work with and I finished this scarf in record time. It was fast.