Thursday, December 31, 2009

Beginning the New Year with Gratitude

First of all, thanks to you for taking the time to read my blog. With so many wonderful places to chose from, it is an honor to catch your eye. If you are returning even more so.

Another year, and in fact another decade comes to an end this evening under a rather rare lunar occurrence, an eclipsing blue moon. We all have so much to be thankful for on any day, the wonders of the world around us, friendships, family.

The Christmas wrapping paper has all been disposed of, memories starting to be tucked away, and our eyes turn toward the future on New Year's Eve. But I'm going to change the focus of my blog for this next year. Try to make it a little less random, and back off from the trying to let it help build a business. Celebrating family happenings will continue, but also share the generosity of friends in a more open forum.

I've been blessed, flat out, to join two hooking circles this year, both of them flowed out of joining 10 minutes a day Rug Hooking, so April if you read this, a Huge thanks to you, and a real hope that things will settle into a midwinter slower pace in your work. I've missed seeing and being inspired by your work. I'm adding some yarn to my latest project, another thing you introduced me to. :)

Before the hooking circles were many online friends. One of the features of many groups are "swaps". Some of the nicest treasures in my home were made for me by friends and sent in swap boxes. If I were to post all the pictures over the years, you would be amazed! But I'll do that going forward... my picture taking never is a proper setting for these gifts, often perched on an ironing board or chair. But like the jewels of generosity they are, the gifts sparkle on their own despite my poor photography.

Betty is a talented mom who designs cross stitch, needlepunch and rug hooking designs, as most of you who read this blog already know. She sent a wonderful box of Christmas gifts and a birthday pinkeep to me. Each package had the most precious candy canes made from pipe cleaners! The dragonfly pinkeep was especially dear to me, and the "Willie" needlepunch was inadvertantly overlooked in my first unwrapping of the gifts. Because I tend to let myself get too busy and fragmented, I've tried to make myself leave things in the box until I get a picture taken. Doing that, revealed the punch needle piece. It is magnificent, Betty will be pish poshing that, but those of you with some of her work will know it to be the truth. Colors TDF! plush, finished beautifully and with her dear initials on the back. When you do things by hand, the thought of the time someone else spends to make you a gift, makes it all the more dear. In addition, Betty contributed 2 lovely dolls to our Comfort Dolls box earlier this year. I'm honored to be her friend.

Sharon, sent a box filled with things of beauty and use for New Year's swap. We were to include a "white elephant" which she tried to call a handmade set of mittens she'd made. They are peeking out from under the floss in the picture of everything in the box.Two inches of "confetti" filled the bottom of the box! A gigantic salad bowl(my own) was quickly filled with wooly worms, wool rug yarn, and a lovely tan piece of wool. The picture of things inside the box, just couldn't show it all. Every bit of that bowl is filled with a wealth of wooly worms, and in an amazing act of ESP on her part, in some of the colors I needed most! What I thought was mascara, turned out to be cuticle oil that is already making my dried cuticles feel better~notepads perfect for a quick shopping list or jotting down a phone number after bumping into a friend who has moved back to town. Sharon's blog is linked to the right from My Chocolate Mousse she is as much fun as talented, and again I'm honored by her friendship.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Baking Day 2009

For almost as many years as we have lived in TX, it has been a tradition in our family to have a "Baking Day" for Christmas treats on the first Saturday in December. That day was selected because of the local Scout show. Daddy would be gone all day, and after the show was over, packed up, and the Astrodome area cleaned up he could come home to a special treat of homemade cookies, Chex Mix, or once a gingerbread house.

It was a time to bake together with our daughter, laugh and work throughout the day. Cookie plates for neighbors were one of the goals ~ to kick off the holiday season, before everyone was tired of treats. A few chocolate kisses or Hershey's mini candybars extended the variety, and some years we even included a few salted in the shell peanuts. This year, she'll be sharing with coworkers at her office, and I'll be sharing with my quilting bee and ATHA rug hooking circle, Stash Sisters. We made a few angel cookies for Miss Ann and Miss Joan, Livvie's MDO teachers. :) My sister and her family will receive some in their Christmas box, and yes, we'll nibble a few ourselves.

Today, December 5, 2009 was Baking Day. We started about 9:30 am and made lots of treats to share with family and friends. Livvie didn't care too much for the apron, I'd made for her, so she only had to wear it for our "official" photo. Our Baking Day banner, was made from a gift that a friend, PattiJane, sent for my birthday. It had a little different plan, but it is on the reverse side of Livvie's Advent Calendar with Santa, and we hope to take a picture of all of us beside it for many years to come. ♥

She had on her ELF APPRENTICE onesie, which is an inside joke for our family, and that was a perfect fashion statement for the day. You'll see her decorating cookies farther down in this post, using the aerial sprinkle drop method. ;) It began with vigorously shaking of the container and a swoop UP! She had a great time, and so did her mom and grandpaparazzi taking pics.

Last cookies we baked today were Linzer cookies, and that was when Jenni and I were really laughing. These cookies taste pretty good, but are not easy to assemble for novices. Next year, the recipe makes the cut, but probably not the cookie cutters! Jenni and I were trying to "remove the excess dough so they could go right into the oven", and finally ended up using corn on the cob holders with her push,push, shove method.

Like many family memories, it doesn't sound nearly as fun in the retelling, as it was while going on. Bottom line is that while I enjoyed our baking days when Jenni was a child, tween, and teenager it was a really wonderful day today. Whether Jenni and Livvie continue the tradition or not, it was fun to work, laugh, and share a day when lots of treats were made, along with memories.... Livvie's daddy returned at the end of his day of work to the smell of treats baked and waiting.