Now, master cooks we are not. Certainly, bakers, not even close! And yet something possesses us each year right around this time to get out the recipes and the crazy ideas and choose a candy of some kind to make for all of the teachers and school folks who educate our children throughout the year. It has to be something different each year and everyone in the family has to participate in the process. Sounds like a noble task, doesn't it?
Well, some years it goes better than others. This year, no one is fessing up to this by the way, but someone suggested and lobbied for, yes you guessed it, lollipops. Nothing in simply, straightforward forms or anything. Free form lollipops.
Now to make a very long story short... a story that involved 3 trips to the grocery story, a certain obsession with caramels [for those of you follow me on twitter], a series of "trial" batches that ended with interesting colors and even more interesting flavors, sugar on the paws of several dogs, a few burned fingers, a science lesson, 4 pans, 7 spoons, 2 candy thermometers and 5 Figueroas.... we had cherry and cherry cream lollipops that somewhat resembled the shape one might think of when they think "lollipop"!
So here's to all of those "easy" lollipop recipes, to those Martha Stewart moms out there who can get a perfectly round pop out of each batch, to those families out there with an innate skill of cramming 5 family members in a kitchen, adding boiling sugar and still having fun with all of their hair intact- my hat is off to you.
This is what we managed to accomplish. And I can tell you that by the end of our adventure, we were all very deeply grateful that we had something red on a stick that tasted good and looked sweet!
Really, what more could we ask for?
Happy Holidays to all you bakers and not bakers out there!
BTW, stay tuned for a fun blog announcent ready in time for the DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS. Gee, what could it possibly be, a HUGE SALE maybe??
One of our newest patterns, Amelia & Me, just got finished up a few weeks ago and started shipping last week. It is one of my favorite pattern covers with my daughter on it. I think she looks very Southern Belle, doesn't she? Maybe its just me, I am a bit biased after all!
As soon as it started shipping, we had a sudden freeze in Northern California where we live and somehow the sending out of a sweet spring girls hat pattern, just didn't sound right [even though I know stores will be using it for their early Spring stock, yada, yada].
So we whipped up a wool version that turned out even easier than the original... no lining or interfacing of any kind. Just wool, felted is better so it can be washed later. And voila, a wonderful winter version of Amelia & Me!
Given the floppiness of the unlined wool, we decided to add a little button and simply stitch it up in the front to add a little detail and keep the wide brim out of her eyes. It added an unexpected charm that we just love!
The top can be made from 2 different colors of wool, like on this sample, or just one color for a more classic hat. I think it would look beautiful in a caramel colored wool... or a charcoal.
I might just have to make a mommy version [oh yeah, the pattern comes in a kid size and a mom size]. Although I don't have much of a hat friendly head, so you might laugh. Heck, I might laugh. We'll see.
So our newest issue of Fresh Vintage... issue #14, has finally started to ship. We have all of the auto shipments out and most of the stores and distributors out the door as of yesterday morning! Halleluiah!
Now this was definitely a labor of love this time around, I tell ya. Haven't had this many snags with the printing and delivery of a pattern for quite a while. But its all done so its all good and we're MOVING ON, as my husband says.
For those of you who have been asking and emailing, the infamous tree skirt from the previous post is the secondary pattern in this issue.
We have a limited amount of these patterns available at this time [don't ask] so if you are dieing for one, you might want to grab one now and start working on those wonderful little baskets or a tree skirt for next year!
As I've said probably at least a dozen times before [btw, at what age is okay to start repeating your stories? My dad uses that excuse & I am just wondering if I can start using it?], I just LOVE basket quilts. Not sure I have ever really disliked one, but really love how this one turned out.
It is a truly scrappy quilt. We used a combination of our current Mill House Inn line, the upcoming Whimsy collection and snippets of Patisserie here and there. I love the result. The main quilt is a bit softer, staying away from the deeper tones in those lines and focusing on some of the softer and medium options. The other version replaces the softer, cream based prints with a variety of those delicious plums from Mill House. So... two different looks just to show you what one color substitution might do for the overall feel of the quilt.
Among other things, the issue also includes a fantastic simple pan apple cake recipe... a variation on a recent SUNSET magazine recipe. We have been eating these for Saturday breakfasts lately and that's really saying a lot around here because I usually don't bake.
This recipe is quick and simple and given that it is chalk full of eggs and apples and not a lot of sugar, it qualifies as breakfast for both us and the munchkins! Yum, yum, yum.
Now I know you are thinking to yourself... didn't you already tell us about the tree skirt? Didn't you already show us the tree skirt? How much more tree skirt do we need to see?
Well... after taking 87 1/2 pictures of said tree skirt, I feel compelled to show a whole "montage" of tree skirt photos, just because, because I can!
Can you tell I am happy with my tree skirt?
The real reason for all this excitement I think, is that I hardly ever sew for my own home these days. Even more so, I never sew for the correct season during that season. It is one of the main down sides of being in the design business, all of us are working 6 months out at the very least and so the real seasons never seem to coincide with what is going on in the design studios. For example, all the MODA Christmas fabrics hit the store shelves in June, which means that the stores had to decide on them by January at the latest which means that the designers were submitting them the previous June and who knows when they had to start to think of the ideas for those submissions! Sometimes, its truly enough to make a person a little bit crazy!
Anyhow, when I needed a project for this current issue of Fresh Vintage and I needed it fast, the tree skirt got its opportunity. Finally! Did I already mention to you, probably several times, how many years I have been wanting a huge, simple tree skirt to cover my big, giant tree stand and catch all the needles that were falling and generally just to look pretty under my tree all month? Well, its been a long time in the coming.
So here are a few shots of my new tree skirt... humor me and pretend that you are excited to see this many shots of one piece of fabric!
Anyway, starting tonite for a day you will have a chance to win some Fig Tree goodies over there- we are the 11th Day of Christmas! The giveaway is only good for another day as far as I understand so be sure to go now and don't miss out! Even better is that you can comment on all 12 days if you like to get a chance to win any one of the 12 wonderful prizes. Best of luck to you all!
While wandering around Chelsea in London, I found one of the places I have loved for years without ever having been there. I have the books, browse the sites and the store was just, if not more, magical. An entire wall of pillows, racks of fabrics, dozens of vignettes. Wonderful ideas for home and children and office. I think I spent 2 hrs in there just looking around.
The Designer's Guild founded by Tricia Guild was a treasure trove of visual goodies.
Unfortunately they wouldn't allow me to take any pictures indoors so most of these shots are from the outside windows. But I figured these were better than nothing...
The outside white icicle lights are on... but just half of the house so we look a bit lopsided in the evenings.
The 15 boxes of decorations and Christmas collections are out of the attic, not up, but at least out. Downstairs is good.
The Christmas tree is up, not decorated, but up. The kids are still fighting over who will get to put the angel on top. Ohhh, the Christmas spirit is on us!
The supplies for our annual homemade teacher Christmas presents are starting to come together. We have decided to make lollipops this year. Don't even ask! I will keep you posted on how that adventure develops. Right now I am proud of myself for even agreeing to do it in the midst of everything else that has to happen before then.
There are 2 presents under the tree. They are both from Ella [age 5] to me. They are wrapped collages that she made last year and forgot to give to me. But it doesn't matter to her- one of her greatest joys is making and then wrapping collages. Any time of year. Christmas is just an excuse to make more since there is unsupervised gift wrap all over the house. She hoards tape year round whenever she finds it so that's not a problem.
We have one Christmas play down, 2 to go. I am praying for eggnog at one of them. What are the chances?
So far I have managed to dig out a bunch of my favorite red and cream quilts. Each year at this time, they are gone on trunk show. This year, I decided to keep them at home and I am so glad that I did. I hardly ever get to enjoy them.
I don't think I will ever get tired of the combination or the traditional feel of Christmas they bring with them.
I have organized my favorite collection of Emma Bridgewater pottery with a few little Christmas additions. Each year my husband buys me one piece. This year I think it might it might be a tea pot but don't tell him I think I know. I need to act surprised!
The tree skirt is done and under the tree. I've been wanting to make one of those for so long and am so glad that I managed to eek out the time to make it [well, with a lot of help from Diana and Cheryl... thanks ladies]. Its just a plain one, a simple one, out of my own fabrics. The red & cream mosaic fabric from Mill House Inn is one of my all time favorites & it was a shoe in the second I decided to make the skirt. As soon as it is light outside I will shoot a few better pictures of it and show them to you.
Its beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here. Or at least a little bit like Christmas. Somewhat disorganized but Christmas nonetheless.
Welcome to the online journal of Joanna Figueroa, textile designer, author & owner of Fig Tree & Co, a quilt & sewing pattern company. Let's talk about fabric, design, color, family, life, pickles and bowls... not necessarily in that order!
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