If I had managed to get any Christmas cards sent, this is what I was sending this year.
I have the dog. And I have a Volkswagen. As for the tree, I did have to bring a rather large tree home a few weeks ago and cords were involved. Bungee cords - they were to keep the trunk from bouncing up and down onto the approximately two-feet of box still sticking out the trunk. But it worked and I got the tree home, and that's all that matters, right?
Are you all ready for Christmas? Stockings hung? Packages wrapped? Christmas cards sent? (Show off.)
I'm as ready as I'm going to be, which sort of makes me think that Christmas is a lot like Quilt Market. Even though I've had months to plan, get organized and get busy... I'm still rushing last minute to finish twenty-seven things I could easily have had done weeks ago. It seems like I'm spending a fair amount of time waiting for UPS and FedEx, and if you've been to a mall or shopping in the past few days, then you've essentially been to Sample Spree. And after all the preparation, build-up and running around, it's all over in a flash. Until next time.
So what's been going on here?
This seems to be what I've done the most of this past week or so. Doing the dishes after making a batch of [fill in the blank]. I've been baking and that always seems to mean that I've got a sink full of dishes either waiting to be washed or drying. When you're baking one batch of cookies right after another, doing the dishes by hand is definitely the fastest and the easiest way to go. And even though I have an extra bowl for the mixer, I'm going to have to wash it anyway so I always seem to wind up using just the one.
With my brother coming for Christmas and my not "working" elsewhere this year, my Mom decided that I should be able to get some cookies and quick breads made. So I baked Chocolate Chip Cookies using the recipe on the bag and Oatmeal Cookies using the recipe from the cannister. They're not fancy but they always seem to wind up being the recipes I like best. I made Hermits using the recipe from Sandi in Florida, and I baked Orange Date Nut Bread using a recipe my Mom got from my grandmother years ago. It's my brother's favorite. I also made Cranberry Banana Bread. I also baked some terrific cookies using a recipe from Midwest Living magazine -- Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies.
I've also been experimenting with a Meyer Lemon recipe... with much better results than some folks.
I made Limoncello using Giada's recipe. And instead of throwing away the rinds, I did what one reviewer suggested and I tossed them with sugar to make candied lemon peel. I'll let you know how that turned when they're dry.
With the baking and fermenting out of the way, I've hung Christmas lights outside -- two strings of icicle lights on the brick wall. The neighbors were a little shocked too. Of course, it also meant a trip to the hardware store when the outdoor extension cord didn't work, and everything else I had that worked was too short. The upside is that I got this funny pen with a light bulb at the end that lights up and flickers when you bounce it on the table. I also managed to get the tree up this year. Poinsettias? Check. Real and faux. Wreaths? Check.
My Mom's bathroom is all finished except for the decorating -- she thinks she wants some black & white photographs for the walls. I think that will have to wait until after Christmas. The work went really well though just about the point where I was ready to pack my Mom and Rosie in the car and go someplace -- anyplace! -- because I couldn't stand the noise of the jackhammer any longer... it stopped. And it was over. The same goes for the craziness of having just one bathroom. As you can probably guess, the work took a week longer than expected. Seriously, we're going to have to talk about what "two weeks" means in contractor-speak. And of course, the cost was a skosh more than anticipated. But my Mom is happy so that's all that matters.
If you're wondering if I stitched this... the answer is "no". Not because I didn't want to. And not because I couldn't do it... though actually, I couldn't do it because when I showed the pre-printed linen to a dear, sweet friend for her approval, she ripped it from my hands and volunteered to stitch it for me. And she wouldn't give it back no matter how many times I asked, and no matter how many tears I shed.
(Yes, that's my story. And yes, I'm sticking to it.)
Okay. Because I want to stay on "the big guy from the North's" good side, I'll concede that subconsciously, it is within the realm of possibility that I showed it to her in the hope that she might offer to stitch it for me. I didn't think about it at the time... but I have to admit that there is no doubt whatsoever that her stitching it means that I get to enjoy this lovely redwork this Christmas instead of Christmas 2017. And really, she did a much nicer job on it than I probably would have. That's a given.
Just so you know, I saw this on Rosalie's blog in August and ordered it from Under the Mulberry Tree. The design is printed on white linen and it comes with a skein of Lecien Cosmo embroidery floss.
It goes without saying that I hope you and yours have a very safe, happy, joyous holiday -- a very Merry Christmas.
Next week? I'm really looking forward to a long winter's nap.
Merry Christmas to all!