Tuesday, December 30, 2008

snow, again,

well we just finished snowstorm George. Not too bad, a few more inches of white fluffy stuff. My brother says he just plowed 8 of our 2-4 inches.
When the outside gets cold and snowy, the poor indoor cats react sooooooooooooooo badly.
lets see, nap in the laundry basket?

nap in the big chair?

It's a rough rough life.................

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snowstorm Eli

Now we survived Snowstorm Eli...............

Eli was wonderful, we got more snow, but lots and lots of wind, and waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay below zero wind chills, but we also got to stay inside and ......

Bake cookies! These are my girls favorites. The dough is a sort of shortbread dough and then we put jelly in the centers. So easy to make too, I just cut them with my spatula and Viola! Cookies!

And another table runner! Isn't the candy fabric yummy looking?

Oddly enough, the red and white striped print kind of kicked my butt! I cut it out three times before I got all the strips with the stripes going the same way! say that three times real fast.

And make another bag..................

And get out the Christmas things and finish (almost) decorating. Here are some of our vintage Christmas ornaments. Aren't the boxes wonderful? Some are from my parents collection and some are from Jim's grandmother. I found the Really neat Christmas cards at a local vintage store. That is one cool place to go. It is literally packed with all kinds of "stuff". Some is great and some totally tacky. Items are hanging from the ceiling, walls, shelves, stacked on the floor........... it sort of gives me ADD to walk around, but it's fun! I'm figuring out how to display the new pretties. I put the ornaments in bowls or hang them from ribbons on the windows and lights, we don't usually put them on the tree since they are pretty fragile. I think I'll pin the cards up with mini clothespins. Maybe from a different curtain............

Friday, December 19, 2008

Another snow day in northeast Wisconsin

Yup another snow day for us.
Here in northeast Wisconsin, the weatherpeople name the major snowstorms. I'm not certain of the criteria, but this is "Snowstorm Dawn" which means that this is storm number 4................ and winter doesn't actually start until next week.
We are so lucky to have such a gorgeous white Christmas here though, so I'm not complaining. In fact I'm going to sew and bake cookies today. Tomorrow I'll be whining when I have to drive through it all to get daughter number 2 from college on the other side of the state.
I love snow.......... but it's best viewed from either snowshoes or the INSIDE of my sewing room window!
Like this~

I've been trying to get some tablerunners and table toppers finished up before Christmas. I still need to do the center quilting on some.............
and hand sew the binding on this one.
I bit the bullet and machine stitched the bindings on the others. I never do that, but I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out, and since they will get used (hopefully) it might be a good idea to have them sturdier anyway.
Sorry, Flori, -- Officer in Charge of Coffee-- this one isn't for you! I got a request for a brown table topper for someone (else) who loves coffee. I like this one so much I may have to make another for myself! and maybe one for Flori.........

Saturday, December 13, 2008

More Holiday Baking

It's holiday baking time. Is anyone out there making fruitcake?

I have developed a GREAT fruitcake recipe. You are SURE to love it.

First you replace the yucky candied fruit with.........


Then you replace the cake part with................

More chocolate

and perhaps it's best served with some steaming..............

Hot chocolate?
Perhaps to cut the sweetness you may want to serve it with some chocolate ice cream?
You know that there is only one fruit cake in the entire world right? People have been re gifting it for years since no one really knows what to do with it, and for heavens sake you can't EAT it!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

For Kim

Kim asked what mold I use for the houses. It's shown at left here. I love it! It's cast iron and weighs a ton but it bakes to perfection.
The molds say "John Wright Company" on them. I highly recommend having two of them as one only makes a half of a house and the baking goes much faster when you can bake a whole house at once.
Also here is the recipe for the houses. Note these are not for eating- you would break a tooth! The dough is very nice and sturdy, almost like clay. No eggs, and no leavening agent so it bakes just the way you roll it or press it in the mold. Also note the "icing cement" uses egg whites so it really shouldn't be eaten either.
3/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup dark molasses
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cold water
4 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
3/4 tsp salt
cream shortening, molasses, sugar, and water together. Add flour and spices.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or so, until the parts seem done. This will make a lovely aroma in your house so you may want to make real gingerbread cookies for actual eating!
Icing Cement
2 large egg whites
1 tsp cream of tarter
beat until stiff peaks form
add about 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar.
Make sure the cement for assembling the houses is good and stiff. For decorating it can be a bit softer, and to make icicles you can add a bit of water to a small portion of the icing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Snow Day!!!

Snow day today! I think it would have been much easier if the T.V stations had listed the schools that weren't closed instead of the ones that were. Or, lets be reasonable, just close everything down and everyone stay home! yeah!
We got about 8 inches. Not bad. See the snow cap on our grill? Guess we should have gotten it in the garage sooner huh? ;-)

A few days ago, a sweet package arrived from Gizmo girl! she sent animals for the gingerbread farm!!
Here they are Giz, all snug at their new home.

What do you think? Maybe next year we need horses huh? and a cow or two?

Since it was an unexpected (sort of) day off I mixed up my traditional Christmas bread. It's based on German Stollen. I like to braid the dough to make the loaves prettier than just rolling it out and folding into a half circle sort of arrangement.
Here we have the eggs, milk, butter, and dried fruit! I add dried pineapple and any other nice yummy fruit we find. So, not exactly traditional, but "our tradition".

Here is the dough raised nicely on the radiator. There are some benefits to living in a 100 year old farmhouse! Radiators are surely one of them. They dry mittens and boots, and make cozy spots for cats to sleep too.

A big loaf and 3 smaller loaves for giving to friends.
Two big loaves for friends with families. I freeze these and then thaw them out and drizzle them with white icing before we gift them.
Two more large loaves. I made a REALLY big batch since I had the time today!
One of these will be ready for Christmas morning when we get home from church. We have this with juice and coffee while we open presents.

One for us to test out first............. We have to make sure it's safe for friends. Right?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Final (??) Gingerbread house installment!

The last ( I think) of the gingerbread houses! Here is my coffee shop house. This one is for the Officer in Charge of Coffee! Yup Flori, that's your house. Right now it's living at my favorite coffee shop. You know, the one that did NOT fire my daughter for having TWO jobs to make ends meet!
Here is the view of the back............. You must get the full effect of all the beans!

This next one is a sort of farm one for Gizmo! No animals yet, sigh.

It could be the north pole and the barn area could be for the reindeer. I haven't decided that much yet...
This is the side view..
and here is the front, with the barn area. I did sneak Santa in by the door of the house, hope that's okay Giz.

And the back of these two buildings...........
Since this picture was taken one of the cats stole a doorknob! obviously they don't like Cinnamon red hots, because I did find it on the floor!
Between all the houses, and the 6 to 8 inches of snow outside we are feeling pretty festive around here! Must be time to go bake some more cookies??