Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Big Post Holiday Yawn

Christmas is over---- as much as I tried to slow it down it just didn't happen. As expected my son didn't make it home from NYC, boo hoo. He will arrive this Wednesday in time to spend a long weekend and to ring in 2010. I think the unexpected perk is that I need to stay out of the cookies and gingerbread in order to make sure he has enough of home goodies when he is here. And that lonely bare under the tree look has been postponed as his gifts are still bright and shining under there. (Along with my new set of BLUE Martha bowls and kitchen towels). It's going to be an aqua 2010 for sure!

All told it was a lovely few days, near perfection and I don't say that often. Even Mother Nature conspired to bring enough snow on the ground (and little on the roads) to call it a white Christmas.

Now I'm sittin' and knittin'.

Hope you and yours had the very best of times.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas Eve

My youngest nephew is pretty excited, Santa comes tonight. His older brothers have that worldly smirk about them-------- not remembering that they once were captivated by the magic too! Silly boys.

The Skull Mitts, finished. A few mods (outside of upsizing them a bit)---- the cuff is a solid black instead of the stripes for better stretchability and recovery. The backs of the mitts went totally striped instead of the patterned checks. Don't ask me why I thought stripes were a bit manlier. :) Love 'em and my son will get a kick out of them as well.

The story on myself is that I finished the mitts and was in the process of blocking them when I noticed that I'd missed a black stitch on the sides----- there is sort of a braid detail around the mittens separating the front and the back. Ack. So being the clever knitter with a bit of holiday laziness----- I did what any smart girl would do. I got out my S*harpie and colored in the offending white stitch to black. Perfection!

May your evening be magical!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Eve of Christmas Eve

The shopping complete, the wrapping done (almost), and a well deserved and relaxing dinner with friends will kick off what shall be a glorious time of Happy Christmas.

I roasted a turkey breast last week to pick on while the final prep at work happened and today the carcass is merrily bubbling to make a big pot of turkey veg soup. With a big pot of soup in the house any comfort can be found and any tragedy surely averted!

The candles made earlier are all delivered but two along with cookie baskets.

My vintage english muffins in a loaf recipe (making two fat loaves) are in the oven and smelling wonderful, spicy turkey and apple 'sausage' is freezing off for use over the coming weekend.

I'll have photos of the finished skull mitts tomorrow along with the accompanying story on myself that so amused the knitters last night.

With a batch of Nigella's gingerbread tomorrow along with maybe chili and cheese bread it's shaping up to be a good one.

I hope that things at your house are divine and you are calm and smiling!!!! Remember the old adage "Keep Calm & Carry On!"

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One Week Comes Christmas!

One week from today is Christmas Eve! It always sneaks up on a gal, this year was no exception. How are you doing on your preparations??? I'm actually in great shape..... giving myself the gift of some slack really helped a lot. We never care for ourselves first and I'll have to remember that it does, generally speaking, pay off.

Last night was the annual trek to St. Charle*s, a lovely little destination with cobblestone streets and old houses turned into shops of all quaint happiness. The river is right in back of Main Street and the new ice skating rink there was filled with lots of folks having a great time. Not me, my skating forte is watching hockey! I came to enjoy the lights, soak in the carolers and fife and drummers, the Victorian decorations, the shop windows and to grab a bite to eat.

When darkness came the lights really popped on the shops.

Main Street looked like a Main Street in our Christmas hearts SHOULD!

My favorite little storefront looked like the one above, red (my favorite color) and all decked out.

This shop was enormous and loaded with the most gorgeous wreaths and Santas, decorations and trees, just a feast for the eyes. I wanted it all and having recently downsized and sorted through tubs and tubs and tubs of decorations the last thing I needed was something new.

The Fife and Drum core lent a festive air to the evening, too bad the drum guy has such a bad case of the evil red eye!

This used to be my favorite shop, I've picked up a few great things from here over the years, including the little vintage washboard and quilt scrap currently in my laundry room---- now it is a wine shop.

Do you get enough of holiday lights? We all decided that while it was gorgeous, a dusting of snow would have indeed been icing on the cake.

And carriage rides---- of course! We didn't indulge but they were very busy. One of the horses, named Fred, was acting up in the carriage line. I think Fred might get coal in his stocking this year.

I adored this window------ the happy juxtaposition of a vintage home with a more current vintage aluminum tree. What happened to that aluminum tree I remember from my childhood? Long gone I suppose, and now they are so chic!

And Santa always center court, ho ho ho.

I've managed to knit a bit as the madness at work wound down. The simplest of things like one and 3/4 neckwarmers of super chunky yarns with funky buttons---- and I plan on finishing the thumbs on the skull mittens this afternoon. I'll take pics, really I will!

I'm out of the studio until the New Year, blessed to be able to work from home a bit and really settle in and enjoy the week leading up to Christmas. (I'm so excited, can you tell???) A little baking, a lot of enjoying, and hopefully some knitting in the mix. We made some simple soy candles for gift baskets this year, to be tucked in with the butterscotch haystacks, the peanut butter kisses, the spritz, the marshmallows and the fudge. (All of which to be made this weekend!) It was so much fun!

The collection of little glasses, the wicks, the fragrance (pine tree and cinnamon buns), and colorant awaited!

The soy wax was really easy to melt, I used my craft use only glass cup in an electric skillet on simmer. That and a chopstick (along with some patience) and it all muddled down. Add the chosen fragrance and color, mix and pour into wicked glasses..................

Love 'em!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Knitters Bearing Gifts

Members of our Tuesday Night Knit Group decided to make little knitted goodies for our hosts, a charming (and delicious) cafe here in town. We met a couple of Saturdays ago to put a few things together, Silvana hosted and we enjoyed her lovely home and hospitality. A few more things were added to the mix and we met again to string them onto a glitzy bit of holiday ribbon to make a garland of knitted holiday happiness.

It is hung over the "bar area" of the cafe, somehow comforting (and appropriate)! A wee mitten or two, glass balls filled with yarn, stars in many sizes and colors and the cutest little 'real' socks and a mitten in progress---------- completely adorable.

Even an EZ tree among the stars and baubles!

Check out that adorable little sweater, I so want one of those for my tree!!!! (I say that every year!)

The 'far view'==

Yet another from a distance glance.

Too cute------ and they loved it! We were happy to contribute and it feels even more like where we belong on Tuesday evenings. Now if we could just get that corner booth by the fireplace reserved for us!

Because I'm still feeling puny about no Knitting Contrisstmas this year, along with none too regular posts I bring a cookie recipe. I am making the usuals as we get closer to the big day but wanted to bake something NOW. Something different. Noticing the new chips that were chocolate and mint at the store last week I fiddled with a recipe to get a minty, chocolately cookie of yummy-ness.

Chocolate Mint Cookies

Recipe added to Grocery List!

  • 1-3/4 cups and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa or HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon regular salt
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 pkg, chocolate and mint chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (if desired)


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Use one of the butter wrappers to grease a cookie sheet.

2. Cream butter and sugar. Add cocoa and mix thoroughly. Add eggs one at a time and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and add to butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts if desired. Drop batter by heaping teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet.

3. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or just until set. (Don’t overbake please!!!) Cool one minute and then remove to a wire rack.

Yield about 3 dozen small cookies, fewer large ones. I used a scoop and ended up with about 28 cookies. Increase cooking time for larger cookies one to two minutes, cookies should still look a little wet when done--- just until they are set up.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Contrite no Contrisstmas

It is December, December 2nd to be accurate. By this time many of the die hards have undoubtedly noticed that there is no Knitting Contrisstmas. For which I do apologize! Life has been alternately (and sometimes simultaneously) really busy, stressful, and overwhelming. It became necessary to pull up my big girl panties and make the declaration that this year, things are just going to have to be without KC. It's okay.... giving this up does allow me to take a breath and to keep plugging away at things on my desk (and beyond). So, maybe next year? We will see!

Knitting has slowed to a crawl and there will be very, very little gift knitting. So it goes. Giving up the thought that it would has also freed me to concentrate and to enjoy the season as much as I can. Tuesday night knitting group met as always last night and even though I had to duck out early, it was very nice. As a group we created the CUTEST holiday decorations for the place we meet weekly to eat and drink and knit.............. and they loved it. A strand strung with glass balls with bits of yarn, interspersed with little knitted things like a wee knitted stocking in progress hung by it's toothpick "needles", a little hat with pom pom, trees and stars and even a sweater vest and the cutest sweater that I'd love on my tree. (As if). We all forgot our cameras so I'll have to post some pics of this darling decoration next week.

Around Casa Contessa the tree is up and all holiday decor in place, it feels good.