Monthly Archives: December 2008

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A Busy Blogaversary

WooHoo!  It’s my Blogaversary!  Well, it was actually yesterday….hmm, since it’s past midnight, I guess it was actually two days ago on the 29th.  I meant to post yesterday, but there’s been lots of busywork around here.  It’s nice to have time off of work to be able to catch up on some of the things that need to be done around the house.  We were lucky this morning and managed to check off a big to-do without even trying.  Some young men from Colorado knocked on the door and offered to trim our poor broken paper bark birch tree that was damaged in the ice storm last week.  Here’s the before and during shots:

Broken Birch Broken Birch

I didn’t think that poor tree would look normal again, as two big branches had been snapped off.  I think the tree trimmers did a great job.  They have a company in Denver but they said, in the wintertime, business dries up in Denver so they spend the season chasing ice storms.  We’d been talking about having that tree trimmed for the last year or two, so we felt like we got a two-for-one job.

After the tree-trimming, I spent the afternoon with TheManoftheHouse helping him to clean his office at work.  It was FIL-thy!   I think his paper hoarding could rival the fabric hoarding in my sewing room.  All the dust gave me a headache, but I’m glad that nasty job is over too.

When we returned from work, we tried a new recipe that TheManoftheHouse picked up a few weeks ago from a sample table at Sam’s Club.  Cranberry Turkey Crescent Pinwheels.

Cranberry RollUps

They’re a great way to use up Thanksgiving/Christmas leftovers and we really liked them.  Just take a can of Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Rolls, unroll the dough, and separate into rectangles (two triangles together).  Press the seam together to make a uniform rectangle.  You’ll have four rectangles.  Spread about 2 tbsp. of cream cheese on each rectangle.  Cover cream cheese with some thinly sliced turkey and then spread some cranberry sauce on top of the turkey.  (The original recipe called for dried cranberries, so if you don’t have leftover fresh cranberry sauce, you could use those.)  Roll up the rectangle from a short side and press the seam to seal.  Cut each roll into 5 or 6 slices and place cut side down on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Cranberry RollUps

Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until light golden brown.  Serve Warm.  TheManoftheHouse gets tired of all of our usual leftover suspects, but he really enjoyed these!

Now for the blogaversary. Can you believe it’s been TWO years??? I can hardly believe it! This last year has been really amazing for me blog-wise, and it goes without saying that the absolute highlight was making the trip to Scotland and cat-sitting for Isabelle.Cupcake Bunny Meeting the fabulous Life family was so exciting and it would never have happened without our blogs.  Like I mentioned to Isabelle the other day, every time I read her blog it’s like a gift that reminds me of our wonderful trip.

I’ve also had the fun of meeting Cami, Melly, Lucy, Gail, Abi, Sharon and Carol.  (And I certainly hope I didn’t forget anyone!)   All such clever, creative women.  And then there are all of you, my imaginary friends.  I’m terribly addicted to all of your blogs and everything that I learn from them.  There’s so much inspiration out there it’s just mind-boggling.

Thank you, thank you for all the time you take to visit my little blog and leave me such nice and thoughtful comments.  I can’t imagine blogging without the two-way conversation that comments provide.  Now, if you’ve been here for at least a year, you know that a blogaversary means a bunny giveaway.  If you’re interested in a chance to win Mr. Cupcake Bunny Pincushion, just leave a comment by, oh, let’s say, midnight (ThimbleannaLand time), Wednesday, January 7th and I’ll draw a winner on Thursday, January 8th.

In the meantime, my very best wishes to you for a Very Happy, Safe, and Healthy New Year!!!

XOXO,
Anna

Gingerbread Houses 2008

Christmas is over already?  It came and went so fast I practically missed it.  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  Thank you so much for all your great comments over the last week.  I usually try to answer all of them, but I’m so far behind this year that I’m going to have to skip it.  I started to read a few blogs this morning, so hopefully I’ll catch up with all of you before New Year’s Eve.

As I mentioned last time, we had our family’s annual gingerbread competition on the 23rd.  Our houses this year reflected the kind of Christmas we had — chaotic!  I think MyCrazyBIL’s heart attack and the power outage that had everyone living here for three days sort of threw us all off this year.   Despite my best intentions, I didn’t have time to make the gingerbread until the day of the 23rd, so it didn’t have a lot of time to dry out.  That caused problems in the roof department for a few of the houses.  The houses weren’t as pretty as last year, but the males in the group lived up to their rowdy reputation.  Read on at your own risk!  (If you’re brave enough, you can click on each picture to make it bigger too.)

The team of MyCrazyBIL and my nephew were the first to have roof failure.  They tried to compensate by creating a pyramid type house, but it just wasn’t cooperating.  I think they should get an honorable mention for best use of candy wrappers in an attempt to cover up the crumble-age.  They also indicated that some sort of candy bomb went off in the backyard which critically injured the marshmallow snowman.

Broken Gingerbread Broken Gingerbread

MyDadLovesMeBestSister and my youngest niece also had roof failure, so they compensated by building an open-air gingerbread house.  And if you have an open air house, it only makes sense to have a camp fire in your living room.  They get a BIG prize for creativity in the face of disaster!

Roofless House Roofless House

Last year’s defending champions, the bride and groom, always build a house with a theme.  They got married last year, so it was a wedding chapel.  In honor of their med-school suffering this year, they built a hospital.  Complete with a helipad and an injured patient in a wheel chair.  They had good roof and gable pieces but they decided to cut them up for a non-traditional gingerbread house shape.

Hospital Hospital

Last year, I was teamed with my oldest niece and TheManoftheHouse was with TheSecondChild. We swapped this year in an attempt to break up a rowdy all male team. Shockingly, it didn’t work, and my sweet and innocent niece was happy to create a strip bar with TheSecondChild. Rumor has it that it may have been her idea. Naughty, Naughty!  Even worse, they took third place in the voting.

Strip Bar Strip Bar

Coming in in second place were MeMum and BigDaddy who had a cute little house.  They decided to have the main entrance be on the side of the house and they created a drive in house.  We weren’t sure exactly what sort of drive in it was though.  I love their gumdrop Christmas lights.

Drive Thru Drive Thru

And the first place winners this year were TheManoftheHouse and me.  I decided that since the bride and groom always have a themed house, we should have one too, so naturally it had to be a quilt shop.  (‘Cause I knew there was no way TheManoftheHouse was going to agree to have a Blog House LOL.)  In keeping with the mess that was this year, we petered out before we got the back of the house decorated.  We did, however, manage to get the all-important sale table of fabric strategically placed out front where all who passed by would notice!

Quilt Shop Quilt Shop

Oh, and here’s a close-up of MeMum and BigDaddy’s star on top of their house.  They get kudos for best use of a Christmas cookie.

Gingerbread Houses

So, our houses were very messy this year, but we all had a great time.  There was a TON of laughing and joking around.  And it wasn’t long before someone’s fat little hand was pinching the goodies off of the houses!

Gingerbread Houses

Coming up next — a blogiversary!

XOXO,
Anna

Merry Christmas!

Nuremburg AngelNo. Time. For. Blogging! I’m so sad that I haven’t had time to read any blogs this week. I was keeping up with my e-mail, but finally lost control of that two days ago. I had several posts that I wanted to do, but there has just been no time. We had our family gingerbread contest tonight and I’ll post about that later — mostly because I like having a record of it here. It’s fun for us to look back and see what we did in the past.

In the meantime, I just wanted to hop on here so that my little angel and I could wish those of you who celebrate, a Very, Very Merry Christmas.   I hope your Christmas is the holiday of your dreams.  And don’t forget the milk and cookies for Santa!

XOXO,
Anna

Icy Christmas?

For those of you in the northern half of the US, is it cold enough for you out there? We got a whopper of an ice storm last night. It’s beautiful out there and ice is covering everything. I went out early in the morning to snap a few pictures, but after watching the tops of a few of our trees come crashing to the ground, I decided it would be safer inside the house.

Icy Outside

Our house is full tonight as MeMum/BigDaddy and CrazyBIL/MyDadLovesMeBestSister are all without power. We’ve been lucky and ours is still on.  Lots of stores and schools were closed and I thought how sad for all the school children who had their Christmas parties planned for today.  The next few days aren’t looking much better weather-wise — it’s not supposed to be warm enough for the ice to melt.   I’m wondering how much longer many of the bent over branches can last.  Even more, I’m wondering how Santa and his reindeer are going to keep from sliding off of the roof!

Icy Outside

I stayed in most of the day and finished decorating (finally!) and eeked out my first batch of cookies.  For me, it isn’t Christmas without Angel Slices.  MeMum has been making them for as long as I can remember.  The recipe is on page 703 of The Joy of Cooking (at least in my version) and I love what the editors say about it:

“Many a copy of the Joy has been sold on the strength of this recipe.  One fan says her family is sure these are the cakes St. Peter gives little children at the Gates of Heaven, to get them over the first pangs of homesickness.  Her family has dubbed them Angel Cookies.”

Angel Slices

The Joy.  I have a friend who calls it the Joy too.  “…such and such recipe is in the Joy.”  I love it.  If you google “The Joy of Cooking Angel Slices”, you’ll find several sites that have the recipe.  (Although I found one site where they add nutmeg and vinegar — my version of the book doesn’t have those two ingredients listed in the Angel Slices recipe.)  If for some reason the people who are posting the recipe have been arrested and you can’t find it, e-mail me and I’ll send you a copy.

Angel Slices

You’ve probably already seen this, but since we’re talking cookies, you should check out this beautiful cookie post. I read it with my mouth hanging open. After that, you’ll need a little gift-giving humor, so go and read a little something to tickle your funny bone.

And finally, THANK YOU for all the CrazyBIL love and good wishes. CrazyBILHe’s home from the hospital now and trying his very best to behave himself — which is very difficult with all the trees and branches down everywhere that need to be taken care of. He doesn’t sit still very well!  Anyway, I thought I should show you what we’re dealing with here. This is an old picture of CrazyBIL and it’s one of my favorites. Crazy, huh?   If I could give all of you a gift for Christmas, it would be for you to have your very own CrazyBIL.   He’s a really fun guy and he makes me laugh. A. Lot. I probably should change his name to CrazyAboutBIL!

XOXO,
Anna

December Busy

It’s nuts here, just like I’m sure it is where you are.  If you’re even there — you’re probably too busy working to even be lurking here.  I’ve noticed it’s been a lot quieter in blogland these days — how fun to think of all the exciting holiday preparations going on out there!  I’ve been cramming to finish up some projects that need to go into the mail tomorrow.  Think there’s any chance they’ll make it before Christmas?

I made a few machine embroidered kitchen towels.  The Jolly design is from Embroidables.com and the towels are from Crate and Barrel.

Jolly Towels

Then, some Keep Calm and Carry On pendants that I did in my soldering frenzy last week.  Speaking of which, did you see this fantastic Keep Calm and Carry On knock off design?  Procrastinate Now and Panic Later.  That’s. Awesome.  (We have a big thing about procrastinating here in ThimbleannaLand.  When I made college quilts for TheFirstChild and a few of his friends, he insisted that I put “Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now” on the backs of their quilts.  So the girls got nice motivational sayings and the boys got procrastination.  Nice.  It caused a few raised eyebrows and laughs.)  I’ll definitely have to make this new Procrastinate saying in a soldered pendant.  Too bad I didn’t know about it earlier — I would have put it on the flip side of these pendants.  Thanks to One Pretty Thing for bringing that knock-off to our attention!

Keep Calm Pendants

And I think these are going to be my new favorite pincushions.  They’re giant (see the thimble sitting on top of that first one for scale?) and they’re perfect to sit on your sewing table.  Thanks to Darlene for the awesome hint about using crushed walnut shells to stuff pincushions.  It’s great and it gives them some weight.  I made these pincushions from the Posy Pin Pie pattern by Jill Finley.  Its finished size is 6″ in diameter by 2 1/2″ tall.

Big Pincushion

So, off to bed for me — it’s pretty late here. But wait! Looky Looky….She’s Baacckkkkk!!! WooHoo!!!

Oh, and Hell might as well have Frozen Over this morning, because CrazyBIL had a heart attack. I know this is a VERY serious matter, but you’d have to know CrazyBIL to know just how crazy this really is. He’s the most … MOST fit person I know. He does EVERYTHING right. And, at not even 45, he had a heart attack. He’s in good shape tonight, and we’re all feeling VERY grateful to still have him with us. Poor guy though, he’s going to have to endure a lot of harassment — those of us who are more sendentary have been telling him for years that all of that working out was going to kill him and now…well, it happened while he was working out.

We LOVE you CrazyBIL — slow down and get well soon!!!

XOXO,
Anna