What joy the gospel gives me. I can approach the throne of God with confidence, not because I've done a good job at my spiritual duties, but because I'm clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. ~ C.J. Mahaney

Blue Ribbon Almond Roca Cookies


As soon as I ran across this recipe for Blue Ribbon Almond Roca Cookies, I knew it was a "must-try."  Seriously.  Butter, toffee bits, almonds, and chocolate?  Who could resist?  This recipe comes from an Emeril holiday cookie contest, and as the name implies, these took home the top prize.  It's no wonder either; they are absolutely incredible!  The cookie itself is wonderfully chewy, but the toffee bits add just the perfect amount of crunch.  If my family's initial reaction to these cookies is any indication,  they are going to be a Christmas tradition around our house.  These were flying off the cooling racks faster than I could manage to get the chocolate drizzled on the tops!

These cookies are super simple to make.  Just cream your butter and sugars with the eggs and vanilla flavoring.  Then add the dry ingredients and the toffee bits.  Shape them into little 1" balls and roll them in ground almonds.



  Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes.  Let cool and drizzle with melted milk chocolate.


Oh, and you may need an accountability partner in the kitchen with you, as it's almost impossible to stay out of the dough.  Don't say I didn't warn you!

So, are you ready for Christmas?  It's just one week from today!  Amidst the festivities, food, and family gatherings, we're trying to focus on the One whom the holiday celebrates, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Have a beautiful weekend!


Cinna-mint Chalets and Gumdrop Cottages


Making gingerbread houses is a tradition in our home.  Usually we just buy a kit because everything we  need is all in one box....the pre-cut gingerbread, the candies, and the icing.  Plus, we can get it completed, cleaned up, and displayed before everyone runs out of patience with the whole thing.

This year was different, however.  We were invited to a gingerbread house-making party and couldn't find a kit anywhere in town!  Not allowing this little inconvenience to dissuade us, we instead opted for the graham cracker knock-off version.  Frankly, the results were quite gratifying!  It was a bit more work on our part, which also forced us to be more creative.   And our patience got a work-out as well! 


Cinna-mint Chalet under construction.  The only tricky part was not munching candy canes while I worked.


See the teeny-tiny house Maggie designed?  It stands less than two inches high!  I was amazed by her perseverance on that one.


Gumdrop Cottage--I like the shingles on this one.


Another weensy little Maggie creation.  She was really into making houses from the graham cracker scraps.  Her snowy roof is liberally sprinkled with non-pariels, naturally.   I just adore her gumdrop and candy cane trees.


The whole village. 


(The short, squatty houses are actually orange juice cartons that we cut down and used as frames.)

Seriously, playing with cookies, candy, and icing is therapeutic for whatever ails you.  Highly, highly recommended if you're feeling a bit stressed!


Sewing Room Christmas Tree


Thinking my creative workspace needed a touch of Christmas cheer, I set out to find just the right tree for my sewing room. As soon as I spotted this shiny aqua blue tree I knew it was just the one.

The garland we made from batting scraps and beads. Holly and Maggie strung that together for me.


Most of the "ornaments" are tiny pieces of fabric pinned on with pastel safety pins.


I've been saving thread spools for months, planning to tie them on the tree with gingham ribbon.
A little paint and voila!...happy little spool ornaments!



Gussied up with a little scrappy tree skirt, now it's all finished!


Why yes, Bella, that's what you think it is! How could we forget you?



It's Up, By Golly!


Finally finished, "Oh, By Golly!" has its own little wall this Christmas.


Keeping it company are some friendly little bears and rocking horses.


And there in a basket are some of my books from when I was a 'widdle' girl.
Several of the motifs on this quilt were inspired by characters from the book,
The Christmas Snowman. 


I'm smiling as I remember happy, childhood memories of Christmas Past.


We Have a Winner, and a Winner, and a Winner!

I can't even tell you how glad I am that this little drawing is over!  I've been so excited all day to see who won "If Only In My Dreams."

After a hefty lunch, while most of the couches and beds were filled with happy nappers, I was finishing up the little ornaments I promised to give away.   Then I had to print out all the entries.  And finally, I had to make a list of all the name suggestions.  All these little loose ends needed to be finished before we could get to the fun part!

Ryan volunteered to be the official name drawer.  We tossed the names into a Christmas gift bag and he wasted no time pulling out a winner.

Gena Lewis!!!  

Come on down!  You won my little Christmas quilt!!

Gena lives here right here in A-town!  We attend the same church.  And her dog Luke is Bella's brother.  So gosh, that makes us practically family, right Gena??

Gena, I just realized I misspelled your name on your entry!  Sorry, girl!

Next it was Tom's turn.  Name suggestions in hand, he moved to the living room so he'd have fewer distractions.  Does my man take his job seriously, or what?

 It was a tough, but he loves a challenge. 

Meet NiƱo Blanco Frio!  Tom thought this was great:  Cold White Boy!  Ha Ha!  Monica Wells, you get to hang this little guy on your tree!

So far, so good.  Two A-Town girls.  No shipping yet....

Till.... came time to name this little cutie.

Meet Piccolo, who was named by Becky Chennault.  Piccolo will be winging her way across the ocean to... Nanjing, China!  Piccolo is VERY happy about that.  She may never stop singing now!

Seriously, this was loads of fun!  Thanks everyone for your great name suggestions, for playing along, and for making this drawing one I won't forget.  I love all of you!

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Now it's MY turn for a nap!


Happy Thanksgiving!


No sleeping in on this Thanksgiving Day morning!  There are pies to bake before the Big Bird goes in the oven, then some casseroles to assemble which will bake while the Bird waits to be carved.

Thanksgiving will be quiet here this year.  Just our little, er, not so little family gathered 'round the table today.  Tom and Lacy are headed downtown to help set up for One Table, a big shin-dig Thanksgiving meal prepared and served by volunteers outside in The Alley.  Anyone is welcome and I hear it's very well attended. 

We're missing Abby and Jonathan, of course.  Sniff, sniff.  Her first Thanksgiving away from home!

Come on back later and check out the drawing for the Christmas quilt.  If you haven't entered yet, I suggest you do so now!   Fifty-nine entries so far for the quilt, and a whole host of fun, creative names for the snowman and bird.  As soon as I get these pies out of the oven and the Big Bird in, I'll be making the ornaments to give away to the name winners!

Till then....Happy Thanksgiving!


Top 'O The Morning!


Here is the completed top for my Christmas give-away quilt,  "Only In My Dreams..."  I've been cogitating for several days now about how I'm going to quilt this little confection.  I had thought I'd do it by machine so I could be finished with it lickity-split.  But now I've decided I'm going to hand quilt it, to retain the home-spun feel.  So that means I'll be working on it a few more days.

Oh, and by the way, the names for the snowman and birdy are flowing in now, thanks to a little bribery.  And they are good!   Hey, I'm not above bribing the names out of you.  Whatever it takes!  


As always, if you would like to have this hanging on your wall this Christmas, just leave me a comment, fire me off an email, or give me a holla on Facebook.  (Tell me what we should name the two characters and I'll throw your name in the hat twice!)  I'll be drawing for this on Thanksgiving.



If Only In My Dreams...


Not being one to steal the show from Thanksgiving,  I wait until a day or two after Thanksgiving to put up our Christmas decorations.  But, how am I supposed to do this little give-away if I don't start well before the holidays?  So, with Christmas carols happily playing in the background,  I've been dreaming and playing and snipping and stitching up the most cheerful fabrics I could find.   It's not quite finished yet, but I wanted to get you in on the give-away now.

This quilt I've named "If Only In My Dreams."  I know...the name isn't original.  It comes from one of my favorite secular Christmas songs by Bing Crosby,  "I'll Be Home For Christmas."  The song may not be original, but this design definitely is.  I set out with the objective to evoke warm, happy feelings of, friends, love, memories.  Home-- where we come together at Christmas to celebrate God's indescribable Gift of Love to us--Jesus Christ.  Home--where our families reside and where memories of loved ones no longer with us linger on in our hearts.  Home--a safe haven from the world, a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the season.


I admit that I'd love to keep this creation for myself!  Abby tells me I say that about every quilt I make.  And I guess it's true.  But I won't.  This is for one of you.  It measures just over 26 inches square, and if it's something you'd like to have just, leave me a comment.  Or you could send me an email.  Or you can tell me on Facebook.  I'll draw randomly from all the entries and announce the winner on Thanksgiving.  If you'd like, tell me your favorite Christmas tradition, or, well, anything you want to tell me about Christmas!  And PLEASE let me know who you are!  I don't want to have to do detective work to figure out who wins!  If you don't want your name on the internet, send me an email at:

laurat1962 at yahoo dot com

I'm gonna do something else this time.  Let me know what you think I should name the snowman and the little blue bird.  I may be good with fabric, but I'm not so good with names.  Alyssa is, however.  She won my Christmas give-away a couple years ago.  

**Edited to add:  If you suggest names, I'll enter you TWICE!  :-)

"I'm not homeless, just nameless.  Help, please!"

"I'd sing even sweeter if I had a name!!"

I'll give Tom a list of all the suggestions for each, and if he likes your name best, I'll send you a handmade Christmas ornament.  So we'll have two winners for the ornaments.  I'm trusting there are some very creative people who can help me out with these names.  I can't wait to read all the submissions!

Remember, the quilt will be a random drawing.  Anyone can enter!  And hopefully by the weekend, I'll have pictures of the completed quilt.

OK, back to the needle and floss.



Puppy Love


Saturday in the sewing room.  The unassuming pillow and quilt pile on the bed. 


Peek-a-Boo! Bella's keeping me company while I play work!

Hope you're enjoying your Saturday as much as we are.


(and Bella)

Thrifty Treasures


Confession time.

One of the reasons I love coming to the beach to visit my parents at their timeshare is because there are so many great thrift shops here.  So far on this trip I've found a pile of vintage Christmas ornaments and a couple beautiful crocheted afghans.  Oh, and a five dollar chair that will soon be sporting a new paint job and added to my sewing room....  And an exquisite cross-stitch for the kitchen....  Oh!  Oh!  Oh!  And a OLD tole painted tray!  I've wanted one forever.  A buck-fifty?   Are you kidding me?  So awesome!

Here are a few of my faves from the booty:

Santa in the washtub, with his washcloth and bar of soap!

Snowmen warm my heart!

Can such a perky red bird be had for a mere twenty-five cents?
I'm here to tell you, "Yep, it can."

I loved this new wool afghan the minute I saw it, but thought the $20 price tag was a little high.  Then I found out the lady is selling her things to raise money for experimental treatments for her brain tumor. 


It was done deal at that point.  Isn't it fabulous? 


Between thrifting jaunts and eating way too much of Grandmama's cooking, I'm finishing up the last of the stitching on the border of "Oh, By Golly!"  But this won't get quilted right away, 'cause I have to get crankin' on the Christmas give-away quilt, which, by the way, is all pulled together in my head now. I hope you'll all enter to win it. 

The beach was great the first few days.  Now we're socked in with rain from Ida.

Ida know, I think I'll just keep stitchin' and make the best of it.

Enjoy your day.  Rain or shine!