Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas... well, merry Christmas Eve to be exact! Tomorrow is the big day and another year is said and done. Oh my! I hope it has been a year of new adventures, time spent with loved ones, and lots of sewing! And if not, there's always next year - 2013 here we come! I have wrapped up all my gifts and started baking yesterday. I know it's a little late to start baking but better late than not at all. The kids and I made some yummy mint brownies. I love to get one out with a cup of coffee; it's a great afternoon pick-me-up :) We make these brownies at Christmas time because the green filling between the brownie and the chocolate glaze topping looks so festive. It's extremely rich but so worth it! I cut them into small pieces so I can have two!
Mint Brownies
Brownie: 
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1 16 ounce can hershey syrup
Mix and pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Filling:
1 stick unsalted butter
4 tbsp milk
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp peppermint flavoring
few drops of green food coloring (can divide filling and do half red too)
Beat and spread over cool brownies. Refrigerate.

Glaze:
1 stick unsalted butter
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
Melt and pour over filling. Refrigerate.

Once hardened, cut into small pieces. These brownies are very rich and yummy! I put half in the fridge for family and guests and save half in the freezer for future yumminess.

Of course, I made lots of American Girl clothes for Christmas this year. Both my girls are still loving American Girls and have asked Santa for one. E has asked for Caroline and S has asked for McKenna. I spent most of last week making doll clothes in the hopes that Santa will come through with their special requests. The girls have been good this year so I'm sure he will not disappoint. Here are two dresses I made using a pattern by See & Sew - 5553. The pattern was easy to follow and I love that the finished dresses have no raw edges showing on the inside.
The main fabric for the dress on the left was made using Millie's Closet Coat Pink by Bee in My Bonnet. The dress on the right is Gypsy Girl Josephine Floral by Moda.

Around November, I get out my felt, sequins, and beads. I enjoy making ornaments for the kids and their friends and teachers. The handmade ornaments add a nice touch on the top of a plate or container of baked goods. And it's something the receiver can keep and get out every year at Christmas time.
I am lucky to have so many Christmas ornament templates handed down to me by aunt and grandmother. But, you can find ideas for templates everywhere! These stockings are easily made by drawing your stocking shape on red felt. You will need two pieces. Take one stocking piece and glue on the white accent piece. Next, sew on the star sequin, circle sequin, and small bead to the stocking. Then, hand embroider the receiver's first initial. Now, take your other red stocking piece and hand sew the two pieces together. Remember to add the ribbon to hang the ornament. I sew the ribbon to the inside first. Before sewing completely closed, add a little stuffing to the inside. Last year, I made these singing angels here. Felt ornaments are so much fun and something the kids can get involved in too. Maybe I need to make some patterns...

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Julie B.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's Beginning...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go.... I'm sure you know the song and you know the feeling! Yikes! Don't tell me how many days left. No matter. I plan to get most everything done but the Christmas cards might be a little late this year. For me, that is just unheard of. I'm one of those people who have the cards ready to go the first week of December. All I can say is "o'well"! That's going to be my new motto for 2013 - O'well!  Do you sense a little insanity? I don't think my boss will like my new motto :) I digress... let's move on to sewing projects!

I am soooooo happy to introduce my new sewing pattern called Mouse in Hammock. It is a pdf file with over 20 pages of instruction and over 30 pictures.  We have had a Mouse in Hammock ornament on our Christmas tree for many years - our favorite ornament, by far. I am so excited to offer a pattern to you so that your tree may have a mouse in hammock dreaming of what Santa will put under the tree. Also, they are unique and one-of-a-kind gifts for friends, family and teachers. The pattern is available in my etsy shop.
 Merry Christmas!
 This mouse's blanket was made using a Santa fabric that came from my Grandmother's fabric stash. 
This mouse is comfy in his soft plaid bed set. 

Have you visited all the great projects on Moda Bake Shop? What a great site for free tutorials, inspiration, and ideas! Recently, I finished a placemat for Santa. This Christmas Eve, Santa will have his very own personalized placemat for his milk and cookies. You can find the tutorial here. This is my version...

Currently, I am making coasters for gifts. This picture are some coasters in progress for my dad. He collects Marx toy figures from the 60s. Most of his collection are cowboys, Indians, and soldier figures. When he was little, all the boys wanted to be cowboys but my dad ran around wanting to be an Indian. I bet he got chased a lot! Or went into hiding.

We love to have popcorn when watching movies. With three kids, we eat a lot of popcorn so I make mine the old fashioned way - on the stove top. I guess if a stove is involved, it's not really the old fashioned way but you know what I mean - not in a microwave! Usually, if we have any around, we add M&M's to the popcorn. If you add them when the popcorn is still warm, the chocolate on the inside of the M&M's melts beautifully. Here is a festive bowl of popcorn with holiday M&M's.

  Now go watch Elf! 

Enjoy! 

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