Back to the TV cabinet…

Have you had a merry Christmas? We have! Lots of visiting and eating and celebrating and (because we're us) working on projects. I had a fabric sale and if you missed it, the prices are still 25% off. I think I'll go back to regular prices on Sunday or Monday, just so you know. This was an inventory sale and I think I've finally got the fabric to the point where I can stand to count it. Yay!

Jeff and Celia have not gone home (they leave on Sunday and I'm going to miss them). My brother and his wife will be here for lunch after we get back from the airport which will be nice. Then, Sunday night, I am going to start putting all the Christmas stuff into its new home. Oh happy day.

Steve finished the new tv cabinet and I got it painted on Dec. 23. We gutted the space it will occupy on Dec. 24.


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This actually did not take long.


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Steve put in the laminate floor to match the rest of the room. I painted the newly exposed walls green. Steve put in a strip of baseboard on the left side (won't fit on the right). Steve moved the cable and ethernet outlets. Then we slid the new cabinet in place. It fits!


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Behind this cabinet, Steve put in shelf supports and four shelves. They hold storage boxes that are 20" deep. It is a tall space and I think every Christmas thing I own just might fit into it. I can't start putting things up until Sunday night but I promise I'll take pictures.


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Steve is not done with the cabinet. In addition to everything else, he's been making the doors for the spaces above and below the tv over the last few days. I think on Monday I will be able to paint them.

After living with the old set-up for almost 20 years, it's amazing how much better this is. It think it's because it is white. The whole area blends better with the room. 

It's Friday night as I write this and there are still holidays to come. I don't know about you but it doesn't feel like there should be more BUT I am so glad that New Year's is still to come. Cheers to that!



 

Baby (bear) shower…

Celia hosted a baby shower tea for Lorna on Saturday, December 22. It was lovely!

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Jeff 'baked' the diaper cake. I was impressed!

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Celia had an elephant theme, in red and green. There were garlands! There was an amazing array of teas and tea sandwiches, cookies and candy. And yogurt shots – a thing I had never heard of. You can see the edge of the little yogurt shot on the right in the photo above. It's Brown Cow Cream Top yogurt topped with a taste of honey and a raspberry. That's a tiny spoon sticking up in the cup. These were a big hit.

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Celia and her mom have some really cute teapots. The cups and saucers are from my mom's 1950's era china which is mine now :-).

Elanor helped Lorna with the presents and Celia recorded who gave what. I learned a new trick… Celia recorded the information on her iPad in an email which she sent to Lorna at the end of the shower. so much better than scribbles on paper don't you think?

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Doesn't Elanor look oh-so-grown up? The present Lorna is looking at is the purse/diaper bag that Celia gave her. Very chic.

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Our next grandson has acquired a nickname – Bear. The kids tell me that It is likely to stick. I bought this little outfit before I knew he was Bear, but it's especially perfect now that I know his name :-). 

The shower was Saturday. Today (Sunday) Lorna saw her midwife and has been told to lay down. She's been having contractions and that's that. She gets to/has to chill for the next few weeks until Bear makes an appearance.

Between the ice storm that is supposed to hit between here and Oklahoma City and Lorna's bedrest, our Christmas day plans have changed. For the first time that I can remember, we are going to be home for Christmas rather than going north to OKC. I will definitely miss the family gathering, but I think it's going to be nice to be home with the kids, DILs, grandkids, and Mom. If you are out and about, travel safely and have a good time!

 

Christmas candy…

Debbie asked a couple of days ago if I would share my candy recipes. I'm happy to! Click here to go to the page with last year's candy – with recipes attached.

I'm not making as much candy this year because so many of us are eating less sugar. I had requests for the traditional choices: bourbon balls, truffles, toffee. The weather has been warm so we'll doing the things that require melting chocolate tomorrow.

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The bourbon balls turned out very well. I ground the cookies finer than usual so the texture is smoother.

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I've made one batch of toffee for my pilates class tomorrow. I'll be making more toffee tomorrow because lots of folks love it. It's an easy recipe but you must have a candy thermometer.

I think I'm in the mood for caramel because that's what I've had the most fun making this year. Below you can see what is sitting on my table now, waiting to be cut and/or broken. The top one is a Martha Stewart recipe. Click here. It's from her most recent magazine and when you click the link, you get the basic recipe and see the photo with the lovely variations.

I made the basic caramel (not pictured) and cooked it 3 degress too long and it's more like a Heath bar. Good, but not chewy. I'm going to dip those pieces in chocolate tomorrow and I think it will be well-liked. The pan with the nuts, below, has 3 cups of salted mixed nuts and one tablespoon of thyme stirred in when you stir in the salt and vanilla. I think it's going to taste great. FYI – when the recipe says 248 degrees, it means it!

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The bottom pan in the photo is a batch of apple cider caramels from the Smitten Kitchen. I don't gush about many cookbooks, but this is a cookbook that I love. And Steve is making recipes from it too which is high praise. You should have it :-).

I'm going to chocolate-coat some gluten-free pretzels and that may be it. No, wait, Celia requested a pecan pie (baking that on Friday or Saturday) and I'm making a cheesecake for Christmas dinner in Oklahoma City. And you know what? I am not going to eat much of this at all. I love making it, smelling it, packaging it… and by then I'm so tired of it I don't need to eat it. I almost feel guilty for sharing it, but the recipients love it and I don't give them a whole lot. Just enough :-).

PS – In case you don't get the piece o' cake newsletter, click here for a free ornament pattern. It is my gift to you! 

AND, Elanor's bathroom has water! It's done and we are all oh-so-happy. Now Steve has to finish his grading so he can get back to my TV cabinet… but in the spirit of the holdays, I'm not going to nag him…

AND, Jeff and Celia come in tomorrow night. Celia is hosting a baby shower here for Lorna and Chris on Saturday. If I don't post until after Christmas, I wish you each and every one a happy holiday!

 

 

Emeralds…


Energize_thumbDid you hear? Pantone's Color Institute has pronounced Emerald as the color of 2013.

Often I agree with Pantone. I like emerald but I've gotta say that the reason I like it in the photo at left is because of the yellow-green-gold and aqua that is also in the photo. Look closely… do you see that bit of aqua below the lamp? Take out the aqua and yellow-green and the emerald alone is not nearly as wonderful for me. And please note the white in the photo. If that white was off-white, the emerald would be much different, less clean.

I know, because quilters have told me, that my quilts and Linda's quilts stand out because of the colors we use. I'm in the beginning stages of working on a book on color and it is this yearly pronouncement that makes me think – every year, but this year in particular.

Will emerald be the 'it' color of 2013 because it will be everywhere? Or will we love it because we're due to love it? It will be interesting to see.

Click here to read GenerationQ's blog post about emerald. I wrote my post and then read this one. I may not be the only one who is not completely sold on emerald…


 

Back to the Bathroom!

Major progress was made today, and mostly not by me. (I was making Christmas candy and I'm not done yet. I've got more to make and will be back in the kitchen tomorrow and the next day.)

First thing this morning Steve and Chris installed the new toilet. Here is it, holding water! Elanor reports that it works just fine. They did put the baseboard in behind the toilet after this photo was taken. Doesn't the floor look great! I love these tiles and wish I had a place to put them. But I don't.


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Once the toilet was in, they could measure to see if the sink cabinet that we all wanted would fit. It did! The one Lorna and I had chosen is 24" wide with a sink that is not very deep but has some space for soap, etc.


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Steve and Chris got the faucet installed but didn't get it hooked up to water yet. They needed a different sort of connector and Steve had to go to his real job.

Chris put in the medicine cabinet and the light fixture. Elanor and I had shopped for the light fixture over the weekend and she chose wisely! Steve put up the toilet paper holder, Chris put up the towel rack. I hung the curtain that I made a few days ago. Elanor loves this fabric and I was glad I had enough to make her these curtains.

Don't tell her, but I went out today and found hand towels that coordinate with the curtains and a bath mat that looks good with this room and the adjacent bedroom. These will go under the tree.


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Elanor is ecstatic! She has a girlie bathroom. Remember, this is what it looked like before:


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It's amazing what some elbow grease and a little money can do. And for those of you who are able-bodied and a little handy… even if you've never done this sort of thing, you can do more than you think you can. We learned something new with every home improvement project we've ever undertaken. And I'm happy to say that Chris now knows a whole lot too.

PS – I asked Steve at lunch today if he was going to work on my cabinet tomorrow and he got a little crazy-eyed and reminded me that he has actual work to do – at his real job! So I'll show you more on that project later, but not tomorrow :-). Goodness knows I have actual work to do as well.



Project time!

It's 9 days until Christmas and we are back in project mode. I spent much of the weekend sewing on something I can't show you. I do so wish I could! I did also sew the curtain for Elanor's bathroom. You'll see that before long.

Steve spent the weekend helping Chris get the sheetrock in the bathroom ready to paint and getting the trim up. I don't have a picture but I will tomorrow.

Steve also started building our new living room TV cabinet. This is where the TV is now:

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When we moved in there was a built-in desk here with shelves above. It made no sense and we changed it by building in this structure. This is a really deep space and there is a lot of wasted space behind the facade. Now that televisions are so slim, it makes no sense.

I took a photo of the shelves back in there. Below, the dark on the left is the edge of the TV. The edge of the fabric you see is a curtain I made to hang behind the TV to hide the mess behind. 

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Steve hit upon the idea of storing our Christmas stuff in the wasted area. But how to get to it? I had an idea… a cabinet much like the built-in, but on casters! We drew the plans yesterday morning after cleaning house and Steve got to work. It is 57" wide x 81 1/2" tall x 16" deep. That leaves a space that is 57 x 81 1/2 x 20 behind it.

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Saturday Steve got the wood and supplies ready and started cutting, routing, and sanding. Today he really moved out…

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He got the casters on and it is now standing up in the garage!

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The upper shelves are not in yet, nor is the lower back piece or the facings. I will begin painting what I can tomorrow. Between this and the bathroom, I will probably be painting all day long. Steve still has to build some cabinet doors for the top and bottom areas but that can happen after Christmas. 

Once the cabinet is finished enough that we can move the equipment into it, we will and then we'll gut the existing space. I will lay the Pergo laminate floor (it's bare concrete now) and paint the walls. We'll put up adjustable shelves for the Christmas decorations. Who knows, maybe I can put everything in its new place on December 27!

I'm proud of the job he's doing on this – it is exactly what I asked for. I know that I am very lucky to have a husband who enjoys a good project!