Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Nothing to post

It was a delightful Xmas. The SB was on good behavior. The cat slept soundly and all was right with the world.

I placed my first of what will surely be many seed orders. I am going to try to grow leeks with the hope that neither the deer nor the groundhogs will be interested in them.

The SB and I went to see The Golden Compass last night. Perfectly entertaining. The costumes were great and the BEARS were totally awesome. Can't wait for the next one.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Yes, my turn. This comes at exactly the time I am struggling with the holiday season. It isn't my fault though. I have been distracted. THEY used to wait until after January 1. I am distracted..... See, I said that already. I can't stop thinking about springtime now. I used to think the winters were manageable, much of that had to do with the time between when the catalogs arrived and when one could actually plant. They have just extended my winter by at least a week and maybe more. BASTARDS!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot Chocolate. With the best ever made by the SB from the cream from the top of some un-homogenized milk I bought him. When you could still do that. BASTARDS.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Wrap. Except for the typewriter I got when I was about 7. Santa left it out with a typed note that said "Thanks for the cookies and milk. Next year, please leave salami and beer."

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Um, colored I think. On the tree. House? I spend enough time on a ladder painting the stinkin' house that I don't feel the need to get on one to decorate. BASTARDS

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Love the idea. Not so good with the implementation.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Hopefully before the tree turns to tinder and I pitch it out as a fire hazard.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
My mom makes these Parmesan chicken wings.....

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child.
Hmmm.Keeping my brother up all night because I was too wound up about Santa to sleep? Buttering the popcorn we were using to string for the tree. The year my step dad and mom put boot prints in the ashes in the fireplace? Having the guinea pig select the present opening time (Oh, wait, that still happens....)

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
The parents admitted it, but we already knew from kids in school. BASTARDS

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas eve?
Yes, all of them. It means I don't have to get up early on Christmas day.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
With a variety of things from jewel tone glass ornaments to beaded fish to plastic bugs

11. Snow! Love it or dread it?
love it, but living on the bus line, I never get out of work for it. BASTARDS

12. Can you ice skate?
A bit. It helps if I go really fast and if there aren't too many obstacles/people.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

14. What is the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Being with people I care about and having time to do nothing.

15. What is your favorite Holiday dessert?
Ditto Cho-girl

16. What is your favorite Holiday tradition?
Seeing which crazy stunt my step dad has invented for choosing what time to open presents. My favorites are the ones that involve explosions.

17. What tops your tree?
Um, it has actually been a while since I have decorated a tree. I don't remember.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
I love giving and I love making things for people. I wish I had more time....

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?
The Drummer boy sticks in my head most often. BASTARD.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?
Yum but only with hot chocolate. See #1 above

Monday, December 17, 2007

C's New Dress

And speaking of not sewing for myself - My wee friend C, who lives much too far north in NYC, is my sewing muse. It is for her that I stitch.

The trim for this was lovingly rescued from some garment belonging to one of my mother's cousins. Rescued by my great aunt who lived through the Depression and kept everything forever more stashed in her attic in the event that those dark days might return. Freezers full of food, a pantry full of labeled canned goods, basement full of old and broken appliances, attics full of tiny clothes taken apart and kept for the fabric that might one day have been unavailable. Marge passed away many years ago. Her husband later, but not so recently. Now her children are cleaning the attic. There are some gems, though not so many as you might think.

I was so pleased to be able to find a new home for this vintage trim that has been so long at the ready.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Have I mentioned that I am often cranky on Sundays. So it is today. Too many obligations. Anywhoo. I made cookies for our annual neighborhood cookie swap and wrapping party. The 'hood adopts a family and we get together and wrap the gifts and exchange cookies. I made Cinnamon Nutmeg Cookies from Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray cookbook. Being physically unable to not mess with a recipe, I added a 1/4 t. baking powder to the recipe. Cream 1 cup sugar, 3 oz cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar. Add one egg yolk and mix. Slowly add 2 1/2 cups flour (and baking powder if you wish) until combined (don't over mix). Make dough into 1 inch balls and roll in a mixture of 1/4 c. sugar, 1 t. cinnamon and 1 t. nutmeg then mash lightly to flatten just a bit. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.

While I was doing that, I decided to embark again on my quest for a decent chai recipe. I got a start from a friend who makes it so often, she doesn't really have a recipe - she just throws it together. I have a way to go, but today's was pretty good. I need to mash some of the cardamom I think. I'll post that when I get a little closer.

Oh, and I had company.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Old Dogs

So I learned something today. It seems rare that I actually ever learn anything that changes my day to day life, but today, I did. Actually, perhaps it was just today that I internalized it. I had learned of it more than ten years ago. I had just never tried it.

What is it? Beeswax on sewing thread to keep it from tangling. I even had the beeswax from a million years ago but had never pulled it out. Today was the day. What a difference. No tangled thread. No accidental knotting. Um, remind me why I ignore all this advice from people who sew much more than I do... I think it is because I am an idiot.

I think how much pain and suffering this could have saved on the Stinking Dress Project. I weep to think of it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Free Time

The SB wings through town tomorrow for a night and then on to Maryland for work, then finally home on the 23rd. In no mood for Christmas I suspect. But seein' how he is flat broke, work is a good thing. I will just have to pine for his company a little longer. On the positive side, I have more time to work on Christmas presents.

Monday, December 10, 2007

For Me.

Because I usually sew for other people, I decided I should do something for myself. So, for the office holiday party this year, I tarted up my "little black dress" with some fun trim from my stash. Saved myself a little $$ with the renovation - which you have to appreciate at Christmastime. Here are some photos. I wore the dress with my favorite black Anne Klein shoes. The ones that make my ankles look super. I love them and they cripple me. Normally, I am a strictly Dansko girl. For these, I make an exception.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Meme from cho-girl (with commentary)

Elsie likes to climb on thinks & can jump over a baby gate (well, it has been a long time, but I used to be able to clear a baby gate in a single bound)
Elsie likes to say that the work was done with great joy (I LIKE to say it, I rarely get the opportunity being an honest person)
Elsie likes to "Gimme five!!!" (that has been a while too, say since somewhere around 1975)
Elsie likes to keep her room clean and tidy. (Um, clearly the internets has some sense of humor as well as knowing all....)
Elsie likes to travel when holidays come around. (Not. I am looking forward to not leaving the house for 3 days at least.)

Here with the real name....

laura likes to pee in urinals. (I swear this is the first one that came up...I don't want to go anywhere near a urinal, especially with my pants down.)
Laura Likes to Eat (now we are talkin')
Laura likes to try and put a bit of a twist on things by experimenting (usually it is more in the vein of desperation when I experiment)
Laura likes to range about the high desert (I am sure I would like this)
Laura likes to begin each project with an information-gathering session (I luvs me some research! It is the doing something with all that info that usually throws me.)

And with that, I am off todays project of writing a paper for which I have done much research of questionable relevence a long time ago. cheers.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Light at the End of the Tunnel

So, I completed exactly one of the three assignments I have to do for my class, all of which are due Monday. Remarkably, I am feeling pretty chippr about it even though I know that tomorrow is going to be miserable. Just knowing there is an end is remarkably freeing. Sort of like opening night at the theater. Ready or not, it arrives and you go on stage, or cower backstage like me.

And speaking of theater, the dress debuted last night in a Little Night Music. I can't wait to see it in action. Here is a poor photo. It is darned cute on the little cutie that wears it. And she likes it, which is nice. Not everyone loves their costumes in a show. I know that probably comes as a shocker to you ....

And in celebration of finishing one of my papers and having successfully finished the Stinking Dress Project (as it became to be know wen it ran over schedule by more than a week) I made Pumpkin Bread out of an old and familiar and wonderful book called World of Breads. Of course I have modified it some, so here is my version....

Mix 1/2 c. of melted butter with 1 1/2 cups of brown and white sugar and 1 3/4 cup of mashed cooked pumpkin. Add three eggs, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a teaspoon of salt. Add the finely grated rind of one lemon and some shredded fresh ginger (about 1.5 inches) Sift together 3.5 cups of all purpose flour and 1.5 cups of fine cornmeal and 2 tablespoons of baking powder. Mix it together with the wet ingredients, adding milk or condensed milk if it is too dry. Pour it into two loaf pans, let it sit for 20 minutes then bake at 350 until done. It is pretty tasty. It would likely have been puffier if I had left out the cornmeal, but I thought corn and pumpkin would be a nice American bread.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Hatching a Plan

So, there are a number of women in my circle of fiends that have mentioned an interest in having chickens. I mentioned this to one of my fiends that I see less often than others, she is the very lovely, very talented and (currently) very pregnant JD - actress, maker of lamps and donuts and home schoolin' mama.

Over a delightful dinner of veggies and lamb, we hatched something of a plan.... The Chick Collective. Since what stands in the way of many a chick and her chickens is a coop (and a lack of expertise, money or a man to build one), we thought that it might work to have a collective where we get together and help each other build our own .... No waiting around for Mr. Fix it to be coerced or hired. Besides... If we all had basically the same design, we could go in on larger material and chicken orders. We could do some spring/summer "coop raisings" like the old fashioned barn raisings.... But with more wine at the end. JD is also an electrician, and might could wire the houses with light bulbs for cold weather and early mornings.

I saw Cho-girl this morning. I think she is interested. We talked about teeny camisole tops with Chickens on them for participants. And I thought of a tag line while driving around this morning... C'ville Chick Collective. "She's got eggs, and she knows how to use them" (from the song by ZZ Top)

Anyone want to throw in her hat?

We have a few folks in the neighborhood here with chickens. I am happy to report they are fat and happy.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Learning a Few Things

So I started this project to challenge myself and to increase my skill level. The dress was supposed to be done last Sunday. I am REALLY hoping to be done tomorrow night sometime. I am hoping before the crack of dawn. I have class Monday and work the rest of the week and 2 papers to write and blah blah blah.

Of course, I began in the typical fashion by procrastinating. Getting scared that I couldn't do it and procrastinating more. Then I proceeded to dive in with an unrealistic expectation of the amount of time it would take. And with out the skills necessary (this was accompanied by shamefully frequent trips to the fridge to distract myself from the horror of my situation). I contemplated leaving a bag of half stitched crap-ola on the doorstep of the costume shop, ringing the doorbell (figuratively) and running. (Of course this was a VERY fleeting thought, bred of panic and despair)

Finally I showed up at the theatre where people assured me I was well on my way. They had faith that I could pull this off. Perhaps the sensed my willingness to bolt and were covering their own butts so that they didn't have to pick up the pieces. Whatever was happening, they managed to smoothly draw me back into the fold. Not by lying and telling me that that the was beautiful, but simply showing faith. You'll figure out how to make the seams lay flat on that cheap bridal satin. You'll figure out how to make it look like an elegant turn of the century party dress despite the flaws. You will figure it out. There was a lot of expertise. Some solid suggestions, some shaking of heads.... Yeah, that fabric looks great but it really sucks to work with (no, it wasn't solely my incompetence.

I don't believe that I will actually clear all the hurdles, but I do believe that I will be done at some point in the very near future and that the dress will appear in the show and that I will see more of the flaws than 90% of the audience. I will post pictures soon.