31 December, 2011

Kitty Nightie

The nightie arrived in a package from Minnesota today.
I am this close to becoming one of those grandma's who have life-size dolls at their houses.
Fortunately I still have this big teddy bear floating around one of the bedrooms so I have a model. It's not like Rusty would ever wear this and not try to rip it to shreds at the same time. There are moments when I really miss my other dog, Rocket. He lived to dress-up.

The nightie is for the three-year-old great-niece, Sophea. My sister found the fabric and a pattern and sewed this really cute nightie to go with the doll bed.

at least we can drink the beer now that it is no longer needed as a model.

The Phea bear modeling in the hangar as it is chilly outside (freezing fog this morning).
I don't know how she climbed up into the airplane.

A  friendlier perch on the tail.

Rusty is not ripping this outfit to shreds although a thin trail of lab slime might have attached itself to the hem. This is the fifth photo as Rusty cannot hold still.

Close-up of the front details.
Pretty ribbon and flowers.

Notice the perfect kitty button closure and the pink-heart stitching around the neckline.
Purr-fect placement of the button, sis.
  I did an informal  survey at work Friday.   Until 3:48pm, I had a 100% response  for Not staying awake until midnight (hubbardites are SLUGS), then all of a sudden, I had four in a row say THEY WERE STAYING UP to see the new year in.
I went from being very impressed at having a 100% survey response to  understanding the night owls hadn’t come in yet to my retail business.

29 December, 2011

PIllowcases & Snap Purses

 One of my favorite purses to make right now - the Snap Bag

 Sized to hold two bundles.
Pillowcases rolled up.

My sewing machine did not like sewing lace and rickrack over the seam line on the first pillowcase.
In fact, I had to use my seam ripper too many times on this project. I also had a rickrack disaster. The original rickrack was wider but when I started picking stitches --it dissolved into pieces. The rickrack fabric rotted!
I know the rickrack was old but I have never had that happen. It was sealed in it's original cellophane wrapping.
Smaller rickrack was substituted and actually sewed better- or I learned from my mistakes.

 Oops, one of the gold coins hidden in the case fell out.

 Deciding to gift the niece with this box was one of my better decisions this season.
Filled with paper scrunchies, this stuff is replicating - like Tribbles. This box came our way via a delivered gift and there are paper scrunchies everywhere underfoot. Yet, the box always seems to have more.
I placed the snap purse/pillowcases underneath so she would have to dig for her gift.

Won't she be surprised!

Last year, Pencil Girl and I made pillowcases to donate at SewExpo  for the Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. We'll be doing that again this year.

27 December, 2011

The Doll Bed


This was a fun project for my sister and I to work together on. I found the doll bed at a rummage sale this summer.
The plan morphed from sewing some bedding to sewing matching nightgowns for little Miss Sophea and her dolly plus the bedding.

I started off making a mattress pad. Then I grabbed a piece of muslin to make a sheet and did some embroidery -- mostly daisy chain stitch.

I drew a chalk line and envisioned a green stem with pink and red flowers twining across the sheet and I am really pleased with how it turned out. No pattern - just free-hand stitching.
After I finished embroidering - I used a hoop - I cut it to a sheet size and utilized a double fold narrow hem on three sides and the fourth is folded over  all of the embroidery stitches - keeping the loose threads safe.

I was also working on this blanket at the same time - binding it with a blanket stitch.

This blanket started out as a wool (lambswool) sweater that I picked up at a garage sale. Even though it was seriously pilled, the gal wanted $3.00 for it just because of it's label (Gap?). I talked her down to a buck because no one was ever gonna wear it again with all the pillballs. I felted it the easy way by throwing it in the washing machine with an old towel. Then I threw it in the dryer. I picked the sweater after skyping with my sister who was in charge of buying the flannel for the nightgowns. Our color palette started off in red because of the doll bed. The computer screen clearly showed a PINK fabric which this blankie matches quite well.

Next up are two pillows because one is never enough. I had some old sheeting in my stash and cut two 4" x 6" pieces of loft batting and one 3" x 5" piece which I sandwiched between the two larger layers, creating a rather inviting pillow. I serged two sides of the folded fabric, turned it right-sides-out,  inserted my batting package and then pushed it out of the seam area while I serged the fourth side closed. A little finger push was all it took to move the batting back to flat.
The pillow cases were made similarly but before I sewed the two sides together I sewed a pink running stitch along the seam where I doubled the fabric (as in a real pillowcase). All rough measured with fabric on hand. The only thing I measured was how wide the doll bed is. I took some fabric, folded it over the batting - is there enough for a seam? and sewed.

Lastly (haha), I cobbled together a Waldorf nightie for the doll. I looked around the web but I did not want to purchase a pattern as I don't have the doll here. Not sure if there is enough room at the shoulders for the arms, but everything is elastic. I might still do some more trim work here (or not)-- If it works, great. I don't exactly have dolls laying around anymore. My kids are more into bottles.

My niece's kids have four sets of grandparents so they are quite busy during the holidays. I won't see them for another week - which gives me time to work on a little doll quilt, and maybe a fitted sheet for the mattress. I would think putting a fitted sheet around a mattress would be a huge dexterity skill for a 3-yr-old.

My sister is still sewing Phea's nightie and will send it as soon as she finishes. She actually bought a pattern which we can use again.

Bottled presents at our house.
About the size of Phea's doll.

I was thinking of a simple patchwork quilt with lace trim around the edges. I will utilize some of the nightie fabric and some other fabrics that go with this rosy pink color theme. Then again, I may come to my senses and realize I am done with this project and it is time to move on to the next -LOL.

26 December, 2011

Coconut Macaroons

Fudge on top - Macaroons - Ginger Snaps.

My daughter made Coconut Macaroons for me a year ago and I can have them in moderation (as in all things) with little or no reaction.
It was easy to substitute gluten-free flour for the flour with just a tad longer baking time.

Here's the recipe:


1/4 tsp SALT
1/2 Cup CAKE FLOUR (or gluten-free)
3 Cups sweetened SHREDDED COCONUT (14 oz bag is perfect)

1st note: The 14oz bag of coconut is perfect. Ignore the "Contains 5 1/3 Cups." Even the bag recipe calls for the entire bag for 4 egg whites.
2nd note: I used gluten-free flour and increased it to 3/4 - 1 cup. This keeps macaroons from sticking and if you are a college student and do not have parchment paper - then this is a plus.  ***June 2013 addition: The last three times, I have used 2/3 coconut flour +1/3 gluten-free baking flour mix - both are form Bob's Red Mill. Whatever equals 3/4 cup of flours.
3rd note: ours were not browning this time at 325'. Try temporarily turning on the broiler to help get those tops browned.

In a stainless steel bowl set above a saucepan of simmering water (double boiler), mix EGG Whites, SUGAR, & SALT until mix is warm to the touch and nice & creamy.
Remove bowl from heat and stir in VANILLA, FLOUR & COCONUT. Refridgerate two hours or until firm.
Drop onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake at 325' for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on top. When bottoms are lightly browned, they are done.

We are off to our family Christmas get-together this afternoon. We are in charge of desserts.
This three-tiered Desert Rose dessert thingy, two pumpkin pies and the Christmas hearts below.
There is a pear torte as well but it was still in the oven when I ventured out into the cold patio to take photos.

These Hearts were made with popsicle sticks, melted chocolate and crushed peppermints.
Candycane Hearts Recipe is here.

No snow here. I almost cracked my hummingbird feeder this morning. I thought the weather people were predicting Oregon would finally get warmer than freezing (last five weeks!) and it would rain. Still freezing this morning. . . .and no snow (or rain).

19 December, 2011

Cheese Balls

I have had this recipe for a long time now - it's easy to make and can comfortably feed the neighbors with a Merry Christmas treat.
My co-worker, Micahle, many moons ago, gave me this recipe.


Recipe is for one big cheese ball but I usually use four bricks of cream cheese because it can be doubled and quadrupled easily. Substitutions and additions also can be accommodated.

8 oz brick CREAM CHEESE, softened
4 tsp. dried minced ONION
1/4 tsp SALT ( optional)
pinch PEPPER
1/4 tsp LEMON JUICE (or more to taste)
2 slices crisp BACON, crumbled
Optional: Hot Pepper Sauce ( I add this - couple of drops)

Mix Onion  thru Bacon together. Stir into Cream Cheese.
Chill for a while.

Chop Pecans/Walnuts with dried Parsley.
I put this mixture onto a piece of wax paper, spread out.
Scoop out a  ball out with a large spoon and roll in the  chopped nuts/parsley.
You can also use a piece of saran wrap over your hand to scoop out a ball.

At this point, I place balls on a 'sheet' of saran wrap and wrap and twist off at top.
If you can still get the colored saran wrap - this is a good use for holiday red or green.

Then I gift it with a box of THIN TRISCUITS or similar small cracker. If I am serving, I put my cheese ball on a pretty plate with crackers arranged artistically around the ball with a small butter knife to spread.

I made a 4-brick bowl of this last Sunday because we took two large cheese balls to the two holiday parties this weekend. I will make a fresh 5-brick version to create 8 - 10 Holiday Cheese Balls for my neighbors to give out Saturday, Christmas Eve.

Everyone needs a quick gift to whip out and everyone seems to enjoy this.
It is not gluten-free, soy-free, or in any way, allergy-free, so I don't partake myself.

I typically use pecans or walnuts to roll the balls in, but I have used roasted hazelnuts because that is what I had. The walnuts and pecans tend to become softer around the cheese ball faster than some of the harder nuts.

17 December, 2011

O Holy Night edges out Silent Night

Saturday - the day after the big SMS giveaway ended.

Wow - I really worked at getting through the SMS's giveaways that they so kindly coordinated.
I managed about a third of the possible giveaways. I wonder how everyone else fared?
My giveaway garnered 145 comments and my annual "What's your favorite Christmas Carol" really was all over the board. For a while it looked like Silent Night would prevail but then a whole wash of O Holy Night'ers voted and that was that. Silent Night never again quite rallyied.
Over 56 songs tallied. Different versions were put under the one song title. And I have a few new ones to listen to - and maybe find the piano music for. I confess to having a bit of Christmas music - two drawers full. Great thing about the internet ---I can not only listen to these new carols, I can also print the music if they are any good.

Me personally? I am totally intrigued by Baby It's Cold Outside. The duets just grab me. Nora Jones & Willie Nelson and countless others perform this one. And then I hear O Holy Night --which is a personal fave (also a two year winner here!) and I think, "this is my favorite carol".

This morning, I heard Snoopy's Red Baron Christmas song - (forgot the  title) and the real question is, How can you have one favorite?  Some commenters felt that way too and apologized for sneaking a second song in for voting.
The other song I am feeling strongly about is Santa Baby, sung by Eartha Kitt. I love her marilyn-monroe-breathlessness.  The other version sung by M--- makes me grateful I have two full-time non-stop Christmas stations in the Portland area.

On to the giveaway (finally! - finish the blathering)

Dum, duma TA DA!
Shannon wins the Snap bag with this comment:
Blogger Shannon said...
Thanks for the great giveaway. My favorite Christmas song is Ding Dong Merrily on High. I'd love to win the black plaid one (I adore plaid and am always too scared to use it because I'm afraid it will be crooked!)
December 12, 2011 8:45 AM

And the winner of the small coin purse (with sheeps) is
Sis-O wins with this comment:
Blogger Sis-O said...
O come O Come Emanuel in E minor. Both giveaways rock but that little coin purse intrigues me. Thank you

December 15, 2011 12:56 AM

I've sent them an e-mail and await their mailing addresses. Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter. I enjoyed visiting several of your own blogs.

Here are a couple of Christmas songs you may not of heard (yet);

 The Pogues & Kirsty McColl - Fairytale of New York:

Maria Durch ein Durnwald ging  by the  Thomaner Chor Leipzig

Six White Boomers by Rolf Harris

Top Five Christmas Carols:

O Holy NIght  18%
Silent Night     16%
Drummer Boy   6%
Joy To The World   4%
O Come, O Come Emmanuel  4%

Thank you everyone for entering my giveaway. I know you all  had fun because I did.
Special Hip, Hip Hooray!!! for SewMamaSew for coordinating this lovely giveaway.