Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Whirl Into Winter Giveaway

UPDATE: WOW! 90 comments! A record here at CorgiPants! Thanks so much everyone for commenting and entering the contest! Drawn the old-fashioned way, using real paper ballots, the winner is:

5acre Designs

NOTE-Please make sure you follow the rules and answer the question completely, otherwise you will not have a chance to win. You need to tell me which one you would choose and why.

I am participating in the Whirl Into Winter giveaway. One lucky winner will receive my Pillowcase Pinnie pattern OR Black Forest Scoodie pattern (their choice), available at the Make-Do Mercantile!
Entries will be accepted January 1, 2009 through January 14, 2009 (midnight). Just add a comment on THIS POST and tell me which one you would choose if you won and why. Please make sure you leave an email address or have it posted on your blog so that I can contact you should you be the lucky winner! The winner will be chosen on January 15 and will get their PDF pattern immediately after they respond to my email. Then they can start crafting away!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Corgi Christmas


driver's seat
Originally uploaded by Corgipants
Hey all you Corgi people, The Watching has been posted! Millie created a blog for it, complete with pictures! And for those not so ingrained in the Corgi world, The Watching is a wonderful yearly tradition. Millie Williams writes a wonderful, touching story each year which includes memorials of all the loved ones who passed this year.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Not my weekend

This has not been the best of weekends. It hasn't been the worst, for sure. Just annoying at best. On Saturday I slipped on the ice and hurt my ankle and my butt! Sunday I sneezed through a box of tissues, rubbing my nose and face raw in the process. Today I stayed home to recuperate from the achy-sniffly-sneezing-coughing and because it was too cold to start my car! Wind chills have been below zero here this weekend. Right now it's 14, wind chill is 5. And last week we had an ice storm that hasn't melted away yet and left LOTS of branches down around here! I got a few last-minute presents crafted up today but mostly I just slept and listened to Christmas music. Mike took me to the library to get some new reading material so that's what I'm up to tonight. I am thinking about doing on of these reading challenges I've been seeing online. I like the read your name one where you read books whose titles spell out your name. Or the Support You Local Library challenge. There are lots here. Not this weekend but last, we had our holiday party for my work. I made this dress a couple of years back for a wedding but it has spaghetti straps, not very winter-friendly. I ran out and bought 1/2 yard of velboa (on sale, 40% off) and made a quick shrug and I was set. (And I do mean quick, it was sewn into a tube, then one seam in the middle of one side to create the arm openings, so easy!)
Club Little House arrived but I haven't had time to document all the wonderful little littles! Everything was so dreamy, lovely packaging, lovely items, I loved it all!
And speaking of packages, our tree seems to be shrinking, the bottom has disappeared behind all the presents! I don't know if we just got each other large gifts or what but despite the recession, I think this is our most gifteriffic Christmas yet!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Barter Bunch

I love to barter! Online or in "real life", I love exchanging goods and services for things that would normally cost me cold hard cash. I'd rather save that for mortgage payments and groceries. Strangely they won't accept my home made dog biscuits in exchange for a month's car insurance either. But maybe you will! I'd love to barter with you! If you do any of the crafts that I don't/can't and would like something that I do make, let me know! And I encourage you to sign for the Barter Bunch, and post a list on your own blog, complete with the Barter Bunch badge. Offer up some of your specialties in exchange for someone else's hand crafted lovelies. I'm open to swaportunities with a due date after Christmas.

What I Can Do:

*Sew-clothing, toys, handbags, I have lots of vintage patterns and a big fabric stash! Most recent projects include recycled wool sweaters into the cutest mittens, fancy dish gloves with oil cloth ruffle, pillowcase pinnies and black forest scoodies (of course!) Felt foods also a specialty.

*Quilt-free-motion quilting, foundation piecing, yo-yo's

*Knit-hats, shawls, scarves, can incorporate beads, NO SOCKS

*Crochet-yarn and thread, doilies, amigurimi, hats, scarves, bags, jewelry, play food

*Handmade dog collars/leashes

*Home baked dog treats in LOTS of flavors like peanut butter/banana, cinnamon cranberry, and sweet potato

*Cross stitch/embroidery

*Miniature polymer clay food (great for dollies or I can make jewelry out of it for you)


What I would like in return:

*Soap-cold process vegetarian soaps, fun colorful melt and pour soaps

*Other body products like lib balm, lotion, sugar scrub, etc. all vegetarian please

*Glass-lampwork beads, fused glass jewelry, blown glass, shiny and colorful!

*Ceramics/pottery, I love porcelain/ceramic jewelry and simple bowls/vases

*Knit socks

*Resin jewelry

*Scented candles- in tasty food smells like chocolate, cinnamon buns and sugar cookies

*Gooco/printed stationary and notecards

*Tatting

*Your own quilting (table runner, wall hanging, coasters, etc.) and aprons. I can't get enough!


How it works:

1. Post your own list of what you can make and what you would like in exchange on your blog.

2. Sign up via Mr. Linky, linking to THAT post so that we can find it easily.

3. Once you post your list, other bloggers can contact you and offer up barter proposals. You and that person arrange the swap terms including deadlines and monetary values.

4. To find others who make things you might want, you can check out each of the members who sign up via Mr. Linky.

5. No pressure, if someone offers you something you don't really need/want/have use for, politely turn them down or offer up a different idea for what you think would be a good barter.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Early Holiday Festivities

Earlier this month, Mike was awake before me (as usual) on a Saturday morning. Once a reasonable hour rolled around, he opened the drapes in the bedroom and surprised me with this!Snow! It's all melted now but it was a nice big dump!

The cookie exchange went off without any major hitches. Cookies included sugar cookies, spritz, 2 types of brownies, snickerdoodles, no-bake cookies, toffee chip, and chocolate chip.
Our new white tree was all decorated for the occasion.Every year I give away a prize for finding the pickle ornament but because it's white I thought it would be too easy to find so we played Christmas Bingo instead. What a fiasco! Let's say just Bingo will not be making a re-appearance next year! Check out my igloo cheeseball.Complete with black olive penguins! It was a fun night and the only time each year I see some of my friends so it was great to get together.

Friday, December 5, 2008

How to Host a Cookie Exchange


One of my favorite holiday traditions originated with my mother in law. Every year her women's group from church has a giant cookie exchange and inevitably when we visit for the holidays, her basement is FULL of cookie tins, tubs and containers filled with all sorts of goodies! So, inspired by those wonderful goodies, I started hosting my own. Here are two different ways to organize, the way they do it (for a large group) and the way I do it (for a smaller group) and some tips for hosting your own.

I have been hosting my cookie exchange since 2001. In the beginning, the guest list was usually under 10. With such a small group, I asked that everyone make one dozen cookies for each participant and pre-package them on paper plates or in disposable plastic containers. Everyone also make a spare dozen for eating during the party and those were brought in pretty containers to display on the sideboard. At the end of the night, after warm drinks and watching classic claymation programs on the tivo, everyone goes home with a dozen cookies from each guest, more than enough to share with friends and maybe even make up a few packages for the mailcarrier and garbage men.

My standby recipes for cookie exchange night
Wassail Punch-makes the house smell amazing!
Sweet and Sour Faux Meatballs-I make them in the oven, then keep them warm in a large crockpot so everyone can dig int throughout the night.
Cheeseballs! One year, my theme was cheeseballs of all kinds.

In Wisconsin, the women's group is so large that if everyone made a dozen cookies for each participant, you'd need wheelbarrows to haul them there. And to haul them home for that matter! They do things a bit different. (And to tell the truth, the past couple of years, I've done it this way too since it works well if you're not sure exactly how many people are coming and therefore don't know how many dozens to tell people to make.) Everyone makes a set amount of cookies, I think 4 dozen is a good amount but I think up north they make 8. As guests arrive, their cookies are placed on a table together. Once everyone has arrived, the fun begins. I have everyone introduce themselves and their cookie as we surround the table, each with an empty container. At the signal, everyone starts grabbing cookies and rotating around the table so that everyone gets some of each. You keep going around the table until all the cookies have been snatched up.

Tips:
Have your guests bring recipe cards for their cookie so that everyone not only can make them if they'd like but also know the ingredients in case they have any allergies or have loved ones with allergies.

It's always good, as the hostess, to have some extra plates and cling wrap for people to take their goodies home.

I love paper invitations but Evite is my best friend when it comes to getting people to RSVP because it makes it so easy for them.

Request that when they RSVP that your guests also state what kind of cookie they are thinking of bringing. This keeps you from getting all chocolate chip cookies.

A game of some kind gets your guests to interact with each other, especially if they don't all know each other. Every year we play find the Christmas pickle and those who are returning guests from previous years remember this and it gives them a topic of conversation. The Christmas pickle is a tree ornament that I hide in the tree and whoever finds it wins a prize.

And when the party ends, I love to send my guests home with a handmade favor. I think everyone can use a new ornament for their tree and since your cookie exchange will probably be before Christmas, they'll even get to put it up and enjoy it this year! Here are a couple I've given away, candy cane hobby horses

and polymer clay ribbon candy ornaments.

If you want to have a cookie-themed event but don't want to eat ALL those cookies, consider inviting friends over for a Drop in and Decorate party, the brain child of a wonderful lady named Lydia! We do these at work and the idea is to get together, decorate cookies and then donate your works of art to a local shelter, food pantry or other charity that serves people who could use a pretty cookie to cheer them up. We do this about 4 times a year, because shelters need food all year round, not just at the holidays. Here are some of our spring cookies! Lydia has written a great series of blog posts on how to host an event!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tagged by CC


I am very late in posting this. CC tagged me back on Thanksgiving!

6 random things about Jenna

1-I thought I hated red velvet cake until this weekend. Ever since a horrible experience baking a red velvet cake in my bread machine (it says it can make cakes!) I just thought it was a terrible flavor. But I got brave and tried one at the Renegade Craft Fair on Saturday and it was.....ok! I guess it's just the flavor of cake in the bread machine I don't like.

2-I have to write "brush teeth" on my daily list of to-dos or I won't remember to do it.

3-Reading in bed is one of my favorite evening activities and as anyone who has a husband who works odd hours knows, you don't get read in bed when you're husband has been asleep in said bed since 5 pm. So I relish Friday and Saturday nights when I can curl up under the covers and read until my eyelids are so heavy I pass out.

4-I've had my new car for exactly one year now. (In case you forgot since then, last December I had a car accident and totaled my car but my wonderful husband made sure I got one JUST like it so everything would be like it never happened.) And today the roads were SOOOO icy I could just imagine it happening again and kept stealing paranoid glances in my rear-view mirror.

5-I have gained about 10 pounds since I haven't gone to the gym since.....(checking day planner)....August. Ack!

6-Uuuh, let's see. Number 6. I'm kind of drawing a blank. I just finished a book called Gardens of the Early Midwest. It was published by the Conner Prairie in Indiana which is a historic re-enactment place. It got me thinking about where I would like to have our 10th anniversary party (2010) because I'd love a place like that! Sadly, our anniversary is in February so it has to be indoors. Unless we want to do some sort of rustic sleigh ride/bon fire/cocoa themed event. :) I've been dreaming of a big spectacular party, but we'll probably just do a simply affair here at the house. It's fun to pretend we could have a grand soiree though! When we got married, we agreed we'd have a party after 10 years because that's actually something to celebrate as opposed to a wedding, which is really not an accomplishment at all. Sticking together for 10 years? Yeah, that deserves a party!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Somebody watch my back!

Is your cat plotting to kill you?


I saw this quiz over at If Ponies Could Knit and just couldn't resist. Mainly because we know Red is plotting to kill us all. :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

New haircut!

After going a while (too long) without a haircut, I finally got one! (I think this is the most recent before shot.) It has been an ongoing fiasco to find a stylist I like after my favorite of all left town over 2 years ago. I bop around to different places that have been recommended and just haven't really clicked with anyone. Tonight I tried out a friend from work and I will certainly be going back! Check me out!I went in with a picture from a magazine and a vague idea of what I wanted. Really I just needed something! A style of any kind! Just in time for Thanksgiving!
Let's hope it looks good under a Turkey Hat!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Last dog show of 2008


Our dog show season for 2008 has wound down to its close. This past weekend we were at our local club for their AKC rally and obedience trial.

Friday Night:
Rally Excellent B- perfect score! We were handed a second place ribbon. But, oh tragedy or tragedies, they had forgotten another person with a perfect score and better time than us so we exchanged it for a third place ribbon. Fine by us! A Q is a Q! Easy course, quick times. Friday is always casual and it was a nice time.

Saturday Morning:
Rally Excellent B- Not so perfect score but there were NO perfect scores in that class that day! 96 or out 100, not bad, but not good enough for a placement. I won't tell you the story from Saturday because it is a not-so-nice story about the judge and I don't want to sound like a grumpy Guss. A green ribbon is fine with me! Tougher course and the honor was in the MIDDLE of the ring, surrounded by the working dog's path!

Just one more leg to our RE title. Sully has to be in the B class because he already has his CD title. Therefore we are up against all the dogs that mainly already have their RE title and are working toward their 10 double Qs for their RAE. We aren't in any regular obedience anymore, mainly because I'm lazy and haven't started any distance work or retrieving. Our goal for next year will be to enter the Graduate Novice class at our Corgi Specialty. That may or may not happen though, depending on what Sully feels comfortable doing. It's not of great importance to me to continue on in obedience with him so if he doesn't like dumbbells or directed jumping, we might just skip it.

Ornament quilt blocks


I joined a quilt block swap over at Quilting Fiesta for these adorable Christmas ornament blocks. The top two are mine (I had to make myself 2 since I was getting 7 in the mail and I want to do a 3x3 wall hanging). The others are from the other participants. Aren't they awesome? I'm just waiting for one more but I couldn't wait to show them off!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mocktails


So, the holidays are just around the corner and that means parties! But a lot of the time, parties mean alcohol. What if you, for one reason of another, don't drink? Mocktails! If you're hosting a party and want the atmosphere and fun of mixed drinks without the alcohol, mocktails are perfect. Your teetotaling guests will thank you! If you're attending a party at someone else's house and can make your own fun mixed drink with simple ingredients, you'll feel a lot less out of place with a fun drink in your hand. You may even find a new friend that wants one too!

I love mixed drinks (non-alcoholic), they're fun and colorful. Be sure to serve them in fun cocktail glasses, garnish them with fruit, fun swizzle sticks or rimming sugars! Mocktails aren't just Shirley Temples and they're not just for kids. Here are some of my favorite recipes that use many common ingredients you'll have around your holiday house.

Cocktail shaker drinks

Mai Tai
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup club soda
1 tbsp grenadine
1/4 orange juice
1 tbsp cream of coconut

Shake all ingredients and pour over ice.

Flamingo
4 ounces cranberry juice
2 ounces pineapple juice
1/2 ounce lemon juice
2 ounces club soda
1 lime wedge

In shaker half-filled with ice, combine and shake all but soda. Strain into glass and top with soda, garnish with lime wedge.

Champagne
1 qt apple juice
2 qts ginger ale

Mix, serve cold.

Lime Rickey Cocktail
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup sugar syrup
1/2 tsp bitter
3 cups club soda

Mix lime juice, syrup and bitter. Pour into 4 ice filled glasses, top with 3/4 cup club soda and garnish with lime wedge.

Blender drinks

Pink Lady
1 1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp grenadine
1 tbsp sugar
6 ice cubes

Blend until smooth.

Orange Julius
1 can frozen orange juice concentrate
2 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
5=6 ice cubes

Blend until smooth. Makes 6 cups.

Strawberry Spritzer
3 ten-ounce packages of frozen strawberries
6 cups white grape juice
1 28-ounce bottle carbonates water

Thaw strawberries, blend in blender, mix with juice and water.

More resources:
About.com mocktail recipes
AllRecipes mocktail recipes
Drink Recipes-virgin recipes
Bacchus Network PDF recipe book

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tagged

Pam, of the awesome Pass It On Plates and her blog, tagged me.

So, I'm supposed to share 7 things (7!) that you didn't already know about me. I can guarantee at least some of you knew at least some of these things already but maybe you'll find a couple that are interesting new facts.

I may appear relatively "in the know" about technology. I can use a computer, I have to know HTML for work, I can handle a multi-line phone. But I am actually very terrible at anything with buttons. Mike takes care of the Tivo/DVD/etc. and I basically just watch whatever he puts on. Good thing we like a lot of the same shows! A friend from high school finally convinced me to get on MySpace so if anyone wants to be friends, that'd be cool. And the one people can't believe when I tell them, I don't have a cel phone.

I played the glockenspiel in school band. I quit because the instructor also made me learn snare, bass and tympani drums. Damn it, woman, I just wanted to play my tinkles!

I can never remember the titles of movies. You can talk and talk about movies and unless you go into the plot of each one, I will have no idea what movies you're talking about. I remember the movies, it's not that I don't remember what happened. I just don't retain their titles.

I have sort of a thing for socks, especially knee highs. I just spoiled myself at Sock Dreams, including these delicious thigh high striped ones.

I LOVE reading in the evenings. But our living room furniture is more for tv watching and chatting than for reading. So I just put a recliner in my craft room. I'm creating a reading nook. I'll be adding a nice lamp on my bookcase and a magazine rack nearby.

What am I reading right now? Why, a Little House on the Prairie book, of course! The Long Winter. And the latest issue of Quilts and More!

I wear no makeup. None. This weekend I went to a Pampered Chef party and wanted to look a little more "weekend" since it was hosted by a coworker so I put on Burt's Bees tinted lip gloss. I think that doesn't even count, though.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New additions


I completely got wrapped up in Halloween and forgot to mention that the NEW fall issue of the Make-Do Mail is available in the shop! Full of great fall tips, recipes and projects!

And you'll also see there's a new section of the Make-Do Mercantile called The Corgi Shop. Two new corgi items and both are customized to your preferences! And there will be more soon!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thank you, everyone


A BIG thank you to everyone for your support and caring comments on the loss of Roswita. I was so overwhelmed and comforted by all the stories of pet fish that were truly cared for and loved. On the same sad day, my mom had to put one of her little rescue pups down. Skeeter was a miniature poodle that came to mom with a broken jaw (an old wound) and was so malnourished the bone was basically mush. After what seemed like months in a wire and plastic brace screwed to his face, he lived out the rest of his life with half a bottom jaw and no teeth. He thought he was tough though, his growl was still fierce! Skeeter was one of my mom's many forever-fosters, dogs that come in through rescue but it becomes obvious they can never leave due to medical problems, mental problems (a yorkie she has now is completely senile) or incurable lack of social skills. My mom is such a caring person, she gives feeds them, cleans them and provides them the best life they've ever known for the rest of their natural life. I'm so grateful to have her as my mom!

I also want to send out a great big thanks to Lydia at Drop In & Decorate who is a superb person! And she interviewed me over at the DI&D blog! I hope it inspires at least one person to host an event, decorating cookies is fun!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Year's end is near-Resolutions

I know, I KNOW! New Year's Resolutions are NOT a good idea. But that's only if you half-heartedly make them and don't have a plan. I have a plan!

My one big resolution as this year comes to a close is to keep up with mailing birthday and anniversary cards. Now is the time when I sit down and add all the birthdays and anniversaries to my new calendar. And in past years, I have let so many of those milestones slip by without even a call, let alone a nice card of gift. So this year I will be sending for each and every single one I put in my calendar. Do you want a birthday card next year? Anniversary card? Does your dog want a birthday card? Or a gotcha day card? Maybe you'd like an Arbor day card! Well, let me know so that it goes in the calendar. If it's not in the calendar, you will definitely NOT get a card!

I love to shop for stationery and cards, I love to MAKE cards! So I should USE them! I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of correspondence!

Besides that, my only other goal is to make more quilt blocks. I would like to commit to making one a day. That would make QUITE a few quilts in 2009! But I just don't think that is realistic, so I'm going with one a week, which will still finish up quite a few in-progress projects and start a few new ones. :)

Naughty or Nice?


It may behoove you to check your status with Santa since Christmas is right around the corner! Luckily, I am sweeter then ribbon candy!

Monday, November 3, 2008

The last of the Halloween pictures


At work, we take Halloween seriously! Yes, we do a holiday party around Christmas time, but Halloween is the REAL party! The library is host to a trick-or-treat party for parents and kids, complete with goody bags, apple cider, and picture-taking station. Then the kids go around to everyone's offices to fill their bags with even more candy!

And I am right at the epicenter as my office is IN the library! That also means I get to help decorate, which is tons of fun (and tons of work). My friend Jay created this creepy monster bookcase. I decided to create a few new projects this year. This is my spooky jar display. Some of the jars include: egg capsules and their resultant mucous (fake plastic grapes in green water), sample taken from lycanthrope den (the contents of my vacuum cleaner after doing the living room) and maggots of flesh eating flies (plastic stuffing pellets suspended between oil and red water).

This big plastic bag spider was also new. He's stuffed with crumpled newspapers, which we always have TONS of at the end of each week when we recycle the old newspapers.

This week is always festive at work and people wear their costumes on Friday! Here's my Punky Brewster costume.

I did lots of spirderwebs this year, I think it added an eerie vibe without being ogry. (I made a promise to a few people at work not to put the dead bodies/body parts/gory stuff out this year since some kids got scared last year.)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bloggy Giveaway winner!

Random.org generated our winner this morning. (You can thank my husband for reminding me to do it because we are both terribly sick with colds and I would have been happy to drink tea and watch tv ALL DAY!)

Our winner of the pattern of her choice is:
Mudpies and Mary Janes

Congrats! I'll be emailing you shortly.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Talk about swaps


Rachel from Swap-Bot said some really nice things about the SwapDex and CorgiPants on the blog over there! How sweet is she?

I am expanding SwapDex to include interviews with swappers and swap hosts. If you are interested in being featured, just let me know! I am looking for a wide variety of swappers and hosts, I think it'll be a lot of fun!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sad News


Roswita
Originally uploaded by Corgipants
In the midst of all the Halloween fun and festivities, we have had a sad event occur. Roswita, the decade-old fancy goldfish passed on. She was looking sickly, having not eaten in about four days, and took a turn for the worse. I kept putting food in every night, hoping for the best but it seems her time had come. Today she was worse, struggling to right herself and with some obvious loss of motion in her tail so I had to make the decision to make her death quick and hopefully painless rather than prolong the inevitable and have her starve to death slowly. I hope I made the right decision. I know, it may seem silly to be putting so much thought into a goldfish but she was with us for over 5 years. We adopted her (along with two other fish) from a family that was moving away and couldn't take her. She'd been with us through two moves and had grown to nearly 8 inches. It will be very quiet in her corner without the blurb-blurb of her happy tail stirring the water.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Getting spooky at work!


Another Halloween themed post for Living Locurto'sHalloween Blog Party! This time, for charity!

Our fall/Halloween Drop in and Decorate party was today! We decorated nearly 200 cookies for donation to the local shelter and we'll deliver them tomorrow. The lovely Lydia who heads up Drop In now had a blog for DI&D so go visit and say hi! And I encourage everyone to get a few friends together and decorate some cookies for a food pantry, shelter, or crisis center. Everyone has enjoyed the cookies we've donated so much, sometimes it's the simplest things that can brighten someone's day. A decorated cookie carries with it the time, effort and creativity you put into it and people can feel that. Here are some pictures from today's gathering.

Here are some of my fantastic coworkers hard at work.

This is our jumble of a conference table, full of cookies, frosting and decorating supplies. And here are all the lovely cookies. Well, not all, but some!



Monday, October 27, 2008

Bloggy Giveaway Carnival


I'm very excited about the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival because this time around, I have something to give away! One lucky winner will receive my Pillowcase Pinnie pattern OR Black Forest Scoodie pattern (their choice), available at the Make-Do Mercantile! At the end of the giveaway period, I'll be using the random number generator to choose who the winner will be! Gotta love the fact that they're both PDFs so you'll get your prize instantly and can start whipping up some crafty goodness!

To enter, just leave a comment and make sure to leave your email if it's not available somewhere on your website. How else will I email you your prize? Last day for entry is October 31. More giveaways at the Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival! Visit each one for a chance to win!