18 December 2017

Flavors of Christmas: Gingerbread

Welcome back, everybody! Today's flavor is gingerbread! 

As I mentioned yesterday, there's no chart for this. I just selected an alphabet I liked and went to work. "Gingerbread" is stitched on 30 ct. Irish Cream linen from R&R Reproductions with GAST Gingersnap. The rolling pin charm is available from 123 Stitch and the gingerbread man cookie cutters are available at Shelly's Buttons and More.


Gingerbread Cookies with Lemon Frosting

I wouldn't say I'm wild about gingerbread; I'd say I'm picky about it. There is so much going on with gingerbread spice-wise (and molasses-wise!) that it's easy to get proportions a bit out of balance for my taste. But a well-balanced, mild gingerbread is hard to beat at Christmas time, and when I saw this recipe that paired gingerbread with lemon--I'm crazy about lemon--I had to try it. These little gems are delicious.

1/2 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. packed brown sugar (I used light brown)
2 eggs
1/4 c. molasses
3 c. all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp. salt

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp. grated lemon peel
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
(I added 1 drop of yellow food coloring to make them extra pretty!)

Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and molasses. In a separate bowl, whisk together the next eight ingredients. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the creamed mixture. 

Shape into 1" balls and place 2" apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 until tops are cracked, about 8-10 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to racks to cool completely. 

For frosting, beat cream cheese until fluffy and then beat in remaining ingredients until smooth. Frost and store in the fridge in an airtight container. Yield: about 4 dozen

More tomorrow!

17 December 2017

Flavors of Christmas: Cinnamon

Welcome to my 4th annual Christmas Open House! The theme this year is "Flavors of Christmas" and my sewing room and my kitchen are open! Y'all come on over!

This week I'll be sharing some little ornaments I've made celebrating my favorite flavors of Christmas, and of course, cookie recipes! Make sure you stick around until the end of the week to see where we go with this...

There isn't a chart for these ornaments as all I've done is chosen an alphabet I liked, charted the word, and stitched it up. "Cinnamon" is stitched on 30 ct. Irish Cream linen from R&R Reproductions with GAST Cinnamon. The muffin tin charm is from 123 Stitch and the star cookie cutter is from Shelly's Buttons and More.


Cinnamon-Sugar Crackle Cookies

For me, there are few kitchen aromas more pleasing than baking cinnamon. It's warm and homey and welcoming. These little cookies are very simple but so good with hot tea or coffee.

1 c. shortening
1 3/4 c. sugar, divided
2 eggs
2 3/4 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Cream shortening and 1 1/2 c. sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate about 30 minutes. 

Combine cinnamon and remainder of sugar and set aside. Shape dough into 1" balls and roll in cinnamon-sugar. Place 2" apart on ungreased baking sheets and bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes before removing to racks to cool completely. Yield: about 4 dozen

Hope everyone is ready to stitch and bake... see y'all tomorrow!

15 December 2017

It's Coming...

My annual Christmas Open House starts Sunday, 17 December!

If you're new, check out the Christmas Open House tabs right under the header picture. See y'all on Sunday!

12 December 2017

Little Elf Girl

I was all set to stitch one more JOY project before Mr. Wonderful got home, but a fellow stitcher shared this adorable freebie and I got distracted! In my defense, the design is called Christmas Joy, so I'm counting it!

As you can see, I "edited" this design, which I talked about in this post. I also added a candy cane in her left hand, gave her stripey stockings, and fiddled with the tree quite a bit, filling in a lot of green and moving the berries and the bird. She's stitched on 32 ct. petit point linen with DMC Blanc and 3773, GAST Buckeye Scarlet and Bayberry, and CC Bramble Bush.

09 December 2017

Saturday Sampler: Homecoming Edition

He's home! Thank you so much for all the well-wishes for us while Tiger Lily and I were on our own.

First snow! 

03 December 2017

Another Joy Finish

Here's a small winter sampler ornament from the 2009 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issue that I converted into a JOY project just by stitching the letters J, O, and Y in a different color. 

This is stitched on 28 ct. mystery linen with DMC Blanc, GAST Country Redwood and Juniper, and CC Cocoa Bean.

Mr. Wonderful will be home in about a week. Tiger Lily and I have a busy week ahead getting ready for the homecoming. And I'm hard at work on this year's Christmas Open House project. You may have noticed that I added a few navigation tabs right under the header picture. All my labels are listed in the right sidebar, but I chose a few of the ones I'm asked the most questions about and put them at the top to make them more visible. If you haven't checked them out, I invite you to brew a cup of tea, relax, and browse around. I put a lot of effort into my tutorials in the hope that I'll be able to share something useful, expand the craft, and keep as many designers in business as possible!

27 November 2017

Things That Have Come to My House

Lots of deliveries at the Wonderful household recently. In addition to the sweet babies from my mom that I showed in my last post...

Flowers from Mr. Wonderful to mark the halfway point.

Thanksgiving cookies from my mom and dad.

The new DMC colors.

Very happy with all these new colors, especially the greys/browns, and the purples below. In my opinion, the DMC range has been in need of more of these shades for a long time.

I picked up this pretty box at a pre-Thanksgiving Jo Ann Fabrics sale.

And also found this sparkly little guy. He's too big for a needle minder, but just right for a chart magnet.

Here's my latest Joy finish. This is from the 2015 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issue, stitched on 28 ct. Straw Gingham linen from Weeks. I used CC Cherry Cobbler for the red, added some GAST Brandy to add some warmth to the lantern, and stitched the bottom in the snowflake/beard color instead of the color suggested.

This is a better representation of the fabric color... sort of gingerbread-y.

Bonus Tiger Lily, in her cozy winter basket!

23 November 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

More babies from my mom! Cute overload!

I'll be spending Thanksgiving with our next door neighbors, and Mr. Wonderful will be with his buddies at their undisclosed location. We can't be together this year, but we're not alone.

Tiger Lily and I wish all of y'all a wonderful Thanksgiving!

20 November 2017

A Joyful Finish!

Here's my first JOY finish! This is Joy Squared, from the December 2016 issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine. I stitched it with GAST Buckeye Scarlet on 28 ct. Snow linen from Fabric Flair (available at 123 Stitch). Instead of stitching individual blocks, I stitched the design as a single piece, and I added lots of JABCO buttons.

For reasons known only to itself, the camera isn't reading the colors on this very well. The blue of the fabric is washed out, and the red is showing too dark. But that's the best I can do for today! On to more JOY projects...

15 November 2017

Breakfast with Tiger Lily

We're about 2 1/2 weeks into Mr. Wonderful's 6-week absence, and Tiger Lily and I are plodding along. We've settled into our new, unsupervised routine; I've accomplished some things around the house, and I've started my JOY projects. I should have a finish to show in a few days. 

One of the things we've been doing occasionally is sharing breakfast in bed. Now, I'm not a breakfast person, and I'm definitely not a breakfast in bed person. I'm the type that gets up when I wake up. I hate wallowing around in bed after I've awakened. And "breakfast" for me is a mini vanilla bean scone and a piping hot cup of strong Irish breakfast tea. I usually get that down while reading the news at the computer.

Anyway, Tiger Lily is--believe it or not--deeply devoted to vanilla bean scones. I'm not even kidding. She will be sound asleep, but when she gets a whiff of a warm scone, she will trot in to wherever I am, expecting to share. Since we're alone and our days are our own, we occasionally sit on the bed and have a scone together before we start our day.

Waiting patiently for her little crumbs.

Nom, nom, nom...

All gone! I have to show her there's nothing left before she will go off for her morning nap.

Have a good day, y'all!

12 November 2017

Playing with Jax is finished!

Here it is! My accidental purple conversion of Playing with Jax, and the original design below.

My changes:

Flower Pumpkin (right back pumpkin):
3740--changed to-->3041

large flower:
977-->Autumn Bouquet

stem: 869
backstitch: 3011

top border: 3042

bottom border (replaced leaves with acorns):
acorn caps: 869 & 437
acorns (left to right): 3012, 3776, Autumn Bouquet, 356, 3042

For the changes on the rest of the pumpkins, click on the Playing with Jax label.

06 November 2017

November Memo Board & Stash Update

Mr. Wonderful has been gone about a week (five weeks to go!) and let's just say that last week was not great. How-ev-er! Robin in Virginia put on her superhero cape and swooped in to provide much-appreciated cheer! Just look at these goodies! 

A precious, precious little felted wool fox ornament.

Beautiful JOY notecards, to go with my stitching theme during Mr. Wonderful's absence.

A patriotic needle minder (how perfect?) and a stitch starter. 

This little box absolutely made my day. Thank you so much, Robin. And by the way, whenever anyone sends anything to me wrapped in tissue paper, this is what happens to it. Tiger Lily loves tissue paper with all her little heart and she thinks the tissue paper in every package is for her. And so it is. (My mom includes tissue paper in my boxes whether anything needs wrapping or not, so Tiger Lily will have some.)

Here's my November memo board. See this post for info on this easy project.

And here is some gorgeous new Fabric Flair fabric from 123 Stitch. This is 28 ct. Fairy Mist. Beautiful, soft lavender, blue, pink, green, and yellow with a subtle silver sparkle. I bought a small piece just to see how it would look in person, but now I know I need moar.

And 28 ct. blue snowflakes on silver. So frosty and wintry.

I am "thisclose" to finishing Playing with Jax. I only have the bottom border left to stitch, but I took a little break from it to consider how I wanted to stitch it. Hope to have that finished in the next day or two. I need to get going on my JOY projects. In the meantime, here's a little peek at the one I'll be starting next: