A Long Overdue post on Christmas and the New Year

Christmas was such a blessing. It provided a break from the rest of life’s worries. Christmas is a holiday filled with love, family and much concern for the well being of others. The Lord’s hand is ever present when we keep Him in our hearts.

2012. A year full of many anniversaries of remarkable events from days gone by- The 100th anniversaries of the sinking of the Titanic, the creation of the Girl Scouts of America, the establishment of the Boy Scout Eagle Award, the first LDS Young Women’s camp and many more world altering happenings. It is amazing to think that so much has occured in a mere 100years. The lives of people today are so drastically different compared to those from a hundred years ago. 2012, like every year, was filled with ups, downs and everthing in between-but amongst the turmoil and frustration, we saw some of the greatest blessings the world has ever known. The page of such a hallmark year has turned to one fresh and ready for a new story. May you daub your pen with good ink and your story of this new year be filled with many blessed memories.

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Embroidered Snowflakes


Materials:
  • fabric
  • small embroidery hoop (I have sewn with and without hoops, with and with out interfacing. I have found that when starting out it is best to work on a light weight, not thin, material and hoops)
  • embroidery needle(again the needle you pick is a personal preference. tapestry needles have larger eyes, but the shank of the needle is thicker, milliner needles are uniform in thickness but it can be difficult to find ones with larger eyes)
  • skein of white embroidery floss
  • silver embroidery floss
  • beads
  • pull thread from the back and insert about an inch away
  • insert the thread again from the back and repeat as before first in thirds
  • repeat with the three new stitches in between the others. Now you have a total of six stitches
  • create a fly stitch between each of the inch “spokes” (bring needle through the top of one of the spokes. insert at the top of the adjacent spoke. take a “bite” of the fabric half-way between the two spokes and slightly lower than the top of the stitches. pull tight, and fasten the thread to the fabric.)
  • repeat this five times
  •  at each vertex create a detached chain stitch. (bring needle from back. insert again in the same hole but don’t pull all the way back through. you should have about a 1/2 inch loop. come from the back and secure the loop with a small stitch.)
  •  at the top of the longer chain stitches, sew another chain stitch, but this time, split and secure the sides to create a diamond. above the smaller chain stitches, sew a fly stitch.
  •  Above is what the finished white snow flake will look like.

  • to embellish, sew two fly stitches over the long chain stitches and one fly stitch over the shorter ones. do this in a contrasting color- the above is in silver.
  • for fun, plastic imitation pearl beads were used to hide the center.
  • get creative and add your own embellishments!

Although this may seem complicated at first, once you understand the basic stitches, the snowflake becomes one of the quickest and prettiest embellishments for winter themed projects.
I hope that you have fun sewing snowflakes!

 The above is a similar concept using only fly stitches. The silver embellishment is wrapped around the “spokes”

 This snowflake is a little bit more complicated. The scroll stitch was used for the smaller spokes and the v-shape on the taller spokes. The taller spokes are created with the detached chain stitch. The silver embellishments include the fly stitch on the taller spokes, and the detached chain stitch with the two extra darts (shown in the tutorial) as the border of the scroll stitches. Wouldn’t it be pretty with beads in the center to cover up the nasty middle?

This one is very simple. It involves detached chain stitches for the spokes and a french knot in the center.

***If my instructions for the detached chain stitch or the fly stitch were confusing, there are many wonderful videos on YouTube which are very clear and simple to follow.***

A Handmade Christmas Gift

Are you in a last minute rush for Christmas gifts?
Are you completely overwhelmed because you can’t find ANYTHING worth while with the little amount of money you can afford to spend?

Why not make a gift for someone?

I know. I said it. The dreaded home made gift!
“NO NO NO. I will not be the one to give the wretched ‘Christmas Sweater’, the ugly pink bunny suit, this dispropotionate ‘I think it’s supposed to be a…ooohhh Now I see it…gee thanks…’ ” Is probably just what went through your head.

But do not fear! There is a lot more you can give than a stale, hard-as-a-rock fruit cake, or a dispropotionate scarf.

In today’s world of crafting, there are many resources for homemade gift guidance. Granted. some of the resources that you will find on the internet are strange and completely unrelated to anything that you and your loved ones are possibly interested in. However, much is available of true quality.

There is a deeper sentimentality involved in giving a gift that you have made. A part of your time, energy and spirit is intertwined with what you give. People are often touched more by the simple treasures of time and love than they are of the expensive item that was aimlessly bought at the department store.

Some suggestions for easy gifts:

  • knit/ crocheted hats, toys, scarves, mittens, blankets- this may sound like an impossible task, but once you learn the basic crochet stitch, you can make almost anything. The same can be said for the knit and purl stitches. the links below lead to free knitting and crocheting patterns.

http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com/
http://www.crochetpatterncentral.com/

  • quick sew patterns the link below features many free and easy sewing patterns

http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/

  • fleece blankets – super easy! all you do is buy the fleece and cut it to the desired size! our family has a tradition. Mom cuts the fleece for blankets and each year the kids get a new blanket. Fabric stores typically have incredible amounts of various patterns ranging from princess to college prints. if you are feeling adventurous, you can cut the edges in about 2-3inches in and 1 inch across- this allows you to tie, lace, or leave as a decorative frill

  • Hand embroider/ embellish an article of clothing, pillow case or handkerchief. learning a couple basic stitches can create beautiful gifts.

http://www.needlenthread.com/
the above link has a section with video tutorials of a great number of stitches.
http://www.embroiderypatterncentral.com/directory.php

  • do you have a signature dessert that everyone raves about? mass produce it and give it as a christmas gift! everyone loves homemade goodies.

  • decorate glass ornaments. they are relatively cheep and you can fill them with all sorts of wonderful decorations and designs. people love recieving beautiful ornaments, and if they are handmade they are all the more special.

http://theornamentgirl.com/blog/
this blog is centered around creating ornaments. maybe you can get some ideas and start on your own beautiful creations!

  • little girls love paper doll sets!

http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/dolls/pd_scans/index.html

  • there are also some very fun paper toy patterns for all kids!

http://www.thetoymaker.com/2Toys.html

  • Another really good sight for simple, quick and cheap Christmas ideas is linked below

http://www.theprudenthomemaker.com/index.php/frugal-living/holidays/christmas

  • In need of vintage clip art?

http://www.graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/

This season is so much fun! I hope that some of these sites will provide you with some of the last minute inspiration that you need for your gift giving.

Remember that Christ is the reason we celebrate this wonderful holiday. The number of gifts wrapped beneath the tree, though fun to open, are not the true purpose for our jubilee.

May we all be able to feel the joy of Christ in the midst of such a chaotic and troubled world.

    Christmas Kringle

    The other day one of our wonderful friends stopped by for a visit. She brought us the most delicious Kringle. She was given the recipe many years ago by a German family who brought it to America when they immigrated, and it has become an iconic Christmas pastry to all those who know our friend. I hope that you enjoy today’s yummy treat!

     
     
    Christmas KRINGLE

    Bottom Layer:
    1 cup flour
    ½ cup butter or margarine
    2 Tbs ice water (may need a small amount more)
     
    Cut butter or margarine into flour (same as pie crust) until pea sized. 
    Add ice water and form into two balls.  May need to add a bit more water.
    Pat out each portion on a baked cookie sheet 3” wide by 12” long.

    Top:

    1   cup water
    ½  cup margarine or butter

    Bring to boil in medium saucepan.  Remove from heat

    Add

    1 cup flour, stir until smooth
    3  eggs, Stir in one at a time, with heavy spoon or rubber scraper until smooth and mixture is consistent throughout.

    Add

    ½  tsp Almond extract, mix well
    Divide mixture in half and spread over bottom layer.

    Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes

    Frosting can either be put on while still warm as a glaze or wait until pastry is cool and frost.

    Frosting:

    1 cup powdered sugar                                         

    ½  tsp almond extract
    2 Tbs. butter or margarine
        Small amount of Milk to thin for spreadable consistency

    Optional:

    Sprinkle sliced almonds over frosting, and decorate with colored sugar

    Cut each pastry in half lengthwise, then in 1 – 2 inch diagonal strips width wise.

    From the Kitchen of Brenda Werrett

     

     

    "Best Hot Chocowat in Da Whole Wide-Word!!!!"

    The other day we were out of milk.
    And one of the littles asks for a glass of hot chocolate…
    We ALWAYS make hot chocolate with milk…

    SO we improvised and made the “Best Hot Chocowat in Da Whole Wide-Word!!!!”(note the voice of a six year old).

    What was my secret ingredient you ask? Half-and-half.

    “Best Hot Chocowat in Da Whole Wide-Word!!!!”:

    1 cup  1 serving size of your favorite cocoa mix  1/2 cup half-and- half   1/2 cup hot water

    put the mix in the mug.
    fill the mug a little over half way with hot water
    and top it off with half and half.

    It makes for a much creamier hot chocolate than the traditional fat free or 2%.

    At our house, you can’t have hot chocolate without whipped cream or marshmallows!

    For different flavors, try putting cinnamon on top of your whipped cream, or stir your drink with a candy cane!

    Of course this is a very common drink to make during winter months, but it is still fun to share ideas! How does your family make warm winter drinks?

    and now for some cocoa pictures courtesy of google search:

    don’t those just look yummy?

    If you want to give cocoa as a gift, you can also make a cocoa cone!
    People love to receive hot chocolate at white elephants, gift exhchanges, or other fun events!
    And they are really simple to make.

    all you need is a large plastic bag such as a gallon ziptop, or a bread bag, or a cheap pastry bag.
    fill it about 2/3 of the way with cocoa mix, and about 1/6 with toppings such as marshmallows, crushed candy cane, favorite candies or powdered creamer. Tie off the top of the bag with a ribbon and recipe card.

    again, found on a google search…we make them all the time, but always give them away before I think to take a picture…
    * zip top bags will require the zip top to be cup off before the bag is filled. Make sure to use the cheap and uniform, clear bags. The freezer bags, colored bags, and folded bags, though very useful, are not ideal for this project.

    A New Way to Follow Sew What’s Cookin’!

    The last couple of months have been very busy. However, a pinterest account has been started and built up which is full of fun ideas for the Holidays and for all seasons. You will find craft ideas, stocking stuffers, DIY projects, Sewing tips, and recipes.
    Follow us on Pinterest!!!

    http://pinterest.com/sewwhatscookin/

    If you follow the boards, your boards will be followed back!

    Just because money is tight, that doesn’t mean that gifts have to stop.
    Items can be repurposed, re-created, and can be the most meaningful gifts of the season.

    Do not let hard times make you feel inadequate. It isn’t about the stuff. It’s about the Spirit.
    It’s isn’t about the gimmes it’s about celebrating the Savior by loving others.

    May your Soul be given peace and joy as December brings many new adventures!

    Luke 2:10

    Stuffing or Dressing?

    Is if Stuffing or Dressing?
    There is much confusion about this breaded side dish that is a staple of holiday menus.
    If they both have the same ingredients, then what’s diffference?
    The difference in the name is only a matter of where is cooked.
    Put simply, stuffing goes in the bird, dressing goes beside it.
    The recipe being shared today is an easy and delicious comfort food.
    (we are going to cook it dressing style)

     Ingredients:

    16oz Bread Crumbs
    1c celery        1c onion
    1c pecan        1c apple
    1c mushroom 1c carrot
     
    8TB butter          2 1/2c broth
    1 1/2 TB sage  1/2 tsp marjoram
    1tsp thyme        3TB parsley
    1tsp basil
    salt and pepper
     
    *the recipe calls for 1c of each veggie/ fruit…
    we did a bit more than that to feed a family of six, plus leftovers…
     

    in a large pot, over medium heat, start melting the butter. Add the celery, carrots, apples, mushrooms, spices and broth. stir until butter is melted and everything is well mixed. Add the bread crumbs and pecans and mix until the bread crumbs are well saturated and all is evenly incorporated.

    disperse the dressing in a glass baking pan and bake at 350F until the top has a golden crust
    (around 45min- 1hr)
     serve hot
     
    From the kitchen of: Kimberly Leinbach

    Pumpkin Cake

    Today’s recipe is from the kitchen of Eliza Jeanfreau!

    She is an amazing baker and wanted to share this yummy seasonal favorite.

    Pumpkin Cake 

    Super tasty! Like pumpkin pie, but with a yummy topping.

    Mix together:

    1 box yellow cake mix

    ½ C. butter, melted
    1 egg, beaten
    Save one cup of this mixture and press the ret in bottom of buttered cake pan ( 9X13 or 10X15)

    Filling:
    1-29 oz. Can pumpkin
    1 ½ cups sugar
    4 eggs
    1 tsp. salt
    2 tsp. cinnamon
    1 tsp. ginger
    ½ tsp. ground cloves
    1 can evaporated milk

    Mix and pour over crust.

    Topping:

    1 cup of the saved crust mixture
    ½ cup sugar
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    ¼ cup soft butter

     

    Mix topping and sprinkle on top.  (Mine usually isn’t crumbly, so I make little pancakes of the topping and drop it on top.)  Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until knife test proves done.
     
    Enjoy!