Saturday, December 31, 2011

White Christmas, the Festive Board and a Progress Report

 Here are a couple of shots of our white Christmas, such as it was.  We had one of those snows where it's cold enough to snow, but not cold enough for the snow to stick to the concrete.  All in all, it was the best kind in view of the circumstances.  My sidewalk did not even get wet, so my dad could walk from car to house on good footing.   These pictures were taken the night it fell, which was Friday night, but more fell albeit in a slow, desultory fashion, all day Saturday.  It was beginning to melt in earnest by Sunday.  Last year, I cooked Christmas dinner and had the folks over.  I think it is the start of a tradition.  The only couple left of the several couples who used to take turns inviting each other over for holiday dinners now spends the holidays in Atlanta with their oldest son and family.  This year, their erstwhile exchange student from France who is the same age as the youngest boy, flew over and spent Christmas with them in Atlanta.  Since my brother and sister-in-law were out of town, it was just me and the folks, same as last year.  And, same as last year, I invited my BFF, whose parents are both dead now, to share the holiday with us.
Same as last year, I cooked a turkey breast. ($22/£14 for nearly 7 lbs/3.15 kg worth -- the turkey cost as much as the whole rest of the dinner!) I cooked it in one of those oven bags -- I washed it, salted and peppered it, and rubbed the skin with olive oil, then popped it into the bag.  You make 6 half-inch slits in the bag, put it in a substantial baking dish, and shove it in the oven.  It comes out moist and juicy, with the skin nicely browned.  It was so tender it was almost hard to slice.    We had green beans, mashed potatoes (instant), corn bread stuffing, giblet gravy, white rolls (which got a little too brown - !) and I made the cranberry Jello mousse thing.  We had the traditional pumpkin pie for dessert.  I put a velveteen drapery panel for a table cloth (that's Jaks helping set the table), and covered it with the clear vinyl table cover I keep on the table for daily use.  My dad can barely see, and I didn't want to be hovering over him worrying that he would spill something on cloth that must be hand washed.  I used gold chargers under my blue and white china, and gold napkins with some blue and white china napkin rings.  A while ago, I also found some blue glass pillar candle holders on sale that are just perfect for coasters for my blue glasses.  
My blue willow dishes are "grocery store dishes" although they were made by the Churchill china people in England-- you got stamps based on the amount of your grocery purchases, and little cards to fill in.  Once you filled in a card with stamps you could buy a place setting for like $3, consisting of a dinner plate, salad plate, cup and saucer and small dish.  Then you could buy serving pieces etc., for a very reasonable price.  They had casseroles, and serving dishes, soup bowls, relish dish, coffee pots, tea pots, platters, etc.  I bought at least one of everything they had, and have 12 complete place settings, plus serving pieces and the condiment set (creamer, sugar, salt and pepper, butter dish, gravy boat), as well as a teapot and coffee pot, an oval platter and a round platter.  I have two of the little casseroles (called "covered vegetable bowls" here -- if you click on the title, you can see what they look like.  I didn't pay anywhere near $80/£52 when I bought it in 1985!)
I used my sideboard to serve from, and served buffet style.  It's hard to tell, but the sideboard has pieces of slate inset in the top where you can set hot dishes.  It is in arts and crafts style, and matches my dining room suite.  I got it at more than half off because it had been damaged in shipping (a crunched corner, and some very minor damage to the bottom shelf) and did not have any hardware.  I was able to find hardware on the internet that matched my TV armoire and china cabinet, and it was very inexpensive.
A progress report on the pinwheel baby blanket that I started.  It got too large for the set of double pointed needles, so I put it onto the the 24-inch needles, and  now I've moved it to the 36-inch needles.  (see right )
I'm making good progress on it.  Since the only stitches it uses are knit stitches and yarn overs, I don't have to pay all that much attention to it, and I can work on it while I'm working.  Once I've got so many stitches on the needle there's no room for more, I'll shift it off onto the 48-inch round needles.  I started with a ball of baby yarn the size of a softball, and it's only down to tennis ball size now.  I think I'll keep knitting on it until I run out of yarn in this ball, and see how big it is.  I've got more yarn, so I can make it as big as it needs to be.  Think I'll do a crocheted shell edging on it to finish it off.  I'll take pictures of it when it is finished and post it on my Ravelry site.
This is the little baby that the blanket is for.   It's a very difficult time for the whole family, who are having to come to terms with the knowledge that this precious little girl will have serious ongoing medical issues for the rest of her life, however long that might be.  The child's grandmother (who was born on the day my mom and dad got married) and her husband have been close family friends for a long time.  We grew up together, and we have watched the child's mother grow up.  A very sad situation.


  1. Best wishes to you and your family for the New Year 2012. I hope it is a good one for you in every way.

    I was saddened to read about the baby. One can only sympathize, knowing that this hardly counts for anything.

  2. happy new year wol! hope this fresh new year is a good one for us all.

    leanne x


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