Sunday, September 18, 2011

Adventures in Applique and Vacuum Cleaner Cookies

It all started yesterday when I mentioned cookies to my husband.  He is stationed across the US from me, and until I can move out there we usually only get to talk on the phone once a day.  I mentioned that I had been craving some homemade cookies, and he burst out, "Oh!  Will you send me some cookies? Please please please!"  Would I really say no?  Of course not.  I really enjoy cooking for him, and being 2,400 miles apart makes that a bit difficult, so sure I'll send him some cookies.  He specifically requested my famous Vacuum Cleaner Cookies.  No they aren't made in a vacuum cleaner and they're more like bars than cookies.  My mom used to make them when I was a kid, and they are still my most favorite cookie.  Easy to make, not too many ingredients, completely unhealthy, but the most delicious cookie you will have ever eaten.  I promise.  So here is the recipe:

1/2 c margarine (not butter) melted
1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 1lb box powdered sugar
1/2c flaked coconut
1/2c chopped walnuts

Combine margarine, cake mix and 1 egg.  Stir together until moistened.  Spead into a well greased jellyroll pan.  Beat 2 remaining eggs, then beat in cream cheese and powdered sugar.  Stir in coconut and walnuts.  Pour over mixture in jellyroll pan and spread evenly.  Bake at 325 45-50 minutes until golden brown.  Cool pan on wire rack then cut into squares.  It actually makes more than twice the amount shown in my picture, I already packed up half the cookies into my care package.  I have to keep a few for myself!

While the cookies were baking, I decided to make a little something to put in the package.  Hubby has gotten used to the insane amount of craft stuff I have and graciously accepts every little thing that I make for him.  Several years ago, while we were still dating, I convinced him to go to the Renaissance Faire with me.  In costume.  While it was 90 degrees outside.  Yes, he really loves me that much.  As a finishing touch to the costume, I gave him a handkerchief with my initials embroidered in the corner as a 'token of my affection'.  To my surprise, he carried it around in his wallet every single day until he left for basic training.  He left it at home somewhere but can't remember where, so I thought that today would be a good day to make something to replace it.  I've been oogling lots of beautiful quilts lately, many of them with incredible appliques.  I've never tried an applique and thought this would be a good opportunity to give it a whirl.  I designed a little heart with our initials embroidered inside.  I haven't embroidered for about 20 years, so I was glad to find that I can still do a decent job of it.  The applique, however, proved more difficult.  At first I tried just pressing under the 1/4" seam allowance but has a hard time.  I decided to put the finished size heart paper pattern on the side and basted the seam allowance to it and then appliqued it to the backing fabric.  When I had about 2" left on the straight edge of the heart, I pulled the paper out and completed sewing on the heart.  I think it turned out pretty well.  It isn't really as crooked as it looks in the photo, I just took the picture at a funny angle.  I stuffed a piece of my lofty batting on the inside.  Not really a pillow, I'm not sure exactly what it is.  Just one of those funny things to have around.  I wrote on a note to him 'its soft and squishy and has a big heart- just like you' haha.  Lets hope he doesn't take that the wrong way!

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