Sunday, December 07, 2008

Holiday cheer

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!


Tricia said...

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one baking like crazy. I set up a cookie exchange at work a few years ago, but everyone complained about making 6 dozen cookies that we gave it up. I now make 16-18 different kinds on my own and bring them to work for the big holiday lunch. Since hubby and son don't eat sweets, I give nearly all away so that I'm not tempted to eat them!

Happy holidays!

Anonymous said...

please, please, please prompt me to stalk my mailman again. taylor christmas cookie goodness is unsurpassed! i've been REALLY good this year...i promise! :D

best to you, jimbo, and leroy.

jenn said...

Mmm! Those peppermint meltaways look delicious. Now I have a mischievous elf of my own perched on my shoulder and whispering into my ear: Must. . . bake . . . today . . . But I don't have time! I fear the only way to get rid of him may be an offering of Russian teacakes straight out of the oven.

Q said...

Word is a sulky old mule that you have to know how to fight with before you can make it work properly. Unfortunately, I'm not sure of any better alternatives. I use NeoOffice with my Mac (because Office for the Mac is exorbitantly expensive), and so far it's been working fine. You can even save in .doc format to be compatible with everyone else.

And can you post the recipe for those peppermint meltaways, please? I love peppermint. A lot.

Debbie Barr said...

Aww, looks like fun. :)

I love Christmas. *sigh*

tone almhjell said...

I love the look of those cookies, and I love your tree!

I've not been writing very much either. Why would I write, when there are cookies to bake and markets to go to and huge cups of christmas tea to sip? What? I'm supposed to be a writer? Bah. Humbug.

Anonymous said...

Mm - those peppermint meltaways look delicious! Si farm I've only been doing 'fake baking' and
faux sewing' this year. I've been on a felt binge, making gingerbread men etc, out of it.
Your mom's kitties are so cute - her toy cupboard looks fantastic and so does your tree!

Anonymous said...

That was supposed to be 'So far' - apparently I need an editor just for my comments, lol.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say I've been spreading some holiday cheer with the ladies swag you sent me. My friends are in love with your ladies and thrilled to have them (1 went for a hostess gift and 1 for a 40-birthday gift). Don't worry, I'm keeping some for my own self, too :)

Anonymous said...

I want to snuggle those kitties! I want to eat those cookies! You're such a temptress with your appealing photos. I don't suppose you'd print the recipe for the Peppermint Meltaways?

Katie Anderson said...

I must say, your blog is a DEEE- LIGHT to read over the holidays. In fact, my chilluns have been begging for "Those oreo dirt ball cookies." And after giving up finding the recipe, I found it HERE - on your fun blog.

LOVE to see all of your baking, wrapping and decorating! You have been blessed with much creativity and infectious pizazz!

Merry Christmas!

~Molly~ said...

I am seriously disappointed in you young lady! I expected to come here and find a glorious(finished)felt crafty thing and you've done nothing but fuss with the dog's hat, bake cookies, decorate, and let the kitties tear up paper! How insensitive!!:verybigevilgrin:

At least I got a decent cookie recipe and a book update! Thanks!!

Now, take your felt disks to bed with you and sew, sew, sew! Handwork is like xanax, trust me.


Alexandra Saperstein said...

please leave a little glad baggie outside your cottage in the morning filled with those pepperminty cookies and I will be by to pick them up within the hour. Btw, tell Jim that Leroy will need some swim trunks and snorkling goggles for Maui.

nonizamboni said...

wonderful post making me want to do it all: TODAY!
I'm writing because I am grateful for Sunday Scribblings AND for your Laini's Ladies which I've been actively pursuing here in St. Paul. They pop up in the most unusual places, in fact. Love your work and just wanted to tell you.
Happy Day!

Disco Mermaids said...

That is an awesome toy cupboard. And you definitely needed the overseer elf on top.

We put up our tree a couple days ago...with the Laini's Ladies Peace ornament in a prominent location!

- Jay

Stephanie Perkins said...

Ooo, what a pretty tree! I spy lots of lovely artsy be-winged happy elfin handmade ornaments. SO glad you guys don't have a department store tree with only two colors and everything all matchy-matchy. (Like you would. Ha!)

And I'm also SO glad you posted that recipe. Peppermint cookies are the beeeest!!

Anonymous said...

Oooh, can we see the transcript of your talk when you are done? As you know, ahem, some of us have a wee bit more difficulty finishing our novels.

Love the dog and kitty pictures, and so did Madam! :)

Lexi said...

Le sigh... our tree is in a cardboard box in the basement.

All we need to do is plug it in! And put ornaments on. There is no watering required.

formal wear said...

Thanks for sharing your Christmas experience and I appreciate your effort.