Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

To all our family and friends we hold dear,
Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Jerry, Barbie Jo, Jon and Cleo too

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cookies and more!

OOOOPS.....I posted my blog with no type, I think Christmas madness has taken over!
Okay, lets fix it. I love this magazine, I am always tempted to buy it for the beautiful photography on the cover and throughout. Just look at those cookies!

I did not make any of these cookies though, I just like to look at the beautiful presentation and then mix up a batch from one of my Moms recipes. My kids want the same cookies I have made forever and ever, no other type can do, there can be no variation or they would have a cow.
That being said, yesterday I made Candy Cane cookies. I have never seen this recipe anywhere, at least not the old original recipe. They are YUMMY and always requested when I give a platter of cookies, so Martha, if you need this recipe just give me a call!

This morning I was sifting through my Christmas fabric stash and came across this vintage piece. I have been saving it for a special project, just haven't found the right use for it yet. Isn't it darling! Cute kitties sound asleep waiting for Santy Claws to come. I love the colors!

The 1st spot I decorate each year is my china hutch. I have a collection of cute 50s era Christmas girl vase/figurines I cant wait to unwrap from their tissue nests and fill it with. How adorable are these little girls in their fur trimmed coats, little hats and muffs, all wrapped up for winter to deliver their gifts!

I hope you are ready for Christmas because I am so not! All of my out of town packages were mailed and then it seems I came to a screeching halt. I have not shopped for Jerry or Jon yet.
I just need to make one little swoop to get it done. Our weather has not been co operative for shopping. Like many in the Mid West we have been down to a bone chilling 1 degree with snow and ice off and on. I keep thinking, tomorrow I will go get it done. And probably everyone else will be doing the same so it will be a shopping nightmare!
7 days and counting, yikes, have a fabulous week!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Elves at play!!!!!

Well boy oh boy, Cleo and I are busy as elves this weekend. Lots to do!! Doing a little dance in-between our chores helps keep our spirits bright!

I found this fun video idea on my daughter Melissa's double stroller blog. She really keeps the fun rolling in her home. It took me about 2 hours to make and install this, I am not the savvy blogger she is for sure! Hope you enjoy and have a happy weekend!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy birthday William!

Today is a very special day, it's our Grandson Williams 3rd birthday! Here he is at his party last weekend, surrounded by 2 cute little girls, he is a chick magnet already! William loves trucks and cars, football and Thomas The Train. You are so loved William,
Happy Birthday!!

Today is also special as Jons girlfriend Carly is on her way home from Paris. She studied abroad this past semester. Needless to say he has been missing his best friend and has been kind of cranky these past few months. Today he is grinning from ear to ear, I am so happy to see his cheerful face again!
As for me, I am on my way out the door, a full afternoon of errands to run.
Can you believe its Friday again? Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cookies day 2!

Just whipping out these cookies right and left here! Today it was Thumbprints. If you have not made these before, and I just can't believe you have not, the recipe is below. These are fairly easy and one of my favorites!

One 10 oz Bag of Chopped Walnuts
Beat together:
1 Cup Shortening (1/2 butter)
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Egg Yolk (reserve the whites in a separate bowl)
1 tsp Vanilla
Sift and stir in:
2 Cups Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Dip balls in egg whites and roll in chopped nuts. Place on ungreased sheet, press thumb or paws in to centers.
Bake 375 degrees/10-12 minutes
Fill centers with icing. Recipe makes about 2-1/2 dozen cookies.
Butter cream Icing
Beat together 1/2 stick Margarine, 1 tsp Vanilla, 1 Tb Milk
I use about 1/2 of a 2LB bag Powdered Sugar
Add powdered sugar alternately with more milk (1 Tb at a time) until icing is nice and fluffy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Anniversary Cleo!

Cleo has her stocking hung by the fire. A nice cozy spot for a kitty to hangout while waiting for Santa Claws to come and fill it with treats! Hmmmm.... I just noticed the large jingle bell on its toe is missing, now I wonder where that went. Thank heavens I don't hear Cleos tummy jingling when she hops up on my lap!
December is a special month for Cleo and Me, it is when I started my little pattern business 9 years ago! WOW, 9 years!! Hard to believe it has gone by so quickly. I still remember sitting on our deck with Jerry tossing names around. I had a list of names: Button Box Designs, Back porch Designs to name a few. None of them sounded just right. Cleo was just a baby at that time, she spent much of her time hanging out with me in my sewing room. Sewing stuff is pretty fascinating to a kitten as many of you know! And then it came to me, its just "Cleo and Me", no other name would do!
Today I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you who have supported me and my design work these past years. It has been such fun and continues to be a great joy in my life.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Snowin' and blowin"!

Baby it is COLD out there! It started snowing this morning, the wind is whipping it around and our temps for tonight will be about 14. BRRRRR.... Definitely a good day to stay inside which is what I did. Our son Jon threw a little tantrum this morning, he wanted to know where his Christmas cookies were! Well if you have been reading my blog since last December you will know I gave my cookie cutters away, oh yes I did, I gave them to my daughters. I thought after 37 years of baking my Moms cookies it was time to pass the tradition their way. My Moms recipes are labor intensive, especially the cut outs which makes about 6 dozen cookies and there are only 3 of us here now. Jon said quote" well you have been making those cookies since I was a baby and you just have to make them" or something like that! I rolled my eyes to heaven and asked Mom what should I do.

And here is her answer LOL! Just bake the cookies Barbie Jo. So I put the Christmas music station on and got busy. I had only kept one cookie cutter, a gingerbread girl. I used drinking glasses to cut out wreaths and balls for the rest. I spent the ENTIRE day in the kitchen. But the oven kept me toasty and warm, the music was fun, and the cookies are cute as ever. I really kind of missed them too!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Moving right along

Moving right along here, I got a lot accomplished today! This morning I decorated the tree.
My tree is mostly covered with glass ornaments in the German tradition, I love the way they sparkle and shine, the ones with glitter and flocking, the glass birds with feathers. I just can't limit my tree to these however, there are always a few special ones tucked in like this cute little cinnamon stick reindeer I made one year. I'm sure you noticed, I love my reindeer!

Of course Cleo has her own special treasures hung on the tree. I collect vintage Fancy Feast ornaments for her and they are really cute.

Gotta love those sweet ones made by the kids, don't you just adore the raisin eyes LOL! I think Jon made this one and those raisins have gotta be about 20 years old now!

Our 1st Christmas I made all of our ornaments from bakers dough. It was a flour, water and salt dough recipe which you shaped and then baked in the oven. After they cooled you painted and glazed them. They were lots of work and I have very few left.

This afternoon I ran around town. One of my stops was Jo-anns fabric store and just look at this unexpected find. They had novelty Christmas fabric 60% off and there was Williams favorite Thomas The Train! Wooo hooo!!

Next I found this cute to boot cowboy Christmas fabric by Alexander Henry for Alexander. Alexs room is cowboy themed so I knew this would be perfect!

My intention was to sew Christmas pillowcases for their visit this week. A little something special to take home and put on their beds. Later this afternoon I found out their plans to come had to be cancelled darn it all. Now I'll just have to stitch them up and pop them in the mail real quick. So now I am headed up to the sewing room! Onward and upward, ho, ho, ho!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sleepless in KC

What do you do when you have a night where you just cant fall asleep no matter how tired you are? I used to get up and read a chapter, even sew a little or putter around the house. Lately I do a little blog surfing or write my next entry.
It sure is quiet here. Jerry has gone hunting for the weekend. Just Cleo and Me. I allow her to sleep in our bed when Daddy's gone. Probably one of the reasons I did not fall asleep easily. Cleo is a bed hog, and she snores! She sure is content.

Each year I search for new Christmas music to add to our collection. Nothing has struck my fancy until tonight, and then I found it, just one little song, by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It's called "Christmas Canon". If I shut my eyes for a moment I am drifting back to my childhood perhaps. It is Christmas Eve, we have gone to candlelight service at church. The windows are dressed with large wreaths and red bows, candles glow in the center of each. Large flakes of snow are drifting down. We children are fidgeting with Christmas Eve excitement. A strong piano introduction begins, a symphony joins in, children in their choir robes walk down the aisle singing and then fan out across the front of the church. They are singing the most beautiful song and we are overcome with awe. I feel bad when the song ends and this lovely vision disappears also. Was I dreaming LOL? Maybe you're thinking, sheesh, Barbie Jo really should get some rest now LOL!! I do enjoy my music. I guess I became lost in the moment. Yet sometimes during this hectic time of the year I feel we need to become lost in a "moment", a time to reflect on the true meanings of this joyous season. Okay, I am heading off to bed. I have lots to do tomorrow! Orders to fill, a house to clean, baking and shopping, you know the routine! And my munchkins are coming for a quick visit this week, I have to get ready!! YIKES!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Oh boy, another page on my calendar turned, its a cat calendar, go figure, LOL. Kittens hanging their stockings up for Santa Claws to fill because its DECEMBER!
I did not venture out the day after Thanksgiving to join the shopping madness. I never do. I prefer to create my own little bit of madness here at home dragging out the Christmas tree and totes full of beloved trimmings. I address my cards and start wrapping and boxing up my gifts that need shipped. Now I have piles of Christmas stacked in disarray everywhere, not looking very pretty, more like elves gone wild. Tomorrow is supposed to be a cold blustery day with snow. I hope to stay snuggled in and create some order out of it all.

Now I can show and tell the gifts I made for my secret Polka Dot swap partner Melinda. Melinda was out of the country, in Sweden, visiting family so my package was waiting for her when she returned. Our main gift was supposed to be sewn or hand made. I love reindeer, especially this time of year, so I used this theme for most of my gifts. I made her a little reindeer penny rug.

And next a gift tote with her initial "M" for Melinda or "Merry" for the season which she could fill with greenery or candy canes and hang on a peg, door knob or whatever. I made a reindeer ornament and purse size Kleenex cover, the "achoo!" season is upon us and I loved the one Kris made for me.
Tonight I am going to wrap up in my fleece throw, Cleo will probably join me, and enjoy my latest book "A Thousand Splendid Suns". Reading, besides sewing, I can't think of a better way to end the day. Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey thawed out????

Got your turkey thawed out for the big day tomorrow? I bet you do and many of you are probably baking pies and in a flurry of preparations today whether its cooking or changing sheets getting ready for a load of out of towners!

As I mentioned before my dinner group will be small, just us 3 unless we count Cleo. The boys and I made out our menu and Jerry and I went grocery shopping last night. They requested steak and all the trimmings so I will have it pretty easy. The funny thing is though, you know come Friday they will be moaning because there will be no left over turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes!
Wishing all of you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The rush is on!

Another weekend come and gone. Yikes, I forgot to change the numbers on my Christmas countdown counter this weekend and now I've lost track, 31 days or something like that? I sure did notice the shoppers were out in full force this weekend, so the rush is on. Everywhere I went the stores seemed super busy!
Most of Saturday was spent here taking pictures for the pattern cover for my last Christmas pattern. I fell so behind this year. As you can see in this 1st picture setting up can be difficult when my partner insists on helping with the props LOL! Just plunk yourself right on down there Cleo.

We took about 40 pictures to get one we were finally happy with. These little gifts sacks were fun to make and stitch up quick. I am going to fill one with greenery to hang and the other with candy canes.

Tomorrow I will be dragging all the Christmas totes up from the basement. Let the decorating begin!

Friday, November 21, 2008

A cute Christmas book

I finally broke down and purchased this really cute book for my grandson Alexander who is heading towards 5 years old. I hear from his mommy he has been needing gentle reminders that Santa is watching so he better be good for goodness sake!! This adorable book presents a different outlook as to who might be watching your behavior. In this case it is an elf who arrives around Thanksgiving and sends reports back to Santa himself!

The book comes with an elf (or little spy, my son calls it) for your child. I will be boxing it up to mail next week and will be curious to hear the reviews.

One of the reasons I was attracted to the book in the 1st place is I have a huge collection of antique elves. My children never liked them , they thought they were scary! Sheesh.

Have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Christmas Mischief

I could not help but post a show and tell tonight. Cynthia made my pattern "Christmas Mischief" and was kind enough to email a picture of the finished product. Her tree skirt turned out so cute, she added the mice in between kitties as an extra touch.

Cynthia also included a picture of her kitty, is this not the cutest little fluff ball you ever saw!!

Thank you Cindy for your cute pictures, they made our day!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gobble, gobble, gobble & Christmas Countdown!

Yikes! It has been awhile without a post! The Christmas countdown is on. Out came my little countdown Santa today, I know, he is 2 days short, seems his number blocks will not keep time in the 40 some day range, gotta get down to the 30s. He sits on my kitchen window sill every year so I can panic a little more every day when I change his count down numbers.
Basically I have been holed up in my sewing room much of this past week. I have been sewing like crazy, finishing up my Polka Dot Swap gifts for XXXXX, oopps, I almost said her name,
which have to be mailed by Saturday. It has been a fun swap hosted by Sharon of Red Geranium Cottage, as all her swaps are. So now my gifts are ready to wrap and head out of here, I'll show you what I made when they arrive to their secret destination and gosh I sure hope she likes them!

Here is the little November block from my Calendar cats quilt, it has always been my personal favorite. And Turkey day is coming up fast also. It's just going to be the 3 of us again this year. I already cooked a turkey last month, none of us are in the mood for another. So, we are going to go a different route, not sure what that will be yet, but a nice festive dinner on a smaller scale.
I know that probably sounds wonderful to some of you who have HUGE crowds to cook for and truthfully I do envy that!

Now it's off to finish drying my hair and head for the post office, yep I am way behind today, I spent the morning sewing!
Thanks for stopping in and have a fabulous week!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Two little Pirates

Halloween flew by and I couldnt wait to see pics of my 2 little Pirates, William and Alex in their costumes I made them. I sure wish I could have been there to take them Trick or Treating. Halloween night was fairly quiet in our neighborhood, we only had about 20 kids stop by. Oh but they were cute! Lots of little Princess's and Ghoulies. Needless to say I had way too much candy left over, darn, dont you just hate that!

And wow, can you believe today is November 1st! I am spending my day putting Halloween away, making ready for a little Turkey decor. Our weather is glorious, low 70's, we are enjoying that last little blast of Fall weather!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Who's got the button?

I have been a pretty boring girl this week. No exciting stories or pictures here, you're looking at real life. The weather has turned cold and rainy, we knew it had to happen eventually, November is almost upon us after all! If you and I had web cams you would find me sitting here at my computer typing away, my fleece throw wrapped around me, cat in my lap, we usually type together for some reason.

Probably not everyone takes a picture of a box of chocolates, but these are not just any box of chocolates. Jerry brought them home for me on his last business trip to Ohio, what a sweetie! They are long gone now but boy oh boy Esther Price, you sure make wonderful chocolates!

My week has mostly been spent either at the computer writing directions for the new penny rug pattern or up in my sewing room. I keep my button stash in this old cookie jar. I have to dump them all out to find the perfect buttons for my project, if they are even in there. There was a time Cleo would come running out of the blue every time she heard me get the button jar out. She used to think it was fun swiping them off the table and then chasing them. Not so any more, either she has lost interest or is just moving up in years, I have a feeling it is more the later. Okay, so I found the buttons I needed.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas up in the sewing room. Fabric and trims are piled up every where, I admit I am not at all neat when I'm creating. But you know how it is when trying to find that perfect shade of green or red, you just start yanking out one piece after another, right? Right? Martha, I need you here to fold up all my fabric, put it back into it's nice little bin all organized by color while we chat.

Lets see, now where is that Red floss? Oh, I see it up in the far left hand corner there.
Patty, my floss basket is out of control. It could use some of your tender loving attention. I'm sure you will give a little screech when you see this picture.

And that bottle of wine, how did it get there right next to my sewing machine. It has no cork, it's empty. Would you believe me if I said it was a prop? Or actually a template or guide for my next project LOL? Really, truly it is, you'll see.... next week!
Maybe you are a neat while you sew, maybe you're a bit messy like me. All I can say is its all about fun, and I am having a blast up in that sewing room creating. Its only fabric after all!
I hope you are stitching up some fun this week!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Time flies

This week flown by, how is this happening! The old saying "time flies when your busy" must be true. My latest pattern is finished, waiting for a cover, and a name. Now if you feel you have the purrrfect name for it, just chirp up, I'm all ears here. Otherwise Cleo and I will be up all night brainstorming. Don't you just love these cute winter birds? This pattern has 3 projects that stitch up quick just in time for Christmas giving. Pattern features the bird with candle penny rug and includes a pillow and really sweet pincushion/scissor holder (embroidery scissors tuck inside the birdies wing). The pattern will be available on my website next weekend along with the wool felt kit to complete all three projects.

Now it's off to a comfy chair with Cleo to watch the Amazing Race. Have a happy week!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A sweet surprise!

My postman delivered a box of goodness to my door today. My birthday is long over, I wasn't expecting any goodies. So what an unexpected surprise this was, gifts from my Polka Dot & Ric Rac Swap secret partner. The swap was hosted by fun loving Sharon of Red Geranium Cottage. Kris from Dandelion Quilts was given my name and made these gorgeous gifts, oh my goodness, I am just floored that she spent so much time sewing these beautiful gifts for me!
She stitched up this amazing purse, isn't the fabric wonderful! Notice the ric rac trim and polka dot accent fabric. Kris really covered all aspects of the swap theme, my photo really does not do justice to how lovely this is!

She also made a co-ordinating tissue and checkbook cover for my purse. Included also were mints, chap stick and thank you notes!

I thank you from the bottom of my heart Kris, for your time and generosity, I will truly treasure your gifts for a long. long time!

I was up against a deadline to finish the boys pirate costumes this weekend or walk the plank! They have a Halloween party to attend this coming Sunday and I have to get them in the mail. Yesterday I ran to Joannes to buy fabric for the sashes. The cutting lines were super long, everyone must be finishing costumes. Waiting for my number to be called I found pirate accessories at 60% off, hats, hooks, eye patches and earrings, too, a great find! At the checkout I spied and purchased bags of chocolate gold coins because every pirate needs treasure. Everything was boxed up last night and shipped today, what a relief, the boys can be Pirates and I can get back to my normal sewing projects.
Brrrr it is getting colder, dropping down to low 40s tonight. Time to bundle up!
Have a fabulous week!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Not your usual turkey weather

We are still enjoying BEAUTIFUL fall weather here in KC, I'll take all I can get because it is October after all and winter comes fast on its heels. I have the kitchen door open to enjoy the fresh air while I cook. Cleo is at her spot with nose pressed up to the screen, squirrels and chipmunks are running rampant, I'm not sure if they are just enjoying the weather also or preparing for winter as their little cheeks are full of something.

I cooked this turkey Monday, I bet you thought that's what I was doing today, but no, we are already getting tired of the leftovers so I made quiche for tonight's dinner. The thing about this turkey though is it came in a cooking bag, I have never done one this way before, It sure was easy! As always when I make a turkey I am reminded of the 1st turkey I cooked, back in the day ladies LOL. Jerry and I were living in Columbus Ohio while he finished up his last semester of school. It was our 1st Thanksgiving, our folks were too far to get to in our car that was on its last legs. So with great expectations we, or I cooked our 1st Thanksgiving meal. Oh how I wished I had paid more attention to how my Mom prepared this meal, you may recall I was the child who had no interest in cooking and all that stuff! I was so clueless and this was before pop up thermometers, cell phones and Internet for advice, it was just me and that turkey! So I cooked it, or so it seemed, and Jerry carved it. That turkey was kinda watery, and Jerry said hey Barb, you left this in there.....as he pulled out the neck from one end... and gizzard package from the other LOL, LOL! I had no idea those things came with the turkey, who would ever want a neck and those other things! Live and learn they say, it's true, I never made that mistake again. And many years later I have to admit I have that dinner down to perfection, I'll just never forget the 1st.

I have a new read, "Loving Frank" a story about Frank Lloyd Wright and his mistress, a very big no no back in the very early 1900s. I was interested to learn more about him after visiting one of his houses, "Falling Waters" in Pennsylvania.
Last night was Bunco night, it was great fun as always. A night out with the girls and lots of laughter is always a good thing.
In between reading and cooking I have just about completed my projects for a new pattern, a Christmas penny rug and pin cushion, the colors are yummy! Hope to have a cover photograph this weekend so maybe I'll have something to show off next week.
Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Apple Cider Time!

Sunday was another gorgeous day in KC, a perfect day for a drive in the country. Jerry and I hopped on over to Louisburg KS. Jerry loves his apple cider and yesterday was the Cider Fest in Louisburg. As you can see they have a cider mill which you could tour, but I'll tell you, there really isn't much to see inside other than a vat and a cider press.
Tons of apples!

Lots to do here with the kiddies including a corn maze. Now that is something we always wanted to do, and here the opportunity was presented but we passed on it. I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to wander around in the corn for hours, a hay romp, now that sounds interesting too, I have to admit I have never done that either!

And what would a festival be without some old time mountain music! Before leaving we wandered through the country store, which was so crowded you really couldn't look at some of the merchandise, but we did get Jerry his cider and a jar of apple butter for my Dad. On the walk back to our car we bought some fresh kettle corn and root beers for the drive home!

Last night I worked on the boys pirate costumes. I had the fabric laid out all over the floor with pattern pinned to cut it all out. I should have shut the door because in comes miss nebby who proceeds to plop down on top of it all and roll around. Next we played don't try to get me off of here because I really like this tissue paper and I'm not leaving. I am on to her ways, I ended up cutting around her and then lured her to her on spot with her own pieces of fabric and pattern tissue. Every bodies happy, Cleo has her stuff and I got mine all cut out and mostly sewn together!

Have a happy week!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The parties over!

Gee whiz, almost another week gone by and here it is October already, can you believe it?!!
Another birthday come and gone, I had such a nice one with many sweet gifts. When this box arrived from my friend Kathy who lives in Buffalo NY I could almost smell it through the pretty wrapping paper. My absolute favorite Sponge candy, she knows me too well! As you can see I couldn't control myself and ate one row of it before I took this picture. Watsons Sponge Candy, I thought I died and went to heaven!
She also included this nifty little bundle, it measures all of about 2 x 4 inches rolled up I would say. Do you know what it is?

Why its a nylon shopping tote! Isn't that a clever idea! Nice and compact to throw in your purse.

Another beautiful week here, blue skies, low 70s during the day and chilling off at night. Fall is definitely here. As nature begins to display its show of color, we become inspired to dress our homes in shades of Autumn. This week I broke out the Halloweenie items. Out came the witches, ghosts and bats, isn't it a fun time of year!

This Halloween bunny is my pride and joy. I have had her for years, she is a Bunnies By The Bay
bunny, I guess they don't make the animals anymore. Isn't she beautiful, this picture just does not do her justice. Her clothing is exquisite; black velvet and orange satin loaded with trims, I really enjoy her seasonal visit.

I have been stitching up a storm this past week. Working on some Christmas projects using wool felt, something fast and pretty for you to make for Holiday gift giving. I do enjoy working with my wool felt, the way your needle glides through the fabric like butter. I can sit at the kitchen table and stitch away while watching Dancing with the Stars, and Cleo, boy oh boy does she love to join in! This nice big box arrived today with my latest wool order from National Nonwovens. I am one of their "Pattern Partners" and use their wonderful product in all my penny rug designs. My poor UPS man though, Ugh he says, what the heck is in here as he carries these big heavy boxes up my very steep drive way.

I thought I would leave you with this picture of cuteness! My sweet little Grandsons Brandon and Aiden sharing a brotherly moment. Now I am sure it is not like this all the time LOL. Their Mommy can surely attest to that! You have to wonder though, do you think twins share a more special bond that non twins? I tend to think they must.
Thanks for stopping by, enjoy the weekend!