Merry Christmas to all! And it does look a lot like Christmas! We are in the midst of our traveling and cooking and all that goes with this holiday. We managed trip one between freezing drizzle and returned to town just as the second round of the same hit. Did our grocery shopping during the 8 or so inches of snow we got. Today I start a few things that can be made ahead.
As we go through the season remember those who are alone, or lonely or sick. This is a hard time for many.
If you like contemporary art, puppets, Peewee Herman or quirkiness you will probably enjoy this documentary Beauty is Embarrassing by Wayne White.
We watched it on Netflix, it is streamable. They say… Get to know Wayne White, one of America’s most unusual and arresting artists, with this snappy documentary that traces the ups and downs of his career. The jovial White discusses his art, strums the banjo, plays with puppets and simply enjoys life.
Not only is it Winter but it is December. A month of Christmas Specials. Thought I give you some hope with a couple of upcoming PBS favorites!
Return to Downton Abbey – Preview
Savor fond memories from the past three seasons of “Downton Abbey” and get a tantalizing taste of the upcoming fourth season. Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon — a devoted fan of the series — hosts the program, which includes a mix of behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with creators and cast members, and video clips of favorite moments.
Click here for the preview. And Season 4 Premiers January 5!
Sherlock Lives Preview
While big fans of Elementary we also enjoy Sherlock. And Season 3 premieres Sunday, January 19 on Masterpiece on PBS, right after Downton Abby! Click here for the Sherlock Lives Preview.
Both shows should be exciting as there were big cliff hanger endings to the last season shows. Mark your calendars!
I was knitting a pretty pink sweater and now I am not. I bought soft washable pink Cascade yarn. I’ve knit the back and the sleeves and now I can tell that the sweater is just going to be wrong, wrong, wrong. The pattern looks square and structured and this yarn is just too soft. Sigh. So it sits. While I think and consult with my knitting group.
But knitting is a form of meditation for me. Especially in Winter when it is cold. So in the mean time I am knitting these little handwarmers from my stash. The really great thing about these is that I am a big sock knitter and always have some left. In fact I have a small wicker hamper full of odd and ends. Plus I like things to me mismatched. So I am just digging in my stash and knitting.
I’d rather have a sweater. But we can’t always have what we want.
I was inspired to knit these by this Purl Bee pattern. If you want to do it right buy their lavishly wonderful yarn and make some. Or if you are like me knit up some of that stash while you figure out what to do with all that pink yarn.
The Green Turret is a cute little antique store in the turret of Mickey’s Bar. Yes you have to go in the building and up the steps in the middle of the bar.
I find all the little treasures fascinating. Prices seem right too.
The big stack of maps is particularly intriguing.
To visit head to Mickey’s Bar at 1524 Williamson St. in Madison. It is on the near Eastside by the Yahara River. As I said go in and up the stairs. The Green Turret is open Saturday and Sundays from 9 to 3 or 4. For more info visit their Facebook Page.
Every year for maybe the last 12 or so we have had the good fortune to be invited to Pam and Mike’s for Thanksgiving. Some things are always the same, like the men cook and the women drink wine. The amount of people vary as do the different ways the turkey has been made. I always bring my Mom’s cranberry salad. It is always a perfect day. Always.
This year Pam sent out a great email to the 14 people who where invited. She did little bios on each person, group or couple. What an ice-breaker. It immediately gave people little conversational tidbits.
And Pam and I always decorate the table. (This is an old photo, unfortunately I didn’t get one this year.) We decided to do place cards this year. This was a last minute thing. Between photos Pam had and the internet we used just the faces of everyone, no names. At dinner everyone had fun finding their place at the table. We even had to pass them around to everyone could take a look. If you did this before the party you could have people bring their high school photo, or email a favorite.
If you have any fun entertaining tips feel free to leave a comment.
(Thanks again Mike and Pam for another great holiday!)
I just learned about this great little butter keeper.
We like to keep our butter at room temperature.
A French butter dish is a container used to maintain the freshness and spreadable consistency of butter without refrigeration. The base holds water, and a cup holds the packed in butter which also serves as a lid. The cup containing butter is placed into the base, where water creates an airtight seal that keeps the air (and thus oxygen) away from the butter so that refrigeration is not needed, and the butter can be used in its soft form. This method will keep butter for around a month provided it is kept at temperatures below 80 °F (27 °C) and the water is changed regularly. The French butter dish design is thought to have originated in Vallauris, France. Vallauris is known for its pottery crafts. Others speculate that it was created in Brittany, or Normandy—both known for their butter production.
They go by many names ”French butter keeper”, “French butter crock”, “butter crock”, “beurrier à l’eau”, “beurrier Breton”, “beurrier Normand”, “cloche de beurre”, “pot à beurre Breton”, “französische Butterdose” (German), butter keeper and butter bell.
There are many variations and this one is more contemporary than the others. Basically they work the same. Links to a variety below. We have been using our for several months now and like it. And this really is the gift for the person who has everything.
This year’s table top tree! All old ornaments and last year’s tree.
Last year we went with a table top tree because our space is small and I hate how crowded the house feels with a full size tree. This tree had a very nice shape and was the right size. I put it on the buffet and surrounded it with gifts. We liked the small tree and having it out of the way. But while pretty it felt too traditional. So…..
The tree sat outside all year while I waited for the needles to fall off. They didn’t. So I stripped most of them by hand and clipped out at least half of the branches.
I then spray painted the tree white. Next I tried to glitter the tree. I have no glittering skills. First I bought a glitter and glue all-in-one product. It was far to subtle. I then went for real spray glue and real glitter. Some silver and some gold. It still did not look very glittery. I tried to add more by putting on a line of Elmer’s glue and adding more glitter. Then then I just gave up deciding that enough glitter was enough.
I got out all the old ornaments. Starting with the trunk I first used the purple and then the orange ornaments. From there I would add all the ornaments that matched so they were balanced on the tree working from the trunk out. I started with the smaller ornaments because that space was tighter.
I wired the ornaments on the tree. My hope is to just put the whole thing in a big garbage bag and store it somewhere and just pull it out for next year. I am very pleased with the results. More contemporary, a nice splash of color. I got out a rug with squares of bright color that repeat the colors in the ornaments.
The tree is done and I have a few other areas I’ll do a little more decorating but that can wait until after Thanksgiving. Enjoy the start to your holiday decorating!