Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Placemats and Coasters

So the mister had to work a 9-5 shift on Saturday and we didn't have anything going on. On a whim, I decided to make an advent calendar that I had already decided not to work on this year. Six hours and an unfinished calendar later, I was feeling pretty bummed about my spontaneous decision, especially when I have so many other things I should have been working on (like Christmas presents). My Saturday had been a waste. To make things worse, I was in the middle of making dinner when my three-year-old had an accident on his bed and I couldn't stop what I was doing without ruining dinner to go clean it up. Argh. BUT...when the mister got home from work, he had a big smile on his face and handed me a package, the Pillow Talk Swap package I was waiting for! I started to squeal (literally). My bad attitude quickly went away and I couldn't stop jumping with excitement. I haven't been able to take pictures yet, and the goodies I got deserve good pictures. So, stay tuned!


There's a woman in my neighborhood that I really admire. She has four sons, all of whom have grown up and have families of their own now. When we moved into the neighborhood, she was so welcoming to our family. A few months back, her husband passed away suddenly and my heart ached for her. This was one of those couples that you just knew were in love with each other. They would hold hands and smile at one another, laughing and genuinely happy to be together.

Well, yesterday at church, she was sitting behind me. Before the meeting started, she leaned forward and put her arms around me. She has no idea how much I needed that hug. She just wanted to ask me for a soup recipe that I have, but her hug was so loving and caring. She told me she would call me after church to get the recipe when she had a pen and paper for writing it down. I knew right then that I wanted to make her something to thank her for the kind gesture.

After putting my daughter down for a nap, I pulled out a Figgy Pudding turnover and set out to make a set of placemats and coasters. I used the turnover triangles to make a zig zag pattern, one with white as the main zig zag and one with colored fabrics for the main zig zag. I framed each in a diagonal stripe from the Fruitcake collection.

Christmas Placemats and Coasters

For the coasters, I paired two triangles together. The back is the Fruitcake stripe. I quilted everything with a combo of straight lines and a decorative stitch that reminds me of hanging twinkle lights.

Christmas Placemats and Coasters

I finished everything shortly before needing to head out the door for a birthday dinner. I snapped these quick pictures with my point-and-shoot (no time for a photo op), then wrapped them up with the recipe. I dropped the package off on my way to the dinner and she gave me another big hug. She really is such a wonderful woman and I admire her greatly!

And just for fun, here's the soup recipe, which I modified from Stephanie's Kitchen. If you like the Zuppa Toscana soup from Olive Garden, you'll love this.

Zuppa Toscana Recipe:

1 lb mild Italian sausage
5 potatoes, sliced in half and than sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 32-ounce cartons chicken broth
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 bunch kale, chopped
freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the sausage in a large soup pot. Remove the sausage and set aside. Add garlic to the pot and brown until it is fragrant. Add the onions and soften for a minute or two. Then add the chicken broth and potatoes, and bring the pot to a boil. Simmer about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add the cream and sausage to the pot and warm through. Add the kale right before serving. Then top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.


Sara said...

Thank you for sharing your story! That was very sweet of you to do that for that lady/neighbor friend of yours! I think you two will be friends for life! Have a Merry Christmas!

AnneMarie said...

What a nice story! I'm sure she appreciates you too - sounds like a wonderful neighbor and friend. Cute placemats!

Denise said...

What a kind gesture. This must be your famous soup with kale about which I have heard so much praise.

Kati said...

Very cute gifts and that soup looks so yummy. It's so important to remember how much little things like this can mean to others. Thanks for sharing.

Jess said...

What a kind and beautiful idea for your ward member.

Andi @ Jane of all crafts said...

Great story. Thanks for sharing! I also did not finish my advent calendar for this year. It makes me feel better to know that I'm no the only one who has days that are like that! :-) I'm glad yours got better and can't wait to see the goodies!

traceyjay said...

we LOVE Zuppa Toscana!

and cute placemats and coaster. I love the Figgy Pudding line.

And so nice of you to share.

A Girl said...

How sweet! I'm sure she loved her gift and will think of you fondly every time she looks at her placemats and coasters.

felicity said...

A beautiful story to go with a beautiful project. Thanks for sharing!

Quiltstory said...

Brooke that is so sweet, I imagine that meant so much to her like her kindness has meant to you. They turned out beautiful too :)


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