Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year Everyone

I am off to a NYE party. I was up before 3:00 a.m. this morning, so I don't know how I will stay awake until Midnight tonight! For the past three days I have been up in the wee wee hours of the morning.

I decided to wear black and red to the party so that I can carry the tote I made earlier in the month.

It's a small tote. My camera fits nicely inside it's carrying case--I may want to snap a pic of the food or something--you know how I am. There is still room for some lip stick, lip moisturizer and a small wallet. Perfect!

The red outfit will also go nicely with the Cosmopolitans that I will be sipping as I await the Midnight hour. :) What? Don't you dress to match your libation of choice?
LOL. I don't either. I just realized it would be a match.

Hope you all have a good New Year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What I Have Been Up To

Did anybody go to the after-Christmas sales? I did not. I am pretty well stocked for Christmas decorations.

I did go to Joanne Fabrics yesterday because I ran out a particular fabric I need for a new project (see below). While there, I did pick up 10 of these picks.

Who could resist at .17 each?

I started a new project for next Christmas with this fabric:
LOL. I know it's hard to imagine what I one could possibly make with that fabric for Christmas! You can check it out on this page of the quilt blog if you are so inclined.

I also did a table with the cardinal runner I just finished. I used the money plant and the silver-painted branches that I took down from the top of the Christmas tree.

You can read more about it here.

I am busy this afternoon putting something together to wear to a New Year's Eve party I am going to tomorrow. Yes, a bona fide NYE party! I hope I can stay awake until Midnight!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Warning--Work Rant

I am off work for the rest of this year. The only positive about never being able to take a full week of vacation (I ALWAYS have to work on Monday) is that I have 4 stray vacation days hanging out there for me to use up.

I work in a very weird environment--nobody is happy when you take a vacation -- they all act like you are being anti-company or something.

If I was the Big Kahuna and one of my employees gave up EVERY SINGLE MONDAY of the year to work, NO MATTER WHAT, I would be very happy with the dedication of that person and I might even reward that person with an extra day off now and then, just for not having to try to do all the reports, payroll, Accounts Payable, etc. that she is doing on those Mondays that I would have to learn to do. NOT THE CASE where I work. I am sure that legally I don't have to be subjected to working 52 Mondays a year.

The reality is that I don't really mind. I just mind being taken for granted and listening to remarks like, "How do I know how many vacation days you have left? You are the one who tracks them." Like I am cheating or something. (In addition to Sales, I am also the Human Resource person, & the Executive Assistant. Let me add that most hotels pay three people very hefty salaries for those 3 positions.) I can see where he might erroneously think that as the others are off for their full two-week vacations and I am only off for my 4-days. It may seem as though as I am off more often. Oh, well, after 24 years, I am used to it. Nonetheless, I am so very close to telling him to take that job and shove it!

So no work talk for the rest of the year!

Oh, my, these truffles are good!
They were part of my wine-on-top-of-the-package Christmas gift. I just opened them yesterday. MMMMMMMMMMMMM. I am only allowing myself two per day to savor their melt-in-the-mouth chocolate goodness. I have not had my two for today yet. Perhaps later tonight. Thanks, Chris!

While putting away the Christmas decorations, I decided to get rid of some games that have been sitting on the shelf for the past 15 years.
Just look at all of these games!

I also found a portable BBQ grill that has never been taken out of the box.
I think I bought it for DH before we were married (we've been married almost 21 years). I guess that gift was a DUD! LOL

It looks like we need to make a trip to donate to the thrift store.

I finished a new table runner yesterday.

Tomorrow I think I will begin hand quilting one of the quilts I finished piecing last fall.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Done with Santa, Now Bring on the Easter Bunny!

I suppose it is a little early for most people, but today DH and I took down the tree and all the Christmas decorations.

I started at 6:00 a.m. with the entertainment center. I was finished taking it all down in less than half an hour. I packed it all up and then had to wait a couple of hours until DH got up to do the tree. I wanted him to help haul up (and back down to the basement) the storage totes.

Working together we had it all done by noon.

While putting the totes away, I spotted a box with two wooden Easter bunnies that I had planned to repaint.

Why not today?

I brought them up to the dining room (covered the table with an old blanket that was already full of paint splatters) and spent an hour or so happily repainting them. Now I have a bright pink table, a chocolate bunny and a purple bunny to use in my Easter decorations. Once I have a mess in progress, I try to find other things that need doing. I decided to "pewterize" three frames that I have too much white. I never plan these things...I mean, really, who would be thinking of Easter bunnies the day after Christmas? This stuff just pops into my mind and I jump up and do it. I've always been this way............But I digress...........I decided the frames needed help and went down to the basement to find some paint. I saw this dimensional fabric paint called "pewter" and thought I would give it try.
I just squeezed it on the frame, like this:
Then used a small paint brush to blend it in. . . and....Voila! The frames resemble pewter! I think it looks so much better!

Now I have an empty space where the tree was. I think I will leave the side panels off for the winter. I like to let in all the light I can this time of the year.

I may bring up a desk from the basement to put in front of the window. I could use the desk area for a jigsaw puzzle. I always think that, but it's been years since I've actually done a puzzle.

Tonight I don't have to cook a thing for dinner. We are having leftover turkey sandwiches--can't wait! That's what I missed about not cooking for Thanksgiving.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Mrs. Grinch Enjoyed the Holidays After All

It's no secret that I have been a total Grinch this year -- I bemoaned all the work and my lack of enthusiasm to everybody unfortunate enough to mention Christmas preparations.

I declared to everyone who would listen that this was my last year to host this party.

And then it was party night and guess what? Despite my poor attitude, I really enjoyed the evening!

My nieces said they have been watching Martha and learned that proper etiquette requires they bring a hostess gift, so I was the recipient of this fruity wine wrapped in a very cute cloth wine bag.

Wine was a bit of a theme in my gifts this year. The same niece did this very original wrapping, which was the gift I got in the exchange.

Since I had not done any baking, I decided to make a peppermint swirl cake for the party. It's a white bundt cake with a pretty red swirl in the center. The swirl is flavored with mint extract.

So I got the cake batter made and grabbed the mint extract. I only needed a half of a teaspoon full.
Talk about bad luck! There was exactly one drop of mint extract in the bottle--just one stinkin' drop. I had to do some quick thinking. I found a bottle of orange extract and some orange food color and decided that my red peppermint swirl would be an orange citrus swirl.
And it turned out just fine.

My mother brought an exceptionally delicious cheese ball. I put it on my century-old Austrian ribbon candy -look alike Jester-head plate. Something about this plate really appeals to me, yet I rarely use it. I must remember that it works great for a cheese ball.

I have had this George Briard green vinyl ice bucket for twenty-five years. This is the first year it matches the holiday decor. (I never heard of George Briard until I googled him after finding his signature on the bottom of my ice bucket. I was not surprised to find that he was a designer of the 50' - 60's and his items are now collectible)
Here are a few of the attendees on the treasure hunt. I hide 20 items and when they find them all they get a small gift.

One of the items was a real turkey wishbone. It was right in plain sight, but some people had difficulty finding it. Do you see it?

Did you see that sticker on her back? We played a new game this year. As they came in I taped the name of a character in a Christmas show on their back.

This one was Charlie Brown. They could ask every guest just two questions with yes or no answers to get clues to who they were. Questions like, "Am I a male?" or "Do I have a flesh colored face?" I thought that was a good question. That person happened to be the Grinch and was the first to guess who she was.

My sister, Tammy, knitted (knit?)socks for all of us. Mine are the all blue, 100% wool in the center. I made them all stick their sock-covered foot among the presents so I could get a pic for the blog. I cannot tell you how many feet in the air pics I have seen on other blogs. Not being a person who knits, I never thought you would see one here. Never say never.....

Oh. look Santa brought me an orange tote bag! It has a wonderful zipper across the top--my favorite kind.

Do you also see the fun orange/pink necklaces hanging on the tree above it? Can't wait to wear that one with all the little squares.

So it's been a wonderful Christmas after all.

I have a turkey in the oven. I am having my Mom & Dad over for dinner in three hours. I am cooking the turkey in the convection oven for the first time. Hope it turns out good!

I hope you all are having a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Weekend Full of Sewing and Movies

I have had a very relaxing weekend before Christmas.

Yesterday I watched two movies in one day (the second time this month that I have watched movies!). We rented Julie and Julia and before lunch I watched Something's Gotta Give (With Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton).

I am agreeing with Betty -- there's a lot to be said for not overdoing the decorating and baking. Actually I have not done any baking since I made that one batch of shortbread.

I have to show you another perfect match purchase -- yes, it thrills me to no end! I got this tote bag a few weeks ago. It is the exact same color as this jacket and pullover top I ordered a couple of months ago.

I don't know what's with me and tote bags lately--before long I am going to be the tote bag queen.

This one is made of denim and, oh, so sturdy.

You have to really love yellow to wear this combo! LOL. A pair of brown jeans would tone it down a bit, I think.

I do love the color, but I don't love the fabric on the jacket. It pills something awful. I probably should have sent it back, but I never send anything back--too much trouble. If poor quality continues to be a factor, I just stop ordering from the company. I do love the fabric design and the fit, so I just pick off all the pills before wearing it.
I don't usually talk price, but I really must brag on my good deal. See the price?
Way too much for this bargain sleuth!

This was marked down to $15.99, I used a coupon to get another 30% off and free shipping!!! Can you believe it? I paid around $12 for the tote. Yesterday I was surfing through the site and it's in the outlet for $39.99. Oh, I feel so good getting such a great bargain!

Earlier in the week I started a new tree skirt to match my aqua, bronze, and green color scheme.

Between movies, I worked on it. I wrote about it on my quilting blog so I won't go into details here.

Today I am going to make a big pot of chicken noodle soup. I cooked the chicken yesterday, so it will be a quick light dinner.

I hope those of you getting hit with the massive snow (like Dianne) are all O.K. We have had our share of big snow storms, so I know what you are going through. Try to enjoy the beauty, but get someone else to plow out the driveway!

Friday, December 18, 2009

It Could be Your Lucky Day....'Cause Patti is Having a Give-a-Way!

My friend, Patti, at Osage Bluff Quilter is giving away one of her handcrafted paper mache Santas.

Actually she is giving away two of them, plus a quilting pattern and some quilting fabric so hurry on over and sign up.

Be sure to mention in your comment that Zoey sent you...that way I get an extra chance to win -- oh, that is soooo very selfish of me, isn't it? Really, I would be just as thrilled if one of my readers ended up being the lucky winner.
Now Rush on here and it will take you right to the correct post.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Minimalist Decorating is so Liberating!

Today I took a vacation day from work. It was hardly a "vacation". I worked nonstop from 7:00 a.m. until 3:45 p.m.--laundry, scour bathroom, scrub floors, clean all the mirror and glass over artwork -- all the stuff that working women never have the time to do. I like to get away on the weekends and I have no energy to clean after I get home from work, so that does not leave much time for heavy duty cleaning.

It feels good to have it all done.

I also rearranged the dining room so it would work for my Christmas Eve party. This year I have no trees in the dining room -- I usually have 4. I do not have one piece of Christmas decorations in the room. But since you get a good view of the one tree I did put up, I moved items into this room to match the tree - blue and lime green. The tree is more aqua, but this room is cobalt blue and lime green. I brought in all my cobalt wine glasses and put them in both cabinets. I shopped the house to find lime green accents -- a pear candle, some liqueur glasses, and a grape candle.

I extended the table to seat 10 and added another set of silver trees that I bought for $1 each at the Dollar Tree. I brought out a runner in the same color scheme. It's not Christmasy at all, yet for me, it works.

I put this shelf above the china cabinet. My son made it in high school about 15 years ago. My cobalt blue decanters stand where a 2 ft. white-lit tree usually sits. I put two cobalt dishes in the dish rack above the mirror.

Around the corner, I put all the little gifts I bought for the games we play. Of course I wrapped them in paper to match.

I have rarely done as little Christmas decorating as I've done this year.
Yet I think this looks fairy festive. The best part is that I will have NOTHING to take down in the dining room after Christmas. How wonderful that will be!

I am thoroughly enjoying my minimalist decorating this year.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Shortbread Cookies

I love to take the time to appreciate the little things in life. Last week I ordered a necklace and when it arrived it was a perfect match to this jacket that I bought about a year ago. That made me quite happy this morning. :)

Now, on to the cookies....
DH has been wanting some cookies with maraschino cherries in them.

I was skimming a magazine and came across some shortbread cookies that sounded like they would work with the cherries, so I jumped right up to make them. I am a spontaneous baker--rarely plan any of it--just do it when the moods strikes.
I was worried that I did not have two cups of flour in that jar.

But luck was on my side -- this is what I had leftover.

These cookies are very easy to make.
You shape them into two logs

I used waxed paper to shape them because I lean toward germ-a-phobia, and I don't like hands playing with food unless it's absolutely necessary (as in bread baking).

Once they are good and cold, you slice them.

I rolled the edges in red/white sugar crystals before putting them on the
parchment-covered baking sheet.

When done, they have a nice buttery crunch. You don't have to use cherries. You can put nuts, other dried fruits, or nothing at all.

You can also freeze those logs and just slice and bake whenever guests drop in, or you have the urge for a warm shortbread cookie. Do any of you have guests who just drop in? That never seems to happen any more. It's a nice warm nostalgic vision, but really, I like to know in advance if someone is coming over.

If you want the recipe, just click to enlarge this photo.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Crescent Roll Apple Cobbler

I saved this recipe over year ago. When I came across the recipe yesterday, I just happened to have the crescent rolls on hand, and some apples to use up, so I decided to give it a try.

Recipe from the Pillsbury site:

Easy Crescent Apple Cobbler

4 C (I used 6 apples) peeled, sliced cooking apples

1/2 C sugar

3 T flour

1 t cinnamon

8 oz can Pillsbury Refrigerated Quick Crescent Dinner Rolls


1/2 C brown Sugar

1 t cinnamon

2 T butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 375.

In large bowl, combine first 4 ingredients.

Separate the crescent dough into 4 rectangles.

Press 2 rectangles over bottom of ungreased 8 or 9-inch square pan.

Spread apple mixture over dough.

Place remaining 2 rectangles over apples; stretch gently to cover. (I did not bother to pull the dough to the edge as it tears easily)

Combine brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over dough.
Drizzle with butter.

Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes until deep golden brown and center is no longer doughy (I baked mine for 35 minutes).

Cool slightly. Serve with heavy cream or ice cream. (I did not bother with either).
It was great just like this!

I really got a lot done on Sunday. I finished my latest bag:

There are more details here.
I also baked some shortbread cookies, which I thought were really good. I will post that recipe later this week. These recipe posts take a lot of time! I don't think anybody ever makes them, but I like to have them so I can go back and find the recipe when I want to make it again. It's much quicker than trying to find which binder I put the page in!
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