35 Days of Celebration: 17

35 Days of Celebration: Day 17Today was a lovely day. I spent a good deal of time with my sister Bailey. Together we headed to Des Moines for dinner and a show, nothing says ‘holiday spirit’ like Zombie Burger – right? Only joking, however the show we went to was very holiday! Luckily White Christmas has been in Des Moines the past two weeks and we went to the matinee this afternoon. It was difficult, at first, to not constantly compare it to the classic movie. However in the end I reminded myself that, like books turned to movies, they are two separate forms and to treat them as such.

Shoo with your pointy heads. Why are you always under boot?― North

North and I have similar ‘problems,’ elves are his; a cat with an affinity for cuddling with feet, while they are walking, is mine.

White Christmas GuardiansWhen I returned home for the evening I painted a bit of the basement. I also prepped some kringla, tomorrow I plan to see if making the Scandinavian treat is inherently in my blood or not. I rounded out the evening relaxing while I watched Rise of the Guardians. Now the movie takes place a few days before Easter, but since Santa, aka North, is such a central character it’s easy to think of it as a holiday movie. Perhaps all movies with Jack Frost just seem to be holiday movies, despite the fact they take place in the late winter/early spring. Now matter the reason, it was a calming and good way to end a great day.

Until next time
~ Q

35 Days of Celebration 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 & 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 16

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35 Days of Celebration: 12

35 Days12

Tonight’s movie was Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Whoever heard of a skinny Santa Claus? Eat. Eat!Mrs. Claus

Boop!

Boop!

Ah, maybe Mrs. Claus is also a specter that floats around my house whispering this exact sentiment to me. I enjoy all the misfits, especially the elf that just wants to be a dentist. Not much to say, like Jack Frost, I enjoyed the visual effects, and it’s definitely a holiday staple.

Also, this is my 200th post. That’s kind of a big deal, right? Oh, and I’m 1/3 of the way through my 35 Days of Celebration and I’m beginning to get excited for the ‘big event’. Christmas. I’ll be lucky enough to see my out-of-state besties a couple of days before Christmas. I’m also hosting my family for Christmas Eve before we head to my parents place for Christmas Day. So until then I’ll continue to hang out with Rudolph and the other misfits. They’re my kind of people.

Until next time
~ Q

35 Days of Celebration 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 & 08 | 09 | 10 | 11

35 Days of Celebration: 07 & 08

35 Days7

Have you ever noticed that everything seems wonderful at Christmas?! ― Ghost of Christmas Present

Last night/tonight’s movie was Jim Hansen’s Muppet Christmas Carol. I had never seen this one before and was quite delighted. Sure there were a few extra characters (the Marley brothers) but the more the merrier I say. For whatever reason I was particularity amused by the Fred actor in this rendition. He was quite quick with the quips, I like that. Also, how can you deny the awesome lyrics that are always present in Muppet movies?

Even the vegetables don’t like him

However one of the bests moments was when, after hiding Scrooge’s face for most of the opening song, you discover it’s Michael Cane. Ah, Christmas came early with that realization. I’ve always enjoyed him and was not disappointed. It took me two nights to watch this because, well I was busy. Last night I was painting boards for the basement and tonight I was socializing with some of my coworkers…fine my manager had a Pampered Chef party. Whatever.

As I watched the movie tonight, though, I started working on a paper collage. I’m going to be layering 5 master sheets on top of one another to make a nativity scene. For the background of the sky I decided to rip up pieces of paper and mod-podge them on. Not sure if I like the effect. I didn’t want to do teeny tiny pieces but I think that’s what I’ll have to do to get the look ‘right’. We’ll see though. I’ll keep at it with the other sheets using various media (paint, watercolor, and perhaps even oil crayon) and maybe revisit that piece of paper. It’s nowhere near completion, but the next two days are fairly open, just decorating the house and a nativity scene will definitely be part of the decoration.

Until next time

~ Q

35 Days of Celebration
01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06

35 Days of Celebration: 04

35 Days of Celebration: Day 04Last Christmas I was fortunate enough to be given a handful of holiday movies. This year I decided to toss them all in a bag and pull them out at random for movie nights. Today’s movie? Jack Frost (1979 version)

Once upon a snowflake…

Although it doesn’t mention Christmas specifically a whole lot, it’s still a Holiday staple. It focuses on Winter (and it’s ending) as a whole, but there is one Christmas scene. I really like the ‘dream present’ song/scene. The concept of wrapping a present up nice and neat and leaving the contents up to the imagination is quite appealing. Sure there isn’t anything actually inside the box, but it’d be cool if that’s how things actually worked. I particularly like that Elisa’s dream present is a magic wand. Clearly she is on vacation from Hogwarts….or perhaps she is a Durmstrang girl since it gives the impression of being located up North.

There is something to be mentioned about the animation style. I love how movies use to have physical props and settings (like the original Star Wars). Call me sentimental, and although today’s effects are top notch and seamless, I just enjoy the old classics so much. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why I like vinyl records. There is a quality within them that digital just can’t quite capture, no matter how hard it tries. However with digital you get quite a few more options. How I digress.

Long story short I watched Jack Frost and it will continue to be a staple in my holiday movie options. I always feel a bit sad for Jack. He’s so naive thinking Elsa is truly in love with him. She loves him the way I love, I don’t know, egg nog. I like it a lot, but obviously I am not going to marry it. What a harsh lesson for him to learn. Especially when he risks so much for her. A good man, that Jack Frost.

Ah Snip, I can’t do anything right as a human! ― Jack Frost

Oh Jack, you and me both.

Until next time
~ Q

35 Days of Celebration
01 | 02 | 03

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