Holiday Baking 2018

Taking a few days off of work gave me some time to start my holiday baking.  With a son who is on a low sugar and low gluten diet (not for any medical reasons, it’s just healthier), I worked out a few new recipes.

Having read somewhere that Stevia can be substituted for half of the sugar when baking, I decided to try to make cookies with a lower sugar content.  Using the traditional Tollhouse Cookie recipe as the base, I made some mint flavored cookies. You really couldn’t tell that there was less sugar in them than the normal recipe.

Mint Chip CookiesIMG_2834
Makes 4 dozen
2  1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cup granular sugar
3/4 cup Stevia
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Green food coloring
1/2 cup  Mint Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1/2 teaspoon shortening

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Beat butter, sugars, vanilla and coloring until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until bottoms are light brown.  Cool slightly, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Heat dark chocolate in microwave until starting to melt.  Fold in shortening and mix until creamy. Drizzle chocolate over cookies.

Yummy!!

IMG_2835Next, I decided to try making a new recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, but modified to use Gluten-free Flour (King Arthur Measure for Measure).  The first batch I made tasted great but was extremely crumbly.  For the second batch, I added an egg to the mix.  This gave the dough enough binder to hold the cookies together.

Cherry-Walnut Balls (modified)IMG_2832
Makes 4 dozen
1/4 cup coarsely chopped maraschino cherries
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cup  Gluten Free Flour (KAF)
3/4 cup Chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Drain the maraschino cherries on paper towels.  Beat butter on high for 30 seconds.  Add sugars, egg and flavorings and beat until creamy. Gradually beat in flour.  Stir in nuts and cherries. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 18-20 minutes until bottoms are light brown.  Cool slightly, then roll in powdered sugar to coat and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Lastly, I planned to make my personal favorite – Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies. However, when I looked into my pantry, I realized that I had some lemon wafers that needed to be used up. So, I decided to try to alter the recipe and make a lemon-lime flavored version.

Lemon-Lime Thumbprint CookiesIMG_2833
Makes 5 dozen
1 cup butter
1 cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Green Food Coloring
1/2  teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lime juice powder (KAF)
2 1/2 cups flour
Lemon melting wafers (KAF)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Stir in egg, coloring and vanilla. Mix together dry ingredients and stir into butter-sugar mix. Shape into 1 inch balls, roll in sugar and place on baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately top with melting wafer. Cool slightly, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Hat and Scarf Sets

Each year, my dental office works with a local charity to collect and donate items to children in need.  Whether it be “Toys for Tots” or “Hats and Mittens”, our doctors, staff and patient families actively participate.

This year, I decided to combine my love for crafts with this donation opportunity.  Having knit and crocheted several scarves earlier in the year, I decided to make some hats to go with the scarves. I have tried making mittens and gloves but without much success.  So, I purchased a pair of waterproof gloves to go with each set.

Queen Anne’s Lace Scarf, Crochet hat

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Variegated Yarn Infinity Scarf and Headband

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Lace Knit Infinity Scarf and Hat

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Islet Crochet Scarf and Rib Knit Hat

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Swirl Knit Scarf and Crocheted Hat

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Ripple Crochet Scarf and Wavy Knit Hat

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I hope these are enjoyed by the person who receives them.

 

Give Thanks!

A year ago, with Thanksgiving approaching, I decided to make a decorative fused glass plate for my kitchen. IMG_2537

 

  • Grapes: Transparent Glass full fused to make 1/2 inch pebbles.
  • Corn: Varied pieces and colors of glass full fused to make small pebbles.
  • Cornucopia (streaky tan) and Pumpkin (streaky orange) opaque pieces heat polished (1300º F) to smooth the edges, transparent amber fine frit between each piece prior to fusing the plate.
  • Words: Photo Transfer Paper, Delphi Glass
  • Light Contour Fused (1325º F) to create plate.

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All went well until I placed the glass in a ceramic mold to slump it into a plate form.

Unknown to me, the contractor that was doing some work in our family room shut off the power to a few circuits.  The power to my kiln was interrupted and when I returned from work and opened the kiln, my plate had cracked. Bummer!

Unfortunately, this meant that my plate was not ready for Thanksgiving last year.

So… back to cutting and heat fusing.

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This time, all went well and I now have a plate to display for Thanksgiving this year.

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To salvage the cracked glass, I broke it into smaller pieces, pot melted the pieces and made a beautiful melt plate.

 

More Donation Quilts

Having received a large quantity of fabric from my sister, I needed to make room for storing this.  Sorting through my current stash of fabric, I found a container of dyed fabrics that I had made when trying different dyeing techniques.

These swatches were each 5″ x 5″.  Many of my original dyeing samples were used in previous projects,  such as described in “Fabric Dyeing” and “Spring has Sprung“.

The ones left were a bit dull in color. No longer needing these, I decided to make another of the many quilts in my “Future Projects” folder on my computer.  To brighten them up, I combined them with white fabric and use variegated thread for the quilting.  It’s amazing how the white makes even drab fabrics look cheery.

This was a simple pattern that combined these 250 different swatches in long rows separated by white sashing, turned on point and set in asymmetrically.  I really like how it turned out. IMG_2732

Reworked quilts to donate.

This summer, I received two large boxes of craft supplies from my sister.  When the boxes arrived in the mail, I had so much fun sorting through the contents. Thanks Sis!

In the boxes there was yarn, started crochet projects and yards and yard of fabric!  Some of the fabrics were precut into strips and squares, others were whole pieces of fabric.  And, still others were already sewn sections.

After sorting through the boxes and finding storage spots the multitude of supplies, I decided to finish some of the projects that she had started.

In the box were three pieced quilt tops, each very similar, and some corresponding excess fabric.  The pieced tops were comprised of sixteen blocks (set 4×4), each quilt measured 84″ x 84″.

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Since my plan was to donate these quilts, I needed to rework them to a twin XL size.  To accomplish this,  each of the quilts needed to be longer.  However, since the three quilts were each slightly different, I couldn’t just take four blocks off of one and add them to the end of a second quilt.  I needed to take them apart and rearrange the blocks.  In doing so, I decided to use a different fabric for the sashing between the blocks.  Using a fabric with very little pattern helped to set off the blocks and make them more eye catching.

The first quilt included twenty identical blocks reset with the new sashing fabric.

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The second quilt was similar.  However, there were not enough matching blocks to make the quilt of only one block.  So, the quilt was made alternating two different blocks.

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Starting out with three quilts, each with 16 blocks, I had a total of 48 blocks to use.  With 20 in each of the two quilts I had already completed, I only had 8 blocks left over for the final quilt.  I did also have some yardage of matching fabrics.  So, some creative block setting and use of the extra fabrics and I had a third quilt pieced.  I really like this one!

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After quilting and binding, I sure hope someone finds these a comfort on the cold winter nights that will be coming all too soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swirl Scarf and Flowered Shells Hat

Several years ago, my mother made a lovely swirl scarf for me.  The scarf was one that she made without using a written pattern.  At the time, I asked her to describe the pattern.  It’s  fairly simple, just remember to relax to keep your yarn tension very loose.

img_2567Knit Swirl Scarf

Materials:
Color A: Tan Worsted Weight Yarn, 100 yards
Color B: Variegated Worsted Weight Yarn, 50 yards
Color C: Fur style Yarn, 50 yards
US Size 9 circular knitting needle
US Size H crochet hook
Pattern:
Using color A, cast on 100 stitches.
Row 1: Knit across, keeping tension very loose.
Row 2: Knit two in each stitch, keeping tension very loose (200 stitches).
Row 3: Knit two in each stitch, keeping tension very loose (400 stitches).
Row 4: Knit two in each stitch, keeping tension very loose (800 stitches).
Row 5: Knit two in each stitch, keeping tension very loose (1600 stitches).
Row 6: Attach color B and knit across (1600 stitches). Cast off all stitches.
Edging: Attach color C with slip stitch.  Sc in each stitch along edges of the scarf. Weave in all yarn ends.

Yesterday, I decided to make a hat to match the scarf.  The pattern I used was one I have had in my pattern collection for a while. However, I revised the pattern by removing two of the 5Shell rows in the white section of the pattern and completing the the final SC row with fur style yarn.Shell Hat

Pattern: Flowered Shells Hat

Designer: Melissa Frank

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/flowered-shells-hat

Together with the scarf, it makes a nice set.

Hat & Scarf