Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pinecone Cheeseball

Awesome idea! From, Heidi Renney: "I made these cheeseballs very simply by shaping brie into a cone shape and pushing almond slices into it. You could use your favorite cheeseball recipe and use slivered almonds and whole ones too. The whole almonds would look like a brown pinecone. You could even make a great vegan version with tofu instead of cheese. So many options here! You could also make extra small pinecones to pack in lunches for a little surprise. Maybe tuck some springs of plastic pine tree branches…really so many options!"

Wow! I have a ladies' Christmas luncheon to go to in two weeks at church, and we're supposed to all bring a dish. Wouldn't making a few of these be great?

Hope you're having a lovely Sunday! It's cold and rainy, quite overcast today. But it feels like Christmas-time weather! :)


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sassy Cat

Calling all Cat lovers...This is a cute pattern from Doe C Doe! This inspires me to make a pillow just like this! Or wouldn't it make a cute quilt in different-colored cat blocks?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sew some Apron Ornaments

Oh how adorable!! I have to have this pattern. Wouldn't little aprons be cute on a tree? If you're like me and have a little tree in your kitchen (I guess mine's about 18" tall), wouldn't aprons be adorable?


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Crochet a Teapot Ornament or Coaster

I think this would make a cute ornament, but how about a cute coaster for your mug? I'm sure I could think of other decor like attaching them to make a garland? I'm just a tea lover, so I'm sure I can find a dozen things to do with these! :)

Happy Crocheting!

Size 10 (bedspread weight) cotton Steel crochet hook: size 1.75mm

Finished size: App. 5" wide by 4" tall. For a smaller ornament, use size 20 or 30 thread and suitable hook.

Notes: Always start rounds of dc with ch3, counts as first dc.
To work dec: draw up loop in each of next 2 sts. YO, draw through all 3 loops.
To dc 3 sts tog: (YO, draw up loop in next st. YO draw through 2 loops) 3 times. YO, draw through all loops.
To hdc 3 sts tog: (YO, draw up loop in next st) 3 times. YO, draw through all 7 loops.

To start:
Ch5, join with sl st in first ch to form circle.
Rnd 1: (Dc, ch1) 8 times in ring. Join to 3rd ch of beginning ch 4. (8dc, 8ch1 sps)
Rnd 2: *Dc in dc. (Dc, ch2, dc) in ch1 sp. Repeat from * around. (8 groups of 3dc)
Rnd 3-5: *Dc in each dc and (dc, ch2, dc) in each ch1 sp. Repeat from * around. (8 groups of 9dc at end of rnd 5)
Rnd 6: ch1. Sc in same st and in each st around, working 3sc in each ch2 corner. (96 sc) FO.

With RS facing: Join thread in 3rd sc of any 3sc corner.
Row 1: Ch1. Sc in same st and in next 10 sts. Turn. (11sc)
Row 2: Dec, sc in 3 sts, ch4, sk 1 st, sc in 3 sts, dec. (8sc)
Row 3: Dec twice. (4dc, ch2, sl st in top of last dc, 4dc) in ch4 sp. Dec twice, FO.

With RS facing, directly opp. Lid:
Join thread in 1st sc of ch3 corner. Ch2. Hdc in next st, sc in 11 sts, hdc in next. Ch2, sl st in next st, FO.

With RS facing, sk 6 sts to right of base. Join thread with a sl st in next st.
Row 1: Sc in 4 sts. Ch15, sk 13 sts, sc in 4, turn. (8sc)
Row 2: Dec twice. 2sc in each of 15 chs, dec twice. (34)
Row 3: (Sc, hdc, sc) in 1st st. Sk 1 st, sc in 6 sts, (2sc in 1 st, sc in next 2) 6 times. Sc in 6 sts. (Sc, hdc, sc) in last st. FO.

With RS facing, sk 18 sts to left of base. Join with sl st in next st.
Row 1: Ch1. Sc in same st and in next 7sts, turn. (8sc)
Row 2: 2sc in 1st st, sc in 6 sts, 2sc in last. (10)
Row 3: 2sc in 1st st, sc in 2 sts, hdc in 3. Dc in 1, dc last 3 sts tog. (9)
Row 4: Ch2. Dc next 2 sts tog. Hdc in 5 sts, 3hdc in last. (9)
Row 5: Ch4. Hdc in 3rd ch from hook and in next ch. Hdc in 2 sts, sc in 4, hdc last 3 sts tog, FO.

~~photo and directions from:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tea on Tuesday: Yeast rolls and Angel biscuits

It's almost Thanksgiving! I usually only make yeast rolls on holidays, but oh how I do love them. They do take much more time to prepare than I normally have during the average weekday. about quick Angel biscuits? I'll be making yeast rolls on Thanksgiving, so I'll include that recipe too!

Enjoy!! And have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

1 tsp. active dry yeast
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
4 Tbs. unsalted butter or margarine, cut into small pieces

1. Stir yeast into buttermilk until dissolved.

2. Combine flour, sugar and salt in large bowl. Using fingers, two knives or pastry blender, blend butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Pour buttermilk mixture into flour mixture, and stir until soft dough forms. If necessary, add more buttermilk to make dough hold together.

3. Lightly flour work surface and rolling pin. Knead dough 8 or 9 times, or until smooth. Roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness, and cut into 3-inch circles.

4. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Transfer biscuits to it, cover with clean kitchen towel and let rise 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F. 5. Bake 12 to 14 minutes, or until biscuits are pale brown.

Makes 12.


3 1/2 to 3 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 package regular or quick active dry yeast
1/2 cup very warm water (120°F to 130°F)
1/2 cup very warm milk (120°F to 130°F)
1 egg
Butter or margarine, melted

1. Mix 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, shortening, salt and yeast in medium bowl. Add warm water, warm milk and egg. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.

2. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl and turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in warm place about 1 hour or until double. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.

3. Grease bottoms and sides of 2 round pans, 9 x 1 1/2 inches.

4. Punch down dough. Cut dough in half; cut each half into 24 pieces. Shape into balls. Place close together in pans. Brush with butter. Cover and let rise in warm place about 30 minutes or until double.

5. Heat oven to 400°F.

6. Bake 12 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 4 dozen rolls.

~~recipes from

Monday, November 24, 2008

Crochet a Santa Hat

photo from:

 From Santa Hat can be used to decorate dolls, Rubber Duckies, or Teddy Bears. Or you can hang it on your Christmas Tree. How cute!!

Materials List
Main Color: Worsted Weight Wool (Paton’s Astra in Cardinal)
Contrasting Color: Worsted Weight Wool (Paton’s Astra in White)
Needle: Yarn needle for sewing and embroidery.
Wire Brushes: for brushing the completed parts and making them fluffy.
Hook Size: 3.5mm (E/4) crochet hook.

Finished Size
Size: 3.5" (9cm)tall and 2.5" (6.5cm) wide at base.

Does not matter as bigger wool and bigger gauge will make larger hat.


Happy Crocheting!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It looks like...

Christmas?? Hey, what happened to Thanksgiving?! What a surprise this morning!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tea on Tuesday: No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

* 3/4 cup finely crushed graham crackers
* 2 tablespoons butter, melted
* 1 (8-ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
* 1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute* equivalent to 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup fat-free milk
* 2 teaspoons vanilla
* 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
* 2 (8-ounce) packages fat-free cream cheese
* 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
* 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
* 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
* 1/4 cup orange juice

1. For crust: In a medium bowl, stir together crushed graham crackers and melted butter until crackers are moistened. Press mixture onto bottom of an 8-inch springform pan. Cover and chill while preparing filling.

2. For filling: In a food processor or blender, combine the reduced-fat cream cheese, 1/4 cup of the sugar, 1/4 cup of the milk, the vanilla, and orange peel. Cover and process or blend until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl; set aside.

3. In a food processor or blender, combine fat-free cream cheese, pumpkin, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, remaining 1/4 cup milk, and the pumpkin pie spice. Cover and process or blend until smooth.

4. In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over orange juice; let stand for 5 minutes. Cook and stir over low heat until gelatin is dissolved. Stir 1 tablespoon of the gelatin mixture into the white cream cheese mixture and the remaining gelatin mixture into the pumpkin mixture.

5. Pour pumpkin mixture over chilled crust in pan. Carefully pour white cream cheese mixture over pumpkin mixture. Using a narrow, thin-bladed metal spatula or a table knife, swirl pumpkin and white mixtures.

6. Cover and chill overnight before serving. To serve, using a small sharp knife, loosen cheesecake from side of springform pan; remove side of pan. Cut into wedges.

Makes 12 servings.

*Sugar Substitute: Choose from Splenda Granular, Equal Spoonful or packets, or Sweet 'N Low bulk or packets. Follow package directions to use amount equivalent to 1/2 cup sugar.

Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare as directed through Step 5. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours. Serve as directed in Step 6.

~~yummy recipe and photo from:


Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's beginning to feel alot like Christmas...

A Merry Flickr Christmas
Originally uploaded by Sea Dream Studio
Wow, the temperatures have dropped dramatically this weekend here in Virginia! All weekend it's been in the 30's (yeah--during the day!) and windy. I even saw a few flurries! It really makes me think of Christmas weather and I had planned to put out a few decorations this weekend, but never got around to it. Yes, once again, behind in the homework dept. Some things never change. LOL.

I have never decorated for Christmas before the first week of December, but I really feel like it this year. Maybe it's all the economic woes, but I think alot of other people feel the same way. Probably just a way to put us in a happier mood. (Well, at least until you start thinking about the money normally spent on Christmas!) I have a feeling the retailers may not be so happy this year. I hope to get through this Christmas without the credit card bills. I am planning on making alot of gifts this year as I'm sure alot of you crafters are planning as well.

Wishing you a happy upcoming week!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just for Fun...

You Belong in Winter

Quiet, calm, and totally at peace...

You're happy to be at home, wrapped in a blanket, completely snowed in

Whether you're lighting a fire or having a snowball fight, you always feel best in the winter.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Artful Blogging

I bought the latest issue of Artful Blogging last night and WOW! My blog banner is featured in the back! I'm so thrilled! I never thought my banner would be listed in there! I know it's just a small thing for most people, but I am so new to blogging that it just made my day! This magazine is like eye-candy for me.

And have you seen their lastest issue of Where Women Create? Oh my gosh, my little corner in a spare room looks like a hurricane hit most of the time and I can't believe how organized and inspiring these women are! I am put to shame! :-) I am going to have to get busy on my "craft room". No wonder I haven't felt very inspired lately. I just can't imagine not having huge piles of fabric laying around, paint bottles spilling out of containers, and scrapbook paper piled sky-high threatening to overturn at any minute. I obviously need some shelves and lots of drawers for starters! :-) Somehow I believe that most women are like me, and having to use a spare room for their crafts and hobbies. I could be wrong, but unless you are professional or just have alot of money to spare, I don't see how you can have rooms like these. I hope to get my little craft room looking better by the first of the year after classes are finished in December and I have some breathing room to do things. I am definitely inspired now to get it together!

Keep on crafting!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tea on Tuesday: Pear Crisp with Lemon Sauce

I made an apple crisp this weekend, but I wasn't as thrilled about it as I usually am this time of year. I think I've eaten too many apples since my fav Macintosh showed up in the grocery stores in Sept. So I thought maybe a pear crisp would be a nice change.


* 5 medium baking pears (such as Bosc), peeled and sliced (5 cups)
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 3/4 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
* 2/3 cup regular rolled oats
* 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
* 1/4 cup butter or margarine
* 1/3 cup sliced almonds
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 2 tablespoons cornstarch
* 1/2 cup water
* 1 egg yolk
* 1 tablespoons butter
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 375 degree F.

2. Toss pears with 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of the shredded lemon peel in a 2-quart square baking dish.

3. For topping, in a bowl combine oats, brown sugar, flour, cardamom, and 1/4 teaspoon more lemon peel. Cut in the 1/4 cup butter or margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in almonds. Sprinkle topping over fruit.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until fruit is tender and topping begins to brown.

5. Meanwhile, stir together 1/4 cup sugar and cornstarch in a 1-quart saucepan. Add water; stir until combined. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove saucepan from heat. Beat egg yolk in a small bowl. Stir in little of the hot mixture into beaten egg yolk. Return all of the mixture to the saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until nearly bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, the remaining teaspoon lemon peel, and lemon juice. Serve sauce warm over crisp.

Makes 6 servings.

~~yummy recipe and photo from:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

17 days until Thanksgiving

beaufiful fall picture from:

Wow, this month is going by so fast! I couldn't wait for October and now Thanksgiving is creeping up on us. The temperatures definitely say it is later in the year. Our warm temps are over and the highs are in the mid-50's during the day & 30's at night! BRRRRR....Of course, in another two months or so, I'll be wishing for weather like this and calling it a heatwave!

Hope you're having a wonderful Monday and best wishes for the week!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My FIrst Badge

I am very excited and feel like a kid back in school! And so I just have to share this little tidbit of news. I was a Girl Scout in my younger days and I really enjoyed earning all the badges. Somewhere I still have my Girl Scout sash with all my badges...I really should look for that one day. Anyhow, I joined Mary Janes Farm back in August and I really enjoy their board. I applied for my first badge in crocheting at beginner level. I sent in a picture of my first pink scarf and voila! I now have my first beginner-level badge in Stitchery. How sweet!

Keep on Crafting,

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cool Pink Button

get this cool pink button from Delaney Gates!

Tea on Tuesday: WW Blueberry Streusel Muffins

It seems to be that time of year when I fight to "maintain" my weight and NOT gain while trying to stay on my Weight Watchers program. You know how the holidays are...yummy. This can really be hard for those of us trying to stay on Weight Watchers and at the same time, not feel left out with all the holiday goodies. Here's a muffin recipe to the rescue! I think you could probably substitute any berry and it would be just as delicious. It's a moist cake with a delicious crumb topping & bursting with berry-flavor!


* 2 1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour, divided
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp table salt
* 1 large egg(s)
* 1 cup(s) sugar, divided
* 3/4 cup(s) reduced-fat sour cream
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 1/4 cup(s) fat-free skim milk, divided
* 2 cup(s) blueberries, washed and picked over
* 2 tbsp butter, melted

* Preheat oven to 375ºF. Place muffin liners in a 12-hole muffin tin.

* In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

* Using an electric mixer, beat egg with 3/4 cup of sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add sour cream and beat until thoroughly combined; blend in vanilla extract.

* Add half of flour mixture and half of milk to sugar mixture; beat until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and milk; beat until smooth.

* Fold in blueberries and fill each muffin liner about 3/4 full; set aside.

* To make streusel topping, in a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup each of sugar and flour. Pour in melted butter and combine with fingertips. Divide crumb mixture over muffins; gently press into top of muffin batter with fingertips.

* Bake until slightly golden and a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pans for about 10 to 15 minutes and then transfer muffins onto racks to cool completely.

Yields 1 muffin per serving.

Notes: You can use any combination of fresh berries in this recipe. Frozen berries are fine to use as long as you make sure they’re completely thawed first.
POINTS® Value: 4
Servings: 12
Preparation Time: 14 min
Cooking Time: 35 min
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Monday, November 3, 2008

Joys of Butternut Squash

My mother-in-law left me a boat-load of butternut squash and it looks like I will be freezing quite a bit. I love butternut squash soup! Here's what I found out about freezing Winter Squash:

Choose firm, well-shaped squash that are heavy for their size and have a hard, tough skin. Do not choose those that have sunken or moldy spots. Avoid squash with cuts or punctures in the skin. Also, slight variations in skin color do not affect flavor. A tender rind indicates immaturity, which is a sign of poor quality in winter squash varieties.

1. Cut off the ends of the squash to stabalize it for cutting. Then, with it sitting on its bottom, take a vegetable peeler or paring knive and remove the peeling from all around the squash. (If it is extremely difficult to remove the peel, microwave the squash for about 3 minutes and it will be much easier to peel).

2. Cut squash into half lengthwise and remove the seeds with a spoon. It can now be further cut into smaller chunks for cooking (and then freezing.) I think 2-cups would be a good size to freeze at one time since I like making soup, so I'm going with 2-cup size freezer bags or freezer containers.


A few ideas from my Weight Watchers program..........


Weight Watchers
* 3 spray(s) olive oil cooking spray
* 1 pound(s) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, long “neck” cut into sixteen 3/4-inch-thick sticks*
* 1 tsp table salt, or to taste
* 1/2 tsp chili powder, or to taste (optional)

* Preheat oven to 450ºF. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

* Arrange squash fries on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and chili powder; liberally coat with cooking spray.

* Roast, turning once, until desired crispness, about 14 to 18 minutes. Yields 4 fries per serving.


* *Start with a large squash. You will end up using about 1 lb of squash and have the “bulb” of the squash left over.

Any hard winter squash will work in this recipe.

POINTS® Value: 1
Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 10 min
Cooking Time: 18 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

A great alternative to deep-fried potatoes. These fries are slightly sweet, slightly spicy and oven-baked for a nice roasted flavor.


Weight Watchers

* 1 spray(s) cooking spray
* 1/2 pound(s) sweet potato(es), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
* 2 pound(s) acorn squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (OR butternut squash OR a combo of both squash)
* 2 tsp canola oil
* 1 tbsp unpacked brown sugar
* 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

* Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray.

* Place sweet potatoes and squash in prepared pan. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; toss to coat mixture well.

* Bake, covered with aluminum foil, for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Yields about 1/2 cup per serving.

POINTS® Value: 2
Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 35 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

Weight Watchers

* 1 1/2 tbsp ginger root, grated
* 1 medium leek(s), white part only, coarsely chopped
* 4 3/4 oz frozen apple juice concentrate (undiluted), about 1/2 cup
* 3 large apple(s), Golden Delicious, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
* 3 pound(s) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut in chunks (about 1 large squash)*
* 4 cup(s) canned veggie broth, divided**
* 1/2 tsp table salt
* 1/2 tsp black pepper
* 1/2 cup(s) fat-free half and half

* Combine ginger, leek and apple juice concentrate in a large pot; cover and simmer until leeks are tender, about 10 minutes. Add apples, squash and 1 cup of broth; cover and simmer until very tender, about 1 hour.

* Purée soup in pot using a hand-held immersion blender. Or purée soup in a blender in small batches (be careful not to splatter hot liquid) and return puréed soup to pot.

* Add remaining 3 cups of broth, salt and pepper; simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes. Stir in half and half and serve. Yields about 1 cup per serving.


* *Partially cooking a hard-shell squash makes it easier to peel. Pierce the gourd in several places with a fork, microwave on HIGH for 6 to 10 minutes, depending on size, and then peel.

**If you prefer your soup on the thicker side, do not add all of the broth.

POINTS® Value: 3
Servings: 10
Preparation Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 90 min
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

This soup highlights some of fall's best ingredients: fresh apples and sugar-sweet squash. It's delicious made with pears instead of apples, too.

And last, but not least......

Weight Watchers
* 3 pound(s) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1-inch cubes
* 2 medium onion(s), peeled and quartered
* 29 oz canned vegetable broth
* 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
* 1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
* 1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste
* 1/4 cup(s) fat-free sour cream
* 1 medium scallion(s), thinly sliced, for garnish

* Preheat oven to 425ºF. Place squash and onion in a large baking dish. Pour in broth and bake, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. (Don't worry if some of the pieces get a bit browned — this will add to the roasted flavor of the soup.)

* Remove from oven and let vegetables cool for about 15 minutes; puree in batches in a blender or food processor.

* In a small skillet, toast curry powder over low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes (be careful not to burn it); stir into pureed soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper; garnish with sour cream and scallions.

Yields about 3/4 cup of soup and 2 teaspoons of sour cream per serving.

POINTS® Value: 3
Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 60 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

Curry and butternut squash pair beautifully in this easy-to-make soup. For added flavor, mix in a handful of peeled garlic cloves when you roast the vegetables.