Thursday, December 30, 2010

All the Christmas is Gone from My Home

I spent most of the morning taking down the tree, packing up everything and hauling it down to the basement.  I am one of those people who cannot stand to have all the decorations around me once Christmas is over.  On December 26th, it's like someone turns the spigot on my holiday spirit and I want it all GONE.   It does feel good to have the task completed.

I also removed all of the live greenery from inside the house --just one big arrangement and the new dining room centerpiece that I quickly put together last night.   I threw away the cedar boughs, removed the birch bark and twine bows from the candles and redid them with  glitzy gold bows and zebra fabric (yes, I even have zebra fabric in my stash--just in case I ever needed it--and today I did. One can never be too prepared--LOL).
 Same candles -- totally different look.  Never pass up big chunky white candles if you find them at a closeout price.  You can do so much with them.  I may hit a few stores this afternoon to see if I can find a few more. They often go on the sale rack with the Christmas items.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Have Had Two Whirlwind Days

Where did the time go?!!

I worked Monday, and am now off until Jan. 3.  This is my second day of vacation.  I have never worked harder in my life!  It's 4:22 p.m. and I have been up since 4:45 a.m.  at which time I made a pot of coffee. I drank a few sips of coffee and then began sewing another snowman block. 

At 7:00 am, I spent one hour doing heavy duty cleaning (just so I could accomplish something other than sewing today).  I must say that I got a lot done -- floors scrubbed, bathroom cleaned, tub scoured, shower curtains washed.............whew! 

Then I decided to start sewing a new project with some zebra fabric I bought at Joanne's yesterday.  I began cutting the fabric at shortly after 8:00 a.m.  By 12:30 p.m. the project was completed.  Twice I reheated my coffee that had cooled down in the cup, but I never did get to finish it.  I have not eaten anything all day.  Boy, if I could just be on vacation for a few months, I could lose a lot of weight! LOL.

If you are curious about my zebra fabric project, you can see it on my sewing blog by clicking here............if you just want to see the end result, click here.  I can't see posting the exact same thing on three blogs.

Right now (4:45 p.m.) I am sipping a glass of wine and thawing out some shrimp

 to make a nice dinner of shrimp scampi. I will use some of my MIL's garlic.  YUM!  Sipping wine on an empty stomach is not very wise...LOL.......what's life if you can't have any fun?  That's one of the favorite sayings of a work friend who is almost 80 years old--yes, I said 80 and he is still working!  Oh, Lord, PLEASE make my retirement investments pay off better than his did!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Trees from 2003 to 2010

Please forgive me for another Christmas Post, but I was searching my blog to try to find out what tool I used to remove a wallpaper border about five years ago (we are removing another one--the last one we have--hallelujah!) ..........I never found the tool, but I did find Christmas trees that I don't even remember (and it's only been  6 or 7 years!), so I thought I would do a post of all the trees I have had since 2003.
So here goes...

2003- This is the tree I had forgotten about--all gold and white.

2004- this must have been the year that I did not do a large tree, because all I found were these small dining room trees:  Gingerbread man/cookie tree
 and a scarecrow/sunflower tree that I did just for November of that year.
2005 - I used many of the same ornaments that I had this year.

2006 - gold, white and burgundy

 with a god-awful streak of green lights! LOL.

2007  - lots of trees this year - here are just the 3 main trees:
white/gold/bronze main tree
Dining room  Pink angel tree in sled
 Pink tree opposite side of the sled with a pink tablescape

The year aqua came into my Christmas decorating 

 Pink and Gold dining room tree
2009 -- added green with the aqua

2010 - Back to the gingerbread men with A country sunflower/gingerbread man tree

It was fun for me to see all the different trees I have had over the past few years. Now that I have put them in one post, I can look at them next year to remember what ornies I have stored in the basement. I do have a lot of ornaments!

This was my kitchen teddy bear tree from in the 1990's.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Slippers from Sister T and Snowman Block is Finished

I decided to put my jammies on and relax for a bit before the Christmas weekend comes to its official end. I put the new slippers on that my sister gave everyone on Christmas Eve.

How darn cute are these! They even match my Santa jammies.

I also finished Mr. Snowman this weekend.  Now I just have to decide what to do with him.  I am liking this Christmas chair back option.

I would have to make 5 more of them so all six of my dining room chairs could be covered. Tons of work, but at least I would have a finished item that I could use. And the polka dots would be oh, so chic with my holiday jammies! :)

Hey, Patti, your blueberry french toast recipe was a big hit at Christmas brunch with the inlaws. Host brother-in-law and a number of other attendees said it was delicious! I thought it was, too.

I made myself a little collage so I can remember just what I did in case they request it for our next holiday brunch.  Thanks again for emailing me that recipe!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Good Time was Had by All

We had such a good time at the Christmas Eve party at Sister T's home. She  introduced a new way for us to pick our gift for the steal-the-gift game.
Everyone  picked a  folded slip from a bowl. The slip had a phrase from the Night Before Christmas written on it.  Like 'all through the house'. Then she read the poem and when your phrase came up, you yelled "Ho ho ho" and got to pick or steal a gift.  We had a good time with that.
We also did our traditional treasure hunt--hey, I just realized we have some traditions now!  I guess since we have been doing it for 4 years, it's can now be called a tradition.  This is the first year that I got to play since I am usually the one hiding the objects.  I took my box of items (we always use the same objects) to my sister's and she hid them all.  The toughest item for me to find was this red mouse with green ears...........stuck about 10 feet high on one of these beams.  LOL. I was thrilled to finally find him!

Sister T is a very creative gal. She has 5 sewing machines--serger, long arm quilting machine, embroidery machine, etc.  Every year she gives us one of her handmade treasures---this year we all got a pair of these mittens and some slippers (forgot to get a pic of those). 

I chose the red pair with the snowflake because they will look nice with both my red coat and a black coat.  Don't you just love those pinecones and that elk (or whatever that big beastly animal is).

So a big thanks to sister T, and Sister D for helping her, host this year's event.  It was fun, fun, fun--oh, she prepared a delicious prime rib dinner, too.

Now I have to go finish my blueberry french toast for my next event in two hours.  I also have banana cake in the oven. Does anyone find Christmas relaxing? Because even though I did not host this year, I have still been cooking/cleaning up for two days!

Friday, December 24, 2010

It Amazed me that a bit of Sugar, Water and Gelatin Turned into This

Water and sugar boiling to 235 degrees:
 Water, sugar, and gelatin cooling down.

Same water concoction after beating for 12 minutes

Isn't it amazing that it turned all white and fluffy!  After pouring it into a pan and waiting about an hour, I ended up with.............................can you guess?

Homemade Marshmallows!  I sprinkled toasted coconut on them before they hardened.

I got this recipe from Betty R. at Mennonite Girls Can Cook. Thanks, Betty! I  made mine way too thin, but I am still happy with my first attempt. They are quite easy to make and I think my inlaws will like them tomorrow.  Here is the recipe link.

I also made some Napoleon cream cookies (I think in Canada they have a different name).  I have not tried them yet,  but someone at work told me they were delicious and they had a high rating at the site where I found the recipe.  I was surprised that you don't even bake them. The crust is done in a double  boiler as is the topping. 

I used this recipe from

I am now going to pack up some of both items along with a purchased cheesecake and head over to my sister's for our Christmas Eve celebration. I just called and she said my Mom and other sister are already there sipping Margaritas! Geez, it does not even start for another hour. I'd better get there before all the good stuff is gone!

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wine and Paper Piecing Probably Don't Mix Well

Today I was gifted with a bottle of this wine:
Since it's the holiday season, I decided I would try a glass when I got home from work this afternoon. It's a white wine made from  Sauvignon Blanc grapes.  A page including tasting notes comes with the wine. It says:  Fine, precise nose of apples, ripe pear and wet stone minerals  Hmmm...the wet stone minerals has me wondering what it will taste like.....

I am happy to report that I really like this wine! 
I don't taste anything  that reminds me of "wet stone minerals", but I am still a novice when it comes to wine.  Just recently I have advanced to dry white wines.  I am still trying to develop a taste for reds. It's just fun to experiment.

I am planning to sew a bit tonight on my snowman block. Early this morning I made three of the 19 sections. 

I think that I may want to limit my wine to one glass before I begin sewing any more!

I think everyone is busy with holiday preparations because I have noticed a lack of blog posts this week.  Anyone else notice the same?

Monday, December 20, 2010

People Actually Pay For This?

Early this morning, I was checking out the home section of CC and look what I came across!
Don't they look remarkably like the ones I just made? Geez, who would pay those prices--$49.95 for one candle! No wonder they are in the outlet! I do have smaller pieces of bark on mine, but they only cost me a few minutes of time and a couple squirts of hot glue. Those of you who commented about all of the money I saved, were right! I had no idea how much money I saved. LOL.

When I got home from work today, I set a tiny little Christmas table for two right in front of my tree. Note the candle with the birch bark that I made.......OK, I admit my bark is pretty tiny compared to theirs, but the overall theme is the same and it did not cost me $39.95 for this sized candle.

Sunday afternoon I quickly made up this pine tree trivet (a pad to set hot items on) for my SIL, who is hosting a Christmas morning brunch.  I am planning to make a recipe Patti, from Osage Bluff,sent me for a blueberry french toast casserole as well as some Napoleon cookie bars.

 This pad is the perfect size to set a 9 x 13-inch dish on.  Usually when you are having a buffet with hot items, you have to toss at least 4 tiny potholders down under the hot dishes. These are so much easier to use.  I think she will like it.  I gave her one a couple of years ago, but she won't use it because she says it's too pretty. This time I am just going to take this and put it under my dish (if a few blueberries stain it, that's OK). I will tell her it's hers to keep and PLEASE use it, abuse it, and when it's all worn, throw it away!  I make these for people to use!

Tomorrow night I am going out to dinner (Chinese restaurant) with my two sisters. We are all planning the Christmas Eve party. Some of you know that I have been doing it for the past three years, but this year I  did not feel like doing it, so Sister T is hosting it this year with the help of Sister D. Sister T has decided to serve a full dinner --prime rib--everyone brings a dish. I have been assigned dessert. It will be fun and different from the heavy appetizers we usually do.  I know that I will thoroughly enjoy being a guest and not having to do all the work!

I hope all of your Christmas plans are coming along as nicely as mine.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Suddenly I want to Make Fruitcake

I just finished reading  There's Something About Christmas by Debbie Macomber.  It's a quick holiday light romance read with an interesting fruitcake theme (I finished it in 24 hours)  .  There are three recipes for fruit cake and I have saved them all.  Have any of you read this book and made any of these fruitcakes?  I would love to have a review if  you did.

Yesterday  the quilt patterns I ordered arrived. 
 I want to make the snowman first. This pattern may look pretty complicated to those who do not paper piece.  Actually it's pretty easy - none of the pieces are ittty bitty and I think I will have no problem making this one. The worst part will be cutting it all apart and  adding the seam allowances.  I can't even remember if I showed you this pattern or if I just posted it on my quilting blog. The other day I posted what I plan to do with this block. If interested just go here. (by the way this is a permalink for those of you asking for explanations. It takes you to the exact post, not to the home page)
I have a big pot of chili simmering on the stove so I now have the remainder of the afternoon to putter around in my sewing room.  I am going to make a snow- covered tree trivet pad for my SIL as a hostess gift since we are going there for Christmas brunch. I made a few tree blocks last week that I am going to use as a border with the snowman block.  I don't think I showed you these (if I did, please forgive me. I can never remember what I posted at which blog)
I am planning to make a different one for SIL. I am short of fabric for these blocks and I  need quite a few more blocks for the border. 
What is everyone else doing today? Getting ready for Christmas? Cooking? Wrapping gifts? Napping?

Friday, December 17, 2010

How Many Times am I going to See Elf Marshmallows on a stick?

Well, at least 18.

As that is the number of memes that this person had attached her post to. Yes, 18! (they are not really elf marshmallows on a stick--I just used that as an example so that the real abuser is not known)

This is my rant of people using the same post for numerous memes.

I really enjoy finding a meme that interests me--Christmas decorating, tablescaping, gardening, quilting, etc.  Some of the meme hosts have hundreds of participants and it can be such fun to just click on each one and find posts that you are interested in. You can spend a good hour or more just checking them all out.

But during the past year, I have been seeing the same posts attached to dozens of memes. 

The first time I saw marshmallow elves on a stick, I thought, "Wow! What a great idea!"

Second time - "Oh, yeah, these are so cute." I looked over all the details in case I wanted to do it, too.

Third time - "Oh, there's those elf marshmallows on a stick AGAIN."

Fourth time - "It can't be the same post again!  She must google "memes" and attach to everyone she can find.  I am pretty sick of seeing these elf marshmallows on a stick."


sixth - eighteenth time - I clicked the big X as rapidly as I could  and tried to withhold a scream which would wake  my husband from a sound sleep. . . remember I surf at 5:00 a.m.

Please people-- I love to find memes of interest and visit all the sites, but the least you can do is post something NEW to each meme! NOBODY wants to see elf marshmallows on a stick 18 times!

18 is not even the worst I have found. Seriously, I found one person who linked the same post to 28 different memes!

Recently I have noticed a number of blog owners  leaving a perfunctory comment on a site---"oh, that is sooooo cute...."  and then saying, "Please attach this post to my Wacky Christmas,  Thanksgiving, Wild Wednesday, Terrific Tuesday, Footsie Friday,  etc. meme".  This is ridiculous! The blog owners really have little interest in the post they are commenting on, they are just  out soliciting links! Is this junior high or what? I guess the more people who post to your meme, the more popular you think you are.

Other meme owners list all the rules and then never bother to delete those who do not abide.  Like when they insist that you use their  permalink (a very, very good rule).  One of the memes I used to visit had well over a 100 linkers and I have found that more than 75% of those just link to the main page of the host blog, which is very frustrating when you want to find the other linkers two months after. If the blog owner was doing his/her job properly they would delete all of those who do not follow this rule, so that I (AND YOU) will never experience the frustration of clicking and finding the current post rather than the meme post.  Most of these meme-abuse owners really don't care if you follow the rules, they just want as many links back to their site as they can get.

This post came about because I just found a Christmas meme and the first 5 of 7 posts I clicked on were posts I had already seen -- numerous times.  I just closed out of that blog and came here to rant.

So if you made it this far, thank you for listening.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The .49 Shell

This post will be a short one because I am tired tonight and have nothing much to say.

Yesterday I got my .49 black shell.

I wore it today with a black jacket I had in my closet.

I like it. The knotted design provided all the jewelry I needed.

After work today I  made six winter tree quilt blocks. You can see them on my quilting blog. Click here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Birch Bark Candle Centerpiece

Remember when I told you I found two pieces of birch bark in my garden and that I saved it? Well, here it is....
just a small amount.    

I combined white candles with  some real greenery and came up with this large centerpiece for my half table leading to the dining room.
You gardeners may notice dried astilbe heads, Sedumn Autumn Joy and Black-eyed Susans interspersed among the greens.

I tied some twine around the bark. I also finished another banner -- a "Joy" banner and I put it across the front of this table.

I am really into banners this year!

Since I am cutting way back this year, I don't plan on making anymore holiday arrangements.  It will be so easy to take everything down since I did not do much!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gift Wrap #2 -- Who says Bows Can't be Manly?

I have had this big buck wrapping paper for years. I decided this would work nicely for my second exchange gift for the family party. 

This paper should give the guys an indication that this gift is for them. I made another (smaller) bow with green velvet, brown cotton  and a pine cone center. As bows go, I think this one looks pretty manly.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Making a Big Bow for a Dull Gift

OK, here is the dull gift again--I picked the dull gold paper on purpose so I could use whatever colors of ribbon I had on hand for the bow. It's like dressing yourself. If you have a monotone dull color on, you need to punch it up with big jewelry.

I definitely needed some big jewelry for this one. None of the  premade bows I had were big or interesting enough. So I decided to make my own.  It probably will come as no surprise to most of you that I have a bin or two of ribbons/etc. for gift wrapping--all of which I have purchased for a fraction of their full price.  I went to the basement and  grabbed a few spools of ribbon that I thought would work.   I decided to just cut pieces and staple/glue them down to a circle of scrapbook paper. I traced around a coffee cup to get the circle.

 It did not take long for me to realize that this bow needed a heavier base. I was holding an empty ribbon spool in my hand.......hmmmm...why not just use's very sturdy.

So I began gluing ribbons on to the empty spool.  I forgot to take a pic until I was already half done.  This is the back side after I had already glued a dozen or so pieces of ribbon on.
I just cut ribbon and glued until I had it pretty full.
...pretty full and too flat!  I dug around the bin for more ribbon and found a pretty green wired ribbon that worked great.
I put more of the green ribbon on top of the gold ribbon that I had already wrapped around the box.  Then I hot glued the bow onto the gift.  Now I just needed to find something to fill in the top. Sitting on the table right next me were some gold pine cones.  I grabbed one that sat perfectly in the open space. I squeezed out a big gob of glue and affixed the cone.

There my first gift is wrapped and I don't think it's dull anymore!

Tomorrow I will show you a "manly" gift wrapped package with another similar bow.

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