Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Yes...I went to the party...

After a long fall season with not enough playtime, I just had to go to the annual Christmas party/ornament exchange...despite the fact that I had minor foot surgery the day before.

I took two homemade ornaments (pictured in the previous post), so I got to pick two from the pile of mystery ornaments cleverly disguised in brown paper sacks.

Look how cute this chilly little crochet snowman is!  Made by Marilyn A (no blog), he is delightfully soft and plump...I will have to put him high on the Christmas tree to keep Mr. Weasley from choosing him as a holiday plaything (that cat is attracted to ornaments made with yarn - can he smell the sheep?!?). 

Debby C (no blog) made my second pick...a sweet paper-pieced Santa Claus - the perfect Santa for a quilter!  He will be in good company on the Christmas tree with my feeble attempt at a triangular Santa a few years ago...

The potluck was delicious and the company warm and engaging...I made the right choice to go!

I took something easy to make as my dish to share...7-Layered Fiesta Dip.  I'm sure EVERYONE makes a version of this time-honored party classic, but here is how I made mine.

I started with a 9 x 13 dish and spread an already prepared tub of jalapeno-bean dip.  (This is sold under different brands and found on the chip isle of the grocery store).

Next, I mixed 12 ounces of sour cream (half a large tub) with one envelope taco seasoning, then spread that on the bean dip.

I am lazy about the next layer...some people make homemade guacamole, but I cheat and buy the best quality already prepared stuff I can find at the grocery deli.  (With a little patience, it is possible to spread this on without mixing it too much with the previous layer.)

The next layers are chopped tomatoes, followed by chopped green onions.  I always buy Roma tomatoes when a recipe calls for chopped - they contain less water.  I used 4 for this recipe (be generous...these are the healthy layers).  I followed the tomatoes with a whole bunch, chopped, of green onions (the green AND the white parts).

Two more lazy layers to go!  First, a large can of already pitted, already sliced, drained (I had to do that) black olives.  (Hey...I did chop fresh tomatoes and green onions...)  I chase those with 2 cups of already shredded cheddar cheese - I prefer the "petite shreds" over the larger pieces.

Ta-da!!  I gently press down on the whole thing to slightly squish everything together.  I buy "scoops" tortilla chips to serve with the dip, but any tortilla chip will do (or "scoops" Fritos...).

Sitting around, gazing lovingly and nostalgically at my tree while listening to Christmas carols, I realized that I HAD experimented with making some yo-yo's before.  I spied the the little homespun wreath, pictured at the top of the post, with plaid fabrics several years ago.

Here's a more updated version I made to take for the ornament exchange last year.

Each little yo-yo is slightly stuffed with fiberfill before pulling the gathers tight and securing.  You can make the yo-yo's any size (start with a circle template twice the diameter of the yo-yo you want to make).

Here's a little yo-yo tree ornament made by Katrina L (no blog) from years past...

Cindy C (Nine Pine Quilts) sent me photos of two cute yo-yo ornaments from her tree...a birdhouse and an angel.  Hmmmm...gonna have to try those...thanks for the inspiration!

Yo-yo ornaments are certainly appropriate for this yo-yo time of year.!  Thank you for all your well wishes about my foot...I think things are healing nicely!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Ornament exchange offering...

I am a late bloomer.  I have just now discovered the mindless joy of making yo-yo's.  Be still my OCD heart!

Some of you make them by the 100's, not even knowing what you are going to do with them (Margaret D. and sister...).  I have to say it is a very satisfying use of scraps.

It is time for the yearly ornament exchange, so the pressure has been on to come up with a worthy offering.

Since I like the way the red ornaments really "pop" on a Christmas tree, I started with my bright red scraps.

I knew I needed to make them small...as small as my fingers would fumble.  I also wasn't sure how I would embellish them in the end, so I chose to fold the edge under as I made my gathers rather than leave the edge raw.

I love Kay Buckley's "Perfect Circle" applique templates.  I don't use them very often to applique circles...I'm far too lazy and just turn the edges under with a glue stick when I make circles...and I do love making circles, but I diverge...

OK Teresa, stay on task.  Since the yo-yo's finish about half the diameter of the circle you start with, I chose a template and "dug in" to the scraps.

I decided I wanted the finished yo-yo to be about the size of a penny.

They really are addicting to make, which is a good thing!  When they are made this tiny, it takes a lot to cover a styrofoam ball.  Using some red-on-white fabrics in addition to red makes the ornament really sizzle and adds movement.

I used inexpensive pearl-headed pins to attach each yo-yo, starting at the "bottom" of the ornament, and adding them row by row, slightly overlapping them to cover the styrofoam ball.

They held so well, I didn't even have to glue them, but I could have.  I did make a hole at the "top" by stabbing the very tiny exposed place on the styrofoam ball with my stiletto, then filled it with a little craft glue and poked the knotted end of some skinny ribbon into the glued hole for a hanger.  Easy! 

(The time-consuming part is making the yo-yo's...NOTE TO SELF: spend spare time in 2013 making yo-yo's so that I will have lots to play with next year...).

I had some minor foot surgery yesterday, and now I am sitting with my foot propped up, typing (not pretty...), questioning the wisdom of my decision to drive myself to the annual party and ornament exchange this morning.  The stitches are on the bottom of a toe, and it would be better if I stayed home and stayed off of it...but it's a party...hmmm.

I have an hour to decide and make my planned dish to pass...do I act like a responsible adult and stay home or go PARTY HARDY with my friends?!?  Stay tuned...

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

(p.s. I will do a proper tutorial on these, and a couple more ornaments I came up with, soon...)