Monday, December 31, 2007

Beat THAT, 2008!

Photo by Friendly Made

Wow, hard to believe it's been 365 days since we did this last year. 2007 was wild. As I sit here in my pajamas at 8 PM on the biggest partying night of the year, I can honestly say I feel like a rockin' party animal, living life to the fullest. Let's recap, shall we? Top 10 Rock Star Things That Happened to Me in 2007 in Semi-Chronological-But-Also-Sort-of-Ranked-by-Importance:

10. Took a Babymoon to Charleston. No, "babymoon" is not a word I invented. Look it up.
9. Planned and attended my first "crafty retreat" in Red Wing, MN with a bunch of amazing and craftastic women.
8. Visited Atlanta for the first time. The traffic is insane. There are a ton of cute, quirky places to check out, and some of the homes are amazing to see.
7. Went to my good friend Ellen's wedding, in which we partied like crazy out on the lake. I donned the groom's mother's 60's maternity swimsuit and enjoyed it very much.
6. Planned and participated in the 2007 No Coast Craft-o-rama at the Midtown Global Market. With over 8,000 attendees and 100 vendors, it was a huge sucess!
5. Went to my sweet sister-in-law's wedding in Arizona and basked in the warm October sunshine for a few days.
4. Learned what it feels like to have a baby squirm in your belly. And get hiccups.
3. Crafted like a madwoman, inspired (possessed/obsessed) by all the great blogs I read, Flickr, etc.
2. Laughed and enjoyed friends and family immensely
1. Gave birth to my Little Pumpkin, the absolute sweetest little thing I have ever laid eyes and arms on. My obsessive nightime checking on him is driven by my complete lack of comprehension at how I could be so lucky to have this life.

So, beat that 2008! I dare ya!

Have a very safe and happy new year! Rock it out for me! I'll be here in my jammies!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas 2007 Come and Gone

It sure seems like it goes quickly, doesn't it? I mean, I hardly had 400 cookies made when poof! done! I hardly had myself worked into a complete wreck before...ahhh, it's over. All the handmade goodies are made and gifted (except one...), all the cookies given away or eaten (except that huge batch of gingerbread in my freezer), all the stockings and ornaments up and looking great, and all of our blessings counted.

We had a wonderful little trip to Wisconsin, full of good food and company. Little Pumpkin of course is too little to really appreciate Christmas, but he really appreciated all the love, attention and new sights and sounds. We could tell he was taking a lot in when he fell asleep for his nap and giggled, frowned and "cried" his way through some serious baby dreams. What do babies dream of? Hugs, being tickled, eating, and that type of thing, I'm guessing. But it could be visions of sugarplums, I dunno. Or maybe dreams about all the wildlife he saw, like this little visitor:

I got some great handmade stuff from Santa that I might have to write up and show off. Really great stuff off of etsy. And a little gift to myself called Warm Fuzzies by Betz White. Betz was at No Coast a few years ago and I've been a big admirer of hers and reader of her blog ever since. I have just had a chance to page through it so far, but it's so cute it made me squeal a little. There's a girl's jumper in there that I so badly need to make into baby overalls. Too cute you must run, not walk, and buy it now.

I hope you all had a very peacefull and happy holiday and are staying tucked warmly in bed. I myself am snuggled into many new warm jammies and slippers and am about to go cozy up with a felting project that's not a Christmas gift. Yay!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

My Husband's a Record Nerd: Christmas Music That Doesn't Suck

We do a lot of music listening around our house, due in part to my husband's extensive (makes Hi Fidelity John Cusack look like an amateur) record collection. Our Christmas collection is good, but it could be better. So, I'll give you our favorites if you'll give me yours!

Mellow, snuggle up with cocoa, reflect on the meaning of Christmas music:
John Fahey, Christmas Guitar Vol. 1
Low Christmas Album
Johnny Cash the Christmas Spirit

Fun, loungy, have a swingin' party music:
The Cocktails Winter Wonderland (sorry, not sure where you can get this...?)
The Beach Boys Christmas Album
Cool Yule (Various Artists/Chuck Berry/James Brown)
Original Soul Christmas
Dr. Demento's The Greatest Novelty Record of All Time Vol 6

Just buy it, and you won't regret it:
Trojan Records Jamaican Christmas Box Set
Bing Crosby Merry Christmas
Gene Autry Signs Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Not related to the Christmas music list, I just saw that 10,000 people signed the handmade pledge this year. If you signed the handmade pledge, thank you! There was a great article in the NY Times that I think you might like to read! I bought a lot of great hand made stuff this year; maybe I can recap after all my blog readers (hello family! hello friends!) have opened their gifts!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Non-Sock Sock Yarn Patterns

Why don’t I want to knit socks? I can’t really explain it, myself. I bought this beautiful sock yarn from Aisha Celia and I’m not sure what to do with it. The colors were so beautiful that I had to have it, but I really have never wanted to knit socks. Maybe because they seem so utilitarian and this yarn is so gorgeous. I mean, no one really *sees* my socks, anyway, right? I generally sport the most un-exciting socks you can imagine – white sweat socks, black sweat socks, or black dress socks, depending on the day. That’s about the extent of my sockrobe (My portmanteau-of-the-day!). Maybe that all needs to change. My lack of sockspiration (another one!) might be my downfall!

So, I set out looking for patterns using sock yarn that I could attempt instead. It’s not such an easy task, I’ve found. There are about 20 million free sock yarn patterns on the internet, but a limited number of patterns using sock yarn, which are not themselves socks. Baby sweaters seem to be the most popular sock yarn sock alternative, but I am reluctant to dress my son in pink and green, so I think that’s out unless someone I know is expecting a baby girl. In case you find yourself in a similar predicament, here are some options for your sock yarn stash:

Lace Knit Hat
Mini Sweater Ornament
Knitty Hush Hush (Nightie)
Opal Baby Set (Sweater/Hat/Socks)
Girlfriend Shrug

What else is out there? Should I just give in and knit some socks? Suggestions welcome!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Happy St. Nicolas Day and a Pizza Dough Recipe

In my sister's house, St. Nicolas comes and leaves little surprises in the kid's shoes on December 6th. I hadn't started that tradition with little Pumpkin yet, but after hearing that my niece received "a reindeer that poops jelly beans" I immediately felt the need to get it going. So, I had my niece write St. Nick a really nice letter letting him know that baby Pumpkin had been born and now he could start visiting our house. Lo and behold the very next day, this cute bath toy was deposited in his shoes! It's no pooping reindeer, but Grant seems to like it!

I also finished baby Pumpkin's new stocking, which is hung by the fire with care in hopes that Santa soon will fill it with a little bit more hair and the ability to sleep through the night consistently. Sure looks cute, doesn't it?

And, completely unrelated, but related to yesterday's post is the recipe for Jason's pizza dough. Here goes:

1 1/4 C warm water
1/2 pkg. active dry yeast
2 T EVOO (if you don't know this term yet, you're missing Rachael Ray)
3 1/2 C flour (you can use a bit of whole wheat if you like...2 C maybe?)
1 1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
some rosemary (to taste)
handfull of cornmeal

Mix the water, yeast and oil in a bowl. Add the flour, salt, pepper and rosemary and stir until it forms dough. Sprinkle some flour on a clean surface and knead dough until it's smooth (5 mins?). Lightly oil a bowl, put the dough inside and cover it with a warm, damp cloth. Let it rise about an hour. Divide in half and let it rise another 20 minutes. At this point, you can roll it out (we like it rolled out *really* thin) or freeze it in a ziplock for about a month. Just make sure to let it completely thaw for about a day in the fridge before you try to use it. When you do roll it out, make sure to use the cornmeal on a pizza peel (a big wooden dealie) or baking sheet. Stretching it with your hands works okay if rolling with a rolling pin doesn't do it. Then, top it, bake it (10 - 15 mins?) on high heat and eat it!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Three Cheers for a Long Weekend

Ahhhh, I love me some long weekends. It started out with some cookie baking Thursday night. I made these Orange, Cardamom & Brandy Biscuits from Esuientes Blog with just a few modifications. I used 3 T of brandy (good thing Brandy is gross or I may have had to pour myself a glass at the same time) and instead of rolling out the dough, I kneaded it just a little bit to mix it in the bowl. Then I grabbed a wad with my hands and rolled it in a ball, put it on the cookie sheet, egg washed it and then smashed it down with a sugared glass. Turned out beautifully -- a little crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. I baked mine for about 11 minutes. I recommend them!

Then Friday, it was a trip to the pediatrician for Baby Pumpkin. He checked out totally healthy, but didn't like his shots too much. He's been sleepy and not his happy, smiley self all weekend. Which is extremely unsettling when you are the momma of a very happy baby. But, he seems to be recovering okay.

Friday night we had friends over for homemade pizza, and tomorrow I'll post the recipe for the dough. It's really simple, and so worth doing by hand. Our friends challenged us to a pizza Iron Chef sometime, and I think Mr. Pumpkin might have a shot at winning. mmmmmm.

The family visited Saturday and I have the nieces to thank for this lovely shrinky dink Christmas tree. It looks a lot like my real tree...

We had a great time just hanging around, decorating the house and munching cookies. The girls found a spot and made a little fort for their dolls while the rest of us worked on dinner, or just took up space in the kitchen, per normal get-together protocol. Dinner was great, too -- scallops, wild rice, mushrooms scavenged by my sister and her mushroom hunting kids, and some salad. Oh, it's such a shame we can't do it every day.

Today we recovered, wrapped gifts, made Beef Stew in the crock pot (well, you virtually *have* to do this if you live in the Midwest and it's wintertime). Phew.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Getting Ready for Cookie Baking and Decorating

My little nieces and the whole family are visiting Saturday to celebrate my and my hubby's b-days (a thinly veiled excuse to visit the baby) and we're planning lots of fun stuff. I have a tree to decorate, a mantle to cover in fake snow and little houses and the above new snowman from FinnStyle. I am also plotting some cookie baking for my day off tomorrow. I definitely plan to make the gingerbread cookies out of my Tartine cookbook, and hopefully some sugar cookies from a recipe by my grandma's neighbor "Svenska" (whose real name was Dagne and who made the world's lightest, most crisp sugar cookies on earth). I'll publish that recipe here after I make them, hopefully with a photo.

Also, I think we have some sledding planned and some scallops and shrimp for "supper." Looking forward to it!