Sunday, December 31, 2017

Last day of 2017...

...and I'm ready for it to end.

I woke up in time for the sunrise.

Sunrise 12/31/17

And dressed the Christmas tree for New Year's Eve:

New Year's Eve tree

After doing the grocery shopping and putting dinner in the crockpot, I spent the day working on the Christmas quilt, All That Glitters. I got it sandwiched, and did a good deal of the machine quilting. I can probably finish this quilt with a couple more sessions at the sewing machine.

I stopped long enough to take some photos at sunset:

Sunset 12/31/17

Moonrise:

Moonrise 12/31/17

I have some champagne and fresh raspberries for a midnight toast. We'll see if I manage to stay awake that long!

Happy New Year!
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Friday, December 29, 2017

Last Eye Candy Friday of 2017...

...I can't believe it's almost the end of the year!

This morning's sunrise was pretty:

Sunrise 12/29/17

It took me until yesterday at 5pm to finish packing up the goodies to mail to family and friends. I sent out 11 boxes of goodies, from New Jersey to L.A. The house is a disaster, with torn wrapping paper and packing supplies all over the place.

However, I'm ignoring all of that for now because I am finally going to get to spend time in my studio! What I'm going to work on, I have no idea, but it will be crafty!
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Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017...

...and it's early still so the photo is a bit fuzzy.


Merry Christmas!

We're waiting for The Daughter to get up so we can open presents. Then we're off to one of the local trails to take a short hike. I plan to veg after that!

Merry Christmas 

from me and mine to you and yours!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Top-of-the-Waves Tuesday...

...and "tired" is the word of the day. However, I'm in the homestretch, so it will be better soon.
  • On Friday, we brought our tree inside after rearranging the furniture. You'd think after all these years of doing the same rearranging that we'd be better at it, but no. Rearranging involves mopping the floor and vacuuming the rugs as well.
  • The tree is a lot less full that previous years, and more expensive. Our smallest tree stand worked for this year. However, it started leaking once I put water in the well. It's leaking at the screw holes, so we used plumber's putty around the screws. It's not leaking any more.
  • While I haven't been able decorate the tree very much, I did manage to get the lights on it. It only took two mesh light grids to light the whole tree. In previous years, it's taken 3. I did manage to get 2 ornaments on it - the 2 that The Daughter brought back from Iceland.
  • Saturday was cookie icing day. The first thing was to make the royal icing. I did 3 batches this time, but it was overkill. I iced all of the cookies and did the first stage of snowflake decorating.

    I also made a batch of Grand Marnier nuts (a combination of pecans and walnuts).
Iced Christmas cookies
  • Sunday was grocery day. I bought the ingredients for dinner and assembled the casserole when I go home.
  • Then it was chocolate time!
    • I covered one side of each biscotti with chocolate. Some got dark chocolate, some got semi-sweet, some got white chocolate, and the gingerbread got royal icing.
    • I made the peppermint bark bars., using the leftover chocolate from the biscotti.
    • I made a batch of Amaretto-Cinnamon Nuts.
    • And I did stage 2 of the snowflakes - piping the details
    • Last night, I did the last stage of the snowflakes - luster dust and edible glitter. The I crashed on the couch while everything dried.
Chocolate on the biscotti

Tonight, I need to package up my work gifts. Tomorrow is my last day of work for the year...hooray!

I need the next couple of days to pack up the rest of the goodie gifts, clean my house, decorate, wrap packages...

I'll rest after Christmas. ;-)
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Friday, December 15, 2017

Eye Candy Friday...

...and I'm ready to leave this week behind.

Not much for Eye Candy today. There aren't very many flowers to photograph. So how about a Christmas recycle? Here is the advent calendar that I made for our daughter when she was living in Baltimore ini  2006:

Cat Advent Calendar

This is a Makower panel and was pretty quick to assemble. 

Up this weekend: I am in a sprint to finish everything by Tuesday night! Ack!

My last day at work is Wednesday and I need to deliver the work goodie bags then. That means that pretty much everything must be finished by Sunday night. The only thing that won't be done is the final stage(s) of the snowflake cookies. Those always take 3 passes and everything must dry in between.

I haven't quite decided the priority order, but the goal is to do the following this weekend:
  1. Ice/frost all of the sugar cookies (137)
  2. Put chocolate on the biscotti (319)
  3. Make the chocolate bark - 2 kinds
  4. Make the Grand Marnier nuts and the Amaretto nuts
  5. Bring in the Christmas tree and maybe do some decorating
Yeah, I won't get much of a weekend...it's Christmas-time!
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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hello, Thursday...

...what did you do with Wednesday?

I hate when work interferes with blogging....LOL! Yesterday was spent working on a client project. It's in hand now, but that doesn't make Wednesday come back.

On top of it all, I'm fighting off a cold, which just makes me want to hibernate. It' not very conducive to getting anything done in the evenings. When Friday afternoon rolls around, I'll be pretty busy!

FWIW, here's the WIPs list.

WIPs Roll Call

Worked On:

  • Christmas baking
    Baked the fruitcakes, biscotti, and cookies; next is frosting and chocolate
  • Spa products
    Purchased some bath bomb molds and citric acid to play with when I'm done with baking.
Works In Progress, Did Not Work On This Week:
  1. 4-shaft sampler (weaving) [Ravelry]
  2. Attic Windows quilt for me (quilting)
  3. Charred Teal Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Christmas 9-patch Pillow (cross stitch)
  5. Mermaid of the Pearls (cross stitch)  
  6. Mother of Dragons shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  7. Phat Fiber box, Indian Wedding (spinning) [Ravelry
  8. Rosewood Wrap (weaving) [Ravelry]
  9. St. Charles (needlepoint)
  10. Valley of the Heart's Delight sampler design (cross stitch)
UFOs/Hibernation:
  1. All That Glitters Christmas quilt (quilting)
  2. Be My Baby for My Baby (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Bear Paw pottery (needlepoint)
  4. Canto de Sirena shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  5. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  6. Finishing work
  7. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  8. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  9. Tucson Twilight (needlepoint)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Top-of-the-Waves Tuesday...

...and the weekend report.

The short story: I am back on track with the baking and I am behind on Christmas decorations!
  • Friday: I baked my fruitcakes and made 2 more cookie doughs that need to chill before baking.
  • Saturday: We got our Christmas tree and put it in a bucket of water in the side yard. It's still there!
  • Saturday: I baked the 9 cookie doughs that were ready to go. I also made two more that didn't need chilling before baking: Christmas Spritz and Cherry Kisses.

    Christmas tree shopping, baking, laundry, and the dishes: my Saturday in a nutshell.
Cookie baking 12/9/17

  • Sunday: The first thing was doing the grocery shopping.  We decided on a crockpot dinner so I wouldn't have to cook a full dinner after baking.

    I got dinner into the crockpot and started on the biscotti. This year I dropped two types off the list to reduce the overall volume. I baked six types of biscotti: Grand Marnier, Coconut, Cranberry-Pistachio, Espresso, Gingerbread, and Chocolate.

Biscotti baking 12/10/17

The grand total for this week's baking:
  • Fruitcakes: 4 small bundt, 7 mini-loaves, and 6 cup-sized
  • Cookies: 747 (up 210, still trying to figure out why that number is so high)
  • Biscotti: 319 (down 149)
Next weekend is icing and chocolate: Icing the sugar cookies, putting chocolate on the biscotti, and making chocolate bark.
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Friday, December 08, 2017

Eye Candy Friday...

...and heading into full-on baking mode!

With the time change and shorter days, I have more opportunities to take sunrise photos. Here's this morning's:

Sunrise 12/8/17

Up this weekend: BAKING!!

Well, the actual plan is:
  • Friday PM: Make the fruitcakes and two more cookie doughs that need chilling. 
  • Saturday: Bake all of the chilled cookie dough. If there is time, bake the remaining cookies that don't need chilling.
  • Sunday: Biscotti
  • Somewhere in there, get our Christmas tree
It's going to be a busy weekend!!
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Wednesday, December 06, 2017

WIP-it Wednesday...

...now that it's December, my WIPs take a backseat and Christmas takes over. Craft WIPs will get very little play until after the 25th.

That being said, I have a couple of gift ideas that are craft-based. My plan is to gather the items I need to make said gifts and assemble them after I've completed most of the Christmas baking.

Speaking of which, here's a shout-out to Amazon for delivering my candied orange peel order 2 days before they said they would! Too bad I don't have enough time after work to make my fruitcakes. :-(

Sorry, still no photos of the current progress for my stitching projects.

WIPs Roll Call

Worked On:
  • Christmas baking
    Bought most of the ingredients; made 7 cookie doughs
  • Mermaid of the Pearls (cross stitch) 
    Still working on the tail
Works In Progress, Did Not Work On This Week:
  1. 4-shaft sampler (weaving) [Ravelry]
  2. Attic Windows quilt for me (quilting)
  3. Charred Teal Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Christmas 9-patch Pillow (cross stitch)
  5. Mother of Dragons shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  6. Phat Fiber box, Indian Wedding (spinning) [Ravelry
  7. Rosewood Wrap (weaving) [Ravelry]
  8. St. Charles (needlepoint)
  9. Valley of the Heart's Delight sampler design (cross stitch)
UFOs/Hibernation:
  1. All That Glitters Christmas quilt (quilting)
  2. Be My Baby for My Baby (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Bear Paw pottery (needlepoint)
  4. Canto de Sirena shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  5. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  6. Finishing work
  7. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  8. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  9. Tucson Twilight (needlepoint) 
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Tuesday, December 05, 2017

November 2017 recap...

...hard to believe that it's already over.

Finished:
  • 11/26 Spice Market handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]
    Merino-Stellina (Glitter) roving (4oz.) from Greenwood Fiberworks;
    286.6 yd, chain-ply; 16 WPI
  • 11/29 Vacation photo processing
  • Books:
    1. Brotherhood in Death, JD Robb
    2. Apprentice in Death, JD Robb
    3. What Remains True, Janis Thomas
    4. Archangel's Viper, Nalini Singh
    5. The Brightest Fell, Seanan McGuire
    6. Fury of a Phoenix, Shannon Mayer
    7. Blood of a Phoenix, Shannon Mayer
Started:
  • 11/4 Spice Market handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]
Works In Progress:
  1. 4-shaft sampler (weaving) [Ravelry]
  2. Attic Windows quilt for me (quilting)
  3. Charred Teal Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry
  4. Christmas 9-patch Pillow (cross stitch)
  5. Mermaid of the Pearls (cross stitch)  
  6. Mother of Dragons shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  7. Phat Fiber box, Indian Wedding (spinning) [Ravelry
  8. Rosewood Wrap (weaving) [Ravelry]
  9. St. Charles (needlepoint)
  10. Valley of the Heart's Delight sampler design (cross stitch)
UFOs/Hibernation:
  1. All That Glitters Christmas quilt (quilting)
  2. Be My Baby for My Baby (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Bear Paw pottery (needlepoint)
  4. Canto de Sirena shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  5. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  6. Finishing work
  7. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  8. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  9. Tucson Twilight (needlepoint)

Monday, December 04, 2017

Monday, Monday...

...it came way too soon!

And yes, I am posting on a Monday. I decided to do a weekend report now while I have a chance.

Normally, I spend my first weekend in December buying any ingredients I still need and then baking fruitcakes and the other breads (like pumpkin). The cakes and breads go into the freezer until around the 22nd.

This year, Thanksgiving came early, which meant that I didn't quite have my act together to buy ingredients over the long weekend. Instead, I did the Trader Joe's run (nuts, butter, white chocolate chips) and the Smart and Final run (flour, sugar, chocolate chips, waxed paper, containers) on Saturday.

I have been unable to find the candied fruit for my fruitcakes locally. The Husband kindly checked a few other local stores for me, but was unable to find the orange peel. Between the two of us, we checked 8 local stores and only found a couple of citron and lemon peel containers and no orange peel.

On Thursday, I gave up and ordered from Amazon. They delivered the candied citron and candied lemon peel on Saturday. However, they were unable to deliver the candied orange peel on the weekend - I have to wait until Tuesday or Wednesday. Who knew that candied orange peel would be so hard to find?!

This put a crimp in my baking schedule as I had plenty of time after shopping on Saturday to make the fruitcakes. Instead, I set up the kitchen for baking, went through the cupboards to see what I had in stock from last year (and dumped some expired stuff), and then worked on the mermaid.

On Sunday, I did the grocery run and bought the remaining ingredients for baking (eggs, apples) and the ingredients for dinner. I made the casserole for dinner and started making the cookie dough that needs to chill before baking.

In the refrigerator and ready to go:
  1. Sugar cookies
  2. Dark chocolate sugar cookies
  3. Mexican Wedding cookies
  4. Mexican Chocolate Wedding cookies
  5. Spumoni Slices
  6. Pistachio Swirls
  7. Chocolate Espresso Slices 
I have any energy left during the week, I could bake one of more of these. If not, they'll hold until the weekend.

We're getting our tree this coming weekend. Our advent calendars are up as well as the stockings. The Husband got the artificial tree from storage, so I could also work on setting up the Star Trek tree. Here's the 2012 version. There are a lot more ships on it now!

Star Trek Christmas Tree

Anyway, it all depends on how cold it is and how tired I am at the end of the work day. We'll see how much I actually get done this week!
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Friday, December 01, 2017

Eye Candy Friday...

...blog and run. I have a work function this evening.

The Daughter's Thanksgiving table:

Thanksgiving tablescape

A close up of the hydrangeas:

White hydrangeas

Sunset in Oakland:

Sunset in Oakland

And a finished object. This is Spice Market handspun [Ravelry]:

Spice Market handspun

and a close up:

Spice Market handspun

Specs:
Started 11/4/17
Finished 11/26/17
Merino-Stellina (Glitter) roving (4oz.) from Greenwood Fiberworks;
286.6 yds, chain-ply; 16 WPI

Have a good weekend!
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Top-of-the-Waves Tuesday...

...it's been a week. The Husband continues to deal with his father's estate and taking care of his mother's situation. Any one...