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New Year’s Eve Fun

There are all sorts of traditions for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  One I have done for many years, and few others seem to know about, is hiding money outside.  I have no idea where it came from.  My mother did it so I do too.  It involves hiding some money outside on New Year’s Eve, then bringing the money into the house on New Year’s Day.

moneyoutside1

I don’t think it matters how much money is outside, just whatever you think best.

moneyunderrock

When you wake up on New Year’s Day, bring the money inside, and bring good fortune with it.

Of course, we have to have Black Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day.  I usually make a version of Hoppin’ John, a dish of black eyed peas and rice.  The rice is for prosperity and the peas are supposed to bring good luck.  Since I usually cook with a bit of this and that, I’ll post the recipe I use tomorrow.  Right now I can tell you what it has in it, but not the quantity of each ingredient.  I’ll make it tomorrow and measure as I go.  It is a bit different, as it is more like baked beans, much more flavorful than the usual peas on rice.  Maybe I’ll call it Jumpin’ John since I have kicked it up a notch! If you use dried peas, put them on to soak tonight.  I’ll use canned peas to make it fast.

We are having a few friends over for New Year’s Eve. The savories will be served buffet style, so the tablescape set for grazing. The color scheme this year is black, white and gold.  I got out the black glass octagon plates, and set them with gold and white linens.  The chargers tell my guests where to place their nibbles, as everyone is bringing a dish. I ran up a quick black and gold table topper on my serger to complete the setting.

New Year's Eve tablescape

We will be sampling three champagnes to see if there is really a difference.  I decided to run up a few wine bags this afternoon to hide the labels, and match the table topper.  They go really fast.  Start by measuring your bottle around the largest part of the width and the height.  Divide the width by 2.  I made mine 6 inches wide x 20 inches tall.  The finished size is 10 inches tall by about 11-1/2 inches around.

Black gold fabric

Fold in half to create the bag, and serge both sides.

Black gold serging wine bags

Switch to a rolled edge and finish the top.

Black gold wine bags finishing

Tie with a ribbon around the neck of the bottle.  I put wine bottles in them to show you the finished project.  They will hold champagne tonight.

Black gold wine bags

Don’t you love this white reindeer? It was a gift last year from a friend. It stays out after all the Christmas decorations are put away because I like to decorate with white for January. I filled the planter with golden glittery apples. On either side are black candles with a gold accent. The gorgeous white roses were an anniversary gift from my dear, sweet husband. These are my favorite flowers.

Roses

On the quilting front, Santa (aka DH) brought me the Electric Quilt 7 software, so I’ll be doing more original designs this coming year.  I already have two in the works so stay tuned!

Have a wonderful New Year!  Do you have any special traditions?  Don’t forget to hide your money outside before you leave for the evening.  Have a special reward for the designated driver, and stay safe!!

Valley dusk December

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December Block of the Month 2014

Ever have one of those times where you just cannot get motivated to finish something? That is how I felt with this last block for the Block of the Month for 2014.  First of all, I did this local quilt store’s block of the month club so I could work with batiks and see what all the fuss was about. At the end of the year, I say meh. To make it more difficult, their choices in color and pattern have been haphazard, unfocused and obviously unplanned. This was very evident in the last block of the year. Without any thought to what has gone before, the staff decided to have the last one scream CHRISTMAS!!!!

BOM Dec 2014 fabrics

None of the other blocks have had any seasonal reference, and this one, so obviously holiday, really sticks out and not in a good way.   So, I’ll be changing the colors. I traded the red to a friend for this prettier gold.

Dec 2014 BOM 2

The pattern is Christmas Star from Quilt Blocks Galore.  So, looking at the block instructions given, and what now? Why on earth would you want to cut four squares of the same color, then sew them back together? Why not cut just one larger square? Naturally, the LQS didn’t give us a wide enough piece of the green fabric to do that, so now the green in the pattern will be gold, and the gold will be aqua. I just hope I can keep that straight, another reason I am writing instead of sewing, LOL!!

Dec 2014 BOM 4

OK, here is what to cut for this version.

Light Grey background
eight 3-inch squares
eight 2-1/2-inch squares
two 3-1/2-inch squares

Gold
one 4-1/2-inch square
four 3-inch squares
two 3-1/2-inch squares

Green/Aqua
four 3-1/2 inch squares cut in half to make 8 triangles
four 3-inch squares

Draw diagonal lines on the eight 3-inch grey squares, and the two 3-1/2 inch grey squares.

Dec 2014 BOM 3

Pair the 3-inch green/aqua squares with grey ones and sew 1/4-inch away from the diagonal lines. Pair the gold 3-inch squares with grey ones and sew 1/4-inch away from the diagonal lines.

Dec BOM 2014 - 4

Chain piecing helps save time.

Dec BOM 2014 - 5

Cut on the lines and press towards the color.

Dec BOM 2014 - 6

Pair the 3-1/2 inch grey squares with the gold and sew 1/4-inch away from the diagonal lines. Cut on the lines and press. Cut one more time to create 1/4-inch triangles.  Pair with the green triangles and sew.

Dec BOM 2014 - 7

Square all the component blocks up to 2/12 inches.

Dec BOM 2014 - 9

Using the tape on the square up ruler helps make cutting quicker and accurate.

Dec BOM 2014 - 10

Lay out all the HSTs and QST/HSTs in the manner given on the pattern.

Dec BOM 2014 - 12

Since I changed colors, I had to go to the original web page to see which colors went where at the corners and on the flying geese.  The quilt shop only gave us page one in black and white, another gripe.  The gold should be in the star points with the aqua in the corners.

Dec BOM 2014 - 11

I found it easier to make 4-patch units with this one, so I started by sewing the units in pairs.

Dec BOM 2014 - 13

Then I did the four patch units, laying out the block after the units were pressed.

Dec BOM 2014 - 14

Those little squares in the middle units were hard! I had to rip out and sew twice.  Another place where a square with two triangles sewn to it would have made more sense and be easier to get a nice point.

Dec BOM 2014 - 17

Then I put rows together.

Dec BOM 2014 - 15

Pressing after each stage, making sure the seams were opposite for nesting, here is the final block.

Dec BOM 2014 - 16

I am really glad this project is over.  I have an idea for setting, but at this point I am not sure it will get done anytime soon.  I am not a batik fan, and the thought of spending even more money on more batiks to finish just creams my corn.  Maybe later.  Or maybe it will just get slammed together for a charity quilt.  Decisions, decisions.


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Christmas Tablescape and an Appetizer recipe

Whether the celebration is on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, the perfect menu needs a pretty setting.  This year I set my table with the Lenox Holiday Tartan china I inherited from my mother.  Red placemats embroidered with green holly leaves and cutwork are at each place, with matching napkins in holly berry metal napkin rings.

Christmas Table 2014 - 2

Under everything is a Christmas quilted table runner I made to fit the table.  It is made of blocks that I did as tests for a Block of the Month several years ago.  It was suggested that we use red and green for our practice blocks so we would have a Christmas quilt when we were done.  I liked that idea!

ChrTopper1

There are twelve 8-inch blocks in the center, and two 12 inch blocks on each end.  Three 8-inch blocks and two 12-inch blocks both add to 24 inches, so they fit with each other.

ChrTopper2

Then a border was added with cornerstones.  It looks cute by itself, and looks nice with a solid placemat too.

ChrTopper3

Each place has a dinner plate with a rimmed bowl in the center.  Coffee mugs and small bowls for the salad course complete the setting.  I also have bread plates, but didn’t put those out this year.  I’ll probably be using them for the cinnamon rolls I plan to bake for breakfast.

Christmas Table 2014 - 1

The center decoration has evergreen boughs with glittery birdhouses at each end next to the red candles.

Christmas Table 2014 - 4

Small Christmas music boxes are nestled into the faux evergreen branches. Each one plays a different Christmas song.

Christmas Table 2014 - 3

I used candle rings with gold balls and pine cones around the red candles.

Christmas Table 2014 - 5

I will use the pretty rimmed bowls for the appetizer course.

Shrimp Avocado Remoulade

The holiday menu is elegant yet doable by one slightly obsessive, foodie home cook.

Shrimp and Avocado Remoulade

Prime Rib with Sauteed Mushrooms

Buttery Mashed Potatoes with Green Onions

Pear Salad with Mayonnaise and Cheddar Cheese

Steamed Broccoli

Crusty French rolls with Butter

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

Here’s the recipe for the appetizer.

Shrimp and Avocado Remoulade

4 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons ketchup

1/2 teaspoon paprika (or more to taste)

1 teaspoon horseradish sauce (optional)

12 medium shrimp, cooked, peeled, deveined, chilled

1 medium avocado, peeled and cubed

lettuce leaves

Mix mayonnaise with next three ingredients, adding horseradish if some heat is desired.  Cut shrimp in half and add to a bowl with cubed avocado.  Add dressing by tablespoon, stir until the shrimp and avocado are lightly covered in the dressing.  The amount is variable by taste preference and size of the shrimp.  Serve on lettuce leaves.  Four servings.  Store the remainder of the dressing in a jar in the refrigerator, it will keep for a couple of weeks.

Shrimp Avocado Remoulade 2

We’ll enjoy our meal with a fire in the fireplace.  The table is set for four, with the end areas holding the serving dishes this year.

Christmas Table 2014 - 9

The library is also in here, and has our Christmas stockings this year. It makes a large, high ceiling room seem cozy.

Christmas Table 2014 - 8

Wishing you a warm and wonderful holiday, full of love and laughter, family and friends.

Merry Christmas!!

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Holiday Tour of Inns Part 3

This is the last of the Holiday Tour of Inns posts.  I hope you have enjoyed seeing the inside of these wonderful Victorian era homes.  Out in Laurel Park, on top of the mountain is the Echo Mountain Inn.  Just look at the view behind this charming village.

Echo Mountain Inn 2

The unusual wrought iron railing is decorated with green garland, and teddy bears on the steps.

Echo Mountain Inn 4

Small touches are evident in the guest rooms, tucked into corners.

Echo Mountain Inn 12

There was a huge stone fireplace in the main room open on two sides that was heating two rooms.

Echo Mountain Inn 16

Last on the tour was Aunt Adelin’es, whose owner was obsessed with nutcrackers.

Aunt Adelin'es 2

A tree decorated with purple balls and ornaments graced the main living room.

Aunt Adelin'es 6

Lovely antique furniture in the dining area held more nutcrackers.  There were nutcrackers at the base of the tree, too.

Aunt Adelin'es 7

There was even a ‘tree’ made entirely of nutcrackers.  There were literally hundreds of them in the house, in the hallways, bedrooms, bookshelves, everywhere..

Aunt Adelin'es 9 Nutcracker tree

Outside, the stone pillars add interest to a lovely porch with garlands and wreaths.

Aunt Adelin'es 3

I hope you enjoyed the Holiday Tour of Inns as much as I did.  It might be difficult to decide which Inn to book for a stay!

Happy Holidays!!

 

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Holiday Tour of Inns Part 2

More ideas today from the Holiday Tour of Inns, a day of open houses at local bed and breakfast historic inns.  In the downtown area there are three inns.  The Inn on Church is a block off Main Street. On the front porch was a tree dedicated to finding homes for dogs and cats at the local humane society.  This is one of the few bed and breakfasts that is pet friendly.

Inn on Church 2

The wood architecture inside this inn is stunning. The staircase hardly needs its garland with lights and bows to be beautiful.

Inn on Church 3

There was a large Santa over the main room fireplace.

Inn on Church 5

In the dining area, a rack of antique linens is next to a decorated tree.

Inn on Church 8

Just north of downtown are two inns side by side. The Claddagh Inn has a nice veranda, and is decorated inside with an Irish theme.  Aren’t these windows wonderful?

CladdaghInn 1

Decorations are simple here, and the rooms are simply furnished.

CladdaghInn 3

Cute idea to put teddy bears under the tree.

CladdaghInn 6

Next door is the Waverly, a gorgeous Victorian, three-story painted lady.

Waverly Inn 1

Another inviting veranda.

Waverly Inn 3

Inside are richly painted wall colors and several decorated trees.

Waverly Inn 4

The staircase photo came out a little dark, but you can see the interesting architecture along with the greenery garland, red flowers and gold bows.

Waverly Inn 7

Up on the third floor, decorations continued with poinsettias and Santa figures. Even the hallway invites guests to sit and relax a while.

Waverly Inn 9

Click on Holiday Tour Part 3 to see the last of the holiday homes.

 

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Holiday Tour of Inns

The Hendersonville Historic Preservation Commission held a Holiday Tour of Inns as a fundraiser for their preservation efforts.  Seven local bed and breakfast Inns participated with wonderful Christmas decorations.  This was the first time I have been inside many of these wonderful homes, and DH thoughtfully recharged the camera battery before we went so I could share some of the beauty and decorating ideas.

This is the Elizabeth Leigh Inn, a wonderful Victorian home with a wrap around veranda.  It was built in 1893, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Elizabeth Leigh Inn 1

The front door welcomes holiday guests.

Elizabeth Leigh Inn 3

The wood staircase was draped with lights, garland and red bows.

Elizabeth Leigh Inn 4

My mother-in-law could live in the purple room, with the fireplace decked out in purple too.

Elizabeth Leigh Inn 5

Greenery, red wine glasses and Red Castle china create a holiday sideboard.

Elizabeth Leigh Inn 9

Even on a December day, the veranda is inviting.

Elizabeth Leigh Inn 12

Next is the Pinebrook Manor Inn, a little farther out of town with more land and garden area.

Pinebrook Manor Inn 1

A sunny yellow main living room has Santa on display with a lovely garlanded fireplace. Cherubs trumpet over a crackling fire.

Pinebrook Manor Inn 5

Back on a sunporch, a little village nestled into the greenery. Wouldn’t you like to shop here?

Pinebrook Manor Inn 6

A Santa collection graces the corner of the breakfast room with another decorated tree.

Pinebrook Manor Inn 7

There was a beautiful tablescape on the formal dining table, with Old Rose china on gold chargers.

Pinebrook Manor Inn 8

The stair railings were draped in greenery garland with red bows and cardinals.

Pinebrook Manor Inn 10

In the front room was a lovely tree with a red and gold ornaments, bows, angels and Santa figures.  All the front windows held electric candles surrounded with greenery and red bows.

Pinebrook Manor Inn 3

There was just too much to show all in one day, so will continue tomorrow. I hope you are enjoying all the decorating and tablescape ideas!

See Part 2 Holiday Tour of Inns

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Christmas Cookie Cutter Ornaments

My trusty glue gun was fired up once again to make some new ornaments for an upcoming exchange.  I made a bunch of these a few years back and thought it was time to revive the tradition. All you need are some cookie cutters and embellishments like buttons or crystals.

Button tree ornament

You’ll need a cookie cutter in the open style made of metal. Start by gluing a loop of ribbon on the top for hanging. Then glue rows of buttons on the cutter, using lots of different types and sizes. Glue more buttons on top of others to fill in spaces. On this ornament, I also glued buttons to the inside.

Button tree ornament 2

I found this red candy cane shape and started with red buttons. I forgot to do the loop first on this one.

Candy Cane Button Ornament 1

Red buttons were glued in rows all the way around.

Candy Cane Button Ornament 2

White buttons glued on top of the red ones create the candy cane look.

Candy Cane Button Ornament 4

The angel started with the cording for hanging.

Angel 1

Then white buttons were added all around.

Angel 2

Another tree started with clear snowflake beads.

Tree crystal 1

Then I added some pearls.

Tree crystal 3

The last tree got satin ribbon roses with small crystals for light accents.

Tree roses

You can really use whatever you have on hand. They make really pretty additions to the Christmas tree, great package tie-ons, and special little gifts for quilters and bakers.

Cutters on tree

Note that I did clean up all the glue strings, LOL!!

Cutters on tree 2

Have you made any cookie cutter ornaments?

 

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