Friday

A Year to Remember

It's hard to believe that 2011 is almost over...I am still eating Christmas cookies...but 2012 is just a few days away!  I can't wait to celebrate and look back at all of the blessings we have received in 2011!  

November is usually the time that we spend reflecting on our blessings....but I LOVE New Years!  It is the perfect time to look back to the year that has passed and look forward to receiving even more in the year to come.

In 2011 we were blessed with the birth of three beautiful grandsons, Mikey, Nick and Robbie.  I can't imagine not having them...and to think last year at this time we didn't know them!!!  They have made this year sooooo fun!

 Michael Robert

 Nicholas Tiangtum

Robert Wesley

As well as being blessed with three sweet grandsons we had our son Micheal leave on a mission to Seoul, Korea in February!  I never realized how many sweet experiences came to the families of missionaries....but I can truly say that having him gone doing something he loves...makes this one of my greatest blessings of the year.

Elder Michael Dorrough

Our baby girl Tina graduated from high school in May (which seems like yesterday...seriously)!  
Tina's Graduation Day

We moved our daughter Camilla and her family t0 Utah from Washington...moved our daughter Sam to Iowa and our daughter Brandy to Texas!  Our son Neal, moved back home from Arizona....I quit my full-time job to spend time with my boys and grandchildren this summer....





....and then was rehired part -time (which is heaven)!  oh...and I became the momma of a brood of chickies!  


With all of the notable events of this year it would be easy to see why we feel blessed.  Everyone is healthy and happy.  However, the greatest blessings from 2011 are the small and simple ones that often go unmentioned.  2011 was a year for which I am very grateful for and I can't wait to see what come in 2012!!!

I am going to take a little time this weekend before the rush of work and school returns to write down some goals for 2012.  I found my journal-goals for 2011 which I wrote while on a trip to Vegas on New Years last year....and funny how they all happened without me even looking at them through the year.

I read a quote a couple of days ago that said the things that matter you get done...the things that don't matter you make excuses for.  It is sooo true!  So, the key is to find what matters the most and "put a pin" in the things that don't really matter.  Sometimes it's a challenge to say "no" to things you feel you "must" do....but when you make your day and what matters the most to you a priority you will feel the joy come back into your days!

I hope you find some time to reflect on 2011 and the blessings that have come into your life this year.  I know that no matter how difficult or challenging it may have been there are always blessings to be grateful for...even if they are the small and simple things that are often overlooked!  

I wish you the happiest of New Years!

All Joy,

Abby   



Thursday

Here Comes Santa Clause Sale

My goal every fall is to have all of my Christmas shopping done and everything wrapped before  December 1st so that I can relax and enjoy the reason for the season....and spend more time sewing!  I am a couple of weeks late and finally finished yesterday (except for a few things I need to pick up at our local boutique this weekend:).

 Ho Ho Ho

I spent yesterday wrapping our gifts with Gracie and had to chuckle as she thought they were all for her.  After playing Ms. Clause yesterday I thought I would give a little Ho Ho Ho by marking my Christmas patterns down by 25% through the holidays with free shipping on all Christmas patterns!  You can find the patterns at My Etsy Store.

Dear Santa

  There is much love and warmth to share this time of year and  I hope this holiday season is merry and bright for you and your loved ones.  Merry Christmas!!!

He'll Fill Your Stockings

All Joy,

Abby

Monday


Let it snow...let it snow...let it snow!  This weekend we got 8 inches of white beauty!  I looks beautiful here in Woodland Hills.  I think the snow fairies sprinkle extra sparkle in our snow up here because our snow sparkles like it has been sprinkled with crystal dust!  

I have four projects I am working on this week that use lace dollies.  The first one I am posting is a simple easy project with a lace dollie and a scrap of wool.  The instructions are posted below.  I love the sparkle dust that shines when this is finished. 


Materials List

10" square of blue wool fabric
One 3" lace doily - White or Off White
Antique White Spray Paint
White Sparkle Glitter
Fabric Glue
Paint Brush

Frames Available at www.tweetledeedesignco.etsy.com 





Place doily on cardboard backing and spray with white spray paint until white and wet.  The spray paint stiffens the doily and helps the glitter stick.



Once the doily has been sprayed (only one side) you can place in the center of the blue wool square. 




Take a paint brush and dip in fabric glue.  Lightly touch tops and edges of the doily where you want extra amounts of the glitter to stick.


Get a small amount of glitter on your brush and tab onto fabric glue spots and use fingers to lightly sprinkle all over the "snowflake".  Let dry.

Once dry....stretch wool on a piece of backing (cardboard) that will fit in the size opening on your frame and place in opening.  Time to sit back and enjoy your one of a kind snowflake that will glisten all season long!  

Time for me to go and work on my second project....a set of burlap snowflake pillows for my front sofa.  I'll post tomorrow night!

All Joy,

Abby


Tuesday

Christmas Mini's

Is it too early to say Happy Holiday?  I am so excited for this holiday season and can't wait to share my two new mini Christmas embroidery patterns with you!  They are the first two blocks in a new Christmas embroidery quilt that I have been sketching and stitching the past couple of months! The first is...

All Is Merry and Bright

...which has a sweet gingerbread house, flocked trees and bright snowflakes!  The second block is ...

There Is No Place Like Gnome for the Holidays

...which has a cute gnome elf who is wishing all a happy holiday!  These patterns are 4" x 4" and are quickly stitched and can be framed or sewn into the Christmas quilt. The patterns are available at My Etsy Shop and can be shipped in time for you to have ready before your elves arrive for the holiday!

I hope you are having a wonderfully fun week with your families getting ready for Thanksgiving!  We are up to our wrists in apple pies...(I don't mind at all :).  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for a few reasons...one, I had a few ancestors at the first Thanksgiving who were very grateful to have survived their adventure to this new land and secondly, I love the simplicity of a holiday to remember all we have been blessed with. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

All Joy,

Abby


Monday

Doughnuts and Fritters

Saturday was National Doughnut Day and our family had a lot of fun getting out our favorite fried dough (doughnut) recipe to help support the national cause! 


My families recipe came from me dear sweet Grandpa Lyke.  I was raised on a farm in upstate New York, that had miles of maple trees.  Our family harvested sap to make and market their own maple syrup.  It was a big deal in January and February to see the sap buckets on the trees.

My Great Grandparents and Grandfather Lyke on the Farm

We were told not to taste the sap because it was needed to make the syrup...but once in a while my Grandpa would sneak a cup of it to me and smile with a look that clearly said, "don't tell".  After the sap was all boiled down into syrup and the work was done.  My Grandpa and Grandma celebrated by making a fried dough which they called Maple Syrup Fritters.  

Grandpa and Grandma Lyke

I'm not sure how many years they had this tradition...all I worried about was eating each hot fluffy bite...soaked in syrup.  Grandpa would fry the dough on the stove and would give each of us a bowl of fresh maple syrup.  We would take the hot fresh fritters and soak them in syrup.  The dough is light and airy which allows it to sop up any goodness it is dipped in.

On Father's day this year we made these fritters as a way to remember Grandpa and to share with my husband and boys.  The recipe made a huge batch and each puff of pastry was devoured by the time we left for church.

Maple Syrup Fritters

So, for National Doughnut Day I wanted to try my Grandfather's recipe as a rolled doughnut.  I tweaked his recipe to add a little more flour so that the dough would roll and cut.  They turned out so good...the family was for sure that it was the recipe for the famous Krispy Creme Doughnuts!  I think they were fabulous and that Grandpa and Grandma would have loved them.  I hope you do too....


Grandpa Lyke's Maple Syrup 
Fritters and Doughnuts

2 Tablespoons of Self Rising Yeast
1/4 Cup Warm Water
3 Cups Luke Warm Milk
3 Eggs
1 Cup Sugar
3 Tablespoons of Cinnamon
2 Teaspoons of Vanilla
5 Cups of Sifted Flour (For rolled doughnuts add two and half extra cups of flour)

Dissolve yeast in water and sugar.  Add beaten eggs, vanilla and milk.  Sift in flour and cinnamon to make a smooth batter.  If you desire rolled doughnuts add approximately two and a half extra cups of flour until dough is slightly sticky.  Let dough rise for 45 minutes.  

For fritters drop dough by large teaspoon fulls into deep hot cooking oil that is 375 degrees.  When one side is slightly brown, turn over and lightly brown the other side.  Lift out of oil and let cool on a paper towel.  Dust with powdered sugar and dip into real maple syrup.

For rolled doughnuts flour counter and roll out dough to half to 3/4 inch thickness.  Use a doughnut cutter or a large glass and a small circle to make the doughnut shapes.  Gently lift into hot cooking oil and let lightly brown on both sides.  When both sides are done, lift out of oil and place on a paper towel.  Roll doughnuts in sugar, cinnamon, powdered sugar or a glaze (see recipe for syrup in December 2010 blog posts).


 Maple Syrup Glaze

1/2 cup of butter
1 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of corn syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup


Heat until butter is melted and all ingredients have blended together.  Simmer on a med to high heat, stirring often until it bubbles for 10 minutes.  

I hope you and your families enjoy this recipe as much as I have and now my children do.  He always had a bashful smile and rosy cheeks...and I know he would be embarrassed that I was posting something about him....but he was one the sweetest Grandpa's a girl could ask for and I cherish the times I had with him...and the memory of him dishing me up hot fritters and his own maple syrup.  

All Joy,

Abby




Wednesday

Counting Chickens

My husband gave me a gift this summer....13 baby chickens!  I guess when I quit my office job he wanted to get me back to my farm girl roots.   We have fallen in love with these little girls.  I collect chickens and roosters in my kitchen and now I have the real live ones to play with...outside of course.




They have grown over the past few months and now are running around our yard playing with the deer.  Actually, the deer love to tease them.  It makes me laugh in delight when I see the deer intentionally eat the chicken food just to bug the chickens.  They will wait until the chickens are on our rock wall and then sneak up and push them off!  No lie....deer really have a mischievous personality.



I designed a wool pattern to celebrate my new sweethearts.  "Faith is Counting Chickens" is one of my favorite sayings.  Kind of the glass half full versus the glass half empty kind of thing.  I added this pattern to my kitchen with my fake roosters and hens as a reminder to me to believe that all good things will come to those who have faith.

Faith Is Counting Chickens

This pattern is available on my Etsy Page.  It is a simple and quick (as always) wool applique pattern that fits in a 12" x 12" frame which can be found at any Hobby Lobby.  I hope you enjoy stitching this new pattern and having another excuse to play with your favorite wool scraps!

Oh.....one more story...I have been blaming my little hens for eating my pumpkins on my front porch.  Tonight I found who the real criminals are....


...it doesn't look like a bunch of chickens to me!


Caught red handed or should I say orange mouthed?  I love these "critters" as my son would say.  They make living up here in the mountains a treat every day.  

All Joy,

Abby

Tuesday

Banana Creme Brulee French Toast

As you all know I love to experiment with recipes and different ingredients...so this weekend while I was searching for pumpkin eggnog (which was NOT in the stores yet) I wondered what french toast would taste like with a flavored dairy creamer.  Hmmm...which one to choose...they all looked good...but we settled on Creme Brulee.


Beautiful Creme Brulee French Toast

The smell of the Creme Brulee dairy cream was so amazing as it cooked, but the sauce needed something....but what?  I looked around my kitchen to see if there were any raspberries...nope.  I looked at my fruit bowl and I had just purchased two big bunches of bananas.  So, in the spirit of Bananas Foster...I made a syrup with the Creme Brulee Cream and bananas.  It looked like golden heaven....so here is the newest experiment from my kitchen to yours.

Creme Brulee French Toast

One Loaf of Texas Toast
4 Eggs
4 Cups of Nestle Dairy Creme Brulee Creamer
2 Teaspoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
Non-Stick Spray
Butter

In a medium flat bowl or pie plate, crack eggs and whip.  Mix in Creme Brulee creamer, and Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix.  Heat griddle and spray with non stick spray.  When it is hot and ready.  Dip Texas Toast into cream mixture and let the bread soak some of the mixture and place on griddle.  When one side is golden toasted brown flip over and brown the other side and butter.  Repeat until the loaf is finished.  

Banana Creme Brulee Syrup

1 Cup Butter
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Cups Nestle Dairy Creme Brulee Creamer
4 Large Sliced Bananas

In a heavy saucepan on medium heat melt butter.  Add brown  sugar and whisk together.  Heat until bubbly.  Whisk in Creme Brulee Creamer until all is Incorporated and bubbling, which will thicken the sauce.  Once the sauce has thickened so it slowly pours off of a spoon, add sliced bananas and coat with syrup.  Spoon over Creme Brulee French Toast and enjoy!

This breakfast was so yummy that it could easily satisfy a midnight sweet craving.  Now that I know these creamers work as any heavy cream would, I am excited to try some of the other flavors in a few new recipes.  I hope you enjoy!

All Joy,

Abby





Thursday

Fabulous Fall Sale

I have spent the last couple of days getting excited for fall as unpacked all of my fall goodies and cleaned up my Etsy Shop to make room for the new fall and winter patterns AND for the 25% fall sale!
Counting Pumpkins

Now through October all Fall Patterns are 25% off.  I will be adding two new wool patterns next week and will send updates as they are posted!  

 I Am Not Scared

 My Pumpkin Angel

 The Littlest Pumpkins

 We Gather Together

 Candy Is Dandy

 Hisk And Hark

 Boo To You

Laughing Pumpkins

There is nothing like the colors of fall and the rich feel of wool and fabric.  I hope that you will find a project that inspires you to get stitching!  I have my seasons fall pattern I am taking with me tonight to Adam's football practice and a new Jack-o-Lantern pattern in my bag ready to be whip stitched for you!  So get out your favorite scraps of wool and get ready for some fabulous fall stitching!

All Joy,
Abby

Monday

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

Labor Day weekend is full of tradition for our family.  It seems that the this last summer holiday comes just after school starts and we are all rebelling..resisting the submission to cool weather....and yet we celebrate fall and can't wait for the crisp cool days.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with 
Warm Butter Caramel Spice Sauce &
Chocolate Cinnamon Whipped Cream

You may know I am obsessed with bread pudding and was inspired when making my sons some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies a couple of weeks ago, to try making a bread pudding with the same flavors of one of my favorite cookies....to me the are fall in one bite!

It was delicious pudding needed something special so I created a Warm Butter Caramel Spice Sauce and a Chocolate Cinnamon Whipped Cream to top it off.  Oh my....it smelt and tasted like fall in my kitchen and got us excited for the cool days ahead.  

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

1 Large Loaf of Texas Toast
4 Cups Heavy Cream
2 Cups Pumpkin
1 Egg
1 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
2 Tablespoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon
2 Cups of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl combine cream, sugar, egg, pumpkin, vanilla, and spices.  Cut bread into 1 1/2" cubes.  Lightly toss bread with cream mixture.  Do not stir as it will make the bread toss.  I use my clean hands and lightly toss it.  Let it stand 30 minutes tossing a few times to allow cream mixture to absorb completely. 

Butter a 9" x 13" baking dish and fill with the bread mixture.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the bread mixture and carefully move the bread to let a few chips fall down between the bread pieces.  I like to save my best looking bread pieces for the top.  Bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees. 

Chocolate Cinnamon Whipped Cream

4 Cups Ice Cold Whipping Cream
1 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
2 Teaspoons of Vanilla
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

Pour ice cold whipping cream into a cold mixing bowl.  Add sugar and vanilla.  Whip on a medium to high speed until the powdered sugar and vanilla are incorporated and smooth.  Sprinkle in the cocoa and cinnamon and whip on high speed for five to ten minutes until the cream has become stiff with peaks.  Chill and serve with warm Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding.

Warm Butter Caramel Spice Sauce

1 Cup of Butter
1 1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream
1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda

Melt Butter in a medium sauce pan.  Add heavy cream and dark brown sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice.  Whisk together on medium-high heat until it bubbles into a light boil. 

 Let bubble-boil for 5 to 8 minutes until the sauce thickens.  Remove from heat and sprinkle in baking soda while whisking.  This will create a frothy foam in the sauce that is so yum.

Serve the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding warm with a drizzle of the Warm Butter Caramel Spice Sauce and a dollop of the cool Chocolate Cinnamon Whipped Cream.  


Avoid the temptation to spoon out the last of the butter caramel sauce...it is so scrumptious.  I think I am going to use this sauce on some apple spice pancakes tomorrow morning for Adam's 11th birthday.    

I hope this dessert gets you as excited for fall as it did our family.
Bring on the cool days..I'm ready!

All Joy,

Abby










Sunday

My One Thousand Gifts - It Takes Each Of Us

"It takes each of us to make the difference for us all."...a saying that inspired me a year ago while sitting in a hammock among the brilliant fall colors, writing a few "just because notes". 

It Takes Each Of Us

I finished and framed this stitch a month ago and have had it in my living room waiting to be shipped...which means I've had some time to look at it and think about why I designed it more than I get to with my other projects.  I have reflected on the people who have made a difference in my life and feel very blessed.  It's amazing what you have time to think about when there is a quiet house!  


I have also found some time to read a book called One Thousand Gifts writtne by Ann Voskamp.   I have loved this book!  She challenges  you to find one thousand gifts in your life...one thousand things that bring you joy.  I have taken the challenge and have discovered that I can find a measure of gratitude in the oddest things.  Ann's writing is so poetic and visual...it is a treat for the soul.  I love the imagery of her life on the farm, her family, and the search for joy in the simple everyday life of a wife and mother. 

 Having grown up on a farm...I can see what she writes and have thoroughly enjoyed every page.  I keep it in my purse and pull it out while I am waiting for kids to pile into the car, or when the house is still.  It is so uplifting and has helped me to breathe a little deeper, enjoy my life and family more, feel more peace and less stress...which is a big deal for me :), and simply see good more clearly.  

With the new time I have on my hands I found a new social media treasure,  Happy Rambles.  It is a online gratitude journal that is set up through your email.  It sends you a message each day (at your choice of time) with a request for you to write  the things that you were grateful for that day.  You can upload pictures... journal a little...send it in, and you create a online private journal.  You can review your previous entries and print it out as you desire...and the best thing is it's free!

One of the features that I love is that you can forward a "mention" in your Happy Rambles to someone who you have written about or expressed gratitude for...sort of a online thank you.  I LOVE my Happy Rambles and how it is helping me to make my list of One Thousand Gifts so easy to write.  

I hope you take the time to check out these two great "finds" and "find" a little more joy!  The pattern for It Takes Each of Us can be found on my Etsy Page.  I will post a tutorial for making the fabric flowers before the weekend ends....super easy and cute.  

Have a great holiday weekend!!!  

All Joy,

Abby



Monday

Raspberry Brownie Truffle

It has been a few weeks since my last post...those last few weeks of summer are so busy!  We had three of our kids move back home which made my heart overflow with joy, but meant I had three kids to move in and get ready for school and college! 


We played up until the last day before school started and now it is my time to sew, bake and to hit all the shops I have found this summer on our road trips.  My favorite find was a shop in American Fork, which I will blog about later this week.


For now, I wanted to share a new recipe that we made yesterday that had me sighing, it is a Raspberry Brownie Truffle. My daughter called to let me know that our local raspberries were on sale at our favorite grocery store, so we grabbed a couple of flats.  


Not knowing what to do with that many raspberries, I went to Pinterst! I was inspired by a photo which I added to My Pinterest Raspberry Board....but of course I had to tweak it a little.  So here is the easy delish version... 


Raspberry Brownie Truffle




2 Dark Ghiradelli Chocolate Brownie Mixes
Eggs
Oil
2 Pints of Raspberries
1 Quart of Whipping Cream
1/2 Cup Sugar
3 Teaspoons of Pure Vanilla
Truffle Bowl

Mix both brownie mixes according to the instructions on the box and pour into a large deep 11" x 13" baking dish.  Bake according to instructions and let cool.  Pour whipping cream into a cold mixing bowl and whip on high, gradually adding the sugar and vanilla and whipping until stiff and fluffy.  Set aside. Cut the brownies into one to two  inch squares.

Layer into the truffle bowl a layer of the brownies, raspberries and a thick layer of the whipped cream.  Repeat to make three layers.  Top with a generous dollop of cream and garnish with sugared berries.  Refrigerate until time to serve.  Enjoy!!!!!


Wednesday

Our Best Bites

All I can say is ....oh my gosh!  I love the cookbook Our Best Bites by Sara Wells and Kate Jones.  I have been browsing their cookbook and blog for the past month and found a recipe we had to make this morning.....Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes with Peanut Butter Maple Syrup.  Yes...all good things together...so it's time to share!


Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes with Peanut Butter Maple Syrup


Chunky Monkey Pancakes {Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Peanut Butter Syrup}

Recipe by Our Best Bites
1 1/2 C flour 
 3Tbs sugar  
 2 tsp baking powder  
 1 1/2 tsp baking soda 
  1/4 tsp salt  
 1 1/2 C buttermilk * 
 1 tsp vanilla extract  
 1 Tbs canola oil  
 1 large or extra large egg   
 2 small-med ripe bananas 

  1/4 C mini chocolate chips (or reg. chips roughly chopped) tossed with 2 tsp flour
Cooking Spray or butter for pan
1 C maple syrup
1/2 C peanut butter
*As a substitute for buttermilk, place 1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice or vinegar in a 1 1/2 C measuring cup and then fill the remainder with milk.
Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together. In a separate bowl combine buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla and whisk well. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until moistened and combined. Place bananas in a bowl and roughly mash with a fork. Fold into batter. Add the chocolate chips that have been tossed with flour and stir.
For syrup, heat peanut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add maple syrup and gently whisk to combine. Heat in the microwave for another 30 seconds, whisk, and then set aside.
Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet to medium heat. Coat pan with little butter and then pour on pancake batter. Use1/4 C batter for large pancakes (4-6″) and 2 T for kid-sized ones (2-3″). Wait until bubbles form and edges are set and then flip.
Reheat syrup if necessary and pour over warm pancakes.
Yield: 28-30 2-3″ pancakes (using 1/8 C batter measure)
              14-15 4-6″ pancakes (using 1/4 C batter measure)
Freezer Instructions: Let cooked pancakes cool to room temperature. Place in a single layer in the freezer until frozen and then place pancakes in a ziplock bag or airtight container. Reheat in a microwave or toaster until heated through.  




 
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