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


*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.

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!