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Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Lights, Biscochitos and Abuelita Cocoa

Christmas is coming faster than that boulder chasing Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Keep running or be squashed flat! Three more pillow cases to go!

Las Vegas Plaza Bandstand
Yesterday I was a retail clerk, so after closing time there was a chance to see Las Vegas' (New Mexico, the original Vegas), Plaza lit up and gorgeous for Christmas. Here's a day view, but squint your eyes to make it dark and add swoops of multicolored lights going from bandstand to tree to tree and you have a good picture, right there in your mind.

Las Vegas, NM Bridge Street courtesy of
 On the way home, some places on our dark, rural highway have really done it up: A half mile of lit-up fence, two different landing strips for Santa, one in a field next to the house and another on the roof, and one place with a Nativity scene neatly fenced with lights,  the house and porch ablaze with blow-up Santa waving to anyone who was looking. It's heartening and hopeful to be driving on a dark, dark road and see Christmas lights blazing cheerily in the distance.

I am missing Santa Fe at night this year, but thought I'd share some New Mexico lighting along with a link to the recipe for biscochitos and a shout out to Abuelita Mexican cocoa.

Santuario de Chimayo (Shutterstock)

Hotel with electric farolitos (Shutterstock)

Paper bag farolitos Santa Fe (Shutterstock)
Those paper bags have sand inside to hold candles and are called farolitos in the northern part of the state and luminarias in the south. Tradition holds with the paper bags, but most businesses use electric lights that look kind of like the real thing, probably for safety purposes.

Canyon Road in Santa Fe has a Christmas Eve Farolito Walk and thousands of people walk the street to view the lights, eat cookies, and drink chocolate. It's a tradition and one I'd like to experience someday.

Canyon Road Merchants' Association

Anyway, here is the link to the biscochito recipe and a photo of my favorite hot chocolate, Abuelita (don't buy the instant version). A new friend says Ibarra is his fave Mexican chocolate and I can't dispute that because I like it, too.

Merry Christmas! Watch out for that boulder!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pillowcases: Fun With Fabric

If you know Sheldon Cooper, he has an excellent video podcast series called Fun With Flags. It's everything you'd ever want to know about flags and then some.

If I were like Sheldon, I'd have a podcast called Fun With Fabric, but we have to settle for this blog, instead.

I had a rather nasty flu and was abed for a week or so, with guest appearances on the sofa every once in a while. Drinking Lipton Noodle Soup was pretty much the high point of each day and the rest was just a blur. Several days ago I finally turned the corner, though, and needed to Do Something. I was going nuts!
A couple years ago a group of us had fun making pillowcases at Thread Bear, my local (around here local is 24 miles) quilt shop and in my improved health, I remembered some recent posts about O'Quilts' pillowcase sewing flurry and said, "Oh, yeah." So I did some searching, found this helpful video and zoomed full speed ahead.
I've been making two pillowcases a night and have the cutting and sewing down to forty-three minutes per case, the time it takes to watch one television show, like Sherlock or Hell's Kitchen. So far I've made eleven, and today I gifted two. Here's what I have right now. I am missing the beautiful bird pillowcases I gave away and think I might just need to make a couple more of them.

Matrushka dolls, Viking ships, dragon seas, constellations, stars, snowflakes, flowers, birds in trees (those are the ones gone), fleurs, bugs and fairies. I have one last pillowcase to make which will be all about nature and maybe a couple more that are tres elegante.

Each time I make one, I say, "This is my favorite!" Right now these two are my faves:

The one above is made of Bugaboo fabric from Northcott.

The one below is Dawn Fairies from Michael Miller.

I just hope the pillowcases don't keep the little kiddoes from sleeping. If these were for my younger self, I'd spend a lot of time just looking at the pictures instead of napping.

But then, I was also the one whose mom had to nail the window shut so I wouldn't escape nap time and end up at the corner gas station.