Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shhh........Top Secret

We're working on something secret.....TOP secret. It's pretty exciting and it's taking up all of our time. So.....that means, there isn't much to show today. Sorry. However, since we know you didn't come here just to hear that, we'll attempt to divert you by showing you what the mail man brought. Actually, it's what the mail couple brought. Out here in the middle of nowhere, we have a lovely couple who drive the icy roads, risking their lives to put important things into our big ol' mailbox. Look what they left for us today!

Aren't they beautiful? They were handmade by http://bastillebleu.com/  We are very excited about these beads. We think they'll look wonderful as the closure beads for our micro macramé bracelets. We really had to restrain ourselves and only order 2....this time. :)

And finally, here's what the world looked like here in the Kingdom yesterday morning.....

Do you see a cookie in there?

~ Hoping everyone's got something exciting to work on.....

Saturday, January 28, 2012

January Sunset

Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2012

We have hesitated to post this cookie. We keep thinking it's maybe not the fairest cookie in the land BUT there's something we really like about it. Maybe it's the colours or maybe it's the shine... Or maybe we're just delusional. :)

We're still experimenting after all. The Birds-at-our-feeder cookies were iced with a new recipe. It's Cookie Crazie's recipe. Sort of. After the tooth-crunching experience with the Snow Dudes, we decided we'd like to try a recipe that didn't include egg whites. Cookie Crazie's recipe is simple. Where we think we may have messed up is that she says if the icing is too thick, you should add more corn syrup. When we mixed it up, we thought water might be the quicker thinner. And it was! However, the icing dried with weird cloudy patches. And now we know. Cookie Crazie said "corn syrup" for a reason. When will we learn? (That's rhetorical.) January Sunset is iced with corn syrup enhanced icing.

If you're into cookie decorating, you can find her recipe here.  And, even if you're not a cookier (how cool is that for a job description?) take at look at her cat cookies. (Scroll to the end of the post.) They are adorable!!!

~ Live and learn!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Birds-at-our-feeder cookies

We get an awful big crowd at our bird feeder. Big birds, little birds. The belligerent and the meek, the flashy and the drab.  Rowdy and talking smack, they’re a raucous bunch who really like to party. They jostle for position and aren’t afraid to mix it up by times. We guess their little lives depend on it. But sometimes they make a lot of noise. Especially the Blue Jays. They have this loud and obnoxious squawk which always sounds to us like…

As we’ve already noted, we love this photo we took a few weeks ago. It’s just so January. We tried to isolate which colours evoke the feeling of January and we came up with this palette. We made our birdie sketches and copied them so we could try out different colour arrangements.

We made templates from our sketches by covering both sides of the paper with heavy packing tape and then cutting carefully on the lines. 

This makes fairly sturdy, grease impervious templates which we used to trace around, on the cookie tops with our handy-dandy food colouring markers. And, yes, originally we thought they'd all be wearing toques and scarves until we came to our senses and remembered simple is better.

 So far, so good. We drew in the extra lines by hand, piped on the icing and Bob’s yer uncle!

Birds-at-our-feeder CoCoCookies © Cheryl Coville 2012

We wouldn’t like anyone to think badly of our birds. Here, in the Kingdom of Coco not every bird is rude. We have at least one polite fellow.

These are the first cookies we made with the beautiful copper cookie cutter we won from LilaLoa's giveaway. We don't think we did it justice but we'll keep trying. 

Grandma Coco would like to say "Hi!" to Arwen who, we are told, loves birds AND cookies!

~ Best birdie wishes to all!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Winter Watermelon

Nah....not the fruit. It's way too cold in the Kingdom for watermelon today. But this bracelet makes us think of watermelon. Pretty coral red and bright green. Not our usual palette but then, again, our usual palette is shades of grey....pencil, that is. The beads and the bracelets and the COOKIES! They all let us play with colour.

This is the first bracelet we've made without the loop and button/bead closure. We've been playing with wire work and we made this little clasp with copper wire. We really like how it turned out.

Imagine our surprise. This clasp seems pretty secure. You have to squeeze the 2 loops together in order for the second ring to slip out of the hook. Very cool. And total luck. 

~ Wishing you a lucky day!
PS.....Monika reminded us that although beaded micro macramé isn't quilting or knitting, it is still done with thread so Grandma Coco is thrilled to link up to the Needle and Thread Network for the Work in Progress Wednesday post. If you'd like to see what other Canadian craftspeople are up to, just click on the link.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2012
Our friend, Kate, has got us thinking about mice. Country mice and city mice, to be exact. And about how we're all one or the other when it comes right down to it. She has this theory that the important thing is to be content with who we are, wherever we are. When the Illustration Friday prompt was announced ("Twirl"), this is the image that sprang to mind.

We're not sure if this little dancer is a country mouse or a city mouse but she seems happy.

By the way, after we drew it and scanned it and looked at it on the monitor, we realized we hadn't drawn a tail for her and we know from our experience as country mice ourselves that real mice have surprisingly long tails. We've decided to tell you this: You know how all those cute little ballerinas wind their long hair up into neat buns? Well, that's what mouse ballerinas do with their tails. You know, to get them out of the way.

(But, really, who're we kidding? We just forgot to draw one.)

~ xoxo

Saturday, January 21, 2012

How time flies!

The Quilt Pattern Magazine

About a year ago, we celebrated the launch of a new quilt magazine, The Quilt Pattern Magazine. A whole year ago!

So many magazines start out with such good intentions only to fizzle under the pressure of a monthly publication schedule. It’s one thing to start off with a bang and quite another to hang in there for the long haul.

We’ve been pleased to see that The Quilt Pattern Magazine seems to be one of the long-haulers.

Double Wedding Ring Made Easy © Cheryl Coville 2011

We need to say right up front that we’re a bit biased on this one. The Quilt Pattern Magazine published our Double Wedding Ring Made Easy workshop this past year. They were very rigorous in the way they tested the pattern and they made sure all the directions were complete and accurate. We didn’t mind the scrutiny since we wanted it to be perfect, too. We have heard horror stories from other designers with other magazines who had their patterns “edited” to fit in the space provided by leaving out important bits of information. This didn’t happen with QPM.

As well, they’ve asked us to write a little piece now and then for the magazine. We’ll definitely let you know when that happens.

The Quilt Pattern Magazine is put out by a very friendly and professional group of people. If you’re a designer, it’s a magazine we can definitely recommend. Send them your idea and you’ll get a quick reply.

If you’re a quilter, we think you’ll find lots of inspiration in this online magazine.

Happy 1st Birthday, Quilt Pattern Magazine! We wish you continued success.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Year of the Dragon!

We're trading Year of the Dragon postcards over at the Postcard Cottage Yahoo group. We dropped them off this morning at our local postal outlet. The Kingdom of Coco post office is tiny but the lady who works there is very sweet. Just look at the stamps she chose for our cards.

Sweet, right? We didn't even know there was a Year of the Dragon stamp!! Apparently, it was just released last week. What timing! What luck!

We're linking up to The Needle and Thread Network for Works in Progress Wednesday. Be sure and pop over there to see what other Canadian needle crafters are working on.

Happy Year of the Dragon to everyone!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What is it they say about lightning?

Seems to us that the general concensus is that lightning never strikes twice in the same spot. However, Grandma Coco thinks we have proof otherwise. Remember the green striped socks from last fall? The ones that turned out to be pretty much identical twins through complete serendipity? Well....

This is the same yarn, Lang Jawoll Magic Superwash which we now believe really IS magic(!) because we are knitting a completely different sock. Different stitch pattern. Different leg length! And most important of all....once again, we did not set out with any intention of making them match.

But look! They do seem to be matching up, don't they? For now.....

We think we've made it absolutely clear in the past that we don't mind the odd fraternal twins socks. This pair that we made for our brother is a pretty good example of that. At New Year's when he visited, we looked down to see one fluorescent purple toe shining out from under his pant leg. The other was more quietly visible. That's what happens when you knit 2 socks from one skein of wool. You pays your nickel and you takes your chances.

But TWO freakishly matched sock experiences in one liftetime?? Maybe we should have been buying those lottery tickets all along.

And, speaking of luck ..... we've had some very good luck at our bird feeder. This morning, we noticed Mrs. Cardinal in the tree and the Mister at the feeder. It's so heartening to see his bright red self at our feeder slugging it out with all the other birds. Photos to follow if we can get close enough. They're very skittish. However, we have a rather robust crowd of Mourning Doves this year and here's their picture because they are really very bold. Cassie would dearly like to wipe the grins off their smug little faces.

Ah, live and let live, little Cassie!

~ Wishing you all a very lucky day, too!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Prima Donna

We've been spending inordinate amounts of time trolling bead stores on the internet lusting after the most beautiful of beads. A year ago, we would have laughed if anyone had suggested we'd be so infatuated with beads. But, it's true.

We love them all.

One Perfect Bead
Take this one, for instance. Isn't it fabulous? We found it in the most unlikely of places. The Dollar Store. Yup. Can you believe it? Three of them in a package for $1. We had to pinch ourselves.

We wanted to make a bracelet that would allow it to shine the way it was meant to shine. The centre of attention.

The prima donna

~ xoxo

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Squirelly stuff

The explanation:  Cassie has a squirrel. It's stuffed. She loves to carry it around and torment it.

The drawing:  It's been such a long time since we followed an Illustration Friday prompt. Too long. This week it's ..... "Prepare" 

Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2012

Grandma Coco isn't really crazy about travelling but if she has to, she wants to be prepared. Well prepared.

May you have everything you need, wherever you are....

Friday, January 13, 2012

Let it snow!!!

The freezing rain of yesterday gave way to plain ol' rain overnight. And now it's moved on to snow, snow, snow. That means there's probably a good layer of the slippery stuff under the snow that's falling now.

One lonely birdie ... but the others are just camera shy. A few minutes later and this was a hive of activity once again.

But we don't mind 'cuz we've got everything we need here in the Kingdom and we don't have to go anywhere. We've got food and drink and wool and beads and paper and icing sugar and ... well, you get the idea. If we don't have it, we don't need it.

So, we say, "Let it snow!"


We hope your larder is full, too!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Freezing Rain Warning

If there's one thing that strikes fear into the hearts of those of us who live in the Kingdom of Coco, it's a freezing rain warning. Rain, we can deal with. Snow, not so great, but we can deal with that, too. Freezing rain? All bets are off. Driving becomes difficult and if the ice continues for long enough we can lose our power as we did during the Great Ice Storm of 1998.

This is what it looks like outside our door this morning.

And this is what it looks like inside.

Ice? What ice?

So, if you'll excuse us, we're off to paint some cookies.

~ Drive carefully, everybody.....

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What the mailman brought

We have a big ol' mailbox that sits at the road. He's big and sturdy. He replaced a wimpier fellow a year or so ago who wasn't up to the challenge of snowplows pushing big waves of heavy snow and boys in cars playing mailbox baseball. This fellow's a heavyweight with a door that closes and a magnet to keep it closed. And he's BIG!!! Lots of room inside for lots of mail. And, yesterday, we were very glad for all that room because WE GOT MAIL!!!

See how prettily they wrapped it with blue tissue!
We are almost embarrassed to say that even though we are newbies to the world of cookie decorating, Lady Luck shone on us and we won a beautiful copper cookie cutter by Copper Gifts from a giveaway on LilaLoa's blog. We almost didn't enter because there were bound to be lots of other people in the running.....247 to be exact...and there were only 3 cookie cutters to be won. But we did enter! And then we had to wait impatiently for the mailman to deliver our cutter but it was worth the wait! It's beautiful. It's about 4 inches square.....now THAT'S a cookie!  And copper!!! We don't own any copper cooking utensils. This is the first. Oh, my! We can hardly wait to try it out.

We need to thank Karen, too, because she told us a while ago that we were showing up as a No Reply Blogger when we left comments. Huh?? If you're leaving comments on people's blogs and you're not getting answers (or winning stuff!) you should probably check to make sure you've left the correct trail of breadcrumbs for the blogger to get back to you. We sure wouldn't have won this if LilaLoa couldn't have gotten back to us. And that would have been a crying shame. So, thank you to Karen as well.

But that's not all. Our mailbox is so big we also found another box inside. This was an order from Vanilla Food Company. We were a little vexed last week when we went back to Michael's. We wanted to buy more black food colouring pens but only black. Not the assortment we bought the first time around because we're going to run out of black ink long before we run out of red and brown and blue. The pretty lady who works there assured us the pens don't come singly and that was like waving a red flag in front of a bull! Grandma Coco set out to see for herself. And of course, the pretty lady was right. That Michael's store doesn't sell them singly but Vanilla Food Company does!!!! So there! It's a Canadian mail order company and we placed our little order Thursday evening and paid by Paypal. (We love Paypal, especially when we don't really know the company we're dealing with.) Friday morning, we got an email that our order had shipped and that's a really good public relations gesture that more shops should pay attention to. Our package arrived on Monday morning!!! That's pretty fast. We are thrilled with the service and will definitely order from them again. Those squeezy bottles are for flooding icing, just in case you were wondering.

Cassie wasn't wondering. She's pretty much seen it all.

~ Wishing you a full mailbox (but no bills!),