Friday, November 23, 2007

Petula's heart grew three sizes that day...

I don't know what's come over me (an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese...), but rather than feeling all bah-humbuggish, I'm finding myself quite swept up with holiday excitement.
I think the credit may go to my Martha Stewart Snowbird Mountain tree for filling my heart with Christmas anticipation (and if you missed that whole saga last year, here you go). I tried to convince Davis that we should put it up after Thanksgiving dinner last night, but he convinced me to put it off until at least December 1st.
The tree's success has filled my head with dreams of other winter wonders that I'd love to have in my house, like:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket this Christmas doll house from Allsorts,
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket and these sequin trees by Jennifer Paganelli (there's a tutorial video for them here),
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucketand this winter village of Martha Stewart's.

I don't know that anything will come of these dreams of mine, but they certainly are fun to imagine. It goes without saying that I certainly hope this season's creative endeavors work out better than the flaming baby arm fiasco of 2006.

Tonight was the lighting ceremony for our town's Christmas tree. It's made of lobster traps, and the fishermen are invited to hang their buoys on it as decorations. Yes, it sounds tacky, but I actually really like it. It's the third year that they've done it, and it gets better each time.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cupcakes For My Cupcake

Petula: What kind of cake do you want for your birthday?
Davis: Something simple.
Petula: Are you saying that because you're craving a plain sort of cake, or is it out of fear that I'll get wound up trying to make something complicated, and I'll have a complete meltdown again?
Davis,small voice: I just don't want you to ruin my birthday.

So I set out to make a simple birthday cake. What could be simpler than chocolate cupcakes with dark cherries inserted into their centers, brushed with a kirsch syrup and topped with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and maraschino cherries? Shut up. It seemed simple in my head.
The baking went fine, as did the cherry insertion and syrup brushing. The problems began with the whipped cream. The "simplicity" of the plan hinged on my cream whipper/dispenser, and I'm sorry to say that it let me down. Instead of a lovely swirled whipped topping, I ended up with an oozing soggy mess. I kept thinking I hadn't shaken the gadget enough, so I'd shake more and dispense a dollop of sog atop one victim after another. It turns out there was a problem with the chargers that had been sitting in the drawer for two years, but that realization didn't dawn until it was too late.
What to do now? As I picked the cupcakes up to try to correct the problem, they started falling apart. I soon realized that, even if I were able to make them more attractive, they were far too messy to be eaten like normal cupcakes unless one were to dine leaning over the sink.
Cue: meltdown.
It may have been Davis's birthday, but I like to find little ways to make things all about me. It was the increasingly piercing pitch of my whines that drove the poor boy out of the house to get more whipping cream. Fortunately, this gave me some time to reflect and adjust my attitude into one that was less likely to make Davis ban me from future birthdays altogether.
Things went a bit more smoothly after that. The old cream was scraped off, and the new cream was mixed using a conventional mixer and dolloped on top with a spoon (not fancy, but perfectly adequate). Then I removed the paper cupcake wrappers and served them on plates with forks. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the final product, although I'm pretty sure that Davis will be requesting that his next birthday cake is made by Hostess.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Avast At Last

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI started knitting last year's Christmas present for Davis in early October of 2006. Unfortunately, the gift that waited for him under the Christmas tree was a half-finished sweater and an I.O.U. for the rest of it.

Obviously things hadn't gone smoothly between Avast and I, and relations continued to deteriorate through the spring when Davis tried on something that looked like it should have been in an avant-garde knitting pamphlet from the '60s. Not a cool mod-looking garment, more of a what-were-they-thinking homage to astronauts, the result of a collar that jutted up about an inch and a half from his shoulders. It was so funny that I should have taken pictures, but the pain was still too fresh. Davis felt my pain so acutely that he actually tried to convince me that it looked fine and that he'd wear it just as it was (and, yes, he probably would have actually worn it for a while, but only because he's a kind-hearted man who loves me).

Well, after much knitting, frogging, re-knitting, re-frogging and re-knitting some more, I was finally able to give Davis his Christmas present last month. I'm happy to say that I'm kind of pleased with how it turned out.

I learned a lot while knitting this project:
1. While I'm not a fan of seaming, I'm even less fond of lugging around a whole sweater that's knit in one piece.
2. I should always read through a pattern before selecting it, and I should avoid ones that involve picking up a couple hundred stitches several times over.
3. It would behoove me to choose yarn that has a weight that's somewhere near the ballpark of what the pattern calls for. Fortunately, a sweater that's the same density as carpeting comes in handy up here in Maine.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Mad Scientist's Ball

It's official, Halloween is wasted on the young.
Our sci-fi themed gala was a lot of work, but the grown-ups definitely appreciated it. We had a Jacob's Ladder, glowing test tubes, specimens in jars, and showings of classic sci-fi films like Metropolis and The Mask of Fu Manchu going on in the background.
Of course, by the time Halloween actually rolled around we were pretty much over it. We just didn't have it in us to put on another show. Instead of The Driveway of Terror, we gave them....

The Porch of Mild Trepidation

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