Making a Christmas tree of lights

30 11 2010

We decided to forgo an actual tree this year but still wanted to decorate the apartment in the Christmas spirit. So the rubber tree and indoor palm both got some red and white ball style ornaments and I put up a Christmas tree made with pushpins and lights.

(Dang is it hard to take a picture of lights with an iPhone.)

You will need:

  • 20 or so pushpins
  • a strand of white lights
  • 2 or more strands of green lights (mine were 70 ft ea)
  • an extension cord (optional)

Find a plug in your house if you are not using battery powered lights. This is important. Most of the places in our apartment that we wanted to put the tree wouldn’t work because of the lack of an available power source.

Once you have identified where you will put the tree, measure your space.  We had room for a 4 foot wide, 8 foot tall tree in our entry way.  I ended up putting the tree partially on the hall closet door; the door is still usable but I did have to put the push pins on top of the looped lights on the door to make them stay with the opening and closing.

Using some graph paper, map out where your pushpins will go for your tree:

Then figure out how you want your star to look and include that on your paper:

Test your lights first. If you don’t and they don’t work you will be cranky and frustrated and feel like Scrooge.

Starting with the male plug from the string of white lights at the bottom right corner of your star, wrap your white lights around the star shape until you run out of lights. Tuck the end of the strand into your star:

Then, plugging the male end of your string of white lights into your first string of green lights, start weaving your green lights back and forth between the pins, leaving a little give for draping, adding in the second (or more) strand of lights as you go:

Now plug that puppy in, pour yourself a festive beverage, and sing Tra-la-la! Your tree is up!!


Pot pie!

29 11 2010

Made with turkey leftovers, stock, potatoes, peas, carrots, onion, sage, and parsley.  Oh! And a whole wheat crust made with bacon fat, butter and thyme.

Make a pie crust and put it in the fridge to chill.  Put the fat from the top of the turkey stock into a pot with a little butter and saute a chopped onion.  Add to that the chopped stems of the parsley and the chopped carrots.  Salt as you go but remember that your crust is bacony.  Meanwhile, heat the stock in a pot and cook the diced potatoes in it.  Add a bunch of chopped turkey to the onions and carrots, the sage, and a little more butter if things seem dry.  Then add a quarter cup of flour (or so – equivalent to the fat in the pan) and toss with the veggies and turkey until you see no more flour.  Add in the turkey stock and potatoes (once they are mostly cooked) and scrape up any bits at the bottom of the pot.

Turn the pot off and let the inside goop for you pie cool off.  Meanwhile, roll out your crust and put it a pie plate or in large muffin tin holes like I did.  Fill when the insides are cool enough you can touch them, and then top your pie with more crust, press to seal the edges, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes with your vessel on a cookie sheet for drips.  ‘Cause this baby will be juicy.

Happy Feasting

27 11 2010

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. There’s great food, great weather (tights with dresses and stomping around in puddles with rain boots on anyone?), and a focus on great times with friends and family. Did I mention the food? Now, food pics in general can be really unattractive. Thanksgiving food pics? The worst in the bunch, I think…But!  Here are a few shots from our Thanksgiving anyway.

The hubby’s amazing pecan pie, made from my mother’s recipe (the best pecan pie):

We had 2 turkeys from our meat CSA, loads of stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce from a can served in slices with the can rings fully apparent, shrimp and crab molds with crackers, cheese galore, roasted tomatoes, meats, candied nuts, cheese breadsticks, stuffed peppers, sausage and eggplant rice dressing, turnip soup, onion dip, ham, preserved walnuts with Roquefort on toast, green bean casserole, deviled eggs, mac n cheese, scalloped potatoes, and pies pies pies.  You’ll be shocked to hear that with all that food we didn’t even touch the second turkey.

The leftovers plus the 6 quarts of turkey stock will be made into amazing things…

Industrious by Nature

21 11 2010

I read a poem when I was little about my name:

Industrious by nature;
rests when done.
Gives others credit;
the flattering one.

Power of suggestion? Who knows. But I definitely was industrious this weekend!  While my poor little garden was getting beat to smithereens by the storm the last few days, (right), I made a enough stuffed shells to feed us until Thanksgiving, and tackled a huge list of home projects:

  • clean out and reorganize all the kitchen cabinets and furniture
  • make a curtain to cover the cabinet missing a door (it came with a door but the door was 2 inches narrower than the cabinet opening – duh)
  • clean out and reorganize the hall closet
  • finish my major reorganization of the 2nd bedroom which included: a sewing stash purge, complete overhaul of the closet, and moving the tool chest items from the hall closet to the bedroom closet

And one of the more satisfying of the projects – taking every item out of the refrigerator and pantry and putting them back:

Sigh. I love organizing.

CSA Today

17 11 2010

Ah the bounty of fall: spinach, cilantro, red Russian kale, tatsoi, French breakfast radishes, bell peppers, persimmons, leeks, green tomatoes, apples, potatoes, Kuri squash and eggs.

Lady! I’m busy shopping.

16 11 2010

I was at my favorite (spendy) fabric store the other day and the woman helping me find jacket lining fabric was asked for directions she couldn’t give.  Luckily I was there!

Our friendly tourist wanted to get from Britex to the Fairmont Hotel “on the hill” via “trolley”.

Out the door, turn right, walk to Powell and turn left. Catch the cable car at Market.  I thought about telling her she could catch it at Geary but that seemed too complicated…and besides – why ride the cable car for only 4 blocks? For $5!?

Lots of pictures of dirt

15 11 2010

The veggie garden is coming along and I’m so! excited! that I have to show you a bunch of tiny unidentifiable sprouts.  Bear with me.  I’m sure in a few weeks these updates will get much more exciting.

For visual interest, I’ll start you off with the view from where I sit often, drinking coffee and reading a magazine in the morning, or reading a book in the afternoon (the veggie garden is to the right)…

You can just barely pretend to see the carrots (left) and kohlrabi (right) popping up:

The arugula (left) are chugging along and the turnips (right) are getting way too leggy:

And the soy beans (left and right) are popping out like crazy:

(I tried to do a fun game for you in that shot on the right – find the soy bean! – but it didn’t really work out.)

It has been necessary to weed nasturtiums out of the veggie beds every day. Every day I have at least a handful of them (left) to pull.  And my rose is coming back (right)! Now that the pesky scented geranium was cut way back (and see Mom! it survived and is on it’s way back to taking over).

Prettier pictures next time, I promise.