Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Year in Review

Every year round this time, I take a look at my top locations for my audience. To my complete surprise, Google stats reported Germany had surpassed my American audience by nearly double the numbers! My real surname is German, and my alias last name Von Zalez is sorta German. 

Coming in at Number 2 is the U.S., followed by France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Albania, Canada, and finally Russia. My Russian audience surpassed my American audience prior to the Ukrainian war. I suspect internet access in Russia has been limited. 

Google and Pinterest continue to remain top referring sites. 

I also Google my blog to see what comes up and Lookee here! I am listed as No. 8 in thrifting blogs in 2023 on feedspot.com. Not sure if that means anything, but cool to land in the Top 10. 

Big news on the personal front - I am returning to college! I took a 2 year hiatus from my art history degree. Part of the problem was the last class had an online textbook. I just can't handle that. I need an actual book. When I read I remember the sections and where they are located. Sure, you can bookmark an online document, but it is not the same thing. 

One year I ran into all sorts of tax advantages being a college student. I think there was some kind of lifetime educational credit or something. Tax season here in the U.S. is fast approaching. If one is self-employed, there are all sorts of tax advantages. 

Back to the possibilities for 2024 - I can take an in-person day class for the fall session. One of my requirements is Drawing and Composition, a class that has been on my Wish List for years.  

Christmas present to myself was the $60 including shipping cost, online auction purchase of approx. 30 quilter's orphan blocks. Half were unusable and thrifted back to the Great Thrift Shop Beyond. There were 22 completed blocks and more than enough pieces for this fantastic star-themed quilt.  

There are also some nice specialty-pieced blocks I will save for future use. There are 6 fairy-themed blocks - another project suited for a gift quilt. 


Since we are on the subject of quilting, here is a quick year in review of my completed projects. 

Son's fish fabric quilt. Even though this is just an image of the quilt top. It was bound and delivered prior to Christmas. It was the first time I used wool batting and will invest in that for most of my future projects. 

Tiki bar quilt listed for sale on Etsy. I plan on doing a couple of other tiki-themed wall quilts just for kicks and giggles. 

Mini Hawaiian shirt quilt that now resides in my work cubicle. 

Men's Hawaiian shirt quilt, now with the recipient family. 

Catsville quilt for the raffle basket and quilt for niece completed.  

I wasn't what you would call prolific in the quilting realm this year. I have lots of projects queued up and more quilts promised to family members. I am looking forward to working on the Lava Lamp quilt pattern. 

Selling update: This past month I've seen sales in Christmas CDs, and sewing patterns. Not much else has sold. I haven't been listing to give myself a break from it all. 

Monday, December 25, 2023

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas!

Pattern of the Day is Immigrant Doll, a vintage sewing pattern from 1989.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/186138400837

It seems timely to turn our attention to those seeking asylum in countries around the world. This year I chose to donate to a local organization that provides aid to immigrants. I have found when you give, not only does it warm your heart and soul, then you receive more blessings in return. 
Image taken 1912

Sharing Bing & Grondahl plates 1987 and 1989 representing the years my children were born.



Stay warm and stay well. 

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Christmas Eve

Countdown to Christmas lands us on the Day Before. This thrifted Hallmark countdown ornament joined my collection this year. 

Recipe of the Day from The Ford Times Cookbook (1968).

CHRISTMAS STOLLEN

1 cup milk
2-1/2 oz. yeast
5 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup butter
pinch of salt
rum flavoring
1/2 cup almonds chopped
1-1/2 cups raisins and currants mixed
1/2 cup mixed dried fruit diced

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm milk. Add 1 cup flour and mix to a soft sponge. Let stand about 1 hour in 75 degree room temperature. Add remaining lukewarm milk, sugar, butter, salt, rum flavoring and about 4 cups flour. Mix to a fairly stiff dough. Add nuts and fruits; let dough rise about 1-1/2 hours. Make into 1 large stollen or 2 small ones, shaping like a Parkerhouse roll. Bake 45 mintues in 350 degree oven. When done, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. 

What I am listening to -  Sing We Noel, Christmas Music from England. A 1978 recording of the Boston Camerata. 

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Gonna Sneak in some Annalee

Annalees Crashed the Countdown to Christmas Party. These images were those for sale mainly in online auctions. 





I kinda went Annalee crazy in year's past, links to those posts. 

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

What I am listening to - Luther Vandross, This is Christmas


Friday, December 22, 2023

Horrible Holiday Attire

Sometimes its good, and sometimes its bad - talkin' bout holiday clothing. 






Adding in some images that didn't fit in my Countdown themed days.





Here's Your Sign

1970 Bing & Grondahl plate

What I am listening to - Barlow Girl, Home for Christmas


Popping in a recipe of the day from The Ford Times Cookbook (1968). 

MAPLE NUT MUFFINS

Sift together in bowl 

2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine

1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup melted shortening

Then add to dry ingredients, mixing until all flour is moistened. Stir in 1 cup chopped nuts. Fill 12 muffin tins 2/3 full and bake in 400 degree oven 18-20 minutes.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

DInosaurs Lead the Way for Day 21

Countdown to Christmas is All About the Dinosaurs.


Image from Dinovember




What I am listening to - Hollywood's Soundtrack of the Season


Recipe of the Day is from The Ford Times Cookbook (1968).


CHERRIES JUBILEE
20 Bing cherries, pitted
2 tsp. sugar
lemon ring (cut from 1/4 of lemon peel)
orange ring (cut from 1/4 of orange peel)
1 cinnamon stick
1 oz. rum
1 oz. brandy
4 scoops vanilla ice cream

Combine cherries with 4 tsp. of their juice and their sugar. Add lemon and orange rings and cinnamon stick. Heat until sugar dissolves, stirring gently so as not to break cherries. Add rum and brandy, reserving 1 tsp. brandy for flaming. Place reserved brandy in long-handled spoon and ignite, then quickly stir cherries and juice until flame is extinguished. Remove cinnamon stick. Sauce is then spooned over ice cream and served at once. Serve 4.

The one and only time I had Cherries Jubilee was on a Prom Night in high school. We had dinner at the top of the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Reindeers and Rudolph Round out Day 20

Counting Down to Christmas brings us to Day 20. Highlighting a few of our forked-horn friends.



EMERGURD Page Views! I don't know where you people/new viewers are coming from but welcome one and all! 


Wished I would have snagged these two rare reindeer that came up for sale in an online auction a few years ago.

What I am listening to - Sounds of Christmas.


Recipe of the day is from The Ford Times Cookbook (1968).

CORNWALLIS YAMS

Boil 6 medium sweet potatos, peel and mash with potato masher. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, and 1/4 lb. butter. Add 3 beaten eggs, 1/2 cup grated coconut, 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, and 1-1/2 cups milk. Place in greased casserole dish and top with marshmallows. Bake in 350 degree oven until light brown. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Trolls and Gnomes

Countdown to Christmas Day 19 includes trolls and gnomes. 



A bag of 5 mini baby trolls came through at thrift for a couple of dollars. I gave away 4 of them to friends along with the tiny Christmas cards. 

What I am listening to - Sons of Maxwell. This was a fun listen. Placed with my keepers. 

Thrifting update: I bought some blocks, quilt blocks, that is. I frequent a certain online auction and was able to outbid the rest. 
These will be spun into many more finished creations in 2024.