Friday, December 31, 2010

Let's Set the Restart Button...

We get a brand new beginning
every year,
starting on January 1!!!
It's a time for introspection,
and optimism.

I'm starting my new year with
a mixed bag of goals.

My plan is to organize them... with them...

...and create something I love.
My best wishes to all of you
for a wonderful 2011!

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Cerulean Warbler-Newest Addition to my Collection!

Did you have a nice Christmas?
Mine has been very nice.
I try to view the holiday season
as extending from Thanksgiving to just after New Year's Day,
when I start "putting it all away."
So, I've got another week to go.
My daughter Kate is visiting from NYC
and will be heading back on Wednesday, weather permitting...
She's packed a lot into her time here from a couple
of days in the mountains with high school friends,
a visit back to UT in Knoxville, with college friends and
dividing her time between my house and her dad's.
They had originally planned a few days to Miami to visit with
family, but that got cancelled because of the weather.
She also managed to find time to make her Christmas gift to me!!!
The Cerulean Warbler!!!
A very timely gift since we've both just finished reading
Jonathan Franzen new novel, FREEDOM and
have spent some time this holiday talking to each other about it.

There's A LOT to talk about too!

This is a very big and complex story
about American family life
against the backdrop of ...
of well, American Life
(i.e. 9/11, the environment, the wars we're in now, etc).

At any rate, the cerulean warbler is an important bird in the novel.
Since it has become somewhat of a yearly tradition for
Kate to make me a "Santa riding an animal" ornament,
(you can read about that here)
this year's choice of animal is very special.
I will now always remember this holiday
as the year we discussed
this excellent book.

It turns out the cerulean warbler was an after thought.

I actually got TWO new ornaments this year.
"Santa riding a chicken" was the first one she made,
then, as a result of our book discussions,
Kate got an inspiration and made the second one!

I am one lucky Mom!

And, life IS good!

I'm linking with My Romantic Home, for Show & Tell Friday.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday Greetings 2010

Hopefully, we're now at the point
of having all our projects finished!
All we have to do now
is sit back and ENJOY!!!
I hope that's what all of you are now doing.
Best wishes for a wonderful holiday
and an even better year to come!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Quilted Christmas Pillows

I adore quilts.
In my "next" life,
I might even become a quilter.
However, knitting is my passion in this life.
Therefore, I don't make quilts.
I have made a couple in the past, so I know what
a major project one is.
Thus, I've contented myself with making quilted
pillows instead of full sized quilts.

I've limited my quilted pillows to Christmas ones.
Several years ago I decided
I would make one new design each year,
then in a few years time,
I would have a lovely collection
to bring out at holiday time.

This is the first one I did.
I always quilted the year the pillow was made
somewhere on it,
so I can tell you without a doubt, this one is from

Here is 1993's pillow.
Unfortunately, I did not continue the tradition to present,
but, I did do it enough years to accrue a nice collection of
Christmas pillows.

This Celtic braid pillow is from 1994.
That was the first year I was part owner in a yarn shop
with four other dear friends.

Each of them got one of these pillows that year.
(That was almost like making a full quilt!)

This is one of my favorites.

You can see the year, 1995,
quilted in the center.

Several years passed with no new pillows, but
last year I got inspired again....

...and made a couple of "Yo Yo" pillows.
Sadly, no quilting here.

I've recently been intrigued with the
Celtic design again and wondered how
I could combine it with knitting.

The result is knitted I-cord (the knitters out there
will know what I talking about), appliqued onto
the pillow top in a traditional Celtic braid pattern.
I then hand quilted around the braid pattern.
The result is a nice merging of my
passion for knitting
with my
infatuation with quilting!

This week I am linking with
Boring to Better at Savvy Southern Style
All Things Merry & Brite at All Things Heart and Home
Fabric Fun Thursday at Cheap Chic Home

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cold Outside, Warm Inside

This is what it looked like outside Buttermilk Cottage yesterday.
But, no need for it to be dreary inside.
I made some homemade
Cheeseburger Soup!

Here's the recipe
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. chopped onion
3/4 c. shredded carrots
3/4 c. chopped celery
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried parsley
6 c. chicken broth
2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and diced
3T. butter
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 lb. processed, reduced fat American cheese, cubed
1 1/2 c. milk
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
Cook ground beef in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat about 3 minutes, stirring until meat crumbles. Add onion and next 4 ingredients and saute 4 minutes or until beef is no longer pink. Drain well. Return beef mixture to Dutch oven.
Stir in chicken broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Melt 3 T. butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Gradually stir in flour, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes, or until flour is lightly browned. Whisk flour mixture into simmering beef mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes or until thickened.
Whisk in cheese and next 3 ingredients just until cheese melts.
Makes 12 cups.
Yumm...just the thing to serve on a cold evening.
And just the thing to serve with it is
Sour Cream Corn Bread

I found this recipe in GOURMET magazine years ago.
Its simplicity was a bit contrary to what some of their recipes could be.
But, it is without a doubt the best cornbread I have ever tasted.
I have modified it just a bit to insure the crunchy crust on the bottom.

1 c. self-rising cornmeal
2 beaten eggs
2/3 c. cream style corn
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Pour oil into an 8-9 inch iron skillet and place in the oven while it is preheating. Meanwhile, mix all other ingredients together. When oven is preheated, pour excess oil from skillet into mixture, leaving a liberal coating in the skillet. BE VERY CAREFUL HERE, THE OIL IS HOT.
Quickly stir and pour mixture into the hot skillet and return to oven. Bake for about 30 minutes.

When baked, invert immediately onto a plate and slice.
Makes one 8 or 9 inch round of cornbread.

A perfect meal for a cold evening.

Because I'm sharing "my favorite" cornbread recipe
I'm liking up at

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Playing in the Yarn

I'm having "one of those days" today.
We've had freezing rain ALL day.
So I've been playing with my yarn stash
and trying to get inspired to create something new.

This is the start of something...
...what??? I began a
couple of months ago.
Then it got put away ("out of the way") because
holiday activities became too demanding.
Now that I've gotten it out again,
I don't love it so much, so it's going to be unravelled
and hopefully reworked into something else.
Life is too short to spend it knitting something about which
you're not wildly excited.
So, although I've done lots of creative thinking today,
nothing has been accomplished...
I do plan to make some homemade soup later,
so at least I'll have something to
show for the day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Several years ago I made this quilted table runner.
I used it on my dining table for many years.
However, once I moved to Buttermilk Cottage
I needed something on my table that
reflected at bit more light.
I still like the runner but where to use it???

I have this very useful little side chair in my living room.
I like it because it's easy to move from place to place
as needed for seating.

However, it's a bit blah, particularly for the holidays.

Earlier this week, I got an inspired idea!
Why not use the runner on the chair?
Simply by draping the runner across the chair,
then tucking in the excess...

I got a nicely covered side chair!!!

Now my little chair is all dressed for the season!

And all I had to do was work with what I already had!

This week please join with me as I party with
Savvy Southern Style
No Minimalist Here
All Things Heart & Home
Hooked on Houses
Cheap Chic Home
The Shabby Chic Cottage
French Country Cottage

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Scent of the Holidays

One of my favorite things about holiday time is the scent of all the wonderful greenery.
But, I'm sorry to say,
I've almost exclusively decorated with artificial greenery
over the past few years.
I do usually "plump" up the artificial things with some real cuttings,
but unfortunately
the scent doesn't last very long.

But, this is a very nice alternative!
I found these scented reeds at Target this year.
They are by Nature's Wick and the scent is
"Holiday Wreath."
I have them just inside the front door.
When you enter, you get just a whiff of
their scent.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


It's VERY cold in East Tennessee today.
It's the kind of day that makes me glad that I work from home.

There surely is plenty to keep me busy here today.
I always say you can tell how busy I am
by the messiness of my office/studio.
Need I say more?
I'm working on an order for a shop in Michigan
that I hope to ship tomorrow.

...this is where you'll find me all day today.
What are your plans for the day?
Whatever they are, keep warm!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Treasured Ornaments

A special joy for me at holiday time is unwrapping treasured ornaments.
After many years of acquiring them, I have several collections.
But none are more dear than my little
"Santas on Animals"
created and made by my daughter Kate.

I began collecting ornaments which featured
Santa riding different animals.
(I'll share those another time.)
I loved these ornaments, but could never find
my favorite animal,
a sheep,
with Santa perched on his back.
Kate surprised me one year with one she had made herself!
She is now grown and following her dreams in NYC,
but since she was a little girl,
Kate has been especially talented in molding clay.
For several years she has surprised me each year
with a new one to add to my collection.
One particular favorite is the Kitty Kat.

Can't you just hear him purring?

This little canine was inspired by my, now gone, dachshund, Lizzy.

What would Christmas be without a red cardinal?

Kate's Santas are always serious.

This is last year's creation.
"When pigs fly..." always pops into my head when I see it.

Hang on Santa!

All during her childhood, Kate had a favored stuffed bunny
which was always called "Brown Rabbit."
I wonder if he's the inspiration for this little guy?

The Christmas Parade at Buttermilk Cottage!

Santa IS coming!

My "favorite."
Thank you, darling girl Kate,
for my beautiful collection

This week I'm liking up with parties at
Between Naps on the Porch for Deck the Halls
Savvy Southern Style for Boring to Better
A Stroll thru Life for the Christmas Cloche Party
All Things Heart & Home for All Things Merry & Brite
French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Holiday

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