Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Re-Cap

Christmas 2012 has come and gone. It was a good one, despite the fact that I was sick before, during and after. Yayyyyy...

As previously noted, we went to Jamie and Jason's house for the day. We got up there around 10am so that we could spend some quality time with the Duck. She had a LOT going on. When we had some snacky foods close to noon, she brought out her tiny piano and played and sang Christmas carols for us. She also wanted everyone to take turns pretending to be Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, which was pretty amusing. She doesn't like Santa Claus at all this year, but she does like Christmas and she was excited about helping to pass out presents and also, of course, about opening hers.

We had ham and baked ziti for dinner and it was really delicious. After we digested our food a bit and the Duck had a nap, we ended up going over to Boyfriend's parent's house. We had some gifts to open there and we hung out for a little while before heading home. 

Below, you can see dear little Regan wearing her festive Christmas shirt. She is so patient. She wore it for a huge part of the day. Haha.

I typically feel pretty sad when I am not able to see my family on major holidays (it is, of course, happy that Boyfriend's family is so close) and this Christmas was no different. I was happy to have a chance to video chat with my parents and Holly on Christmas Eve. We talked for over an hour and it was nicer than just talking on the phone. I'm hoping to spend a holiday with them next year, if we can work out the travel. Wouldn't that be nice? Yes.

I hope all of you had a beautiful Christmas and that you were able to spend time with family and friends. That's the best part about the holidays, wouldn't you say?

Christmas Craftiness

I made quite a few of the gifts for my friends and family this year and that makes me feel pretty darn good. There's something nice about creating something for those you love, I think. I'm going to have to do this more often.

I made a reversible tote bag (the full-size version of the one I made for the duck) for Tracy. It ended up being pretty large (possibly too large, if you ask me), but she was jazzed because she can use it to carry her music. She liked it a lot, which made me happy, and even said that her mom was contemplating stealing it. Haha. Anyway, here is one side of the bag:

And here is the other fabric that I used. I had ordered the floral print online at Hawthorne Threads and I took it with me when I went to Joann's to pick up something complementary. I ended up asking a couple of old ladies if they thought the two would be okay together. They said yes. I rolled with it. What do you think?

I made aprons for both my Marmee and my sister. I also gave them each a cookbook. I gave Marmee Food in Jars and I gave Holly the Joy the Baker cookbook. The fabric was a reprint of a pattern from the 1930s that I had purchased at Shabby Fabrics. I got the same print in blue, peach and red.

Originally, I had thought to make an apron for all three of us but each in a different color. After thinking about it and discussing it with my dad, I decided to make all three aprons exactly the same and use all three colors. I think it was a good idea. Now we all have the same apron! Yay! Here is one of the aprons:

And... here I am wearing said apron. Boyfriend took the picture for me. We're still working on his photography skills. Haha.

I am pretty pleased with the way the aprons turned out. I used the same tutorial I used for the apron that I made for the duck, I just made it using real measurements.

Finally, my last handcrafted project was one for Boyfriend's dad. I drew his name in the family gift exchange and decided, with Boyfriend's help, to make something that would be meaningful and also include the Duck and Regan. I decided to make a photo coaster/serving tray combo. I started by choosing a photograph. I picked a picture of the the three of them, taken at the Duck's second birthday party this past summer.

I cut it into four equal pieces so it would be one picture on four tiles and mod podged that business to the tiles.

Boyfriend constructed a little box thing:

When the tiles are inside the box, it makes a little serving tray! It's very clever, if I do say so myself.

Boyfriend's dad was very pleased with the gift. He liked it so much that he said he wanted to hang it on the wall and not use it. We told him that that was silly, of course, and that we made it to be used. Hopefully he'll follow our advice.

Did you give any handmade gifts this year?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Apple Dump Cake

I know that we have discussed my love of dump cakes before. I'm sure we have. They're so easy! They're so delicious! When I was contemplating what to take for Christmas dessert, Boyfriend suggested making a dump cake. I consulted the dump cake cookbook I have on my kindle, 30 Delicious Dump Cake Recipes, and decided to go with one of the apple options. It was an excellent choice, if I do say so myself. Boyfriend even assisted in its construction!!

We made it pretty late on Christmas Eve and went to sleep soon after. The next morning, we ran around getting ready to leave to head to Jamie's for the festivities and I realized after we had been in the car for a while that it was not on my lap. Yup. Definitely left the cake sitting on the stove. Super. I was pretty mad, but no one was too bothered by it, though, and we had grinch cookies and 800 other things to sustain us. Still. Pretty annoyed.


Yay apple dump cake, though! Seriously. It was delicious and tasted like apple crisp. Yum.  

Grinch Cookies

This year, we had Christmas at Boyfriend's sister and brother in law's house. Jamie charged me with bringing dessert. I had a few ideas, which included making some delightful things known as "Grinch Cookies." Ashley at The Inspired Creative One posted the recipe on her blog, I found it via pinterest (of course) and I'm pretty sure she must be a genius. These cookies are ridiculously easy to make and incredibly tasty.

I think my favorite thing about making these is that you use a Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix packet and, if you're in a hurry, that is a huge time saver. In order to mix the green food coloring into the dough evenly, I pulled on some food safe gloves and mixed everything with my hands. It was kind of therapeutic, haha. 

Once I had it well mixed, I used a teaspoon and my hands to make little balls of dough and placed them evenly on my cookie sheet.

The results were delicious (and it yielded a LOT of cookies) and they went over really well on Christmas. I left some for Boyfriend's mom, some for Jamie and Jason and we took some home at the end of the day.

I'll be posting about my other Christmas dessert shortly. Stay tuned!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Cinema

Well, friends, it's that time of year. You know, the time of year when the cheesiest Christmas themed romantic comedies are on TV and Netflix. Today, while working on some Christmas sewing projects (my craftiness amazes even me... I'll post about what I have been making when everyone has received their gifts), I watched two such movies. 

First, I watched A Christmas Kiss. It... was special. I couldn't get over the age difference between the main character and her love interest. Also, the dialogue was sooooo overly formal. It was entertaining (if you're into movies with wise, old janitors), though, because it was really ridiculous.

Next, I watched 12 Dates of Christmas. I knew I would love it because it featured Mark Paul Gosselaar aka ZACK MORRIS. I wasn't 100% sure how much I would like it beyond that, but it was actually pretty cute. I liked Amy Smart's character as well. You should probably watch this one. It doesn't feature any wise, old janitors, though. Just thought I would warn you. 

Moral of the story: when I was finished watching these movies, I was really happy. It was nice to be home, working on crafty things and thinking about Christmas. It reminded me of how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life. Random, perhaps, but true.

Also, I'm watching the episode of Parks & Rec in which April and Andy host a fancy dinner party (I don't want to spoil it if you haven't seen it). So wonderful.

Happy Monday!  

Friday, December 14, 2012

December Neglect

I have neglected you, my friends.

I don't really have a good reason. Maybe that it's December and I'm doing Christmas prep type things? I think everyone can use that excuse. Haha.

I'll post again soon, but I wanted to check in and say hi! Can you believe Christmas is so soon? I can't. Seriously. 

Our vet is coming over in mere moments. I need to go make sure that the cats have no idea so they can't hide from me. Muahahaha.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Annie in Alexandria

Over the weekend, I visited my friends, Annie and Nick, at their apartment in Alexandria, Virginia. I had been to Alexandria once before, for like five minutes. I was pretty psyched when Annie asked me to visit. 

On Friday, after I arrived, Annie and I went out for some dinner in Old Town Alexandria. After much deliberation, we went to a delicious Thai restaurant. I had the red curry and it was really tasty. After dinner, we went to the grocery store in order to procure snacks for Nick, who is in the middle of his end of semester law school exams. We got the ingredients to make Martha Stewart's cranberry and pear bellinis. Mmm. We then watched Arsenic & Old Lace. I love Cary Grant. Let's be honest. The movie was hysterical and I really enjoyed it. I particularly liked Priscilla Lane, who played Cary's love interest. She didn't have a very long career in film, though, which is sort of disappointing.

On Saturday, Annie whipped up some pancakes for breakfast and we headed back to Old Town to see a Scottish Christmas parade. It was really fun! We got there a bit late, but we ended up standing near the announcer's area and the guy announcing the various Scottish clans was really funny and old. There were a LOT of dog groups.

And a lot of bag pipes.

A LOT of bag pipes.

We spent the rest of the afternoon strolling around, window shopping, etc. In the evening, we met up with our friend from Albion, Beth, and her fiance, Dave. We had dinner with them and one of Annie's friends at a lovely place called Cheesetique. SO MUCH CHEESE. It was so delicious. Mmmmmmmm. You must go.

On Sunday, I headed back home. It was a marvelous weekend and I had such a nice time with my dear Bananne. It's always nice to visit friends, but I still like coming home to my house, Boyfriend and the cats.