Monthly Archives: November 2007

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Blame It On Rebecca

A few weeks ago, Rebecca posted a pretty picture of the Empire State Building all decked out in red and green for the holidays. I knew then, that if I got a trip to New Jersey, I’d have to try to go into NYC in the evening to see such a beautiful sight. (And btw, long post warning!)
As soon as my meetings were over yesterday, I jumped in the car, drove to the NJ Path Train, and hopped on for a ride into the city. I managed to get to Tinsel Trading just 10 minutes before closing time. I saw those cute little clown snowmen last year on the cover of a Mary Englebreit magazine and knew I’d like to try to visit Tinsel Trading during the holiday season. The other picture below is for Sarah and Pam – bottle brush trees ala Tinsel Trading.

Tinsel Trading Tinsel Trading

In an e-mail, Rebecca mentioned that I should try to visit the shops in Bryant Park. When I read that, I was confused — the last time I was in Bryant Park, there were no shops. Apparently, they put them up just for Christmas shopping. It’s much like a European Christmas market full of lots of artist and handcrafted booths. There’s also an ice skating rink in the middle of the park. Thanks SO much, Rebecca for the outstanding suggestion. Without your help, I would have never known to visit Bryant Park.

Bryant Park Bryant Park

After I walked around the park, I remembered that Rebecca had mentioned that the big Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center was up, so I thought I’d wander up there and see it. Now, as she’s reading this, Rebecca is probably thinking….”No, please tell me you didn’t go up there last night.” Oh. Yes. I. Did. How was I supposed to know that they were officially turning on the lights LAST NIGHT???? (In her defense, Rebecca sent me an e-mail yesterday morning to let me know that little tidbit of information, but I was without access to my e-mail all day.) I was merrily walking north along 6th avenue thinking to myself, “Wow, there sure are a lot of NYPD out tonight.” And a little later, “Boy, there sure are a lot of people out shopping.” Pretty soon, I found myself in the middle of a mob. A very well-controlled mob, I might add, but still. It was incredibly crowded. Here’s the view looking north and south along 6th Avenue.

Tree Lighting Crowd Tree Lighting Crowd

This is still a very long block away from Rockefeller Square. They had jumbo tv screens in the street and the NYPD guys said those TV screens were as close as we would be able to get. I decided I didn’t need to stand out in the cold for two hours, so I bailed out. I retreated across 6th Avenue, and took a picture of some really cool giant ornaments. I love this sort of stuff about big cities.

Tree Lighting Crowd Giant Ornaments

So. No big beautiful tree. Strike One. I headed back south and found myself in front of Macy’s, looking at all the fun window displays. I especially liked the windows depicting the story of The Miracle on 34th Street. I love that movie! Here are just a few of my favorites:

Macy's Windows Macy's Windows
Macy's Windows Macy's Windows

Empire State BuildingI was a little sorry I hadn’t gone into Macy’s to find the real Santa Claus. There must be one in there, right? That’s part of the story — the Macy’s Santas! I also didn’t check for any Martha ornaments — btw, Rebecca, we want to see your ornaments!  Anyway, I wandered down the street for the whole reason I came into the city in the first place: to see the Empire State Building in red and green. And here to the right, she is. Do we see red and green anywhere???? No. We. Do. Not. Strike Two. Apparently they have a lighting schedule and we are not in a red/green/white cycle. In fact, it won’t be back to red/green/white until somewhere around the 21st. Just in case you’re traveling to NYC, it will be white/white/white for roughly another week, then it will be blue/white/white (blue/blue/white? white/blue/white? whatever, it’s not red/green/white!) for Hanukkah for another week or 10 days or so. Then it will go back to white/white/white until the 21st, when it will go to red/green/white until after the New Year. How Rude!  I should have called ahead LOL!

By now, it was getting late and I still had a 1 1/2 hour commute.  On the way back to the Path train, I passed the Border’s at Madison Square Garden and decided I’d attempt Strike 3.  My search for the elusive McCall’s magazine with Holly‘s blogging article in it.  Bingo!  No strike 3 — they had the magazine!  Holly’s contest to be the first to find the magazine is over, so I was spared the indignity of taking a picture of me holding it.  I took a picture of it as it waited next to my Sheraton pillow for me to read it last night.

McCall's Magazine

Thanks Holly for including my blog header with the pictures — there’s lots of fun info there!  Holly also has an adorable quilt in the magazine made from her Lakehouse fabrics — be sure and check it out!
If you’re still here…thanks for sticking it out.  In spite of two strikes, I had a great time.  There’s nothing like the big city during the holidays!  Until next time….
XOXO,
Anna

P.S.  Quilty Peeps — I missed you — NYC isn’t the same without you!!!

Over-Achievers

Ok, I’m thinking of starting a 12-step program for all you over-achievers out there in blogland who have your Christmas decorating all done.  You guys are making the rest of us look bad!  What the Hey!  I still have leaves on the ground.  A TON of leaves.  They came down so late this year, it’s ridiculous.  In fact, some of them are still in the trees.  We spent all day yesterday with BigDaddy’s Big Leaf Blower, in the sleet and rain, cleaning up leaves.  And we only got the front yard done.  This means another wasted Saturday to get the backyard cleaned up.  Assuming snow or ice don’t beat us to it.  I think I’m going to be sick.

So, here’s Step 1 for you over-achievers.  I have to go on a work trip tomorrow.  While I’m gone, how ’bout you guys come and get those *^%$%#ng leaves out of my backyard.  Deal?  ‘Cause I have things to do.  I’m WAY behind on the making gifts list.  My giftees will probably get half-finished projects with IOUs in their gift boxes.  And I don’t even want to talk about the decorating yet — the house is dirty.  It’s a never-ending cycle.  I’m starting to feel the panic in the pit of my stomach.  Just another week or two and I suspect it will float to the top.  Aaack!

Anyhoo, enough complaining.  Because I need a picture to cheer me up, I’ll show you a project I completed a few weeks ago.  I needed some baby gifts and I had to wait until they were received to post them.

Baby Towels

When I heard last spring that Jill was having a baby, I thought how fun it would be to make her a little treat.  I hadn’t made a baby gift in years and I missed it — baby gifts are my favorite thing to do.  Then, shortly after Victor was born, I received a baby announcement from an old work friend, so I made two hooded baby towel sets.

Baby Towels

I also hadn’t played with my embroidery machine in quite awhile, so that was fun too.  (If you have an embroidery machine, the little duck design is a freebie available in the baby section of Ann the Gran’s free designs.)  The towels are made from a 36″ square piece of terry cloth.  The hood is made from a 14″ square that has been cut on the diagonal.  The whole thing was edged with bias binding, just like you would bind a quilt.

Baby Towels

Naturally, TheEmptyNestChild had to get in on the action, checking out the new baby.  I briefly contemplated having him be the baby model, but thought that the recipients might not appreciate a new baby towel covered in cat hair!

I’m off to throw a few things into a suitcase.  Over-achievers — Chill Out!  LOL!!!

XOXO,
Anna

Chocolate Swap, Part 2

Chocolate SwapMy Chocolate Swap partner Nicole finally got her package from me, so I can show you what I sent to her. And, more importantly, I can show you why Brown bunny was sulking with his back to the camera in the bunny family photo. He really isn’t Brown Bunny at all, he’s Chocolate Bunny and if he’d shown his tummy back then, it would have been pretty obvious who he was going to, what with the chocolate swap looming, don’t you think?

A few weeks after Sharon announced the chocolate swap, the Quilty Peeps and I were in NYC and I saw this chocolate fabric at City Quilter. I thought it would be just perfect for the chocolate swap and for a section on a chocolate bunny. I love the pink background — it’s hard to see but it has a very subtle white stamp to it that is a bit elegant. I love this fabric so much that I bought some more of it at The Fabric Shack on Tuesday. I plan to use it for some lounge pants for a friend’s Christmas gift this year.

Part of our chocolate swap assignment was to make a container for the chocolate.

Chocolate Swap

I made a little box and used the pattern from Amy Butler’s In Stitches book. I changed the handles though and ran into a little problem. Apparently I wasn’t paying attention when I drew the spaces for the handles — they’re the same size, but the handle on one side is lower than the handle on the other side. The ribbons around the handle are my lame attempt to cover that fact up.

Chocolate Swap

Shhh, don’t tell Nicole — maybe she won’t notice LOL! In addition to Chocolate Bunny and the chocolate, I tucked in a few pieces of brown and a pink piece of fabric. And sweet Nicole has sent me a very nice Thank You.

I hope if any of you braved the Black Friday crowds that you survived it. I’m not much of a shopper, and I’m definitely not a fan of the crowds, so I stayed home. Yay! I have to venture out tomorrow though to replenish a few sewing supplies. I hope everyone has a good weekend — we’re hoping to tackle our leaf problem and finish the yardwork for the season.

XOXO,
Anna

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today has been a wonderful fall day. Rainy, chilly and perfect for being inside with all the busy-ness of getting ready for Thanksgiving. I’m the designated pie maker in our family and today was pie day. What’s your favorite pie? I like them all, but Pecan is by far my favorite. If you’re outside the US and you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you have something that gives you the opportunity to gorge on pumpkin and pecan pies — I think Thanksgiving is about the only time we take the time to enjoy them!

Pies

In the spirit of so many of you who do frequent gratitude posts, here are a few things, both big and little, that I’m thankful for:

  • First and foremost, Family. All the characters over there on the sidebar.
  • A gloomy rainy day that makes me happy for a nice warm home.
  • Thanksgiving Pies!
  • My goofy, kind brother-in-law who makes me laugh and who needs a character name so he can appear in the sidebar too.
  • Fabric. Thread. Patterns.  Sewing Machine.  Iron.  You get the picture.
  • All of you. Your blogs so full of daily inspiration.
  • SweetiePie really is a Sweetie Pie.
  • A week off of work to be able to do a few things that I never have time for.
  • MyDadLovesMeBestSister is hosting Thanksgiving, so I don’t have to work so hard this year.
  • The Quilty Peeps.
  • That I can humor two grown boys who spent time yesterday while I was gone, laughing at their mother’s blog.
  • My job.  I’d much rather be home, but it’s good to have a job.
  • Sump pumps.
  • Time to clean out the linen closet that I wanted to clean early last spring.
  • TheManoftheHouse keeps up with our computers.
  • Time with the family to play Hand and Foot.
  • Rolo candy.
  • This little indulgence.  It made my pie making so fun this year.
  • Thanksgiving is early this year, which makes the gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas longer.
  • We have a “chance” of snow accumulation tonight.
  • TheEmptyNestChild hasn’t eaten anything requiring surgery so far this year.
  • Good health for everyone in our family.
  • The best parents a girl could ever wish for and a very happy childhood.

Well, I could go on and on, I’m very, very blessed.  If you’re in the US, I hope you have a very wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by loved ones.
XOXO,
Anna

Having Fun

Just popped in to say I’ve been busy sewing, cooking, cleaning and playing while I’ve been off work this week. Highlights include:

A YUMMY Sunday Dinner — Filet of Beef Bourguignonne thoughtfully provided by Ina Garten. I LURVE Ina — it was awesome, you should try it if you like Beef Burgundy.

Dinner followed up by Black and Whites Cookies. When the Quilty Peeps and I were in NYC, we loved the Black and White cookies that they’re famous for and Junie promptly came home and found the recipe here. They’re surprisingly like the real thing — Thanks Junie!

blackandwhites

SweetiePie, MeMum and I went to Waynesville, Ohio today for a little Christmas shopping. Waynesville is full of antique shops and more importantly The Fabric Shack. Holy Cow — I could move in there! They have a great selection of fabric. If you’re anywhere in the vicinity of Dayton, Ohio, Waynesville is more than worth the visit. In one antique shop, I saw a blue and white Christmas tree that I really liked. (And because you bloggers have corrupted me, I just happened to have my camera with me.)

Chocolate Swap

Those little blue bulbs are old flash bulbs that have been “spent”. The whole tree (a 6 – 7 ft. tree?) was covered with these little bulbs. Where on earth did they find so many of them? I don’t know what era they’re from, but it hasn’t been any recent decade! Each little bulb had wire wrapped around its neck to make a hanger. I think this is a really cute idea and would also be fun with the colored old-fashioned Christmas bulbs.

Up tomorrow: Pies! Pumpkin, Pecan, and Apple. Hope you’re having a great week!

XOXO,
Anna