Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays, Happy Holidays,
While the merry bells keep ringing,
May your every wish come true

Here is a montage of my life lately.

I began a Christmas quilt for my daughter in November and got distracted from it for a few weeks. She knows she will get it early 2013, as I obviously did not finish in time for Christmas 2012. It is pieced and not yet sandwiched. It is the red and white quilt in the collage, and if you look closely you can spot Katy the kitten sitting on it. I designed the disappearing nine-patch variation using a quilt panel and charm pack in Nature's Gift by Deb Strain for Moda.

I also have a Christmas table runner that has been in the works since 2010, right after my Mom passed away. It was a project from my beginner quilting class featuring four blocks - nine patch, churn dash, Ohio star, and rail fence. It is finally sandwiched, but I still need to quilt and bind it. I used Fruitcake by Basic Grey for Moda for the blocks and for the backing.

After seeing my work, my husband asked me to start a quilt to hang in our entry! Yay!

Christmas baking
Danish Kringles are a baking tradition for me every Christmas, and this year I made them for my husband's office. The recipe is here on my old blog, For Goodness Sake.

It would not be Christmas without a batch of Granny Mitchell's sugar cookies. Sometimes plain with sugar sprinkled on top and sometimes iced, they are a tender, not-to-sweet version made with buttermilk and lots of vanilla and nutmeg.

I made a pecan pie to celebrate my daughter's boyfriend's birthday when they visited at Christmas. I use a different recipe almost every time I make pecan pie and love them all. This is the recipe I used this time:

Pecan Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie

1 9-inch unbaked pie crust (if you don't have a recipe, I highly recommend Betty Crocker's classic recipe, which I have used for 40 years!

1 cup Karo syrup (I used part Lyle's Golden Syrup)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon maple flavoring
1 cup toasted pecans

Mix filling ingredients by hand in large bowl and pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake 45-55 minutes, covering crust with strips of aluminum foil as necessary to prevent excessive browning. Pie is done when knife inserted into center comes out clean.

We enjoyed the Christmas season with an Open House in early December and with our family during Christmas week. We got everything decorated for the Open House, which was "come and go or come and stay"; about 40 guests came and stayed, playing pool and eating. I served appetizers, one of which was applewood smoked ham on these pumpkin biscuits, and desserts. We enjoyed it so much we are already planning for next Christmas.

Our daughter and her boyfriend drove in from Dallas to stay a few days, and we attended Christmas Eve services at our church after a fun day of last minute shopping in some of Houston's finest weather - sunshine, low 70s, low humidity, no wind. Christmas Day was with the rest of the family - our son, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren - it could only have been better had we been in Hawaii.

Also in the photo montage are Buddy the dog and Katy the kitten - decked out for Christmas, the old blue Christmas bell from the 1960s that adorns our tree every year, and a beautiful December sunrise from Katy, Texas.

I hope your holidays have been happy, healthy, and full of hope.

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