Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Last Supper (of 2009, that is!)

Here we are at our favorite restaurant, Verde's Parilla having our last meal of 2009. If you have not tried Verde's, we cannot recommend it highly enough, it is fabulous!
A note about photography, one should not choose a camera based on it's "cute" factor. I will try to get better photos in 2010!
I hope everyone has a safe and fun New Year's Eve!

Christmas with the In-laws

Here are some pics from our gathering at my sister in law's house. The top one is me and 3 of my SILs in the aprons that I made. The next one is my husband's brother shaking up the Cosmopolitans. And of course, finally, the great Southern tradition of photographing the food!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all! I hope everyone has a wonderful, safe holiday. Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, peace, goodwill to men.

Christmas Memories

This is yet another one of the spots in the house that I deck out for Christmas. The china cabinet came from my grandparents, who purchased it shortly after they married. The silver tray on the top also belonged to that grandmother. The china inside came from my parents, it was a wedding gift from my uncle who was in the Navy in Vietnam at the time. He came through Hong Kong on his way home to the wedding and he purchased the entire set at the Sango factory. He hand-carried it all the way home to South Austin where he gave it to my folks. My mom passed it to me when I got the cabinet.

Bar-B-Que Jars

Here it is, the famous BarBQue Jar! I got this idea from a friend who found it in a magazine. They are a favorite of my husband and I made some for he and his coworkers to enjoy on Christmas, as there is no place open for them to grab a quick bite. It is very easy to make these and they travel so well, all you need is a plastic fork and a big napkin!

Here's what you need:

At least 4-1 pint wide mouth jars, you can also use disposable plastic containers, but the jars look really neat! I got these at HEB for less than $5.

1 large can of your favorite beans, I use Bush's Grillin' Beans.

1 container of cole slaw, I get mine in the HEB deli, you can certainly make your own.

1 jar of your favorite pickles, I use Claussen Stackers, cut up.

1 jar of your favorite BBQ sauce, I use Corky's (from Memphis, of course!).

Cooked brisket, I use HEB brand, cut up. You can also use cooked sausage, turkey or chicken. The amount depends on your appetite and your jar size.

In each clean jar, place a layer of the beans, meat, a drizzle of sauce, coleslaw, and top with pickles. Tightly screw on the lid and refrigerate until ready to eat.

If you want to continue the theme, you can make Banana Pudding and put it in the small jelly jars for dessert!

As you enjoy the holiday with your loved ones, please remember the men and women who are working to protect our local communites, our highways and our country.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Frilly Scarf

This is the scarf that I have been working on since February (the one I bought the supplies for at Debbie Macomber's shop). It is made out of ribbon instead of regular yarn. You make a hole in the ribbon with your needle and knit that, instead of wraping it around the needle. The distance between the holes determines the fullness of the ruffles. What can't be seen in the picture is the silver thread that runs along the edge of the ruffle. I am really happy with it and have already started another one.

Mish Mash, At Last

This is my latest project, all ready to be quilted. In an effort to be less "matchy matchy", a friend and I bought these fabrics at a shop in Corpus. The pattern is called "Mish Mash" and is a great way to use fat quarters. It takes 14 FQs and a little over a yard for the seperating strips. The photo on the top is the back and binding, I heart striped binding!!!

Yard Art, Spicewood Style

Well, here it is, as promised! This is our front yard and, yes, that is the jolly old elf getting a ticket. There are few things in life that speak to you and say, "Buy me", this was one for me! What you can't see is the husband's patrol car in the driveway and the neighborhood radar trailer at the street. We thought we had a chance in the decorating contest, but we experienced some "technical difficulties" with some of our lights. Oh well, there's always next year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Aunt's Cranberry Salad

This recipe came from my aunt, sometime after this picture was taken! That's her and my dad a few years back. Anyway, this is a must have for me at Christmas.

Cranberry Salad

Chop 1/2 of a bag of fresh cranberries and sprinkle with sugar. Allow to sit while you proceed with the recipe.

Dissolve 2-3oz or 1-6oz package of Black Cherry Jello (if you can find it, cherry will do in a pinch) in 2 cups of boiling water. Let this stand in the fridge until it is the consistency of egg whites. At this time, add the chopped cranberries, 1 large can crushed pineapple and the juice, 1-2 chopped apples, depending on the size and 1/2 cup chopped pecans. Stir this well and pour into a 9 x 13 casserole and refrigerate until set.

For the topping, combine 1-8 oz package softened cream cheese, 1 small container vanilla yogurt, 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. I use a hand mixer for this to get all the lumps out. Spread over the Jello mixture and, if desired, sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Valentine is 2!

Yes, it is hard to believe it has been 2 years since our sweet girl was born. We had had a dog before, but she was a protector, not a lover. Val is a total lovebug and she has brought so much laughter and fun to our house. She is definitely the best gift ever! Russ summed it up very well when he recently said, "She makes everything better!".

2 Cute Organizational Ideas

Here are two cute things that I saw in Sandra Lee's magazine, Semi-Homemade. The jar came from Pier One and has a chalkboard panel on the front, it even came with 2 pieces of chalk. The second pic is my version of one of her ideas from a summer issue. She put all her kitchen sink "stuff" on a glass cake pedestal. I loved it because I love cake pedestals, but don't always have a use for one. The tall glass bottle in the back with the purple liquid in it is dish soap. Years ago, I saw Martha Stewart do this, so of course I had to as well! If you haven't checked out Sandra Lee's magazine, I really recommend it. A subscription is reasonable and her ideas are doable for normal people.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I received this video in an email and loved it! This is my favorite Sting song, so I was really fascinated by this.

Back to Blogging

Hello again, dear followers! I am sure you thought that I had disappeared for good, but no, I am still here! My sweet husband was home sick from work all last week. Yes, the infamous workaholic was felled by the flu. I looked back and realized that the last time he was off work sick that long was 2000 when he suffered a fall on the job and was not allowed to work for 10 days. Some would think that with a sick spouse sleeping all day I could get a lot accomplished. Some would be incorrect!!

We are all decorated for the holidays, inside and out. I only have 8 trees inside this year, with the other 3 in Johnson City. We do have a new outdoor display this year, check back next week to see those pics.

My current projects include 5 customer quilts in the longarm queue, 1 customer t-shirt quilt, 2 quilts made out of bandanas for my cousins and as many Christmas table runners as I can make for Johnson City! I also hope to make a new apron pattern that Theresa gave me this week. It is a nursing apron for new moms. It is pretty cool, like a pinafore with boning in the top to allow the mom to make eye contact with the baby, while maintaining modesty. I'll take a pic when I get it done. I also finished knitting a scarf that I started in February. I got the yarn in Port Orchard, Washington at Debbie Macomber's yarn shop called "A Good Yarn". If you aren't familiar with Debbie, she is a wonderful author of many books and an avid knitter.

The Spicewood Strippers had their annual holiday get together yesterday and it was a lot of fun. We roadtripped to New Braunfels to the Quilt Haus and then had lunch at the Grist Mill in Gruene. We stopped off in Blanco at Blanco Settlement, since the other ladies had not been there. I picked up a carton of the Aspen Mulling Cider Spices in the Orange Cinnamon flavor. For her Thanksgiving meal, Theresa made a pitcher of regular iced tea and put a whole carton of the Orange Cinnamon Cider Spices in it and it was FABULOUS! It is by no means lo-cal, but for a special gathering, it will be a hit.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Giving Thanks
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Thankful Thoughts

The unthankful heart...discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart...will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.
-Henry Ward Beecher

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.

Psalm 100
A Psalm for thanksgiving

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless his name.
For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, and His faithfulness to all generations.

He's Baaaacckkk!

Yes, this is the same turkey that crashed our Halloween party. I guess that he is like the annoying distant cousin, 3 times removed, that shows up on every holiday. When we went out for our walk this morning, I heard him and so did Val. We looked up and there he was. She is not a fan because he runs toward us when he sees us. He was still there when we came back, so I grabbed my camera. After Halloween it took him 4 days to find his way 2 blocks home ( I say he because obviously he needed directions and wouldn't ask!), I wonder how long it will take him this time!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Deck Them Halls, Ya'll

It is finally done!!! Yes, we are ready for Black Friday at the Old Lumberyard! No, we are not having any doorbusters and we don't expect anyone to camp out to be the first one in, but we still expect (and hope!) to be very busy.
If you are in the area. please stop by and see us. I will be there Friday night from 5-9 and that is when the lights will go on at the courthouse and at PEC.

Fire Station Festivities

Last Saturday we attended the official opening of our new fire station. It was a gray day, but it was a wonderful gathering with lots of speeches and some traditions that I did not know about. For example, the dispatch came on the speaker and officially put the station into service and then the guys pushed the main engine back into the bay to put it into service. Well, they were supposed to push it, they practiced ahead of time and couldn't do it so the truck was running and had some help from the driver. Anyway... it was still really cool!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fabulous Fall Muffins!

Here are the muffins I made for an "after work snack" for my hubby, notice the appliqued tea towel (more Accuquilt action!). I got this recipe from a friend who is a Weight Watchers leader and they are great! You combine 1 box of yellow cake mix and 1-15 oz. can of solid pack pumpkin, that is it, nothing else. You may want to use a hand mixer because the mixture is kind of rubbery and you want to get rid of all the lumps. Divide the batter into 12 cupcakes and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. These babies have only 2 points each. For a variation, you can use a spice or chocolate cake mix. YUM-O!

Sassy Chick Pincushion

I have now surpassed the century mark in the production of Sassy Chicks. Yes, I have made over 100 of these gals. This one is a special order and I thought she was especially photogenic!

Selvage Bag

This is a "Heart Desires Bag". I usually make these out of scraps, but I thought it would be really cute out of selvages. The button can make or break the look, of course, I always go for the "blingy" ones!

Selvage Quilt

I have had a really productive couple of days and it feels really great! I made a lot of progress on two customer projects and I also finished a couple of my own items. As I have mentioned before, I have acquired the "Selvage Bug"-much more serious than H1N1! Anyway, I completed my first selvage quilt yesterday. I used my SIL's Accuquilt to cut the Tumblers and after cutting 100 of them, I owe her a new mat since hers now has a hole in it-EEK! The Accuquilt is a really cool gadget and after using hers, I am glad that I do not own one myself, as I would get nothing else done. Oh, the things that I could create!

I used selvages in every other block and misc. black and white fabrics in between. The borders are two different "Quilt Diva" fabrics that different friends have given me and the back is a minkee that is pink, lime and black paisleys on a white background. I quilted freehand, wavy lines vertically on the quilt, as there are some edges that stick up. I broke it in last night watching "House Hunters"!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dust Off That Crock Pot!

I recently found this great recipe in the October issue of Southern Living magazine. I have already made it once and I plan to do it again today.

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

1 1/4 lb. ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (1.25 oz.) envelope chili seasoning
1 (12 oz.) can beer
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
3/4 tsp salt

Cook first 4 ingredients in a large skillet until turkey crumbles and is no longer pink. Stir in beer and cook, stirring occassionaly , 2 minutes. Spoon mixture into 5 1/2 quart slow cooker; stir in corn and next 6 ingredients until well blended. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

I used Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes and added 1 TBSP cumin, 1 tsp oregano and 1 TBSP sugar to the mixture. To serve, I put shredded lettuce, diced red onion, avocado and grated cheddar cheese on top of the chili in the bowl. Be sure to have your favorite tortilla chips for dipping! YUM!

After eating this meal, you will not feel like washing dishes! To make cleanup a snap, I like to use the Reynold's Slow Cooker Liners. A cooking bag for the Crock Pot, they can be removed after use and thrown away. Bubble bath, here I come!

I found the neatest item at HEB today. It is made by Libby's and it is a boxed set of pumpkin bread mixes. For $4.99, you get most of the ingredients to make 2 loaves of pumpkin bread, including packets of vanilla frosting drizzle. I am going to make mine in the small, disposable aluminum pans to give away as gifts this holiday season.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Johnson City Update

As some of you already know, my sister in law and I have a retail craft business in Johnson City in the Old Lumberyard Mall. We typically go over 2-3 times per month to "fluff' everything and put out new merchandise. Today we made our first trip with Christmas items and we will have many more in the coming weeks. We had a great lunch at the Silver K Cafe next door and we highly recommend stopping there whenever you are in the area. We also went out to the Blanco Settlement on the Henley loop (rr165) outside of Blanco. It is one of cutest gift shops you will find, a must see! Another must see is the Deutsch Apple Bakery. It is at the turn onto 165, stop in for coffee and a muffin or cookie, you will be glad you did!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Update

Well here we are, the football player, the cheerleader and the ref. Yes, I know, it is pretty scary! I think the tatoos really add "that certain something" to his costume. The scariest part is that I caught him using my $40 Chanel lipgloss to complete his look! Anyway, we had a great time at our gathering and I think all the guests did as well. We had about 40 trick or treaters, 17 party guests, a fire up the street and a wild turkey decided to roost on our roof. Just another normal night at the Thompson house! Many thanks to all who helped us pull it off and all who attended.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Out-of-this-World Oatmeal Cake

I got this recipe from a neighbor and is so incredible I have to share it.

Oatmeal Cake

Combine 1 1/4 cup boiling water and 1 cup quick oats and let stand 20 minutes.

Cream together 1/2 cup shortening, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 eggs. Add oat mixture, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 cup flour, 1tsp. soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1tsp. vanilla and 1 tsp baking powder and mix until combined. Spread into a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Just before you take the cake out of the oven, combine 1/3 cup softened butter, 1 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 cups coconut (or 1 1/2 cups coconut and 1/2 cup chopped pecans), and 1/2 cup evaporated milk. Spread this mixture on the hot cake and put it under the broiler until the topping is bubbling and carmel colored, mine took about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Welcome to my first ever blog post! Today we had a wonderful fall day, rainy and cool-perfect for quilting! The Pedernales is back and the lake is rising. Life is good in Spicewood!

Tomorrow I have Strippers ( my quilting bee, thank you!) and then Wednesday and Thursday we will be getting ready for Halloween. We are going to grill burgers on the driveway for neighbors and a few friends and family. The three of us have a common theme for our costumes-check back next week to see the pics, you will get a good laugh!

My latest sewing endeavor is using selvages. Yes, just when you thought I had used every possible scrap, I am using the selvages, too! Check out to see some amazing projects. I will post pics of mine as soon as I can.