Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Slowing Down--Sorta

I was scheduled to work all this week, but with the weather being whatever it is, the schools have been closed.  This causes me not to have to work, but also to have two VERY bored children in the house.  They have hit the ages of "We don't want to play together", and so now come to me individually to complain that there's nothing to do.  When I suggest that they play together, the suggestion is met with derision.  Forget mentioning things like cleaning out their closets or toyboxes no one plays with anymore.  HA!  So....I give up.  Instead, yesterday I did what any good mom would do--hid in the kitchen and made chicken stock.  Oh, and a cake.  Don't forget the cake.

This, my friends, is the ULTIMATE gingerbread cake.  Dark and chewy and spicy goodness.  Not for the faint of heart.  The house smelled amazing while it was baking.

Yep, it seems my little cherubs have hit the "difficult" stage.  Joy and happiness.  On Sunday we went to cut down our Christmas tree, like we do every year, only to have both children cry about it at one point or another as they could not agree on a tree.  My husband and I finally had to declare that this year my son would choose, as my daughter chose last year, and that we would alternate year to year.  This made my son happy, but not my daughter, who cried and cried and cried.  It made for a difficult day, and I declared more than once I was just going to go down to the Agway next year and pull one off the lot, instead of having everyone upset.

Yep, I handled THAT masterfully.

Oh well.  We brought the tree home, and put it in the stand, and then I proceeded to upset the whole turnip cart, because this year I put on clear lights.

Dum dum daDUM!!

We were a colored lights family, my friends--for years.  And I always liked them.  But a few years ago, I looked at the tree and thought "I betcha I would really like that tree with clear lights".  And then every year thereafter I thought the same thing, but did nothing about it.  This year I finally went for it. 

And the kids complained like it was going out of style.

.....At first.

I asked them to wait and see.  I was thinking if they really hated it, I could just unlight the dang thing and start all over again with the colored lights if necessary.  But then the ornaments started to be put on.  And all of a sudden, it was "Oh! The tree is glowing!" and "I can see all the ornaments!"  and "It's so pretty!" and "I'm glad you changed them, I like the clear lights better".  And mommy-o here did an inner smirk and passed out the glass balls.

And it is, indeed, pretty.

The tree was the last piece to be put on.  The rest of the decorating was done last week, and I have to say this for a small house: it may be very difficult to find places to put things, but it is much easier to decorate.

In our last house, which was considerably larger, decorating was a three day affair.  Here?  Ha!  One day, if that. 
A couple of surfaces....

Put some things in the open bookshelves....


And it looks pretty.  The other nice thing about coming from a larger house is that I have SO many decorations, I can pick and choose what I want to use (heh, that rhymed).  It can be overwhelming, but it means I don't have to add anything, and it looks full nonetheless.  Yeay!!

Other than the decorating and work, things have been pretty slow.  The animals are all on "maintenance" right now, as it's too cold or crappy to do much, so it's been the routine of feeding, watering, milking, putting in, taking out, that sort of thing.  Most of my time is spent indoors, thinking of what to do.  I'll be honest--I'm not good at "slow".  Though I can sit with a cuppa and relax to some music (John Denver and the Muppets, anyone?  We are HUGE fans here), eventually I just want to do SOMETHING.  I'd rather be insanely busy than sitting around, that's the truth of it.  But it's the time of the year when we're meant to slow down--look at any cat, and you'll see this is the time of year to just do nothing.
Exhibit A--Phynn.
The incidence of cat "deaths" this time of year is particularly high.  Very sad.  :(
Exhibit B--Icky

I wish I could take a leaf from a cat's book and just do what they do, as I need to slow down, if only to recuperate for next year.  But UGH!  I'm not going quietly, that's for dang sure.  This year I am having a tough time.  I am trying to find things to keep myself busy, even if it's only a little busy, but it's not really working.  Last year I got so bored, I painted the kitchen cabinets.  This year there are no cabinets to paint.  This will not be an easy winter, I think.

But enough complaining.  While I've been trying to keep occupied, I have whittled away at my project list.  Coming in at number 5, I have that snowman pillow that you saw the beginning of here.  I admit, this one was a softball, compared to that cross stitch.  I simply sat one day for about an hour and did it.  Here he is, sitting with a friend:

This is a pattern from the Better Homes and Gardens magazine that comes out yearly, Holiday Crafts.  This one (I think) was from 2010.  I had seemingly cut out the snowman's head, nose, earmuffs, and part of the scarf, and then put it away, thinking I'd remember what the pieces were for.  Ha!  I gave myself too much credit.  I found the bits last month and had no idea what they were--that'll show me.  Only after digging through the magazines I have did I figure it out.  Since I am not leaving any projects hanging around this year, I put him together and here he is!  I've done a lot of those pillows from that magazine.  They are all designed by Bird Brain Designs, which I really like.  This is the first that she's done that's not on a light blue background, and I just love that.  It really pops the snowman, I think. 

Coming in at project number 6, another cross stitch piece:

And before you think that I'm a really fast cross-stitcher, let me just say that I had half finished this piece before I put it away, which is why it took me so little time to finish it.  I had stopped at the blue Santa line, so I had very little left to do.  When I found this buried in my closet, I wondered why I did not finish it.  But let's just say I remembered very quickly why when I started on it again.  What a pain in the rear this project was!  Not only is the linen very difficult to work on because of the color changes and thread blending in it, but the pattern itself was full of fiddly little bits of colors that were like putting three squares of color here, three squares of color there, and so on.  Super fiddly.  I did get through it, but I also cheated because the last line under the wreaths was supposed to be pine cones, and I just wasn't going to do it.  I put some stars in there instead and called it good.  Enough is enough is enough and I just wasn't enjoying myself. 

How old is that project?  Well.....I looked at the chart and the date on it is 2002.  I don't think that I got it then, I think it was a couple of years later.  Either way, this one has been sitting a while.  Oh...and if you love fiddly cross stitch and would like the chart to this, you can have it.  Just shoot me an email and I'll mail it to you.  It's in very good shape and there's no reason to not pass it along.

And last, but not least, project number 7, which was unplanned, but worked out ok anyway.

This one was not unfinished, so it probably should be 6A or something instead of project 7, but oh well.  The little choir ladies were a pattern from this year's Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Crafts magazine.  I liked their little gnome outfits, but didn't want to make just little random people without a setting.  If the cats ever wake up, they'd steal them for sure.  So I dug through my stash and pulled out all these little wood pieces-the base, the house, the birdhouse, the lights, and put it all together.  I think it's cute, and happily it used up many wood pieces that I have been hanging onto for YEARS.  How many years?  Back before I got my first "adult" job in a bank, I worked retail, and one of those jobs was at a craft store called Creativity (now defunct).  They had the best wood department, hands down--I've never seen any other store have anything even remotely like it.  Just amazing little wooden shapes.  That's where this all came from, I just finally took it out of the box I had it stored in, painted it up, and put it together.  So...I want to say 15+ years or so, that's how long I've had those bits.  Not too bad, right?  HA!

Onto the next!  I hope you are all staying safe and warm and will talk to you all again soon!

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  1. love this little wooden set up!
    around here they produce this very famous wooden x-mas figurines. what you did has a similar style!
    i could never understand why someone would have colored tree lights. instead we use this clear ones that look like candles with a white shaft. old europeans we are ;-)

    1. A long time ago, we had the candles with the lights on top, but they were in groups of three, and WAY too heavy for a tree. That's what I always imagined would look beautiful on a tree--they're just not available here. This'll have to do!

  2. So, you are going to ask "Why is it, that after I gave all those great and informative project and decorating updates, does she zero in on the fact that I apparently have empty space on my bookshelves for decorations?"
    Seriously - how it is that you have empty space on a bookshelf? I did not think it was physically possible to have even one centimeter of decoration area on a piece of furniture dedicated to books.
    Yes, I have too many books.
    And yes, I did appreciate all your awesome project updates.

    1. Nope, that's a good question. The answer is: my husband brought up another bookcase from the basement where it was hiding, and so now I have a third to fill, which I haven't done yet!

  3. I didn't think with that project list that you would ever be looking for something to do. Glad you got some time for it. I love the pillows!! The tree looks fantastic!

    1. Thank you! Nope, I have been trying to keep busy. I am not good at sitting still.

  4. Everything looks so beautifully Christmasy! Even your kitties. Your house is beautiful! My only complaint is no recipe for the gingerbread cake!

    I can't help but share my news, I've published my homesteading book! I'm so excited, plus I'm having a giveaway. Please drop by my blog to help me celebrate.

    1. Thanks very much and congrats on the book!


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