Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!
XXOO Barbie Jo and Cleo

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The stockings were hung

Oh my, it's getting a little hectic now isn't it! My decorating is finished, all four stockings hang by the chimney with care, Cleos right next to her "brothers" in hopes that Santa might leave some of those catnip treats in there.

The tree is up, Cleos tree skirt spread underneath.

And her ornaments are hung.

They are taking over the tree, LOL! She is a very spoiled kitty don't you think?

This afternoon I made thumbprint cookies, Hershey Kiss pretzels and a huge batch of potato salad for Jon to take to his work Christmas party tomorrow.

Spending these next few days in the kitchen with my apron on, how about you?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

And the countdown begins!

How can this be possible, 24 days until Christmas! It seems to sneak up on me every year, and now my countdown Santa says 24 days... yikes!
The Christmas totes are up from the basement and this week I'll be spreading my treasures through out the house. Our Christmas tree is laying on the living room floor, waiting for the tree stand to be found. Cleo is getting ever so excited with each new addition to my decor, you know how cats are, always curious!

I am in a pretty good place with my shopping and have it all wrapped and boxed to send. The bulk of our gift giving has to be mailed and I like to get the out of towners finished first.
With so much to do this time of year I try to keep our meals simple, this pot pie is easy to make and our Sons absolute favorite comfort food.

Here is the recipe if you would like to give it a try!
Vermont Chicken Pot Pie
5 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
3 cups warm chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
salt to taste
4 cups cooked chicken meat, cut into bite size pieces
3 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)
2-2-1/2 cup Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
Melt butter in a large pot. Whisk in flour and cook over medium heat 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Gradually add warm stock, whisking constantly. Stir and simmer 20 minutes until gravy thickens. Add pepper and thyme, salt to taste. Add chicken and simmer until heated. Stir in sherry, pour into 2-quart casserole.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Beat 2 cups Bisquick and milk adding more Bisquick if needed to make a manageable dough.
Turn onto floured board. Knead until smooth, about 30 seconds. Cut to fit top of casserole. Use scraps to make a design for top of crust. Bake until golden brown, 10-12 minutes.

Playing some Christmas tunes and wearing your favorite little Christmas apron will make cooking ever so cheerful. Maybe a little glass of reindeer wine or a nip of that sherry will help as well, it's all about keeping stress free this time of year!

Cleo is catching the Christmas spirit also. She loves her warm little Santa hat, knitted especially for her by a very talented Etsy artist.

Have a jolly week!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Turkey Day countdown.....

Gobble gobble gobble! Only 2 more days until T Day and I am running around town armed with my grocery lists and getting ready like all of you. This cute turkey made by my Texas Grandson Aiden graces the front of my refrigerator and I smile every time I try to stuff one more item in there. Don't you just love children's art, it's just so happy :)

From the looks of things you would think I was cooking for a crowd but in truth there will be just the 3 of us here. Not to worry, I'm sure Jonathan will be happy to take any leftovers off my hands.
Just stopping by to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels for those of you heading home.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November already.. sheesh!

Now where did I leave off last, yes it was awhile ago. The weeks are flying by and here it is November already, can you believe it! Our daughter Erin and her little family were here last month for a quick visit. Erin ran the Kansas City Waddell Reed Marathon Saturday morning.
She ran the half- 13.2 miles, so proud of her! Of course we had Grandchildren to enjoy as well and the weekend flew by way too fast.

As for me, it seems I have been doing a lot of this, folding, folding and more folding.

This week I brought out a few of my favorite Christmas pieces and began decorating my pretty new kitchen cabinet. As you can see the cabinet is massive and has lots of storage, I have yet to fill the bottom halve. I'll add greenery to the top later this month. I am getting excited for the holidays already, how about you?

I am doing much of my shopping on line, I truly believe in supporting the crafting community,
whether it's holiday craft shows or venues such as Etsy. While shopping I found this fabulous pin cushion on Etsy, it is going to add a nice cheerful touch to my sewing room don't you think?

Speaking of sewing, that is where I am headed next, an afternoon in my girl cave, an afternoon of stitching up some fun! Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Yipee's Fall!

The trees are now showing their beautiful shades of Fall here in Kansas and leaves are falling like snow, pretty soon it will be time to get out the rakes and bags. We are enjoying Indian summer with temperatures in the low 80's, I could love this weather all year long!
It has been a while since my last post, I have been busy with my business and everyday life in general. My birthday came and went. Gee, not so exciting anymore LOL! But I had calls from all my dear friends and children and that is what makes my day really special. I did receive a surprise package in the mail this week, from my friend Kelly Ann. Kelly Ann owns Kelly Ann's Quilting in beautiful Warrenton Virginia. Just look at this cute stuff, she knows me too well!
Darling cat fabric, glow in the dark thread, cat peeps and Hello Kitty Pez, so sweet, so thoughtful, she made my day :)
And speaking of Kelly Ann, I shipped a trunk show off to her this week, my Christmas table runner models. She is a busy gal with a shop hop coming up as well as so many numerous events it makes your head spin. So if you are in range of Kelly Ann's Quilting, stop on by, you will be glad you did!

Besides folding patterns, Cleo threw us for a little loop last weekend. She had a insulin seizure while Hubby and I were out to grab a bite to eat, our Friday night routine. Our son Jon came home from work and found her and rushed her off to the 24 hour vet hospital where we met him a few minutes later. To make a long story short, they kept her in kitty ICU for the night on an IV of medicine and were able to stabilize her. Doctor told Jerry the next morning she was good to go and she was very very cranky LOL! Phew. Cleo... don't do that again!

Saturday our son Jon moved out. I had been dreading this empty nest moment and expected to have a little crying jag over it, but to tell you the truth with the Cleo crisis and all I hardly noticed. So he is all moved out, starting his young professional life and loving it! Jerry and I ran over to check out the new digs that afternoon and deliver some odds and ends.

This weekend I am doing a little Fall/Halloween decorating. I have Bunco here this week, and my daughter and her little family are driving up from OKC for the weekend. Erin is going to run the Wadell & Reed Kansas City Marathon on Saturday. She is doing the 1/2 marathon, wow, is all I can say!

Having Erin here means Grandsons too... yipeeeeeee! I have my latest Hallmark talking monster out, he is really funny, sings and does the Monster Mash. Cleo just loves it when we line up all our various talking monsters on the floor :)

My neglected sewing room is calling my name. I have a lovely stack of solids waiting for me. They will be background blocks for my next quilt, can't wait to get after it!

Happy Fall!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Back to Earth

Back to earth, or Kansas that is! Trying to settle back in to life on the prairie after spending a delightful week with our friends from Buffalo at their vacation condo in North Myrtle Beach.
It doesn't get much more relaxing than a beach vacation. An ocean view, sound of waves to lull you to sleep; add a little sun, good friends, great food, we were so very spoiled.

Our hubbies golfed a lot, but we did plan one day trip together, a 2 hour drive south to the charming city of Charleston. Out side of Charleston along coastal highway 17 you can not miss the many stands of baskets for sale. These handwoven baskets are a product of West African culture, plantation slaves wove baskets from the sweet grass that grows in the low country of South Carolina. The tradition was passed down from Grandmother to Mother and Daughter and many families continue weaving these beautiful baskets today.

Sometimes the memories that make a trip unique are the special people you meet on your journey. One such person was this gentleman. We had stopped at a gas station/hardware store and he was sitting outside on the porch playing his guitar. Both of our husbands play guitar, struck up a conversation with him and of course they were curious to hear his musical style. He was a shrimp boat captain for 30 years and now played at his leisure. He played and sang a song of his choice for us, a hymn I was not familiar with, so nice, he had a lovely voice. It was an unexpected and pleasurable moment!

All my life I have wanted to visit a real plantation, or ever since reading "Gone With The Wind" as a young girl I should say, and that was our next stop, Boone Hall Plantation.
The entry way was the most spectacular part of the grounds to me, these breath taking live oak trees which are all 200-300 years old. They form a canopy archway over the road leading up to the mansion, can't you just see Rhett galloping up on his horse!

At the end of the driveway stands this beautiful mansion, built in the 1930s, it replaces the original wooden home. This is the oldest working plantation in America and well work the tour of it's beautiful grounds.

Come on in!! Or, lets just sit here and rock awhile, I'll have an iced tea please! Pictures were not allowed inside the home, so I'll just have to leave you at the door.

By now we had worked up quite an appetite! Next stop, dinner on the harbor, a beautiful spot to dine....

and watch the boats sail by.

Have you ever had fried green tomatoes? I never have but Kathy had this amazing appetizer, fried green tomatoes with stuffed crab in between, isn't it beauuutiful! I sampled a tomato and it was delish, Southern food at it's finest! On a full stomach we drove along the waterfront viewing the lovely homes which are unique to the area, too dark then for pictures. We stopped at Riverstreet Sweets for fudge, I do have a sweet tooth you know! And some of those famous Pecan Pralines and salt water taffy to bring home.

Ok, we're getting to the end. Beach, pool, sun, dinner out, beach, pool, sun, bla, bla bla.
Our last night after visiting another fine seafood spot, we stopped at a MEGA gift store. The scope of this place was too large for pictures, every gift item known to man kind was in this store. Included were at least 15 huge rooms packed with Christmas ornaments, can you hear our husbands groan :)

And then there was one last walk on the beach, by the light of a full moon, and now I'm home.
And it's time to pull my head out of the sand, and get busy!
XXOOO Barbie Jo

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gingerbread treats and back to school

A finish this week, my new pattern "Gingerbread Treats" is ready! This runner is fast and fun to make using fusible applique. These no bake cookies will look so cute in your Christmas kitchen.
I used the Christmas Candy line of fabric from Riley Blake, I think it was made just for this runner :)
It's back to school in KC, when I'm out running my errands I see all the school buses rolling by and can't help but think of my little Grandsons.
Twin pumpkins Aiden and Brandon started Kindergarden in Dallas yesterday, wow, what a big day that is!

And last week in OKC William started Kindergarden also and big brother Alex entered 2nd grade.

They all look so happy don't they!
Enjoy your week!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Waaaaaa, she's gone!

Oh dear, she's gone :( I woke up this morning and it felt very strange to not have my sister here.
She flew home yesterday. We had a full and busy week which flew by at lightening speed!
Here we are, Me on the left in purple, Sissy wearing pink. We are at the Kansas City Nelson-Atkins Museum Of Art. From here we went to the Kemper Museum Of Contemporary Art, a huge storm was upon us and we literally blew in through the front doors!
Art viewing was followed by dinner at the Cheesecake Factory on The Plaza... YUMMM!!

Monday and Tuesday we explored the wide variety of shopping available in the area. A stop at Dean & Deluca for afternoon treats and a table outside on a glorious day is heaven! I must say we had our share of dining out this past week. The most interesting was a place my son took us to: "Grinders" located in the heart of KC is a diner which was featured on Food Networks Diners and Dives show. Sis and I felt so hip and cool being there LOL, the food was fun!

Wednesday was Darlenes birthday and we went to the movies and saw "The Help". Cute movie and enjoyed it a lot, pleasantly surprised after reading the book, the casting was excellent.
Thursday was a push day to work on our crazy wool pin cushions. I had ordered these cute kitty scissors for our sewing pleasure, kitty shaped scissors make sewing so much better :)

We worked like demons for a finish and here they are! I went with a Fall theme and Darlene put her kitty "Moses" in a basket of yarn. Darlene loves to knit and her kitty Moses loves to help.

Friday was a bit of everything day, our final day :( We had such a wonderful week and all I can say is if you have a Sister close by you are truly blessed, I will miss her laughter and companionship terribly!

Now moving on to some sewing treats. Last week a shop owner in WA called to order patterns. During our conversation she mentioned a quilt one of her customers had made from my "Annie Loves Christmas" red work pattern. Instead of red work she had adapted the pattern to applique. I was dying to see it and Dorine sent these lovely pictures. The quilt was made by Vera Ohlemacher of WA for Wumpkins Quilt Shop. Thank you for sharing Vera's quilt Dorine!

How absolutely adorable, her work just makes my heart smile :)

All the little details, it looks like she used yarn for her hair, so very very CUTE!!

Reading through my friends posts I see Darlene has finished all the red work blocks for my Annie BOM series. Go check out her quilt progress, so darling Darlene! I am also embarrassed to say I believe she is going to finish before me as I have yet to finish setting my blocks!
This week I received my quilted runner back from Brenda. I am always so excited to see the beautiful quilting she has done, it is the icing on the cake. Today I am sewing the binding on my runner, I'll be writing the pattern this week. YAY, it's a cutie, coming your way soon!
Enjoy your week, happy sewing!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Two More Days!!

Two more days.... until my Sister arrives, I am excited beyond belief!
Now that may seem silly, but I have not seen my Sis in a few years. She lives in New York, I live in Kansas. Our other 3 siblings each live in various states as do our Fathers and children as well. How did we ever get so scattered. It could be a full time job making the rounds to see everyone every year and we do not get to see one another as often as I would like.
Did I say I am EXCITED!!
Darlene is my younger sister, we are 23 months apart. Isn't this picture cute? My Mom sure did know how to bundle us up LOL! Being so close in age we shared a lot growing up, including the same bedroom. During my teen years I sometimes grew tired of having a little sis always under foot, she was EVERYWHERE LOL! For awhile I longed for my own room, I envied my older Sis hers... green eyed envy, the worst kind. Thinking back on it all now I realize how lucky we were, not only did we share the same space, but so much laughter, tears, many stories and our deepest thoughts as well. Other fringe benefits were we liked the same music and wore pretty much the same size which meant a double wardrobe :) She could iron my hair and I could iron hers.

So I am hopping up and down waiting... little Sis arrives on Saturday! I have spent this past week making ready, cleaning and shopping, stocking up on goodies. I will be blog absent next week while we shop, do lunch, sew, talk up a storm and laugh lots!!!!
I did finish my last sewing project, a new table runner pattern coming soon and boy is it ever cute! I mailed it off to Brenda to quilt and will be excited as always to see her finish!
Off to dust LOL!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Quilt til you wilt

How else would you endure these 99 degree temperatures but to turn the AC up and sew. Yep, it's still pretty hot here, Cleo and I are hanging out inside sewing our little hearts out. This week I am working on a new table runner using these wonderful Christmas prints by Riley Blake. I am also trying flavored waters, trying to keep hydrated in this heat LOL! Very refreshing I have to admit, and as you can see I have yellow polish drying on my toes. Not to sure about this shade on me, think I could use a tan to set it off....dreaming of vacation. The sound of waves, drinks with little umbrellas, gathering sea shells, dinner out every night.... ah. I need to get farther away than the bath tub!

This afternoon I was in Target looking for a new summer read... and although I picked up something for me, look what else I came across... "Splat The Cat" :) I LOVE Splat The Cat books and my Grandsons love Splat because he looks like Cleo. He is also giggly and fun and the illustrations are the cutest ever, they will all enjoy these.

I purchased "1000 White Woman"- The Journals Of May Dodd on a friends recommendation, I was also looking for the Hunger Games but they did not have it. I have been so disappointed with all my book choices these past few months, craving a good read. I enjoy mostly a readers club type book, usually fiction. A book where you flow down stream with the story, sad to see it end, instead of fighting the currant to finish. So what are you reading, any suggestions for me?
Well it's back to my needle and thread for a while, and then perhaps a little reading time.
Stay cool, enjoy your week.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Christmas in July

Ahhhh Christmas in July, sounds kind of good right now while so many of us are melting in these 100 degree temps doesn't it! And ready or not, summer time is perfect to start a little sewing for the holidays. This week I mailed a Christmas trunk show to Laura at The Cotton Patch Quilt Shop in Bradenton Florida. Some of my absolutely cutest pattern models ever were included, oh my gosh they will make you smile :) Saturday the shop is holding their Christmas in July preview, so if you are in the area stop on by! Pick out some yummy Christmas fabric and check out all the festive goodness in store for you!

Last weekend a new kid showed up in town.... the long awaited Trader Joe's. I made the mistake of checking it out on grand opening weekend.... along with a gazillion others.

My big find... Tuna just for cats! No I didn't buy all these cans lol, but Cleo sure does love this stuff!

I don't have an exciting weekend planned, I can tell you all of my activities will be indoors with the AC roaring. A stack of Christmas fabric is calling my name and I hope to get started on a new project. Stay cool, happy sewing and happy summer!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A road trip with my Son

Well lets see... where did we leave off last post, oh, coming up on a really boring 4th of July weekend. And that did not disappoint, as predicted it was pretty darn boring. But Hubby made it through his oral surgery and that was a good thing because he still had to finish painting the dining room he had not completed. I puttered around the kitchen making water melon boats and red, white and blue angel cake for dessert. We watched the Nathans annual hot dog eating contest and the spectacular NYC fireworks on TV. Ho hum :)

Soooo... this past weekend I was invited to go to OKC with my son, I'm kind of like driving Miss Daisy down I-35. He felt I needed a getaway and some girl time with his sister Erin. So thoughtful and sweet of him don't you think? Jon has been running back and forth in-between Oklahoma and Kansas for months now. It seems this is the year of the wedding for his age group and he is now a professional groomsman on the weekends LOL! After dropping me off at my daughters, he gave his nephews a quick hug and squeeze and headed off to his next pre wedding event. The boys just love their big Uncle Jon!

Alex is 7 and William 5, they are a riot!

Saturday Erin and I had a girls only afternoon. But I'm going to tell you, it was HOT!!! Every temperature sign we passed was climbing higher and higher, 110 degrees was the high. OMG, I forgot how hot Oklahoma can be in the summer!

Our first stop was Oklahoma Quiltworks where we browsed and bought some fabric. Most of the Christmas fabric is out now and it was a tough choice to choose from just one line.

Next we hit up several antique shops and malls and Sonic for a blueberry slushy, can't beat Sonic drinks on a hot day! We stopped in a tiny bakery which was next to one of the antique shops, what an unexpected treat! Adorable cookies to take home to the boys, and I have to say they had the best tasting bakery cookies I have had in years! "Full Cup" Bakery in Bethany- loved them!

Today I released 2 new patterns, always such a nice feeling to go from start to finish!
First is "Pumpkins All Aglow" A wool table topper, fast and fun to make. Love the Fall colors, those plum berries add just the right touch of color and make my heart pitter patter :) Button teeth add some extra fun!

Next is "A Fall Sampler" 4 tea towel designs to stitch up for Fall. Stitch them by the lake or on your next road trip, you'll have them done before the leaves change color!

Now it's time to get back to my chores, you know how things pile up when you're gone a few days. And I'm anxious to start my next sewing project! I can tell you though, I won't be sitting out side stitching this week, looks like 98's most of the week.
Have fun and stay cool!