Monday, December 31, 2007

It's New Year's Eve

While most of the world parties, I am home baking cakes.

When I got home from work today, my intention was to make one jello poke cake to take to my sister-in-law's tomorrow for a New Year's Day family dinner.

So I made a cake and put it in the oven.

As I was tidying up the mixing area, I noticed something that made me gasp.

"What's wrong?" My sweet husband was full of concern.

I heaved a very disgusted sigh and said, "Half of my fingernail is missing!"

He gave me an I-really-hope-you-are-joking look.

I held up my right hand.

He looked a little nauseous.

We both searched all over the counters, in the sink and even in the garbage. We found nothing that was small and pink.

I walked to the pantry.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"Making another cake."

"Good idea," he said, not even attempting to hide the relief in his voice.

I made a second white cake, but didn't have another nice glass 13 x 9-inch pan so I used two smaller pans.

I thought to myself that it would be just my luck to find the missing fingernail now that I had already made the second cake.

My fingernails and I are just not having a very good week!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

An Owie and a Wowie

The Owie:

Homemaker is a dangerous profession.

Just look what happened when I got my pinky stuck in the vacuum cleaner during yesterday's organizing spree.

It ripped that baby right off well below the quick.
Note the redness and swelling.
A lesser woman may have been diverted from her mission after that mishap. But not me, perseverance runs in my family. :)

Yes, it hurts!

The Wowie:

A drawer in my kitchen that has nothing in it!

It used to hold place mats, but they were moved to one of the china cabinets.

Now I am leaving it empty just because it's such a novelty to have an empty drawer!

How long do you think it will stay empty? LOL.

Did you notice my new header?

Those pink and black star blocs are what I have been making the past two mornings. That's what I do at 5:00 a.m. Today it was 4:00 a.m., but who's going to quibble over an hour?

Well, it's nearly 6:00 a.m. right now so I am off to shower. Depending on the weather, I may be off on a little overnight trip today. A woman can only take so much cleaning and organizing before she needs a little FUN!

I hope you all have a great last weekend of 2007!

Friday, December 28, 2007

This "Vacation" is Killing Me

I must get back to work soon so I can rest a little.

Last night about 7 p.m I decided to change rooms on three of my china cabinets. I get bored looking at them in the same spot and they need a good organizing anyway.

In order to move them EVERYTHING had to be removed. Let me tell you, I have them stuffed full.

So I removed everything last night and had DH help me move them all. He did not do it with a smile. In fact he was downright grumpy about it. I don't really understand why as I did ALL the work before and after they were moved. It took him about 15 minutes to finish his part.

I decided not to do any more until this morning. This is the mess I woke up to:

The living room was just as bad.

I worked from 6am until 2:30 p.m. with only one break for a cup of coffee and a handful of cookies. Someone finally gave us a nice assortment yesterday. :)

I gathered up all of my table linen from 4 different cabinets. I found all kinds of stuff I don't even remember buying--like that gorgeous floral and leopard print fabric. It will make a very unique table with my leopard print purse vase.
When I was done all of the tablecloths and napkins fit into one cabinet. The placemats on top had to go in a different one.
This cabinet used to hold a hodge podge of stuff and I never really knew what was there. One of the things it held was my peach lustre dishes. Now they are in the dining room cabinet.
Just look how neatly they are stored! It's a treat to open these doors now. I ended up removing the peach lustre from the top shelves since I decided to use a blue table runner.
Here is the dining at 2:30pm. All nice and neat and tidy!

This cabinet used to be in the dining room.

It's now in the living room behind the love seat. Remember the quilt I cut up and had on the wall? Well now it's lining this cabinet. It took quite some time to get it the right size, sew the ends to get a neat seam and figure out how to keep it in place. I ended up putting a few tiny nails in the cabinet. Probably not a smart move, but I don't ever intend to sell this 1950's cabinet, so who cares? Not me.

All in all I am pretty happy to finally have it all done. It was more work than I expected it to be, but then most everything I do is.

Needless to say, I did not get the main tree down. But that's OK as I am enjoying it this afternoon. We have big snowflakes falling and it's great to work in the kitchen with the tree lit and the snow falling.

I hope tomorrow I don't have to work so hard because every muscle in my body is sore right now!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Big Tear Down Has Begun

On December 26 all of my holiday spirit vanishes and I want my decorations taken down.

I suddenly become claustrophobic with all of the "stuff" around me.

I need to see clean open spaces.

Today I spent about 4 hours removing the living room and dining room decorations.

Tomorrow I will finish removing the main tree and the 3 on top of the entertainment center.

What I am really excited to tell you about is that thirty minutes ago I finished my quilt!

I am very happy with how it turned out. I didn't plan it to be a Christmas quilt, but the colors do suggest that it may have been made for that holiday. It seems appropriate that I finished it during Christmas week.

All of that binding I showed you has been sewn on:
In honor of the big event, I even changed all the bed linen this morning to my favorite 1000 thread count sheets.

I can't wait to crawl in this bed tonight!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Where were you at 6:00 a.m. this Morning?

I was in my sister's driveway picking her up to hit the after Christmas sales.

We shopped till we nearly dropped -- 4.5 hours and only hit four stores.

I bought everything from a black blazer and pink shirt at Penney's to these cookie/food ornaments (also at Penneys).

We spent a lot of time in Joanne's fabric store. I bought some bronze fabric to make a tree skirt for next year, 12 big bronze poinsettias, and a ton of little gifts to use for next year's party presents.

My sister didn't buy nearly as much as I did, but she gets the prize for the most unique item. She bought a talking fly swatter. Yes, after you swat the fly, it says things like, "hasta la vista, baby!" and "today was not your lucky day". LOL. She says her husband will love it. I guess he is always swatting flies.

Yesterday afternoon I cut fabric for the binding for my "Starry Log" quilt that I pieced last winter/spring. It's a king size and let me tell you, that's a lot of binding! Just look at it

It goes all the way across the dining room table and back to the family room entrance. It's about 37 feet long. I worked on it a little last night and for about an hour today. I am halfway done.

Hopefully by tomorrow night I will be sleeping under that quilt. That will be two quilts finished in the past week.

It's a record for me!

We had fun this year with my new treasure hunt game. Here is one group looking for "a green pear candle
Here's mom looking for her last item -- a humming bird sipping nectar from a pink flower".
Everyone had a tough time finding him. I don't know why, as he was right out in the front!

I think most people had fun with it and I will probably do it again next year.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Yes, Zoey, there IS a Santa Claus!

I have never lacked in Christmas spirit.

My family delights in telling a story of how one Christmas Eve at 8:00 p.m. I heard on TV that Santa was spotted over Michigan and I quickly dashed off to bed...not so unusual..........unless you're 16 years old! (My family loves to embellish stories of my youth).

When I was five years old, my brother and I spotted Santa 's sleigh on top of our garage roof. I still remember Jeff and I looking out the window and seeing the sleigh and reindeer. We were on our way downstairs after my parents woke us up on Christmas Eve because Santa was there to personally give us our gifts. I remember that I got a doctor kit and a big tall bride doll. It's the first Christmas I remember.

Well, this Christmas Eve I really truly saw Santa. Not only did I see him, but just hours ago, I was whisked off to his mystical magical home at the North Pole. (With the help of my niece's brand new GPS navigation system...she keyed in "North Pole" and we were there in just minutes)

See, here is where Santa lives. Just click to see it better.

It's a beautiful place. There is even an igloo with penguins.

My sister & I are checking out the igloo. Santa and his elves made it entirely out of old milk jugs. Mrs. Santa said it took over 500 milk jugs. (They must have very healthy teeth and bones in Santa's family.)

I told Santa what a good girl I had been all year. He gave me a candy cane. Then he said my sister and I could get in his sleigh!! The reindeer stood silently while we climbed up.

How exciting it was to be in Santa's sleigh just before he took off for his Christmas Eve ride!
I was hoping he needed some helpers for the big night, but he said he was fully prepared. He let my nieces jump in for just a moment and then he said he had to start packing up.

While Mr. Claus was preparing his sleigh, Mrs. Claus took us all on a tour inside her home. Yes, we got to go INSIDE Santa's home. It was thrilling! Here is their living room.

There is not an inch of the home that is not decorated.

What a wonderful Christmas Eve we all had!

I just heard a noise on the roof. I'd better get to bed!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Christmas Treasure Hunt Game

I'd thought I'd post this game before tonight's event in case anyone is searching for a game to play for their own party.

I made a list of items that are located in one of the 4 rooms where the party goers will be.

One item to find is a "bronze-colored real egg with a chicken inside"

or a "peach-colored pine cone with peach tulle on the top" and "a head of faux lettuce".

The main purpose of this game is to get everyone up and moving. The death of a party is to have everyone plop down and never move again until they leave. Most of the men probably won't participate, but they can just be fuddy duds if they wish. :)

When they find all of the items, they get to pick a little present. Everybody loves to get presents, don't they? I have a lot of them to give out.

They are just little things and most are candy, like 10-pks of candy bars, big Dove bars, etc.

Last night everyone loved the "Christmas Cranberry" slush. Even one of the men drank it instead of beer.

One brother-in-law brought a hot crescent roll appetizer. He even played waiter and walked around serving everyone.
You have to love a man who dons an apron to serve dinner.

Yes, that's DH tying on his Christmas apron. Once everyone went through the buffet line to get salads and sandwiches, they went to the dining room and he took their soup order and served them .
It worked great as they would not have been able to carry the hot soup with everything else. Almost everyone wanted to try both soups (Cheeseburger chowder and Beef Lentil), so DH was kept busy!

All in all I think everyone had a good time. I was too busy participating to get any pics of the white elephant gift exchange. As usual there was one gift that everyone stole. Just when they thought the game was over, I pulled a surprise and read the Left/Right family Christmas story. Everyone had to pass their gift to the left/right when that word was said. So after they did all that stealing to get what they wanted, they ended up with something else! Ha, ha, ha.

Here is the gift I got.

I LOVE him! He will be holding some appetizer for tonight's party.

I hope a good time was had by all.

Eleven hours until the next party..............and if any of you who will be there are reading this, I will be changing the location of the items photographed for the treasure hunt, so don't think you know where they will be................. :)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Drum Roll, Please...........

Zoey has finished a quilt the same year she pieced it!

I owe it all to my baby sister, Tammy. She quilted it on her long arm machine. This is the first quilt I have made that is machine quilted. There is a lot to be said for the speed factor of machine quilting. I was amazed to see how difficult it really is to use on of those machines. It takes an incredible amount of skill to machine quilt.

Thank you Tammy! You did a great job.

I worked on the binding yesterday between cooking for the party. It was my break time activity. This morning I finished the last side.

I put it on the back of a chair in the family room. It joins my first snowman quilt that I made a number of years ago. Now I have a "snowman corner".

Well, off to wrap my "white elephant" gifts for the exchange tonight and to scrub floors and do an all around tidying up. Then I have to go find the linen and skirting for my buffet table, make a lettuce/fruit salad, wash the glasses for the beverages, find & wash 12 soup bowls, get the silverware arranged, ....oh, my goodness,I have a ton to do....what am I doing blogging???????????

I will tell you all about the party tomorrow. I am not the least bit stressed. I thrive on this sort of activity!

Bye...............Hope you are all having as great a day as I am!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cover Your Eyes--My Dining Table is Nearly Naked!

I spent all afternoon cooking and getting ready for my party tomorrow afternoon.

We also brought a second dining table and 6 chairs up from the basement. Can you see it down by the window?
Since I am doing a Soup, salad, deli buffet tomorrow night, I need seating at tables for everyone. Balancing hot soup on your lap on the sofa just won't work!

Because I am not doing a formal dinner, I had to take down the pink lacy dining room table set up. I left the table bare (gasp! a bare table at my house in very unusual), except for a large live evergreen/pine cone centerpiece and chunky white candles.

I had the urge for something sweet this afternoon, so I ate a couple of the lumpy cookies. I guess they taste OK....

Betty, how sweet of you to offer a plateful of your cookies. I bet my husband would be much happier this holiday season if you lived near us. He is really missing his usual assortment of cookies, especially the frosted sugar cookies.

I think it's bedtime for me. I will have a busy day tomorrow.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I am NOT feeling the Joy

I finally baked some cookies, but I didn't find it joyful, so I am done with cookies.

They are butter/cream cheese based and I made my own lemon curd from fresh lemons to fill the indents in the cookies.
I filled some with different jellies and topped them with a light glaze.

I think it was way too much work. They look all lumpy and I don't even like cookies all that much. So that's it more cookies shall come from my kitchen this holiday season! Bah Humbug!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Gingerbread Coffee & Chocolate Pretzels

When I got home from work this afternoon I immediately brewed a nice strong pot of coffee. I poured a bit of holiday-themed gingerbread creamer into my special "afternoon" coffee cup. I only use these glass cups for afternoon coffee with flavored creamer. It makes the coffee seem more special.

I really do believe that the type of cup (or glass) makes a big difference in the enjoyment of any beverage. I guess it's the you-eat-with-your-eyes theory.

Anyway I thought I'd just sit and watch TV and enjoy my coffee.

Well, that didn't happen. Before I was even 1/4 of the way finished with the coffee, I decided to get up and make some chocolate-covered pretzels.

I just melted one bag of milk chocolates chips in a tall drinking glass in the microwave. Using the tall drinking glass for the melted chocolate container makes it so much easier to dip the long pretzels. Once dipped I just rolled them in white chocolate mint pieces. I rolled a couple in peanut butter chips.

Then the real fun began.

A few weeks ago I made some boxes using pictures from past Christmases. While waiting for the chocolate to set, I cut out the boxes and glued them together.

I stuck in a small red cocktail napkin and inserted two pretzels.
Then I covered the whole thing with cellophane, tied it up and added a bit of ribbon or a bow.

I am happy with how they turned out. They will be a little treat for a few co-workers tomorrow. I will keep the ones in the glass cup.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Big Thanks for those who Comment on Old Posts and a "tsk tsk" for those who Copy and Run

A couple of days ago I got a comment from Linda regarding an old post I did about my childhood doll.

I notice that quite a few people find that post by searching for the doll's name.

Linda is only the second person to take the time and effort to let me know she enjoyed reading that old post.

Thank you, Linda. I loved getting your email.

For those who don't know, I do get an email on all comments, so if you feel the urge, but think the post is too old, please reconsider. Your comment will get to me.

I enjoy getting feedback from the posts I did three years ago, just as much as the current ones!

I bought a new ornament yesterday. I need a new ornament like Imelda needs a new pair of shoes, but is he cute or what? I love snowmen and I love candy ornies. This one is both. I just adore him!

Since I am writing about old posts, I may as well throw in my "old post" rant, too.

Last year I did a step-by-step post with a bunch of pictures about how to make a bow out of wrapping paper. That post took a long time to do (as anyone who blogs knows taking the pics, uploading, sizing pics, etc. takes some time). Anyway that post has garnered quite a lot of attention. Last year a couple of people found it and offered a nice thank you for posting it. That made me feel good, like it was worth the effort.

This month I've had hordes of people popping in from search engines to get that info. Not one of them has left a "Hey-Zoey-thanks-for-giving-us-that-info" comment. The same thing is happening now with another craft post how-to. They copy the how-to info and run.

Sometimes that bothers me--just a little bit..................what can I say? I guess I am just a sensitive girl.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Another Unplanned Project

It all began yesterday afternoon when I looked at these chairs and decided they needed to be redone. I went out and bought two yards of fabric and came home and recovered them in about half an hour with nothing more than a pair of scissors and a staple gun. DH shot the staples in as I held the fabric.

I was happy. For about two minutes. Then I decided the matching kitchen curtains had to be changed, too.

DH and I bundled up and headed back out to get more fabric.

Early this morning I started to make the curtains.

They were pretty easy to make. I just used the old ones for a pattern.

However, once I hung them, I thought they were too dark and blah.
I put the gold back underneath to see if it helped. It was a bit better, but it didn't really match.

After a bit of frustrated thought, I decided to go in a different direction and use just one valance for the small window & make long side panels for the larger window. I liked that a bit more, but they were still dull, dark and boring.

After a bit more thought (and much more work!) I finally found a way to add a bit of holiday bling...

Lots of shiny ribbon, beads, big bows, and pine cones of all sizes.
I like them much better now!

Remember the little reindeer planter? Here he is peeking out among the big pine cones.

What I had planned to be an easy two-hour project took more like four hours and a lot more climbing up and down on the counters, and running back and forth to the basement to find decorative items to use.

My coffee break is over and now it's back to the laundry and changing the bed linens.
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