• 31Dec

    It is that time again–time to make some New Year’s Resolutions.  Well, this year, I’m only going to make one–GET ORGANIZED!

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    You see, it’s just not fair.  In my family, my sister got all of the organizational genes–and I mean ALL of them–leaving none for me.  If you ask Sally if she has a nut pick, she would say, “Sure, it’s in the third drawer down between the egg separator and the pastry bag,” and, of course, it would be right there.  On the other hand, if you asked me if I had a nut pick, I’d say, “Yeah, in fact I might have two or three of them, because I have to keep buying new ones when I can’t find them.”  Then I would proceed to pull out every drawer in my kitchen and start rifling through them.  Eventually, you would just give up and crack your nuts with your teeth.  But not this year!  This year, I’m going to get organized.  Toward this end, I bought a book!  It’s called One Year to an Organized Life.  ONE YEAR?????  I was hoping to get it done in an afternoon.  Heck, I would even devote a whole weekend to organizing, but one year????  Oh well, a new year is coming, and I’m filled with the belief that anything is possible in a new year, so I bought the book.  I’ve even started reading the book.  It makes some good points.  I just hope this doesn’t turn out like the Jane Fonda Fiasco.  Back in the eighties, when Jane was touting her workout routine, I fell for it.  I wanted to be fit.  I bought the tape.  I plugged it into my VCR.  I sat in my chair and watched that tape everyday for weeks and I still didn’t look as fit as Jane Fonda.  I plan to keep reading my new book, and I hope that by the time I get to the end of it, my house (and life) will be organized–and when you ask for a nut pick, I’ll say, “Why yes, I do have a nut pick, but who cracks their own nuts?  Don’t you know you can buy them already shelled?”

    Something to give away…..


    I’ve been wanting to do a Give Away on my blog, and the time seems right.  I had so much fun making Twinklers out of my 1930’s fabrics for Christmas, that I’ve decided to give one away.  I’m going to give away one made from my new Daisy A Day fabrics.  All you have to do is leave me a comment before January 7th.  I’ll pick from among the names and send you this pretty Twinkler.

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    I’m Karen Snyder and I approve this message!

  • 29Dec

    It has become after Christmas for my nephew Cole to stay with me for a few days.  Each time he’s here, we make a quilt for another of his stuffed animals.  This is Kody.  He got a quilt this year.  Cole chose the blue and orange fabrics with no input from me–honest!  These fabrics are from my new Daisy A Day line.  The boy has good taste!

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    Here’s Cole with Kody and Luna.

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     When we sew together, Cole operates the presser foot and narrates for the “audience.”  This is practice for both of us when we get our own tv show.  How does Quilting with Karen sound?  ”Coming to you live from Studio Anna Lena, this is Karen Snyder under the direction of Cole Paxton……..”  Too bad we weren’t really taping, we are quite entertaining!  At least we think so.

    Last Christmas Luna (Leilani Lahianaluna) got her quilt.  As a native of Maui, she needs a quilt in this Pacific Northwest climate–especially since she’s still wearing her grass skirt!  For this quilt, Cole went through my “strings” of fabric from my first Wash Tub lines of fabric.  He’s very good at matching the colors for his quilts with the particular animal it’s for!

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    I’m Karen Snyder and I approve this message!

  • 27Dec
    Categories: Everything! Comments: 0

    We’re lucky enough to have several Christmas celebrations–Christmas Eve at my Mom and Dad’s, Christmas Day here, a celebration with my brother’s family a few days after Christmas, and getting together with Bob’s kids and grandkids after Christmas!  

    Here are some random shots from our holidays.

    Mom still has her Patsy Ann doll from when she was a girl.  Here’s Patsy Ann decked out for the holday.

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    My parents, brother and sister.

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    My parents with their three grandsons.

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    The steamed cranberry pudding we had for dessert at one meal.  You can find the recipe here.

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    Sticky Buns I made for brunch.  I’ve also posted this recipe.

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  • 14Dec
    Categories: Everything! Comments: 0

    Making pie crust is as easy as, well, pie!

     

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    Now I know not everyone agrees with that, but it REALLY can be. When I mentioned to my friend Carolyn recently that another friend, Monica, wanted me to show her how to make pie crust, Carolyn said she could use a lesson in pie crust making, too. Well, the three of us, along with several others, were going to be at a luncheon at my mom’s house, so I suggested we have a little pie making lesson before lunch. I recently posted about my grandmother’s pie curst recipe, but her recipe makes enough curst for nine two-crust pies! This easy recipe makes enough for one two-crust pie. So, if you’re up to a lesson in pie crust, follow along!
    Rule #1 – Wait–there are no rules.
    Tip #1 – Make it cold, bake it hot. Be sure your ingredients (all four of them) are cold.
    Recipe:
    2-1/2 cups flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 sticks butter
    7 – 12 tablespoons ice cold water
    Step 1. Put the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor with the steel blade inside.  The big, cheesy grin is not required!

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    Step 2. Cut the very cold butter into little cubes. Nothing fancy.

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    Step 3. Before you add the water, put the butter into the bowl. Pulse several times until the butter is cut up into small pieces, about the size of a pea–no smaller. 

    Step 4. This is the only tricky part. Because the moisture content of flour varies, you can never know just how much water you’re going to need to add. Turn the food processor on and start dribbling a little stream of water through the tube on the top.  Keep dribbling until the flour in the bowl becomes a dough and starts to pull away from the sides. You can stop and check your progress. You don’t want it to get too wet.

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    Step 5. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured board or Silpat. Knead a couple of times–just a couple of times. All you are doing here is making a nice ball. You don’t want to overwork the dough or it will become tough.

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    Step 6. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into a little disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Overnight is okay! (During this demo, I didn’t have 30 minutes to wait, and my kitchen staff hadn’t made me any swap outs, like the kitchen staff at Martha Stewart does. I must have words with them about this. Of course, first I’ll have to find them.) photo here Step 7. Roll one disk out for the bottom of your pie. Just take it easy and roll a little bit in each direction until you have a fairly round piece.

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    Step 8. My sister, who was pressed into doing the photography on the spur of the moment, didn’t get a photo of me wrapping the dough over the rolling pin, but that’s what I do to lift it into the pan. Just drape it over the pin, then lay it into the pan.  Lightly press it into the bottom of the pan and trim the edges if necessary, leaving some crust hanging over. Note: This recipe makes enough pie crust for a deep dish pie, but this was the pan my mom grabbed.

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    I thought the demo was going to end here, but no one wanted to see good pie crust go to waste, so we raided my mom’s refrigerator and came up with two apples and plenty of cranberries (thanks to her son-in-law, the Cranman). We added some sugar, cinnamon and a little flour and had a filling for our pie. I rolled out the other disk and put it over the top.

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    I crimped the edges, made a couple of slits in the top, and we put it in the oven.  Remember the Tip from the beginning of this post–Make it cold, Bake it hot. That’s the trick. Everything we used to make the pie crust was cold. Now, it needs to go into a hot over. 425 degrees hot. Bake it at this temperature for 15 minutes, then lower the oven to 350 degrees and finish baking.

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    We were having such a great luncheon, I almost forgot to take it out! But, I think it turned out great. And I hope you’re ready to try making pie crust! Let me know how it turns out, and tell all your friends how easy it is–or not. You could let them think that you know magical things that they don’t!

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    I’m Karen Snyder and I approve this message!

  • 06Dec

    My new fabric line has arrived. Yeah! This is my first line with Timeless Treasures Fabrics, and I’m soooooo pleased with it. The colors came out just like I wanted. I’ve been designing 1930′s repro prints for a while now, and with this line we’ve gone a little more hip with the colors. They’ll still work for those people who want to recreate the look of vintage quilts, but they are also young and fun and chic! The blue is a little bit dusty, the orange is true (that’s me, true to my orange!), the green is a little bit apple-y, the purple not too red and not too blue and the yellow is sharp and crisp. I’d love to know what you think of the colors.

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    As always, I’ve done a panel, but this time, it’s not blocks or a wall hanging, it’s an apron panel – the Saucy Circle Apron! Circle aprons are so flattering, and I think this one is adorable, although while I was trying to arrange the ties for the photo, I kept getting images of the Trix bunny in my head!

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    It’s done with the Daisy May print and has the Duo Dot for the apron strings. You can make this apron from the pre-printed panel. All you need is a little piece of fusible interfacing for the waist band, and everything else is printed right on the fabric – including the instructions!

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    If you want to make it reversible, you can buy two panels or an extra yard of fabric and have two aprons in one! It took me just an hour and a half to stitch this one up. Here are some photos I took along the way.
    I used one panel of orange and one of green, stitched them together, turned them right-sides-out and top-stitched.

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    Then I did the same thing with the apron strings. The top-stitching is important so the apron still looks good after you wash it, and it doesn’t take any time at all. (If you’re not doing the reversible version, you only have to hem the edges!)

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    I don’t have a lot of experience garment sewing, and it always amazes me that you can stitch something round to something straight and it works! Here I’ve pinned the waistband to the apron. The anti-pinning voice in my head says, “You can do it without pins.” But the anti-ripping voice is louder and says, “If you don’t want to rip, pin!”

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    Once that’s stitched on, it’s just a matter of flipping it over to the other side and stitching again. More pins, please.

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    Almost finished! It’s just a matter of slipping the apron stings in the end of the waistband and top stitching everything.

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    Wasn’t that easy! If you’ve been thinking of having a handmade Christmas, think about a few Saucy Circle Aprons!

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    I’m Karen Snyder and I approve this message!

  • 03Dec

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    Our final customer drives away………..

    Sunday was the last day of business at Anna Lena’s, the quilt shop I’ve had for the last eleven years. As many of you know, I’d been planning my retirement for the last five years. I wanted it to coincide with my 55th birthday. Well, that was a couple of months ago, but close enough! We’d been doing the countdown on our reader board for the last ten days.

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    It’s been bittersweet, closing the shop. Of course I’m looking forward to retirement (such as it may be, since I’ve got my finger in lots more pies!), and it’s always a milestone when you reach a goal, but it’s also the end of an era. I didn’t want the vibe to be a sad one, so we greeted customers all day with sparkling cider and asked them to help “celebrate” our last day.

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    Even so, there were a few who weren’t ready to let go!

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    My sister and nephew were still in town, and they stopped by, too. I pressed Cole into service carrying empty bolt boards. I remember when he was just a toddler and how he loved to go through the swinging doors by the quilting machine! 

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    But, about those doors closing……….
    When I think about doors, I think about the wonderful doors in Sweden. I fell in love with the doors there, and when we built our log cabin in the woods, I wanted a Swedish door on it. What’s a Swedish door, you might ask? Well, here are some examples from my trip last summer. Most of them have this cool herring-bone design. 

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    Even some of the garages have them!

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    Some are even fancier and have fancy paint jobs!

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    And one of the castles we visited had a herringbone door-in-a-door!

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    Here’s one that’s opening for me now!

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    But what is that old saying? ”When one door closes a window opens.” Here are some beautiful Swedish windows.

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    This one is taken from inside a building that used to be on Anna Lena’s farm in Dalarna. Now the whole building is at the outdoor museum, Skansen, in Stockholm. It was pretty cool that they let us go inside, ’cause it’s not usually open to the public. 

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    Perhaps I’ve gotten off subject here, but I’m expecting lots of new doors and windows in my life. Thanks for taking the journey with me! 

    I’m Karen Snyder and I approve this message!