Saturday, March 28, 2015

Easter Traditions


I'm having fun today making these little bunny bags.  They are just the right size to hold a handful of something sweet and delicious!


I'm using a pattern by Caroline Fairbanks-Critchfield which is on her blog here: http://www.sewcanshe.com/blog/2013/3/4/bunny-treat-bags-a-free-tutorial  They are very easy to make and go together in a jiffy.  All you need are 4 charm squares and a little ribbon!  I think these will be cute on the Easter table, sitting on the plates.  Caroline has a new book out on Amazon, 

Just for You: Selfish Sewing Projects from Your Favorite Sew Can She Bloggers: 24 Simply Stylish Projects 




Holidays and traditions go hand in hand it seems.  This picture by Norman Rockwell pretty much sums up my childhood and probably that of many others.   I think back over the years and all the holidays and the attendant chaos that seemed to go with it.  My mother in the kitchen cooking, her table was always set just so perfectly.  Stay out of her kitchen and don't touch anything on the table, we're going to eat soon. There would be trays of food out on the coffee table for "company". We had to look just so in our holiday outfits.  There would be the typical family arguments that would ensue and finally we would all sit down to the holiday meal. It was always delicious. Whew, glad that's over. And she would always be angry during and at the end of the whole ordeal.  It seemed she felt that no one appreciated all the effort that she went to. And there was always the perfunctory "I'm not doing this again!"  She just could not relax for a moment poor thing. Expectations.



Gramma's house, right next door, was different...there would be crafts leading up to the gala event, painting, cutting, pasting, general mess making accompanied by cake and tea.  Gram always had a cake and tea.  She loved pudding cakes. She was from England and I'm sure this was from her upbringing.   There would be bible stories, Gram knew the bible forward and backward,  the bear and the jello stories, the bear and the jello stories...Oh, did I repeat myself?  Now you have the flavor of the day...Gram had great stories, we all heard them a thousand times and never got tired of them...she was a great story teller.  Even my son remembers her stories.  The food was okay, she wasn't fussing and a good time was had by all.  Gramma was a product of the roaring 20's, she knew how to enjoy life, she was artistic and she let that spirit soar.  And after dinner and desert we would gather at the foot of Pop's recliner and he would cut apples for us while we watched tv together and if we were very good, there might even be a candy bar.


I didn't get to spend much time with my father's mother.  Baba lived in New York and we moved out to California when I was 7.  I never saw her again.  She passed away when I was 9 and I lost my father at 10.  But I can remember her like it was yesterday.  She was an amazing cook.  Ukrainian food, Polish food, Russian food. Thanks to my mother, I have some of her recipes and I make them to this day.  I remembered the beautiful Ukrainian Easter eggs and made it a point to learn how to make them.  Mine are not elaborately detailed as some that I have collected over the years but they are incredibly fun to make.  


The process consists of heating a copper stylus in a candle flame and then scraping it across the bees wax, heating it again until the wax is flowing and then waxing the portions of your egg that you want to be white.  Then you dip your egg in your lightest color, wax again those portions that you want to be that color, dip into the next darker color and continue until you have completed your design.  Then you hold the egg up to the candle flame to melt off the wax and wipe it with a soft cloth.  This is the result below.


These are just a few of my eggs in my collection.  Mine along with some that have been intricately decorated by others.  Each village has their own style.  The wooden objects in the front of the case are the hand carved top two sections from the last Christmas tree that we had just before my father was killed.  They were carved by his father, my grandfather and are just incredibly special to me.


The first time I decorated one of these eggs was many years ago, when I was visiting my son who lived in Brooklyn at the time.  We drove over to St. Mark's place to the Ukrainian store and got all the stuff we needed to make the eggs.  We had a ball, sitting on the floor in his apartment, wrapping rubber bands around the eggs to section them and then drawing our designs.  It is a long and tedious process but so worth the effort.  It was a bonding experience. Just the two of us, decorating eggs together.

If you want to get your own kit and try this out you can get one here: http://www.ukrainiangiftshop.com/EGG-DECORATING-KITS/products/25/  Your local library will have how to books. You only need to google Ukrainian Easter Eggs and look at the images to see the thousands of ways that people decorate their eggs.

Here is a little video showing you how to make a beginner egg.


Here is video showing you how to make an intermediate egg.




So family traditions, a way of honoring and remembering our past...they are what you want them to be.  It doesn't have to be stress filled.  Take your time, enjoy your family and friends.  And make things that you enjoy!  Remember the most important thing you can give your family is you!  We wish you a joyous Easter!




Saturday, March 21, 2015

Back Up and Running to The River!



Our computer has been down this past month, the mother board burned out and so we have had to replace it.  Ah technology!  It seems that it changes with lightening speed.  I am sure that this amazing laptop will be obsolete tomorrow morning.  It makes me reflect back to a time at my Gram's house when microwave ovens were first coming out and how she swore up and down she would never have one in her home.  Well, she was given one and I think that became her preferred way to cook for the remainder of her life. So funny, my little English grandmother, boiling her peas on the stove until they were that lifeless graygreen color and then nuking them in the microwave before she brought them to the table.  She was an amazing woman, an artist, world traveled, well read, she could do just about anything, except she never mastered cooking.  I loved her and ate her food with a smile, enjoying her conversation and the gathering at her table.  It was always interesting, even if it was not the culinary delight!



Yesterday my sweet friend Brenda Allen, who has Bella B Photography, and I took the GIMQ quilt down to the river to take some beauty shots of the quilt.  She took her fancy camera gear and I had my little iPhone camera along for some quickies.  We drove in her four wheel drive down to Yankee Jims Bridge on the North Fork of the American River.  Following the rugged one lane dirt road that meanders down a very steep canyon, past several beautiful falls, we parked at the bottom and walked down a wooden railroad tie stairway to the river.


Brenda shoots her photos using our abundant local resources.  Visit her website by clicking on her name above and you can see how beautiful her setting selections are.  Anyway, we layed out my GIMQ in a number of different "poses" and generally had a ball.

Here is a little excerpt about the history of Yankee Jim's from geneaology trails website.

YANKEE JIM’S – About 18 miles northeast of Auburn is the old mining town of Yankee Jim’s which was settled in 1850. The name comes from an Australian criminal with the nickname “Yankee” and who held stolen horses at the site before the discovery of gold there. During its history, Yankee Jim’s was one of the largest towns of Placer and the leader in many enterprises, such as hydraulic mining, large fruit orchards (trees shipped around the Horn from Philadelphia), and some of the earliest newspapers in the county. The Democratic Party Convention of 1857 was held in Yankee Jim’s, in fact. By the early 1880s, the town supported a post office, two general stores, a hotel, a saloon, a doctor’s office, and a carpentry shop. The eventual decline of the town is not attributed so much to the failure of the mines as to the building up of adjacent towns, such as Foresthill and Todd Valley, in its day. The post office that was first established in 1852 was discontinued in 1940. Today, all that remains of Yankee Jim’s are a few residence




It's winter time here, early spring...there should be a great deal of water coursing down this river but we have had several years of drought and there is not much in the way of a snow pack this year so I expect there will not be much water in the river bed in a few months.  Should be great for the gold seekers...easier access to the riverbed without having to wear a wet suit.  The state no longer allows slucing so miners must dig their dirt and pan it at the riverside like the old days.  It's very hard work for not much return. Fun if you just want to spend the day at the river enjoying the water and the possibility of a treasure hunt.

Brenda is like a little mountain goat, she just kicks off her shoes and she's climbing up on anything and everything to get her shot!  I will be anxious to see her photos, these are just the little ones I snapped with my iPhone. 


Everything is so green right now, little flowers abound and the redbud and wild lilacs are blooming in full beauty!  It won't be but a few weeks if we don't get anymore rain this year, that the scenery will change to our summer browns.  I remember moving from the east coast as a little girl and being stunned by how brown everything was in summer, it's just the exact opposite on the east coast.  Our green time here is winter and spring, spring especially.  


If you ever get out this way and have the time, take a day trip out to Yankee Jims, you won't be sorry.  Take a picnic lunch, plenty of cool drinks, bring your bathing suit, some good walking shoes, a towel to spread out and lots of sunscreen.  AND YOUR CAMERA!
Evidence of the old gold diggings abound and the old suspension bridge from the 1930's over the river is picturesque.  You can pick up a gold pan in town at the mining store with lots of pointers on how to use it, it will be a nice momento and if you get a flake or two, well all the better!  

Today, I'm going to finish up this quilt, I actually only have about two feet left to quilt and then  I'm going to do a little piecing on some connector blocks for the one below...




I'm using a block pattern from this book...


And the fabric I am using is from this line of Moda...


I hope you are having an enjoyable day!  I'll be thinking about you!


Easter is coming and I am scouting some fun ideas for a table topper and some cute Easter Basket stuffings.  Check back...now that I am back up and running I am springing into action!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

GIMQ Finish!


Whew!  The Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt is a Mystery no more! This was an interesting exercise for me on several levels.  The color combination way way outside my comfort level.  The "sashing" blocks played havoc with my OCD...lol.  (Oh, come on, you know you have it too!)  Wanting everything to line up so perfectly.  




There was a moment there when I thought I was going to throw in the towel, my eyes just could not grasp what was happening in front of me. Even the cat was perplexed.  So I set it aside for a bit, and frinkled about whether I should modify the design, I tried several mock-ups of different ideas, none of which I was pleased with.  Finally, I decided that I would just put it together the way Bonnie Hunter designed it and be done with it!



After several reviews of what was in front of me, I decided that I liked the bits that were light teal colored, the darker bits got lost and created a hole for the eye to fall into.  So, out came the seam ripper and after a morning of taking out all the dark bits and putting in the light teal, I was somewhat content.  



That lighter color harmonized with all that was going on in this busy quilt top and let my eye focus on the secondary swirl design created by the black bits.  Peace or something near was at hand!

Don't stop!  Keep going!  Adding the yellow border and then the remaining pieced border.  Finally, finally I have conquered this mystery.  And I have learned several things along the way, which after all, is the fun of a mystery quilt!


So on a not so sunny day in Northern California, I went to a peaceful place...the local cemetery, where they have lovely bits of trimmed grass and there would be no gawkers...and took a few photos of my finished quilt top.  Feeling pleased, accomplished and gratified that I did not give up.  Looking forward to the next mystery in my quilting life!

For now, this goes in the pile to be quilted...I'm thinking this possibly for a backing...as a little reminder to me of the reward that came after some careful color consideration and time well spent with the seam ripper!



To see all the fabulous works in progress and the Grand Finishes you can visit Quiltville here: http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2015/01/grand-illusion-mystery-link-up.html

Thanks Bonnie Hunter for your boundless energy!  For the time you invest to make this happen each year!  For your inspiration and encouragement!  Looking forward to meeting you in person this Spring here in Northern California!





Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sister Of The Divide is Now On Etsy!


The beginning of something wonderful!  Sister of The Divide is now on Etsy!  You can visit us at http://etsy.com/shop/SisterOfTheDivide

Over the course of the next several months we will be listing, out of stock fabrics for your consideration.  Many of these designs are rare and very difficult to find.

Each week we will post new listings so check back often.  There is a broad range of fabrics that we will be posting, some florals, some civil war reproductions, you name it, I think we probably have some!  Pricing will be reasonable.  We invite you to take a peek at our first offerings, a variety of Laurel Burch fabrics by Clothworks. Laurel Burch was a talented and amazing designer, sadly she passed away in 2007 so these fabrics will not be abundantly available and will go quickly.  


Her designs are at once whimsical, mystical and graphic.  It doesn't take a lot to make a bold impression!


One of our customers uses these beautiful designs to make children's coveralls.  You can see her work at http://www.reversibleoveralls.com/




Don't wait around, these are all going fast!  Come by for a peek and check in often!




Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cloth Carousel and a Day Trip to Winters, California


My friend Brenda called and we decided to take a spur of the moment trip to Winters, California to visit a little shop she had discovered.  Alas my phone was dead by the time we got there, so I have pulled these photos off the web.  What a charming little Main Street they have in Winters.  I had not been there in well over 20 years, we use to go over once a year from Napa, to get fresh peaches and dried fruits.  

Winters has played a large roll in the history of California agriculture and education.  The little post office was established in 1875 and the town was incorporated in 1898.  It derives its name from Theodore Winters, who provided half of the town's land.  Another important early pioneer and the first English speaking man to settle in the area now known as Winters; John Reid Wolfskill, born in Kentucky, started the agricultural development of the Sacramento Valley here, planting orchards and vineyards in 1842.  In 1935, Wolfskill's heirs deeded 100 acres of the Wolfskill ranch in Winters to the University of California, Davis, which had been founded in 1908.  The land was to be used for an experimental orchard.

Well, this little town with a big legacy, is a delightful place.  There are places to enjoy a lovely meal, some shopping, a beautiful park if you like to picnic...and of course...a sweet little quilt shop!


Located on the first floor of the Opera House Building at #9 Main Street, they hold an ever changing assortment of 2000 bolts of fabric.  The shop is very well organized with a nice selection of dot fabics, batiks, current Moda selections, Kaffe Fassett, Cotton and Steel, good selection of Kaufmann solids, brights and blenders, nice selection of oriental themed fabrics, Tula Pink, good selection of black on white and white on black, seasonal delights and lots of other fabric lines too numerous to mention.


It's interesting to go into a variety of shops and see how they are arranged.  I loved this shop.  Well organized, not cluttered.  Items were arranged in a logical manner.  The back wall contained an abundance of notions, you wouldn't need to make a trip out of town for anything.  Right under the cash register counter they have a good variety of rulers, including the Hex N More and the Side Kick.  At the front of the store, at the windows edge are their quilt books, great location, lots of light for easy viewing.  And what an extensive selection!  They have a large cutting table that can service two customers at the same time.  


Fabric is arranged in a pleasing manner, easy to see, easy to access, with lots of little cubbies holding fat quarters, jelly rolls, charms and layer cakes of the same fabric line.  On the walls hang some beautiful and inspiring quilts.  At the very back of the store is a room set aside for teaching.

It's the kind of Little Quilt Shop that you would love to spend the day in.  You would come home with all that you required to construct your project.  On the whole a well thought out space!

What did I buy, you ask? I purchased a Moda Persimmon Jelly Roll and a Moda Persimmon Layer Cake.  YUMMY!!!



Well, that was fun!  I won't let it take another 20 years before I return to visit the little town of Winters and the Cloth Carousel, I promise!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

GIMQ Clue #5 and My Cheddar Cheese Ball Recipe


Now that the Christmas melee is over and we are coming back to earth, I am catching up with Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt.  Clue #5, we must be getting close to putting these all these bits together!  Anxious to see how it all turns out.  I love a good mystery!  If you haven't started yet, no worries, just jump in at clue five and then go back and pick up each of the other clues.  I would, however, suggest that you print out or download each of the clues as she will not keep them on her blog site forever.  They are up for a bit and then they will come down to be incorporated in an upcoming book release.  Her release dates currently are every 2 years, so you might have a bit of a wait if you don't go get it now.


Each week, on Monday, there is a linky and you can see what other people are doing, their fabric choices, colors, and where they are in the process.  You can even link your own progress on the mystery.

Yesterday was so beautiful!  My husband and I decided to go for an afternoon drive up Foresthill Road to see if we could find some snow.  It was very cold out but a beautiful sunny day!


This was the view from China Wall ORV area, looking down the canyon toward the west.  It was so clear we could see the coastal range!  We are up at 5000 ft here at China Wall and there was just patchy snow here and there in the shaded areas. But just a little further up the road and we scored some snow!


New Years is coming and I wanted to share this easy Cheddar Cheese Ball recipe with you.  You can make it up ahead of time and you will be all set to entertain effortlessly.  Put out some crackers, some sliced meats, pickles and olives...you're good!



You will need:

4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese cut into several chunks
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces of cream cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove of garlic chopped
1/2 tsp of kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 

In your food processor, mix all the ingredients until fully blended.

Place the mixture in a bowl.

Wet your hands and pat the cheese mixture into a ball.

Roll in your garnish...which can be ground nuts, cooked bacon bits, ground crackers, fresh herbs.  I am fond of chopped pecans.

Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 3 hours to firm up...

Place your cheese ball on a platter and surround with your crackers, use a small knife to allow people to cut into the cheese ball.

You can change up the cheese by swapping out a couple ounces of the cheddar for smoke cheddar or blue cheese or any other kind of cheese you love.

Have a Happy New Year!  I am enjoying a couple weeks off from the dental office and I plan on sewing up a storm!  Next week, my friend Brenda and I are going to hit a quilt shop way over in Winters, I will let you know all about our journey next week!  In the mean time...jump into the mystery quilt...you will have a ball!

Friday, December 26, 2014

GIMQ Clue #4 and Nut Brittle Recipe


Whew!  Well, I confess, I have fallen behind.  Mainly due to a shortage of my white fabric.  I will have to order some more tonight.  I have enough to get about 20 more of each of these, so I'm not short by much, but I'm not sure if we will be using the white anymore in this quilt and I don't want to run out.  It's a pretty good neutral, so I can use it in something else if not this quilt top.


Ah, Christmas...I wasn't sure I was going to get around to putting up a tree this year, just wasn't in the mood until early Christmas morning.  I was up at four AM and I had put the tree up a few days before, tossed on the lights but no decorations.  So rather than hang all the ornaments this late, I just pulled out some garlands and some poinsettia flowers in red and gold and used them to decorate the tree.  Festive but not fussy.  I think my husband was pleased when he woke up.  It set the tone for the day.  It just had been a little too frenetic at work this month.  Sometimes, it's just like that and you have to roll with it.  It doesn't pay to stress out over "things" and "image". Should-ing yourself into exhaustion doesn't make pleasant memories.  You have to take time for yourself and remember to breath!

My son and I cooked almost identical meals.  Although we could not spend this Christmas together, it was fun to exchange photos and recipes, back and forth as the day progressed.  He set quite the spread!


He served up a plate very similar to mine, we both cooked a standing rib roast, mashed potatoes and carrots, he added brussel sprouts, home made bread and Yorkshire pudding.



Of course there were lovely pies all around!  

Christmas for me, is all about family and food...the rest is all wonderful but if it were gone tomorrow I would be happy just to share the day in a family feast!  I hope your day was enjoyed as well.

Here is a quick little recipe that I will share for Nut Brittle.  So easy, you cannot mess this up.  Make it right in your microwave.

You will need:  

1 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups salted peanuts (or salted nuts of your choice)
1 Tbls butter
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract

#1.  line a cookie sheet with parchment paper

#2.  measure everything out first and have it ready to add, speed is          your friend.

#3.  In a large microwave safe bowl, mix your sugar and corn syrup, microwave uncovered on high power for 5 minutes, it will bubble!

#4.  Add the butter first and then the peanuts, stir quickly, return to the microwave and continue to cook on high power for 2-4 minutes, watch at the 2 minute mark and remove when it reaches a nice caramel color.

#5.  Add the baking soda and the vanilla, stir it in quickly, it will bubble.  Once incorporated, pour onto the parchment on your prepared cookie sheet.  Spread it out evenly, working quickly.

#6.  Let it cool completely and break it into pieces.


I hope you had a blessed Christmas and I wish you all the best in the coming year!

If you haven't started on the Grand Illusions Mystery Quilt, it's still not too late, download the directions and save them for later, you can jump in anywhere and catch up as you can.  For the links you will want to visit Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville here: http://quiltville.blogspot.com/p/grand-illusion-mystery.html

And for the link up to clue #4 you will want to go here: http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2014/12/mystery-monday-link-up-part-4.html

Sunday, December 14, 2014

GIMQ Clue #3 and Nut Tree Honey Cookies!


It's a busy time of year, that's for sure!  Sometimes you have to piece meal things a bit.  I have my strips cut for Clue #3 in Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusions Mystery Quilt.  That's a good start for me this week since I just finished clue #2 on Friday morning!

I was thinking about cutting strips and how sometimes folks have difficulty with that.  I wanted to share with you what works for me in the hopes that it will help you if you are still perfecting your rotary skills.

The first thing to do is to iron your fabric.  Wrinkles and creases will give you poor results.  Take a few moments and enjoy the process of smoothing your fabric and making sure that you are folding selvage to selvage if you are cutting a WOF (width of fabric) piece.  You can see from this sample below that not only was it cut crooked by the clerk at the store but the fabric is not folded selvage to selvage.  Open your piece out, press out the wrinkles and then fold it properly, so that your selvage edges meet and your fabric is folded evenly, before you cut.  Do not be surprised if you find that you now have even more crooked edges to work with than before.  Just the process of winding fabric onto a bolt will distort the proper fold of the fabric.

You can see the uneven edges on the pressed piece below.


Now you may be a rotary cutting wizard and like to use that long ruler to make your cut at this point.  I find that you will have more control and achieve a more even cut if you will take your folded edge and bring it even with your selvage edge.  This gives you half the length to cut and less chance that your ruler will move.


Now that you have your fabric properly folded, let's line up that folded edge with one of the horizontal lines on your cutting mat as shown below. 

Now take your ruler and line it up with the vertical line on your left if you are right handed and on your right if you are left handed. We are going to cut off a bit of the fabric to make sure we have a clean and straight edge.  If you line your ruler up at the top and bottom along the vertical line you will achieve a straight cut.  

Spread your fingers along your ruler and make your cut, keeping your blade straight up and down.  If you cut with your blade slanted in or out, you will make a crooked cut.  Now we have a clean edge to work from.  Line your ruler up according to the pattern directions and make your next cut.  For this pattern it was a 2" strip.


I like to make sure that my ruler line is on the inside of my fabric, that little bit of width can start adding up.  If you look at the line, your fabric should come to the edge of the ruler line farthest from the cut line.

Take your time, don't force your rotary cutter.  If you find that your not getting a clean cut, change your blade.  If you are still not getting a clean cut, change your mat.  They don't last forever and if you do a lot of sewing you will certainly need to change them out from time to time.  With a good blade and a good mat you should be able to make a crisp cut with little effort.  I recommend not cutting more than four layers of fabric at a time.  


Lots to do this week, busy getting ready for Christmas and so I will work on Clue #3 as the week allows.  They are pretty easy and I'm sure I will be done and ready for Clue #4 on Friday!  I hope you are having as much fun as I am with Bonnie's Grand Illusion Mystery!

  * * *

I wanted to share this cookie recipe with you.   When I was a little girl, my parents would stop at the Nut Tree Restaurant in Vacaville, California on our way from our home in Sonoma up to our cabin at Incline Village, Nevada.  It was always a special treat to get one of the Honey Cookies.  They would decorate them for the different holidays and seasons and you could get your name in frosting on one if you wished.  When my son was little, we would stop there for those same cookies.  Sadly the Nut Tree is no longer but the cookie recipe lives on!

It's best if you make up the dough a day or three before you want to make your cookies.  It's actually better when the dough ages.


NUT TREE HONEY COOKIES WITH DECORATIVE ICING
Source: Nut Tree Remembered: The Cookbook by Tara Baumann, Jim Moehrke, Roy Moehrke, 1997 (Vacaville Museum, CA - ordering info: 707-447-4513)
Makes about 2 dozen

Nut Tree designer Don Birrell shared this family recipe with the Nut Tree. These artfully decorated honey cookies quickly became a Nut Tree signature item, almost too lovely to eat.

2/3 cup dark honey
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
1/3 cup water
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
Decorative icing:
3 egg whites, room temperature (pasteurized egg whites)
1 pound powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Food coloring, optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

Bring to a boil sugar, honey and shortening. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool. Beat egg and add to water. Mix and sift the flour, soda, salt and spices.

Add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the liquid ingredients to the honey mixture. If the dough is allowed to ripen for several days before rolling out, the flavor and texture are somewhat improved.

Roll out dough about 1/4-inch thick and cut. 

Bake at 325 degrees until edges are golden brown. About 10-12 minutes. 

DECORATIVE ICING: 
Place all icing ingredients in mixing bowl and mix with electric beater for about 10 minutes. After mixing, be sure to keep bowl covered with a damp cloth at all times; icing dries quickly and hard. If you wish, add food coloring to make colored lines.

For decorating cookies:
Fill pastry or paper frosting cone with icing, up to about 1/2 inch below the top.

Fold the paper down over the icing and cut 1/8 inch off tip of the cone. Squeeze icing through the hole in the tip with one hand while holding top closed with other hand. It takes a little practice. A paper pattern, punched with pinholes for outlines, placed over the cookie and lightly dusted with powdered sugar makes decorating easier.

Day One I make my dough and refrigerate.   


Day Two I take it out, set it on the counter to come to room temperature for an hour, then roll it out and start cutting.  I line my table with parchment and when the cookies are cooled, they are place on the parchment ready for frosting.  I let them sit over night.


Day Three I pipe a frosting dam around each cookie and then when that is dry and set, I add a little water and color to little bowls of the frosting to make it flowable.  I spoon the frosting onto the cookies and let it spread out to the dam.  When these are set tonight, I will mix up another batch of the royal icing and finish the decorations.  
Let them sit over night to harden.
Day Four, I shrink wrap the cookies and they are ready for delivery.


They are a bit of work, but so worth it!  Everyone will love them...and if you have those fond memories like I do, of enjoying those honey cookies at the Nut Tree, well...this will take you right back there!

To check out how other's are doing be sure to click on the link here: http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2014/12/mystery-monday-link-up-part-3.html

You can also join in the fun, the clues will be up for some time before she takes them down.  Just look for the tab at the top of her page that says Grand Illusion Mystery!  Print them out and if you can't make them right now, well, save them and do them a bit later, they are lots of fun!  Or just start in on what ever clue she's on when you jump in and catch up on the prior ones as you can.