Saturday, December 31, 2011

a milestone of sorts

After being home with just one child, we drove to join the others on Thursday, and then my husband and I had an opportunity to get away for a couple of nights to celebrate our anniversary.  We stayed at the beautiful, dog-friendly Blue Goose Inn  which is sandwiched between Sunapee Mountain ski area and Sunapee Lake.  Wednesday night we went for a pub dinner and watched the movie Avalon afterwards.  It wasn't a great one, but we both enjoyed it, and boy, was Elijah Wood cute at age nine!

Thursday morning we woke to a light snowfall and a scrumptious breakfast.  Then it was time to head into the woods.  We had hoped for enough snow to do some cross country skiing, but it wasn't to be.  Instead we followed some snowmobile trails that lead us into the quietest part of the woods.

The fresh snow and the dim light added their own magic to the day.  As we were headed out of the woods, we found someone's food storage and dining room:

Pantry underneath the log, dining room on top, garbage disposal on the other side.  Clearly someone had been quite hungry.

That night, we treated ourselves to an exquisite dinner at the Inn at Pleasant Lake to celebrate our anniversary.  It was a truly memorable meal starting with a duck appetizer, followed by Potage Lyonaise which was so good my husband had seconds:

This was followed by a salad and a compote of tart cherries as a palate cleanser.  The main course was amazing:

Tuna with Dill Beurre Blanc for my husband and the most tender Beef tenderloin I have ever tasted in my life.  To finish, there was cheesecake with ganache and raspberry sauce.  Isn't it pretty?

We have lived in the Northeast for almost 18 months now, and there are so many beautiful and lovely places to discover.  I'm very much hoping that we will have lots of time to explore in 2012.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

hello from the quiet

I love this unstructured time between Christmas and the New Year.  Just being in the moment, everyone in their own corner of the house or snuggling with the dog in front of the fireplace and breathing in the quiet that follows the fun busyness of preparation, making, shopping, wrapping, cooking and celebrating.  While my husband and the youngest child are away visiting with relatives, the two of us left are enjoying two more days of quiet reading and pursuing our own projects before we join them all tomorrow for a few days.  Blessed quietness. Here are some of my favorite memories of the season:

Shopping with one child at a time.  They both need very little help with suggestions these days, so I get to hang back and watch what they come up with, in the store or at home with their many projects. This year, the nine year old made a scarf, a mug warmer and many little dolls like these, which she filled with candy. The twelve year old specialized in chocolates and shortbread cookies.

When we lived in the suburbs, our decorations all came from the local garden center.  This year, I grabbed some clippers and floral wire and went outside to see what I could find.  Luckily, our yard grows everything you need for a perfect decoration or three.  Just add the bow.  How lucky are we?

Of course, there is always a gingerbread house to be made and decorated (or two or three, depending on secret santa obligations) and candles to be restocked for the Solstice, when we don't turn on the lights after dark.  Our new house has a very large mantle, so I added this little snowman to our decorations.

Now I don't know about you, but I find myself often pulled into all kinds of new crafty directions the six weeks or so before Christmas.  You would think I'd have learned to save time and stick with what I know long ago, but apparently I am unable to do that.  And frankly, seeing the joy on the faces of loved one, or noticing on Wednesday that your child has yet to take off that tricky reverse applique project, makes it all oh, so worth it, don't you think?

Well, and when all the cooking and decorating and making were done, we poured some wine, sat in a comfortable spot by the woodstove, lit the candles on the tree and let the joy of giving and the peace of dark evenings wash over us.  And really, we are so greatful for everything we have from the roof over our heads to the people in our lives, and to those of you who venture to this space.  Blessings to all of you this holiday season!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

where I have been

Oh my, how could so much time pass so quickly?  There have been a few trips out of town and such, but in one word, what has kept me so busy is the makings of the season:

At the moment I'm in love with upcycled cotton shirts.  As a pattern for a simple skirt, I just cut out widening strips of different fabric and then sewed ten of them together into a tube.  For the waistband, I added an adult mock turtleneck, and after cutting the length, I went around the bottom with a zigzag stitch.

(Dear Santa, I could really use a serger to finish the seams more nicely).

A doll for a child in the making.

This felt dragon comes from the latest issue of Living Crafts magazine and will become a sweet stuffed animal for our youngest cousin.

The beginnings of the "Men's Rustic Scarf" from Last- Minute Knitted Gifts.  Instead of chunky wool I used this luscious Plymouth Yarn Mushishi in worsted weight, which knits up very nicely and is super soft.  There are some beautiful colorways in this, but I stuck with a basic black/white/gray for this project. 

And of course we have been baking.  I forgot to take out the camera for the many cookies we have made, but yesterday my dear husband baked some yummy lussekatter (saffron buns) for the Santa Lucia celebration at school.  They are beautiful and light and slightly sweet, just perfect with a cup of hot cocoa.

But I have not been the only one making things around here.  A few nights ago I came into my bedroom to find these sweet little people on my pillow.  Chances are that if you come to our house and are deemed worthy a present by the resident nine-year old, you may be presented with one of these.  And if you are extra lucky, they may even contain a treat or two.

Many more gifts are taking shape as the house is covered in bits of paper, wool, thread and all manner of other craft supplies.  There is lots of whispering, urgent trips into town and feverish preparations of secret Santa gifts.  This may just be my very favorite time of the year!

And what have you been making?  Please share in the comments!  And above all, Happy Crafting!