Monday, December 31, 2012

Merry Christmas, A Little Late!

I'll bet you all thought I fell off the face of the planet.  Nope.  Just year end tax planning crap and business crap intertwined with Christmas had me running at full speed.  So, let me show you some of the highlights of Christmas week with us:

 The kids played board games together.  Close observers will note that this Scrabble game is being played by about 7 people.  Games can be confusing hereabouts.

They played a large number of rounds of Apples to Apples.  That game is a hoot; fans of group games would really enjoy that one, and it's suitable for all ages!

Jeff and Ryan brought some whole walnuts home from the store, and spent a while cracking them bare-handed.  If George Washington could do it, my boys figure they should be able to do it, as well.
"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care..."  and all that.  It does appear that Santa put something in them.

Christmas breakfast is always prepared in advance, other than my famous punch.  Dan and Jeff both have the recipe now, so the tradition can carry on in perpetuity.
 This is me on  Christmas Eve, but I'm betting you guessed that already.  The choker was sent to me recently; it belonged to my maternal grandmother's aunt, and was purchased about 100 years ago.  The stone is said to be amethyst, but I don't know about that.  I do know that it's really pretty.
 And what would Christmas be without a feast?  Here's the standing rib roast, lovingly carved by Jeffrey.  Of course, sampling occurred.  How else would we know it was good enough for Christmas dinner?

The table looked good.

Everyone showed up, eager for food.
 Lastly, a picture of me with my girls.  Aren't they beautiful?
 My dress was made from a piece of white Panne Velvet which came in my last fabric shipment.  The fabric was simply beautiful, soft, warm and elegant.  And I didn't even spill my food on myself (which seems to happen alarmingly often; I think food is attracted to white clothing.  Eat spaghetti while wearing a white shirt some time.  I rest my case.)

And we had just a tiny bit of snow on Christmas.  Of course, we had 6" the day after Christmas, and another 6" on Saturday, so it's pretty white out there now.

Happy New Year to all of you out there in Blogville.  See you again soon!
 And what would Christmas be without a feast?

Friday, December 21, 2012

*Expletive Deleted*...

...The Mayans were right.  Or so I said when the power went out at 1AM our time, which I figured was approximately midnight Mayan time.

My boys had decided that the world would end at the start of 12/21.  And the power outage sure looked like they were right. 

And, crap!  My generator is ordered, but won't be installed until early January.

At least we had picked up the Christmas tree before the world ended.  (And I played with a 9 week old Great Pyrenees puppy at the tree farm.  He was an adorable ball of fluff.)

And then the power came back on after only 50 minutes.  Joy to the world.  I'm easily pleased these days.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I've done all of my Christmas shopping, and birthday shopping for the daughter whose birthday is 5 days after Christmas, and even wrapped much of it!  Hooray for me!  (I'm allowed to cheer for myself, honestly, I am).  And it was all done from this chair where I sit now.

See?  That's a lot of stuff.  Of course, I shop for a lot of people.

So, being the friendly individual I am, here's a report on the various merchants I used, and their shipping habits, so maybe I can save you from the crowds in the future: I have the prime membership, because I got mad when they shipped things via USPS once too often, and they never arrived (some of you know the post office saga for my little town, and I won't bore the rest of you with it).  So now if I want a $3 item, I order it, and they have to ship it free.  Much of the time, their prices are fair, and they do ship very quickly, always via UPS.

Barnes & Noble: Fast for books, 2 to 3 days generally.  Sometimes ship via USPS, sometimes UPS, sometimes Fedex.  That's a crapshoot.  Often they offer free shipping.

K-Mart: Yes, I shop at K-Mart.  Corelle is the same whether you get it a bargain price, or pay more from Macy's.  Just sayin'.  I've ordered from them 4 times this season, and always gotten things in 2 days, via UPS.  Shipping has always been free, because I ordered over a certain amount.  They can certainly continue to supply me in the future.

Wal-Mart: Surprisingly fast on big things, like a vacuum cleaner and microwave that I had drop shipped to a daughter in a distant location.  Both arrived in 2 days.  Small things?  Kinda iffy.  I ordered a camera with case and memory card for someone, which needed to be shipped from here with other gifts.  The camera arrived in about 5 days, the memory card in about 8 days, and the case still isn't here.  Bah!  They use Fedex for the most part.  Sometimes shipping is free, but sometimes they're crappy about it.  I ordered a set of plastic hangers with about $75 worth of other stuff, for which shipment was all free.  The hangers were $18, and they wanted $5 for shipping them.  I cancelled the hangers.  You don't charge me 1/3 of the purchase price for shipping.

Pfaltzgraf for kitchenware and such: under a week for delivery, fair prices, good quality merchandise.  They ship via UPS, also.

Clothing sites such as Old Navy, Eddie Bauer, Dockers, American Eagle, Forever 21, PacSun are slower to ship.  Oh, they offer free shipment, but that takes about 2 weeks.  To have it in under a week, you pay a premium for shipping.  If you know sizes, and if you think far enough in advance, they're all good. is my go-to for staples like toothpaste and mouthwash and deodorant and advil.  Really, I know when I open the last container I have of any of those things, and I can certainly think far enough ahead to order a week before I need it.  Shipping is free for over $25 (and how hard is it to spend $25 at the drugstore), and usually arrives here in 2 to 3 days.

So there you are.  I hope this information helps some of you!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Garden Tuesday: Flowers

No, there are no flowers in my actual garden.  There's only mud. 

This is how my Remote Elf's flowers look after 3 days.  Aren't they wonderful?

And now, back to work.  Next Wednesday I can rest.   (And, as Karin suggested, this is one remote I plan to keep.)

Monday, December 17, 2012

More Fabric, Or, I Must Be Nuts!

So, around the time I was sewing my red velour clothing, I decided that more velour and winter wear would be great.  And since I was conspicuously lacking in the velour fabric department, what could be better than ordering some?  Until my boys opened this box, and began heartily laughing at me.

From the top:  Grey cable patterned velour, heathered blue and yellow velours (inside out), and white fleece (I don't know how I got that, honest).
 Fluffy brown sweater knit with gold threads, blue ribbed sweater knit, peach sweater knit.
 White stretch velvet, pink velour, ecru velour.
 Tan floral stretch velvet and blue burn-out velour with purple vines running through it.
A couple of these have already been through the machine and become stuff; maybe one of these days I'll even have time to post about them!  Meanwhile, back to the year-end rat race.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

November Sewing

Well, there's nothing like being timely, is there?  But since I don't have the luxury of relaxation in December, timely will have to wait.

In mid-November, I found a piece of maroon velour, and decided that it would be just the thing for clothing to be worn in December, and beyond.

So I started with a long sleeved top.  Sadly, I don't have a lot of red-coordinated skirts, save black and white, so it won't be in the rotation much.  That's how thing go sometimes, right?

Then I made this two-colored dress, with the pink textured bodice.  Of course, since it's sleeveless, I needed a jacket to go with it, lined in a white poly knit.  Removable sleeves!  One of my greatest ideas, especially during holiday cooking season!

Then came a red over red dress, to be worn with the same jacket.  I'm thinking the red floral might make a good dress in its own right.  But that's an idea to be set aside for a while.

I also made a tank top to go with the "removable sleeves".  But I think my camera ate that picture.  That seems to happen.  And since I'm too lazy to go upstairs, find said top, and haul it downstairs for a picture, it'll remain anonymous.  Suffice it to say that, since I finished all of this during the two weekends before Thanksgiving, I felt very productive!

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Remote Elf!

So, today, Lou the mailman brought me a box with a note that said "Elfing Remotely, Love, Big."  It contained these:

I'm so lucky!  Jeff is a great son, and a great Remote Elf.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Garden Tuesday Visitor

My boys carved their Halloween pumpkins during the power outage, and they are still on my terrace.  At least, they're mostly there.  And they are attracting a tourist.

These pictures were taken from inside, of course, with a zoom lens, from about 30 feet away.  After snacking for a little while, the visitor got rather possessive about his find.

And, yes, you do notice in the background that our snow is all melted.  I'm not shedding any tears.

Happy Garden Tuesday, everyone!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Drive-By Posting

It's been a busy week here, so no time to post anything.

I did think you'd all enjoy this picture which we received from an acquaintance:

Happy Thorsday, everyone!