Cheddar Cheese Fondue

Sunday, January 24, 2016

For all you long time readers of the blog, you know that I've posted a few fondue recipes in the past. I gave this one a try this weekend and it's a real winner too, so I thought I would share.

This is a traditional cheddar cheese fondue, so your kids will probably love it. (Mine sure did.)

Super easy to whip up!


Cheddar Fondue


1 cup white wine
1 teaspoon chopped garlic  
16 oz cheddar cheese, shredded 
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper 
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder 
Bread, pretzels, fruits, veggies for dipping - (apples, pineapple, carrots, broccoli)

  1. Simmer wine and garlic in fondue pot over medium-high heat for one minute. 
  2. Add cheese, flour, pepper, and mustard powder to a Ziploc bag and shake. Add mixture to fondue pot 1/4 pound at a time. 
  3. Stir after each addition to incorporate until cheese is melted. 
  4. Serve with cut-up bread, fruit, and veggies.


Notes: 

For those of you who don't want to use wine (or quite frankly don't happen to have a mere 1 cup of it laying around unused), you can substitute apple juice.

Don't forget our other tried and true fondue recipes. All of these make great recipes for snow days or for upcoming Super Bowl parties:


Enjoy!

Mermaid Tail and Shark Lapghans

Friday, January 22, 2016

Did you craft anything as a gift for Christmas? Well, I did.

I decided that for all the kiddos on the Harris side of the family, I would crochet them matching lap afghans (or lapghans). You may have already seen the popular mermaid tail and "eaten by a shark" personal afghans floating around on Pinterest and Facebook.

With sharks being all over the news this past Summer and with our family's association with The Little Mermaid having been well documented time and time again, I thought that sharks for Aidyn and Jaxon and mermaid tails for Charlotte, Emma, and Lexi would be perfect.


I used these free crochet patterns and adjusted them for sizing: Eaten by a Shark Pattern and Mermaid Tail Pattern.

Here's the whole motley crew. I know, Lexi, you have crazy cousins! ;-)


But she soon figured out what to do with it . . . 


Of course, my boys wanted to show you what it looks like to fend off a shark attack:


And also what it looks like when you lose (silly boys):


Pattern Modifications

For the smaller mermaid tails, I only completed each half tail until there were 16 stitches left. This made a smaller tail that looked more appropriately sized for a smaller mermaid tail.

For all tails (both mermaid and shark), I only completed the very last row (12 or 16) with one row of stitches. That way, the matching row on the other half tail would complete the two row pattern that all other rows had formed. If you complete two rows on both sides, then when you sew the two half tails together, you'll have four of the same sized rows together in the middle, which I thought would look odd.


For the mermaid tails, I used this decorative stitch around the top edges: *7dc in same space, skip a stitch, repeat from * 


For shark teeth, instead of the bobbles, I used this decorative stitch to form triangle "teeth" around the mouth: *hdc, dc, tr, dc, hdc, skip two stitches, repeat from *


Measurements

You'll note that both patterns walk you through the bottom portion, which includes all shaping, and then instructs you to complete the rest of the pattern "to desired length." Well, since these were for gifts, I had to sort of figure a way to ask for measurements so that I would have something to work with.

For the mermaid tails, I asked for the girls' measurements (standing) from floor to waist height and then I added to that measurement the length of their feet. This will give them room to move their feet around at the bottom of the tail, and for the little girls, will give them some "growing room." I crocheted to this length in each instance and then added the final decorative stitch in the contrasting color.

For the sharks, I measured the boys from underneath their arms (standing) to the floor and then added to that measurement the length of their feet. I crocheted to this length in each instance and then added the jaws.

Yarn Choice & Colors

For the mermaid tails, I used:



For the sharks, I used:


(Note: You certainly don't need one pound of the black, red, or white color for the shark pattern. These were just leftover from another project, so I put them to good use for these projects to accomplish some stash busting!)

All in all, I would certainly recommend these patterns, as they are very beginner friendly. They do take some time with the finishing (for the sharks more so than the mermaids), but the majority of the work is a simple Granny Stitch. Easy peasy!

Add these patterns to your Ravelry queue:


Note: Designer is the same for both the Eaten by a Shark and Mermaid Tail lapghans. Eaten by a Shark is featured on Ravelry, but that link will also take you to the free Mermaid Tail pattern on her website.

Enjoy!

This post contains affiliate links.

Vintage Pink Nursery Rhyme Glassware

Monday, January 18, 2016

Just in time for our next grand holiday, Valentine's Day, I present to you my latest and greatest vintage pink glassware treasures.  As I have shown you before, I like to use pink depression glass in my Valentine table setting each year.  I actually spied these pieces last summer and brought them home to store until now.  It's time once again to decorate for Valentine's Day, so these beauties are making their debut for the very first time this year.  


This little set includes six pieces: a small pitcher, two glasses, one handled mug, a divided plate, and a bowl.  And each piece actually depicts old nursery rhyme quotes and images.  And while I was instantly drawn to this beautiful pink glassware, it's definitely not depression glass, which is fine by me.  I still love it just as much and will mix it right in with my other pieces. 

Here are the drinkware pieces.


And here are some closeups so you can see what drew me to these super sweet pieces in the first place.  Humpty Dumpty graces the side of the handled mug. 




Here are the two juice glasses.  They are a matching pair of "Jack and Jill" glasses. 


One side of each of the glasses has the actual rhyme on it. 


And the other side is an image of the characters themselves. 


Here's the small pitcher.  It's a really solid little piece, in great shape and features two nursery rhymes on it. 


One side is "Mary had a Little Lamb".


While the other side is "Jack Jumped over the Candlestick".


Then finally, we have the dishes.  This is the divided plate, and it features a couple more rhymes: "See Saw Margery Daw" and "Where are you Going My Pretty Maid?"


The bowl was super difficult to photograph so you'll have to take my word for it.  The image in the bottom of the bowl is of Mother Goose, while "Little Bo Peep", "Three Blind Mice" and "Little Miss Muffet" are printed around the edges of the bowl. 


So there you have it.  Another vintage find and I'm a happy girl.  These will be tucked right into the Valentine's decor in my dining room this year.  Stay tuned to the blog for more Valentine's decorating in the coming weeks!

2016- The Year of the Owl

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Well, it's not really the Year of the Owl.  In fact, if you follow Chinese astrology, it's the Year of the Monkey, and I'm pretty sure there is no such thing as the Year of the Owl.  But we aren't in China, and in my own little world, it may as well be the Year of the Owl.  Let me explain.


This year for Christmas, we decided we were no longer going to exchange adult gifts in our family. So I was beyond surprised when my father-in-law dragged in box after box of big heavy gifts, each wrapped just the same and all addressed to me.  What in the world?!?!  As I started to raise an eyebrow, he started to explain.  Apparently, it's been YEARS (like since before I was part of this family) since they have done this (but decided to revive the tradition with me)- the grand tradition of the over-the-top gag gift.  So as I faced these huge boxes with this new explanation, I really started to worry. Each box was wrapped in owl paper.  Now I've never made any bones about it.  I do love owls, and have for a long time.  It seems the rest of the world caught up several years ago, but I'm an owl lover from way back.  In any case, apparently I'm not the only long-time owl lover out there. 

As I opened my first box, I could see what I had there.  Apparently, I was now the owner of someone else's COMPLETE lifetime collection of owl statues.  I'm not kidding, and I can barely describe the expanse of what that means. My fearless father-in-law is a long time junker.  He comes up with some good stuff, no doubt about it.  But this was supposed to be a gag gift, remember?  It was mostly humongous statues of realistic and scary looking owls- I'm talking wings spread, talons unfurled, scary stuff- the likes of which I hope to never see again.  

Here I am on Christmas Day with my stacks of owl boxes and (a rather tame) example of what was inside. 


Everyone assured me that this was just a joke, and I should immediately just haul all these boxes to the trash or to Goodwill, but I was determined to go through each owl and see what I had there. Now that we are into the new year, I've finally had time to take on that task and I've been pleasantly surprised with a few of my findings. 

This is hands down my favorite.  This mug is double sided.  The same lazy owl face appears on both sides.  It needs a good cleaning, but if this was all I found out of all those boxes, I would have been more than over the moon.  I love him!


But take a look at these beauties.  Weather owls!  It's a little tough to read, but the owl on the left reads "Weather Forecaster" on the books and the one of the right reads "Weather Owl".  Of course, these are mine, mine, mine.  


And then I found this little cutie just calling out to me. It's the sign that he's holding that did it for me.  "Please don't smoke.  It's not wise."  Do they even make things like this now?  I seriously doubt it.  I'm in love.  


As you can see, the owls I have chosen to rescue are all of the cartoony variety.  Here are three other sweeties that I couldn't send away.   They are small.  I'd say each one is about 3 inches tall. 


Oh, but Harris Sisters always stick together.  Even though I know Harris Sister Misty doesn't love owls in the same way that I do, I still couldn't resist holding these out for her.  They are both bells (something that Mama collected), and both are from the Great Smoky Mountains.  They are kitschy looking.  To me, they appear to be from the 1970s.  And Misty, they are all yours!


And for Harris Sister Donna, who loves Halloween, these are for you.  Owls and Halloween just go together and the color of all these are perfect for that time for year.  The yellow one on the right is actually a bank.  And even though the orange one in the middle looks a little scary in this photo, I think it's actually my favorite one of the three.  


As it happened, there turned out to be a couple of non-owl items that made their way into the boxes. This little cup was sweet, and obviously old, but I probably wouldn't have given it more than a second look. 


UNTIL....  I turned it over.  On the bottom was a handwritten note that reads "Aunt Myrtle and Uncle Guss Baker and family were leaving for California.  They picked apples and other fruit and paid their way through.  Aunt Myrtle bought this for me when I was 3 years- 1918."  Alrighty, that dates this cup to nearly 100 years old.  It also dates the owner of this collection, and makes me very happy to be a part of the story.  I am without a doubt keeping this special cup.  


And finally, in the entire collection, there was one Christmas ornament.  It's small and I could have easily missed it, but I'm glad I didn't.  Of course, it's three owls- Mama, Daddy, and Baby- just like us. I'm saving it for next year's Christmas tree- to remember the year of owl.  


One Man's Trash: Vintage Christmas Table Linens

Friday, January 8, 2016

I was born too late.  No doubt about it.  My middle name might as well be "vintage".  But not just any vintage.  I am a mid century kinda girl.  Oh, what I wouldn't give to have been in my heyday in the 1950s.  I love everything about that time.  The fashion, the jewelry, the hairdos, the home decor, the sweet sense of honesty, humility, family, and home.   Oh, and the list just goes on and on.

In any case, I am a collector of vintage table linens.  And on a recent trip to the mountains of Tennessee, we stopped into a little shop called Apple Annie's.  She had the sweetest collection of vintage linens there, and not just any linens.  They were all Christmas linens.  My heart flip flopped!  I carefully unfolded the pieces and chatted with her about them.  I ended up selecting two 1950s tablecloths, both in excellent vintage condition.  And when I brought them home, I carefully wrapped them and put them under the Christmas tree for myself.  :)  I'm not kidding.  It was still a super special treat come Christmas morning.  Give me anything vintage, and I'm a happy girl.  But like I said, these were special.

Here's a look at my new finds.




Here's a closer look at the patterns on each of them.  I really like that this one has some blue and gold in it.  Although we all agreed that it's probably not quite as old as the other one.


This one is more traditional, bearing the red and green holly, ivy, and poinsettias.  I love them both so much!


 And here I am unwrapping them on Christmas morning.  I told you I was over the moon about them!


So now that the holidays are behind us, I will be packing these away for next year very soon.  And I'm sure I will be surprised all over again when I pull them back out again.  My plan is to display them on an old quilt rack or ladder in the corner of the dining room next year.  When you have more table linens than tables, you can either rotate them over the years or find creative ways to show them off even if they aren't in use on the table.  I think I will plan to do a little of both.  :)