Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Cobalt Table Setting

The dining room table sat bare for just half a day.
After a good night's rest, I felt energetic again and decided to set it this morning (when you get up at 4 a.m. and you don't have to go to work, you need to find something to do!)

I did a quirky napkin fold - just tightly rolled, folded in half and stuck in a glass. I can only find four white napkins, so two glasses are empty. I am sure I must have more, but don't have time to look today.

Now I am off to shower and get ready for my little day trip with DH. I do love not having to go to work!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Made new chair backs

or chair runners as, I think, Alice called them (because they are really table runners that I have used on a chair).

I made two of them a couple of days ago. It is something different to look at for awhile.

I was going to post my New Year's dining room tablescape today, but I am enjoying all of my Christmas clutter-free rooms so much that I decided to leave the table bare for a few days.

Every time I walk thru the kitchen I admire the long bare countertops. I spent a bit of time this morning scraping off all little glue bits from the holiday crafting sessions. I usually have some large centerpiece at the end of the longest counter, but I left that bare, too. I will get bored with that look very soon, but for now it is just what I need.

Tomorrow DH and I are going away for the day. Just a little get-a-way while we have good traveling weather. I think there is snow coming on Wednesday.

I have spent the last hour or so pleasantly reading blogs. It sounds like everyone had a nice holiday weekend. I think I will surf a little more and go to bed early tonight.

I Couldn't Stand it Another Minute

So this morning I took down all the Christmas trees.
I took me four hours.

Everything on the gingerbread man tree fit nicely in this one container. (except for the lights - they have their own container and DH takes them down)

Here is my darling husband hard at work getting the lights just so

He does do a fair share of grumbling as he is doing it. Especially since I put them on and did not do it in a neat,systematic way, so they are a mess to get off.

This is what they look like when he is done. We never have any tangled lights in this house when it comes time to do next year's tree.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas, Everyone

DH and I have had a quiet morning of breakfast-after-church, gift opening and watching Christmas episodes of old sitcoms.

I made an ambrosia salad to take to his parents tonight while he took a nap.

Right now I am doing a load of laundry because I want to wear the same blouse I wore last night.

So it has been a very calm and lovely Christmas morning at my house.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Christmas Trees are Down

at work, that is. It felt strange to take them down before Christmas.

I took the 3 in the banquet rooms down Thursday because the Christmas parties are finished and the room will be decorated for a big New Year's Eve party next week (we hire a decorator to do that).

I am taking next week off, so I had to get it done. I did not want to leave it for others to do because they tend to just throw everything in a big heap in a box, and I like it done a certain way...getting pretty picky in my old age :)

I survived the cookie exchange. I actually didn't use either of the two I intended to give. I made choc/peanut butter drops and chocolate revel bars. One of the ladies told me today that her husband just loved the revel bars, so I felt pretty good.

I just finished making a dessert to take to my family gathering tomorrow. Now I just have to think of something to take to the inlaws on Sunday, make that, and I will be done baking for awhile.

I hope all of you have your gifts wrapped, your baking done and you are ready to enjoy the holiday weekend.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Twinkle, twinkle Little Star

I just got home for the evening and I am starving. I walked by the kitchen counter where 3 of the infamous almond raspberry star cookies were quietly sitting on a small saran-wrapped plate.

I walked right past giving them a little sneer as I turned the corner to the hallway.

I changed into comfy clothes and went back to the kitchen to see what I could find for dinner.

The three cookies seemed to sneer back at me.

I grabbed the plate intending to toss them in the garbage. I swear that little cut out star twinkled at me...taunting me, that's what they were doing.

What the heck -- I grabbed one and ate it.

Guess what?
They didn't taste nearly as bad as I thought they were two days ago.

Hmmmm...maybe Dianne was right...

"Dear Pooped out cookie pal,
The 'problem' with the almond/raspberry cookies is that they may need to 'season' a bit. Sometimes cookies taste better the next week. "

Last Christmas Party

Today at work we are having our last Christmas party of the season. It is a luncheon for 140 people. I thought I would show a picture of the room (since I had to take pictures for the corporate website). I thought it looked nice with one of my trees in the background. Actually all three trees are in this room, but you can only see one in this shot.

Monday, December 19, 2005

I hope I never see another Cookie

This cookie exchange has given me a headache (literally).

I have decided that I do not like the almond raspberry stars (pretty as they look, they just don't taste that good). Yes, those would be the 9 dozen I spent 4 hours making Saturday morning. The expensive ones with the pound of real butter and the full $5 can of almond paste and the premium seedless raspberry jam. Since I did not yet sandwich them all, I can save them. My husband seems to like them just plain so I will freeze them for later in the year. I think I could also use them ground up for a cookie crust, too. In any event, they are not going on my cookie trays.

I came home from work tonight and made two other kinds - much easier chocolate peanut butter chip drop cookies and some chocolate bar things. The drop cookies seem to have spread too much.

I have always been pretty decent at baking, but just when I want something to turn out especially good, nothing seems to be going right.

I don't know if the current batches taste good or not because I just cannot bring myself to eat any. I am so disappointed in the outcome of this baking spree.

Hope your holiday baking is more fulfilling.

I am off to find two aspirins.

Holiday Song Brain Twister

Last week while surfing blogs I came across this fun play on song titles. I can't remember where I found it, but I saw it on two different blogs. I saved it so that I could go back and figure it out during my leisure time. I thought some of you might like to challenge your brain and see how many you can figure out. (I hope it is not someone's original game that I should not be posting...I can't give credit to where I found it because I did not save the url)
I put the answers in the comments.

1. Move Hither the Entire Assembly of Those Who Are Loyal in Their Belief

2. Embellish Interior Passagways

3. Vertically Challenged Adolescent Percussionist

4. First Person Singular Experiencing An Hallucinatory Phenomenon Of A Natal Celebration Devoid Of Color.

5.Soundless Nocturnal Period

6. Majestic Triplet Referred To In The First Person Plural

7. The Yuletide Occurance Preceeding All Others

8. Precious Metal Musical Devices

9. Omnipotent Supreme Being Elicit Respite To Ecstatic Distinguished Males.

10. Caribou With Vermillion Olfactory Appendage

11. Allow Crystalline Formations To Descend

12. Jovial Yuletide Desired For the Second Person Singular Or Plural By the First Person Plural.

13. Commence Auditory Reception The Announcing Cherubs Vocalize

14.Kris Kringle Will Be Arriving In The City In the Not Too Distant Future

15. Bipedal Traveling Through An Amazing Acreage During The Period Between December 21st and March 21st In The Northern Hemisphere

16. Its Arrival Occured At Twleve O'Clock During a Clement Nocturnal Period

17. Exclamatory Remark Concerning A Diminutive Municipality in Judea Southwest of Jerusalum

Sunday, December 18, 2005

This Elf is Retiring

for the remainder of the weekend.
Maybe...unless I think of something else to make :)
This morning I made caramel corn and chex mix...a lot of both

I plan to give most of it away, so I made cute little toppers and affixed them to each bag of goodies. I think they turned out so darn cute!

Inspiration Strikes

Inspiration strikes at the oddest moments. Yesterday I threw this table topper over the chair so I could get it out of my way to make cookies.


I liked how it looked. It's the perfect size for the chair. I am going to make a pair for both of these chairs (in colors to coordinate with the room). I will pick three colors from the artwork above (notice the barn? I must have been a farmer in a former life. I seem to gravitate toward barns).
I think it will be just enough to satisfy my craving for change.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Baking Christmas Cookies

I am in a cookie exchange with 3 friends from work. We are each making 8 dozen cookies (4 dz of 2 different cookies). We will take our goodies to work on Thursday and exchange 1 dozen of each cookie with each person. We will end up with one dozen of eight different cookies.

Boy, that sounds complicated, doesn't it? LOL.

This is the first time I have been in a cookie exchange and let me tell you, I didn't think it would be this much work!

I definitely picked the wrong cookie to make (Almond Raspberry Sandwich cookies--they have almond paste in the cookie & seedless raspberry jam in the middle). It took me 4 hours just to make the cookies. I have not actually sandwiched them together yet (just the one in the picture so I could try them). They are pretty good although a bit crunchier than I expected. I will put them all together Wednesday evening so that they will look nice when I take them to work.

Since these cookies require two cookies to make one cookie, I had to make 8 dozen instead of 4. That was a lot of rolling and cutting out.

I did learn something valuable during the experience, though. . . All silicone baking liners are NOT created equal. Recently I was in Wally's World and bought a set of two because they seemed so reasonably priced. Well, you get what you pay for. I opened the oven and was shocked to see this

which caused my cookies to turn up in odd ways. NOT GOOD.

Here is a Silpat (a wonderful liner!). See how flat it stayed?

Moral of the story? DON'T waste a dime of your hard-earned cash on Walmart's silicone liners.

Now I am working on Coconut macaroons drizzled with chocolate.
Oh, so much easier than the first ones.

I have the last batch in the oven and then I will melt the chocolate and drizzle them.

In between baking the two kinds of cookies, I had to run to Walmart to buy coconut. While there I spotted these Danskin pullover tops marked down to $5. Well, who could resist a bargain like that? Not me! I bought three of them in different colors.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Winter Storm Warnings for Us Today/Tonight

Doesn't this look like fun?

Alice, Calidore, Chloe...and all of you in the warm climates...I wish I could trade places with you!
We have already gotten about 8 inches and another 4 - 5 is supposed to fall this evening.
The roads were terrible when I came home from work at 3:30 today.

All day at work, I felt like going outside to make a snowman. It was so beautiful looking out at the snowy trees. But once I left the building and stood out in the wet, miserable stuff scraping my car, I came to my senses. LOL. My hair was soaked just from that 5 minute chore.

And speaking of hair -- I got a new 'do' yesterday. My hair was getting too long (touch below shoulders) and I couldn't stand it a day longer. So I went and had about four inches cut off and I like it so much better. I will miss being able to pull it up and wear those pretty clasps and things in the back.
Here I am with the new 'do.'

Monday, December 12, 2005

Favorite Childhood Christmas Gift?

I was surfing some blogs and someone was asking,
What was the best present you ever got for Christmas?

This got me to thinking....trying to remember gifts from my childhood. I remember two gifts from waayyyyyyyy back when I was about 7 - 8 years old.

One of them is a 1963 Swirl Pony tail Barbie Doll. I thought she was the most beautiful of all the Barbie dolls of that era. I still have her and her original red bathing suit. Oh, how I wish I would have saved that box! Today mint in the box this doll is worth over $600.00. In very good condition without the box, probably about $250.00. I would never sell mine, though.

The other was a Susie Smart Doll. I think my Mom said she bought her at the A & P store. She came with a little yellow plastic school desk. She was wearing a plaid school girl dress. She was a talking doll and said things like, "2 + 2 equals 4" and "D-O-G spells dog." I just adored that doll. I still have her, too.

About ten years ago I found a Susie Smart doll with the little yellow desk at a garage sale. I bought her because I wanted the desk. I wish I had her original clothing. I have not been able to find any pics of this doll on the net, but here is mine from nearly 45 years ago sitting beneath the Christmas tree.

She is, of course, dressed in her holiday finery for this picture. (I used to put her out each Christmas).

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Relaxing Sunday

I usually do a lot of cleaning and cooking on Sunday, but today I didn't do much of that at all. I had thought I might do some Christmas baking this weekend, but didn't do any of that either.

I did cook a nice breakfast for DH. He loves breakfast, but usually I only make it once on the weekend. This weekend I cooked him breakfast both Saturday and Sunday.

I spent the rest of the day quilting and watching Christmas shows on television. I did take a few breaks to throw in some laundry. Laundry is the perfect chore to do while quilting. You can toss the clothes in the washer and you have 30 - 45 minutes to quilt. Just when you are ready to take a break, it's time to throw the clothes in the dryer. Then you have another of hour of quilting before you have to break to put the clothes away.

DH did some grocery shopping this morning while I stayed home to quilt and make breakfast (more like brunch since it was 11:30 a.m. when we ate). He came home with a dozen beautiful coral-colored roses........awwwwwwwwwwww....I was so touched....

Here they are all arranged in my rooster vase

I wonder if the double breakfasts gave DH some extra good feelings this weekend?

Friday, December 9, 2005

My Latest Addiction

Bob's Sweet Stripes
I bought these at Wally's World last week and, OH MY GOSH, I can't stop eating them! They are a lightly minted candy--not a strong mint like those hard pinwheel things-- and they are soft enough that you can bite right into them...pure bliss!

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Shocking Shoes

Just have to show you all these shoes! Are they crazy or what?
Quite a few people thought they were "or what?"!
They were worth the price if just for the shock value.

I personally like them. If I just had a jacket with the same pattern on the collar...I had to find something with both black and white to wear on the top half of my body. So I rummaged through my costume jewelry and found a necklace with big round black/white beads.

I know you can't see me very well, but here I am at 6am ready to head out the door.

The shoes are really quite comfy (if you are used to heels as I am).

Thanks, everyone, for the birthday wishes. I did not do anything special...just worked 10 hours and came home and cleaned the toilet and scrubbed the bathroom floor. Do I know how to celebrate or what? LOL

Slow Down World

I have had a very busy two weeks at work...running around like crazy trying to keep up with all the Christmas party details and hockey room blocks. I hope today is slower. I am planning to wear my new black/ivory tweed shoes with the 3-inch heels...not good for too much running. I will take a second pair, just in case.

All of the clothes I ordered last week arrived yesterday. They all fit, too!
I spent over an hour ironing everything last night. Don't you hate it when you buy something new and you almost have to send it to the dry cleaners just to get the wrinkles out!! That purple suit was hard to iron...I had the steam going and a wet pressing cloth...took forever......

My birthday was Monday and look at the beautiful gold necklace DH gave me...

I love it.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Tie one On

My mother-in-law made me the cutest aprons.

This Christmas one is a perfect match for my gingerbread man Christmas tree decorations.

I will have to remember to wear this when I bake Christmas cookies.

She also made me this one with roosters (I have a lot of roosters in my kitchen)

Aren't they adorable? I just love them.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Better than a sleeping pill

I worked on my quilt for a few hours this morning. I am ready to move on to something else, so am beefing up my quilting time to get finished.

The problem is, every time I work on it, it puts me to sleep! At this rate I will never get finished!

I have dinner (BBQ chicken thighs, baked potato) in the oven. I think I am going to read a Christmas story tonight. I always get in the mood to read holiday stories in December. When I went to my bookshelf to see what I might read, I found I had quite an assortment of holiday books to choose from.

Not sure yet which I will read...

Thursday, December 1, 2005

It's Time for some New Clothes

I went on a little spree today and ordered some new work clothes.
This 3 pc purple suit looks so cute. I hope it looks half as good on me.

I ordered these shoes in the black/ivory tweed. I wear a lot of black and these should nicely perk up a black skirt/black tights ensemble.

I liked the simple lines of this sweater set and ordered it in black.

I just hope everything fits. I prefer to try on clothes prior to purchase, but in my small town there aren't a lot of places to shop. If you don't want to see everyone wearing the same thing you have, you are forced to shop catalogs or online.
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