Wednesday, November 30, 2005

To make your life a little easier.....(a household tip from Zoey)

Quite some time ago I discovered this little household helper. I have been keeping it to myself for years; but now, dear blog readers, I have decided to share it with you.

Do you all recognize this?

It's a binder clip. It is used in offices to hold thick stacks of paper together. Binder clips come in many different sizes, but this is the size I like best to use as..............................................

I know you are all holding your breath for the big reveal

So here it is.............................................

A potato chip bag clip

These work so much better than the big plastic things you buy for the same purpose. You know, the ones that break so easily. I have never broken one of these.

Of course, I use them to hold all sorts of other food bags together...cheese is a favorite. Even though the shredded cheese has those little self closures, I find it takes numerous attempts to get the thing shut, so I just fold it over and use a smaller binder clip.

These are quite inexpensive. I think I paid something like $4 for a box of 12 of the large ones.

So now I bet you will all tell me that you have been using these for years,too. My one claim to inventor's fame will be shattered. :)

DH just walked in and stood over my shoulder. "You're putting that on your blog?" He shook his head and walked out muttering, "It must be a slow day for blog material."

LOL - I am always amazed at just how smart that man is.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

For crazygramma

Crazygramma asked for a picture of my denim quilt. If I had not been so lazy when I mentioned it in the earlier post, I would have linked to the pic in the archives.

I started it last winter and posted quite a bit about it (in the Feb/Mar archives, I think). I only quilt during the winter months, so it has been patiently sitting in a corner of the family room waiting for me to get the urge to pick up the needle.

Since crazygramma asked so very nicely, I searched my picture files and found one:

I am hand quilting this which is a bit insane.

Denim is way too difficult to hand quilt.

Crazygramma, good luck on the one you are going to make for your DH. My only bit of advice -- save your fingers and sanity -- tie it or machine quilt.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Cute Snowman Centerpiece

I was surfing technorati for "Christmas" just to see if I could find any interesting blogs. So far, not, but I did find this commercial site which has a cute idea for a snowman cookie jar centerpiece.

I thought it was different and I have a cookie jar very similar. Hmmmmm....might have to treck down to the basement storage shelves and rummage around for that cookie jar....just look at those pine branches for the cute!

I Love Sundays

I stayed home all day today. I moved all the furniture in the family room and living room (I have a summer arrangement and a winter arrangement). I like to change it seasonally so that different pieces get the brunt of the sunlight to help with even fading.

I also worked for about an hour and a half on my denim quilt while watching taped episodes of Alex Anderson's quilting show on HGTV. My eyes were getting heavy and I was getting cold, so I removed the quilting hoop, layed on the sofa, pulled it over me and promptly fell asleep for at least an hour. That quilt is so heavy; perfect for cold days when the heat is set at 66 degrees.

I just made two pans of lasagna and a meatloaf which are waiting to go into the oven. We will have the lasagna tonight, I will freeze one of the pans, and the meatloaf will be ready for tomorrow. I always cook a few extra meals on Sunday so I don't have to bother with cooking when I get home from work.

Yesterday I did a lot of Christmas shopping. I was at the JC Penney counter at 10am with my arms overflowering with purchases. They had a sale and I could have saved $30 on my purchases, BUT.......the darn sale did not start until 4:00 p.m. ARRRGGGGGGG...I should have read the flyer more closely. I decided that $30 was worth a return trip, so I decided not to buy the items until 4 p.m. They said they could hold some of the items, but not anything that was on clearance. I had quite a few items for myself that were clearance priced. Really I don't see what the difference is...why couldn't they just sell me everything and give me the discount at 10 a.m.?
By the time I went back at 4 p.m. I decided against all the clothes for myself, so in the end, they lost over a $100 in sales. I feel good about that (so does my checkbook).

This morning I wrapped all the gifts (everything in the same paper because I don't like a big mismash of wrapping paper under the tree).

I changed my profile pic again today. I am wearing gold earrings and a necklace that DH got me for Christmas a few years ago which makes it a seasonally-appropriate pic...LOL.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Visitors From the North Pole?

I have little elves all over. I wonder if they are watching to see if I am being good?

I am DONE, DONE, DONE decorating!! It feels so good. (I am sure I will be doing a bit of daily tweaking as I can never leave anything alone.)

I have a dozen or so of these elves that I made a few years ago. I used them in the dining room trees and in the archway greenery. I have used a lot of red, which I almost never I remember clashes terribly with my furniture. Oh, well, it's the holiday season, so that's OK. I also made all of the felt ornaments on these trees (many, many, many years 25 years).

I finished setting the dining room table, too. I removed the table runner I made yesterday and put it on the kitchen eating counter.

My dining room is between all the trees, so when we eat dinner each night, we are in a Christmas wonderland with lights on all sides of us. During December we will eat at the dining room table almost every night ...even if dinner is just a bologna sandwich we shall be nibbling it amongst the Christmas china and silver just to enjoy the holiday ambiance that I have worked my butt off to create!

This little tree on top of the china cabinet has green lights.

Here is a view of all the trees to give you an idea of the room layout. (well, actually, there is one more little tree on a second china cabinet that is not in view)

And here it is all lit up a few minutes ago

Blue Jeans & Gingerbread Man Tree

I did not use my blue jean stockings on the trees at work, so I added them to my gingerbread man tree at home. I had to use them, since I went to the trouble of making them all.

Today I have to finish my other 2 trees at home and make a centerpiece for the dining room table.

I still have boxes of ornies sitting around the family room. I will be happy to get everything done and cleaned up.

I am hoping at work that someone else does the dining room tree over the weekend. I left it in a banquet room with just the lights on and hinted to a few people that it wouldn't hurt my feelings if someone else did it before I get back on Monday.

How much do you want to wager that nobody touches it?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Christmas Table Runner

Yesterday I was reading Calidore's blog. She posted a picture of a table runner she had made for her hutch and was nice enough to post the web site where she had found the free pattern. I went there and printed the directions.

I got home from work about noon today. Since I had four hours before I had to go to Mom's for Thanksgiving dinner, I rummaged through my fabric stash and found three Christmas fabrics and made the runner. Just as Calidore said, it was easy and fast. It took less than two hours.

Thanks, Calidore for sharing this. I plan to make more this winter.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Sunflower Christmas Tree

Now this is a tree that I like.
All sunflowers and beaded fruit.
I am especially fond of the twine garland one of my co-workers crocheted for me last year.

I had such a busy day at work today. I forgot I had some League of Women Voter Ladies coming in to discuss a convention in 2007. That took up a good hour of tree-triming time. Then I had 4 hockey team meals booked for next weekend and a hospital Christmas party to do contracts for, and numerous phone calls getting menus, etc. for other Christmas parties. The day just flew by. Needless to say, I only got one tree done again.

I came home, changed clothes and immediately started making my two pumpkin pies. They are in the oven now.

It is a cold, snowy day here. It would have been a perfect day to stay inside and cook Thanksgiving items all day long instead of having to rush, rush, rush.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Is Everyone Getting Ready for Thanksgiving?

I am.

I just cooked my sweet potatoes to get them ready for a casserole I will do on Thursday.

I do have to go to work on Thanksgiving (as I have said before, there are NO holidays off in the hospitality industry--while many get a 4-day holiday, most hospitality workers will be slaving away to make sure the guests enjoy their Thanksgiving). It's just the way it is. Our restaurant does a big buffet and is usually very busy on every holiday.

I will probably only work a couple of hours in the early morning as my job does not require I be there except to count the money and do the labor from the previous day. Then I will come home and finish my contributions to the dinner we will enjoy with my parents. My Mom is doing the turkey and dressing.

I am making a pumpkin pie with a cream cheese top layer. I have had a craving for pumpkin for the past two weeks. I hope it turns out good.

What are you all doing for the holiday?

Hydrangea Tree

My sister and I had a nice weekend away and are now back to the old grind.

I have begun decorating the Christmas trees at work. Today I did this hydrangea tree (referred to as the "fru-fru" tree by my boss. He only likes trees that "look like Christmas").

I used to be able to do 4 of them in one day, but today I was lucky to get this one done.

I am either getting too old for this or just plain tired of doing these trees.

I am off now to get my nails done.
(Decorating trees is hard on the manicure!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

All I want for Christmas is..........................

DH and I are at a point in our lives where we pretty much have everything we need or even want. (we are not all that materialistic and really don’t want as much as most people seem to these days).

Two years ago, at my request, we stopped buying each other gifts. No Christmas gifts, no birthday gifts, etc. While it was quite nice not having to strain our brains to come up with silly little gifts for each other, it also made for a pretty dull Christmas morning.

So this year, we decided to go back to giving a few gifts. I have been making notes of little items I might like as I come across them. I decided to post them here. These are all unnecessary items, but things I just might enjoy having.

A silicone muffin/cupcake pan

I have the original silpat baking sheet liners and they are just wonderful! Nothing sticks to them. I like to make muffins and cupcakes without liners (because I think they look nicer), but sometimes they do stick and then their appearance is ruined. With this little marvel, they fall right out...(so they say, I have not yet tried one).

A chef's torch.

This would most often sit collecting dust in my cabinet. But every now and then, it would be quite handy. I might want to make creme brulee or brown the meringue tips on the little cupcakes I am envisioning making in my silicone cupcake pan....I have actually never put meringue on cupcakes, but I might if I had this little treasure.

Cheap Gold Charger Plates

What are charger plates?
Just larger-than-dinner plates than go underneath the dinner plate. Not only are they decorative, but they sit ready to collect any drips that may fall from your utensils(before they hit the much- more-difficult-to-clean tablecloth). For someone like me, who loves to set dinner tables, this is a nice gift. I have a nice set of silver colored chargers, but often I could use gold to go with my color theme.

At the moment this is all I can think of. Surely I must want MORE - LOL.
High winds, falling trees across the roadways, temperatures dropping into the 20’s with cold rain turning to snow later this afternoon. It’s a good day to stay inside in Northern Michigan.

I hope we get all the bad weather today and tomorrow.

On Friday afternoon, my sister and I are leaving work early and heading further north to the upper peninsula for a “girl’s weekend” away. We are going to a casino for two nights of blissful pampering….no cooking, no beds to make, no dusting, no vacuuming, no dishes to do…..just play time. We did the same thing last year and it was quite fun. It is melding into a tradition. Maybe this year we will even win some moolah….the perfect topper to the weekend.

It is deer hunting season in MI. The “big hunt” is almost a state holiday here. Even the schools close on opening day. Hunting season lasts for two weeks, which means I will be very slooooowwww at work. Hardly anyone has a banquet during this time (because everyone is out to their hunting camps). Next week the banquet rooms will sit empty for three days straight (a rare occurrence). I have decided to put off doing the trees until then.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

No Space for A Christmas Tree?

Then this might be for you:

The 7-Foot Upside-Down Pre-Lit Christmas Tree
Evoking a 12th century Central European tradition of hanging a tree from the ceiling at Christmas, this unique 7' pre-lit fir is inverted to ensure a smaller footprint for less-spacious areas, and allowing more room for the accumulation of presents underneath.

They had it on the morning show and it really is not bad when decorated.

Hmmmmmmm.....I can see possibilities.........

It's $599.95.
If you just love it and want it, go here:

Sunday, November 13, 2005

One Year Old Today


logoversary to me!

ne year ago today I started this blog. The year has gone by so fast! I blindly found my way through the set up instructions and was quite amazed when it actually worked. For quite a while I thought nobody would find my little cyber space home. But one by one visitors drifted in until finally I was getting a few daily readers. It has been so much fun getting to know all of you. I hope you find something worthwhile when you visit me -- I know I enjoy posting and I hope to continue for a long time to come.

....As Visions of a Foot Massage Dance in Her Head....

I had to take a break and sit down to rest my aching legs and feet. We just finished eating a roast chicken dinner and I am taking a break before I go clean up the kitchen.

Today I put up my large Christmas tree. All that climbing up and down the basement stairs and from chair to chair to reach the top of tree has left me pretty much exhausted. I put chairs all around the tree so I can walk completely around it to string lights and do the top.

There is a reason for my pre-season madness (other than I really do like Christmas trees). Every year I do mine very early so that I get them done before I do the trees at work. I like to do my own when I still have the energy and spirit. Once I finish all the trees at work, I don't want to see another Christmas tree for a long time!

I won't actually light mine until the day after Thanksgiving.

I usually do three trees in my home (more if you count the 2 or 3 little 2-ft trees I usually put on top of the china cabinets). I will do the other two during the week.

I did the main tree in a gingerbread theme (surprise, surprise). I used white lights, with a touch of red and gold. The gold lights are very hard to distinguish from white lights once they are all lit. I am glad to get it done as my countertops were getting pretty cluttered with all the ornaments I made during the past two weeks.

So here is what I did with all the little crafts I have shown you over the past two weeks:

And here it is with the lights on:

A closer view of the top. A friend from work made the wooden candy canes for me quite a few years ago. They make a great tree top. I have used them often with different centers. I added some tree branches to give more dimension and texture.

I also put little picture frames with pictures of my son's childhood Christmases on the tree. Nothing to do with the gingerbread theme, but every tree must hold some of your precious memories.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Lightbulb Turned Into......................

Drumroll, please........
taaaaaaa daaaaaaaaaaa...................

A snowman!
(Alice you were correct in your guess)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Don't throw away those burned out lightbulbs!

I am not missing gardening at all. After over four months of complete dedication, I am enjoying not having to do any garden work. Now that it is cold and nasty outside, I don't even have to consider clean-up chores. Whatever is not done (and there is a lot) will now wait until spring when I will be eager to get back outside.

I have been plenty busy with work and making Christmas decorations.

See this box of burned out lightbulbs?

Yes, they are burned out lightbulbs. Most (sane) people would throw them in the garbage...but NOT me. I have saved these to put on my Christmas tree. Your thinking the woman is nuts, aren't you?

Well, you may be correct. :)

Can anyone think of what might be made from these lightbulbs? Take a guess and I will show you tomorrow what I made from them.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Victorian Christmas Tree

Every year when I am getting ready to do the trees, I have to look back through pictures to see what I have to use and get inspired for this year. Have you ever seen a pink Christmas tree?

Now you have.

Dianne, it has a Victorian feel don't you think?
I believe I made everything on this tree, except for the balls embellished with lace, angels, mice, pink-striped candy canes, crocheted hearts (my mom made those), and lots of dried baby's breath. It was a fun tree to do. Sorry, I don't have a better picture, but it was prior to my digital camera days.

We didn't get any snow yesterday after all--just rain. I hope it waits to snow on the weekend when I am home to enjoy it. I like to bake when big snowflakes are falling.

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Where does the weekend go?

I have had a busy weekend working on Christmas decorations. Remember all those styrofoam balls I was going to toss out, but saved...just in case? Well, I thought of something to do with them. I tore up wrapping paper

and used decoupage glue to adhere the paper to the balls. They are still wet here which is why they have a milky color. I will put a few more coats of glue on and will show them to you when (if?) I decide to use them.

I worked a bit on the big wreath for work. I am just not really into doing is huge and I just can't seem to get enthused with it.

Last night my refrigerator decided to die. Ever had pepermint stick ice cream turn to liquid and fill your freezer? Let me tell you, when you open your freezer and see pink sticky liquid all over, it is not a pretty sight. Water was running out on the floor, too. I wasn't surprised as the refrigerator is old. It served me well during its long life. Today we went out and bought a new one which will be delivered tomorrow.

This afternoon I threw away all those plants I brought inside last month. I don't know what ever possesed me to bring them in. I know I can't stand the mess of dead leaves falling all over and water drips, etc. I was just going to water them today and then I thought I would take each one outside and shake off the dead stuff. When I went to take them down, I noticed water on the top of my china cabinet. I must have overfilled a few of them. I decided then and there that I had had enough of caring for them. What a mess I made hauling them outside....dead stuff all through the house...had to vacuum every room again. I also tossed a catcus I have had for about six years. I never did like it, but it was a gift from one of my customers so I felt I had to keep it. Six years is long's gone now,too.

We went to a birthday party/dinner for my 11-year old niece today. When we got home I had to clean up the mess in the kitchen (from the crafting)so it would look decent when the delivery guys bring the refrigerator.

Now I am going to spend an hour or on the computer and then its off to bed.

Tomorrow we are supposed to get our first snow. Probably only flurries.

Hope all of you had an enjoyable weekend.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Salt Dough Ornaments

A few days ago I decided I needed some more gingerbread men and begin cutting fabric, sewing and stuffing. I wasn't having all that much fun -- too time consuming and my stitching lines were not all that straight so the men were turning out with some quirky figures. "There must be a better way," I said to myself. Wouldn't it be so much easier to just bake cookies and paint them? to the net I went in search of a recipe for dough ornies. I found a salt dough recipe and gave that a try. It didn't take very long to whip them up and put them in the 175 degree oven the directions indicated.

The recipe said to bake for 2 hours. They were no where near done in two hours. I baked another 2 hours and finally had to remove them so I could go to bed. The next day they still did not feel hard enough so I put them back in the oven for another 4 hours--yes, I had to bake them a total of 8 hours!

The next day I painted them brown before I left for work (5:00 a.m. and I am painting cookies!). When I got home they were ready for the "frosting" (Scribbles paint). Today I put the little bow ties and buttons on them and here they are completely finished.

The little pinwheel ornaments in front of them have just received a coat of Modge Podge to stiffen them up. I found them all in a box of Christmas crafts. I must have made them a couple of years ago and forgotten them. Maybe I never used them because the fabric was too flimsy to stand up on the tree. I will see what happens when the Modge Podge dries. I may find a tree for them this year.
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