Saturday, December 25, 2010

Yes Virginia, I finally decorated the house...

I'm not one of those people who get excited about decorating for Christmas.  I know, hum bug, but not completely.  I love seeing how other people decorate and I love looking at outside Christmas decorations.  But, as far as my own decorating...I don't know why...I've always done it for the kids, that's about it.  To qualify, I feel the same way about all holidays; I don't like decorating for one day or temporarely.  I like to spend my money on things I'm going to enjoy all year.  And, we trade off every other year; one year I get to decorate and choose the tree, the next year the guys get to choose.  So this is my year.  I saw an inspiration photo in Pottery Barn in November and I was actually motivated to get going on it.  And, I got a real tree, not my usual fake white tree already wrapped in white lights with some kind on monocromatic theme.  So, to start, is when you walk in the door on our front table...very flambouant vignette.  Okay, it's all going to be "understated".
Okay, this is not an actually Christmas garland but I saw it at Hobby Lobby, loved the colors, and decided to use it for holiday decor'.  It's also wrapped in a mercury glass and beaded garland.  I might keep it up..
I got this beautiful wreath from The Pink Cabbage.  Janet is wonderfully talented at making fabulous wreaths.  So are many of the girls at The Cabbage but this one, with the spoons, caught my eye this year.  It's on our laundry room door which is in our breakfast nook which is between the kitchen and living room.
And here's the tree.  I got pretty dang close to my inspiration picture especially since I bought the banner from them.  The guys actually like it...qualifying it as...considering it's my year.
A little vignette behind the tree...
...another on top of the t.v. cabinet...
...and lastly, the little vignette on the coffee table.  No, there are no Christmas towels in even the powder room, or lights outside, or a pinch of anything on the mantel.  But this is how I did it this year.  Simple but we like it.  I hope you have all you want surrounding you especially your family.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Cabbage Girls' Holiday Party

Every year someone volunteers to have our shop, The Pink Cabbage, holiday party at their home.  This year it was Daryl, the wonderful woman above.
Graciousness and fabulousness are understatements for what we were to experience as soon as we walked in the door until we reluctantly left.
To say Daryl's home is beautiful is another understatement.  This photo, as each photo, don't  do near enough justice to how wonderful everything is.  Her whole house is decorated to the nines with Christmas everywhere; all so beautiful and stunning. 
A close up of her main tree.  Wrapped in gold tulle, gold beaded rope, huge silk magnolias, and gold and silver shine and glitter.  It looks professionally done; well, I guess you could call her a professional because she could surely get paid to decorate trees and homes!
One of the many vignettes that are all around the house~snowman with candles and holly.  It's really impossible to show all the grandness.  Next year she should give tours!
Part of the party was to have an ugly Christmas sweater contest.  Some of us got really into it; me going onto eBay and buying one of the hundreds offered.  I didn't know before that this is apparently a popular ritual as there were so many to choose from.  Above are some silly sports.
And the winner was our own ringleader, Jody.  Please note the elastic waist on the stretch pants.  What you can't see here is her how the pants are above her ankles (part of having them hiked up well above her navel), the white socks, and the white Keds.  She looked exactly like someone out of my junior high class.  Especially funny for the usual fashion maven.
A good look at Jackie's sweater and what Emma, on the left, thinks of it.
Here's one with me.  No way to take good enough photos of my sweater but it has a full size teddy bear, big ornaments, plastic flowers, and light-up lights!  It was really something.
Janine and I; Janine in a way more tasteful sweater, me feeling pregnant.
Some of the tasteful beauties.  Daryl, left; Nancy, middle; Karen, right.
We also had a "white elephant", "Yankee swap"~"naughty Christmas" gift exchange.  In case you don't know, the Yankee swap or naughty Christmas is where you can choose to either pick a gift from the pile of take a gift from someone else who has already opened one.  Jody ended up with this super-soft throw which went through...I don't know how many people.  They said it was only suppose to be stolen twice but since I broke a couple of other rules that one went out the window too.  There was no prying this off her!
And another popular one was what Karen ended up with~hemorrhoid cream and Nancy Pelosi toilet paper! 

It was a great night.  The food and drinks were wonderful also but the company was the best.  Thanks Daryl and all my Cabbage buddies!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Must Books

These are great books that I've been studying and reading recently.  Highly recommended.  For art:

For great reading:

This one recommended by Miz Juney.  I was afraid of the subject-the big C, but it was really great and non-fiction.  I hope everyone has time to read something really good over the holidays.

Been doin', gonna do...

I've been combating cold weather by making more art recently.  Not that I need a reason but it's great excuse.   I got the inspiration from the holy grail of inspiration Inspire Company and Amy's wonderful FREE magazine with many, many pages of, well, inspiration.   As usually happens when I'm trying to make something like someone else, I got my own spin going on it.
These were fun and I took my time making them since I was doing it completely differently than the tutorial.
This one is a little hard to see as the Frozen Charlotte is very pale but cute.
And a re-worked piece I've had around that needed more fun.  I was really busy last week making new things for our open house at The Pink Cabbage on Sunday (wildly successful!) but didn't have the time to take photos.  If they haven't sold, I'll add the photos here.
Above is going to be my view for the next couple of days.  I'm finally going to get around to listing all the fab things I have from Paul's aunt and uncle's estate on eBay.  I did a few a couple of weeks ago, but it wasn't the really good stuff.  Today I spent quite a bit of time hand washing many beautiful vintage aprons.  Between those and the vintage jewelry, purses, and furs, I hope to make some extra Christmas money by providing gifts for others.   It's time consuming so I'll have eBay butt, but with cute slippers and that t.v. will be on.
Also, in the meantime, I've been starting to decorate for Christmas a little at a time.  It's "my" year to decorate as I please, which usually means I take out the white faux tree and pink ornys, but not this year.  Above is the railing on the stairway and... 
...and this beautiful wreath that was supposed to go on the front door but it's been too windy so it goes inside so we can enjoy it.
So this is the look I'm going for with the tree.  So far all I have is the Pottery Barn Happy Holiday banners.   I'm thinking white lights and some crystal/alphabet ball ornaments.  Very simple and classy?  Now Paul just needs to find a tree exactly like this...

Memories of cooking...

This is going to be in "Miz Juney" style of writing only I can't keep up with her much less compete.

Confession: I haven't been a very good home professional in the kitchen in the last couple of years.  I think I made promises, which have not been fulfilled, when I got the subway tile in the kitchen I wanted for so many years.   I love it.  I love looking at it.  Clean. 

Paul has made his feelings about this known for quite a while; first in passive-aggressive hints, "Is there a plan for dinner?", then, "What's for dinner?", now full-blown, "Where the hell is dinner?".  I understand.  He works hard all day and provides a lifestyle, while not glamorous, I have nothing to complain about.  And I'm at home near the kitchen all day.  I do have a small business and work on my art, do laundry, bathrooms (3 boys), floors, etc.  But I have more time in the proximity of the kitchen.  I've tried telling him that I've been doing this for over 30 years, but it's not his fault; he's only been here the last 15.  I'm sick of my own cooking.  Can I hear an AMEN Sisters? 

The guilt got to me enough where I started out doing better by having Giant deliver the groceries.  Then I improved by jumping up from the computer/t.v./art project to thaw something in the microwave and search for a  side dish in the freezer as soon as I heard his car drive up. 

Recently, however, I've tried to make a real improvement.  And it doesn't hurt that Paul, purposely or not, is so pathetically thankful when he gets a meal.  I'm not saying I'm Martha.  Been there, done that, no medals.  But I've been starting to think about dinner before 5 p.m. 

Today I thought a little more in advance, something easy but really yummy and I haven't made it so many times that we want to throw up whenever we see it.  I'll share it here:

Cheddar-Tomato Pie

2 deep dish pie crusts, can you guess whether or not I make them from scratch?  Used to.
1 large can plum tomatoes, peeled and sliced-I use 2 standard cans of stewed tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup fresh basil...yeah, right...sprinkle some dried on
1 cup cheddar or provolone or mozzarella-I use mozzarella
1/3 cup mayo
2 T lemon juice
1/2 cup more cheese

Arrange tomatoes in pie crust in pan and sprinkle with basil.  Top with 1 cup of cheese.  In a small bowl, stir together mayo and lemon juice.  Spoon over tomatoes in pie and top with the remaining cheese.  Place the other crust on top and pinch and cut some slits.  ****Cover edge with foil and bake at 375 for 25 minutes, remove foil, and bake another 15-20 minutes more or until golden.  Yum.  Serve with a salad, corn on the cob, and it's a meal.

****This is where my musing started.  The recipe said "cover edge with foil".  As I was cutting my foil in strips, I thought I remembered buying something from Pampered Chef years ago that was just for this situation.  So I go digging around the kitchen and didn't find it.  It did, however, remind me of all those Pampered Chef parties I went to when Matt was a baby.  Can you imagine needing to get out of the house so badly that...okay, we've all been there.  And we had only lived here a few months when I had Matt so I had double the reasons for getting the hell out.   Bible study and weekly play group were great but that was during the day with Matt in tow.   All those Tupperware and fun wear parties.  I went to everything I was invited to.  Then one day, the heavens parted and I was asked to my first Bunko party.  Oh how that saved not only my sanity, my social life, but was fun~eating and drinking and adult conversations. 

Now that our kids are big and busy, we don't see each other, and I miss the camaraderie.  Ebb and flow, flow and ebb.  Maybe a good New Year's resolution~make real, monthly or whatever, plans with those groups of women.  In the meantime, I give Paul 5 more years to collect take-out menus which will be his choices for dinner when Matt goes to college.