Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year Squirrel

We have a new friend for the New Year, a new squirrel friend that is. This baby fox squirrel showed up with it's mom and a sibling last week. It seems as though it's mom is cutting the apron strings and is ready to take her leave of them. She has reluctantly let them nurse a few times but we can tell she's ready to be done with it. Anyway, this little one seems to like hanging around the deck, but the sibling must have found better diggs. Fox squirrels are larger than gray squirrels and are colored much differently as you can see. I have seen all black and all blond fox squirrels but the normal coloration is like this little one here.
Speaking of apron strings, I tied my apron on today to make some homemade applesauce. The apples are so good this time of year and it's just so easy to make it fresh. I usually use 3 different kinds of apples. Today I have 2 McIntosh 2 Gala and 1 Granny Smith. I peel and core them then cut into a large dice and toss them in the saucepan with a dash of lemon juice. I add 1/2 cup water, cover and cook over medium low heat. I stir every few minutes and mash them up with the spoon as they cook. At the end I add about 1/4 cup of sugar and cook about another 5 minutes. I usually buy the cinnamon flavor applesauce when I buy applesauce, but when I make it fresh I leave the cinnamon out because the apples are just so scrumptious without it.
Well tomorrow I head to the printer with two new patterns, my distributors should have them by the middle of January at the latest. I'll post the pics next year - speaking of next year... Yes, of course I have a New Years resolution. It's the same one as last year, get more organized and stop procrastinating. Oh well, what can I say.
What resolutions, if any do you have and are they also the same as last years?
Wishing all of you a Happy, Healthy and Creative New Year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Florida Christmas

Yes, we decorate for Christmas in Florida, and yes, that's our bright green front door. In fact, sometimes I think we Floridian's tend to decorate a bit more to help jump start the mood in the absence of snow, ice, and frigid temperatures. In one popular downtown area we even have "snow" (actually soap bubbles) that comes floating out of the street lamps once a week. In Florida Santa may show up on a boat, a motorcycle, in a convertibles, on water skis or even on a hang glider. Santa is obviously still in pretty good shape. Today I started baking cookies. I have always loved making Christmas cookies. I pass them out to family, friends, neighbors, the postman, the UPS guy, etc. and my husband helps by taste testing every batch. Of course I always leave a few out for Santa. My favorite cookies are the old fashioned sugar cookies cut out with all sorts of cookie cutter shapes, (I'm a cookie cutter junkie) and then decorated with colorful frosting ala Martha Stewart. Except they somehow never look like hers, but I have fun doing it, she would probably faint if she saw the mess I make while baking.
Another favorite are Spritz cookies that are put through the cookie press. I loved it when my mom got out the food coloring and the cookie press and put in a disk and then out popped the prettiest cookies. I may have to go test those again before bed. I like to try a new cookie each year, this year I made chocolate mocha sticks and they are quite tasty if I may say so. They got the nod from my husband, and I've noticed quite a few missing already.
My husband suprised me one morning by setting up the tree before I got up in the morning. What a wonderful way to start the day.
It made putting the light and ornaments on that much more enjoyable. The tree skirt was a gift made by my dear friend Marti and we absolutely love it. The pattern she used is from the December 1999 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting and the designer is Karen Comstock, what a great pattern.
I spoke to my parents in Wisconsin today and my Dad had just finished coming in from blowing off the driveway with the snowblower after their 14" snowfall, brrrrrrr. Well, it seems that our Christmas day weather is obviously going to be drastically different from theirs.
They're going to be having quilt and hot cocoa weather, while we'll be having lemonade and shorts weather. We wish we could all be together for Christmas, but we will make do with numerous phone calls and e-mails and hopes that perhaps next year we will be. We did receive a package from home today filled with all kinds of goodies - cheese popcorn and fudge, my husbands favorites. Christmas cookies and butterhorns with apricot jam that my Mom made - my favorite. A tin on Pistachios and mixed nuts, no the squirrels won't get these, and a beautiful homemade Christmas card.
Well, I hope wherever you are, and whatever the weather, you have a very happy Holiday filled with family, and/or friends, laughter, good health, and the wonder of the season.
Merry Christmas to you and yours,

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Whisperlite™ - A "how-to" lesson

I just finished packing up an order of my Whisperlite™ product to ship out and realized that now that I have a blog I can show you a "how to" on it's many uses.
Whisperlite tracer is a sheer, lightweight, yet strong material. It's a very versatile product and the techniques are designed to help save you time and frustration. It can be used for marking quilts, as a guide for applique placement and for foundation piecing.
I'll begin by showing you how to use Whisperlite™ to easily mark your quilts or any other fabric projects.
Note that this marking method requires that you wet your fabric afterwards so don't use it on a project that you can't or don't want to get wet.

To protect the page with the design, place a piece of plastic or a page protector over it.
Tape the Whisperlite on top of the design you want to trace. Using a water soluble marker, trace the design on to the Whisperlite. The tracing I am doing here is from my Berry Cherry pattern that was featured in McCall's Quilting magazine.

Remove the tape and place the marked
Whisperlite onto the quilt or fabric you wish to mark.

Pin in place. With the water soluble marker, retrace over the marked design and the marking will come through to the fabric underneath. You may have to retrace more than once if your marker is running low on "ink".

Lift the Whisperlite occasionally to see if the marking has come through to your satisfaction. That's it, your design is marked. To remove the markings follow the instructions for the marker you chose. Most water soluble markings are made to remove with clear cool water. If you are in doubt, test the marker on a scrap of the same fabric.

Whisperlite™ comes in 1 yd. packs or is available wholesale to retailers by the 10 yd. bolt.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

By the way...

Yes, we ate the pattypan squash from the earthbox and it was delicious. Tastier than yellow summer squash and better than zucchini, in my opinion. We didn't have enough to serve to the 20 guests at Thanksgiving so I saved it for Jeff & I for the following night. I didn't do anything fancy with it, I just sliced it up along with some red bell peppers and a little onion and sauteed it all in a bit of butter, olive oil and Italian seasoning. Yummy!