Friday, November 30, 2007

Happy, Merry Hallothanksmas !!!!

It was a lovely Hallothanksmas Day here at Moonbeams in a Jar. I finally finished the "pumpkin project" -- there it is --- that garland hanging above my Hallowthanksmas display on the kitchen window. I also whipped up more of those "homemade" slice and bake sugar cookies to go with the cranberry sauce; and I was able to dig up more Halloween candy from under Evan's bed -- that's where he was keeping his stash --in that blue pillow case -- look! there's Tootsie Pops, Smarties, and Laffy Taffy. YUM !!! what a Hallowthanksmas Feast !

Now, as luck would have it, MBIAJ (Moonbeams in a Jar) Holiday Declaration Dept has decided to post the directions for the pumpkin garland (you can see it better in that last picture without all the other decorations/clutter around it -- but still not a really great picture ...and this was actually a really easy, fun project -- don't know why the heck it took so long to finish it --- except for a zillion interruptions like work, laundry, meal prep,taxi driving services, etc, etc, etc,...) Anyhow, the Holiday Declaration Dept has decided to post the directions since you still have time to make this pumpkin garland and still be in time for the Dec 4th Hallothanksmas "just in case you didn't finish your project back up/rain date". Our Holiday Declaration Dept. also proposes that all holidays have an "I'm not ready yet, back up /rain date". So... coming soon, hopefully tomorrow... to a computer near you .... the directions to make this Hallowthanksmas pumpkin garland!

Until then, we here at MBIAJ wish you and yours a lovely Hallowthanksmas!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's Hallothanksmas Eve !!

Twas the night before Hallowthanksmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even a mouse (nor Evan and Shadow). The dirty socks were thrown on the floor next to the chimney without a care in hopes that Alice from the Brady Bunch soon would be there......

I know, I know ..... you're thinking "what the heck is she talking about?! What's Hallowthanksmas?!" Well.... it's a new holiday that I've declared to accommodate holiday slackers like me. You see, I started a project that I had hoped to be finished for Halloween. Well, that didn't happen. Then, I thought I'll finish it in time for Thanksgiving. Well, that didn't happen either. Now since the project is a pumpkin project I thought it was kind of a stretch to let it roll over until Christmas, so inserting a holiday somewhere between the "pumpkin" holidays and Christmas seems to be the way to go...... so, I hereby declare tomorrow, November 30th to be Hallothanksmas !! (i.e. Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas). --- now, of course, if you're not finished your Hallothanksmas craft projects by Nov. 30th, you can push the holiday back to the following Tuesday (December 4th) -- see how flexible of a holiday declarer I am!

Now, in the first picture I've tried to gather up some of the traditional Hallothanksmas decorations and foods. Decoration consist of that rotting pumpkin left over from Halloween (see how festive it looks wearing that Santa hat straight out of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.) Also included in the decorations are that Thanksgiving turkey who looks pretty irked, greeting cards from all 3 holidays, and a folk art Santa. Also, candles are nice touch (both pumpkin and bayberry). Throw in some pumpkin fabric right next to some Christmas fabric, too. Also, here's a suggestion if you still have your Halloween scare crows hanging around -- just put a Santa hat on them . Now, as far as food goes, you'll notice some left over Halloween candy, some slice and bake sugar cookies (these have often passed as homemade Christmas cookies at my house) and of course a left over can of cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving. Ooooooo YUM! my mouth is just watering !!!

Well, I'm sorry to tell you all that there are no Hallothanksmas elves -- you'll have to do all the preparations for this holiday by yourselves -- which means I'd better get off of this computer and finish my Hallothanksmas craft project -- as you can see in that last picture, I'm running behind!! ( I really want to finish it by tomorrow -- I don't want to have to push the holiday back to Dec 4th!) -- Oh! and I almost forgot -- I plan to contact Hallmark and give them the scoop on this new holiday so they can start coming up with greeting cards for next year!

OK --it's back to work on that pumpkin for me!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

MBIAJ Pink Sewing Room Update

MBIAJ (Moonbeams in a Jar) Pink Sewing Room Update ---- So.......what went on in the Pink Sewing Room today you ask? Well..... being the "always running late by at least a month or more holiday slacker" that I am, it wasn't Christmas project sewing (oh, no I save that for the week before Christmas -- I know, not a good plan, but I seem to work best under intense pressure! That's not saying I finish in time for Christmas, but I sure do give it the ol' college try!!) Anyhoo, Daisy and I were working on a project that we're now going to declare a new holiday for (more on that later this week, maybe....). .....And the music playing in the Pink Sewing Room today was ..... also not Christmas music .... it was a little Vanessa Carleton (I would LOVE to be able to play the piano like her!!); my all time favorite classic from college days Carol King Tapestry (I'd like to be able to play the piano like her too!!!); and the soundtrack from a good tear jerker of a movie, "The Notebook" --- love those songs from the 1940's.

Oh, and Daisy , you'll notice, as usual , has made herself quite comfortable in that red box. My brother-in-law's wife, Lisa surprised me on Thanksgiving Day with that box filled with the cutest fabric !!! (that cute stuff in the last picture with the piggies, etc). Thanks Lisa!!! (and Daisy is loving the box and sending purrrrrrs and contented kitty thank yous to Auntie Lisa)

Well, I've been playing around all day and not doing anything I'm supposed to be doing --- like going to the grocery store. I'm feeling an angry mob breathing down my neck (that would be the teenage boys and friends) because the cupboards are bare (or at least bare according to them -- the cookies, and other teenager food groups are gone.)

Better zoom!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! I wanted to share some of the reproduction vintage Thanksgiving cards I have --- I especially get a kick out the one that says "A Cordial Thanksgiving" --how very refined !!!

.....AND, I also have to show you all the beautiful book my best pal Bethsent me for my birthday. The name of the book is "A Celebration of Friendship". It's full of yummy recipes, beautiful artwork, and sweet stories of friendship......AND... the best part about the book is a short story, "More Than Ever", written by Beth's mom, Harriet May Savitz. Harriet is a great author who has written many books and stories .... not to mention she's a real trooper for putting up with me and Beth during our crazy college years !!!

Anyhoo ...... on this Thanksgiving Eve, .... just some of the things I am thankful for......

my kids

family and friends

our good health and a beautiful home

my kitties (especially their tolerance for wearing Pilgrim hats!! -- although Evan thought Daisy looked more like the Flying Nun in her hat....)

my all consuming passion for sewing, quilting, drawing and designing stuff -- it gives me much joy, and I believe it has saved my sanity and kept me from winding up in the looney bin on many occasions!!!! It is definately my therapy!!

....and, right now, I'm especially thankful for whomever invented boxed quick bread mixes and canned yams , for without these items , at this particular moment which is WAY past midnight , if I had to make pumpkin bread, cranberry bread and sweet potato casserole from scratch, I'd be screwed. Amen.

Have a Happy (and safe) Thanksgiving everybody!!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

...and the WINNER IS ..........

It's here!! It's finally here !!! Tonight is the drawing for the Birthday Give Away !! We were all set to go .... all the names were put on little pieces of paper and put into the snazzy poodle gift bag .... we shook the bag to mix up all the little pieces of paper and then it was time to pick the winning name out of the bag .... but where was our little mistress of ceremonies? Well, Miss Daisy was having a Diva moment and wouldn't come out from under the bed (something about snacks not being what she asked for, blah, blah, blah....) Anyhow, with a little coaxing from Evan, Miss Daisy arrived on the set ready to pick the winning name .........AND......the winner is ...... Tamara !!!! Tamara, come on down!!! You have won all the goodies in the Birthday Give Away Goodie Bag!!!! (so, Tamara, email me your address so I can get all this fun stuff in the mail and on its way to you!) CONGRATULATIONS !!!!!

(P.S. Thanks to everyone who played along and for all of your nice comments and birthday wishes !!! You gals are the BEST !!!)

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Snow, and birthday presents !!!!

It has been snowing here all day ..... it's snowing on my pumpkins, my mums, my bike and my geraniums!!! The snow doesn't seem to care that me and my yard are still in "autumn mode" -- I guess whether I like it or not, it's time to put my bike in the garage , get rid of the dead mums and geraniums, and throw the pumpkins in the woods for the bears!

Anyway -- on to other fun stuff ---- BIRTHDAY PRESENTS !!! LOOK!! a new camera !!! and it's PINK !!!! and it has it's own cute little carrying case!!! (these were compliments of hubby, who was clued - in by the kids, who were hinted to by yours truly .)

Next, my sister,Boop(aka Karen) always comes up with the funniest stuff --- for example that hysterical gift bag with the glamorous poodle in the snazzy specs, driving that glitzy , sweet ride !!! That gift bag is too perfect to put away with the other gift bags in a closet -- oh, no .... it's going to be on display in the Very Pink Sewing Room!! Now, in the gift bag she also had fun stuff --- like that Vera Bradly cell phone case, and the "Girls' Night Out" jar -- (complete with some cold cash from my sweet sister -in -law , Lori and her two daughters Katie and Stephie --- thanks girls!!!
also some $ from Mom and Dad --- we're saving up for one dooser of a "girl's night out " or 2 or 3 !!!!)

Moving along on our birthday present tour -- look at that darling folk art Santa -- made by my mother -in - law and her friends in the craft group she belongs to --- isn't he great !!! She also gave me that calendar that has a different quilt block with instructions for each day --- PERFECT !! (now, I just have to remember NOT to throw the pages away as I tear off each day!)

Yesterday, my sister and I met for lunch and shopping (as part of .... yes, you guessed it -- the birthday celebration , which I drag out for as long as I can!) Anyway, we went to a quilt shop not too far from where she lives. We've never been to this shop before ---- but we'll definately be going there again!!! What a GREAT shop -- Quilter's Palette is the name of the shop. It's in Fleetwood, Pa (near Reading, Pa). Anyhow, my sister had to follow me around with a mop since I was drooling over all the goodies they had there -- like those magazines : Quilt mania and Handmade (the Claire Murray La Vie Claire I got later that day at Barnes and Noble -- another of our favorite hang outs -- especially because of the English breakfast tea and chocolate biscotti -- not to mention book, books, and more books!!) Anyhow, I also got that gorgeous Needl'e Love book "Wintergreen Threads" at Quilter's Palette --- you should see all the great projects in it !!! ....... and , of course, there was fabric purchasing going on (both of the cotton variety and wool variety) -- AND, look!! some of that wool escaped from the pack and is getting ready to jump into the Birthday Give Away goodie bag for the lucky winner !!! So, don't forget to leave a comment on this post or the previous one to be entered in the contest -- deadline is this Tuesday, Nov. 20th (Daisy will pick the winner after her mother, yours truly, gets the mess in the kitchen cleaned up -- probably around 10 or 11 PM!)

Good luck!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The cat in the (birthday) hat ... AND a birthday GIVE AWAY !!!!

Yesterday (Nov. 14th) was my birthday ! It was also Daisy's birthday (Daisy is my little stray kitty -- she showed up on the construction site of our house about 3 years ago -- the carpenters started feeding her and she decided to move in! Anyhow, since she's a stray and I didn't know when her real birthday is, I decided to share mine with her.) So, we started the celebration with our birthday treats -- a little cake, a little Fancy Feast kitty food. Then, of course, there has to be a birthday crown/hat. (I don't think Daisy's much of a hat person...... but Evan didn't mind modeling the little pink birthday crown .... actually, when he's playing a computer game, he's pretty oblivious to his surroundings, so I don't think he even knew I put that crown on him !)

Anyway, as one of my sister's friends insists ..... there always has to be ACTIVITIES and PRIZES for birthdays!! (Daisy likes to combine her activities and prizes --- her activity is playing with her new kitty toys -- her "prizes"). My birthday ACTIVITY was popping in to my friend Kelly's quilt shop,The Quiltery and picking out some fun PRIZES for me and........ for YOU !!! (YES !! In honor of Daisy's and my birthday, I'm having a GIVE AWAY !!!!) I also went shopping at a few other stores to fill up the goody bags --- I pretty much went along saying "one for me, one for you, one for me, one for you....... There's a Gooseberry Patch cookbook "More Gifts for Giving", some fat quarters of beautiful fabric, a pack of colored pencils , a Godiva milk chocolate bar (hang on a second while I wipe up my drool), and I just had to include that Santa Pez !!!! (don't you just love Pez in a cool Pez dispenser?!? What a HOOT!!) Soooooo......Here's how you can all participate in my "Birthday Activities and Prizes "celebration ----- your "Activity" is to leave a comment --- and Daisy will do a random drawing on Tuesday Nov. 20th (in the evening) -- and the lucky winner will get the "Prizes" !!!!

OK -- now I'm going to go tear into that Godiva bar (mine, not yours !!!) Don't forget to leave a comment!! GOOD LUCK !!!

(P.S. oh, by the way .... just because it was my birthday it doesn't mean I'm getting older --- I'm still just 29 ........ again !!!!!)

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

WAIT !! I'm NOT ready to start Christmas yet !!!!!! the magazines are telling me, the malls and stores are telling me and the zillions of catalogs that come in the mail are telling me , even the weather here in Pa is telling me (we had light snow for the first time this season on Friday into Saturday -- it stuck to trees in the higher elevations )--- it's time to prepare/panic for Christmas (actually, all of the above have been blaring it in my/our faces since before Halloween!) Well, as one who is always "a day late and a dollar short", I'm NOT ready to start Christmas yet !!!! SHEESH !!! I barely got my Halloween decorations up in time for that holiday and now , supposedly, it's time to take that stuff down and replace it all with Rudolph and company. Well, since Autumn is my favorite season, and I feel it gets short changed because of Christmas breathing down it's neck, (and because I haven't finished my Fall projects yet....and because I'm never organized enough to start Xmas shopping until after Thanksgiving -- but NEVER on Black Friday... YIKES!) I'm going to try and block out the "Christmas " bombardment until after Thanksgiving, and try to continue to enjoy the season that we're presently in . (of course all of you who are and have been doing Christmas shopping and working on handmade Christmas projects will definately have the last laugh on me when you're all relaxed on Christmas Eve , sitting in front of the fireplace with the tree all decorated and the gifts all wrapped, and the cookies all baked, etc -- and I'm running around like a crazed lunatic , mumbling under my breath something about those damn elves didn't show up again to help me with all this stuff, and everybody is getting an I.O.U. note again with their yet again unfinished handmade gift from me, and my Pillsbury slice and bake cookies are burning in the oven, and nothing is wrapped and the tree is tilting sideways because the cats are jumping up to reach the ornaments that are only on the top half of the tree because that's all the farther I got with the decorating, etc. etc. etc.)

So....anyhow, I'm subjecting you all to my little continuation of the Autumn season through pictures of more of my Autumn decorations (including that garland I made a few years ago) and a project I started as a Halloween project, but I've just declared it a Thanksgiving project (I figure a pumpkin project could stretch through Thanksgiving....)..... Anyhow, I plan to post more pictures of that pumpkin project as I work on it, along with instructions on how to make it for any of you holiday slackers like me who are still stuck on autumn projects !!! (and please, if I'm the only one, just humor me and don't tell me !!!!HA !!)

P.S. those first 2 pictures were taken yesterday morning in Cascade township, Pa -- about a half hour drive from Williamsport, Pa. ---- BEAUTIFUL scenery !!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Civil War snickerdoodles, why, I do declare !!!!

Why I made these little 'ol cookies with my own two hands. (the next day...)Fiddle DeeDee, Mammy! I did not eat too many of those snickerdoodle cookies that handsome young Yankee soldier made! Can't you make my waist 18" again? (and a few days later....)Rhett, Rhett you wouldn't tell Ashley that I didn't make those cookies -- he just has to believe I can bake as good as that silly ol' Melanie. It's true, that handsome young Yankee soldier,Matthew, made those cookies (for his Civil War class project -- his teacher swears snickerdoodle cookies date back to the Civil War -- must be a recipe from the North )....and lookie there -- Pillsbury slice and bake sugar cookie dough? I do believe he said that was his mamma's "back up plan" in case the cookies from that recipe were only fit to feed to the farm animals. But, as it turns out, those darlin' little snickerdoodles were yummy! I think Aunt Piddy would quite enjoy them. Oh! and lookie there -- that handsome young Yankee soldier left the recipe (and his hat) right there on our dining room table.

Snickerdoodle ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
2 TBSP sugar
2 TBSP cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, eggs and vanilla. Blend in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Shape dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into balls. Mix together 2 TBSP sugar and the cinnamon on a plate or in a bowl. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set, but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

Why, I swear, if you make these darlin' little snickerdoodles, all of your friends will be just pea green with envy!!!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)