Sunday, April 29, 2007

Just Perfect

We had the most perfect day here today. It was sunny and warm and just a bit breezy. I had big plans to go into the dungeon and sew all day, but I just couldn't do it. Instead, I opened all the windows and cleaned house. I love to clean on a beautiful day with the breeze airing everything out. Just Heaven! The downside of all that cleaning is no pictures. I doubt you'd enjoy a picture of the cleaner in the toilet bowl, would you?

I did start a new sock this weekend, out of a Lorna's Laces yarn in a pastel color.Notice how the colors are pooling? (Yellows with greens and pinks with purples.) If I continue with this pattern, I'll end up with a candy cane effect on my sock. Apparently, this is a common problem with Lorna's Laces. I've tried three different patterns and the pooling persists. I'll be ripping this one out tomorrow to try something new. Hopefully sooner or later something will produce a nice mottled effect.

I do have a question for any of you readers with a green thumb. I've noticed the ends of my newly emerging hostas have been nibbled, which indicates that my wascally wabbit has returned. Does anyone have any rabbit deterrent suggestions? Several years ago we had a cat that patrolled the yard, but she disappeared on day. As a result, I won't let TheEmptyNestChild go outside. And speaking of cats, I heard once that it might help to put litter box contents around the hostas, so I might try that.

Here's to a good week ahead!

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my DadLovesMeBest Sister! Today is her day. I could tell you how old she is and make fun of her, but since she's 19 months younger than I am, that would just be inappropriate.

Awww. Isn't she cute? She was a beauty queen in high school. And to illustrate how different parenting is now than it was then, when she won her beautyship, no one from the family was there to see it. These days, as parents, we don't dare miss even the most trivial of activities. But back then, our parents only occasionally went to an activity. We had all been there the year before when nothing happened; so out of 120 girls, it was just assumed that, once again, she wouldn't win. But she did. And we've all felt guilty ever since!

She got over it (actually, I don't think it really even bothered her) and now we just have lots of fun together. We lived in different parts of the country for the first 10 years after we grew up, but now, we're very happy to be living in the same city. When I saw these rainboots, I knew I had to get them for her. They had her name on them. (And, really, I don't know how it happened, but when they were delivered, there was a pair in just my size with them. Hmmm....) I'd never really seen Wellies here in the states (except for the plain green or brown variety) until I saw them here. There are all sorts of fun patterns. She'll look stunning in them while she's doing her gardening.

Well...Happy Birthday Little WeinerHead! I hope you're having a great day!


(P.S. Her DadLovesMeBest knickname comes from a conversation we once had when looking at a catalog. I told her I was going to order one of those shirts that says "Mom Loves Me Best." She said, "That's ok, 'cause Dad Loves Me Best.")

Thursday, April 26, 2007

My Favorite Pasta Salad

The weather this past weekend was so beautiful and stirred up visions of summer to come. Now, however, it's cold and rainy as winter coughs up it's last (hopefully!) gasp. The forecast promises better weather after tomorrow, so, in preparation, I thought I'd share my favorite summer salad.

Ham and Chicken Salad

3 oz. (1 cup) uncooked pasta nuggets
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 cup cubed cooked ham
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 *8 oz.) can pineapple chunks, drained

1/2 cup tarragon or cider vinegar
1/3 cup oil
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cook pasta to desired doneness as directed on package; drain. Rinse with cold water.

In large bowl, combine all salad ingredients. In jar with tight-fitting lid, combine all dressing ingredients; shake to blend. Pour over salad; toss to coat. 4 (1 1/2-cup) servings.

This salad should have kind of a sweet and sour taste to it, so it's better if you make if several hours before you're going to serve it. I always have to at least double the recipe because TheManoftheHouse loves it!


Monday, April 23, 2007

I Love Baseball

Baseball has been a big deal at our house. From the time he was three years old, Son1 has loved baseball. At that young and tender age, he used to sit on the couch and watch an entire White Sox baseball game. He also started with T-ball at 3 years old and has played baseball every year since then. Almost 20 years of baseball. At 8, he began pitching.

We've had more fun with Son1 and his baseball than I could ever have imagined. The friends, the travel teams, the games with their blow-by-blow re-caps. the camaraderie, and the sportsmanship. You know...the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. There's just no way that I could eloquently describe a mother's feelings as she watches her boy muster up the courage to go back out on that mound after pitching a bad inning. Or what it's like to watch him hit the game winning run. And I can't imagine what my life would have been like without it. But dang it, it sure went by fast! Where did those years go???

It was with a little sadness that we traveled to see him play in his last college home game this weekend. He pitched a great game. One hit shy of a no-hitter. We're full of wonderful memories. And it certainly won't be the end of baseball for Son1. In addition to his day job next year, he'll be assistant coaching his old high school team. Maybe there will be an adult league. If he's extra-special-lucky, maybe someday he'll be blessed with a little boy who loves baseball too. And, if nothing else, there's always his beloved White Sox.

Oh, and not to be outdone, Son2 was off at his respective school participating in a little sport of his own. Defending the family honor. Or, rather the Pie Eating Championship that he won in the fall. Once again, he remains undefeated. The skill...the courage....We are so proud.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Little Inspiration

Darn it all, the weather here today is stunning. Finally, we have a beautiful sunny day. Not that I'm complaining, but that means mowing season has started. (Technically, it's well under way. My nutty neighbor has mowed three times already. Obviously, he's not hooked on crack blogs, like I am.) Oh well, I've finished for today, and just thought I'd pop in quickly to mention a few of the fun things I saw in blogland this week (well, ok, some are more than a week old, but I keep forgetting to mention them!)

First of all, thank you for all the very kind comments about the bunny pincushions. For those of you who asked, they're made from a pattern called Bouncing Bunny by Lori Karper in 1989. Guess it's getting pretty old by now! ;-)

So, some inspiration for you, if you haven't seen these:

RohanKnitter made these adorable Nancy Drew bags! I loved Nancy Drew when I was a girl. And think of the possibilities for other books that could be put on these cute bags.

Check out these clever little paper clips!

Read this awesome article via Ali. Do you think you would have stopped?

The World's Longest Scrunchie. Allsorts is amazing, as always.

Here's a fun thing to try from Williams Sonoma. You can see samples of aprons personalized with your name in different colors.

How About Orange
pointed out that you can design your own Kleenex box for $4.99 each. I briefly played with this and can see where this could be really fun for little presents or stocking stuffers. (Not that we're planning ahead for Christmas or anything!)

In my "resistance is futile" granny effort I saw these (so cute!) and these. Maybe they would be good alternatives for someone who vows not to do an afghan???

And last but not least, Cherry Menlove hosted an interview with Susan Branch. Bloggers were able to submit questions (which I did 'cause I've loved her stuff FORever) and then ... at the end (and here's where I am so fortunate to have had "breathe in, breathe out" lessons from Flibbertygibbet) ... Susan said... "Anna, your thumbtacks are so darling, you inspired me. I'm designing a Viking embroidery CD for machines and because of you, I sent them all kinds of letters, some with flowers twining 'round them!" OHMYGOSH!!!!! Please pardon my excitement, but Susan Branch was here! And even a bajillion times better -- there's going to be a new Viking disk with designs I can use on those thumbtacks that I LUV to make!!!

Flib, please pass the paper bag! Do you think I dare dream it? I mean, if Susan Branch was here.....well, do you think... could there be any possible chance that maybe Sawyer could be far behind????


Friday, April 20, 2007

The Book Fair

I made a visit back to the school my children attended for the annual book fair. I love children's books and I've always enjoyed the book fair. They do a book fair right -- they have a dedicated committe of parents that research throughout the year and create lists of books in categories such as art, science, all the grade levels, travel, Classics, Fairy Tales, etc. They even have a cookbook table for us mothers. The first picture below is just a small section of the book filled gym.

Also, a special treat this year, a wife of one of the teachers was selling her handmade line of clothing.

We usually manage to find a special book that we've never seen. One of my all time favorites that MyDadLovesMeBestSister spotted one year is Benjamin and Tulip by Rosemary Wells. It's a very funny little book. A little perverse maybe -- Tulip is always telling Benjamin that she's going to beat him up! I wish I could show you a picture of it, but I can't find my copy. It's around here somewhere and will probably turn up when I least expect it! Sadly, I think it's now out of print. Barnes and Noble show used hardback prices starting around $40, Amazon around $85. Gak! I better get searching!


(Note: The book fair workers are still wearing the aprons I made 12 or so years ago! I had lots of fun making them -- I wrote many of my favorite children's books (at the time) on eight aprons. It was funny when I checked out -- I asked to take their picture. They had no idea that I made their aprons and I think they thought I was nuts. ;-) )

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bunny Pincushions

So far, I've been holding steady. Resisting the urge to make those grannys. But dang it...they're dropping like flies. Bad Fortune Cookie, Creative Little Daisy, Flibbertygibbet (the Babette is close enough), and {gasp} Yarnstorm are all "doin' it." And last night at KnitNight, Junie asked me "How hard are those granny squares to make?" She's wondering. She's thinking about it. Bunny pincushions are taking my mind off of those grannies. For today, anyway.

Years ago I made bunny pincushions for the women in my family. Shortly thereafter, my little bunny disappeared. I ended up with MeMum's but I've always felt guilty about it. So, I finally got around to making a replacement for her. And if you're making one, you might as well make several! That way, if your bunny decides to take a hike, you'll have a spare.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Knit Doctor

First things first. When we arrived home from work this evening we were greeted by this scene in the rarely used living room. How sad that I'm airing my dirty laundry in public, but we thought this was pretty funny. TheEmptyNestChild was apparently burrowing in the couch. I just have two things to say. 1) Our sweet dog has been gone for two years, and 2) There will be no comments about my housekeeping. Thank You.

Over the years, I've thought a lot about all this crafting that we do in relation to gift giving. What if the recipient really hates that gift that you've toiled over? Should you spend a lot of time on something that you know won't be appreciated? I've finally decided that I make things because I love to make them and once they leave my hands, the recipients are free to do whatever they wish with my gift and I won't be offended, no matter what the outcome. So, this week my quarterly newsletter from Sheep's Clothing (in Valparaiso, IN) arrived and it contained advice from the Knit Doctor on just this subject, and I thought I'd share it with you:

Dear Knit Doctor,
I know you have heard tons of horror stories about unappreciated hand knitted gifts. Well, here is my contribution. Years ago I knitted an elaborate pillow for my son and his wife. It was a complex cable pattern. I went to visit them and noticed that the family dog had a very nice pillow -- hand knitted -- by me. I decided to say nothing, but put the pillow in my suitcase and took it home with me. I now enjoy it in my home and make no attempt to hide it when family comes to visit. Nothing has ever been said about this. Sometimes I wonder if they realize that this is in fact the self same pillow. I'm actually not mad at them for not appreciateing my gift. I'm really rather enjoying it myself.

No Pillow Talk -- Muncie, IN

Dear No Pillow Talk,

The fact of the matter is that a hand made gift fares no better chance statistically of being appreciated than a purchased one. It is my feeling that any hand knit gift should come with two contracts. First the knitter must make a contract with herself not to become emotionally involved if the gift is not well received. Second, any hand knitted gift item should include a return clause. You simply exercised your rights under the return clause.

Dear Knit Doctor,
Years ago we received an elaborate knitted pillow from my husband's mother. For reasons which we cannot explain, our dog just loved that pillow. Every time we retireved it from the dog, when we'd turn our backs the dog would have it again. We finally gave up trying to preserve the pillow from our dog. You can probably guess what happens next. Mother-in-law visits. Pillow disappears. Pillow reappears in mother-in-law's home. Since then I've seen it at her house many times, but no one ever mentions the...
Pillow in the Room -- Griffith, Indiana

Dear Pillow in the Room,
In your family there is a Pillow In The Room that no one speaks of. In many families there is an Elephant In The Room that no one speaks of. This should put a new perspective on the basic good health of your extended family life. You are all wise enough people to enjoy each other without letting smal l matters, like pillows, get in the way.

So, there's my weak attempt at humor, 'cause really, all I can think of is what happened at Virginia Tech today. I really do think that blogs should be a place where we can escape, and most of the time that will be true here. I've had the news off all night. I have two boys away at school and for now I'll have to be an ostrich with her head in the sand. In the grand scheme of things, there's just nothing I could say that would be of any importance. I'm just so very sad for all the families that lost their children today.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Quilt Show

Sorry -- I'm a day late in telling you about the quilt show. Unfortunately, after two very pleasant days, yesterday was my annual MTTD (Major Tax Tirade Day -- not to be confused with mTTD -- minor Tax Tirade Day which will occur in about a week when the property tax bill comes and I rant and rave about why our tax rate is higher than, say, someone who has a beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge, when our view here is of cornfields!) Anyway, with MTTD my tirade isn't related to the amount of money that gets hijacked from my bank account as much as it's the ridiculous amount of work that it takes to fill out the forms. It's the annual slap in the face I get to remind me that I am not a filer. I try to be organized. I put things away. I just can't remember where I put them. It's just way too much work and I resent the amount of time spent filing taxes -- time that could be spent sewing! They know how much I make -- why can't they just send a bill for some percentage? Ahem. I digress. Suffice it to say, there was much wailing, gnashing of teeth and stomping of feet yesterday and I feel much better today. Thanks for listening!

On to the quilt show! We had a very fun day. I accompanied my dear friends Junie and Jewels (Gurney was sorely missed!) and Me.Mum (My beloveds must all have a nickname. I love how the British (and Australians!) call their mothers Mum and since my mother has declared that she's never getting on an airplane again unless it's to go to the UK, I've decided to call her Me.Mum.) Anyway, I thought the picture to the right, pretty much summed it up.

It had been a long time since we'd been to such a good quilt show. We gave up Paducah many years ago because it was just too crowded. This show didn't seem to have the number of quality of quilts that Paducah had back then, but there were certainly some pretty quilts on display. We're a group of pretty traditional girls, and sadly, hand quilted quilts are just getting harder and harder to find. Our viewers choice was this clever quilt of a tumbling little boy.

The vendor selection, on the other hand was awesome. Far superior to what we've seen in the past. We were all thrilled to see our old standby and favorite vendor, Schoolhouse Quilts. We've been followers of Judy Rothermel for years and years -- her piecing and quilting are exquisite. There were many other wonderful vendors too. One of my favorites was Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods (sadly, no website), a booth that had tons of ribbons, trims and buttons. All organized by color -- so inspiring!

It was a great quilt show -- very well run and organized with lots of room for the crowds. It will definitely be on our list for next year!

In other news, we're having very weird weather here for April. It snowed almost all day yesterday. I thought spring had arrived two weeks ago when our ducks showed up. They come back every year, just like clockwork. One mallard and one drake. Duck Love. We never see any product of their union, but they always seem to be very happy just waddling around the neighborhood for a few weeks. Here you can see them enjoying the growing puddle in our backyard caused by all the rain we've had this spring.

Lots of people are complaining about the cold weather. Not me. I love the snow. And I love the delay of spring. 'Cause if there's snow on the ground, it means I don't have to mow the lawn. I love to mow, but I don't have the winter nesting/sewing out of my system yet. Happy Snowmen.


Thursday, April 12, 2007


I waited. And waited. And it seemed like it took forever for Miss Potter to finally come to our little burg. We saw the movie tonight and it was SO Beautiful. I loved it. Like I haven't loved a movie for several years. I had tears in my eyes from the very first scene and they were there for the whole movie, even during the many humorous parts. (And I wasn't the only one -- there was a lot of sniffling going on in that theater.) What a tender, endearing movie. Renee Zellweger was wonderful. *Sigh.* I feel like I should say it completes me. If you have a chance to see it, I highly recommend it! (And just a note, the picture I'd really like to have here would be the pumpkin coach with the bunnies pulling it -- was that adorable or what???) Needless to say, the DVDwill be at the top of my wish list for Christmas this year.

Now, on another note, the very sweet GardenGirl over at LavenderDaze has nominated me for a Thinking Blogger award. I'm very touched and humbled and just don't know what to say, except that "I'm not worthy." And to prove my point, as a recipient, you are supposed to nominate 5 more blogs -- your favorites that make you think. It's very ironic, for as I just stated in my favorites post, there's no way that I can choose among the blogs I frequent. Some of the blogs I love are listed over in the sidebar, but that list is so incomplete. My current bloglines counter is over 100, and it keeps growing. (Speaking of which, I have a little beef with bloglines -- it doesn't seem to always update. As a recent example, GardenGirl had a wonderful post about a baby knitting book that looks great and I completely missed it. How'd that happen? For one thing, I'm sure my new-grandma quilty friend Gurney might be interested in this book.) So, I nominate them all. Thank you so much GardenGirl. If you haven't checked our her blog, run right over there -- it's SO pretty and peaceful. You'll feel refreshed when you're done reading!

Off to a quilt show tomorrow. Hopefully it will be worthy of a report!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I met with my quilty friends tonight to knit and since they've discovered me here at Thimbleanna's, I thought it might be time to introduce them to you.

My first little quilty friend is Gurney (there's a story behind this nickname, but we don't know it yet!) Unfortunately, Gurney moved away quite a few years ago and she now lives 2 hours away. We used to only ever get together every 4 or 5 months and she always made it. But now, with an interest in knitting, we're meeting more often and she can't always make it. So, she wasn't with us tonight and we miss her terribly! She's lots of fun, knits and quilts all kinds of wonderful things, and she's a brand-spankin'-new grandma for the first time. That probably means we won't see her as often as we used to, but we're really excited for her anyway!

Next up, and to the right, we have Jewels. Jewels has a heart of gold, a fabulous sense of humor, and she keeps us laughing all the time. Jewels mission at our Knitnights is to learn how to knit socks. This is her very first sock and she's just turned her first heel! Woohoo! It's all downhill now baby! And do you notice the color of the yarn? 1) It's red. Jewels is all about red and she's made me love red too! 2) Notice a similarity to my sock? That's 'cause I admired this beautiful yarn and Jewels went out and got me some -- she's a sweetheart!

And lastly, we have Junie. Junie has a keen sense of style -- you should see her beautiful home. She and her husband are into all kinds of fun retro-y stuff -- jukeboxes, schwinn bicycles, and all kinds of old game machines (is that what you call them -- pinball, bowling, etc.) What you see below are exhibit A and exhibit B. Junie is knitting her very first project ever! She didn't even knit a sample. Not a scrap! She's making a felted purse and she's taken to knitting like a duck to water. She didn't even have the initial awkwardness that people have with the needles at first. I attribute it to her vast quilting/other needlework experience. Now, not to make fun of poor Junie, 'cause we're laughing with her, not at her, but in Exhibit A, you can see that she is unraveling a few rows. She picked her purse up one day and started knitting backwards. Haven't we all been there? I love mistakes, 'cause that's how I learn, and as she told me, "Bet I won't make that mistake again!" Exhibit B shows Junie progressing along nicely!

I hope you love my quilty friends as much as I do -- I'm sure this isn't the last time you'll be hearing about them. ;-)


Sunday, April 8, 2007

It's Let's Get Real Monday!

Randi at I Have to Say is once again hosting Let's Get Real Monday. Posting a dirty closet last time was a piece of cake compared to our assignment this week. ;-) Randi! What are you thinking??? I mean, seriously Randi. It’s Get Real Monday – Get Real!!! (And I mean that in the nicest way!) Do you have any idea how hard this topic is for me? I love everything. I have favorites of everything. This is a huge topic – Randi, were you thinking this would be easy???

Think about it – how many times do we use “favorite” in our normal everyday conversations? “Hey, there’s my favorite store.” Or, “This is my favorite poem.” Or you ask someone for a recommendation, “Who’s your favorite plumber?”, “Who’s your favorite Dr.?”, or “Who’s your favorite caterer?” (Ok, maybe that one’s a stretch, just had to throw it in there.) Or someone is trying to get to know you…”What’s your favorite book?" Movie? Food? Dessert? Main Dish? Ice Cream? Vegetable? Holiday? Hobby? TV show? How ‘bout your favorite president? Place to live? Vacation destination? Mode of transportation? Maybe your favorite yarn? Needle? Applique technique? Quilt that you’ve made? Quiet place to do your needlework? Place to sit and think? Or to the everyday…your favorite cleaning product? Brand of laundry detergent? Type of salt? Kind of cat litter???? Heck, I even have a favorite tooth. A few years ago it broke and I begged the dentist. “Mr. Dentist, puh-leeeez fix it – it’s my favorite tooth!” Speaking of personal favorites, how ‘bout my favorite way to annoy TheManoftheHouse? Or favorite way to tease TheEmptyNestChild? And people are totally off limits. Can you pick a favorite child? Relative? Friend? Or HeavenForbid – a favorite blog??? (There’s No Way that could ever happen!) Do you see the problem here? This list could go on forever.

Technically, I could have a slam dunk here. I’ve already got a head start in this category – I could just defer you to my "favorites" category in the side bar. You can check out my favorite cookie, chair, baby gift, and hostess gift. And there are many more favorites planned for the future. But in the meantime, I’ve been tortured by favorites all weekend. Like the good and bad angels that sit on your shoulders, they’ve been yelling at me. “Pick me! Pick me! Me!Me!Me!Me!!!”

But finally, I slept on it. I took a deep breath. I said, let’s think about this here blog. Its name is Thimbleanna. Hmmm, thimble. There’s been little mention of thimbles here, so, perhaps it's time to bring them up. I do have a very small collection of sterling silver thimbles. My mother started me collecting them and she has a bigger, very small collection of sterling silver thimbles. And in my very small collection, I do have a favorite:
In 1998, we took our boys and my parents back to Germany to see where we’d lived many years ago, and we went to the Thimble Museum (or Fingerhut Museum as it’s said in German – isn’t that cute? Finger in German is finger, and Hut is hat – you get finger hat!) in Creglingen, Germany. It’s just a little one-room museum, but it’s very close to Rothenburg o.d. Tauber which is a big tourist attraction, so, while in the area, it’s well worth the visit. Especially if you love fingerhats like we do. Anyway, we bought this thimble there and I love it because of the sewing scenes.

So, there. I found a favorite. And Randi, how ‘bout a little break for the next Get Real Monday? Maybe we could list bad habits? Projects? Hmmm. I see your problem. Life is just too BIG.


Saturday, April 7, 2007

A Wish...

Happy Easter Everyone!!!XOXO,

Thursday, April 5, 2007

The Gig's Up!

I had KnitNight with my best and oldest quilty friends and one of them said, "I have a confession to make." I've had a bet running with myself about how long it would be until this confession, so, I knew it was coming when she said..."I found your blog." !!! So, it's very fun and I must say Welcome! to my bestest friends! (Isabelle, I'm sorry for my improper grammar, I'm cheating in excitement.)

My friends and I have been together since we started our friendship quilting group almost twenty years ago and we've had some wonderful times together. They've been a great source of inspiration to me over the years. Sometimes it will be months between our visits, but when we get together, it's like we just saw each other yesterday. The really good part about having them join us here at Thimbleanna's, is that occasionally maybe they'll let me sneak some of their inspiring projects in here (that is until they all start blogs of their own) but the bad part is, that if I make something for them, I won't be able to show you until after the fact. It's a sacrifice I'm more than happy to make!

Now, Shropshire Girl asked me to explain how I make my little Easter ducks. Unfortunately, I didn't take any "in progress" pictures when I was making them, but I'll try to give you a rough idea of how they're made.

You'll need:
Egg shaped plastic molds that are split lengthwise (like those pictured at right.) You can find some here.
Circle shaped molds for the heads. I've never had good molds for the heads. I use a plastic ball christmas ornament that is cut in half for the big head (the one I have is really too big) and for the heads on the little ducks, I used a melon baller to scoop the circle halves. When they are released from the scoop, they're a little loose, so I press on them a little to "tighten" them up.
Sugar Recipe (recipe below)
Royal Icing(recipe below)
Orange and/or yellow feathers
Orange felt -- cut duck bills and feet. Just be free and wing it!
Wiggly Eyes

Make sugar recipe. One recipe should make at least 2 small ducks.
Press sugar mixture firmly into sugar molds. Unmold onto cookie sheets. Bake egg halves in 200 degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes. When done, let cool for a minute or two, then pick egg half up and hold in palm with flat side up. Gently run a knife around the edge of the egg, approximately 1/8 inch in from the edge. Scoop all the sugar out of the middle of the egg. If the egg breaks, just crumble it up and add it back to the moist sugar mixture and do over. For each duck, you'll need two egg halves (one half should have a flat side to make the bottom of the duck) and two half spheres for the head.

Let the egg halves dry out for a day or two so they'll harden and not be so fragile. Mix the icing:Put it into a frosting bag fitted with a star tip like 4B or 6B. Squeeze a little icing onto one half sphere and attach the other half sphere to it. Squeeze a little icing on top of the duck body toward the front of the duck where the surface starts to drop off. This will create a little icing shelf for the head to rest on. Pipe decorative trim around the edge of the top half of the duck. Let the top of the duck dry for 20 or 30 minutes.

After the icing has set up a little, pipe a decorative trim around the seam on the duck's head, then attach the head to the top of the duck body. Gently press two little duck bills into the decorative piping around the head. Pipe decorative icing around the neck seam. Pipe little stars of icing for the eyes and feathers, then press eyes and feathers into the icing. (Refer to picture below for placement.) Hold your breath for 3 hours while the duck head dries in hopes that it doesn't fall off. (Just kidding!) Attach two little duck feet to the bottom half of the duck. Let duck dry overnight.

Repeat for as many ducks as you want and fill with candy. This is a fun project to do with older kids, but they do have to have some patience as the eggs can be a little delicate and the icing takes time to dry. Making these is somewhat like making the sugar Easter panorama molds. These instructions might explain the process of hollowing out the eggs more clearly.

I hope you try these -- if not this year, maybe next year!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Getting ready for Easter

Thanks for all your nice comments about my thumb tacks. They're really fun to make, I hope you'll all try them. And I'm sure you'll be seeing more of them. ;-)

I grew up moving around a lot, but when I was little we always went "home" for Easter and Christmas. "Home" was the little town in Utah where my parents grew up. One of my favorite places to be was my aunt's house. She is a wonderful woman -- she has 5 daughters and 2 sons and she was always busy doing something fun. She taught me lots of "crafty" things, but the one that means the most to me is cake decorating. (Sewing, etc. are my favorite activities, but my mom taught me that sort of stuff.) When I was 14, my aunt gave me my own little cake decorating kit for my birthday -- tips, couplers, bags, and a Wilton catalog. I still have them all and they hold wonderful memories for me.

One Easter, she taught me how to make these little ducks.

They're made out of the same molds as the sugar eggs. I've never had good molds for the heads though, so I have to improvise. That's why they're a little wonky. The ducks are a little goofy looking, but I like them anyway. I think maybe we'll use them as placecard holders for our Easter dinner this year.