Monday, November 30, 2015

Advent-ure 2015: Cross-Stitch Gift Tags Tutorial

I love a tree skirt piled up with kraft paper presents.

"Brown paper packages tied up with string" (oh, Maria Von Trapp, will you be my mother?) become a neutral canvas against which you can choose a stunning palette of decorative colors each year.

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Maybe gold to honor the gifts of the Three Wise Men. Perhaps you'll just go traditional with candy can striped ribbons and garland. I hope you're not having a blue Christmas without them.

One of the ways I like to dress up those packages is with unique gift tags in my chosen colors of the year. This year, I'm going with bright reds, greens and blues. And the theme is "Ugly Christmas Sweater".

With this in mind, I created some cross-stitched gift tags and would love to share them with you. Not so ugly after all!

Download this PDF of instructions and pattern to make your own cross-stitched gift tags this year.

And to give you a little extra creative inspiration, I thought I'd share these gift tags I bought at the thrift store. I got two sheets and have added some embroidered elements to two so far.


Happy Stitching and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Recipe: Pumpkin Pie - American Style

The recipe for Libby's pumpkin pie has been on their canned pumpkin labels since 1950. It's the only one I've ever used that has consistently proven itself year after year. I make only a small change in spices since cinnamon is not my favorite.

If you have no canned pumpkin, make the pie using 2 cups of cooked mashed pumpkin. In the US, use sugar pie pumpkins. The look just like jack-o-lantern pumpkins but are smaller. In Australia, I successfully used Jarradale pumpkin to make a pumpkin pie that tasted as American as.....well, pumpkin pie.

This is a great tutorial for making your own pumpkin puree.

Here's the classic recipe with my tiny change. Oh, and if you don't have one deep dish pie crust, this recipe makes two regular pies. Please note that evaporated milk is not the same as condensed milk and it should never be pre-sweetened.

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree or 2 cups cooked mashed pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell OR 2 regular pie crusts
MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Tutorial: Embroidered Luggage Tags

Whether you're headed over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house or down to Margaritaville to a hammock with your name on it, what do you do to keep the little one occupied on the long trip? 

Make a stuffed airplane plush. It's soft and cuddly and the pattern is available in my Etsy shop. Just in time to whip up before the holiday journeys begin.

Get it here in my Etsy shop. 

But it's a double whammy of travel goodness for you today.

Travel in handmade style with these hand-embroidered luggage tags on your bags. 

These tags use a small piece of linen, cotton, or lightweight wool and a bit of embroidery floss. Once you make the little pocket of a tag, slip a cardboard identity tag inside, wrap it around your bag handle and you're ready to go.

Download the pdf for instructions and pattern!

See you on the other side!