Thursday, December 31, 2009

Funky HAT

Stephanie has a new hat.

It's a bit crazy, but when I saw my friend Elisa make some of these for her nieces and nephews in various colors, I had to make one for someone. Steph might even wear it a few times.

The colors are her favorites. (Except the yellow which I thought would make the other colors "pop", but in the end I wish I'd left out.)

I used wool Cascade 220 and only purchased one of the colors new for the project. I have such a stash of yarn, I could probably make another dozen of these in various colors without even venturing out of my warm house to the store.
FUN, Fundky, hat.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Grandparents Are A "Good Thing"

My cute Mama with granddaughter Stephanie
My children have so benefited from having wonderful grandparents in their lives. Even though they lived far away from us, my children always knew they had unconditional love coming from their Grandma's and Grandpa's.

My handsome Dad with grandson Michael
Thanks for always supporting and being there for us.
And thanks Mom and Dad Kelly for coming to visit us this Christmas season. You make our home even more full of love.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Simple Meal

In preparing for the meal on Christmas day I have to show this funny girl.

She started off copying....

her cute little big sister, which is something she often does. Follows the leader.
But then she noticed.....

her cute little reflection in the big shinny pot. Can you see the look of glee on her face?
Funny girl.
All this while the rest of the crowd was down the hall playing ...

Beatles Rock Band. The latest addition to our family entertainment.
Thanks, Santa Claus.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Halls Were Decked

Yes, I love Christmas and all the myriad of baubles and bangles that go with it.
I was busy with other things this year and Christmas still happened. It was amazing and wonderful and family encrusted.
The house is totally decked out.

Our living room is serenely colored with blue/green, white, clear, and silver ornamentation.

I love nutcrackers.

We have a few stories of them including Nutcracker Ballet figures,

As well as Charles Dicken's Christmas Carol Figures.

The Eve food is the best. Not so simple "Shepherds Dinner" is what we spread out for the evening meal.

Here are some assorted cheeses, including a couple goat varieties, some legumes, dolmas, pita bread, mustard, olive tamponade,  shaved beef, and fruit juice.

This year we had some hot food in form of the lollipop lamb ribs you see here. We usually assume the shepherds would just eat a sack lunch type thing, but sheep are pretty plentiful on the hillsides of Bethlehem, so I figured we could cook some over the fire.

The family room area is bedecked (isn't that a fun word? I just keep using it) in more traditional, bright Christmas colors.

With candles and tall trees, finials etc. (I love Christopher Radko, and I also love finials)

Here's the entryway with finials and ornaments aglow.

Frosty and all his pals are taking up a space in the kitchen.
Hope you had a Very Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Dresses

Two adorable granddaughters graced my home today for a picture taking session.
I had made them their Christmas dresses and their Mom was thanking me by making me feel they were worthy of some poses.

I started these dresses in October thinking I'd get them finished by turkey day, but I always bite off a little more than I can chew. (Do you want me to recite a cheer from the 70's about that very thing?)

Here is a close up of the smocking and beading on the 4 years old's dress. 

...and on the two year old's. Notice the beautiful fabric. It is a silk dupioni and when I was working on it, I told everyone in the room to "Look at the amazing sheen", every time they talked to me. Pictures don't do it justice.

I made a little belt on the larger one, with two covered buttons. The corded trim around this, the bodice, and the collar, really make the dress look finished.

The back of this one has a lovely bow. Kara says she is never untieing it, she will just have Lena step into it. She actually kind of has to, because I made the zipper too short. I'm used to making button enclosures on little girls dresses, so when I opted for a zipper I underestimated the length needed. Live and learn, right?

On the front of this one I used silk ribbon embroidery. I haven't ever made a wearable item with silk ribbon embroidery before, and it was just right for this dress. A little Christmas poinsettia and mistletoe.

Finished front of the burgundy one.

....and with a beautiful little girl in it. She's just the cutest 4 year old I know! Lexy is very excited about the  puffiness of the skirt. "It's like a gown."

Her little sister looks like an angel. Notice the matching headband to go with her blond little curls.

Here they are in front of the tree in my Living Room. I photoshopped one smile into this picture from another of a similar pose. It only took me about 2 minutes. I can't believe I can do it that fast.

Just in case you were wondering, I think I WIN for the cutest granddaughters. 

I have one more, and I didn't even make her dress.

I did make the bow on top of her head.  Isn't she a cutie too?  I am missing her for Christmas.  "Enjoy Grandma Renee, Ellery!"

Monday, December 21, 2009

What You Do For Your Kids

My last week has been spent on a basketball program that will be sold at home basketball games starting in the new year.

This is the cover front (R) and back (L). All the Seniors go on the cover. Mine is on the far left.
It is always what I dreamed I would get to do the week before Christmas.  I took it to the printer today, and will just spend another hour or so on it tomorrow. Then I can wrap a few presents.
YIPEEE!!!!   I'M DONE!!!!!!!!  FINE' !!!!!!!!!   EL DONE O' !!!!!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cards on the 21st?

 I am hoping to get the "Cards" out in the morning.
I have been working on the LGHS basketball program in all my spare time, and I pretty much completed it yesterday. I'm still waiting on a couple advertisements, but for now I can work on my tardy Christmas cards.
First of all, who to put on the card? Last year we had the whole family. This year we could put another family picture on it because we took some good ones at Thanksgiving when we were all home, or we could just do the grandchildren, they are the cutest ones after all. Or the grandchildren with grandparents. Or just the kids that are still dependents. (sort of anyway)
I settled on the 2 youngest dependent children, because this is Michael's last year living at home, last year Stephanie is in college and won't have a job, and last time it will sort of be about them.

Next October I will make the Christmas cards. This will be my 2010 goal.
So for a brief run down.
        1. Something always goes "Not As Planned" when I do cards
        2. Apple "address book" is not very flexible
        3. I have learned much from trial and error on "Abobe Bridge" and "Photoshop" but the learning
           curve is more than I bargained for (I can't even indent properly in this program right now)
        4. I am cheap is some ways, but lavish in others
        5. I don't want to have something that anyone else may have seen, touched, smelled, or smiled at.
           (even if it is way cuter and easier than what I'm doing)
        6. I do everything the hard way, and sometimes I want to not have to do this.
        7. Computers are frustrating
        8. My dowager's hump is KILLING me. I want to cry.
Here's the look I was after.

First I worked on paper and pictures, font and color. The little red buttons in the corners of the picture took me about 2 hours, but hey, now I know how to "transform" and I will not take so long next time.
Then I tried to put a little "Christmas update of our family" letter on the back, but needed real paper because the back of the photo paper that the card is printed on doesn't take the ink well and it ends up smearing all over the place, so copied my notes onto red card stock, then figured out a cute attachment which required then buying ribbon for the attachment.

Then came the labels. I have cute bright red ovals that I can't get the addresses easily onto, because I can't figure out how to export from Apple's Address Book. If I was simple and did an Avery label, then I'd have  no problem.

I called tech support, enlisted the help of my children and husband, and finally settled on cutting and pasting each individual address and then changing fonts and organization on each separate label. Listen to me complain. Thanks Hubby for at least copying them onto a preview document so that I did not have too call up each name separately when adding them.

So if my recipients of card don't receive these by Christmas, at least they'll know I am thinking about it.
  ..... and I actually think I can finish and get them in the mail tomorrow.
Did I mention my NECK???? Ooooooo OUCH!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Knitting for Christmas

Last month I finished a few projects before the Holidays arrived at full speed ahead.
You would never know it by my harried last couple of weeks, but I did actually try to plan ahead and not do EVERYTHING last minute.

Here is a stocking that Katz had me make for her Ellers. It is in the "Fair Isle" style of knitting and I just looked at pictures and planned colors and patterns as I went. It takes longer than knitting with just one color obviously, but it isn't really very hard and the results are very fun and rewarding. Can you see the Christmas trees about halfway up the leg?
Here it is pinned to my trusty ironing board to "block" it so it keeps its shape well. I spray it down with water and then let it dry overnight.
'Course it was freezing cold, so it took more like 24 hours, but I shouldn't complain because Mom and Dad might hear me and it was between 5 and 9 below in "Big J" last week. Serious COLD. Stephanie and Jonathan were riding their bikes in Salty Lake and I was feeling a bit guilty.
But, I digress.
This stocking, to hang by the chimney with care, has got to be one of the cutest stockings I've made to date. I bought the yarn a couple years ago so the Hills would all match when I eventually made each one separately.
And they do match.

She wants them all different, but to look like they go together. I think we achieved that.

But.... this one is definitely my fave.

And to think I had it done by mid November. You would just never know I plan ahead by looking at me this week.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Creche'

I spent a couple days this week preparing a church building in Palo Alto for a Christmas Creche' exhibit.
There were about 50 people busily working to place plants, lights, tables, beautiful cloth backgrounds, and embellishment pieces for setting off the nativities.
Every year the ladies of the Los Altos Stake prepare several months for this event. They have a large data base for over 1200 privately owned nativities and usually use between 500 - 600 different styles.

Here are a couple of Elders from the church helping place lighting.

This set up takes several days and then the nativities arrive.

It is truly amazing how many people around the world have created some kind of rendition of the Madona, Child Jesus, His father, stable animals, angels, shepherds, and wise men. I worked on a large room that was dedicated to Latin American pieces.
I have a couple of unique pieces that I display at my home each Christmas season. I try to find them when traveling in foreign countries.

This one is from Mexico and is a little tiny thing.  It is colorful but nothing like ....

this one that I got in Costa Rica.
If you live around Palo Alto, you should try to go visit this week. Directions and hours can be found at their website.
I really enjoyed helping work on this beautiful display commemorating the birth of our Savior. You will enjoy it too.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Opinions Anyone?

I have a very vivid memory of holding still a 20 foot metal ladder, with my mittened hands and bundled in my warmest parka, for my father at 7:00 am before the school bus came. He was putting up the Christmas lights and I was his helper. Did I mention that it was probably about 6 degrees F on that cold clear morning? My mother must've asked him to do this task much earlier in the month or something and that was the only time he could manage attaching those lights to the roof of that great house on Pacific Drive.

I love Christmas lights and my dilemma today is whether to buy white ones or colored for our next set.
We are getting a new roof and gutters, so it is a good time to replace the old ones that all have doohickies attached to them for our present roof.

So what do you think?
Are WHITE lights too 90's?  The hubby and I have had them on our house since the 80's and I tend to think they look like stars and also that they are homey gingerbread housey looking.
Are COLORED lights too garish? We had them growing up and the traditional look of that is now quite appealing to me again.

What do you think?
Does your age affect your taste on this important matter? I wonder if kids who grew up in the white light era appreciate the colored lights more or less than the people who grew up with multicolored. I will skip the 30 somethings. You can pick what category you are in (and I always think of you as younger, because I can't bear that you are catching up to me so quickly)

Cast your vote on the right side of this blog. I'm very curious.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Good Day, Sunshine

It was a great day. All the family home and enjoying one another.

The table with it's new Chocolate tablecloth to match the napkins I bought in Harogate last year. (The entire cloth cost as much as one napkin, a 60" X 144"er at Bed Bath and Beyond - good deal? Or maybe the napkins were a bad deal? They are very beautiful though.)

The placecards all labeled for the day. Labels made with sticky paper and digital thanksgiving papers and embellishments.

Here's a close up of the semi-finished product. I put the names in green on the little tag. Very cute if I do say so myself.

Ells Bells all set for the day.

Adorable little rolls to scarf down.
And of course a turkey that we had to frantically cut parts off of and microwave, because it was still a bit pink when we were ready to eat.

Oops?!!! Thanks for pitching in everybody.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Oh, You're Supposed to SET THE TIMER?

Last night as I was just heading off to bed, I heard a familiar sound in the background of the kitchen. It was telling me my oven was on and.....OH NO.... the pies were still in it.

It had been at least 2 hours, and after painstakingly making the pies I had just cleaned up and forgotten about them.

This isn't the first time I haven't set the timer. I probably do it about half the time. The other half I think, "Oh, at 8:47 I need to take these out of the oven." Or something like that anyway.
The Hubby even asked very politely if I needed a timer. I said "I'll get it."

The fruit pie is SOLID and the pumpkin crusts have separated about 1 inch from the sides of the dish.

So this am I made a pecan pie.

.... and another pumpkin with the 1/2 can I have left.

If you remember correctly, I always do things the hard way.  I roast cute little pumpkins (I used to boil them/steam them etc. but roasting works better and brings out the flavor more) My favorite pie squash is a green/gray "Sweet Meat Squash" but I don't find the as often as I used to. Hey, maybe I'll grow a couple next year.
So my kitchen looks as if a bomb went off.

Now, on to the rolls.

Oh, BTW, I did set the time this time.

Check this out.