Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Elves Were Hard at Work!!!

This Christmas there was a lot of making of things at our house...I am very proud of my girlies for wanting to make gifts for the people they love.  I am very proud of my hubby for painting the most beautiful painting for his Godmother...and I am proud of me for tackling a new project - the sewing machine!

Here is Brian's painting of the Golden Gate Bridge...he always amazes me with his talents.  Just a year or so ago Brian said - I think I will take up oil painting - now......I am a supportive spouse, but some things just seem a bit far fetched to can you just decide one day to oil paint!?

Well apparently Brian can!!!!!!!!  The quality of these photos isn't great, but I couldn't resist sharing this gorgeous painting (Kathy, you are lucky this painting left the house!)

Madison made some great journals...with quotes on the pages...

this book was for her dad - with quotes on happiness.
Along with her custom journals Madison made gorgeous necklaces...
Lane made bath salts so everyone could pamper themselves....
She also decorated the jars they were in, but I didn't get a photo of that - this set was for Madison and they went in a big basket of pampering goodies.

The kitchen smelled wonderful for days!  They are so sparkly and festive.

As I write this I am wearing one of my gifts from Lane - this darling pair of leaf earrings!

She also made me holly and flamingos!!!!!!

I have been hand sewing for many weeks - making ornaments....
 and little owl families - among other things...
 I made charms for my sister, Jennifer, to hang on a little metal tree that I got her for her birthday...some for Valentine's Day...
Some snowflakes and icicles for the remainder of Winter...and....
some flowers and bugs to usher in Spring when it gets here!

But....the thing that I wanted to try that was new...the thing that I put off because I was a little bit nervous...the thing that my sister does well and my mom did well, and I don't do yet...was....
The Sewing Machine - eeek!!!!!!

 I started with a small messenger type bag for Lane - that is a potholder on the front flap that I found at our annual trip to the Arnold Flea Market/Garage Sale.  Can you see the owl?
And...I lined it with the cutest owl fabric. I even made my own patterns - not sure why when you can buy them...but I did!   Now, you might notice that this purse is a little wrinkled - well I had a bit of a problem with some fabric that I thought might be interfacing...turns out it wasn't and my iron has a bit of gunk glued to it's surface!!!!!!!

After some hemming and hawing I moved on to a larger messenger bag for Madison.  If you look really closely at the strap you can see where I have to make a tiny adjustment - didn't get the straps into the seam quite far enough!!!!!!
But look how cute the fabric on the front is....
and again - some cute lining...and I even put some pockets on the inside of this one!  So I am a little bit less terrified of the sewing machine now - I may even tackle recovering the cushions on our couch.  Well, to be truthful it has taken me so long to get up the courage to do the couch that the cushions have disintegrated and we need to make new cushions also!

So, it was a handmade Christmas for us and I am proud of all of us!  Tell me what you made for Christmas or did someone make something for you?

xoxo     Elizabeth - who is no longer quite so afraid of the sewing machine (well maybe just a little!)

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Birthday Party!

Fourteen years ago I looked like this...

and on December 20th I got this beautiful baby!

Isn't she sweet!?  That little sweater was from when my mom was a little one.

She was sooooo chubby and cute!

I actually had a hard time finding pics of her alone because Madison was always with her!
kissing her or....
showing her things - or just loving on her!

So fourteen years later...Lane wanted to have a game themed party.  We are big on themed birthdays around here...we have had pizza parties, sushi parties, ballerina parties, snowman name it we have probably done it...the difference now is - the girlies are capable of doing so much of it themselves! 
Lane made her own invites!  They looked like the packets from the Clue game...fantastic job Lane!

We decorated with our cool old games...
and people enjoyed playing with them!
I made some necklaces for party favors.

And...we made our worst cake ever!!!!!!! Now...I am not much of a baker - it is too exact of a science for me!  Lane and Madison however are bakers..but this cake was just not our best effort.  We tried to make a Twister game on a piece of chocolate - well for those of you who might be decorating cakes...painting with food colouring on chocolate doesn't really work.  Here's the evidence...

Although it does look a bit better in candle light - don't we all!?
 You see usually the Auntie Jenny makes the birthday cakes, but our Bethanne came home from college with a 103 fever and they had to stay we made an attempt - and it was fine.

The birthday party was held at Papa's house because he has a very cool basement where all the kiddos can hang out!
After dinner all together, the kiddos ventured downstairs for some movies and of course - games!  They must have had fun because I heard that when the electricity went off at 6am they were still awake!  Good thing  the power went out - they finally took it as a sign to get some sleep.

Looks like fun doesn't it?

I made the traditional crepes for breakfast (or lunch!) the next day...or as we call them 'French Pancakes'..but there are no pics because I was manning two crepe pans and cutting up fruit and setting the table and....well, you get the idea. 

So my baby is 14...she is taller than me...and she is wonderful!!!!  Happy Birthday my Lane - I love you!

xoxo    Elizabeth  (Mom)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Snowflakes and Christmas Cookies!

Monday was cooking with Stacy and Tatum day - we have missed a few of our cooking days and so it was great to be together and cookin' again!

First we made a cookie from my childhood - Nutmeg Logs.  My Nonnie used to make these for us and they just seem like Christmas to me.  Well, in my usual fashion I went to get the recipe the night before we were cooking...and...I'm sure you already know...I couldn't find it!  Mind you it is somewhere in the house in a safe spot - but out of my reach for now.  So - on to the World Wide Web - and lo and behold someone else had lost their grandmother's recipe and she had sent out a plea to anyone who had the recipe to post it for her.  That right there is only one of the wonderful things about the internet!  Thanks to the WWW we were able to make Nutmeg Logs!

Apparently the recipe is an old Pillsbury one and we found it on

Nutmeg Logs

1 Cup butter - softened
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp rum flavoring (or rum!)
3/4 Cup sugar
1 egg
3 Cups sifted (or not ) flour
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (you can use the unfresh kind also!)
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream softened butter with the flavorings.  Beat in the sugar, then mix in the egg.  In a separate bowl, stir in the flour, nutmeg, and salt.  Mix with the butter/sugar mixture.  Shape the resulting dough into snakes about 1 inch in diameter, and cut the pieces to 3 inches in length (we cut them a bit smaller so there would be more cookies!).  Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.  Frost with rum frosting.  Make grooves in the frosting with a fork, and sprinkle ground nutmeg on the logs while the frosting is still moist.  ( the grooves are to make the cookies look like little logs - when we are lazy we don't make the grooves...and guess what the cookies still taste great!)

Rum Frosting

1/3 Cup butter - softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp rum flavoring (or rum)
2 Cups confectioner's sugar
2 tbsp milk

Cream together butter, vanilla, and rum.  Stir in sugar and milk and beat until creamy.

You can see in this pic we started doing the little fork grooves and then got lazy!

This next recipe we found on Bakerella  - you must check out her blog she does such fun things!

Nutter Butter Balls

1 pkg Nutter Butter cookies
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
Chocolate Bark or Chocolate Chips

1.  Finely crush all but 5 of the cookies in a food processor or put them in a ziploc bag and crush.

2.  Combine with cream cheese.  Use the back of a large spoon to help mash the two together.

3.  Roll the mixture into 13 (or so) balls and place on a wax paper covered cookie sheet.

4.  Melt chocolate in microwave (or double boiler) and dip the balls into the chocolate.  Tap off extra chocolate and set aside on wax paper lined cookie sheet to dry.

5.  Once dry refrigerate and enjoy!

These are such an easy cookie and soooooo yummy - a bit like a Reese's cup.

At lunch time we made snowflakes...who knew it would be so hard!?

We had lots of fun laughing at our attempts - we got backwards snowflakes, falling apart snowflakes, square snowflakes...everything but real snowflakes.

But, we were determined...and with the help of Cathe Holden at Just Something I Made we finally got there!

We used these diagrams...

and made up some of our own...

So, thanks Stacy and Tatum for another fun cooking day - we are looking forward to coming to your house next week to make our biscotti tree!

Now go and make some Christmas cookies!  You know you want to eat them!

xoxo     Elizabeth