hot chocolate

Winter, Papier Mache and Chocolate

January just outside our door.

January just outside our door.

Like many of us, I highly anticipate quality time in December and January for reflecting and planning, which is primarily why the blog has been quiet. Good things have been brewing.

This post shares my detailed approach to goal setting and planning, but this year, I discovered something new. Thanks to a special episode of The Radiance Project, a beautiful podcast by Heidi Rose Robbins, I’ve added a new step to my planning process. Following Heidi and Ellen’s suggestion, I wrote a letter to myself as if this entire year had passed and I was looking back at what I had accomplished, what I was most proud of and what I was most excited about.

Two things jumped off the page: my wish to continue making and designing quilts, and my need for community.

Writing this letter helped me to zero in on what matters most and to see what is realistic to achieve in the coming year. As you may be sensing, among other exciting things, I’m planning a few fun quilting adventures for anyone interested in stitching, fabric, color and storytelling. Details will be shared in the coming weeks. For me, this simple writing exercise proved to be a powerful, effective tool. Perhaps you’d like to write a letter to yourself, too.

Along with carving out time to organize and plan, I’m proud to say I carved out time for play.

If you saw this ship on my Instagram feed, @tierneybarden, you may recall that making it was quite possibly the happiest time I’ve had in a while! To work again with papier mâché, bits of worn old quilts, lace, wood and glue brought so much joy and wonder into the studio.

You can find Ann Wood’s well-written pattern on her beautiful website here. Be sure to have a look at the other charming patterns in her shop. There just may be a Mr. Boots in my future….

Sailing through winter winds!

Sailing through winter winds!

Homemade hot chocolate and marshmallows!

Homemade hot chocolate and marshmallows!

Making homemade hot cocoa and homemade marshmallows is a delicious way to endure our long winter months.

Recently, my homemade vanilla suddenly turned boozy (has that happened to anyone else?), and resulted in boozy marshmallows! In an effort to make another batch of marshmallows without vanilla extract, I experimented and came up with these even better chocolate almond marshmallows!

This chocolate marshmallow recipe from Saveur comes very close, and if you’d like almond flavor simply add a scant teaspoon of almond extract.

I use this hot cocoa mix recipe from Alton Brown and store it in a big glass container. Light the fire in the fireplace and bring on the board games. Enjoy!

If you have a friend who would enjoy my blog, please share it with them! Have a look at the FREE patterns in the right sidebar - something just might spark your creativity! As always, I love to hear from you in the comments below, and you can always find me on Instagram @tierneybarden!