December 2, 2022

Images From December Sewcial Sisters...

Sewcial Sisters - Terry's Christmas Cushion Project

I'm sharing pictures today from our December Sewcial Sisters day at The Gathering. It was a perfect day for a drive, and the sun shone on Primitive Gatherings' retreat house all day. 

As you look through these photos, I'd like to also draw your attention to all the gorgeous red and white quilts that surrounded us as we visited and stitched on our respective projects. These are all part of the Red & White Quilt Show now in progress. I think Lisa said there were about 140 entries, and they're all so impressive!

Sewcial Sisters - Maryann's Wall Hanging

Sewcial Sisters - Lori's Table Mat

Sewcial Sisters - Kay's Candle Mat

Sewcial Sisters - Kathy D. Sharing Gift From Jody

Sewcial Sisters - Judy's Mini Wall Hanging

Sewcial Sisters - Jean's Christmas Quilt 1

Sewcial Sisters - Jean's Christmas Quilt 2

Sewcial Sisters - My Needlework in Progress

I shared the baby kimono during our Show & Tell. This is what I worked on while we chatted all day. I was inspired by the work of another artist on Instagram. I'm going to turn this into an ornament for a friend.

We all brought treats that we shared (before and after lunch), so each of us went home with a nice assortment of cookies, fudge, and other confectionaries. All my cookies were either eaten or went home with the ladies. 

The ladies all asked for my recipe, so I pointed everyone to the original source. In case you're interested, click HERE for the cookies. THIS is her frosting recipe, which I use every time - unless I make royal icing. They're both delicious and fool-proof wonderful cutout cookies, and they're the only recipe I've used since moving back to Wisconsin seven years ago.

I've got errands this morning, and then I'll be home working on my class project for tomorrow in Portage. I'll give you a sneak peek tomorrow, so you can see what we'll be working on. See you tomorrow!

December 1, 2022

Sweet Treats...

I've got two get-togethers this week. I'm going to Larsen today for a day of stitching with the Sewcial Sisters. It's kind of our Christmas party, so I wanted to make some treats to take along. I'm also going to Portage this weekend, so I'll take a treat with me (it's my Birthday on Saturday!).
First, I went to my Toll House cookbook. I love this book. It's constructed like "baby's first book", with heavy carboard, laminated pages that can't be bent or soiled. That's all bonus to the great recipes that are found inside. Take this one...

I used milk chocolate chips, sprinkled sparingly on the top because I wanted more pecan pie flavor than chocolate. To me, it was just the right amount, and Handsome thought they were really good, too. These are going to Portage with me this weekend.

I decided on cutout cookies for tomorrow. I did Wisconsin cookies and when I decorated them, I put a special snowflake in the approximate location of Larsen. Because Primitive Gatherings specializes in wools, the sheep were appropriate, too. Of course, there had to be a few black sheep!
Someone (who could remain nameless, because you know who I mean) took the last piece of pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving. That's absolutely promoted here. I always leave the last cookie, candy, piece of cake or pie for him. He washed the pie plate, too. (He's been an equal and participating partner for nearly forty years.) 

I came downstairs the next morning to find this on the kitchen island. I laughed out loud. For a guy who says he doesn't have a sweet tooth, he sure does love the treats I make. So, I'll likely make another pie and save the other treats for when we have guests. (I'm not optimistic that that plan will hold.) 

So, I'm away today, but I'm going to make more holiday treats. I want to make them as gifts for a number of people and families for Christmas, so I'm going to make a list and work to it starting after Saturday.

Do you bake for the holidays? Do you share your creations? I'd love to know what your favorites are. 

I'd better get on the road if I don't want to be late. I'll take photos today so I can share them with you again. I love seeing what the ladies have created, and I love showing them to you, too! I'll see you again tomorrow! Gotta run!
Oh, Oh!!! One more thing...

November 30, 2022

Lined Baby Kimono...

I completed the Baby Kimono for Wendi's granddaughter yesterday. 
I thought you'd like to see what it looks like now that the lining is installed.

I love the way it turned out!
It's completed hand stitched into the kimono, and it's the softest flannel.

I knit the kimono using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran yarn. It's a blend of 55% merino wool, 33% microfibre and 12% cashmere. The lining is something soft against baby's skin in case she's sensitive to the wools.

Also, for that reason, I stitched the Brynwood Baby label near the bottom 
front lining of the kimono. It's visible, but won't irritate baby's neck.

I attached two (removable) cards at the neckline. This one has the content written on the back of it.

This was the card I designed when we still lived in Florida. I still have a couple left, but they had the Florida address on them. I'll need to get these redone with current information. I did these when I thought I might concentrate on making Christening gowns, bonnets, booties, and kimonos for my shop. Then I discovered bag making. 

I haven't completely put that idea aside. I do love making things for babies. I always have. But for now, at least, I'll keep making bags and accessories from cork. I still think I'll update these cards, though. Just in case...

November 29, 2022

Tuesdays With Tag - Is It Festivus Yet?...

Hi, Everybody!

I'm just askin', 'cuz I've got some grievances to air!

Let's start with Thanksgivin'...
Mom and Dad went to #1 Son's house and left me here at home with Boo and The Kid. Not my idea of a good time, especially since I smelled good food goin' out the door, and they smelled even better when they got home. In between, I slept almost the whole time in my kennel. 

The girls were not great entertainment either. When they weren't sleepin', they were tryin' to play with each other through their kennel wires. When they were sleepin', they made lots of woofies and yelps in their dreams. Whoopee.

Then, the day after Thanksgivin'... 
Okay. I admit I've been lookin' a little frowsy lately, but could they give a guy a break? Nooooooo. Instead, I got taken outside, plopped on a rug-topped table on the porch, and brushed to within an inch of my life, I tell ya! 

Brush, brush, brush. Pull my hair with a comb, and then brush, brush, brush some more. Mom even trimmed all the fur on my feet, so now I look like a puppy. Mom said now that I'm brushed, she can see my svelt peanut shape, too. She looks down at me and says that I'm supposed to be shaped like a peanut if my weight is good. I guess I made the grade. Either way, you know how I feel about lookin' rugged and blurry. I much prefer it to this dandy look. All I need is a little Brylcreem to slick my fur down. Sing it with me!

"Brylcreem. A little dab'll do ya.
Brylcreem. Ya look so debonnaire.
Brylcreem. The gals'll all pursue ya!
They'll love to get their fingers in your hair."

Here's an old video commercial, just in case you're too young to know about Brylcreem. lol

Direct link to Brylcreem Ad video HERE
Hope this made you laugh!

Last of all...
Bella was spayed two years ago, but she's still havin' "episodes" about every six months, so Dad took her to a canine reproduction specialist vet who's runnin' some tests on her. They're not nearly as much fun as retrievin' tests, but they need to get done anyway. We'll find out pretty soon what that's all about.

In the meantime, she's been real surly around me. Imagine that? Me! All I have to do is walk within a couple feet of her when she's on the couch, and Mom has to grab her collar. She goes all Kujo, tryin' to rip my face off. We think she's got some kind of PMS, but I'm not gonna ask her. Nosiree. You know what happens to the ladies when a guy suggests her crummy attitude might be because she's got PMS. I'm leavin' that alone and waitin' on the doctor with Mom and Dad.

It's only happened a couple times - thank goodness - but even so, she gets solitary confinement for an hour to cool her off. Mom and Dad are a little concerned, to say the least. It's so unlike her to act that way. We should get some answers this week, and Mom or I will let you know what we find out.

That's how my holiday weekend went. Pfffffffttttt! I'm gonna have a long chat with Mom. I'm expectin' somethin' a lot more interestin' at Christmas time. I need all kinds of people around me, a snack or two - even if it's just 'cuz someone dropped somethin' good on the floor, and a couple presents would be nice. I'm keepin' my paws crossed. 

You might give her a hint or two if you've got any good ideas! I'd really appreciate that.
Grievances Aired. I think I'll go look for a snack now.

I'll see you again in seven. 'til then... 
"Been There, Chewed That!"

November 28, 2022

Nearly Finished!...

I kept my hands busy this weekend, completing the knitting for the baby kimono. Just in time, too! I saw that the baby for whom I've been making this was born on Thanksgiving Day! My dear friend, Wendi is a grandma for the first time, and I'm so thrilled for her. Being a grandma is one of the greatest blessings I've been given.

Now that the knitting is complete - except for grafting the sleeves together - all I have to do is cut the lining and sew it in. I waited to join the sleeves so that I could measure, cut and assemble the softest flannel lining for it.

I'll do that today, and this piece will be finished and ready to wrap for the new parents. I'll take a few more photographs when it's all done to share with you, along with a picture of the beautiful, wee girl born to Danielle and Josh. Just past their first wedding anniversary, they are now parents. God is good.

November 27, 2022

Sunday Scripture...

Philippians 4:6. Image courtest of So Very Blessed


November 26, 2022

Back On Monday...

I've been busy here at home with family and friends. 
I'll be back for Sunday Scriptures, with a new post on Monday. 
Love to all!

November 25, 2022

Thanksgiving Update...

I'm getting a late really late start on today's post. I was much busier than I probably should have been on Thanksgiving Eve Day this year. I'd done a little shopping with Jan the day we made our Taco Bell trip, and came home with large quantities of meat and veg that was on sale. Rather than wait until after Turkey Day to process my haul, I jumped right in on Wednesday.

As a result, I pressure canned five pints of lovely carrots, five pints of rutababa (from ONE vegetable), and four pints of sweet potato (also from ONE huge potato).

I also found large packages of chicken thighs for $1.99 a pound, so each four pound package was around $6. I put up five pints of thighs with Mexican seasoning, and then four more pints with water only. (One pint didn't seal, so it's in the canner with everything from the first photograph when I took this one. These are the same carrots in the first photo, too.)

Just for an idea, one pint of chicken thighs provides enough meat for two people if I make enchiladas, tacos, chicken spaghetti or a casserole. So, the final result of eight pints of chicken thighs (for approximately $12) will provide eight different meals for us - of course, adding side dishes. I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty awesome!

This is our canning cupboard in the pantry as of today. We've consumed or shared things out of this prior to this photograph, too! 

Top Shelf l-r: Applesauce, two jars of store bought jalapeƱos that will become Cowboy Candy, salsa, ketchup, Cowboy Candy, stewed tomatoes, dehydrated portabella mushrooms, canned tomatoes.

Second Shelf l-r: Zucchini relish, empty Weck jars to be used soon, canned pears, more Weck jars, assorted jams and jellies.

Third Shelf l-r: Chicken breast, Mexican flavored chicken thighs, plain chicken thighs, turkey, beef roast, and venison roast, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, sweet corn, rutabaga, and beets.

Whew! By the time I was getting close to finished with the canning, Handsome came in wondering what I had planned for dinner. We were both getting hungry! I pulled a jar of venison, and heated it with the broth, sauteed onions and sliced cheddar cheese. I boiled potatoes and mashed them, and steamed peas as a side dish. Within twenty minutes, we were sitting down to dinner while the last batch of vegetables processed in the canner.

The last thing I did before I cleaned up and closed the kitchen for the evening was a gluten-free pie crust in consideration of our daughter-in-law. I put the crust into the fridge to wait until Thanksgiving Day.

I formed the crust, mixed the pumpkin puree' with the spices, etc., and then filled the crust. I popped it into the oven to bake. While the pie baked, I made a caramel pecan mixture to top the pie as soon as it came out of the oven. I haven't done this before, so it was an experiment. 

I can tell you our daughter-in-law appreciated the fact that I'd made this gluten-free. She hasn't had pie in ages because she said it's not something she purchases just for herself. She loved this pie, and it actually was a very tasty, flaky crust. I just made the same crust I always use, but substituted the GF flour cup-for-cup. We left what remained of the pie with them when we were ready to come home.

The last thing I prepared for our Thanksgiving dinner was a sweet potato gratin. This was an idea from my sister, Jan. This is made with a roux (also using GF flour), milk, asiago and parmesan cheese. I added salt, white pepper, onion and garlic powder to the cream sauce. Into the oven until everything is baked. This was also a hit, and I'll definitely make it again.

Two images from Thanksgiving Day...daughter-in-law in the kitchen with Grandson (out of frame). This was taken after dinner, and we're sitting down to pie and coffee.

Handsome with #1 Son. Who knows just what world problem they're solving at this moment? I can say, all of us were ready for naps! 

Son made a beautiful beef pot roast for dinner. We brought the side dish, and there was fresh bread. It was a truly memorable meal spent with people we love very much.

As I stood in the kitchen, visiting, the usual critters moved through the yard between our son's home and the neighbors. They even stopped to check us out. This is a usual dusk ritual, according to the kids. Isn't that cool?

They went to the back yard, and then turned and went back to the front yard and across the road, where there is a vast marsh.

We finished our dessert and a little more visiting before we packed up to leave. They live about an hour from us, and we needed to get home to air and feed Tag, Bella and Carly. Trust me. By the time we got home, they were ready to get outside!

We had a perfectly wonderful celebration, and every day is a day of gratitude for us. We're so very blessed, and hope that your day was equally filled with all things family and friends. 

You know we don't ever leave the house for Black Friday. We'll be doing things here at home today, and for the rest of the weekend. If you're one of the brave ones, be safe out there!

November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving...

I'm sharing just a couple of images from Thanksgivings past. The tablecloth I quilted from a vintage tablecloth is on our table again this year.

We're traveling to Son #1's home to spend the day with his family. I'm taking along a sweet potato gratin,
made from a creation shared by younger sister, Jan. I've also made the pumpkin pie (with a pecan caramel topping from a Thanksgiving dessert made by an old friend).

If you're traveling as we are, whether the distance be short or long, 
we'll pray for a safe journey there and back again for you and yours.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Hickory Hill Farm,

Donna & Handsome
Tag, Bella & Carly
Claudette & Crystal

November 23, 2022

Turning Back The Hands Of Time...

Here I am with my youngest sister, Jan. There's a thirteen year age difference between us. When I was a young woman out in the working world, she was in junior high school. In those days, Taco Bell was also a young company, and they finally had a restaurant in our home town.

After I finished my work day, Jan would just be finishing her track practice so I would pick her up from school in my VW Beetle and we'd head to Taco Bell for our favorite enchiritos. When Taco Bell first introduced them, they were 99 cents and came in a promotional Corning Ware™ French white mini oval casserole dish. (I still have two of the originals from those days!)

My sister, Diana and youngest brother, Chris also loved them, and once they were discontinued, all three of us were upset. We even managed to find a copycat recipe a while back and I know Di and Chris made them at home.

Over the weekend, someone posted on social media that Taco Bell took a poll to see which "oldie but goodie" they should bring back for a limited time. The Enchirito won! Word spread from sibling to sibling like wildfire, and I told Jan I'd make a trip up the Valley, pick her up and we'd go for an enchirito lunch.(She can't drive right now because she had a recent foot surgery, so I would be designated driver.) She was all in, so we set a time, and I drove to Appleton yesterday to pick her up.

In no time at all, we were seated in a booth with our enchirito lunches, and took our first bites. MMmmmmm...tasted just as we remembered. We finished our lunches, ran another errand and then went back to her home for the rest of the afternoon. We promised to do it again soon. Now, if only they'd also brought back the caramel apple empanadas for dessert... sigh  Ahhhh, yes. Just like the good old days.

PS. If you didn't know yet, I'm having a Cyber Week Sale in my Etsy Shop. Everything is 20% off - no coupon required! 

November 22, 2022

Tuesdays With Tag - What? Me Fickle?...

Hi, Everybody!

Boy, did I have fun with Aunt Di here last week! I couldn't have been better behaved...well, except (maybe) for the part where I couldn't stop lookin' at her when she had food. Don't hold it against me. You know it's the Corgi Way, after all!

I mean, how can I ignore someone who called me "Little Prince" every time I walked into the room? I'm tellin' ya, after a while it can't help but turn your head and puff up your chest. I'm only human, you know!

Mom kept tryin' to get my attention, but I know she's never gonna share her lunch with me. At least with Aunt Di, I've got a fightin' chance. Unless Mom or Dad tell her not to.

We had a great week together and all three of us furry quadropods got lots of attention. We really hated to see her leave on Friday. Didn't take any time at all for things to settle down and get back to normal. We started by takin' a couple of nice, long naps. 

Mom said these pictures show just how scruffy I am these days. She's brushin' me and pullin' out stray clumps all the time, but I'm still moltin'. That means Mom or Dad are vacuumin' or sweepin' every single day. Guess that means I'm still her "old shoebrush".

One more thing before I close...I hope all of you have a very Happy Thanksgivin'! May there be never-endin' turkey and mashed potatoes in your future. 

I'll see you again in seven. 'til then... 
"Been There, Chewed That!"

November 21, 2022

Restful Weekend...

We kicked completely out of gear for the weekend, and I don't think anyone exemplifies it better than this silly Labrador. Carly has taken to sleeping on the sofa - on her back. Not very ladylike if you ask me, but she obviously wasn't asking. What a hoot this dog is. She makes us laugh every day! 

The most I exerted myself was to run out to the grocery store to get a few necessities, while a stewing chicken cooked in the pot. We got four birds from the same gal where we buy our farm-fresh eggs. (Just FYI - we paid $3.50 per bird - a steal if you ask me.)

When I got back home, I put away the things I bought. Then I washed my hands, strained the contents of the pot - reserving the broth - and cleaned all the meat off the bones. I returned everything to the pot, adding celery, onions, fresh carrots, some of the sweet corn I'd frozen in September, frozen peas, and some of the potatoes I canned. After it simmered for another couple hours, I added dumplings. The entire meal for two, with plenty of leftovers, cost us about $10. A frugal meal that I'm sure knocked out the last vestiges of my cold. (I really am feeling back to full health.)

Today, I'll be baking bread and catching up on a little laundry. All these changes in the weather have taken their toll on my hands, but I'm going to do my best to finish the knit baby kimono this week, too. Tag will take over tomorrow, so I'll just keep knitting while he visits with you. 

It's hard to believe it's already Thanksgiving week, isn't it? Gosh, it seems the older I get the faster the clock moves. Why is that? As long as time waits for no one, I'd better get busy. Breakfast and coffee, and then I'll be bustling around the kitchen. See you Wednesday!

NOTE: For some reason, Blogger isn't posting my replies to your comments. I promise I'm reading all of them and will respond as soon as they fix their issues. xoxo