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Catching Up…

Too many things scheduled for the weekend…and now I’m glad it’s  over!  My cookie exchange was Saturday morning.  Here is what remains of the oh, so delicious, chocolate mint brownines…no, I didn’t eat all of them.  This is what is left after sharing them around…and, well, eating a few.

dsc04161To update you on my sugar cookie dilemma…no one gave me any advice on my post, so I did a Google search.  It seems that once you ice sugar cookies, you have to leave them out at least 24 hours so that the icing dries thoroughly.  Do not pack them in anything.  One suggestion was also to pop them in a hot oven for a minute after they have set to make sure they are good and dry.  I also learned about Royal icing from watching a Martha Stewart video. (oh, how I love hi speed internet) I made the sugar cookies on Monday just to try out the recipe.  I figured I could make some more later in the week if needed.  On Thursday I iced them with a basic powdered sugar/water icing.  On Friday I had some of those little icing-in-the-tubes in different colors, so I then did some decorating and let them sit.  My husband kept eating them off the tray on Friday night.  On Saturday my guests remarked how good they were, so I tried one.  They were very delicious; the cookie was nice and crisp/tender, and the icing was just the right touch.  I was very pleased.  I forgot to get pictures of them all decorated and now most of them have gone to new homes.  I have two  left over sitting on top of the pretzels.  I like to have something pretty  for cookie trays at Christmas, so I know I will be making these again.

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After the cookie exchange was over, I left and drove about an hour and 20 minutes to go meet up with my friend SuznQuilts .  We ate lunch and she gave me my birthday presents.  Now I have new stamps in my collection.  She has kept a good eye out at yard sales and the like. The thing on the right is very old and we are not sure what it is exactly. However I do know what to do with it.

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The next item is very interesting.  It is an old wooden stamp and it  is Chinese.  Pretty cool, huh?!  We think it must be a chicken.

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Merry Christmas to all.  I hope your holidays are filled with peace and joy and love as we head into the new year of 2009.

Christmas Baking and Other Items…

Last week I did work on the commission proposal like I said I would.  I also spoke to the bank about a time limit on getting it in.  They said if I got it in after the first of the year that would be fine.  Sigh of relief.  So now I can put it aside to work on Christmas gifts and cookies…

Ok, I need some input on sugar cookies.  I have never liked to make sugar cookies with icing on them, because althought they are so pretty, the icing makes the cookie absorb moisture and go limp.  I see all these pretty decorated sugar cookies and they look so inviting.  So how does one go about keeping the cookie  nice after decorating it?  I have never had any luck with them.  Also, does anyone know if sugar cookies can be frozen and then thawed to decorate without them going limp?  That’s why, as of now, these sugar cookies are not decorated.  I wanted to try out the recipe.  I like this one very much.  It was on the bag of flour.

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Then I stood for a couple of hours to make these coated pretzels.  I always like to make pretzels as a nice change of pace on a cookie tray. You know…the salty/sweet thing…

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I still have chocolate ones to make (my favorite), but didn’t have any fresh bark  last week.

My neighborhood cookie exchange is this weekend.  My neighbors come over with cookies, we exchange a dozen to each person, we eat a few, and I serve a holiday punch, homemade eggnog,  or special coffee, and we chat.  The past couple of years I have made a hot cranberry tea with cinnamon sticks.  They love it.

There is not very much art making going on.  Every now and then I sit down and quilt on a stack and slash crazy quilt just because I would like to finish it.  I started a meandering job on it several years ago and was not happy with how that was going(I am ripping it out), so now I am using a 12 weight black cotton thread and just quilting around the shapes that are in the blocks.  It’s the worst quilting job I have ever done…and I love it.  How many of you know that you cannot free form quilt a straight line?  At least not without a ruler or something and even then, it would not be easy.  I am free form stitching “lines”;  they are not straight, but it is ok.  It looks like stones and sort of offsets the straight lines of the piecing.  It takes your eye away from that.  I am liking it. It also gave me the idea of how to quilt the inner border…with stone shapes of course.

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Handmade Christmas gifts: A friend made an embroidered patch for me for my niece.  Katelyn had requested a sweatshirt with a panda eating bamboo on it, so….it’s a great story, but Katelyn will be getting a sweatshirt with a panda eating bamboo on it! The only gift I have left to make is a fleece blanket for another niece.  There are plenty of cookies and candy to make as I will make up cookie trays for a couple of households.

And then there’s the dreaded Birthday.  Born just a week before Christmas, I have  a birthday when I’m just too busy to have one or to actually enjoy it.  Why couldn’t I have been born in September?  Some years I have gone somewhere to shop and just enjoy the day by myself, but I am still shopping for Christmas.  I try to just take the day for me and do something different on that day, like… whatever I want that I probably wouldn’t do some other day.  But I don’t do things like bungee jumping or the like.  At least not yet.