Just a couple of days after I had decorated... well at night really... around 2am... I heard a, "CRASH!" come from the living room... something had fallen. Grogally I wandered from my nice warm bed to see what it was. I was thinking, "I bet it was the wooded card tree. I didn't do a very good job hanging that up. I never was very good with nails." Well, it was a tree but not the card tree it was THE TREE! It fallen completely over: pulled the cord off the wall which knocked the fence from on top of the bookshelf off, it hit the desk, the water spilled out, ruined the gift box I had under the tree, the star got knocked off and about a third of the ordements fell off. But fortunately I only broke four of them. It was a mess. Of course I couldn't leave it till morning with all the water leaking out. So as quickly as I could I picked it up and tried to straighten it in it's stand. (I'll add here that I did not put it in the stand to begin with because I knew it would tip if I had.) Well, I was convinced in my foggy mind that the reason it fell was because the screws had dug into the tree trunk. So, I thought, "If I just put some pennies in between the tree trunk and the screws they won't dig in and I can tighten them enough that it will be stable. To say the least, any idea I have at 2am probably isn't the brightest. Well with one had holding up the tree I tried my best to place these little pennies with my other hand in between the screws and the tree. I'd get up to two, and one would fall in I'd tighten the screws and loosen the screws, and when I finally got up to three of the pennies in... I lost my grip and they all fell in. So at this point I decided it needed to wait until morning. I tightened and straightened it as best I could. Then I mopped the water out of the carpet and used the hand vac. (because it is quiet) to vacume up all the broken ordements. (I did get one small shard in my hand.) Then I hung the tree skirt up in the kitchen to dry. And lastly, took all the rest of the ordenments off the tree just in case it fell again. And finally around 4am I when back to bed. I didn't sleep well to say the least. It's hard to sleep when you know you're going to just get up in about 3 hours and I drempt all night of it falling again. The next day my dad and mom came over during my lunch break to help me fix it. My dad is always great in an emergency. I think he really likes the excitement. He'd always drive me to work in heavy ice and snow just because he liked to drive in the snow. And I actually think he likes it when the car breaks down and he has to come and get me. Anyhow, I garentee there is no way that tree is falling down again. He weighed the tree stand down with lumps of coal and wired the top of the tree to the ceiling. And my mom helped with the rest of the de-decorating and re-decorating. ...but how am I going to get it down now?
As always, I like to make some of my gifts. I would have blogged about this one sooner, but you never know who might be watching.
This year I made some monogrammed towels for my dad's "new" 60's boat that he's been restoring this winter. The boat's name is Lone Star so of course it needs to say that in the towels that hang in the cabin. But unfortunately I didn't realize how long it took to monogram that many letters into a towel by hand. I guess that's why monograms are usually one or two letters. Oh well, they look great so far even if I had to wrap up the half finished towel and thread.
My other crafty gift of the year was this stuffed Police Box for the neighbors whom I watch Dr. Who with. If you don't really "get" what it is, than sorry, I'm not explaining it. I had to work on it during the office Christmas party, and I got really tired of people asking, "What is that?" And then trying my best to explain exactly why Dr. Who needs a police box, and that it's not really a police box but actually a time machine/spaceship that he needs to travel through space and time. So, if anyone in that office ever had any doubt about how dorky I really am, they know now. But at least I have comfort in knowing that there where others in the office who took one look at it and said, "Hey, you're making a T.A.R.D.I.S. Cool! Watching old British men run from robots shaped like giant salt shakers, now that's quality television." So at least I know I'm not alone.
I also made gnocchi (potato dumplings) from scratch for the first time ever this month. Well, I used instant mashed potatoes to make them fluffier, so maybe that doesn't entirely count. But they were amazing! Something I will definitely make again. I got the recipe from http://allrecipes.com/ my favorite site for recipes. I even made an olive oil garlic sauce with fresh basil to go with it.... mmmm..... When I took them to work the next day I was nearly mauled by hungry co-workers.
Oh my! How I've gotten behind on my blogging! I got so involved with Christmas I forgot to write about it. But now to celebrate Boxing Day, I'm going to finally post about all those things I took pictures of... and forgot to take pictures of. And then I'm going to get pictures of the things I forgot to take pictures of. Here are the pictures of my cheery home:
I took these pictures on the day of my open house. Well, before everyone came, after they got here I was too busy to take pictures. Everyone came whom I invited and I think the words "full house" would better describe it. Maggie got to play dress-up with all my old hats and jewelry. (I'll try to get a picture of her.) I apologize to everyone who had to sit on the floor! But at least I didn't run out of tea and cookies. Thank you everyone who brought cookies, they were all delicious. I had about six-dozen left over. I ate cookies for dinner that night and breakfast the next morning. Carrie the cranberry muffins were perfect for that! And I took a plate of cookies to each of the neighbors to apologize for the noise. Although they all laughed and said they didn't even notice it. I like my neighbors. And I hope everyone liked my house, I loved having everyone over.
Can you guess which one I am? I only have fond memories of Christmas which is probably why I like it so much now. A two day celebration with nearly two months anticipation which stretched throughout the year. I even remember playing Christmas in July with a fur bow cut from the back yard for a Christmas tree, decorations of paper snowflakes, pipe cleaner candy canes, Christmas gram cracker cookies with hot chocolate, a real sock for a stocking, and of course then Santa would come when all the lights are out and leave "presents" which were usually old toys rewrapped in newspaper. And even all that was no comparison to the real Christmas which happened on December 25th. Oh, yes we kept an advent calendar religiously.
What exactly made Christmas so wonderful? EVERYTHING! After Thanksgiving we'd start decorating and making Christmas cookies. And every year, after I was older, I'd make a gingerbread house. We'd visit friends and neighbors and friends and neighbors would come visit us. We always had cookies and hot chocolate ready when they did. We'd drive though neighborhoods just to look at the Christmas lights. And it seems every year growing up I was Mary in the church Christmas pageant. So I'd practice for that and go to choir rehearsals for the children's choir. And we'd write Christmas cards and send them out. And get a mail box full in return. Christmas mail is fun mail. REAL LETTERS! There's something to be said for a paper hand written note rather than a quick phone call or an email. It says, "Hey, I was thinking of you when I made this card and signed it and addressed it, licked the envelope, stuck the stamp on it, which I paid 32¢ for, and then I was thinking of you when I dropped it in the mail box. And I was thinking of you when it came back because I couldn't remember the current postage rate... and I was thinking of you when I stuck two stamps on it and dropped it in the mail box again. And I know you were thinking of me when you opened your mail box and saw a pretty finely addressed red envelope instead of just bills and junk. And I know you were thinking of me when you taped it to your closet door, or stuck it in your Christmas card basket, or made it into a Christmas card basket." Yes, I wish people would send things in the mail more often. It gives me a reason to remember to get the mail. Right, tangent sorry... Why Christmas is wonderful, besides the aforementioned. Well, on Christmas Eve, we'd go to the Christmas Eve service. Then we'd have all the family over or go to Grandma's and open presents from the assorted relatives. And we'd eat snacky types of food: Grandma Ide's German lebkucken, Grandma Rohrer's little pecan pies, crab spread, eggnog, hot chocolate, cream cheese and pumpernickel bread, cheeses mmmmm... cheese, and lots and lots of other foods too. I remember some years we'd sing carols to my mom's piano playing, and other years we'd light the candles on the tree. Yes, candles on the tree. The candle holders were my grandpa's when he was young. And yes, there was a few close calls, I remember once we melted a glittered communion cup bell ornament. But other than that it was relatively safe. And always a sight to see. And then after everyone went home my grandpa would dress up like Santa and come visit. I'm afraid I fell for that bit for a great many years. I was a gullible little thing. But one year I caught my parents filling the stockings when I got up to get a drink of water. Then I knew the truth. But it's fun to believe in Santa anyhow so I figured I play along. So, after Santa promised to come back after we were in bed... well I was in a hurry to get to bed! So we'd put out a letter and a plate of cookies for Santa and some carrots for his reindeer (with an extra big one for Rudolf.) And rush off to bed... Next morning... IT'S CHRISTMAS!!! I'd rush out and see what was under the tree and in the stockings. Santa's cookies were reduced to a few crumbs (man, he's a messy eater!) and the carrots were gone! And in the stockings Santa had left apples, oranges, candy canes, chocolates, and a few small toys. Then we'd open the presents from each other and from Santa. After that we'd eat breakfast, hopefully fritters (homemade doughnuts that you dip in a powdered sugar glaze.) And go off to church. After church we'd either go to Christmas dinner at Grandma's house or our house. There we'd all sit down to a nice dinner, the Thanksgiving of Christmas. And after words show off our new toys and play games. And then finally head for home. And well, that pretty much sums up Christmas growing up.
This Saturday I am opening my home to basically anyone who can find it. Guests should bring cookies and I'll supply the tea. I'm even going to make my favorite chai tea from scratch. (Thank you Trina for the recipe.) (And yes, I will play the accordion if you ask me. My goal is to learn O Tannenbaum by Christmas.) It started out as a small tea party for just my sisters, my mom and my grandma. But then I realized just how many people have never seen my apartment. And I've lived here almost a year! So, I figured this way everyone will at least have a chance to come and visit. So, my goal this week is to keep the house as clean as possible... So far so good. Anyhow if you got one of the invitations above in the mail, you're mostly required to come. But if you can't make it Saturday, you can come anytime, any day without an invitation. And if you didn't get an invitation. Come any way. Saturday, December 15th • 12pm - 6pm
Some nights I look around my apartment with all the tinsel, lights, bobble-head snowmen, felt critters and The Firestone Tire Christmas record playing in the background and think, "Could I have possibly overdone the Christmas décor?" I mean, "Do I really need three Christmas trees in one room?" And "Do I really need a Santa planter stick in every potted plant I own?" and then I stop and think, "Nooooo, you can never have too much Christmas stuff." I mean leaving it up past New Year's and putting it up before Thanksgiving, may be over doing it time wise. But I don't think you can have too much (quantity wise) during the Holiday Season. After all who doesn't love to see a nativity set made entirely from bamboo or a ceramic snowman toothpick holder? I guess I simply love Christmas, and why not show that love by drenching my home in as much gaudy, shiny, kitchy things as humanly possible. And why stop at the living room, when there's so much free shelf space in the kitchen. Yes, I may have had to box up a few dishes, but with three sets, I won't miss a few of them for the month of December. I was however, able to stop myself from spreading my zealous cardboard cutouts and streamers from flowing into the bathroom and bedroom. There must be a limit for sanitys' sake. And my bedroom is also currently hosting the bamboo bookcase-shelf-cupboard thing that used to be were the tree now stands. So it's already reached maximum capacity for stuff. But the other rooms, all two of them, are up for redecorating this month. I have even spread my cheer out onto the front porch with a happy wreath with a big red bow and I stuck holly in the planter where the geraniums were this summer. Over all my home is over the top ready for Christmas. CHEERS! T
Part of me thinks, "Hey, I can't write a blog about what I want for Christmas. That's really selfish and kinda rude." But I know if I don't than people will keep on asking, "What do you want for Christmas?" And then I'll forget and not know what to say. So, I'm writing it all out now.
What I want for Christmas is whatever you happen to give me. You gave me a mini-crock-pot? (hint) Great, I'll make soups while I'm at work. You got me a paper shredder? (another hint) Wonderful, a fun way to dispose of unwanted junk mail and unfiled paperwork. That is until it takes off a finger tip... But hey, the risk is part of the fun. Bottom line is, whatever you get me I'll like. I'm not really hard to buy for. There's something either good, useful, or strange in nearly every gift. Surprise me.
But if surprises isn't really your thing, then here are some less ambiguous ideas: • red plaid Better Homes and Garden Cookbook (or a collections of recipes you like... quick and easy dinner types of things especially. I'm getting tired of always making the same 20 or so things. I mean yes, I can make great egg flower soup, but I'm ready to try something new.) • knee high socks (any color, solid striped or argyle)(Trina, you work at Sock Dreams so you've got a lot to choose from, so I'm expecting socks... please! I really like socks I know it's the clique Christmas gift. But I really really do like socks!) • living room clock (I like that one at Target, unless you see a better.) • small crock-pot (as hinted above) • paper shredder (as also hinted above) • metal T square (Frankie this is a good one for you to get me.) • old globe (one with East and West Germany is good.) • an old metal lunch box (I've been looking for one for months, but I'd like one if you can find it.) • My Book House, 1, 6, 12 (actually any book is good, especially old ones with good illustrations.) • a new flash drive (a kitchy one shaped like sushi would be cool, but I like the plain ones good too.) • one of those neat old small electric waffle makers at Mike's (I like Mike's and waffles.) • shopping cart (the old lady wire type that folds up.) • mixing bowl set (good will pyrex please.) • pinking sheers (Jo-Anne's has got 40% off coupons.) • (if you are under 10) I like pictures make with lots of glitter and cut out construction paper to hang on the frig. and sculptures made from painted rocks and pipe cleaners. • Harney and Sons tea • hat, scarf, or gloves (Amy this means you... I'd love a long thin scarf and I know you are the quickest croqueter in the world.) (Trina, I really liked those arm warmers you sell at Sock Dreams. Oh, and those cute leg warmers with the buttons.) • a calendar (the wall type not the tear the day off type because I always forget to tear the day off and then I forget what day it is and I end up thinking it's June instead of July. I want it for the kitchen door.) • And a new fry pan, a big one. (The tefflon is falling off my favorite one and I had to throw it out last night.) • a step stool (so I don't fall while taking down the Christmas decorations.) • a magnalight flashlight (I realized I only have one small flashlight, and I have to hit it to get it to turn on and off.) • And I would add a soft boiled egg topper, but Dave and Trina gave me that gift early. Thanks guys! I've already used it and it works great! • And this is the spot for the stuff I'm forgetting and I'm going to add later.
Happy Holiday Hunting!
And remember why buy something new when you can get it used, with more style and for less... or even better yet... make it yourself!
Although... I don't think you could make a paper shredder yourself... But I'd love to see you try!