Saturday

Sweet Eggnog Holiday Bread

Merry Christmas!!!  You may already have your neighbor gifts "all wrapped up", but I wanted to share our favorite with you...Sweet Eggnog Holiday Bread.  I love how this bread makes our house smell of vanilla, nutmeg...and sugary goodness. The bread itself has the texture of a pound cake, but is not too heavy and sweet.  It is just right!  


Since I can't have all of you as my neighbors on my street...I'm sharing our family's favorite recipe so you too can enjoy a little egg-noggy sweetness this weekend!


Sweet Eggnog Holiday Bread

2 Eggs
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Eggnog
1/2 Cup Butter, melted
2 Teaspoons Rum Extract
1 Teaspoon Real Vanilla
2 1/4 Cup Flour
2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg

Beat the eggs in a large bowl and add the next five ingredients.  Blend everything really well.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until it is just moist.  Pour into a greased loaf pan or into four small "neighbor" sized mini-pans (Only fill half-way).  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or 25 minutes if you are making mini-pans.  Let cool before you wrap.

Three days to go...so I am off to get a few more things done before my sweet kids from Washington show up for the week.  There is no greater gift a mom-ma can receive that to have her children home for the holidays...so I have a lot to do in the next 72 hours.

All Joy,

Abby

Friday

Cookies for Christmas

It's just a few days until Christmas and I am ready to put my apron on and gather my little "elves" together to bake up a flurry of cookies!  We have about eight different cookies and treats that we bake each Christmas. The first cookie to come out of the oven every year is my favorite "hard" gingerbread cookie.  I use these cookies everywhere in my kitchen and for our gingerbread house.  


They come out of the oven slightly soft and harden without crumbling within an hour.  Honestly...you could probably frost and Modge-Podge them to keep year after year...they are that sturdy!  So I am posting this recipe for a little holiday cheer that will last and last....

Decorator Gingerbread

1 Cup Butter
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Dark Corn Syrup
1/3 Cup Molasses
4 Eggs
8 3/4 Cup Flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Allspice
Non-Stick Spray

Cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy.  Beat in the corn syrup, molasses, and eggs until smooth.  Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix together.  Divide the dough into four parts and wrap in plastic wrap.  Place in fridge until chilled (about two hours).  Spray a cookie sheet with the non-stick spray and bake for 8 to 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  


If you are going to want to hang the cookies for a decoration, use a straw to create a hole in the cookie before baking!

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday week!  

Wednesday

Dear Santa - Free Pattern Download

We have twelve more days till Santa comes down the chimney!  I don't know about your house, but we are getting pretty excited around here.  A couple of years ago I was cleaning our home and found the cutest little note tucked into the fireplace.


Our littlest boy had heard tall tales about Santa from all of his older disillusioned brothers and sisters.  He was questioning whether Santa was "real" or not...hoping that he was coming to see him on Christmas morning.  Tucked into the fireplace was a little note that said, "Der Santa...I Luf you!"  My heart melted, so I had to make it into a stitch to remember his little "luf" note to the big jolly elf.

My little Christmas treat to you this week is a free download of the pattern.  Go to the side link and download a copy for your we little ones.

All Joy,

Abby


Monday

Ho Ho Ho - Santa Has A Brand New Bag

Monday's are crazy around here...lot's to clean and many projects to wrap up... literally!  My hubs and I spent the weekend at an all day concert that our son performed in and making a few more gifts for our children.  I promised a tutorial on stenciling on burlap, and what better way to show you how to stencil than to make a new bag for the Santa gifts!


Materials

Arcrylic Black Paint
Round Stencil Sponge Brush
Stencils
1 Yard of Red Burlap
1 Yard of Coordinating Fabric (liner)
2 Yard of Trim
Fabric Glue
Black Belt


1. Fold the yard of red burlap in half width wise and with right sides together sew two sides closed to make a sack and turn right-side out.

2.  Fold the lining fabric in half with right sides together and stitch the two sides to make into a sack.

3.  Turn inside out so that the "right-side" in on the "in-side".

4.  Slip inside the burlap sack and pin the two sacks together and the top.  Sew together about a half of an inch from the top.

5.  Fold the top down an inch once, and then turn it over an inch again.

6.  Slip stitch the folded edge to the sack face to hold in place.

7.  Using fabric glue, attach the trim around the folded and stitched edge...now your sack is ready for the stenciling!

8. Choose your wording and the stencils you want to use.  I purchased my lettering stencils at Wal-Mart for $3.69 and the scroll piece from Hobby Lobby for about $2.00.  I choose to stencil the lettering "Santa & Company".

9.  I lay out the lettering to make sure the sizing works on the fabric piece before I begin painting.


10.  I put a little bit of the paint on a paper plate and use sponge brushes so I can dispose of them after and not feel guilty.  Get your brush a little bit in the paint and dab it around on the plate to get any excess paint out of the sponge.


11.  Place the stencil where you want to begin and hold the stencil in place with one hand.

12.  Using the other hand lightly tap the sponge over the letter opening of the stencil.  I use a quick up and down motion to get as little paint on the fabric as possible.  This gives it an aged look and I can always add more (but you can't take it away).  So start with a little and add more if you would like darker lettering.


13.  Continue with the stenciling technique until all of the lettering and designs are on your sack.

14.  Let dry for about 20 minutes.


15.  Take an old black belt and maker a few smaller holes if necessary to cinch it around the top of the sack.

16.  Fill with your Santa gifts and place under the tree!!!


I love my new Santa Sack...it looks great under our tree with a few little gifts I trust the boys will not open before the big day!  Tomorrow I am using this same pattern and stenciling to make a Reindeer Treat Bag for our front porch.  If you have any questions on this pattern or painting technique, send me a message at the Tweetle Dee Design Co Facebook Page or by email at tweetledeedesignco@gmail.com.

Have a great week!

All Joy,

Abby

Saturday

Welcome Home - Burlap and Bells

Welcome to my front porch!   It is all decked out for Christmas in red and green burlap...I told you I went crazy for this stuff.  I found the colored burlap at my local Hobby Lobby and have been sewing ever since.

We have an old sled that my father-in-law gave to me years ago.  He and his siblings rode it down the hills with joy and terror and now it graces our front porch with it's own declaration of "Joy".


I painted our front door this summer and love the pop of fresh green against the red candy canes.  The door decal is from The House of Smiths.


My favorite vintage touch are the sleigh bells tucked into my candy canes door wreath.  They came from one of the horse sleds on our family farm in New York.

Every time our door opens or closes I hear the jingle of those old bells and it brings a little bit of home to the wild west!  I love using family heritage touches in my Christmas decorating.


Today I am working on a new 12 Days of Christmas project, and my reindeer and Santa sacks.  I will have instructions for all of these projects on Monday's blog post.  Have a great weekend!!!

All Joy,

Abby

Friday

Bonkers for Burlap

It's been two weeks since we ate turkey and pie...and ripped our house apart to get it ready for Christmas.  Each year I add a few more decorations to the house and this season, my favorite additions have been the burlap...


...and the extra large print of Isaiah 9:6 from Kiki & Company...it is super cool on my large wall. (I'm thinking I need a replacement print similar to this when the holidays are over.)



When we begin decorating for Christmas, every thing else in the main living areas goes away for a few months....except for one special photograph.  I cherish this picture of my Grandma Lyke, who was married on Christmas night to her childhood sweetheart. This one photograph of love and beauty, a union made on a dark snowy Christmas night, always warms my heart.


 I made these burlap pillows using some stencils and acrylic paint....I love them!!!  They are super easy to make and durable enough to work on a front porch or a leather couch.  I'll add a photo how-to on Monday.


So this is our living room, which faces out to the mountain and snow.  Which lends itself to the rustic feel of burlap.  Trust me, working with burlap is one of the easiest mediums to work with....you will go bonkers over it too!  
I'm working on a Santa Sack and a Reindeer Treat Sack today, so I'll get lots of pictures and some easy stenciling tips too.

Have a wonderful weekend!

All Joy,

Abby

Monday

Our First Winter's Treat


Last week we had our first snow, which at the Hicks' home, means we make Snickerdoodles!  I have had a few requests for this recipe this week...so here it is.  I've tried several recipes and by far this one is the best!!!



1 Cup Butter
1 Cup Butter Flavored Shortening
3 Cups White Sugar
4 Large Eggs
1 Tsp. Vanilla
2 Tsp. Baking Soda
4 Tsp. Cream of Tartar
1/2 Tsp. Salt
6 Cups Flour

Cream butter, shortening, sugar, vanilla and eggs until light and fluffy (you can't overbeat this!)  Add dry ingredients.  Make into small balls and roll in a cinnamon and sugar mixture (1 cup Sugar and 2 Tsp. Cinnamon).  Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes...and be prepared for the ulitmate yummiest cookie!  
PS -- You may want to have hot chocolate ready and waiting!




All Joy,

Abby


Under His Wing

Last week I finished one of my all time favorite patterns, "Under His Wing".  It was simple and sweet to stitch and following the simple applique process made the pops of color burst off of the background, but what I love about this pattern the most is the saying....

Under His Wing

This scripture verse in Psalms 91:4 "He shall cover you with His feathers and under His wing shalt thou trust." is such a sweet comfort.  I love birds...always have, obviously my business name is all about Tweets.  This passage is a great reminder that we are all covered under His wing and deeply loved by our Father....it's a sweet and simple reminder that we are never alone!

You can find the pattern at the shop page and the step by step applique instructions can by found on the sidebar of the blog.  I hope you love this pattern as much as I do!  Have a wonderful Monday...

All Joy,

Abby

Thursday

DMC DIY - Clothes Pin Holders

If you are like my I have a zillion DMC flosses that are left -over from my various half finished and some finished projects.  My "floss drawer" was such a tangled mess that I would usually give up and buy new DMC anytime I needed a color....until now!


I bought three clear jars and three super cute vinyl decals from The House Of Smiths, a ton of little wooden spring clothes pins ....and three bored sons.  All it took was unraveling the somewhat good floss or the flosses that still had their tags onto clothes pins.

1.  Place the loose end inside the spring opening.
2.  Wrap the rest of the floss around the outside of the clothes pin until you get to the end.
3.  Tuck the end into the top of the spring loaded pin.
4.  Using a pencil, write the DMC floss number on the wooden clothes pin for reference.
5.  Fill those cute jars!!!


Now I love finding a floss color and they look very cute sitting there waiting their turn to be used. This was one of many ways to organize a floss drawer....but for sure was my fav!

All Joy,

Abby

Wednesday

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hisk and Hark...Fear and Tremble...Tis the Night that Ghosts Assemble!  Happy Halloween to all....


One of my favorite treats on Halloween is Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.  The best richest cookies ever is this recipe from one of our son's kindergarten teachers, Mrs. Werner.  I hope you enjoy this as much as we have over the years....

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Canned Pumpkin
1/2 Cup Butter Flavored Shortening
2 Cups of Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Package of Chocolate Chips


Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix sugar, pumpkin, and shortening.  Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop dough by large tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake until light brown (8-10 minutes).  Enjoy with some hot cider!


Have a Haunting Halloween!

All Joy,

Abby



Tuesday

A Pot Rack and Chocolate Mayo Cake = Happy 46th Birthday!

This past week was my 46th amazing birthday!!!  I was very blessed to have most of our children around to enjoy a beautiful weekend with me....and of course, my sweet hubby!  In our family, birthdays last for weeks, which is awesome for the birthday girl!  This weekend I was treated to breakfast in bed,  a ticket to Washington to see our grand babies and the pot rack I have been searching for all summer!!!

 I have serious spent hours searching antique shops and thrift shops this summer for an antique fence section to make into a pot rack for my kitchen.  I found a couple, but they were either too heavy or too expensive.  My handy hubby was in Home Depot last week picking up some fencing for a client, and found a piece that was light weight and only $19.00!  Thank goodness he is smart to find it and buy it on the spot.
 I screamed I was so excited (if mamma screams she is very very happy :)  It took one section (which was pre-drilled with holes for hanging), chain at $3.00 per foot, and some S-hooks for $9.00.  Super easy!!!
 To hang the rack we laid out where we wanted it to hang and held a plump from the spot on the ceiling to the corner of the rack hooks to mark the spot on the ceiling where to anchor the bolts.  We took a stud finder to make sure we were anchoring into a stud and drilled starter wholes for the bolts.  Once the bolts were in place we measured off lengths of chain.
We used S-hooks to hook the rack onto the chain and trimmed off the extra links of the chain once we had leveled off the rack.  We did spray paint the S-hooks to get them aged black and bronzed to match the finish on the rack and chains.

I was soooo excited to have this hung and sporting off my red and blue collection of pots and pans...now I need to pick up the green cast iron I have been eyeing to balance it all out! Maybe they can go on my Christmas wish list for Santa.  After the rack was all hung I screamed again, probably loud enough for the deer to hear.


I was treated by my kiddos and husband to an old family recipe Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with fudge Mayo Frosting!   I know it sounds gross....but it was one of my favorites as a little girl and I still love it.  Trust me...the mayo makes for the moistest rich chocolate evah!!!  Since I can't share the cake (it's almost gone)  I can share the recipe.....

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake 


3 Cups Flour
1/3 Cup Cocoa
1 1/2 Cup Sugar
2 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 1/2 Cup Water
1 1/2 Cup Real Mayonnaise
2 Teaspoon Real Vanilla

Grease and flour two round pans and line the bottom with wax paper.  Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Sift together dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Stir in mayonnaise.  Gradually stir in water and vanilla until smooth and blended well.  Pour into pans.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched.  Cool and then remove from pans.

Chocolate Mayonnaise Frosting

1 Cup of Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons of Real Mayonnaise
1 Cup of Semi Sweet Chocolate (melted and cooled slightly)
2 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
Pinch of Salt

Beat the butter and mayonnaise in a stand mixer on high until light and fluffy.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the melted chocolate.  Continue mixing on low speed until all of the chocolate in whipped in.  Turn off the mixer and add half of the powdered sugar.  Add the salt.  Mix in until smooth and gradually add the remaining sugar until you achieve the desired stiffness.  I personally love mine light and fluffy.  Keep in refrigerator for up to a week.  Frost at room temperature.


I have a superstition about birthdays.  The best years are even years...which means, if I was 30...I would rather say I was a year older and was 31 just to get the "luck" of an even year rather than be younger.  I know it sounds weird...and 45 was a good year, but I am very happy to be 46 and have the blessing of an even year ahead of me.

I hope you have a fabulous fall week and enjoy a piece of Chocolate Mayo yumminess on me!

All Joy,

Abby

Friday

DIY Dresser Make-Over

What to do with an old dresser?  Here are the DIY instructions for making a "piece of junk" into a fun and funky piece of furniture your daughters will fight over!!!  A few months ago we were working on an  old home and found a solid wood dresser that had been left behind.  I needed extra storage in my shop, so I decided to save it and make it darling!

This is a project that comes straight out of the 70's.  I know my Mom loved using Modge Podge and I can see why...the best part of this project is having my favorite fabrics on the front of a piece of furniture to see everyday!!!


Materials

Modge Podge
Rustoleum Spray Paint
Sandpaper
Sponge Brush
Fabric
(see ...it is simple and easy :)

1.  Clean the piece you are wanting to redo and lightly sand off any splinters or snags.  

2.  "Beef-up" any broken or loose pieces.

3.  Remove the handles.


4.  Choose a color of paint you like and paint as base coat.  I love to use Rustoleum spray paint.  It sprays on evenly and I do not have runs.  I plan on spraying two to three coats and skip the "primer".  Let dry well!!!  You do not have to spray the front of the drawer with three coats as they will be covered with fabric.  Just spray one good coat on them.


5.  Trace the fronts of the drawers onto paper to use as templates for the fabric pieces.

6.  Choose several pieces of fabric the width and length of your drawers.   Cut the fabric of choice to the size of the drawers.  Iron the cut pieces to remove any wrinkles.


7.  Once the pieces are cut and ironed, they are ready to Modge Podge into place.  Pour the Modge Podge into a small bowl or paper plate and using the sponge brush coat the front of the painted drawers.

8.  Lay the cut piece of fabric over the coat of Modge Podge and smooth out with your fingers.

 9.  Brush several coats of Modge Podge over the fabric and along the sides.  This will glue down the fabric to the drawer front and seal it too.

10.  Let dry until hard.  Usually over night is best!


11.  Once the Modge Podge has dried.  You can cut off any stray strings with a utility knife.  

12.  Add the handles and assemble your dresser!!!


I found my rose knobs at Anthropologie.  I hope you enjoy this simple project that can turn any dull, dead drawer front into a piece you will love to have.  I am now working on turning some old drawers into a music stand....pics to come soon!

Have a great weekend fellow DIY-er's!!!

All Joy,

Abby

Monday

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Salted Caramel Frosting

This past weekend was General Conference for the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons), which means that we did not need to attend church meetings at a building, but were able to stay in our pj's and watch or listen to incredible message from our church leaders.  Our children LOVE conference weekend!  They love the food, family, and being able to sleep in and relax for two whole days!!!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Salted Caramel Frosting

It has been a tradition in our home since the children were very little to have homemade cinnamon rolls for Sunday morning conference.  I have my traditional recipe that I have been using since our kiddos were little and the only variations in 20+ years has been to add Nutella one year (which they didn't like) and to add raspberries for the conference rolls in the spring (they kind of liked those).  Needless to say my family are purest when it comes to their cinnamon rolls.

Last week I was watching Studio 5 on KSL, our local NBC affiliate, and saw a recipe for Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls.  Oh my goodness....they looked incredible!  So without telling my little kiddos I switched the recipe we usually make and added pumpkin and spice to the recipe.  The salted caramel frosting was what killed it for sure!  The dough for the posted recipe was a little different from a regular soft yeast dough and I preferred my yeast dough recipe instead.

So here is my version of the Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Salted Caramel Frosting....

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Salted Caramel Frosting

5 Cups Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 Cups Water
1/2 Cup Oil
1 1/2 Teas Salt
2 Tbs Instant Yeast
2 Tbs Liquid Lecithin
1 Tbs Dough Enhancer (Shirley J)
1/2 Cup Canned Pumpkin
1/2 Teas. Ground Cloves
2 Teas. Ground Cinnamon

Mix all dry ingredients together.  Add the liquid ingredients and mix for a minute to see how sticky or dry the dough is.  Adjust with extra warm water if the dough is too tough.  It should be slightly sticky to the fingers.  Let rise for 15 minutes.

Mix together:
2 Cups Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Melted Butter
1/4 Cup Ground Cinnamon

Once the dough has risen for 15 minutes, roll out onto an oiled counter top.  Roll to 1/4 inch thickness into a long rectangle and spread the spiced butter mixture over the top of the dough.

Roll the dough together from the long side to make a nice long cylinder and take a piece of non-flavored dental floss (no mint) and slip the dental floss under the dough log.  You will take both ends of the floss and criss-cross them to cut through the dough cutting 1 1/1 to 2 inch wide rolls.

Place on a parchment covered jelly roll pan.  I slightly press my tall rolls out a little to make them round.  Let rise for another 15 minutes.    I speed mine along a little by placing them in a slightly warm oven (170 degrees).  Once they have risen, turn the oven up to 350 degrees and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until slightly golden brown on the tops.  While they are baking make the Salted Caramel Frosting.

Salted Caramel Frosting

1/4 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
3 Tbs Milk
1/2 Teas Vanilla
1 1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/4 Teas Sea Salt

Melt the butter on medium heat in a small saucepan.  Add the brown sugar and milk and whisk together.  Add the vanilla and whisk in.  Cook the mixture for 1 minute and then let cool slightly.  Whisk in the powdered sugar and sea salt.  Let cool a little more.

When the rolls come out of the oven, let cool slightly and drizzle the Salted Caramel Frosting over the tops of the rolls.  Make sure to lick every last drop of the frosting off the spoons!!!

These rolls were good enough to pass my children's standard for cinnamon rolls...they loved them and agreed that these would be the ones that we make for general conference (fall session) every year.  We may even make them again before the snow flies.  Have a great Monday!!!

All Joy,

Abby

Thursday

Two Are Better Than One

This past weekend my hubby and me celebrated our thirteenth anniversary together!!!  Time has gone so fast since 1999.  We have raised eleven children together, have married off four daughters and one son and have four and a half beautiful grandchildren together...and I have to say that two are better than one!

Two Are Better Than One

We celebrated by staying at Sundance, Utah and going to all of the placed we went to when we were dating.  My hubby booked us a ride on the Moonlight Express of the Heber Railroad.  It was so fun and romantic.  They serenaded us with violin and banjo music and fed us well.  The moonlight on the lake was especially beautiful.

Heber Valley Railroad


The weekend was beautiful in the mountains and we really needed the time to relax and enjoy our favorite time of the year.  The smell of crisp leaves and sizzling steaks, pumpkin pie, and a crackling fire is pure heaven!

 Sundance
Stewart Falls

 Now that we are back and unpacked, I stitched up one of my favorite scriptures into an embroidery pattern called "Two Are Better Than One".  It is a simple pattern that fits into an 8" x 10" frame and can be embellished with the optional flower.  On the leaves are our names and the year of our marriage.  This little embellishment added makes this a wedding gift for a new couple beginning their lives together or you can frame it without and have a two little love birds to remind you that two are definitely better than one!


 You can purchase the pattern at My Tweetle Dee Shop.  I have two more new patterns that I am finishing this week.  Thank heavens for tons of football games where I can look interested and stitch! I hope you are enjoying the most glorious time of the year too!

All Joy,

Abby
 
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