• 28Nov
    Categories: Everything!, musings Comments Off on Thanksgiving

        As holidays go, Thanksgiving is a favorite in Anna Lena Land.  My parents and my sister’s family all come to celebrate with Bob and me.  We have a routine, or is that called a tradition, after doing it this way for several years–and I like that!  I don’t do a lot of decorating for this holiday, although I should, since I have lots of nice fall decorations.  But I do always manage to get out Rebekah and Eli, my grim faced and stoic Pilgrims.  They probably look like that because they never get anything to eat.

        I love to use special dishes–and I do have a lot of them.  One of my favorites is the special server made for jellied cranberry sauce.  Now, mind you, I don’t really care if I eat jellied cranberry sauce, but I have this cool server, and I like to use it, so we have jellied cranberry sauce!  These servers were made in the Fifties or Sixties by Rogers Silver and they were premium offered by Ocean Spray.  I’m not sure how it worked, but I think you sent in a couple of labels from Ocean Spray cranberry sauce, and probably a buck or two, and you got this pretty server.  There’s a little tray and the prettiest slicer/server with cutouts forming a cranberry and leaf design.  

        My hubby, also known as the Cranman, and I have a small cranberry farm.  I was away at Quilt Market this year during harvest, but my dear sister-friend Monica came over and took wonderful photos.  Her husband Tom even got bogged down with Bob.  Monica did a great Cranberry 101 on her blog.  That girl was really paying attention!  

        If you don’t know how easy it is to make your own cranberry sauce, let me tell you.  If you can boil water, you can make your own cranberry sauce–and you’ll never eat store bought again (sorry Big Brother Ocean Spray, but I’m still drinking your juice!).  Here’s the recipe.  Put these three ingredients in a sauce pan–4 cups cranberries, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup water.  Boil for 15 minutes.  You’re done.  Finished.  Over.  See, I told you you could do it.  While those cranberries are boiling, you’ll hear little pops as the skins burst.  That lets all the natural pectin out, and allows your sauce to set up.  Just refrigerate for a couple of hours and serve.  Oh, soooooo good!  Try it.  Please.  Then start looking for a cool glass turkey dish to serve your cranberry sauce in.  I love mine.  It’s pressed glass and oh-so-pretty.

        My sister Sally is queen of the shoppers.  She loves to shop, and just give her a theme and she’s off.  One year, as a hostess gift, she brought me a perfect butter dish for the Thanksgiving table.

        I love to set a pretty table.  I must admit I have a few sets of dishes to choose from (but not anywhere close to as many as sister Sally).  This year I used my pretty pine cone plates.  They’re a good choice for Thanksgiving-the color’s great and they have the biggest plates!  I used my late mother-in-laws flatware and the vintage Bakelite napkin rings.

        But even more fun than setting the table is the cooking.  Through the years we’ve tried adding a few new things to Thanksgiving dinner, but in the end, we all want the same traditional dishes that we’ve come to consider Thanksgiving staples–turkey, dressing, potatoes, gravy, my mom’s cranberry salad, fruit salad for Bob, Parker House rolls (that come out of the oven just as we sit down to eat), cranberry sauce, olives and pickles, carrots and green beans.  This year the bird was huge–almost 25 pounds, but we like lots of left-overs.

        Of course we have to end with pie–two pumpkin and one apple.  My Grandma Kennedy was famous for her pies.  I remember once, years ago, when my brother brought his future bride home for Thanksgiving.  Grandma had made the pies as usual, and Robin asked her if she had a recipe for her pie crust.  Grandma calmly answered, “Yes.  You take three pounds of Crisco, 16 cups of flour, a handful of salt and enough water.”  That was enough pie crust for nine pies–but Grandma was used to baking a lot of pies at once!  Oh, and I might add that the 16 cups of flour didn’t mean measuring cups.  I remember Grandma just taking a tea cup out of the cupboard and dipping it in the flour bin 16 times.  Now I’m in charge of pie crust.  Thank goodness for the food processor and Martha Stewart for a more manageable recipe.  I made the apple and Mom, Sally and Cole made the two pumpkin pies.  

        Here we all are, almost ready for the first bite!

        Today everyone came back for lunch and turkey sandwiches.  Oh, another chance to set the table and use different dishes!  Actually, these are our everyday dishes, pretty jadeite.  But I did get out my rainbow Bakelite flatware and the Scotty dog napkin rings.  They have wheels.  Wheels on napkin rings!  What a swell invention.  You can have napkin ring races at the table.

        I hope you enjoyed your holiday as much as I enjoyed mine.  And I have to say that this whole blogging thing is totally cool–and not nearly as hard as I thought it would be.  Monica, you were right!  Again!

  • 24Nov
    Categories: Everything!, travels here Comments Off on New York, New York

    I had to make a trip to New York last week.  It was time to present my next line of fabrics to Timeless Treasures.  Now mind you, this only takes one day.  But, I’d never been to New York in the fall, and it didn’t take much to persuade my mom and sister to fly back and meet me after my work was done!  Here they are standing in front of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.  The tree is obscured by scaffolding, but you can see the beautiful Swarovski star that’s ready to go on the top.

        Our hotel was right across the street from the Museum of Modern Art.  I really wanted to bring this Roy Lichtenstein piece home.  It would look so cute in my studio.  

        The purpose of our girl get-together was to eat, shop and see some Broadway plays.  I’m happy to report that we were successful on all fronts.  When I say liverwurst, I hope you don’t think Oscar Meyer.  This is what my liverwurst looked like at The Modern.

        On Broadway we saw John Lithgow and Katie Holmes in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons.  It was riveting.  We were in the second row, and we could have leaned forward and touched the actors.  As my sister said, “Good thing Katie shaved her legs, as we’d have known if she hadn’t!”

        For something lighter, we saw The Little Mermaid.  I must admit I didn’t know the story line going in, so the plot was a complete surprise to me.  It was fun and it’s always a thrill to see live theater.  I loved the sets and the costumes, and the fish and mermaids wore those shoes with a wheel in the heel, so they glided across the stage and appeared to be floating.  Again, we were in the second row.  As an aside, more men should dress like those princes in fairy tales–very sexy!

       But, it was the shopping that took the cake!  There’s nothing like the New York stores.  The small shops are wonderful, the museum shops are wonderful, but the flagship stores of the big department stores–all decked out for Christmas–were amazing to see.  As much as I love shopping, I could have just wandered and looked at all the store windows all over the city.  Such creativity!  And the Macy’s store was everything I’d hoped a big New York department store would be at the holidays.

        Magical, huh?

        Thanks for joining me as I relive my adventures in Anna Lena Land – the amusement park in my mind.