Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Adios 2008!!!

I got this card in 2006 from the Obama family and I treasured it then, but even more so now.

I welcome the new year and what it will mean for our Nation and her people.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

We Went to the Movies

Despereaux......little mouse with big dreams, a big heart, and big courage.

My niece TreShawn generously let me have the company of her son Haki for a couple of nights. It was his first sleep-over at my house, and we had a great time.

We rented some DVD's to watch at home and then today we went to the movies. It's been a tradition of mine for many years to go to the movies on Christmas weekend, and this year we chose to go see the animated movie "Tale of Despereaux". It had a great message about not accepting the limitations that others try to put on you. For example Despereaux got terrible marks in school because he refused to "scurry" and didn't "cower". LOL I really liked the movie, and Haki was attentive throughout. He gave it two thumbs up.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Right Down to the Wire....

I shopped yesterday for the stuff I need to make Green Bean Casserole, which is my responsibility for Christmas dinner. I'm spending it with my "sista-women-friends" and their kids. I have made this before and it's soooo easy to do and everyone seems to like it. So that's a snap.

I'll take everything there to assemble and bake. Easy-Peasy.

Before I headed out to do that little bit of shopping, and for my dentist appointment, I made my first ever batch of Biscotti. Orange almond in flavor and so good with my morning coffee today.


The last of the goodie trays went out the door yesterday evening. I made a total of 7 with cookies on the bottom and candy on top. They were lovely and I was channeling my inner Martha the whole time.

Actually I was channeling my inner Ginny Ingle, mom, who was Martha long before Martha became a brand. She was room mother when we three were in school and her treats were over the top. During our school's fall festival, her decorated cakes were the ones that raised the most money. Her holiday platters were altogether amazing and looked-forward-to by all our neighbors. If I can do anything at all well, all thanks belong to her.

I got a lovely in the mail this week. My friend, Doro, who is a water-colorist and was a neighbor of mine in Mexico sent me a watercolor she painted ~ already matted and framed. She and David live in Ouray, Colorado part of the year and this is a painting of the mountains in the fall, showing snow on the peaks. She had no idea that the colors in my bathroom are all in those fallish colors, so it is perfect. I took down the picture I had in there and put this one up. It is so beautiful and makes my heart glad. Thanks Doro for sharing your talent with me.

It's rainy today and I'm doing laundry and cleaning house. Maya and I have been on our walk and we both got wet and were glad to get home, where it's warm and dry.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Peace!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Home, Sweet, Home....

City living has required some compromise on my part and some patience on the part of my companion and best-dog, Maya. Until we moved here, Maya only had to stand at the door and I'd let her out to go take care of business. I cleaned up the yard after her when we were in Mexico. When we moved to North Carolina we lived out in the country and she had the run of 80 some acres which she shared with cows, coyotes, wild turkeys, deer, and other critters. No clean up was required.

Here in the city, she has to be on a leash and I follow behind with bags. She has me right where she wants

This is our apartment, the one on the bottom floor to the right of the lamp post. You can't see it, but not only is there a patio off the living room, but there's another off the dining room (behind the bushes there in the picture). I love that it gives me the illusion of more space than there is.

I took this picture from the top of the levy that runs along the Sacramento River which is across the street from me. The levy provides a paved surface for bike riders, stroller-pushers, joggers, dog-walkers, skateboarders, walkers, and Maya and I walk it regularly. I'm the one on the end of the leash with the plastic bags.

Looking at the river to the right, you can see we are on a bend.
and looking to the left, you can see the bend going away. Those are barges tied up to pilings and filled with rock and dirt....they are working on the levys.

We sometimes see seals in the river who have made their way upstream from the San Francisco Bay, and also Sea Otters. Once or twice whales have made it upstream and have had to be guided back down to the bay...they get their internal direction finder out of kilter somehow.

Some days we go to the park for our walk, and sometimes we go to the dog park where Maya can be off leash. She never strays far from my side though so we more often go to the people park.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I am enjoying my clean-for-a-minute house. It's been rainy so I am not even trying to convince myself that it will stay that way for long. Every time Maya and I go out, we track. I towel her off at the door, and we wipe our feet.....but the outside still clings and insists on being invited in! Oh dang.

I've been enjoying my eensy teensy tree!
It is manageable and so festive at night with all the lights turned off except for these twinkly ones on the tree and the flicker of candles throughout the house.
I love the look of the holidays and always feel cheery with all the decorations, the music, and the generally sparkly look of the world.

I wanted to make some slipcovers for the task chair at the desk in my room. The basic black is okay, but it is of some fabric that is a dog-hair magnet and no amount of brushing, lint rolling, or vacuuming will work. 5 minutes later, it needs it again. So for now I have the back and seat covered with pillowcases...not a good look.

The bed linens are rust/orange part of the year and shades of caribbean blue/turquoise the rest of the year. I got this fabric at IKEA and have made a pattern. Stay tuned.

This year I'm going to make a few trays of iced cookies and some homemade candy. I remember that my mother always started well in advance and made oodles of trays of goodies for us to give to our teachers, carry to the neighbors, some went to Dad's workplace, and she mailed off boxes to relatives who couldn't be with us at Christmas. She was Martha long before Martha existed and did it all so well.

I've never made candy before but yesterday I made Peanut Brittle and this morning I made English Toffee! And they both turned out! Waaa-hooooooooooo!!!!

This afternoon I'm going to make the cookie dough, wrap it and refrigerate it and once the cookies are made....I can make up the trays and deliver them. Early yes, but I don't have room to store all that stuff, nor do I want it in the

I don't think I'll do this every year. Candy making is messy and tricky. Cookie making is okay, so that will probably continue. I never mastered the art of decorating with royal icing and a pastry bag.....I got it all over me, and it seemed to get flung far and wide as well. I can manage icing and sprinkles though.

All of this baking/cooking has me in the kitchen spending time with memories of mom and all the loveliness she created for our holidays. I'm a little nostalgic and enjoying it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Seasonal Deliciousness

Trader Joe's, which in any season is snack-central, has some special items that are only available during the Holidays.

Chocolatey cookie goodness with stuff in the middle containing crushed peppermints. Oh dang, it's amazing!

I love Joe-Joe's and curse the day my cousin Peggy introduced me to them.

Hope you have some sinful sweetness in your life.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Acccckkkkkkk! How do the days get away??

I love my blog buddies who manage to rassle with kids, keep the house, cook, do lovely crafts, make their Christmas presents, quilt, take amazing photographs, and still blog every day. I love that they can. I can't. Today I'm cleaning house, so I still won't be able to take pics and blog.

I have this sign hanging up; I feel like it was meant just for me. I need to remember it right now.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Maybe I Found My Quilt Shop Home!!!!

I finally found a shop in the greater Sacramento area that sells Quilting Arts Magazine. I've been looking all over for the latest issue because it features one of my favorite bloggers shown on the cover...Malka Dubrowski. The magazine is pricey, but I was curious about her process, so wanted it.

I walked into JR Flamingo (which was a new fabric store to me) and I felt right at home. The ladies there ~ Susan and Valerie ~ were really helpful and the quilts were gorgeous. They are also a shop for sewers other than quilters, but most of their fabric was quilt fabric and their selections were wonderful. Every quilt shop is different in the fabric they select to sell, and I really liked the "eye" of this shop's buyer. They had a lot of Kaffe Fasset shot cottons, tons of dupioni silk ~ which I want to incorporate into some of my quilts, and they had a good selection of african and ethnic prints.

I'm going to try to take a class there when the new schedule comes out. It felt like home.

Wanna Be Santa?

Have you seen this Macy's Page? You gotta try it. I've doodled away 45 minutes making me and everyone I have a picture of into Santa...what a hoot!

And here's another Holiday Season pic showing the first Xmas card I received. I thought it looked good on my red stash cabinet.

Holiday Spirit

Well, most of the decorating is done.
I'm calling it a minimalist Holiday Season here.

The lights are up.
I hung them under the upstairs patio, and I like the twinkle at night.

I got a teeny weeny tree at Trader Joe's and some teeny weeny lights to go on it. That corner of the living room looks festive as all get-out!

I got these little red doo-dads at IKEA and with a poinsetta bloom they are kinda holiday-ish, don't you think?

There are lights around the inside of the patio fence and I'm going to leave these up after the holidays too. I love the twinkle.

A reindeer and some red votives on the table.

A cheery candle and a glittery wreath on the entry hall table.

Christmas cards have been sent out.
And everything is in the pantry for some holiday baking. I'm pretty much ready.

I have loved reading everyone's blogs! If you haven't checked out Sew, Mama, Sew you should if you need ideas for some holiday gifting that are hand made. Not all of them require a lot of time, so you still can make a hand-made Christmas.

I also loved Jane Sassaman's blog today~ she had some beautiful wondrous things utilizing her fabrics.

I listed all my favorite blogs on the sidebar ~ if you can't get inspired on your own, these women will get you going.