Bloggers Quilt Festival–My Favorite Quilt

Paisley Pavane by Nadine Ruggles

I’ve decided that Paisley Pavane is my favorite quilt, if I’m just thinking about the design. I made this quilt for the New Quilts from an Old Favorite contest a few years ago, and I enjoyed every minute of the making. Every part of the quilt was a leftover from other (failed) projects, and it’s just so fun that it all came together so well. I used my embroidery machine seriously for the first time, and developed some really cool techniques to solve various issues along the way that I still use today. Continue reading “Bloggers Quilt Festival–My Favorite Quilt”

Christmas Tree Bread from Sunset Magazine

Spiral Shaped Christmas Tree BreadLisa contacted me about Christmas Tree Bread last week after she read a Note at 9rules. In the Note, I said it’s just not Christmas without Christmas music from the Andy Williams Christmas Deluxe album that my natural father brought home from Japan around 1968, or the Christmas Tree Bread that my mom’s been baking for 40 years. I’ll bet Lisa thought I forgot about her or I made the whole thing up or something, but no. Yes, Lisa, there really is a Christmas Tree Bread recipe!

The recipe is from Sunset Magazine, and it’s really the biggest reason that I have a KitchenAid mixer. It’s a huge recipe, calling for about nine cups of flour, and it’s just difficult to do in a regular size mixer. Usually, I make the bread dough around the 23rd of December, so that I can shape it and bake it on Christmas Eve and it’s ready to eat on Christmas morning. Nobody gets one tiny bite until Christmas morning, but around the 27th, when we’ve plowed through all three loaves from the first batch, I usually make more so that we can continue to enjoy it for breakfast (and sometimes lunch) until New Year’s Eve at least. In the past, ITMan and the kids have asked me to make it for other holidays but I’ve refused, wanting to keep this a special Christmas-only thing.

Christmas Tree BreadI thought about making a batch early this year, so I could take pictures and all, but then I’d have to decide whether to let everybody dig in or freeze it until Christmas. In the end I decided not to tear holes in tradition around here, because if I do it once, they expect me to do it again, and I like tradition just the way it is! Recipe follows! Continue reading “Christmas Tree Bread from Sunset Magazine”

Preparations for Christmas

The tree is up, and the packages have been mailed. One party down, only one more to go, and all of this despite the fact that I’ve felt a bit under the weather for the last few days, and finally decided a trip to the dental clinic was in order this morning to deal with some tooth pain. While it’s not as bad as I feared, I do need to have my wisdom teeth removed as soon as I can get to it! Yes, I still have all of them, even though every dentist I see tells me they need to come out. I don’t know why my teeth were bothering them, since they weren’t bothering me, but since they are now I guess it’s time. 😦

I didn’t put up as many decorations this year as I usually do (the reason for this will become apparent soon, but for now I have to be a bit mysterious). The tree and the wreaths are up and about, but other than that I decided to limit the decorating festivities to the nativity scene, and I had to choose it’s place very carefully this year or all of the figures were likely to become casualties well before Epiphany. I can just imagine Shadow carrying little Jesus around in his mouth, and tearing bits of fabric and trims off of the rest. The mannerless one has absolutely no respect!

Nativity Scene Detail

My mom made this nativity when I was very young, maybe as young as two years old. She started with cones from industrial size thread, and added stocking-covered styrofoam balls for heads. Scraps of fabric became robes and clothing, and bits of trim and jewels were pinned in place to complete the ensembles. I think Baby Jesus is a chunk of salt dough under the swaddling.

Mom gave the nativity to me when I moved out, and I remade their faces in cross stitch, and added hair and a few newer and different fabrics and jewels around 1989. After we moved to Germany, I thought about adding a quilted background for it, and I made a Mariner’s Compass Star of Bethlehem, but I got stuck trying to make the landscape under the star too realistic and never could put something together that I was happy with. Time and experience have resulted in some new creative ideas for finishing that quilt, so it’s good that I still have the UFO creativity pieces 10+ years later!

Nativity Scene

I just love looking at these pieces and remembering which fabrics and jewels were original and which ones I added later, and seeing how it all works together. When I decided on the only place in the house that I thought was safe from the evil cat, I realized that the quilt that was already hanging there is somewhat star-like in the center and it all goes perfectly together, so all is good and will do until that other quilt gets done. I’ve never seen a nativity that I liked better than this one. Maybe someday one of my girls will add her special touches and make it hers.