Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Busy Time of Year!

It seems there are so many things going on at this time of the year that there's very little time for sewing. I've been trying to get back into the Sweat Shop this past week to finish the Christmas quilt top, but so far I haven't had a chance.

My stitching friend Julie (there's a link to her blog in my sidebar) took photos at the tamale-making extravaganza and sent them to me yesterday, so I thought I'd share a couple more--not photos of tamale making but of a couple areas decorated for Christmas. My house is quite small, as is Julie's, and she liked some of my storage solutions, so she wanted photos to show her family and remember what I'd done; only a few of the photos she took were actually of Christmas decorations. First is a photo looking into the kitchen, and you can see the kitchen tree--

Next is a photo of the fireplace mantle--

She also sent me some wonderful photos of our group of ladies, but I don't know how they'd feel about their photos showing up on my blog, so I'll keep them to myself for now.

My vacation is over and I returned to the office today. Another secretary covered my desk while I was gone, so it wasn't at all overwhelming to go back, but there was plenty to do as usual. Then, tonight after work, I made a trip to WalMart. All of our secretaries and staff are preparing stockings for a local homeless shelter, and I was able to get most of the items on the list of "provisions," although I'll need to make one more stop for a couple items I couldn't find. We'll be having an office lunch on Friday, and the stockings will have to be turned in at that time.

This week the secretaries and staff also have our annual trip to San Francisco to look forward to--that will take place on Wednesday. On Thursday evening, I'll be baking cookies for a cookie exchange at the office during the Friday office lunch. Are you as tired as I am just thinking about the week ahead?! It's all fun, though.

Anna posted some questions about the gingerbread houses, and I thought I'd tell you a little story and answer them at the same time. Last year when I went to my friend Lisa's house to decorate gingerbread houses, she opened a couple boxes and pulled the houses out. Now generally I'm pretty much a "start from scratch" gal, but I've had issues with gingerbread over the years, so I thought the pre-made houses were truly the way to go. When this year came around and I thought about how much fun we had last year, I figured I'd pick up a couple boxes of houses--originally I thought it would just be me and the Wild Child, so I bought two boxes. A bit later, I had the idea that we would make it a FAMILY OCCASION, and I invited Soccer Son and his Lovely Wife to be Someday. I decided to add another couple houses and picked out a different model this time--and I could see, because they were packaged in clear boxes, that these new houses would need to be "assembled" before we could decorate them.

So, Saturday night, after making tamales, I got out the two houses, mixed up a batch of icing, and assembled them before falling into bed, exhausted. Sunday morning arrived, and the FAMILY OCCASION was set to begin at 1 p.m. Around noon, I opened the boxes of houses and found, much to my dismay, that THESE needed to be assembled TOO! And when I read the directions, I found I was supposed to put them together and let the icing set for two to three HOURS! YIKES! This was not at all what I expected! It turned out okay though--we started on the ones that had been assembled the night before and by the time we got to the other two, they had dried sufficiently so there were no catastrophies.

I started wondering, though, whether I was wrong about the houses we decorated last year at Lisa's being preassembled--could one of her daughters have prepared them ahead of time and I just didn't realize it? Well, tonight when I was at WalMart, I took a closer look at the boxes of houses and I realized I had just bought the wrong ones--YES, you CAN buy preassembled houses, but you need to pay attention to what the packaging says is inside. And I highly recommend, if you're planning to decorate gingerbread houses this year, that you buy the kind that are already assembled. Having done this now a couple years in a row, I don't think the really fun part is the gingerbread baking, trimming, and assembling; I think the true joy comes when we all sit down together and get creative with decorating, sharing ideas, challenging one another, and making silly jokes.

As busy as this time of year is, I need to always remember to slow down a little and savor the experiences that bring joy to me, my family, and our friends. And if you don't find a new blog post from me each day, I'm sure you'll know I'm just busy enjoying the festivities of the season.


Gran - Knot-y Embroidery Lady said...

Hey Love - nice post.

julieQ said...

Your decor looks like something out of wonderland! Just gorgeous, Kim! I have kind of toned it down a little bit...not too much stuff, just the things that my family and I really love doing...funny about the gingerbread houses!!

Gwen said...

Love the gingerbread houses! Need to get some again and do the with the now grownup grandaughters! Saw some "peppermint" placemat on the Connecting Threads blog and thought of you! Your home is lovely.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Beautiful mantle. Yes we need to enjoy the season and not let the season get the better of us.

quiltmom said...

Thanks Kim-
I haven't checked out to see if you can buy pre-assembled houses here in Canada. Many years ago I used to make a gingerbread house with my kindergarten kids. There favorite part was eating the treats needless to say. I am not much of a baker( my mom and grandma got that gene LOL) so making it from scratch would have been challenging- I had an assistant at that time who was a terrific baker and she would make me a house complete with the royal icing to glue it together.
Another way I have made it with my little ones is to use small milk cartons (pint size)and graham wafers. We still used royal icing and stuck all sorts of treats on the house. It was a very fun activity.
This year my mom and I made gingerbread play dough for my school kids as well as gingerbread dough which I then made gingerbread cookies for them to eat.
I managed to bake them without burning them but we did not have time to decorate them. They still enjoyed eating the Gingerbread boys.
As for the playdough- it was a great hit and smells just like gingerbread- just don't eat it - it is very salty ...
It sounds like you have a very busy week planned.
Enjoy the festivities..
Warmest regards,

PunkiePie (Jen) said...

That is what we did this year too. One person in our gbread house making group found the pre-assembled ones at Walmart and we all grab a box. What a time saver!! PLUS the ready made icing was fantastic too. Come over to my blog and see Punkie's gingerbread house creation.