Saturday, December 31, 2011

Holiday Ramblings

     Okay, I'm a day late posting but, still a TGIF post. I thought about it on Friday, that's good enough. Hop on over to Just Jennifer to see the rest.

    
     Where to even start? At the beginning I suppose.

     I left for the 'Valley on Friday the 23rd, at 11:40 pm despite my best efforts to get organised and on the road early, Ha. Got home around 3:30 am, unpacked the car, ate and finally got to bed around 6 am. Mom came bursting in at 8:00am looking for something, I had none of my presents wrapped, yelled "Don't look" "Get out". Now awake, I joined my parents and Katie for coffee. Two whole hours of sleep.

     I decided to drop off the gingerbread houses, "I'll be back early". Ha, again. I arrived back at my parent's place by 4:30 pm. I started at 10:30 am. Craig male, no concept of time. Helped Mom with prep for Christmas dinner, ate, wrapped, in bed by 1:00 am.

My cousin with her grand daughter
The look on her face is worth a little sleep deprivation

Just in case you though it was all sugar and spice in my kitchen for the holidays
Serial killer and lingerie gingerbread cookies
A big hit at work (Who are these co workers of mine?)

Inspired by this picture
Rorybore's Mom sent this to me with this caption
"My cookies got thrown out of the church bake sale again"
A fiery red head with that glint in her eye,
You know the one I mean

     Christmas morning, up by 7:00, opened presents with my cousin, back home opened presents with my parents, more prep-35 people for dinner, then off to my grandparent's for a quick visit and to drop off cookies. Ferd scored doughnuts, my mom and cousin ate them on him, back to my parent's and a house full of Mom's family. It even started to snow just a little. A picture perfect day.

     There was food everywhere. We even hooked up the deep fryer in the garage so Ferd could make spring rolls. A huge hit again this year.


     An enormous meal, topped off with Mom's smooth as silk Maple Cheesecake, my aunt Barb's Chocolate Caramel Pecan Cheesecake (there aught to be a law) and several other assorted cookies and squares. Good thing I kept that belt. A few mulled ciders with spiced rum and I was out by 4:30. Back up a bit later, more food, dominoes then time to say farewell.

     Boxing Day, a longer visit with my grandparents, more food, quick nap, dinner, then out to my aunt's to see my cousin from Halifax. We laughed so much I thought my jaw was going to fall off. Dominoes again, back to my parent's by 3:30 am.

The Keith's care package my cousin got me
I do love my Keith's

     The 27th, a trip to Ottawa for a gift exchange, more visiting various relatives, yet more dominoes, more food, bed by 1:00 am.

     Final day, more hurried visiting with relatives, more food, then all too soon it was time to load up the car and start back to the city with the haul. I got lots of great gifts, fresh salmon, venison and moose courtesy of the hunters in the family, another care package of cookies and squares just in case my blood sugar ever levelled out and my favourite, the photo Christmas cards.

     Don't hate me, people continue to send them because of people like me. We usually don't do Christmas themed, matching outfit cards, just pictures.


How else would I know these three

Are now the three young men here

Or how much these two have grown

Or that these three are still as adorable as ever


Or that these two really do stand still,
At least for a photo op

     A spot of tea with my aunt on the way out, permission for a project I have had in the planning for a while then a quick ride back to the city. A bit too quick according to the nice officer and the speeding ticket. It could have been much worse, thanks for that. Back to Toronto by 3:00 am.

    Why thankful? I can finally get some freakin' sleep. LOL

     Off to a friend's "Nice and Steezy" New Year's Eve party tonight. How does one dress for "steezy"? Tomorrow will be quiet, vewy, vewy quiet.

     Hope you all enjoyed the holidays as much as I have, and am still enjoying, mine.

Friday, December 23, 2011

TGIF The night before the night before

     Whoo hoo, Friday again. The night before the night before Christmas and another TGIF post to share over at Just Jennifer.




     Ah bliss, the gifts aren't wrapped, the holiday baking isn't done (cookies in the oven even as I write this) the house looks like the elves after party and four hours of late night driving ahead of me. Why so thankful?
By this time tomorrow I'll be back home.

     Even though I live in the city, my parent's farm where I grew up will always be home. I'll be back surrounded by family. Lots and lots and lots of family. My mom is expecting 35-50 people for dinner on Christmas Day. A hop over to my grandparent's place and another gathering of my father's family, equally as large. I'm thankful I have a family to go home to, not everyone is so lucky.

     There will be lots of food, laughter and conversation. Lots of merry. Sure there will be some gifts, but they don't take centre stage. I'm thankful my family still remembers it's the gathering and sharing that is important, not who got what or how much.

      In a time when things aren't so certain, we have enough. For the most part everyone is healthy and happy. Although we aren't straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting, we are a family. And we truly are blessed. That's why I'm thankful, not just today, but every day.

    Have a happy and safe holiday season.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Three Little Freakin' Pigs

     No, this isn't a post about my housemates, it's Hadley's entry into Movita's contest. My old lady in the shoe got beat out by the three little pigs. What are the odds? Out of all the entries, two storybook characters would come head to head for a ginger smack down.

     Am I disappointed? Not really. I had so much fun being a part of the whole thing. Movita's commentaries were worth the effort of entering. Poor illiterate Kate??

     What I'd really like, other than those cook books? A chance to sit down with all the competitors and build some houses. There were so many great ideas, candies, construction techniques, candies, decorations, candies and more candies. Truly an inspiration.

     To all of you who voted, thanks for the support. I've received a ton of comments and emails. Sure doesn't feel like losing.

     Just you wait 'til next year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On the Campaign Trail

     It's official, I'm in group 4 over at Movita's. Feel free to drop by and cast a vote for me, again and again and again. I'm up against some tough competition. Damn three little pigs...

    Seriously, you have got to drop by just to see what everyone came up with. A little boost of holiday cheer/ginger madness. I've got to wonder if all of the entries are meant to be eaten, some of them are so beautiful. Knowing how much time and effort goes into them, I've got to say," Cheers, and a job well done to all my fellow competitors. Now go vote for me.

     I'm not sure I could do this again, I'm so distracted. Obsessively checking the results, emails, facebook posts, blog posts. It's exhausting. I still have 6 more houses to finish or there will be a lot of sad faces when I get back to the 'Valley this weekend. Now go vote for me

    I'm holding my own so far. Thanks for the support. If I make it to the finals, I'll be back with more flogging tomorrow. I've enlisted a co worker to help.

     I'd like to be all grown up and stuff and say vote for who ever you like best. Screw that. Go vote for me again LOL

     Hope your all having a great Wednesday. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Guest Post, Serial Killers and an Update

      That's right, just another Tuesday here in the Kitchen.

     I am thrilled to have done my first guest post over at Time Out for Mom. I just want to say thanks for all the comments and gingerbread love. Haven't seen it? Head on over to Rorybore's and check it out.

     In keeping with the spirit of the post, have fun with it, I whipped up a batch of these last night after the old woman in the shoe was done and photographed.

Serial Killer Gingerbread cookies

I saw them here, giggled like a madman and had to make some. They were a gift for my boss.

      He has the singular distinction of being the only person to have spat some of my baking into the garbage in front of me. Yep, serial killer cookies it is. Don't we all know someone who deserves these? Ferd and I both took some to work and the reaction was so very positive I'm wondering about the people we work with.

     Speaking of the old woman in the shoe, here's the update. Movita was inundated with entries so judging (and voting) has been broken up. Today was group 1 and 2, tomorrow is group 3 and 4. The winner of each group face off on Thursday, more voting, then a winner on Friday.

     The important thing to remember, VOTE FOR ME TOMORROW over at Movita's. She broke the groups up by when she received the entry so mine will most likely be in group 4. All the entries are winners in my book and deserve a look see. Voting closes at 11 pm each night so..... between noon and 11 pm, drop by, take a gander, then VOTE FOR ME. If by chance I make it to the finals on Thursday, VOTE FOR ME AGAIN. Subtle , huh? I may have mentioned it before but those cookbooks, I'd really like them.

     Hope your Tuesday has been as much fun as mine.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gettin' my Ginger on

     Today is the deadline for submissions for "Ginger 2011" over at Movita Beaucoup. Loving gingerbread the way I do, I decided to slap a shack together and see how I stacked up against the competition.

     This worked for several reasons.

     I was already making houses. I called down to see if perhaps some of my cousins had gotten a little to "grown up". Not so, requests were in. 

    I had to step up my game anyway because the kiddies are getting to be a tough audience (ungrateful little @#$%  darlings that they are). They're not so easily impressed.

     Finally, I'm always up for a challenge. A chance to expand my horizons and flex those culinary muscles.

     It was on.

Drafting the pattern


My palette


A million pieces


Baked together to make sculpting, trimming and bevelling easier
The edge is soft that way


Stained glass cookie windows

The close up


Jimmy Choo never had a peep toe like this


Supports inside to build on


Pinned and drying the icing


All the bits, ready for assembly


Ferd trying to steal my thunder-no help, none
Okay, he made dinner so I could keep working


Because I promised Movita


'Cause I look insane


The four official photos
Turned out pretty well, a few things I'd do differently next time
Ha, like there will be another of these
Who knew licorice won't actually tie in a bow
Or that it would snap just as I got it all threaded through those damn Life Saver eyelets

     Lots of fun, lots of work, lots of candy, icing and gingerbread. My houses usually weigh in at about 4 pounds . This bad boy is 7. Paige, Madison, I hope you like your house.

7 pounds of holiday goodness

   By all means drop by Movita's and show me some love. I really want those cookbooks. Seriously, vote for who ever you like, I haven't seen the competition yet, but I do really want those cook books. I mean really, really would like those cook books.

     The little old lady who lived in a shoe, and the nut job who made her out of gingerbread. Drop by Coffee Chat tomorrow over at Time out for Mom, I'm guest posting there and guess what the topic is?? May the best house win.




Sunday, December 18, 2011

Savoury Sunday, Popcorn Stuffing

     I can't believe this is the last recipe day before Christmas. How time has flown by. It seems only fitting another family recipe to finish out this year, I won't be posting any new ones until after the holidays.

   Currently I'm elbow deep in candy, gingerbread and royal icing. Still need to run off a batch of hot pepper jelly, maple pear conserve and mincemeat pinwheel cookies. And I still have to shop for gifts. I have two so far. I know, WTF.

     Last year's final recipe was courtesy of my Mom, here. Carrying on that tradition, here is one my aunt Janice sent me.

Popcorn Stuffing
Ingredients
1 loaf dry bread
1 large onion
1/2 green pepper
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1 cup of uncooked popcorn

Directions 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Break bread into small pieces.
Dice onion,pepper and mix thoroughly.
Mix in popcorn
Put mixture into a 12-15lb. turkey.
Place into hot oven.
Dressing is done when the popcorn blows the ASS off the turkey.

     I don't know what your family will think of this, but I really want someone to give it a try. Remember to send pictures, video would be even better.

     A chuckle to put the merry in your Merry Christmas. Enjoy.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sweet Saturday, Grandma Craig's Mince Meat

     First, this is a long post. I apologize in advance. If you don't care about my ramblings feel free to skip to the recipe, I understand.

     Second, if you have ever wanted a glimpse into how my mind works and why I am a fount of useless information, keep reading.

     Finally, this is my other "wouldn't be Christmas with out it" recipe. It is probably my favourite thing that Grandma Craig makes. Tough call stacked up against her doughnuts, they're legendary, but if I have to choose... It is an old family recipe, well at least old. I'm talking 1700's old. I'll have to talk with my grandmother to find out just where she got it. My other "wouldn't be Christmas with out it" recipe is here.

     After I started the blog and started harrassing asking my relatives for recipes, my aunt Janice kindly passed this one on. She had gotten this one and the doughnut recipe from my grandmother for me. As I looked it over, my first thought was,"This can't be right".

      Knowing my way around a kitchen, the proportions of the recipe seemed off and no peel. What? The first thing I did was ask my grandma about the 10 pounds of apples, that seemed really excessive. My apple butter recipe calls for 5 pounds, that's a lot and this was double. My grandmother's response was, "Apples are good". I forgot to ask about the peel and kept forgetting all year every time I saw her. I started reading.

     This is very typically me. New recipes usually involve research of some kind. Technique, ingredients, different preparations, uses and in this case history. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started looking into mincemeat.

      It has a long history. Combining meat with spices and fruit came back to the British Isles with the crusaders, 1200-1300's. Adding dried fruit was a way of stretching the meat, like adding breadcrumbs to meatloaf. The spices were a way of being able to eat meat that was starting to go "off". They masked the taste of spoilage, making it edible.

     With it's origins in the Holy land, it very quickly gained religious significance. Proper recipes had 13 ingredients, Christ and the 12 apostles and there were 3 spices, the gifts of the wise men. It was baked as an oblong, the creche or manger.

     In the late 1500's Protestant reformers outlawed mincemeat ( as well as Christmas) as idolatry and unsuitable for "good" Christians. Obviously that changed.

     The original meat would have depended on who you were. Beef and venison for royals and the nobility, mutton for the rest of us. The only peel available would have been citron, not to be confused with lemons. They're not the same (Who knew?). Lemons came to England much later and as ornamental and medicinal plants, not for eating. Citrons were know as early as the 1200's, not for juice as they have little but for preserved peel and pith.

     It was the Victorians who changed mincemeat into what many people know today, meatless, sweet, lots of peel, more fruit and flavoured with alcohol. Immigrants to North America would have used a more traditional recipe because of a lack of available ingredients.

     There you have it, my condensed version of the history of mince meat, which also led to a lot of reading about the history of citrus fruit in cooking. Interesting ( to me) but not exactly helpful when it came to deciphering Grandma's recipe. I turned to my Dad.

     As it happened, my aunt Jean, his sister not my mom's, had dropped mincemeat tarts off for him and he was raving about them. He said she had Grandma's recipe, call her. It was late and conversations by phone with my grandparents aren't always so easy.

     Jean to the rescue. Not exactly. She has her own recipe which she gave to my grandmother, a green tomato one. We had a nice long chat, she gave me her recipe, nothing like the one I had, we laughed about my dilemma and shared a bit about the of differences in the preparations. It all ended with a "What the hell, give it a try". So I did.

     Finally here is the recipe, as I got it.

Grandma Craig's Mincemeat
Ingredients
1 pound ground beef, cooked
1/2 pound suet, grated
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup molasses
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 pounds/ 4 cups raisins
2 pounds/ 4 cups currants
10 pound of apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3/4 cup of mixed peel-my addition 'cause I'm still sure it was missing

13 ingredients with 3 spices-perfect

Directions
Mix well, cook down simmering slowly. Seal in jars

     That's all the instructions it came with and the biggest challenge in trying to write down family recipes. When you've made it over and over, you know what you are doing, how it should feel or look so instructions or even measurements aren't so important. The recipe is more like a memory aid.

My Directions
Grate suet, coarse is fine, with hand grater or food processor.
In a medium frying pan, brown ground beef.
OR (and this is what I did)
In a large oven roaster, combine grated suet, ground beef, raw or cooked, and all other ingredients.
Mix well.
Cook in a 350 degree oven about 4 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
I cooked mine two hours with the vents on the lid closed, mashed the apples with a potato masher when I took it out to stir, then returned it to the oven and cooked for an additional two hours with the vents open to reduce the liquid.
Cooking is done when mixture has little liquid left, almost a thick paste consistency.
Place in jars and process in pressure canner- ONLY safe way to can this, it has meat in it or jar and freeze. That's what I did.
Yield 7 500 ml/pint jars.


Everything but the apples
I didn't brown the ground beef like my grandmother's recipe said
Jean said not to (and it's easier that way)
I may next time just to see if I can taste a difference
Yes, I know I have to clean my stove top


Apples in, almost the full of my roaster


The end result, 7 pints of delicious

          You can do this on the stove top in a large stock pot, but it is so much simpler in the oven.(Much harder to scorch) It would probably make a good crock pot recipe if you had one large enough.
    
     Suet is the fat around the kidney's. I have no idea what makes it different from other beef fat. I had to go to four different butchers to get one who had any idea what I was talking about. Grate it partially frozen, it's easier that way. Not the most fun I have ever had.

     I have no idea about storage for this. I froze what I wasn't cooking with, pinwheel cookies to test the recipe. I can't stress enough that this has to be pressure canned to do it safely because of the meat and suet. For my elevation, 90 minutes at 10 pounds pressure but check with your manufacturer or local extension office for safe guidelines. I also don't know how long it will keep in the refrigerator. I always err on the side of caution, so no more than a week. I have seen recipes that call for this to sit and develop for as long as a month or two, I wouldn't be comfortable with that.

     This recipe is awesome, it turned out beautifully. Not too sweet, no sharp, overpowering citrus, a perfect blend of flavours. Grandma, you were so right, apples are good. I should have just trusted you wouldn't steer me wrong. I ate almost a pies worth with a spoon as I was jarring it. The pinwheel cookies I made were a hit but it also makes great pies and tarts. I'm looking forward to taking some home to get my relatives feedback. Dad, Jean, Grandma, you've been warned.

     There it is, probably way more than you ever wanted to know about one of my favourite Christmas treats. Enjoy.






Thursday, December 15, 2011

DIY for TGIF

     Yeah, it's Friday, time for TGIF over at Just Jennifer. How can you not like to end the work week on a positive note?
    
     DIY, Destroy it Yourself, that's what that stands for right? I'm not sure why, subliminal messages in the Christmas carols I suspect, but this is the time of year that brings out everyone's inner "crafty-ness". Normally sane and sedate human beings are suddenly all a whirl trying to create those "Do It Yourself" masterpieces.

     People who can't boil water are bustling around in the kitchen baking batches of cookies or other home made treats. Those who don't know the difference between a pine cone or a pine nut are creating elaborate winter wonder-scapes in their homes. People who have never held a wrench are staple gunning decorations to the porch. Parents who think a hex key is something they saw in a Harry Potter movie are assembling toys for children. We all seem to fall victim.

     I'm no different. I have some compelling examples that feed that delusion of "handiness".

     First off, I can cook. I'm not a great cook but I know my way around the kitchen. Hell, every year I create these.

Gingerbread house, from scratch might I add

      I have a fully stocked tool chest and a chainsaw. I created this after all.

I really made that mirror, faux gilt finish and all

It's massive
All found objects except the actual paint

     I have that "eye". You know what I mean. I can look at something and see it as something else. Something wonderful with a little time and effort.

My liquor cabinet
It was painted a brilliant orange and missing one of the bottom doors
It turned out okay I think

     I can sew. I've given my father jeans, I've made luxurious plush terry cloth robes. My Christmas gift to my friend Terri used to be her New Year's dress. Sorry, no pictures of any of those.

     I am a freakin' domestic god. Martha move over, the boys are back in town. Then reality hits.

     I have a batch of slightly singed Christmas cakes, for the third time, to inflict on share with the family.

     That lovely transformed hutch took three years to complete and would still be in my basement but I needed the space. The rather impressive mirror represents the only project of its type that was a success. 

     As for the sewing. There is still a plush terry cloth robe waiting to be put together, for 4 years. My living room drapes still aren't hemmed. It's only been 7 years and that plant stand hides it anyway. Terri's last dress, a beautiful wine velvet, low back, plunging neckline, fit like a glove creation-until I lined it. We had to cut the lining out so she could wear it. Thankfully she got married and moved to Vancouver, tradition ended.
    
     My last festive centre piece looked more like a hedge trimmer accident than a winter wonderland.

     Okay Martha, your seat on the throne is secure.

     Why the TGIF? I'm thankful I have finally learned my lesson. Christmas can be stressful enough with out taking on any new projects. Sticking with the tried and true this year. Well, except for trying to re create my grandmother's mince meat recipe. Oh, and those stained glass cookies for the gingerbread houses.

     How hard can that be??

     Are you crafty? Drop me a line or a link in the comments and share your favourite holiday craft ideas. Successes or maybe not so much. Pictures would be great too. I won't feel quite so alone. 
     Have a great Friday.

A Christmas Wish

     Ever been somewhere, a movie maybe, and the idiot in front of you won't get off their phone? This is for you.


video

     The wish, I wish every obnoxious, self absorbed, loud talking cel phone user would look up from their key pad, or look around and realize just how annoying they truly are. I'm sure every detail of your life is of interest to you, but it absolutely isn't to me. Peace on earth, or at least the movie theatre, public transit, restaurant etc etc etc.

     Now if only there was a clip for those rolling totes. Enjoy your Thursday.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Comments? A Lurker Confesses



     There are few things that make a blogger's heart beat faster than comments. It shows people are reading and by taking the time to leave a little message, they are engaging the author. That's you.

     As a reader, I always scroll through the comments of posts I like. I often visit the sites of people who's insights or observations I connected, agreed or in some cases violently disagreed with.

     To successfully build readership of your blog, it is recommended to visit and comment on at least four different blogs a day. With the thousands out there, seems easy right?

     Apparently, I'm what is known as a "lurker" in the blogsphere. Sounds far more creepy than it is. A lurker is someone who reads but doesn't comment on other people's blogs. I confess, I'm guilty. I don't often comment. But there are reasons I swear.

     It's silly, I know, but leaving a comment on someones blog for the first time is like a first date for me. I get nervous. How to break the ice? You don't know them. They don't know you. Should I try and be witty? Be funny? What if they don't get my humour? I don't want to be an ass. Etc, etc, etc. I can't tell you the number of times I've sat, fingers over the keyboard and my brain freezes. Nothing, a complete blank. The more previous comments there are the less likely I am to add mine. Oh, the pressure.

     I want to leave a good impression.Their writing has engaged me on some level so I want them to think well of me too. Hopefully, they'll swing by my bit of cyberspace and a new follower or friendship ensues. No simple, "I like your blog ", will do. I know, way over thinking.

     Funnily enough, I appreciate all the comments I have received, even the short and sweet, I like your blog. I think no less or more of those than I do the longer ones. In my brain I know it doesn't matter. Does that mean it lets me off the hook and make commenting easy, not a chance. Stupid over analyzing brain.

     The other reason my comment quota is low is technical difficulties. I went through a long period over at my cousin's Time Out for Mom where I couldn't comment. Her comment system hated me. Every time I tried I got that wonderful "Error on page message". That has been now transferred over to Kiddothings. It's annoying because it's random and I really do want to leave a comment.

     A number of times I have tried to leave a comment but couldn't because I'm not a member of Wordpress, Blogher, Twitter etc etc etc. If I have to fill out a form, remember a new screen name and password just to leave a comment, not so much. I've done it, but not often. The same goes for entering captcha codes. I know why those safe guards are in place, that doesn't mean I don't find them frustrating. Like many of us, I blog and read on stolen time. Anything that slows that down.....

     Slowly but surely, I've been working on my "lurker" problem. Knowing there's a problem is half the battle, right?

     Any comments?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

All that glitters...

     Other than a whack of baking, and eating and drinking, the holidays aren't complete without a little glitter. I'm a bit of a magpie, if it glitters, sparkles, shimmers, spins, or any combination there of, I'm sold. I have boxes of ornaments. Christmas is the only time my less is more rule goes right out the window.

     Working in the hospitality industry, Christmas is a busy time. Many years I was working so couldn't go home. I used to host an annual tree trimming party. You either brought or made an ornament for the tree. They were legendary. That's how I ended up with a spinning, gold painted, rolled in glitter 6 inch macaroni ball. It was awesome. Unfortunately it didn't survive a water heater breakdown and the resulting flood.

     The one thing having a tree had in common was the battle of who was going to take it down. I kid you not, I've had them up until April. I can be very stubborn and I always put up a real tree, imagine.

     If I'm not going to spend the holidays in the city, I no longer put up a tree. I string garland on the plate rail around my living room and decorate that. Seems easy enough, right? It's sixty feet of garland, lights and ornaments. Putting up a tree would probably be easier.

     After a holiday meltdown, I wasn't going to decorate this year. I hauled everything out, started, then my ornaments kept getting danced around the living room as various bits of two of my housemates anatomy. This would be the 29 and 46 year old, they grow up so fast, don't they? After about 30-45 minutes of this, I had finally had enough "help". I kid you not, I sent them to their respective rooms, packed everything up and vowed, no decorating this year. Then I started cooking.

    Now the house smelled like the holidays but no sparkle?? Other than my personality of course. I relented. As I sit here, I can smell the delicious aroma of my mincemeat simmering away upstairs. Back to the glitter.

The beginning, nails along the plate rail

The entertainment unit,
Yes, I know those speakers are ridiculously over sized
Legacy of a misspent youth( and several noise complaints to the police)
I told you my tree trimming parties were legendary


The garland


Around every obstacle

Stringing the lights


Memories of Christmas past
I've decorated all with toys a couple of times
Dollar store finds, every one
Cutest and cheapest decorating ever


The treasure trove

Latest addition, glass angels
A gift,
I like, collect is too strong a word, glass ornaments


Beautiful (and sparkly)

The little gingerbread man
I use ornaments as gift tags on the gingerbread houses sometimes

Terrible shot of a glass starburst


Rudolf


Flying Santa, thanks Erin (more sparkles)

No spinning macaroni ball,
But my new favourite
Makes me smile every time I see it


Cracked glass balls in silver and gun metal grey


More beautiful glass


Sparkly stars
Another gift

 Sparkles in bronze

Gold glass teardrops


Big silver glitter snow flakes
There are also the smaller white irridescent ones


8" spiral glass icicles
I only have one of the original eight left
If anyone knows where I can get replacements..
Another gift


All dressed up


No such thing as too much

Far more interesting to look at than the cobwebs in the corners

     The pictures in harsh light don't really do the garland justice. A few candles, only the Christmas lights on and it shimmers and sparkles as the light catches the various bits and pieces. Nothing spins, but you can't have everything. Now the house looks and smells like the holidays.

     Any favourite ornaments? Decorating tips for the holidays?