35 Days of Celebration: 11

35 Days of Celebration: Day 11

HouseI knew it would happen, I would do some more decorating. Considered it was snowing all day, I was put in a ‘white Christmas mood’ and it was easy to feel jolly. As I decorated it started to see a theme. If there are materials I have in abundance they are 1) ornaments and 2) glasses. Decorations_2They are everywhere; on the dining room table, the bookshelf, the living room table…just all over the place. However, as I’ve come to realize, cluttered is a bit my style. Just yesterday I was discussing with my mother how my living room always looks messy, no matter how much I have everything cleaned up. My mother than informed me of a distinction: messy and cluttered are different. Instantly I felt better. Funny how easily that happens.

I was surprised by my parent’s offer to help me scoop my drive. They really are just too kind. The first time it snowed it took me 45ish minutes to scoop my driveway, maybe longer. I came to the obvious conclusion that I have the longest in town driveway in the world and that Guinness should promptly be notified. However with the three of us it took only about 15-20 minutes. Strength in numbers.

Dad‘What is that on your hat’
Me‘Jack Skellington. He’s a character from Nightmare Before Christmas…you know, because I’m an adult.’

DinnerOriginally I planned to have french toast and cocoa for my first themed supper. I feel like french toast isn’t the same unless you use texas toast. I was not stocked with such bread, so instead I had pancakes. Of course, I had to have them in the shape of snowflakes to match the snowy day, and with powdered sugar to make the scene complete. Similar to the ‘Sunday Snowflakes’ that my mom would make for us when we were younger. To this day if I have french toast with powdered sugar I call them Sunday Snowflakes. Embarrassing if you are having them on a Tuesday night. However it would have worked today. Even with the pancake exchange it was a fun dinner indeed.

Until next time

~ Q

35 Days of Celebration
01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 & 08 | 09 | 10

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35 Days of Celebration: 10

35 Days of Celebration: Day 10I Today was they day I planned to get my house all Christmas-fied. Although it is a tad more Christmasy I’m not sure if I’ll go all out or not. It was a bit too cold for me to want to put up my outdoor lights.

Memo to self: be the neighbor that has lights up all year round, perhaps even on.

I then thought I’d put the lights up in the house, which I’m not above doing, I just couldn’t decide which room and ultimately it became too much to think about. Instead I started spackling the basement boards and picked out family room paint. Not too shabby progress.

DecorationsLike I said, I did get some things up. The main thing is still the tree, but I didn’t make room on the mantel for my new craft nativity scene. I also added a string of ornaments below the mantel. Found one of my old Christmas posters from last year and swapped out the quote that has been in that frame. Oh, and candy cane vases. Those are an interactive decoration. In that, hopefully, people will eat them.

I’m thinking I’ll do more as the the weekend/week progresses, especially with the mantel. Looking at what I did last year I may swap out the billiard balls on the mantle for some ornaments, we’ll see. I’m thinking this year is an off year. I’m spending a lot of time refinishing the basement, or I should be. Don’t want to divide the focus too much. Considering I’m reading like a fiend the decorating and baking have taken back seat. However, I’m still in the spirit as I work! Blasted Bing Crosby’s Christmas album while I worked in the basement. You can’t deny the crooner.

Until next time

~ Q

35 Days of Celebration
01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 & 08 | 09

35 Days of Celebration: 09

35 Days of Celebration Day 9Christmas TreeIt was a very relaxing day today. I had the day off and it was a lovely mix of productive (getting the rest of the boards primed for the basement), leisure (finished an audiobook) and holiday spirit.

My Tree is all decorated and is glowing softly as I type this. The tree is definitely my favorite holiday decorations. There is just something about it that brings a smile to my face every time I look at it. I also was able to finish up my nativity scene project. Ended up with five different layers: stars, sky, wise men (hard to see in the picture), manger and the heavenly host. The picture came out a bit yellow, it’s actually a piece in various grays.

Nativity Scene

 

Until next time

~ Q

35 Days of Celebration
01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 & 08

35 Days of Celebration: 05

35 Days of Celebration: Day 05I’ve decided rather than buying an ornament for this year I would decorate one that would represent this year. This year I, somewhat randomly, decided to move out of my apartment and buy I house. From committing to the decision in April it took less than a month until I made an offer on a house. Six weeks later I closed. Two months later I moved in. All the while there has been a lot of work happening. Whether it be packing my stuff, moving my stuff or working on refinishing the house it has certainly been a major moment this year. Naturally I let it be reflected in my ornament.

Ornament 2013Painted Red and gold (like the house), a key, the house number (111), and a snake. Why the snake? My yard was a bit overrun. Apparently four years of in-habitation makes for prime real estate to these reptiles. They have since mended their thinking, or perished. Cheery right? But it wouldn’t be Slytherin house without a few snakes. Granted the coloring is more representative of Gryffindor. I myself tend to reflect the values of Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff though, so really it’s just Hogwarts (Or I just wish it was). However I digress, the real point is that now I have an ornament that will forever reflect my 2013.

Until next time
~ Q

35 Days of Celebration
01 | 02 | 03 | 04

Pinspired Project: Easter Center Piece

Center Piece ThumbIf you have somehow not heard of pinterest, or even if you have,you should know it is an extremely dangerous website. I have waaaaay to many pins (both liked and on boards). Many of them are arts and craftsy and I decided to start trying some out. This week’s project? A center piece just in time for Easter. The nice thing about this project is that it uses 2/3 a box of peeps, because one can only eat so many peeps. However it also used almost an entire bag of jelly beans which are really addictive and yummy. But since I’m trying to be healthier, it’s good most of the bag was used as well. Project Supplies

Supplies:

  • two vases (one wider than the other so they can stack inside one another)
  • 3 stems of daisies
  • 8 bunny peeps
  • 1 bag of jelly beans (I used the all reds starburst ones)

Directions:

  • Clean vases
  • put water for flowers in skinny vase
  • place skinny vase inside the wide vase
  • fill outer vase with jelly beans (I didn’t want my bunnies standing too much higher then the outer vase so I didn’t use the entire bag)
  • place bunnies on top of jelly beans
  • place flowers in skinny vase and voila.

I decided to use a monochromatic color scheme of various reds, but as you can see from the pinspiring post here you can really do whatever you want. This project really was as easy as it appeared on pinterest, thumbs up.

Until next time.
~ Q

Center Piece

41 days of Celebration: Days 16-22

Decorating_2It’s that time again. The roundup of what the last week of celebrating has held for yours truly. It, as time does, has flown right on by. Although it’s been filled with mainly decorating, given the right playlist, it has been an uber blast. So without further ado, the synopsis.

Day 16: Friday, December 7: Movie Night
I decided to go ahead and skip the surprise and watch While You Were Sleeping (since, indeed, it had been left out of the bag). I really enjoy that movie, and it’s all about Christmas time. 

Day 17: Saturday, December 8: Decorating (will it ever end)
Decorating_1Spent the day just chillin’ and decorating the apartment. It was nice to get it almost done (needed to print some stuff to actually finish). I was able to use up most of the ornaments though (I only have about 8 left) so that made me feel unnecessarily accomplished. I was also happy to have a use for all of the random glassware that I have acquired.

Day 18: Sunday, December 9: Cooking and a Classic

It was a fudge-filled day on Sunday. I woke early (for a weekend at least) and started with the first of five batches of fudge. After two I realized I messed up when I went grocery shopping, not getting enough white chocolate chips. I also ran out of sugar. That’s a staple in the kitchen, how did I run out? Anyway, I popped off to the store (stopping in at work for a short while-yeah, I’m cool) and returned ready to knock out three more types. I had only planned on making 4, but decided the Simple Fudge recipe was so easy (obviously, apparently the name wasn’t enough of a give away) that I decided to alter it a bit and make another mint variety.
In the photo above, clockwise starting with the white with sprinkles, I made Funfettif Fudge, 3 Ingredient Mint, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge, Simple Fudge & Simple Mint Fudge. It was fun making it because with the various recipes they all came out with different textures. For instance the cookie dough fudge is more crumbly then the simple mint which is more chewy. Always a learning experience.

Better Way

Better Way

Wrong Way

Wrong Way

Something I love about cooking is that since I’m such a novice (apparently that beginning foods class I took freshmen year in high school didn’t make me a pro) that I do a lot of learning by experience. For instance one of the recipes told me to use a candy thermometer. The pot I was using was too short for the thermometer to properly clip to the side and be perfectly upright. At first I attached it to a tumbler and put it next to the pot. That notion was quickly dismissed and I just angled it in the pot. However I was afraid to check it. In order to read it I had to put my face over the bubbling boiling sugar. Sugar burns are the worst (if past memory is accurate). Luckily I came out of this episode of cooking unscathed.

Every time I almost forget to mention the classic. Any road, this week it was The Phantom of The Opera. I love musicals in general, but the notion of being so overcome with emotion (both positive and negative which this movie has a LOT of) that the only way to expel it is through song is foreign to me. SO fun and it came out around Christmas which may be why I felt the need to include it. (I enjoy how some movies, that have absolutely nothing (or very very little) to do with Christmas are inextricably linked with the holiday. Personal examples include Harry Potter (that one scene in the first movie apparently pulls them all into holiday season, even though most of them came out in the summer), Lord of the Rings and (of course) Sherlock Holmes thanks to Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law.) It is so easy for me to forget that Gerard Butler is the Phantom in this movie. It was done long enough ago (and introduced) before he started doing all of the action/rom-coms that it really seems like its two different people. Just a side note.

Day 19: Monday, December 10: Story time (and yes! done decorating)
PostersFINALLY DONE DECORATING! I had some Christmas posters that I ‘needed’ to print before I could sign off on the holiday decorating. L->R: The best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear” From Elf; “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” from Luke: 2; and “What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I also enjoyed listening to A Christmas Carol, narrated by Patrick Stewart – love! He certainly makes a good scrooge (in both the video and audio format).

Day 20: Tuesday, December 11: WHO Tuesday (doesn’t have the same ring to it as WHO Wednesday). Ever the flexible person I watched Doctor Who: Voyage of the Damned. As always, I really enjoyed the Doctor. However I do forget that Astrid is  Kylie Minogue. For whatever reason I have a different picture of her in my head. Oh well, obviously not important. 

Day 21: Wednesday, December 12: No Christmasy stuff
I had some non-Christmas family stuff tonight. Nothing major, but it did take me away from home for the entire night.

Day 22: Thursday, December 13: Red & Green Supper
RedGreenSupperThis idea was mentioned on some blog or another and I liked it (obviously). I did cop out a bit though and just had a salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing. I didn’t really have time to do anything fancy since I headed out for a night of volleyball. However, elaborate or not, just knowing it was all green and red made me almost giddy, weird.

More celebration and Christmas to come as well as the recipes from fudge week! ~ Q

41 days of Celebration: Days 5-15

Day 5: Monday, November 26: Mani-pedi Day – not
The plan was to give myself a manicure and pedicure on Monday night. Really embrace the green and red and the only time of year you can really get away with wearing them together. Only instead I got the biggest surprise to date (I would say of the entire time, but who knows what next week will bring). I was stricken with an 15 hour flu. I started getting really tired at about 4 at work. Then I went home at my usual time (5:30) and was sick and in bed by 6. I told myself I would only nap until 7, ha. When 7 came around I was still under the weather so I just stayed in bed. Hours later I was awake convincing myself that it was the middle of the night. I was convinced it was like 5, but told myself it was probably only 2. When I finally broke down and checked the clock I believe it was 10. Yeah, that was the longest night ever. To my nephew, the germinator, you win. I think getting the entire immediate family sick trumps me giving my sister her second bout of Chicken pox. Although considering she was on vacation in Denver when it struck she would likely disagree.

Day 6: Tuesday, November 27: Christmas Card prep
I had this elaborate idea for my Christmas card. Last year I did a timeline-esque design. This year I thought about making it look like my Facebook timeline, complete with some of the posts, but since that evening have since changed my mind. So in the end that night just didn’t really count. I’m still working on my own idea, I had originally planned to mail them out yesterday, but we’ll see how long it takes me to finish. Next Monday is my new goal. Fingers crossed.

Day 7: Wednesday, November 28: WHO Wednesday: The Christmas Invasion
Poor London, always getting attacked around the holidays. Since Doctor Who is in it’s seventh revival season there are certainly enough Christmas’ specials to last until Christmas. First up was The Christmas Invasion. I’ve seen it before, but it’s always fun to go back and see the tenth doctor’s first adventure, even if he sleeps through most of it. How can you not appreciate an episode that has the hero sleeping most of the way through, then wakes to save the day in his pajamas while quoting The Lion King. Few shows can get away with such antics and I’m glad Doctor Who is one of them. Also I also enjoy who it makes you scared of Christmas stuff. For example this one had attacking Christmas Trees controlled by evil Santas. What a great way to spread Christmas cheer.

Day 8: Thursday, November 29: Decorate/Create Tree
I had planned to decorate my tree on Thursday, but my volleyball team decided to get together to play before tournament started on Friday so the task was postponed to Friday/Saturday. However I will say that sometimes my apartment lease makes me sad. No cats, no pets of any kind (including fish – it was very specific) and no live Christmas Trees. I’m sure there are other restricitions I’m ignoring right now, but those are the two that hit me most often. Since I’m not well-versed in the art of reanimation to make myself my own cat I decided to make my own non-living Christmas. As is the case now a days I got the inspiration from Pinterest.

Day 9: Friday, November 30: Movie Night
Once I’ve padded my Christmas’ movie collection I’ll be able to watch proper movies, but Friday I watched Someone Like You. It is in no way a Christmas movie, but there is one scene that takes place at a Christmas Party. That must have been my justification when I threw it in the mystery bag last month. While watching the non-Christmas movie I built the base of my Christmas Tree. Using a broken IKEA floor lamp (I should say that the light works, I just broke the paper lantern cover that use to surround it – not to tarnish IKEA’s reputation), chains, wire, and lights I made my own version of the tomato cage tree.

Day 10: Saturday, December 1: Cooking and a Classic
After sleeping in a bit I headed to our local thrift store, Affordables, to supplement my Christmas Light collection. They had a ton of icicle lights (whcih I didn’t have any of) and I’m quite fond of the result. The icicles helped fill in some of the more obvious gaps and it still works as a fairly bright source of light in the living room, especially if I turn on the light properly ChristmasTree(which is not the case in the picture). Win-win. Oh, and I still get to decorate a real tree. In a couple weeks my parent’s will be getting theirs so it’s really is the best of all worlds. I just can’t decide if I want to add ornaments to my ‘tree’ or not. However that thought shall be set aside for another day.

I also flip-flopped my standard Sunday with Saturday and did my cooking and a classic. This week I made Grinch Cookies, Mint Kisses and Pretzel hugs (recipes to come) and that was quite fun. Hugs and KissesThere weren’t even any major mishaps. I was interested to see that for the Grinch Cookies I used a sugar cookie base instead of a standard chocolate chip cookie base. The difference is slight, but a difference all the same. Also for the Grinch Cookies I used food coloring while for the Mint Kisses I just chopped up (to the point of being a fine powder) mint chips and the coloring is nearly the same. Oh the discoveries of baking.

I nearly forgot! The classic I watched was Breakfast at Tiffany’s but that is going to require it’s own short post because it’s related (in sentiment) to Casablanca and I’ll just hit them both at once.

Day 11: Sunday, December 2: Tour of Homes
It was a bit of a work outing when two of my co-workers and I decided to hit the tour of homes together. If you don’t know what this is, pretty much a few community members volunteer to have people come into their homes and walk through it to learn/see all the random stuff. For instance one of the houses this year was quite old and the couple that lived there had kept a lot of the original wood work and even restored some of the old details (like the stenciling at the top of the living room). Each of the houses had there very own feel. One was quaint, old and comfortable. Another was large and antique-y while the third was large and modern (with a restored barn that had a partial basketball court in the hayloft). All were fun to walk through and see once.

Day 12: Monday, December 3: Fancy Dinner
I never get to dress up. I don’t really have the occasion for it, so I made myself dinner and then got dressed up. I think this one would be more fun with other people, but I still quite enjoyed it. There is something about the juxtaposition of being fancy-like and eating (in my case) soup. ‘Posh’ indeed.

Day 13: Tuesday, December 4: Dinner with a FriendMonthly I head on over to this townie-esque bar to meet a friend of mine for dinner. We both live about an hour from this place and it’s been changing recently. The first few times we went to this bar it was run by this old rough looking guy. It was quite random, the next few months it was always a surprise who was going to be running the place (it doesn’t seem like the place that requires many employees). Once there was a santa-esque man (including really long beard), a middle aged woman and a semi-ditzy college aged girl. We’ve been going to this place for a couple years now, what can I say, it’s grown on us. Also, sometime this summer, it came under new management. This guy in his twenties bought the place and it’s evident. The place seems a bit more lively now. Granted it’s never crowded, but it’s not so awkward. It use to be that me and my buddy would be the only two in that evening. Now there is a nice buffer row of people at the bar. That’s probably enough about The Town Pump though.

Day 14: Wednesday, December 5: WHO Wednesday: The Runaway Bride
Again with the Doctor, always really. I enjoy Catherine Tate, and the Donna Nobel character but I did forget how crazily self-centered she was in her first introduction to the Doctor.

Day 15: Thursday, December 6: WreathsThursday is my unofficial decorate/craft night I suppose. I threw together a couple of wreaths to decorate the apartment. Wreath_01First I swapped out the decorations on my front door wreath. I decorate this wooden wreath according to the season. Last night I removed the fall leaves and gourds to replace them with greenery and pine cones. A simple, yet festive, alteration.  Wreath_02Secondly I gathered up my ornaments and a hanger to make a quick wreath for my guest-room door. I, for whatever reason, have roughly a bagillion ornaments. So this was a good craft, used some of those suckers up. Now if I can figure out what to do with the rest. The real problem is I get all of these ideas and want to do them all so then I find I don’t have enough and think about getting more then have to rein myself in. We’ll see if I can keep myself in check.

Wow, this is novel long, clearly need to be more prompt with writing up my days, ten days at-a-whack is too many. Until next time – Q