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a winner!

Hi all! Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by to join in the fun of giveaway day. Isn’t it great? I just love see all the crafty goodness happening (literally) around the world. I’m so pleased to announce that Emily has won this year’s giveaway, coming in at lucky number 72!

Here’s her post:

Emily

With toes still cold from an outing hours ago, I’d say any place warm… maybe a trip to the Caribbean to enjoy the white sands and blue waters. I’m not picky – any island will do!

Your giveaways are just lovely. One of my sisters is our true world traveler and this set reminds me so much of her – I love it.

Thanks again everyone! Hope you enjoyed the fun as much as I did, and thanks as always to Sew Mama Sew for bringing the crafting community together!

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I hope you’re all enjoying the fun giveaways happening all over the blogosphere today! If you’ve not already done so, be sure to head over to Sew Mama Sew to check out all the fantastic crafting blogs and giveaways taking place. They’re wonderful!

And now, for my own giveaway… Living in Edinburgh has really renewed my love and passion for traveling to new places. As such, I thought I’d pass along that same spirit of adventure by giving away a travel clutch and luggage tag. I hope you enjoy it! To enter into the giveaway, simply post a comment sharing where you would like to travel to if you could go anywhere you liked and money was of no concern. Top spot on my current destination wish list? Morocco! Also, please be sure to leave some way for me to contact you so I can get ahold of you if you win! Then, on December 17th I’ll randomly select a winner and announce it here on the blog. Happy blog surfing everyone!

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are you ready?

Give away day is almost here, and I for one, can hardly wait! I’ll be joining in the fun again this year, so be sure to check back on December 13th for your chance to win a fun handmade gift.

It was snowing like crazy again in Edinburgh today, so much so that my office actually closed early. Unfortunately all the buses were shut down, so after the three mile trudge home in the snow I’m now all warm and cozy in our little flat. With the extra time I decided to bake up some yummy bread, put on the Christmas tunes and get to work on a couple craft projects. Not a bad way to spend a Monday afternoon… Hope that wherever you are reading this from you’ve got an equally cozy day ahead of you. And just before I get going on my sewing I think I’ll make up a pot of festive Wassail punch. Traditionally this punch has a lot of egg in the drink, but I prefer my sans egginess and think this recipe is delish. Care to join me for a cup?

Wassail Holiday Punch

  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup lemon juice (depending on how tart you like your wassail)
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 2-4 Tbsp honey (depending on how sweet you like your wassail)

Combine all the ingredients in the crockpot and let simmer away all day. Alternatively, if you’re pressed for time you can cook all the ingredients on the stovetop. Simply combine, bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Thank you so much to everyone that stopped by my blog and entered the giveaway! I had so much fun reading about everyone’s favorite holiday treats… And I think there are a couple that I’m going to have to try out this year! But, now for the real reason you’ve all come… we have a winner! First I made sure everyone was only counted once, then I subtracted my own comments, and finally I used the random number generator to pick lucky number 50! And that person was Lisa! Thanks so much for playing, Lisa, your package will be in the mail tomorrow!

Lisa
Submitted on 2009/12/02 at 1:36pm

“These coasters are cute cute, love them….thanks for the eggnog recipe…my boys LOVE eggnog. My fav treat would have to be carmel/white chocolate/peppermint popcorn…LOVE it”

Also, I wanted to let you all know that I have a big, HUGE announcement coming that has been in the works for almost a year now! Check back later today to find out my exciting news!!!

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give-away day is here!

*this give-away is now closed… check back later today for the winner!

Hi everyone, and thanks for stopping by! Give-away day is fast becoming an annual favorite and I’m so excited to go and see what all the other bloggers are giving away today! Check out this link for a list of all the participating blogs – there are lots, so settle in with a cup of tea for a couple of fun hours of blog surfing!

As for my corner of cyberland I have a fun little gift to give out to one lucky reader. A festive set of eight handmade coasters! These coasters are so cute and could be made up in so many different color combinations that I highly recommend making some for any and all special occasions! Click here, here, or here for some great links to make up a similar batch of your own… But first, leave a comment to this post sharing your favorite holiday treat for your chance to win this lovely set! All you need to do is leave a comment by Sunday, December 6th and then I’ll randomly select a comment from the entries and announce the winner here on Monday, December 7th!

Until then, I thought it would be fun to post some recipes for my favorite holiday drinks as nothing begs for a festive drink more than festive coasters! So without further ado, here are my top three favorite holiday beverages!

Eggnog

serves 12

Ingredients
4 cups milk
5 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups light rum
4 cups light cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions
1. Combine milk, cloves, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes. Slowly bring milk mixture to a boil.
2. In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, or until thick. Do not allow mixture to boil. Strain to remove cloves, and let cool for about an hour.
3. Stir in rum, cream, 2 teaspoon vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

Creamy Hot Cocoa

serves 4

Ingredients
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup boiling water
3 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup half-and-half cream

Directions
Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn’t scorch. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla. Divide between 4 mugs. Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.

*Add a candy-cane to each mug for peppermint hot cocoa, or add a cinnamon stick or two with the cocoa, sugar and salt to make Mexican hot cocoa (remove cinnamon stick before serving).

Caroling Wine

serves 8

Ingredients
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups pineapple juice
1 cup orange juice
6 whole cloves
3 whole allspice berries
2 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups red wine
2 oranges
8 cinnamon sticks, garnish

Directions
1. In a large non-aluminum saucepan, combine water, brown sugar, pineapple juice, and orange juice. Season with cloves, allspice, 2 cinnamon sticks and salt. Cut the rind of 2 oranges into strips and stir into the mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Pour in the wine. Heat to just boiling and remove from heat. Serve hot with a cinnamon stick for garnish.

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lucky number 4!

Thanks everyone that shared their favorite birthday cake… I can’t believe how popular confetti/funfetti cakes are! I am please to announce that the winner of my little give-away is none other than my dear friend Shannon! It’s ironic that Shannon is the winner as her blogging is what inspired me to start my own blog! So, congrats dear friend and you can expect a fun little package to come your way in the next few days…

As for the rest of you, (and Shannon too!) there is going to be yet another chance for you to win some great giveaways coming up on December 2nd as Sew Mama Sew will be hosting the second annual Give-away Day! Yours truly will be participating along with lots of other great bloggers. You can find all the details here where participating blogs will be listed along with links to their give-aways. I hope you all can give them a good perusal – last year was a ton of fun and I’m sure this year will be even better!

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one year

I can’t believe that today marks the one year point of this cozy little corner of the blogosphere I call my own. Thanks so much to all of you who have taken this journey with me – what a gift it has been to share some crafty fun, recipes, musings and anything else that has come to mind with you! So, today in order to celebrate I thought I’d share with you my very favorite cake, compliments of a dear friend from our time in Rochester, NY. It’s delicious and full of wonderful spices, baked apples, pecans and then topped off with a warm caramel sauce. A-mazing. Won’t you bake one up and light a candle to celebrate with me? You won’t be sorry, I promise!

Carrie’s Scrumptious Apple Goodness Cake

Ingredients

2 ½ cups all purpose organic flour
1 ¼ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 large free-range eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons orange juice
3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks (3 ¼ c.). Really should be a sour apple- cuts the sweetness
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup unsalted organic butter
¼ cup organic whipping cream
1 cup light brown sugar, packed

Directions

CAKE:
1. Place rack in the center of the oven
2. Preheat to 350 (F)
3. Generously grease and flour bundt pan (can also be muffin tin, change time, obviously)
4. Sift together 2 ½ c. of flour spices, and baking soda and set aside
5. Put vegetable oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large mixer bowl, Beat until thick and smooth
6. Add sifted ingredients and orange juice to wet mixture; mix to combine
7. Toss apples and pecans with 1 T. flour, then stir into batter
8. Transfer to pan and flatten the top
9. Bake until toothpick comes out clean- about 1 hour and let cool.

…While cooling, prepare glaze

GLAZE:
1. Bring all glaze ingredients to a boil in small pan and cook for 3 minutes.
2. Watch VERY carefully, as the sugar will switch from perfect to burnt quickly.

Once the cake has cooled, drizzle a good amount of the caramel over the cake, but be sure to reserve some to spoon over individual slices as you pass them out… It is very rich, but oh so good. Enjoy!

Wait! There’s more!!!

Because no party is complete without presents I have a giveaway for you!!! All you need to do to win this lovely pouch filled with a tissue holder and reusable coffee cuff is to leave a comment on this post by Novemeber 30 sharing what type of birthday cake is your favorite (feel free to include a recipe if you’d like!). Then, I’ll randomly select an entry on December 1 and announce the winner on the blog.

Thanks again everyone for sharing in this journey with me. I hope it is as life giving for you as it is for me. And I’m so excited to see what the next year will hold!

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