Sunday, November 27, 2011

O Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree!

Typically, the weekend of Thanksgiving like most people, I put up my tree and holiday decorations. My niece is in town visiting and she is quite the little helper. She helped me get the decorations and tree out from the garage. It was fun to see her open up the boxes and go through all the decorations.

Someday I would LOVE to have a real tree but for now my little tree is a pre-lit artificial tree. She did not quite understand this concept. Where she lives, they just go into their backyard, chop down a pine tree, and bring it inside to decorate (yes, I am very envious). So, I had to explain to her where her Auntie Lizzie lives, it doesn't quite work that way unless you go to great lengths (I think I am getting closer to convincing Mr."Ba-humbug" to go to a tree farm with me one year). 

So, we got the tree unpacked and put together. When it was time to stand the tree up, we realized that her dear Uncle (Mr. Ba-humbug) , threw out the stand "accidentally" when he cleaned out the garage. Now, he DID clean out the garage, and for that I am grateful and could not get mad. So, I hopped in the Jeep and went on a search for a new tree.  I had to make a very strategic move to get this tree because it was the last one and people were circling like vultures! This time I picked a tree with pretty colorful lights! I am actually kinda glad "Mr. Ba-humbug" accidentally threw out the stand. This little artificial tree is much much better! 

My fabric garland looks great on my new tree if I do say so myself! 


Friday, November 25, 2011

Hello Shopping!

Historically, I work every Friday after Thanksgiving. Hospitals are 24/7 so it comes with the territory. But this year, since my sister is in town for the Holiday, I took today off and we went shopping! My biggest black Friday deal was online with Best Buy. I needed a new T.V and got a great deal. I am so excited but I think my husband is even more excited because now he can have a Super Bowl Party. 

Since we were up so late on Wednesday (I was up that late mainly because of my cheesecake mishap) we did not get up at the crack of dawn like most did. But, we did hit up the Micheal's sale after Thanksgiving dinner and scored. So, after we got back from Michael's we developed our plan of action for today. We got a ton accomplished today and in the process acted like 2 clowns, I am sure people were wondering what was wrong with us. 

The most surprising part of the day was happening upon a great little store that reminded me exactly of Oleaceae in Santa Fe. This shop was The Virgin Olive Olier. We sampled various olive oils and vinegars. The store owner, Charles, was very kind and knowledgeable. This is place that I was so surprised to happen across. They have only been opened 3 weeks! I will be back! I picked up Chipotle Olive Oil to add to my collection.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Redemption Cheesecake

Remember last year? I had never made a cheesecake before and learned so much. Trial and error, right?  This year was my redemption year. My mom even gave me the Junior's Cheesecakes Cookbook for Christmas last year to help perfect my cheesecake making. 

I had a game plan this time. I had all my ingredients ready to go by Sunday. I got off work early on Wednesday and got to baking. I remember last year I did not have enough time to let the cheesecake cool and refrigerate because I got up Thanksgiving morning to make it. This year the day before would be plenty of time!  I was throwing my ingredients together and rocking and rolling jamming to some good tunes having so much fun! 

Junior's has a spongecake crust that  you make first. I was a bit worried about this because I have never heard of it before. But, it came out perfectly!

After the crust cooled I prepared everything else and had it baking in the oven by 8:30pm. Man, I am good, that is what I was thinking. This was going to be my redemption cheesecake! It looked really good too and the batter tasted very yummy! 

Ziggy was even very intrigued with the goings on in the kitchen.

 While said redemption cheesecake was baking in the oven my sister, brother-in-law, and niece were on the road traveling to visit us for a few days. My sister called and I told her all about how great things were going with my redemption cheesecake. I read through the ingredients of the cheesecake with her and then I came to...heavy cream. I know I bought heavy cream at the store on Sunday and it was chilling nicely in my refrigerator, but...I forgot to put it in the cheesecake!! OMG!

So, needless to say I had to start all over again! My sweet husband went to the store at 10:30pm to pick up 4 more blocks of cream cheese. I dumped the first delinquent cheesecake and started baking the second one. It went a little quicker since I had just put one together a few hours before. As I tried to remain positive, I rocked and rolled through this one too, but this time I made sure not to forget the heavy cream! Around about 3:00am Thanksgiving morning the cheesecake was cooled and ready stick in the fridge to refrigerate overnight. Thank goodness! 

Fortunately the cheesecake was very yummy! Unfortunately, I still have to perfect the huge crater that is  the size of the Grand Canyon from appearing in the middle of my cheesecake next time. But, given the odds I was up against, a measly crater the size of the Grand Canyon was not that big of a deal I suppose! 

Despite the late evening we woke up early to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade. My niece Violet loved it! She is such a good helper and helped me cook breakfast. She is quite the little chef! We had eggs, sausage, and english muffins.We were trying to keep things healthy since we knew what we would be in for later.

We finally arrived to my family gathering for Thanksgiving in the late afternoon and had a great spread!

My sister made many a pie.....

The tables were decorated sweetly too, just as they always are!

Happy Thanksgiving!!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Holiday With Matthew Mead

My mom let me borrow this cute little magazine full of great holiday decoration ideas! I decided to make the cone medallion ornament for the top of my Christmas tree. For some reason, I have never had anything on the very top of my Christmas tree so I am a bit overdue. I used some festive holiday scrap booking card-stock that I have had on hand for years. I love the stuff! I think my medallion turned out rather cute.

Cheers and happy holiday crafting!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fabric Christmas Tree Garland

In keeping with my "handmade" Christmas Tree theme over the past several years I decided to make a fabric garland for my tree. I have spent the past several years hand making Christmas ornaments in hopes that one day my tree will be completely decorated by ornaments created by hand. So, I thought a fabric garland would be a great touch. I have seen them done several ways but since I don't have a bunch of extra time on my hands I needed a quick and easy garland. So, I adapted and merged a few ideas from other people to make my own quick and easy garland.

Supplies needed:

To make things extra easy I used quilting squares. These Moda squares are adorable and I absolutely love the colors! Using the quilting squares kept me from having to get out my stash of fabric, go through it all, mix and match it, iron, and then cut. Whew, that seems like a lot of trouble! 

With my pinking shears I cut the squares into strips. Then I organized the strips in the order that I wanted to sew them.

Using a zig zag stitch on my sewing machine I sewed the strips together.

But, for a little extra flare, I left a space between each piece of fabric as I sewed. 

Then, in about only 5 minutes of sewing, my garland was complete!!


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