Sunday, November 28, 2010

… twinkle lights



Last evening, as I was making myself a mocha in the kitchen, I paused as I turned out the kitchen light. . .



Oh. . . how I love the lights of Christmas.


These are the boughs with little twinkle lights, berries, & pine cones that that I put out to trim the upper kitchen counter & the armoire on the way into my studio. They give off the most wonderful light. . . I just love the glow they bring to the rooms they grace.

I put up three lit boughs throughout the house & a few other small decorations, & then decided that was enough. . . I'm feeling the need to keep it all simpler this year. I welcome the season with all my heart (& was already listening to Christmas music a few weeks ago!) - but simpler is feeling better for me this year.

I also decided that these would be the quilts hung around the house & placed on the couch (for naps & reading!). . .

Winter Memories . . . over the couch in the living room. . .

Bittersweet. . . on the wall in the dining room. . .

Stitching Winter Memories. . . in the kitchen. . .

. . . & on various couches & chairs. . .

Coventry. . .

. . . & Bliss (because it always reminds me of snowflakes!)

. . . So, in these often busy holiday weeks. . . I hope you have make some time to snuggle under a warm quilt & simply enjoy the lights of this very special season!

Bren

Thursday, November 25, 2010

. . . a thanksgiving wish



I just love this holiday. . .


I love that America, stops on this day to give thanks for our many blessings. . . both as a nation, & as individuals.


. . . & I just wanted to be sure to let you know how blessed I feel that you stop by from time to time. I love that you come to visit! I also want to express my very special thanks to those of you who have taken the time to let me know how much you like to come & visit. A few of you stopped by at my booth at Quilt Market, just to say "Hi!" - & to let me know how much you love the blog. I'll be honest. . . inside my head, my first thought was, "really?". . . (lol!), but then so many of you have let me know how much you also love hearing about my little Bailey. . . & what he & Dad are up to. . . & that warms my heart. (By-the-way, as I write this, they both are in the kitchen. . . getting the turkey started!. . . & yes, Bailey is being the ever helpful assistant!)



. . . So, I just wanted to wish everyone in the U.S. a very happy Thanksgiving, & to all - everywhere - please know how thankful I am for you all. . . I count you all as blessings!


Counting by blessings with you,
Bren

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

… so thankful. . . for you!



I have so many blessings that I can count. . . I love what I get to do, & I'm so thankful for you - that allow me to get to do it! So, I'm having a great big sale to say, "Thank You!". . .



. . . Also, I've added some new items (& pages!) to the website. . . fabric bundles, gifts & treasures, & the beginnings of a fun 'tag sale'! . . . Hope to see you there soon!

Wishing for you a wonderful Thanksgiving. . . counting your blessings!

  Bren

Monday, November 22, 2010

daybook ::33::




 . . . my holiday seasons obsession. . . the candy cane tootsie pops!. . . yum!

for today :: Nevember 22, 2010

outside my window. . .   a cool, cloudy, crisp autumn morning. (We're actually going to have fall weather for Thanksgiving!. . . I even need to wear a sweater!. . . I love it when this happens!)

I am thinking. . . about dying the last of my wool. . . to make available on the website. . .

from the kitchen. . . coffee. . . so far. May even go so far as to make pancakes this morning. . . need to check for the ingredients. . .

I am wearing. . . (. . .I'm still in my jammies!).

I am creating. . .  fabric bundles for the website. 

I am remembering. . .  all the ideas I had for new designs before Market. . . now it's time to get started on a couple of them. (!)

I am reading. . .    'Decision Points' - by George W. Bush. . . (When it comes to the security of America, I  will never second guess those with so much information to make the big decisions. . .)

I am hoping . . .  to get the website updated in the next two days.

I am hearing. . .  Steven Curtis Chapman. . . (a holiday cd. . . I admit it! . . . I've already started listening to holiday tunes. . . I just can't help myself.)

around the house. . .  I'm finishing up the clean sweep that happens when I get back from Market..

I am going. . .  to run a couple of errands. Then it's home to the studio & stitch.

one of my favorite things. . .  the way we focus on 'home' & family' during this holiday season. . .

a few plans for the rest of the week. . . updating the website. . . walks (after not going out for a good walk for the past week - due to a crummy cold!), & counting my blessings. . .

from my picture journal . . .
 . . . another sign from the Pizza & Cookie Cabin up at Summerhaven,  on the top of Mt. Lemmon (where I love to go!. . . 9000 ft only 45 minutes away!. . . like being in Colorado. . .)

Hope you have a wonderful week, & don't forget to count your blessings!
Bren

Saturday, November 20, 2010

… Mistletoe Make & Bake 2010 - day 6





This is it!. . .  This is the final day of the Mistletoe Make & Bake 2010! I hope that you have had fun blog hopping & collecting recipes & project ideas! I know that I have sure loved your comments. . . & wish that I could have responded to them all. Please know that I loved them all! (. . . & if you emailed me directly & haven't heard back from me. . . it's because your email address that I had was not valid when I tried to respond. . . I had a couple of those - so please try again & be sure I have your correct email address. - thanks!)


Okay. . . so for this last day - the topic is very appropriate!. . . The topic is: cookie exchange tips.  So. . . my tip is that if/when you do a cookie exchange - also do a cookie recipe card exchange as well! Have everyone attending print out the recipe for the cookies that they bring to the exchange so that everyone will be able to not only add the new cookies to their cookie tray for this year - but they have the recipe just in case your cookie becomes their new favorite!


My cookie recipe for today is all about chocolate. I thought, "why not?!?" So, it's not just a great chocolate cookie. . . but  Double Chocolate Cookies! 

(click on recipe card for a pdf version you can download.)


Be sure to visit all of the Mistletoe  Make & Bake designers blogs for more fun recipes (you can find them all listed here . . . & especially todays featured designers for their very special holiday projects as well!

Today's featured designers are:

Vickie Eapen of Spun Sugar Quilts
Melisa Morrison of Sweet Home Quilt Co.

I sure have had fun being a part of the Mistletoe Make & Bake 2010 blog hop, & I just want to thank Sherri, of  'Little Bits of This & That' for organizing it all! Be sure to check out her blog as well as she will be having an announcement soon about the winner of the grand prize for the entire blog hop. . . (Lots-o-goodies in that prize!) 


. . . & last. . . but not least is the winner of the drawing from yesterday's post. . . & because it's such a wonderful season. . . I decided to draw 2 winners. . . & they are:

Donna - at Brynwood Needleworks
Renee  - at - Sewn With Grace

If you lovely ladies will send me an email with your choices of six patterns/books from the website & your address - I'll get your prizes sent to you right away! Congratulations!

. . . Also - a little announcement  - next week there will be a bunch of new goodies loaded onto the website  & we will be having a 'So Thankful for You!' sale as well with all books & patterns 25% - 40% off! Keep watching the blog for updates!

I hope you have had a lot of fun - I sure have! . . . & I wish you all a wonderful beginning to this most precious holiday season!
 ♥ Bren

Friday, November 19, 2010

… Mistletoe Make & Bake 2010 - day 5



I am so excited about today's post! . . . Today is the day I get to post my little project for you - as well as a very favorite recipe of mine. . .

First is today's topic. . . a holiday tradition that must be done - no matter what. Oh my, there are so many traditions that we have in our family - that all of us kids have taken into our own lives & families. One is our Christmas Eve meal. . . We make chili & cornbread, & before it is served, we have crackers, cheese, summer sausage, & cranberry juice with a bit of seltzer. True comfort food! My Mom started making this meal when I was in high-school & we all loved it so that we continued it each year after. Also. . . going for a drive to see the Christmas lights is a favorite tradition. I just love to see the celebration of the season spilling out all over the neighborhoods! Now, I must admit  - that there may have been a year or two when all of these didn't happen, but I know that the one that is never missed is reading the Christmas story from the book of Luke in the Bible. For me, that is the one that I cannot miss. No matter where I am - or what else is happening - that tradition is never missed. It just wouldn't be Christmas for me without it.

Okay. . . now for the cookie for today. This one is actually also a part of our family tradition. My Mom found this recipe in a magazine way back in 1971 & we have made it every year since. It has been passed down to all the kids & I think even some of the grandkids have asked for it as well. It is rich, buttery, & very, very yummy. Perfect with a glass of milk, or a cup of coffee. . . it's called Cookie Brittle. . .


(. . . or because we love it so. . . , before it even cools the pan of Cookie Brittle looks like this. . .!)

(I actually used macadamias nuts,  instead of the walnuts,  for this batch. . . almost too much of a good thing. . . almost!)
(click on recipe card for a pdf version you can download.)



Today's featured designers are:


Roseann Kermes of Rosebud's Cottage
. . . & me!
My little project for you are my Mistletoe & Holly Ornaments. . . ! These can be made from wool, felt or even heavyweight paper. . . & can be fun for either decorations for your tree or to decorate a present with an ornament that can be kept! I had so much fun making these. . . & I hope you will too!  You can download the directions & templates for the Mistletoe & Holly Ornaments here!


And. . . to top it all off. . . if you leave a comment on todays post - you will be in a drawing to receive six of any of my books &/or patterns of your choice from my website. . . ! I will announce the winner tomorrow!
Only one more day of the Mistletoe Make & Take 2010 Blog Hop. . . I hope you're having as much fun as I am!
Bren

Thursday, November 18, 2010

… Mistletoe Make & Bake 2010 - day 4

Welcome to day 4 of the Mistletoe Make & Bake blog hop! (the font sizing for my blogger page has been a bit finicky as I'm posting. . . so I apologize if it's a bit wonky today!)


. . . I don't know about you. . . but I'm really feeling the Christmas season spirit growing day by day! I also want to thank you all for your comments. . . so many I'm not able to answer them!. . . but please know that so many of you made me smile with your fun comments. . . (& it's good to know I'd have some company in the corner at the cocktail party!)




Todays topic is our go-to book for Christmas. . .  & for the past few years - ever since I discovered the wonderful designer, Tone Finnanger ,  & her delightful books - this book, Sew Pretty Christmas Homestyle, has been the book that I go to for the decorations that I am slowly (but surely) making for my home. If I had the time - I would make each & every one! . . . & there are so many wonderful gift ideas as well!


The other book that is definitely my go-to book - is my Bible. I read the history & the stories that surround 'the reason for the season' - over & over, from the mention of the events in the Old Testament books - to telling of the nativity from the four disciples in the Gospels. What a wonder. . . & what good news. (!) What is your favorite go-to book at Christmas-time?


I'm thinking that todays cookie recipe is perfect for the Mistletoe Make & Bake. . . as it is full of pucker-power! . . . It's Lemon Bars! These yummy cookie/bars are delicate & just the right amount of sweet & tart. . . (just make sure the lemon juice is fresh. . . not the kind in a bottle. . .)



(click on recipe card for a pdf version you can download.)

Be sure to visit all of the Mistletoe  Make & Bake designers blogs for more fun recipes (you can find them all listed here . . . & especially todays featured designers for their very special holiday projects as well!

Today's featured designers are:


Lissa Alexander of Moda Lissa
Julie Stewart of Quilts 4 Julie
Happy blog hopping!  (. . . & don't forget to practice your pucker!)
Bren

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

… Mistletoe Make & Bake 2010 - day 3




So. . . have all these cookies recipes on the Mistletoe Make & Bake blog hop made you want to get into the kitchen & start baking? (. . . or at least made you hungry for cookies?) I know that as I've been 'hopping' to the other blogs, I can hardly wait to start making cookies!. . . (I'd start right away, but I have a crummy cold & I'm at the stage where my taste-buds have gone 'on strike' & I can't taste a thing!. . . so it's been chicken broth for me!). I'm thinking that the baking season at my house will be starting in about a week or so. . . The neighbors won't know what hit them!


Todays subject . . . well it made me smile, because it's some hints I could use! The subject is - cocktail party conversation starters that allow you to avoid standing in the corner alone. . . Ha-ha! I'm not the best to answer that question. . . as  1) I've never been to a cocktail party in my life. . . &,   2) if I did. . . I would most likely be the one standing in the corner! (lol!)  But. . . I'll give it a try & if it were a holiday party - then I would ask someone what their favorite toy was as a child, & why. I think that might give some insight to the person & the child we all have within.
. . . So, what would you use as a conversation starter? (I could use some ideas!. . . just in case!)


For todays recipe. . . I'm sticking with some classics. For those that know me - or have followed my blog for a bit - know that I am a girl that loves her oatmeal. . . & her chocolate! So this cookie hits all the bases for me!. . . it's Oatmeal Chocolate Chippers. . . 


(click on recipe card for a pdf version you can download.)


Be sure to visit all of the Mistletoe  Make & Bake designers blogs for more fun recipes (you can find them all listed here . . . & especially todays featured designers for their very special holiday projects as well!

Today's featured designers are:
Celine Perkins of Perkin's Dry Goods
Patrick Lose of The Latest News from Patrick Lose
Kelly Ann Richardson of Kelly Ann's Quilting
Happy Mistletoe Make & Bake blog-hopping. . . (& you night want to go for a good long walk to get ready for all this cookie baking!)  
Bren


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

… Mistletoe Make & Bake 2010 - day 2



Welcome to day two of Mistletoe Make & Bake 2010! We're all back. . . with more goodies to share!


Today - the subject is 'holiday sanity savers'. . . & for me the biggest one is this. . .




. . . it's the shopping crowds. . . I avoid them. . . like the plague.


I don't mean so sound like Scrooge - but at times like the weekend after Thanksgiving - or the days just before Christmas. . . the last place you will find me is at the mall. I do like to see all the decorations that the stores display. . . but I always pick the least busy time I can think of to see them. I'd much rather be home decorating or making something for gifts. . . or baking(!) 


Speaking of baking. . . here's today's recipe. . . Buttery Pecan Cookies!



Another classic. . . this time with pecans. Buttery, golden, crispy yummy-ness!  
(click on recipe card for a pdf version you can download.)


Be sure to visit all of the Mistletoe  Make & Bake designers blogs for more fun recipes (you can find them all listed here . . . & especially todays featured designers for their very special holiday projects as well!

Today's featured designers are:
Heidi Kaisand of  Hen & Chicks Quilt Studio
Monique Dillard of Open Gate Blog
Happy Mistletoe-ing!
Bren

Monday, November 15, 2010

… Mistletoe Make & Bake 2010 - day 1


Welcome to the first day of the 'Mistletoe Make & Bake 2010'!


For today, the subject is 'Santa Clause or Christmas Trivia myth or truth'. . . & so I thought that I would pick the Christmas tree as part of the 'trivia' part. 


One of my favorite things to do is once the Christmas tree is decorated with all the lights & ornaments - is to turn off all the other lights & sit in the glow of the Christmas tree. I love to look at the ornaments - especially the ones from years past that have special meaning & bring back so many memories. It's amazing how - even if it's just a little tree - how the tiny lights cast such a light to all around it. . . a good reminder to us all that even the smallest bit of 'light' we bring to the world - can have a big effect!


There is a lot of history (& some myth as well) to this wonderful Christmas tree tradition we have, & you can read more about it here.


My recipe today is one  that is great for the holidays - starting at Thanksgiving ! It's  a classic, & one that you might already have in your recipe 'box', & it's one of the first cookies I ever made. . .  Snickerdoodles! 




This Snickerdoodle recipe, though, does not use the baking powder & Baking soda combination that some do - so these cookies do not have the bit of an aftertaste that some Snikerdoodle recipes have. . . The only aftertaste this one leaves is it's cinnamon-y, buttery goodness! (click on recipe card for a pdf version you can download.)



Be sure to visit all of the Mistletoe  Make & Bake designers blogs for more fun recipes (you can find them all listed here . . . & especially todays featured designers for their very special holiday projects as well!


Today's featured designer is:




Sherri K. Falls of  This & That Patterns 
(. . . & when you stop by Sherri's blog - you can thank her for all this fun. . . as she is the organizer of this fun way to start the holiday seasons together!)
I hope you have fun Mistletoe blog hopping!
Bren

Sunday, November 14, 2010

… a fun way to start the holiday season!



Something really fun is coming your way! Please join me & a dozen wonderful designers for. . .
Mistletoe Make & Bake 2010!
Starting November 15 (Monday) through November 20 (Saturday) - each day will be full of recipes, fun little projects, & prizes. . . all in time for the holidays!
I'm really happy to be a part of this fun way to spread some holiday spirit & I hope that you will join all of us each day for the fun, & the goodies! Be sure to visit each of the blogs each day for lots of great recipes & chances to win some fun prizes!
Here is a list (& links) of all the folks that will be bringing you yummies & treats of all kinds! (All of the blogs will post recipes each day - & on the days listed below - these blogs will also have a special quick & easy holiday project for you as well!)
November 15th
Sherri K. Falls of  This & That Patterns 
November 16th
Heidi Kaisand of  Hen & Chicks Quilt Studio
Monique Dillard of Open Gate Blog
November 17th
Celine Perkins of Perkin's Dry Goods
Patrick Lose of The Latest News from Patrick Lose
Kelly Ann Richardson of Kelly Ann's Quilting
November 18th
Lissa Alexander of Moda Lissa
Julie Stewart of Quilts 4 Julie
November 19th
Roseann Kermes of Rosebud's Cottage
Brenda Riddle of Little Acorns
November 20th
Vickie Eapen of Spun Sugar Quilts
Melisa Morrison of Sweet Home Quilt Co.

Hope to see you at the Mistletoe Make & Bake blog hop!
 Bren

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