Homemade Christmas Cheer

I posted this picture of my annual cookie mix marathon on Instagram yesterday and had so many requests for the recipe that I decided the best way to provide that would be in a blog post with instructions...so, here ya go!

Cookie Mix Gifting

I love to make these in bulk to give away to folks around town that we appreciate all year (my hairdresser, the mailman, the post office counter employees, dentist office, etc.) They also make great hostess gifts and family treats at get-togethers . You've probably seen similar things given in glass jars, but I think the cone shaped bags look more festive and Christmas-y, like an icicle hanging from Santa's sleigh!

Ateco 18" Piping Bag

I pack the mixes in this 18" disposable piping bag, actually made for icing. I've tried the 17" bags (made by a different company), but they aren't as wide and will not hold the recipe. These can be found at kitchen stores like Kitchen Collection, or maybe your local kitchen supply store. While Wal-mart and Michael's carry cake decorating supplies, they only stock the 12" bags.

Improvised Piping Bag Stand

I have a piping bag support. Somewhere. We've moved twice and I've bought it twice and they are both packed away...so my husband came to the rescue and made one for me, and his version actually works better than the real thing! He went to Lowe's and found a bird feeder, made by Garden Treasures, for $6 that has a removable top shaped like a cone! It just fit inside a 10" vase, making the perfect height. The goal is that the last layer of brown sugar is supported firmly for packing.

Cookie Mix Icicle Bag

The recipe: (see below for vegan version)

  • 1/2 cut white or milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • 1/2 cup nuts
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon each soda and salt
  • 1 & 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar (I just put in a heaping 1/3 cup)

I usually make about 50 bags, so working assembly line fashion with large bowls is the most efficient method for packing. Using actual size measuring cups as scoops also helps. Layer the ingredients in the bag in the order given above. Shake gently to settle after each addition. With the bag in a stand, pack the brown sugar firmly (the bottom of a glass works great). If you change the order of ingredients, be sure to keep the brown sugar last (on top) because packing it helps to hold everything else in place nicely. Twist the top and close with a twist tie. (I found shiny metal ones at Michael's. A red or green chenille stick would also work great.)

Attach baking instructions and your Christmas sentiments with a ribbon to the bag. These could be printed on a sticker and applied to the side of the bag:

Cranberry Kringles

  • 1 bag Cranberry Kringles Mix
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients by hand. Drop by spoonfulls onto parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350º for 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

I had to make a few vegan mixes for Bonnie, David, Bear and Ollie. It was simple by substituting vegan chocolate chips and changing the directions to include 1/2 cup Earth Balance and 1/3 cup apple sauce or egg re-placer. Bear thought they were beautiful and when Bonnie helped me with the last photo (above) he said, "Me want to hold it like a baby, too." So he did.

Bear

Enjoy making and giving this Christmas season! Thanks for stopping by and God bless! Maxie

Organization in My Sewing Room!

My sewing room can get in a mess, for sure, but thanks to a good friend things are looking a lot better around here!  Through my quilt shop, I have met some of the most talented people and made some very sweet, creative friends. Meet a very special one today, Mr. Paul Johnson. His wife, Ann, is a prolific quilter/sewer, giving away most of the things she makes to charities and family. I can't say enough about how thoughtful and kind and generous they are.

Placing Paul's ladder (which isn't technically a ladder, but a quilt display rack) right next to my machine keeps strips in perfect order and ready for sewing.

Placing Paul's ladder (which isn't technically a ladder, but a quilt display rack) right next to my machine keeps strips in perfect order and ready for sewing.

Sewing organizing tips at maxiemakes.com

Paul happens to love woodworking...and he's very good at it. His finished projects are as smooth as melted butter, and the woodgrain is fine and pure. He loves wood like I love fabric.

For my birthday, Paul and Ann (Ann's part was allowing it to come to my sewing room and not hers!) gifted me with a beautiful 'ladder' for displaying quilts. It lives in my sewing room, and when I'm working on a project that requires sewing lots of strips together I remove the quilts and hang my strips on the rungs! Placing the ladder right beside me at my sewing machine is like having a sewing butler at my side, holding the strips neatly in order for me!

 

Then...just look at this thread cabinet (below, left)! It organizes my embroidery thread cones and keeps them free of dust! The other cabinet holds containers of buttons and other necessities, all handy and harmonized. Notice the yardstick trim and wooden spool knobs on the doors? Perhaps one of my very favorite things is the embroidery hoop organizer placed between the two cabinets. Where else does one keep all those hoops? Oh, and don't overlook the ruler rack on the left wall. Thank you, Paul and Ann!

In addition to the things I've shared today, Paul makes wooden chests with clear sides and tops for storing quilts, custom plastic rotary cutting templates (any shape!), customized wooden quilt hangers, and thread stands for using large cones at your sewing machine. If you're in need of something beautiful to help you organize, just let me know and I'll put you in touch with the Handicrafter!

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing and God bless! Maxie

Using the Silhouette Cameo Cutter to Repurpose Art!

So...we have been remodeling our home and I've been enjoying some DIY projects here and there. This one came from a gift from my husband. A little back story first...

We took almost 2 years to complete our little space, and the bedroom was practically the last thing on the list. We ran out of hardwood, so I had to settle for carpet. I researched my options and, for several reasons, landed on an organic wool from a wonderful company in Dalton, Ga.,  Earth Weave. They list on their website the many benefits from wool...did you know that it actually purifies the air? It was a splurge, but after all, my room was small. We planned the budget and decided to go for it! Installation day came, and it was as lovely and soft as I had hoped it would be. But it smelled of, well, sheep! Ok, a barn full of sheep. Wet sheep.

I figured the smell would dissipate, and it eventually did. But not until my husband had plenty of opportunities to tease me. One day he smuggled in a very old, framed canvas photo of sheep in a pasture and hung it in the room. He thought it was very funny, but I actually loved the picture so much that I decided to preserve it and make it mine by adding a sweet verse!

Silhouette Cameo Vinyl

The scripture verse is not painted on the picture, but is vinyl that I cut with my Silhouette Cameo machine. The font was created by my daughter, Bonnie Christine, in her own handwriting! The Silhouette Design Studio software is so easy to use that it made the whole process fast and easy!

Silhouette Design Studio Software

I love that this font is Bonnie's handwriting. One day we were playing around with an IPad app that creates fonts from handwriting. She just whipped out A-Z and I saved it to my computer. Since the Silhouette automatically imports all the fonts on my computer into the Design Software, Bonnie's Handwriting was right there, ready to use!

Silhouette Cameo Cutter

I cut the words apart so that I would be able to place them exactly as I wanted them on the picture.

Vinyl Wall Clings with the Silhouette Cameo Cutter

When transferring a vinyl decal, the first step is to place a piece of vinyl transfer paper over the top of the design. The red grid lines make it easy to keep things nice and straight. (First photo.) Simply peel it off it's backing, place it over the vinyl lettering and rub to transfer the letters to the grid transfer sheet. (Middle photo.) Peel up the transfer sheet and it's ready to set in place. (Third photo.)

Vinyl Wall Decals with the Silhouette Cameo Cutter

Place the transfer sheet in position and rub to transfer the lettering to the surface. It's as easy as that! And did you know that Bonnie also designs files for Silhouette? Check them out here! They coordinate with her fabric lines, but can be used for anything you can dream up! I have another DIY project in my head using one of her designs, so I'll be sure to share that with you soon!

And after it's all said and done, I love my wool carpet!

Organic wool carpeting

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing (or cutting) and God bless! Maxie