Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Down Time

The best thing happening today is that I'm OFF until after Christmas. Yay and Double Yay. Maybe triple. I'm pretty sure that this is a very good thing.

Time to putter---- enjoy the house----- putter some more---

And knit. As in get ON with it knitting. The sore wrist has let up a bit (thanks to a day away from the pointy sticks) and I really need to focus. At the hockey game last night I picked up a holiday Blues hat just in case I don't finish! I mean, you just never know.

Hope your Christmas projects are finished or almost so and that you can enjoy the season!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Knitting Injury!

Knitting is painful now. I've been on High Knit for a concentrated period of time and find that my right wrist has gone useless on me. Who in the world gets a knitting injury from garter stitch I ask you???? Ridiculous. So taking a day off and trying to give it a little space I switched tasks to other Holiday Necessaries:

I present time in the kitchen. Wearing red and blue Santa apron of course!

Crank up the KitchenAid baby! My favorite (and famous) Spritz recipe. I couldn't imagine Christmas without them! 5 cups of flour and en entire pound of butter as the starring ingredients, how could it be anything other than REALLY good! :)

Next Christmas I REALLY AM going to give my kids a recipe book, put together very professionally thankyouverymuch from their mama. I've been wanting to for such a long time but just haven't made photographing food as it comes out of the kitchen a priority. Now I'm trying to photo everything as well as cook those things that I want to make sure the gang has the recipe for. Some are things I don't cook much anymore so I have to make it an effort. And I will. By this time next year really cool books will have been created, printed, bound and wrapped waiting for the grand reveal.

Long ago I ago I gave up coloring the cookie dough, I prefer it naturally butter colored and to let the sprinkles speak for themselves. The first batch out of the spritz gun were the trees embellished simply with sugars and cinnamons. SO GOOD. I had them for breakfast with a cup of peppermint joe if the truth be told. I think it will help the wrist heal.

And Red Chile Jelly. OMG this is so good. I'm glad the tall skinny less- pretty jar is for MOI! This stuff is amazing. Red serrano's were nowhere to be found, the jelly would have had a prettier less muddy color if I didn't have to sub green chili's. The jelly is sweet and tart and spicy---- incredible! I've already eaten some on a wheat cracker with cream cheese and have slathered it on leftover chicken--- I even had some on English Muffin bread with a layer of scrambled eggs and swiss on the top. I'm obsessed!

Lastly was a big old batch of Pear Apple Butter. A new methodology for me, I used the Crock Pot and it took a total of 8 hours, stopping mid-stream to whir about in the food processor. It's really good as well and will have it's coming out party at Christmas Day brunch, no doubt about it. My jar, separated from gifts going out, is really awful looking. The butter inside? Delish!

A bit of knitting must be accomplished today or I'm going to get in a big ole' jam and I don't mean apple.

Knit on!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Boring Hat----- Complimentary Colorway

A hat for my son to compliment the cabled one knit for his girlfriend. Really, nothing special about it---- but it will be great making the trudge from Brooklyn into Manhattan in the cold of winter. Double thick and super warm------- lots of shaping to keep out any puffs of cold air when he decides to take his motorcycle in to work and ignore the subway. The cap is done and after it was wrapped, cute as pie I might add------ and boxed to take to the post office I noted that I forgot the final photo. So it goes.

It always amazes me how great things look in glass cylinders! These favorite black and white ornaments didn't make the cut on the white Christmas tree this year but look great in the dining room!
Even the dress form has a bit of holiday swagger on-----

The mantle is mantled---- the stockings hung-----

Trees just never look as pretty in the daylight----

I'm on track----- it's 4:30 and the unheard of is happening! I'm heading home to put on my flannel jammies, wrap a gift in preparation for a trip to the post office in the morning and get some cute little jelly jars sterilized for the making of some Chile Jam later in the week.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Making Happy

When I was a little girl my aunt (now gone) used to threaten my cousin and I when we were misbehaving in the car with the words "If you don't straighten up I'm going to pull this car over and MAKE YOU HAPPY!". I still giggle and my cousin Paula just rolls her eyes.

'Tis the Season, and that is the Happy Season. Right? Not always so around Casa Contessa but as I've shared earlier, I'm making it a goal this year. December 8th and I'm in the Zone.

(The Zone, Above)

Who knew it was as easy to Make Happy as to dig out some card stock, some glue, some glitter and inspiration from Monica over at Happy Zombie? Really, who knew? I had a BLAST yesterday! I gave up work early, headed for the sewing room and it became truly creative. Thanks Monica for sharing your little Gnoma Claus that match your fabulous fabric line------ I finally printed and cut (and felt like a happy kindergarten kid)---- and then I decided to do something I hadn't played with for several years, GLITTER. Oh glitter, where have you been? What came out of the space lit by lights and humming Christmas music was this:

oh good grief, how CUTE are these? Can't get more vintage deco than little wonderfully toned Gnomes, festooned and positively bedecked with glitter---- hanging on tinsel chenille stems---- parading above the kitchen sink. Almost makes dishes fun. (ALMOST, notice that I have not completely lost all sense!)

Makes me smile! Gnoma Claus, hee~ I think I like the blue one best but the red one is great, and the green one is sweet, even the yellow one (who is shy) is quite smashing! These would make really cute gift tags too............. I printed extra. (Winking in smugness!)

Two projects for Christmas are done (yay!) The striped scarf for Blues Hockey (photo to come). Not much to show really, I mean it is a striped. Scarf. I wove in the last end last night at knit group, thought that would go on forever!. And the cabled cap below, for my son's girlfriend. She's a knitter so I know she'll appreciate the cabled goodness and detail like how the cables taper at the rib.

The color is "Lemongrass" (pretty accurate here, straight out of the camera) and the yarn is Classic Wool by Patons. Double stranded and knit on 7's and 8's.

I'm really "in class" on the internet as we speak, aren't Webinars wonderful things? Please don't tell anyone that my eyes have glazed over with the grim boring-ness of it all and working on Happy instead. Instead of taking notes and watching the screen I'm merely listening to the droning sound of blah-blah-blah and pinning apron straps. Little vintage aprons of kitchy holiday fabric------ aprons for the Happy Zone. I wonder if I can glitter them???

How are YOU Making Happy?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

WWC===== Holiday Place to Be

This message is brought to you by Get On Over There-------

Love me some WWC, Where Women Create. Great place, great sources, and a great contest. Get over there and check out the info and prizes. Did I say prizes? Ummmmm yes!

Super Simple in Progress

You know who doesn't read the blog. This tells me in no small part just how incredibly boring I am.

I'm knitting a very fast scarf==== one to be worn to hockey games, there are others for 'other' uses. This one, Blues all the way.

Sitting alone while youknowwho was sitting AT the game and I was home not feeling all that great, I stole another few moments to knit the garter stitch whizbang simplicity-----

the colors were just right, who knew that there were so few yarns in STLBlues colors anyway? Vanna's Choice is the yarn 99.99999% because the colors were good and I didn't want to spend a zillion on the scarf.

You will undoubtedly see that the Note got skunked that night.

The scarf is almost finished, just a bit more quick rows dashed off here and there and then quite a few ends to weave in.

At the very least it does feel wonderful to have another handmade gift crossed off the list---- or it will soon!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Beginning to Look a Lot Like--

Hanukkah started last night for my Jewish friends---- hope your blessings are abundant and the love level at your house is at an all time high! Happy Hanukkah!

Around Casita Contessa December has rolled over on the calendar and I've made a BOLD move. Well bold for me. Normally I come up to December 24th huffing and puffing and wondering where the weeks before Christmas went. I'm tired, stressed, cranky and the enjoyment level? Well, not so much!

This year I'm working LESS. I'm devoting time each day to work on projects, craft a little, putter a bit and generally enjoy the season---- even if that means sitting in my chair looking at the Christmas tree and drinking a cup of tea. Hold me to it!! Small cottage this year, small tree with a definite different look "for me".. and lots of little vignettes like the canisters and blue poinsettias in a corner of the kitchen.

Decorations were up before Thanksgiving for the family visit. I have to say, it was fantastic. While I do generally hate to push the season it was delightful to arrive at the weekend after turkey day with it all done. Well almost all done. Part of the happy-happy now is that I might add a thing or two each day, I mean why not?

The happy coral walls in the sewing room look pretty great I think with the vintage inspired blue tree. The whole room makes me smile and I will be spending holiday time in there.

What are YOU doing to increase your joy for the holiday season?