December 26, 2008
Something for you to listen to: Boxing Day by Reliant K
I love the sentiment behind the lyrics of this song:
Take it all down, Christmas is over
But do not despair, but rather be glad
We had a good year, now let's have another
Remembering all the good times that we had
Oh no more lights glistening
No more carols to sing
But Christmas, it makes way for spring
Though hearts of man are bitter in weather
As cold as the snow that falls from above
But just for one day we all came together
We showed the whole world that we know how to love
Oh no more lights glistening
No more carols to sing
But Christmas, it makes way for spring
Oh no more lights glistening
No more carols to sing
Christmas, it makes way for spring
Oh remember that Christmas, it makes way for spring
This Christmas I partied with family members, old
::(Most of) The Duclos Family::
All of the gifts that I made over the past year have been well received (thus far)! Here are the few that I didn't get a chance to share with you yet.
This pillow, for my sister, was inspired by a similar pillow in this year's issue of Martha Stewart Holiday Gifts.
The pup you see snuggling with my brother-in-law in the upper left corner passed away earlier this year. His name was Baxter, and he was twelve years old.
Baxter belonged to my sister's in-laws, who are her next door neighbors. Her two pups are the same breed, and Baxter was their very bestest friend.
My sister and BIL don't have any kiddos - so the loss of a dog, is an immense one. I made this pillow with printer fabric to display images of happy memories with all of her "boys" with old Baxter prominently featured.
She totally teared up. Point scored!
Next up, a custom CD Visor for my dad:
There were a few tasty gifts too:
Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes (with Cream Cheese Frosting) went to my brother-in-law, Geoff
Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls went to my brother Mike and his girlfriend Sylvie
A note on the cinnamon rolls, should you try the recipe. I'm not a fan of the frosting recipe that accompanies it. I took leftover cream cheese frosting from the Guinness cupcakes and put it on top of the rolls. The results were heavenly!
Here's everything packed up to head off to my parents' house for Christmas Eve:
Christmas Day started like this:
Some gifts are easier to open than others!!!
Then we watched the first season of House ALL DAY LONG.
It was good.
How was your Christmas?
Mine is yet to be over! Matt and I are going to upstate New York this week to sit by a frosty lake and spend some time with good friends. Then we'll be off to New Jersey for Matt's grandmother's 100th birthday (we doubt she'll have any idea as to what's going on, but it's a great excuse to see family), where there will be another round of gifts to dole out to nieces and nephews and in-laws on that side of the family. More fun is yet to come!
I'll be taking some time off from blogging until after the New Year. I hope that you are all having a spectacular Christmas season and I can't wait to see you all in the New Year! Cheers!
December 22, 2008
Something to inspire: Need a last minute gift idea? Check out SewMamaSew's Handmade Holiday's Round-Ups from 2007 and 2008 for plenty of inspiration. I'm also loving the cute, easy Handmade Printed Scarves via Curbly.
Something to Make: Many snow inspired projects to share with you today! I've been swooning over:
Something to Listen To: Let It Snow! sung by Bing Crosby
We've finally had some respite from three days of relentless snowfall. I admit, I love snow, but this much arriving at once has been a little overwhelming! It is absolutely beautiful outside. Barring some freak 90 degree weather, it should be a white Christmas this year!
Off to (hopefully) finish up some Christmas sewing. Cheers!
December 21, 2008
Thanks to Flickr user Ouissi for allowing me to share her photo!
Something for you to read: Click on the photo above to read a little fun historical background on the role of walnuts in European Christmas traditions, courtesy of Ouissi.
Something for you to watch: Please set aside ten minutes to do this! Watch a ten-minute look back on Mark Morris' production of The Hard Nut. Morris collaborated with famed comic book illustrator Charles Burns in 1991 for an update on the classic tale of The Nutcracker. The production is set in the 1970's instead of the late 18th century. I admit, it is not my favorite Nutcracker ever, but it is truer than most to the E.T.A. Hoffman story, and offers up some wonderful, creative moments. The video shows excerpts of Morris' version of the joyous Snowflake dance - watch to see why it's one of my favorite pieces of choreography ever!
Something for you to make:
Walnut Shell Place Card Holders via Zakka Life
Walnut Shell Votives via Ella Pedersen
:: EDIT ::
I had to add this adorable Walnut Boat Ornament via Disdressed
Something for you to listen to: Speaking of Nutcracker updates check out Duke Ellington's arrangement of The Nutcracker Suite.
I'll tell you what is nuts - all of the snow we've been getting! I'm staying toasty warm watching Family Guy with Matt. Goodnight all!
December 20, 2008
God bless my sister-in-law's awesome boyfriend for sending me a loaf!
Something for you to check out: Pam has the most amazing tip for maximizing the productivity of your holiday baking time. Read about it at her incredible blog, Gingerbread+Snowflakes.
Something for you to make: Chocolate Bread Pudding with Cardamom Whipped Cream, via Design Sponge
Something for you to listen to: Nat King Cole "Mrs. Santa Claus"
I missed yesterday's Advent post because it was a decidedly cruddy day yesterday, and I was feeling a bit Scrooge-ish! I messed up my right shoulder by slapping a co-worker. Yes, I wrote that. Slapping a co-worker. A 17-year old co-worker. Oh dear, I get embarrassed just thinking of it. Here's what happened:
I was minding my own business in the bakery when said 17-year old boy creeps up behind me and screams directly into my ear for the sole purpose of scaring the shit out of me.
Now a little background on me, before I described what happened next. I a) absolutely hate being pranked/scared. b) have serious ninja like reflexes.
I let out a huge scream, proceeded to turn and run after the kid, hauled my right arm back and smacked him square in the middle of his back with every ounce of my strength while screaming at top volume Don't you ever fucking do that to me ever again!!!. What a lady I am, huh? I have never hit anyone like that in my entire life! I was so scared and mad I saw red! Even worse this happened in front of actual people. Like, my manager.
I immediately thought to myself. Excellent, I'm going to get fired. But all my manager said was, "Well...he has to learn what peoples' limits are somehow. Guess he just found out yours!"
Oh how completely embarrassing. I hugged the poor kid, after I calmed down,- he thankfully has a good sense of humor. I felt so bad. My palm print was visible on his back. I felt my shoulder socket just crunch when I hit him, and now I'm nursing an incredible sore shoulder. Serves me right for being a bully. I'm not excited about going to work tomorrow, because it's my dominant arm and I'm quite sure how I'm going to get through the day to be honest! Oh well.
I baked a nutmeg maple cream pie this morning to bring to my Uncle Bob's annual Christmas party this afternoon. The party was really a hoot, and my family seems to have quadrupled in the past few years since I've last attended. I was laughing watching the little ones all run in and out of the basement for the duration of the whole thing. My cousins and I did the same thing when we were small. Grownups were so boring! As the kids trampled up and down the stairs, I was filled with nostalgia for Christmases gone by. In those days we played epic games of hide and go seek, karaoke singing contests, etc. Later in our teens, when we were too cool for all of that, we had fierce ping pong competitions. That basement was our universe and now it belongs to a second generation of cousins. Amazing how life is cyclical like that!
I'm so tuckered right now - I'll post more about the party, with pictures, tomorrow :)
December 18, 2008
Something for you to read: Alicia's *hilarious* post titled My Christmas Movie Screenplay Plans.
Something for you to listen to: Blair's great Holiday Mix. I'm especially loving Fiona Apple singing "Frosty the Snow Man". I know, I know, that's just plain weird right? But give it a listen - it's super cool!
Something for you to watch:
My top 5 movies to watch during the Christmas season:
(((in no particular order)))
1. Holiday Inn (1945): This classic is probably often passed over in favor of the ubiquitous, ever popular White Christmas. This Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire extravaganza covers ALL of the major holidays of the year, bookended by Christmas. Astaire delivers an amazing fire cracker throwing (literally) tap dance for the Fourth of July segment. Bing sings White Christmas and gets the girl. Best ever.
2. Scrooged (1988): I live for the scene when Carol Kane appears as the ass-kicking -tutu wearing Ghost of Christmas Present.
3. Home Alone (1990): Okay, I totally had a crush on Macauley Culkin when I was in elementary school. Something about him lip-synching "White Christmas" just stole my little heart. The end of Home Alone induces waterworks to this day!
4. George Balanchine's The Nutcracker (1993): Also featuring Macauley Culkin as the Nutcracker Prince! We have a theme here! Seriously though, as a dancer for life I own about every version of the Nutcracker out there on VHS and DVD. This is a really well produced classical interpretation. The narration, by Kevin Kline, makes it pretty friendly to non-ballet goers and bunheads alike.
5. 200 Cigarettes (1999): Less Christmas, more New Year's, this needs to be watched during the post Christmas wind-down. And it has Paul Rudd in it, AKA Nat's secret boyfriend. One of the choice quotes? "Music makes the booty spin round". Indeed it does!
December 17, 2008
Something for you to eat, or give: Baked Oatmeal. This recipe has been a winter favorite of mine for awhile now. Pack up the dry ingredients in a pretty container and a copy of the recipe for a sweet, quick gift!
Something for you to drink, or give: Limoncello, a lemon flavored after dinner drink, makes a nice gift that takes minimal effort over the course of a few days. Be sure to include a copy of the recipe so that recipients can try their hand at making a batch of their own.
Something for you to listen to: Lady December by the Sweptaways
Last night and today my apartment was Santa's freaking workshop!
The first thing I finished up was a little Waldorf-inspired play crown for my nephew, Thi.
The trim on the front was from a swap with Shael, and it is available in her Etsy shop.
I *love* that wood grain fabric.
If you don't have time or the gumption to sew a crown for yourself - you can buy a gorgeous one from my talented friend Ella at Little Red Caboose, not to mention numerous other lovelies that I wish I had the money for!
Tonight some friends from work came over and together we packaged up baked oatmeal mix, and made the beginnings of some fine limoncello. I have to say, having made limoncello twice now, I definitely prefer making it with friends, because the task of peeling lemons goes so much quicker!
December 16, 2008
Something for you to read: Where did Christmas wreaths come from? Via Yahoo Answers.
Something for you to listen to: To reflect yesterday's crazy, warm weather let's listen to Mele Kalikimaka by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters.
Something for you to make: Eco-Friendly Plastic Bag Wreath via Two Peas in a Bucket or a Halloween Ribbon Wreath via The Long Thread. The second wreath is meant for Halloween, but the idea can be easily adapted to fit any holiday or occasion. I think it would look great with some red and white striped ribbon for Christmas. Or if you've got a creepy, goth, Victorian thang goin' on for your holiday decor, you could leave it black! Either way!
Something for you to look at: Inspiring, beautiful wreaths from my Flickr favorites!
1. Wreath 2005, 2. da feira, 3. button wreath, 4. #3, 5. thanksgiving wreath, 6. then came a christmas wreath, 7. the glitterfest has begun, 8. my favorite time of the year, 9. vintage paper wreath, 10. um bocadinho de Natal, 11. decking the studio, 12. studio wreath, 13. wool wreaths, 14. wool wreaths, 15. fabric wreath, 16. Birds and YArn Wreath, 17. wreath, 18. wreath, 19. Gnome's Garden, 20. glitterific wreath, 21. Happy Birthday mom!
It should be pretty clear from my favorites above that I am a fan of wreaths made out of non-traditional materials. I do love evergreen wreaths, but their cost can certainly be a little off-putting! Last year I made my sister, Ren, a fabric wrapped wreath inspired by Jen from Swallowfield, (pictured in the first photo above). At the time, I bought myself an extra wreath form intending to make one similar for myself, but I never got around to it.
This year I made it a priority to finish up a wreath for our little house.
*Squeel!* I love it!
It hangs over Matt's extensive cassette collection, (also where our Christmas cards sit, for lack of a mantel).
Do you have a wreath in your home? I'd love to see it. Post links to photos of your wreaths in the comments below :)
December 15, 2008
December 14, 2008
12/12, 7:30am - We wake up to this in our back yard, and everywhere else in southern New Hampshire:
12/12, 10:30am - I drive to work early hoping to eat some breakfast, find out that work is closed. No electricity.
12/12, 10:45am - Wait over half an hour at a Dunkin' Donuts with about 200 other people for breakfast. Amazed at how swiftly anarchy can happen if electricity is taken away.
12/12, 6:00pm - We arrive at the Outback where we made call ahead reservations. We wait over an hour and a half to be seated.
12/12, 9:00pm - We leave the Outback and hear on the radio that 500,000 NH residents are without electricity and heat.
12/13, 10:00am - I receive a call from Citizen's Bank saying that my debit card has been shut off. I call them to find out that someone has taken advantage of the fact that I'm an NH resident without access to technology and compromised my account. Citizen's activates my account long enough so that I can drain my account of cash so that I can buy food. Fun. People are real nice.
12/13, 8:30pm - We drive to Portland, ME with Matt's band (who had come up from Boston - two hour trip) only to find out that the venue has double-booked their regular, monthly gig. Nice. We go out for an awesome meal elsewhere.
12/13, 11:30ish - Back home to find that we're still without power. It was too cold to stay - so off to Boston with the band and our kitties we went.
So...here I sit. Now we're wondering if the pipes have burst back at home. My family and friends are scattered to the wind. This has been craziness!
Obviously Advent posts will have to wait until we get the basics back. Sigh.
December 11, 2008
Something for you to listen to: Merry Christmas, Baby performed by Bonnie Raitt and Charles Brown.
Something for you to make: Paper Stained Glass Trees via AlphaMom
We decorated tonight.
Who needs step-stools, really?
Hobbes played an integral role in the tree decorating process...
:: Lights off ::
:: Lights on ::
:: Happy dancing ::
:: Kissy-kissy (Who could resist that face?!) ::
:: Lurve ::
Tonight was so nice. Dinner and decorating with my love. Loooooong overdue :)
December 10, 2008
Something for you to check out: If you're looking for unique online shopping ideas, check out the Design*Sponge 2008 Gift Guide : Bloggers' Wish List. I'm smitten with The Illustrated Wild Foods Recipe Calendar, I promptly added it to my wish list!
Something for you to eat: Check out this easy peasy recipe for Spicy, Sweet and Salty Rosemary Nuts from Pink of Perfection.
Something for you to listen to: "Elf's Lament" by Barenaked Ladies and Michael Buble.
If you've been following this blog for any amount of time then you probably know that I love making gifts for people. It has been my goal, in the past, to make all of my gifts for the holiday season. While I still think this is a valiant pursuit, I acknowledge that I am human and there is only so much time in the day! This has definitely become an important realization this year, with all of these babies appearing right and left, my Christmas list has become very long indeed!
I thought it would be fun to share with you a few of the purchases that I've made this year.
Kodak 5x7" Mini-Photo Books :: This is my only "corporate" purchase of the year. I bought a few of these, with special family photos inside, as gifts. The format is pretty, and the picture quality is very nice!
A piece of clothing for one of my wee, cute relatives from 1Girl 1Boy
A necktie for a special someone from In Hope
A rockin', one of a kind, piece of guy clothing from Tymbal via Magpie.
Two amazing dinosaur puppets from Owly Shadow Puppets. You MUST go watch this great four minute video about Owly Shadow Puppets. I think they're so neat, and it's crazy awesome that they have moving parts!
I just ordered Punk Rock Etiquette, by Travis Nichols, after reading an interview with the author over at Naughty Secretary Club. Since I am such the slave to Barnes and Noble for most of the year, I did a little investigating on my local bookstore. Not only can you order most anything online from River Run Book Store, but you get free shipping to the continental United States. Done and done.
And that's it! Fairly low-key for Christmas shopping - and easy on my wallet!
What kind of fun purchases have you all been making this year?
December 09, 2008
I found myself short of mailers to pack up my ornament swap packages yesterday. Being thrifty, I noticed that I had an abundance of saved gift bags from previous Christmases. With a little scissor action and packing tape, these are easily recycled into functional and festive mailers! I had fun doing it, and so can you!
step one :: choose a bag
step two :: remove the handles
step three :: cut away one of the larger sides of the bag
leaving you with something like this
step four :: cut away the bottom of the bag
step five :: If the bag is rectangular, you should be able to overlap the two short sides. Tape with packing tape.
If your bag is not rectangular, your shorter sides may not meet. Take the large side that you cut away in step three, and place this underneath the two short sides. Use packing tape to secure.
step six :: tape one of the shorter ends with packing tape
seven :: fill with goodies, secure the remaining open end with packing tape and send! you're done!
That's it for today! Big job interview tomorrow - send good thoughts out into the universe for me!