I promise it won't happen again!

So ... a really weird and ... totally uncharacteristic thing happened to me tonight. I'm not sure I can talk about it, but in the interest of self therapy, here goes:

I hesitated ... for about a half an hour ... when I had the chance to go whole-hog with the Christmas decorating. All the boxes were out of the attic (thank you PDaddy), I had the time, I had ideas as to how I was going to mix it up this year, but still ... I hesitated. I laid on the couch for about a half an hour to muster up the incentive.

What is with that?!?

Of course, once I got going, I ran back and forth between rooms lugging Santas and mini-trees and ribbon. The tree-tree will wait until this weekend, but I pretty much finished everything else. (That is until tomorrow when I will tweak to my heart's content.)

Please ... someone out there in blog-land tell me that they too have hesitated to do something that they love. Please contribute to my request for free therapy.

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Once there was a snowman ...

So ... the decorating begins with the stuff that isn't in the attic, because ... well ... that's just harder to get to. So I started with the stuff in the top of the closet in my sewing room ... meaning ... quilts of course. This little number above is indeed little ... maybe 18" square. I like to make small quilts ... I like to hang small quilts.

These two pics come from the same quilt ... a block exchange done oh-so-many years ago. The above square came from the late Laurene Sinema (the grande dame of quilting in Arizona) and I have always loved it. Those below are from the same quilt.

So this is my answer to snow shoveling, but at this time of year, I swear I would do the real thing if called upon. Which brings us to the questions of the day:

If you live where there is snow, are ya glad??
If you don't ... how do you conjure it up for Christmas?
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Bird Tales

So ... the transitioning begins. Orange to Red. Dressing to Wrapping. Food Overload to Decoration Overload. Our T-Day was lovely, centered of course around the antics and grins of L'il Gee. The jello jelled, the gravy graved, but the turkey was indeed a ... turkey. It was moist, it was evenly browned and it tasted like ... nothing. I mean, no flavor, seriously ... except maybe a little weird aftertaste. There was a unanimous decision not to save any for leftovers which was kind of disappointing. Except that this fabulous friend, as if like a magical fairy godmother, shows up at our house that night with a fresh-from-the-smoker smoked turkey.

Thank you my Fabulous Friend (and Mr. Fabulous.)

Here are just some of the other ornaments. I ultimately ended up being very happy with them. Now it's time to move onto the serious business of decorating. Which I love. With a passion.

Oh ... fa la la la la ... la la la ...


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Five-Star Chef

Look who's helping me cook.

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The First Thanksgiving

So ... it's here. All that's left is the shopping, cleaning, cooking ... and cleaning ... again.

But ... other than that it's pretty much all done.

Actually, the shopping is all done except for the bird. (Because I have a stupid side-by-side fridge, I cannot fit a frozen bird into the freezer, so for 16 years I have bought the bird on Tuesday. But hey ... at this point ... is like a warm and fuzzy tradition.) I am so looking forward to having Miss Ess-quire and the Gee's. The Dub's are going to Rhode Island and Sonny Boy and the Mrs. celebrated on Saturday in Spain. (Spain does not celebrate Thanksgiving, but they put together a traditional American meal for their Spanish and Norwin-ish(?) friends. It's a facinating read, but I wouldn't advise it right after a meal because ... well, let's just say that Butterball did not neatly package their bird ... and it came with a few left over feathers and a few two many ... innards.)

Which brings back fond memories of my first bird-on-my-own. It was 1976, we were living in Gaithersburg, Maryland and I was 5 months pregnant with #2. And perhaps a bit ... hormonal ... but who is to say ... really? I had carefully scoured magazines for recipes and I was a tad nervous ... one might even say ... wound a little too tight. My recipe called for Giblet Gravy and gave brief instructions as to where to find the giblets. I was home alone at the moment (PDaddy off to a "Turkey Bowl" organized by ... you guessed it ... men) and I could not find the giblets ... anywhere. The bird was near to pre-carved by the time PDaddy got home and convinced me that our bird just got packaged without them. (The next year when I saw them in that little bag, I thought ... hmmm, they are rather hard to miss.) The rest of the day was lovely ... but now that I think about it ... that daughter-in-utero turned out to be a vegetarian.

So ... I wish you all a relatively stressless week. May your jello jell and your gravy ... grave. (A long-time Ess-family adage.)

And what is your worst T-day horror story?
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Badda ... Bing

So ... with all due respect to Mrs. Dub and her complete domination over Hot Topic Tuesday, I dare to be so bold as to declare my topic (on this Friday in November) to perhaps be the hottest of them all. I actually have the guts to offer forth the following question:

How early is too early to start listening to Christmas music?

You must understand ... I love, love, love Christmas music. And I especially love Bing. But I am well aware that this delicate relationship relies somewhat on the balance of time. How many times can one hear Christmas in Killarney or Mele Kalikimaka before one becomes a little ... ki-loco? Is is possible that over the passage of too much time, one does not even venture a giggle about getting a Hippopotomus for Christmas?

While sewing the other day, I was sorely tempted to throw Bing into the CD player, but I resisted. "After Thanksgiving", I told myself. "Thanksgiving is very early this year ... it will be the easiest year of them all to resist." "You can do it", I whispered to no one in particular. And I stood my ground.

That is until this morning when I discovered that my favorite "all-Christmas-music-all-the-time" had started ... TODAY! What the hay?! I tried to resist and change the channel but it was like asking Violet not to chew the Blueberry Gum. How can they do this to me? By Christmas will I even care if "Grandma got run over by a reindeer?" I came home and went straight to the Kingdom where red and green fabrics were strewn about like so much confetti. And I had to admit it.

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

So ... what is your vote? And what songs are you just dyin' to hear?
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Comfort ... not so much ...

So ... I mentioned about my quest to make ornaments. Lots and lots of ornaments. That is exactly what I have done, but I have just got to say that I am growing weary of it. The problem is this: I keep on learning from my mistakes.

Translation: I keep on making a lot of mistakes.

Every time I finish one, I see a way I could make it better. So I change something about it (all the while writing it down for when I teach them in class.) Then I make another one and the process starts anew.

Does anyone know who it is who said "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again"? Ummm ... I may have to shake my finger at them. And I can't exactly cop out because ... well partly because my spunky daughter-in-law set such a sterling example for me today that I can't help but learn from her too. (She has to keep trying ... and in a foreign language, no less!)

I am giving my self a day off tomorrow. Oh, I'll work on other projects (l'il Gee's stocking, for one) but the ornments will wait until the next day when ... you guessed it ...

I will try ... try ... again.

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Calling All Four-Eyes !!

So ... I need your help here people. From those who know me personally, and from those who don't. Listen up while I explain, and then give me some advice.

I have worn glasses for many years now. Except that I haven't. Except that I have.

Basically, I have worn them to drive, to watch movies and ballgames and in church. I have a number of cheapo reading pairs scattered around the house that I use for small print and hand sewing. I have never just worn them throughout the day, which is just a darn shame because I think I am missing out on a lot of ... crisp and clear ... life ... as a result. My distance vision has gotten progessively worse and the near stuff could be better. I have had "progressive" lenses for the last couple of times and I have managed to adapt to those. That is not the problem.

I picked up all three of these glasses yesterday. (It was "Buy 1, get 2 free ... which is just ... weird.) I was determined that this time I would just become a "wearer of glasses" and wear them all the time. But ... they drive me nuts! I am constantly aware of this ... thing ... on my nose. I first picked out Glasses #2 because they are so light weight I thought that would help. Problem is that they are so lightweight they slip down my nose. I wasn't even expecting to get a second pair of regular glasses, but I picked the Glasses #1 which aren't as light, but dont slip. (I adore the sunglasses ... no problem there.) So answer me this:

Is it possible to go through the day and not be aware you are wearing glasses?
If so, in how much time (in hours and minutes) will it take to adjust?
I really don't need them for computer distance. Must I take them off and on?
Which of the top two do you like best?

No pressure, but my sanity (and that of PDaddy, I am sure) depends on your answers.
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Last Chance !

So ... my bargain hunting weekend knew no bounds. And yes, I am well aware of the fact that as the "bargains" add up, they lose something in the definition. But ... hey ... individually there is no doubt as to their bargain-ness.

If you are lucky enough to live in the Valley of the Sun (aka Phoenix and surrounds) you are probably aware of the bargain-basement mecca known as Last Chance. If you live somewhere else and have vaguely heard of Nordstroms ... then you may also be aware of Nordstrom's Rack. (It's where anything not sold at Nordstroms or returned to Nordstroms, goes to die.)

Or so you thought.

There is one last rung on the descending ladder of Nordstrom's Stuff. One Last Chance. One more place for merchandise to be thrown about by crazed shoppers, making it pretty much unsuitable for purchasing. Unless of course you are patient enough to search for the hidden gem, uncover the seeminly ugly duckling --that is in reality, a rare beauty. (Preparing oneself for this venture involves much deep breathing and a few calisthenics.)

In the past, Last Chance only carried clothing (shoes were always the first place to forage through.) But lately they have carried some household items as well. On Saturday I did my exercises and gathered my strength ... and was richly rewarded. I uncovered these pillow shams (with tags that said "Bloomingdale's Home" -- go figure) for less than 5 bucks a piece. Are they not so charming?

I also uncovered a swell pair of Cole Haans. But that's another post.

What's your best Last Chance find? If you don't live here ... how much do you wish you did?
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So ... today I took a little side trip to one of my favorite bargain hunting arenas -- a series of thrift/antique/secondhand stores. I have to be in the mood for such a foray and I usually have some sort of goal in mind.

Today's goal: RED

I came upon this little number and was instantly smitten. It had the red thing going for it, it was sweetly vintage and -- although I didn't immediately know what its function would be -- it had the possibility to be a storage receptacle of some kind.

But not for bread. Definitely not for bread. Because even though it is ... a breadbox ... (which I figured out because it was neither bigger than nor smaller than one) I knew my family would be creeped out by the thought of placing our bread where someone else's bread had been.

Many, many years ago when I first discovered such stores, I bought a small needlepoint pillow and had the audacity to place it on the couch. The children were horrified. (PDaddy pretty much never noticed it.) They wondered how we could possibly touch something when we didn't know who had owned it. After all ... maybe some mass murderer had owned it? And for many years after that it was known as the "murderer's pillow". True story.

So I am going to use my special red box as a fireplace receptacle to hold matches and candles etc. (It's pretty hard to open and that will be a safety feature for the l'il ones.) I am hoping the children will approve. Because ... seriously ... how many murderers are into sweet red and white breadboxes?

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To "E" or not to "E" ...

So ... I am a very lucky girl. I am the proud owner of the sewing machine pictured above, which, as you can clearly see, is currently being used as an embroidery machine. However, I didn't buy that machine (Bernina ... Artista 200) to embroider, I bought it because of the fabulous way that it sews. The embroidery portion was just an added perk, and I truly have not made good use of it. There are people that I know who want to flog me for that ... perhaps even something more ... but the truth of the matter is that I use it just a few times a year.

Yesterday was one of those times.

I am on a mission to make ornaments ... lots and lots of ornaments. I am making some as part of Grandma's R Us Club in December at this store, others for gifts and others to hang on my own tree. I am making several different varieties that look like some I made exactly 25 years ago (while severely pregnant with Sonny Boy and I tell you, they nearly did me in.) Since some of those had hand embroidery them, I decided to bring them into the digital age. (I actually plan to hand embroider more also.)

Let's face it ... I love words. Those above will go on some of the ornaments ...

These blue ones I am calling my Arizona Ornaments ... the only way to a white Christmas.

These ones include one for the GrandDog. Stay tuned to see the finished product.

The moral of the story is of course that I had such a delightful time, I wondered why I didn't do it more often. Isn't that the story of life?

At least I am able to recognize how lucky I am.

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Mom ... and quite possibly Apple Pie

So ... I have already introduced you to my obsession with blue and white plates. I hang them everywhere and ... odd as it may seem ... we eat off of them too. But all of my plates are not blue and white.

Take the plates pictured above. I inherited 4 place settings from my mom after she and my dad had both passed away. Just as my mom had kept them in a cupboard ... high in a cupboard ... I put them neatly into my china cabinet and have never used them. (I have just a couple of memories of using the set as a child and ... pretty much feeling like a princess as a result.) Because my childhood family had seven in it and mine had six ... and keeps growing, there never seemed to be a good opportunity to set the table with them.

Then, a couple of years ago, my sister was visiting and we were perusing antique stores as usual. She came across this stack of 10 desert plates and I bought them on the spot.

Then I forgot about those also.

So ... the purpose of this post is to remind myself (and to tell Mrs. Gee to remind me because my mind is a sieve) to use them this Thanksgiving to put our pie on. It will feel regal, I'm sure. They are Franciscan China in the "Fremont" pattern. Does anyone else have memories of them ... I would love to hear. Would you also remind me to use them at Thanksgiving?

Because my mind is a sieve, I tell you, a sieve.
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No complaining at my House ...

So ... I am giddy with excitement because I actually think that we just might be turning off the A/C sometime soon. Yes ... it is November ... but keep in mind that this has been the hottest and longest summer in recent history around here. But I don't care, I'll take what I can get, and what I got is ... Pleasant and Lovely.

The above pictured quilt is one I designed and made as part of a series of "house" quilts I taught here a few years ago. When all is said and done, I am not much of a batik kind of quilter, but I love how they make a statement here. I took advantage of the pattern on the dividing strips and machine quilted around them.

So Mrs. Dub (pictured above with Mr. Dub and the l'il Miss) managed to cough up this picture and yes ... she is back in the will. Mr. Dub decided to take advantage of his wild and crazy hair and go as Napoleon Dynamite with Mrs. Dub as Deb and the little one as Pedro (after he shaved his head and was forced to wear a hoodie.) If none of this makes any sense to you ... then you have missed out on one of the treats of a lifetime. Go ... now ... rent it ... and see what I mean. When they were at the party where this pic was taken, several people there did not get it and were concerned as to why Mrs. Dub was wearing a fanny pack. A sweet pink vinyl fanny pack.

Fess up now if you have not seen this movie. And, ... if you have ... what are your best skills?

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And So It ... Begins

So ... yesterday afternoon as I was anticipating a flurry of the li'l tricksters at my door, it began to dawn on me that with Halloween almost over, I could ... yes, I really could ... put my heart and soul into Christmas. (Now, don't get me wrong, I have not forgotten Thanksgiving ... I love it dearly ... but I need more than 4 weeks to squeeze all the scrumptious goodness out of Christmas.) I went upstairs and found last years magazines (combined with the new, new Victoria that I received just before our trip) and set them aside on the couch to peruse in between jumps up and down for the little ones (and the too-old-to-be-trick-or-treating teenagers and the parents with 3 month old babies whom I suspect will be dipping into their candy ... but I digress ...)

Then I went to get the mail.

To my absolute delight (and a little bit of shock, I cannot lie) I found among my various pieces of junk mail ... two new Christmas editions. Two pristine, never-before-opened, magical books of joy. (If you are a magazine-aholic as I am, you know exactly what I am talking about.) I put them on the top of the pile and spent a most delicious evening inhaling their goodness. I had more time than I thought I would, because trick-or-treaters were a little scant this year at our house. What was with that?

Oh ... one last peek at Halloween. Here's a pic of li'l Gee with his trusty sidekick, Asher. I have an incredible picture of Asher proudly showing off his super-statis, but I'm saving it for the perfect blog-op in the future. I do not have a picture of Miss Dub because her mother forgot to take her camera to the party. In time I will forgive her. In the meantime, enjoy the grin and please answer the following questions:

Are you ready to think about Christmas?
Do you feel the same way about a new magazine or is it just me?

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