I’ve gotten very behind on my blogging in the last several months, so here’s a bit of a catch up, as well as an intro to a new (hopefully short) blog series I’ll be working on in the next few weeks: The Blog Posts That Never Were:
This Year’s Bazaars
Teaching the Luxie Lunch Bag
In Search of Snow
TACMQG Secret Sisters – The Fall Edition
Stitch Kit Swap
I’ll add hyperlinks as I get the posts up!
In the meantime…
We got a few inches of snow earlier in December, and after an excruciating drive home on icy roads, I took a couple of photos of Annie enjoying the snow, for my niece:
I’d been told that my niece was desperately wanting enough snow to make snow angels, and had been practicing, so I sent her a photo of Annie making a snow angel. My niece has the same doll, and still doesn’t quite realize that I’ve got one as well, which makes it extra fun.
And then just for kicks, I took a photo of my Annie wearing my abominable snowman hat in the snow 🙂 She was a little damp when we went back inside, but being a cloth doll, she dried pretty quickly.
I didn’t do much sewing this year for Christmas, but I made a “retreat bag” for Destin, lined with some camping-themed fabric I bought while I was in Portland in August, to use for toiletries for weekend getaways, or anything else he might find it useful for. The outside is made from cotton duck, so between the thickness of that fabric and the interfacing, it’s got some decent structure to the bag.
Last year our pre-lit Christmas tree decided it was more or less done being pre-lit, and we kept fighting with strings of lights going out while it was up last year. This year, Destin and I un-lit the tree with the help of a couple of pairs of wire cutters, and bought several strings of lights to re-light it. I ended up putting tons more lights on it than had been (about 1100 vs the original 400 – oops!) but I also did it in a way that we won’t have to take them back off to put the tree away! I like how it looks now with the colored lights on it.
This year for Christmas dinner, I roasted a chicken instead of a turkey. Actually, the last two years I’ve made steak instead of turkey, but I like having a full turkey dinner, and while I don’t mind the work, I’m not a fan of the cleanup and volume of leftovers from cooking a 10 pound (if I was lucky) turkey for just the two of us. We’d discussed having cornish game hen for dinner, but I opted for the 4 pound chicken instead since it came with giblets for doing giblet gravy (my favorite part). Everything turned out perfect!
Previous years have resulted in a mad scramble towards the end of cooking, as I try to get the gravy and mashed potatoes made at the same time, so everything is warm at the same time. As an experiment this year, I made the mashed potatoes earlier, but mashed them into my crock pot, with it set on “warm”. I stirred them once or twice while everything else finished cooking, and it worked out great to have less to do right at the end, and not worry about the potatoes getting cold!
For the first time, I got around to doing something with the chicken carcass before it went bad, and made chicken stock from it. I had enough for five pint jars and a few ice cubes worth of stock. The ice cube tray went in the freezer, and the pint jars took a turn through my pressure canner, so I can store them in the pantry instead of the freezer. I’ve got the freezer space for it – but I’m not great at planning far enough ahead for dinner to have time for something like that to thaw out. It’ll be nice having these in the pantry, ready to go!
I got some really nice gifts this year – the supplies that I’ll need for the Quilt Con classes I signed up for (I’m over the moon about the Alison Glass embroidery thread), as well as some other things from my dad and Karen, but I think my favorite is the canopy I got from Destin 🙂
I’d been talking about wanting to try out a farmers market or two this summer, and due to Destin’s encouragement, try doing a booth at the Pierce County Fair in August. I’d been trying to figure out if it was something that I could afford to do (I keep all the money for my “business” stuff separate to make sure I don’t craft myself into a hole) between the booth fee and the cost of having to provide my own canopy and tables. This will be a huge help towards being able to do farmers markets and the county fair – and he got the attachable walls for me, too! I’m looking forward to setting those up, but since one of the chickens had messed the driveway, we didn’t try to put up the walls on Christmas.
Since my Christmas-scented soy candles did well at the two bazaars I had a table at this year, I ordered more non-Christmassy scents, as well as the correct soy wax to make melts for tart warmers at the request of a few coworkers that had expressed interest. After several evenings of melting wax, I got new candles and wax melts made.
For any scents that were new, I only bought enough to do three candles and one batch of wax melts per scent, so I could try them out before committing to larger quantities (and higher cost), but some of these I will definitely be ordering in larger containers! The “Grapefruit Mangosteen” and “Coconut Lime” are two of my favorites, and “Mint Mojito” is pretty drool-worthy too. Please pardon the currently less-than-helpful links – I’ve been working on moving towards having my own online storefront instead of relying on Etsy, but I still need to to photographs for my newer products, and sort out shipping costs before I open the new online storefront for orders.
I’ve got labels on order for the larger wax melt blocks that should arrive tomorrow, and then I can get them packed into totes without mixing up the flavors, since so many ended up needing a green color. Thankfully, Destin doesn’t mind the house smelling like various candle scents as I work on candle batches.
Earlier this month we’d gotten a little snow here and there, but not with any timing where I could let the chickens out in it to see how they’d react. This weekend we finally got some snow that I could let them out into, even though it wasn’t much more than a dusting.
They seemed more or less indifferent to the snow, nibbling at greenery sticking above it. I hope I get the chance this winter to see how they react to several inches of snow… but hopefully if we get that kind of snow, it shows up on a Friday night after I’m already home from work so I don’t have to drive in it!
And finally… this year’s Rescue Monkey tally! She managed to avoid requiring rescue from the neighbor’s house across the street, but ended up trapped under our back-door neighbor’s house overnight… and got herself “stuck” on our own roof a lot more than last year! I think my count of “12” might actually be a little low. I’ve got my doubts as to how “stuck” she is when she’s crying from the roof… if she isn’t rescued promptly enough, she can often get herself down! She’s a character… she’ll cry to demand attention when she’s feeling neglected until she gets picked up and snuggled… and as I type this, she’s burrowed up underneath the sweatshirt I’m wearing, curled up and purring up a storm. I suspect I’m going to regret this when one of us wants her out.