Wednesday, December 31, 2014

No-Reply comments

I'm so pleased to read your comments.  I love hearing from readers!  But I have tried to reply to several of you today, only to see that you are "no reply bloggers".  Now I respect the fact that you are entitled to your privacy!  Really, I do!  But I think that most "no reply" people don't realize that their settings are what they are.

I always try to send an email reply to everyone who comments to one of my blog posts.  (Sometimes I get overwhelmed, but I do try)..  If you commented and didn't hear from me, there's a good chance that you have your privacy settings such that I can't contact you.

SOOOOO..... if you win...... I can't send you an email!  This is ok with me, but if a no-reply person wins, I'll post their name in a blog post- and if they don't happen to see it and contact me in a few days, I'll have to select another winner.

Make sure I can reply to you.... or make sure you check back on ANY blog if you enter a drawing.

This is just a thought.... but if you really don't want your email address out there on the internet, and if you like to keep your email uncluttered, you might consider opening a different email account (a free one like yahoo or gmail or many others).  Then just keep that one for "junk" or newsletters and blog posts.  A lot of people do that. (Just make sure you check it once in a while, though!)

Giveaway- Tradewinds Pattern (Ends Jan 15, 2015)

It's a new year and time for a new giveaway!  Let's run this one for 2 weeks.  I'll draw the winner at random sometime on January 15, 2015.  The winner will receive a Tradewinds quilt pattern.  This is a beautiful quilt.  I'm making this one myself.  When I get the binding on it, I'll show it to you.  :-)  In case you're wondering, the Strip Tube Ruler MAY be used to make this pattern, but it's not necessary.  It's a great ruler, but you can make this quilt without it.

For the month of January, I'll putting this pattern and the Strip Tube Ruler on sale on my website.

There are lots of ways to gain entries.  For one entry in the drawing, all you have to do is comment to THIS POST that you would like to be entered.  That's it!

For extra entries, you MUST make ADDITIONAL comments!  (So I can keep count of them).
For extra entries, you may do any or all of the following:
*Be a follower of this blog.  You can be a long-time follower, or a brand new one.
*Help spread the word.  You may have one entry for each DIFFERENT post telling others about the giveaway.  You may post about the giveaway on your own blog, do a Facebook post, tweet, or whatever.  Just spread the word.
* Just for fun.... tell us about your favorite specialty ruler.

This is just the first giveaway of the year.  I'll be running one or two per month, so keep checking back!

Happy new year, everyone!  I hope 2015 is the best year ever for you and those you love.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My New Bottle Tree

Look what Santa brought me for Christmas- a BOTTLE TREE!  I've wanted one of these for a long time.  But it's not as if you can just drive on down to your local bottle tree store and pick one up- especially in the northwest.  My son, Steve, has a welding hobby and this year he surprised me with this beauty.

Bottle trees originated in the southern U.S.  Their history is based on superstition, but I don't know much about it and if I write anything, I'll probably get it wrong.  If you're curious, just type "bottle tree" in your search engine and you'll get lots of info.  For me- it's yard art.  And with all of the wineries in the northwest, there is no shortage of empty wine bottles around here.  I've seen bottle trees made from wood, but they are most often metal.  My son welded metal rods and twisted the ends upward so a bottle could be slipped on.

This is just the beginning.  We'll sink it into the ground and anchor it with metal (and maybe concrete) so it will withstand the rain and wind.  We're also going to wire it with little white lights, and insert a few lights inside each bottle.  I'll be planting some sort of flowering vine at the bottom and train it to climb the "trunk" and provide foliage around the branches.  We'll also be hanging a few hummingbird feeders that are made from upside-down bottles.  This is going to look SOOOOOO cool!  And my other son and his wife gave me a blown glass bird bath that will look beautiful next to this.  I can hardly wait for spring!!!!

I sew things for Steve and he welds things for me.  Gotta love it.  THANK YOU, STEVE!!!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Festive Treats

It may be a little late to show these, since the holiday baking is pretty much over, but maybe I'll show my goodies now and re-post it earlier next year.  :-)

I have this great little gingerbread tray that I made at a do-it-yourself ceramic studio a few years ago.  I love to make gingerbread men.  I've been doing it since my sons were little.  This year, I made my gingerbread from scratch, using the recipe in the Betty Crocker cookbook.  Sometimes I just use a boxed mix.  It's all good.  The faces and buttons are just a little confectioners' sugar and a few drops of water.  I used a toothpick and dotted the icing on.

But the really fun things were the little marshmallow mugs!  I got the idea on Pinterest.  (Gotta love Pinterest!)

Here's the Gingerbread pan.  It's made by Wilton.  Mine is pretty old, but I think they still make it.

For the mugs, I broke off the top of little candy canes and stuck them in the side of large marshmallows.  Then I melted a few chocolate chips and spooned a little on top to be the hot chocolate.  For the tiny marshmallows, I had to get creative.  I snipped a large marshmallow into little pieces.  But I couldn't get them on the chocolate because they were so sticky, I couldn't get them to let go of my fingers.  So I rolled the little pieces in a bit of confectioners' sugar and poof!  They just dropped wherever I wanted them!

I make the gingerbread men every year.  We love them.  But the hot chocolate cups were new this year and were a big hit.  SO EASY, too!  Oh--- and the rest of the candy canes got smashed to use for chocolate peppermint bark.  I forgot to take a picture, but all you do is melt chocolate and sprinkle the chopped up peppermint on top.  When it's set, just break it into pieces.  Easy peasy!