Monday, December 17, 2007

Time sure flies...

Hoo Boy, time sure flies when you are too tired to think! This cold virus really packed a wallop and I have been just barely keeping my head above water, so to speak. I really am feeling alot better; however, I feel like I'm slogging through mud most of the time. Ah, well, I'll be back to normal soon (I hope!).

First let me thank everyone for the wonderful comments on my Gingerbread House post! It's funny that a couple of you wise ladies wondered what to do with it now... well, I have no idea! It is so big I have no real place to put it except the dining room table, which, of course, is still covered with Christmas flotsam and jetsam. Right now it is sitting on a TV tray table in the living room... oh, dear, I was going to put it up on something before I left for work and didn't. Crap... any bets as to whether the dogs have gotten to the cookies by the time I get home? I sure hope they don't eat the peppermint trees!

Anyway... we did go to the company party at Taliesen West... it was sooooo cold! They had the appetizers and bar outside in the courtyard near the entrance and even with patio heaters going, it was cold. We did get tours of the buildings; however, we missed about half the tour cause we were a little late. I did get a few pictures so I'll share them.

Here is the livingroom... Frank Lloyd Wright designed everything in the home. It was rather roughly done (surprisingly so) since it was originally designed as a winter home.
Low table
The floors are pigmented concrete, something that was quite common here in Phoenix and Scottsdale. He designed all the furniture, too.

This is his office. He designed Fallingwater on that tee tiny little desk!
Office - his desk
The walls are made of granite found on site. I love the shelves along the walls.

Here's a shot from outside showing the angles he employed everywhere.
Outside lights

One more little detail... I love these lights that hung from the ceiling in a storage room turned conference room.
Hanging light
There is quite a bit of water damage throughout the home. He made the ceilings out of canvas (!) so when it rains, it leaks. Hmmmm... not such a good idea... but it sure is something to see! Anyway, we had a good time and left in a big hurry so we could get home and warm up!

Currently my creative endeavors are limited to Christmas decorating, baking, and gifting. Every year, we put together little goodie bags for the folks at the hospital that work for Glenn... this year it is for 20 people so it does take some time. It's alot of fun, though, shopping for little neat things to go with the homemade goodies. We also have a cookie exchange at work tomorrow, so as you can see, I'm up to my ears in Christmas, as are the rest of you, I'm sure. I'll take some pictures of Christmas decorations and the goodie bags as I get them done. That way I'll have a record of what I did this year on the blog!

I'll be back a little later this week, but I do want to mention Sharon B's new Take It Further Challenge. There are currently 253 participants and she has just announced that she will be closing the challenge 24 hours from the time of her last post so you better hurry if you want to sign up!!!

Take care everyone and have a wonderful time in your holiday preparations!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Not too shabby

I've had a great time this week working on my little gingerbread house. I wanted to make the house a different shape than the regular kit house so with some judicious use of a bread knife I was able to alter the pitch of the roof to make it look a little more "cottage in the woods." On Monday, a trip to a local big box yielded a nice 16"x24" shelf to cover in aluminum foil for the base and I was able to finally get started on it.

The "icing" in the kit got me this far...
There is a styrofoam base inside the little house and it is very well glued with icing so hopefully it won't fall apart!

I worked on it for several hours after work on Tuesday, in fact, I was up till midnight playing with it... I had fun! I made my first royal icing (with a little help from Black Jack)...
Mixer in motion

and I put a bit too much powdered sugar in it so it was rather stiff, but it worked well enough to get quite alot done. Here is the house, about half way done...
Half-way there

Wednesday was a bit of a wash... I was exhausted after a messed up 3 hour Dr's office visit (they changed the appt time and then the Dr. was an hour behind, what a mess). Anyway, I proclaimed a "pitiful" night for myself and just snuggled under a blankie and watched TV and read a bit. Whenever Glenn or I are feeling under the weather or overwhelmed, we proclaim a pitiful night for ourselves and the one who is not pitiful babies the pitiful one. There is a caveat; however, only one of us is allowed to be pitiful on any given night!

So, Thursday, fortified by a heavy-duty antibiotic and steroids to clear up the leavings of my cold, I pretty much finished up the gingerbread house. Glenn was the photographer and caught a good action photo as I wielded the pastry bag.
Hard at work

and the very last teeny tiny bit comes out on the top of the chimney!
That last little bit

I may do a bit more on it, but basically this is the final product. Here's the front view...
Front view

and the back view...
Back view

and the side view...
Side view

It's a bit rough around the edges, but all in all not too bad for my first one! I learned alot, I must say, and will probably be doing a few more of these in the coming years. Next, I'm going to put my new found royal icing skilz to work on some Christmas cookies!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Getting Ready for Christmas!

Hey, ladies, how's it goin'? Everybody ready for Christmas? LOL! Last week was pretty much a wash as I was super sick... stayed home and slept for two straight days and on the third day the boss sent me home at noon I was so sick... gah! Bad cold, courtesy of the grandkids, but I'll take it in exchange for a visit with them! I'm on the road to recovery, though. Yay!

I was feeling good enough that we got out the Christmas boxes. We have an odd assortment of ornaments and other goodies, everything from homemade to glitzy, so we decided it was time for a good sorting out. Glenn drug in the boxes and bins and I started sorting. What a mess! Glenn took this picture after several hours of concentrated excavating and sorting. Boy, do I have alot of snowflakes! Actually, it really isn't a huge amount of stuff, contrary to what Glenn thinks!
Now at least we know what we have! Of course we spent the remainder of the day decorating and trying to figure out what to use where. The plan is to decorate the house the way we want it and get rid of the stuff that doesn't work anymore. We'll see if we stick to the plan!

That rather strange coffee table you see above, under all those ornaments, is in the middle of being transformed from a coffee table to an ottoman. The legs and sides are from the kitchen table my parents got sometime in the fifties. My Dad transformed it into a marble topped coffee table about 30 years ago and now we are transforming that into an ottoman. Well, at least it's on the list of "Things to Do!" ;0)

This coming weekend is our company Christmas party. This year it is being held at Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesen West in Scottsdale and I am so excited! I haven't been there yet and it should be really special all decorated for Christmas. In conjunction with the party, there is going to be a Gingerbread House competition so of course I had to join in on that. I've never made one before... always wanted to, just never did. We each got a lovely kit...
Fresh out of the pkg
to play with. I wanted to get going on it this past weekend but that didn't happen, so there may be some late nights this week getting it done. I'll keep you updated on the progress. ;0)

Anyway, between being sick and getting ready for Christmas, I've only gotten one lonely little seam done on my next block. It's still sitting by my chair, taunting me silently as I walk past. Ah, well... there are only so many hours in the day!

Oh, I almost forgot... we got 2" of rain on Friday! WooHoo! Getting 2" of rain in one day makes for some happy campers here in Phoenix... our yearly average is about 8" so Friday was a banner day. There was some flooding but I don't think it was too bad. We were fine but boy, do we have a yard full of pecans! The rain and wind brought them down like crazy. We picked about half of them up on Sunday, after it had dried out a bit, but there are still bunches of them. The mourning doves are helping us by eating as many as they can!

That's all for now, my lovelies... I hope everyone has a great week!