Friday, December 23, 2016

~Merry Christmas!~

Storrowton Village Museum is located in West Springfield, MA.  We live on the east side of the Connecticut River & this beautiful village is located on the west side of the river.  It's a quick drive over a bridge.  Every year in early December a quaint fun adventure awaits when we travel back to this 19th century village-
                           "Yuletide at Storrowton"

Wreaths & garlands decorated the historic homes.  Arriving at the Gilbert House a dainty, yet tasteful decoration welcomed us at the door.

Once inside, a simple yet very elegant table decoration was found in the Parlor

A quick walk into the Kitchen to learn what would be served at dinner- a Roasted Chicken, stuffed Squash & baked Gingerbread! 


The cooking area had decorations with a 21st century touch.  

 The Schoolhouse was the next stop!

After stepping inside it was easy to chat with the Schoolteacher.  Her rod was on her desk- decorated with a red ribbon.

The Meeting House is in the background!

It was a beautiful day in early December!  We also learned a little local history.

We enjoyed!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies!

Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies!
It's cookie time!!!  I'm talking about cookies that are baked for special occasions!  The ones that your family members/ friends will just love!  After taking the first bite of this soft rolled out cookie, suddenly it's gone.  The flavor of Nutmeg is a pleasant surprise. Imagine your cookie canister filled with these yummy cookies of different shapes and they're topped with colorful sprinkles.  They are light, too.  Sour Cream is another ingredient.  (I use Light Sour Cream.)  These Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies are made in a 2 step process.  Get ready to bake a batch!  Find your rolling pin, cookie cutters & colorful sprinkles!  These are the best ever! 

Getting ready!
***HintButter is the ingredient that I use here, not Margarine.  I've found the dough to be difficult to roll out when I've used Margarine.  

On Day 1- The dough is prepared.  Then, it's refrigerated.  I always wrap the mound of dough in plastic wrap.  Then wrap it a second time- the second time in aluminum foil.  Into the fridge it goes.

On Day 2- Find your holiday cookie cutters, colorful sprinkles, rolling pin & rolling mat.  It's baking day!      

Rolling out the dough!
Dough wrapped in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil.
(File Photo)
A week before Christmas I bake a batch of these family favorites.  After cooling, they are packed in Ziploc Freezer Bags & stored in the freezer.


Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
Oven:  375°F
Yield:  About 5 dozen, depending on size

4 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Cup unsalted Butter, softened
1 and 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Sour Cream (can be Light)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Colored Sugars for Decorating
Cookie Cutters


Day 1-
  1. In large bowl with electric mixer beat Butter and Sugar until light and fluffy. 
  2. Add Egg, beat.
  3. Add in Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt and Nutmeg. 
  4. While beating on Low, slowly add Flour, 1 Cup at a time.
  5. Add in Vanilla and Sour Cream. Beat on Medium until well combined. Dough will be stiff
  6. Remove dough from bowl and place on plastic wrap, wrap dough. 
  7. Place wrapped dough on aluminum foil and wrap well.
  8. Refrigerate overnight.  
Day 2-
  1.  Preheat oven to 375°F. 
  2.  Unwrap dough and cut into four parts.
  3.  On well floured surface, roll dough to 1/4" thickness. Use cookie cutters. 
  4.  Place cookies on pan/ sheet 1" apart. (Maybe 12 cookies to a sheet.)
  5.  Sprinkle with colored sugars.
  6.  Bake 10 - 11 Minutes. Bottom of cookies will be a light golden brown.
  7.  Remove with spatula to wire cooling racks. 
  8. When cool, store in airtight containers.  
These Sour Cream Sugar Cookies freeze very well!  I always bake them before Christmas, package in Ziploc Freezer Bags & freeze these yummy decorated treats.

Go to your grocery list & add Sour Cream & Butter to it!  These are the best rolled out sugar cookies- ever!!!


Saturday, December 17, 2016

"Santa Consulting Globe"

"Santa Consulting Globe"
by Norman Rockwell
The Saturday Evening Post Cover
December 4, 1926
Norman Rockwell's work for The Saturday Evening Post  is always great to revisit!  Living in Western Massachusetts & appreciating his work, it's a tradition for my hubby & I to travel to the Berkshires (farther west in my state) & visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA.  We visit at least once during the year.

In 1926 The Saturday Evening Post cost 5 cents.  On December 4, 1926 the magazine was printed with a Norman Rockwell Santa Claus.  Santa is studying the globe, planning his route, so he may visit all of the "good" children when he makes his journey around the earth.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Knitted Penguins

Two Happy Penguins
Knitted- Directions: Red Heart Yarn
One day via Twitter, Red Heart Yarn had shared the pattern for an adorable black Penguin with a bright red scarf.  It was just so cute!  Taking a quick glance at the directions I bookmarked the pattern.  (Click here for pattern.)  Quickly, I made plans to make 2 of these little cuties- one for each grandson.

Much like my "fabric stash", I have a "yarn stash".  In this project, I used both!  I had red yarn & I had white yarn.  A quick trip to Michael's & I had black yarn.  I'd be knitting 2 penguins, so I decided to make each Penguin's scarf & sweater a different color!  In my "stash" was a blue tweed yarn.  It was leftover from my hubby's knitted rib winter hat.  That had been my project last year.  There's always the clicking of knitting needles going on here.  Knitting is a FuN hobby that my mom taught me back when I was a lot younger.  In other words, I've been knitting for- well- decades. 

These Penguins are just adorable!  2 sizes of  knitting needles are needed for this project:
  • The Penguin body- double pointed US #3 knitting needles.
  • The scarf is knitted with US #6 single point knitting needles.
  • A Yarn Needle is also needed to stitch the seam & also attach the flippers.
After knitting the body & flippers of the Penguin, the eyes & mouth buttons were securely sewn on the face.  To sew them securely on the knitted face, a small piece of Bias Tape was placed on the back of the face- where each button would be sewed.

Eyes & Mouth sewed on-
using Bias Tape
Then, I sewed up 2/3 of the back seam of each Penguin starting at the bottom.  I placed it flat (on my ironing board) with the front facing me.

***Staring at the body I realized that after it was sewn together & stuffed, there could be an issue of the stuffing seeping out between the knitted stitches.  That was not good!  That led to making a body Liner.   

To make a body Liner to stuff:
The next step was tracing the knitted body on newsprint.  I then had a pattern to use while cutting the Liner from light weight jersey fabric.  Cut 2 liner body pieces for a Penguin.  Sew the 2 pieces together leaving the bottom open.

The next step? 
The body Liner was stuffed & the bottom seam stitched by hand.

Stuffed Body Liners-
ready to insert
The stuffed Liner was placed inside the knitted Penguin.  The back seam on the Penguin was completed using the Yarn Needle & yarn.  Then, the flippers were sewed in place, too, using yarn. 

The plump little Penguin needed a scarf.  Tie the scarf just under the face & pull tightly.  I sewed it in place with yarn (using the scarf's color) and also tacked the long scarf in place.

To stand- push bottom of Penguin in.  

What cute little Penguins!  After the first Penguin was completed, I was on my way to finish off the second one- complete with a colorful scarf!  Soon, I'll be working on another!

This is a FuN project to keep or to give as a gift.  Again click here for the pattern.

Happy Knitting!