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Monday, December 22, 2014

December 2014

The Lazy Boyz came up to the house for a snack because, well, they like snacks, so we oblige them with what is called Cake. Its real name is Ranch Cake, made with supplements, minerals and other goodies. They just get a little because their food is grass, but Cake makes their day. Buffalo, one of The Boyz, reallytruly kicks up his heels when he sees us because He Likes Cake.

A few hours ago it started snowing and The Boyz were still hanging outside the garage.

 A Lazy Boy just never knows when there might be just a Little More Cake.

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.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Sewing Room is Kind of Clean

Thanks to Trudy, my beloved mom-in-law, I cleaned up the sewing room. She didn't make me do it, but the sewing room is the guest room, too, and it was quite a disaster. There are no photos this time of the detritus and decay, but trust me, it was insane in there.

So I folded and stashed fabric in their color coded bins upstairs in the closet. Extra bins of fabric ended up in our upstairs bedroom and should have crime scene tape surrounding the mess up there, since I've heard several times so far that it's hazardous walking in the dark. A purging is in order. Yeparoo.

But the sewing room is useable. No, it isn't pristine like the quilters' studios I see in magazines, but it works and I am determined to deal with those little pockets of insanity still lurking in the corners.

Here's my sewing area, still with a bit of debris, but I can use it.

I recently purchased a couple hanging lamps because I sorely needed lighting and this guy does the trick nicely. I've had the peg board since we moved in and love it. I still need an inspiration board, though, because the yellow magnetic chick board on the wall just isn't large enough.

The cutting area is a terrible catch-all and I am determined to cut it out! Cut what out, you ask? I drop stuff on that table and then I can't use it for its original purpose of cutting.

Another new lamp, both from Lamps Plus, hangs over the cutting area. Before I bought this lighting I carried a floor lamp from place to place to get more light on the subject. The cabinet is repainted, but I haven't found the right hardware, yet.

The fabric on the table's end needs to be cleaned up because it is obscuring my neato cutting carryall, which I purchased many years ago at Road to California. Here it is:

It holds cutting tools, replacement blades and a marking pencil or two.

The ironing board is in a tight spot right by the door and used to be set up in the hallway. I noticed, though, that the plaster on the hallway wall is getting nicked by my erratic pressing habits and I don't want to destroy any more of it right now.

That framed quilt, called Stuffed Olive, is circa 1966 and created by my aunt Kay using reverse applique. The painting near the doorway is by my friend in Truth or Consequences, Sue Sorenson. It's hard to see, but it's tie-died cattle crossing the road. Do you like my new Oliso iron? I'm still getting used to it.

The futon which used to be in this room is gone and we drove up to Colorado Springs to pick up this sleeper sofa. I love doing handwork or reading, or watching shows, all snug in my sewing room. Did I say we have heating in this house? With a thermostat? That's something new for me.

Usually the wicker table is in front of the sofa, so I can set up the computer or ipad there. My design wall behind the sofa is not so convenient, but I plan to buy some of those slider saucer dealies to place under the legs. Then the sofa can move easily and the wall will be more accessible.

That piece of patchwork is part of a modern Amish quilt I've been thinking about. I'm about there, thinking-wise, but I have some Christmas sewing to do before I can do anything.

Well, hope you enjoyed the clean-ish sewing room tour. I will endeavor to keep it in useable shape.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Here is Mr. Z carrying home a turkey the guys got for Thanksgiving. Mr. Turkey came from a flock of about forty gobblers which range up and down our valley throughout the year.

The rules say a hunter can harvest two turkeys in the spring and one in the fall, so the rest of the fellows are safe until springtime.

The meat tastes like very turkey-ish turkey. I marinated the breast in zesty Italian dressing and it roasted, immersed in a cup of melted butter and a half cup of olive oil.

Ms. Pearl is following along to ensure that the turkey doesn't come back alive and fly away.

We had a domestic turkey, too, who lived an organically good life on a farm about sixty-five miles away on the Rio Grande. We bought him from Cid's, the mini Whole Foods type grocery store in Taos.

Here is a photo from the Embudo Valley Organics website.

I don't know if this is the one we ate, but isn't he a beauty?

After Thanksgiving, Trudy, and then I, contracted a cold virus and we've been out for the count, resting in bed and hoping this bug doesn't last much longer. Trude had to travel feeling ill and I worried about her the whole time she was flying home.

She had some time to enjoy our Northern New Mexico sunshine, though, before she was zapped by the bug. Trudy's the best Mom-in-Law ever and we were so glad she was able to visit!

M and M came for Thanksgiving, too. Here they are ready to dig in.

Now Trudy is snug at home, Z, M and M are back to work and we are home alone once again. The exciting thing we did today was take the trash to the transfer station. Fun times.