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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

Mary Engelbreit, artist

Happy Valentine's Day! It is snowing and blowing outside our windows on this Valentine's Day. It is a perfect time to curl up on the sofa with good books, a few dogs, and a cat cuddled with us.  Actually, we now have two cats! Last week, Lucy joined the family.

She has been an outdoor cat for her entire six months and today is her first snowstorm experienced in a warm home! AllieCat is starting to get used to the idea that she isn't an only cat. The growls and hissings have been replaced by more friendly meowing by both of the felines. This afternoon, we will continue the supervised introductions in anticipation of having one big happy family by the end of the month.

Valentine's Day especially appeals to me since I love hearts and can display them all at once for one day even though I collect them all year.

They don't have to be red hearts to please me.  The tiny delicate china heart above  is pure white. 

Paulie and I each own collections of magazines and enjoy browsing through past issues in the appropriate month of their publication. Ads and articles from the 1980s and 1990s are still fun to look at and read, giving us new ideas or reminding us of favorites as if they were only read yesterday!

Last week, I took advantage of several quiet afternoons and made a few hearts for the holiday.  These have been small enough to complete in a few hours. Expanding our horizons, Paulette and I  set up  her Featherweight on her dining room table and we sewed our first hearts.

We have started to meld our favorite crafts of knitting, sewing, embroidery, cross stitch, needlepoint, and collecting! An afternoon of tea, chatting, and crafting is fast becoming a daily tradition. I say afternoon because we both feel the need to justify such a luxury by first running errands, balancing checkbooks, cleaning kitchens and so forth! When we each feel we've done enough, or can't seem to face another task, we reward ourselves with time spent crafting together. We've not strayed from our houses, however, due to certain recent constraints:

Yes, Paulette made a few too many trips up and down to the attic putting away Christmas decorations and ended up with a stress fracture  and must spend six to eight weeks in a cast!  I bet you wouldn't think that our recent activities would pose any risk of a fall for her. In fact, I've been spending more time at Paulette's in order to save her from slipping on snowy and icy sidewalks. Yet, yesterday afternoon, as we packed up sewing accessories, she slipped and skidded across the wooden dining room floor, just barely managing to keep herself upright! Neither of us could imagine what caused the sudden slip. I looked at her cast and discovered a large shiny button stuck to the bottom! Yes, most accidents occur at home, but, felled by a button????????? This could be a first.

Ron's Valentine's Day gift to me is a Trollbead heart fashioned from two silver porpoises and filled with two aquamarine glass beads. Paulette received a beautiful Trollbead heart and bead from Bob, too.

One of my favorite artist/authors is Susan Branch. Many of her drawings include hearts. Equally charming is artist/author, Mary Engelbreit. Both authors feature charming lifestyles of crafts, comfy homes, and loving friends and family. Susan Branch Blog - 9 hours ago
Check out Susan's Valentine's Day blog, above,  to see what I'm talking about! And if you have time, here is the website for Mary Engelbreit.  Both have distinctive handwriting which I admire. My sweet friend, June, who passed away earlier this year, had handwriting that I loved, too. I thought I hadn't saved anything of hers and so I was so happy to discover a Valentine from her in my box of decorations!

Some of you who know me well will be very shocked to hear this, but, I am planning to make some cut out heart cookies this afternoon, complete with pink sugar icing. My favorite cookie recipe is my Mom's. From what I can determine, the special ingredient is nutmeg. I'm sure she won't mind if I pass this along so that you, too, can try these.
Bev's Cutout Cookies
Preheat oven to 375
2 cups sugar
5 cups flour
2 eggs   til stiff (I think she is referring to the eggs, 
I hope, or maybe this is referring to the entire mixture?)
1 cup butter
1 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Bake for 8-10 minutes

I confess I don't actually have an icing recipe, so, if you have one you can recommend, I'd be happy to have it! I hope you have a super romantic Valentine's Day 2015. Love, Lulubell