Leroy Santa says "Be good."
So, really, I have not been making felt garlands. That was a tease. I have not touched the felt or embroidery thread since the last post. I have been reading, of course (two books I liked very much: Pretty Monsters and The Swan Kingdom and am now halfway through The Unnameables), and baking, and we have gotten our Christmas tree and decorated it (the tree lot down the street didn't take credit cards, and they actually said, "Just bring the money by tomorrow," as if this were a small town in the 1950s and you could trust people. Isn't that awesome? Suckers! Just kidding. We did bring the money! I swear!), have done some shopping, had a fun sewing date with Chary (well, she sewed, I *helped* which means I ironed exactly one seam, drank her tea, and raided her stash of vintage rickrack and dingle balls). And yesterday Alexandra and I met friends Jennifer and 6-year-old Camille at my parents' house for the annual decorating of the toy cupboard.
My mom's cats, naturally, built nests in the discarded tissue paper as Camille unwrapped all the toys. This is "Bea" as in Beatrice, pronounced the Italian way, Bay-uh-tree-chay. (She was Dante's love.)
The orange cat in the background is Dante:
(My mom's third cat is named Fiammetta, who was Boccaccio's love. There is no Boccaccio in residence though. My mom is into the Italian poets, you can tell.)
Here is Camille with the completed toy cupboard:
She was very focused and did a great job fitting everything in. However, she steadfastly refused to install the nasty overseer elf who we all imagine gets up to mischief in the night. He had to go on top, which suits him fine, because he can glare at everything from up there.
So, holiday cheer all around. Haven't been getting much writing done, but I just got Silksinger copyedits in the post yesterday, so there will be that. Comments look blessedly light. Commas, that sort of thing. Penguin is shifting toward doing everything electronically to cut back on printing and fed-exing of manuscripts, but since I don't use Word (in fact, I loathe it), they had to mail me the printed out electronic version. So, the gist is that there are no red markings on it, just little civilized comment boxes notating inserted commas, etc. There is also the occasional perplexed question from my editor regarding the relative scale of faeries to certain devils. Another thing is he does not tolerate inadvertant rhymes, things like, "She said, 'Are you sure he's dead?'" and he tries to abolish any of those. But all in all, it looks like a very light copyedit.
The other thing I'm doing right now is finalizing my notes for my talk on Wednesday to the Western Washington SCBWI on "Strategies for Finishing Novels." I'm still trying to figure out how my recent NaNo experience fits into that. More to come.
Cookies. I've restrained myself this year and made four kinds. My mom is making four or five, and we will pool cookies to send off to various friends and family, as well as the mailmen, comic book store guy, etc. (Our veterinarian's office got a coconut cream pie last week, by the way, and a big bag of Laini's Ladies shwag. We love them. Jim goes there twice a week and they give Leroy Santa his butt shot for free -- he's on canine Adequan for his arthritis, and it is a wonder drug. If your dog has arthritis, ask me about Adequan.) A couple of years ago my mom and I went insane and made I think twenty-two kinds of cookies between the two of us. TOO MANY. So, just eight or nine this year. Here are the peppermint meltaways, looking pinkly adorable:
And here's Jim and me decorating the tree.
I still need to get a little live tree for my Laini's Ladies ornaments. So much to do! Not enough time!!!
UPDATE: The peppermint meltaways recipe is HERE. They're essentially a butter cookie with some extract and crushed candies. Enjoy!