Sunday, November 30, 2008

Twenty Four Days Until Christmas

Tomorrow is December 1 already, and we still have some Thanksgiving leftovers hidden in the back of the refrigerator. Because Thanksgiving Day fell late in November, we have less time to get things ready for Christmas. We still have time so there's no need to panic yet...right? The outside lights are all finished, and the family room Christmas tree is up. It has lights and a few ornaments and will be finished soon. Tomorrow I'll put the blue tree up in the dining room.

Yesterday we went downtown to the Indiana State Museum to listen to a Christmas concert given by the Circle City Ringers. I love listening to handbell music. My son has several hand bell pieces being published by Beckenhorst Press. The Circle City Ringers played Wizards in Winter by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. You can hear it on my playlist in the side bar. I think any group that even attempts that piece is awesome.

The museum is all decorated for Christmas, too. This is Santa's mailbox.

This was just a nice spot where you could sit and enjoy the Christmas tree and listen to the sounds of Christmas.There might be some time tomorrow for some stitching while I regroup. I hope so because I'm about to finish up another big project. Have a good evening.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mashed Potatoes and Writing

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, and the preparations have begun. I had hoped to post some pictures of some of the finished dishes today, but so far there is nothing to photograph. That's because there are no finished dishes yet. Here's why. We celebrate our Thanksgiving on Friday because we combine eating turkey and all the trimmings with decorating the outside of the house for Christmas. That is the way we've done it for as long as I can remember.

Today my daughter and I did a few of the Thanksgiving preparations ahead. And, what did we do the rest of the day? We went out and bought more Christmas lights to put outside. I also bought a new food processor in hopes that will cut my kitchen duties in half. Ok. I can dream, can't I? So tomorrow we will prepare everything else on our list up to the point of the final cooking. Here is how I do my mashed potatoes. I make this the day ahead of Thanksgiving and put it in a microwave safe bowl that I can serve from. I just pulled this off the internet a few years ago, and I think it is a keeper.

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

3 pounds red potatoes
1 cup sour cream
4 ounces Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1/4 cup milk

Peel potatoes and bring to a boil on high heat on stove. Reduce to medium low and cook for 15 minutes. Drain and beat with mixer. Add sour cream, cream cheese and milk and mash. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Before serving, vent plastic wrap by piercing with a fork. Microwave on HIGH for 6 - 8 minutes before serving. Then stir and microwave uncovered an additional 2 - 3 minutes.
This is easier than beating the potatoes right before dinner, and the mess is already cleaned up.

I've also posted the NANOWRIMO novel award winner symbol on my side bar. That just means that I've written the required number (50,000) words. Actually I've written 65,224 and my story isn't finished yet. There is no real prize except for the satisfaction that you have written something that resembles a novel. This was a really fun experience. I don't think it is anything that anyone would want to read. In fact, if they did I'd have to leave the country and take an assumed name. But, it was fun making an outline and writing a story and I will probably do it again next November.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Back Home Again from Shipshewana

Here are some photos of Shipshewana decorated for Christmas. I should be at the grocery getting things for Thanksgiving dinner, but I'm sitting here remembering the fun I had last week with old friends that I see at the retreats every time and new friends that I got to know. I know you're not supposed to wish your life away, but hopefully it won't be long until we are all together again eating pie and having fun. Until next time.....

The big blue tree next door to the Blue Gate Restaurant.

The Blue Gate at night.

Inside the Blue Gate waiting to be seated.

Christmas display at the Craft Barn.

The corner opposite the Blue Gate.Christmas display inside of Yoders.

The sitting area outside of the Conference Room where we sew.

Edyta Sytar speaking to our group on Friday evening.

One of many quilts that she showed during her lecture.

This was a Christmas display at the Blue Gate that just fascinated me. The glass container has greenery and white Christmas lights inside that were blinking on and off. They had some red shiny decorations mixed in, and it was eye catching. Somehow I've got it in my head that I'm going to make one of these. But, I'm a bit stuck on the part where I have to put a hole in the glass container to put the lights in. After really giving it some thought, I would probably have been just as far ahead to have just bought the one in the photo. More on that later on if I decide to try it. Now to go to the grocery to get some things for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Retreating in Shipshewana

I arrived in Shipshewana, Indiana, on Thursday afternoon. My friend Pam, also of Indy, drives to the fall retreat. That was a no brainer because her car has heated seats. It is snowing today. There isn't much sticking, but the flurries are near white out at times. We are having a good time shopping, buying fabric and yarn, and eating at the Blue Gate restaurant. For those of you that have never been there, they have 34 different kinds of pie. There is so much pie and so little time. You can see that there is a bit of snow left on the ground that fell before we arrived.

The town is decorated for Christmas. The buildings and trees are lit at night, and there are Christmas trees and decorations everywhere. This is the little yarn shop here in town.

And, one of the nice things about this retreat is that Jeanne from Luv2Stitch and Gayle from Sentimental Stitches are both here at the retreat. You can link to their blogs at the right. Now I have to get back to the sewing room so I get something done today. More tomorrow.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Quilting, Pacers, and NANOWRIMO

I've had a busy few days. I've been writing but just not on my blog. My son has me involved in something we call NANOWRIMO which stands for National Novel Writing Month. The idea in a nutshell is that we start at midnight on November 1 (or sometime thereafter), and we write a novel. Our goal is to get to 50,000 words written by the end of the month of November. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece, and noone will ever read it if you don't want them to. The idea is just to write. I am a little over 32,000 words, and I started my novel a week ago today. My daughter-in-law and daughter are also writing this month. We've been challenging each other, and giving each other ideas, and it's been a lot of fun. Anyone can participate so if you want to jump in now and write, go to , sign up, and start writing.

Last Wednesday, Bill was given the corporate tickets to attend the Indiana Pacer game at Conseco Fieldhouse. We sat in the Legends Bar/Restaurant area that is located on the level where all the suites are. We got to see the Pacers play the Phoenix Suns, and this was the only visit to town for Shaquille O'Neal. He's 36 and while that doesn't seem old, it is in basketball player years. I was thrilled to get to see him play. That was a nice evening and quite a bit of fun.

I have also sewn a couple more Dear Jane triangles.

Today, I plan to sew a couple more DJ triangles and work more on my story. I have been trying to figure out a way to do both at the same time. I brought some hand sewing here and sat at the computer yesterday, but that was a tiny bit counter productive.
Have a wonderful weekend all!!!

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