Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday Projects and Fun

Now that there is no need keep secrets about holiday are a few that I completed.

Socks for my sister....

A sunny quilt for the newest member in the nephews' second cousin, Kaylee ( 9 mos).

© 2011 Linda A. Miller

© 2011 Linda A. Miller

She likes her quilt...

And a few photos from our festivities...

And to share a taste treat, I made this Chocolate Mousse recipe for Christmas Eve.  Delicious!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Solstice Reflection

"Winter Sun"

I ask all blessings,
I ask them with reverence,
Of my mother the earth,
Of the sky, moon, and sun my father.
I am old age: the essence of life,
I am the source of all happiness.
All is peaceful, all in beauty,
All in harmony, all in joy.

-anon. Navaho

On this Solstice day as I take a break from blog posts, 
I leave you with a few seasonal photographs and my best wishes 
for a wonderful, peace filled holiday to you and your family.

A favorite ornament made by my nephews (a number of years ago).

Monday, December 19, 2011

To a New Home

© 2011 Linda A. Miller

Happy to say that "Now" has sold!  Thank you, Dennis!  May it bring much enjoyment.
This quilt, inspired by the hand painted calligraphy in the center section, is pieced, machine and hand quilted.   Dimensions: 25" x 25"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Let the Baking Commence!

Baking time has arrived again as I get ready for gift giving.  Gone are the days of baking six cookie varieties as I used to do when my folks still lived nearby.  I did the family baking and we split the cookies between us to give away. Since they moved south to San Diego and we don't see each other until the holiday, I keep the baking simpler.  This year I am making three of the family traditional cookies, Hazelnut Meringues, Chocolate Drops, and Springerle (an anise sugar cookie).  
So, listening to selections from Sting's  "If on a Winter's Night", and "An American Christmas" by The Boston Camerata and Joel Cohen....Ready, set, bake!  What do you bake by?

Egg whites ready for the addition of ground nuts.  I remember the days of having to shell the filberts/hazelnuts (anyone know why are these nuts are known by two names?), and then grind them in a Mouli grinder (saying that probably dates me, and no, we did not walk six miles to school in the snow..) much easier now with buying nuts at Trader Joe's ...and using food processors.

Nuts folded in, and batter ready for baking.. 

Then came the chocolate...

And finally the Springerle...since Mom has the traditional decorative rolling pin that creates patterns on the cookies as they are rolled out, I hand cut plain squares, along with some in festive shapes for a change.  
With the house is sweetly scented from baking, I will leave you with the Springerle recipe below.  The Hazelnut Meringues and Chocolate Drops recipes can be found on this post from last year.  If you try out the recipes...may they bring as much enjoyment as they bring to our family and friends!  (And if you would like all of the recipes, including suprises not on this blog, leave your email in the comments section and I will send them along!)


4 eggs
2 C sifted sugar
3 C flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 C additional flour, approximately
2 Tbl. anise seeds

Sift 3 C flour and baking powder together. Beat eggs until light, gradually adding sugar and beat until creamy. Add flour mix. Sprinkle ½ C flour on pastry board, knead into dough, add about ½ C more flour to stiffen dough. Roll out to a” thickness If using springerle mold, roll on to dough and cut out squares. If not, cut into about 2" squares. On lightly greased cookie sheets, sprinkle with anise seeds, placing cookies on the sheet. Let dry 12 hours uncovered, in a cool dry place. Bake 300ยบ, 15 minutes until lower part is light golden. Makes 5 dozen.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Appreciating Rain

Monday's rain brought out unexpected growth.

 All were grateful for the freshly washed feeling abounding yesterday.

Isn't nature's design awesome?  Much to learn from by simply observing...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Taking a Breath

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.
- John O'Donohue

Taking the time to appreciate the day and the moment...

Awake early today... to see the lunar eclipse.  Eerily beautiful.  Sorry, no photos, but here is a view from Monika in Canada.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Knitting Away

Recently I switched to knitting a different pair of socks for a Christmas gift from Ann Budd's Sock Knitting Master Class. (As if I needed one more thing to do before the holidays, oh well.)  Same pattern as the black pair I had begun - Almondine (page 63) by Anne Hanson.  The yarn is Online Supersocke 100 - spot color.  One sock is almost done, one to go.  Love this lace work pattern!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cleaning Out and Giving Back

Lighten Up - (detail) 2009
INSTEAD of waiting until new year, I decided to start the season with cleaning out and donating items to people and various resources.  Admittedly, it all began with putting a new shelf in my workroom closet, which first meant taking things out of the closet to make room.  Amazing what I found.. non working cameras, long forgotten fabric, supplies, and more.   I try to keep things visible, but the habit of storing away seems to take over when busy with work.  Why keep what I do not need?  It feels wonderful to share it.  Giving and sharing are part of this season.  Generosity can foster such a positive force in all our why not do it more often?  And what lightness comes with less clutter in the space...inspiring creativity and joy!
Artist and teacher, Lyric Kinard, wrote a wonderful post about giving and service.  Visit Lyric's blog for more!  How are you giving this season?  Know others talking about this subject?  I would love to hear about them.
 Post Card - 1975


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