Friday, December 30, 2011

And to All a Good Night

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Look what I got for Christmas!
This crappy picture was taken with our point-and-shoot camera, and I did practically nothing to arrange it or frame it. I'm going to have to up my game for this baby! It's a Sony NEX-3C and it's like a DSLR, but it does not have a mirror (the "R" is for "reflex"...aaaand, now I have Duran Duran in my head). It's such a new concept there's not really a nifty acronym for it. Sony calls it a "compact interchangeable lens digital camera". I call it a DSLM.

So usually on Christmas Eve, Michael and I, my parents and my oldest sister and her family go to a church service together, then we go back to my parents' house for a Christmas Eve buffet. The church they wanted to go to this year was much closer to me, so I offered to host the buffet. I didn't know whether it would make things easier for my mom or if she would feel like I was trying to take something away from her, but she was happy to give the job to me! So we cleaned up a little.
Here's the full stitched ornament garland. I don't know what I'm going to do next year; they don't even all fit on here now. I have a few sprinkled around elsewhere.

We went to the service at Church of the Apostles, and while it was a nice service, the first 30 minutes gave me musical whiplash! We went from a Michael W. Smith jig to frenetic jazz to full-out gospel to country to O Holy Night sung by a high tenor! We only got to sing one hymn as a congregation until the very end of the service. They made up for it then. The message was excellent, though.

Aside from a little traffic snafu that caused our guests to wait for us while we tried to get home, everything else went great. My nephew the former sous chef cut the oh-so-yummy-but-oh-so-hard-to-cut peppermint bars and plated all the Christmas cookies:
Clockwise from the center top along the outside edge, White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Brownies, Blueberry Almond Bars, Pumpkin Spice Buttons, Peppermint Cream Bars, Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread (on edge), and Buried Cherries. I also made one more cookie which you'll see later. =)

I didn't get a shot of the spread, which included French Onion dip, cheese and crackers, hummus, hammie sammies, green beans with toasted almonds, and my mom's strawberry salad (congealed). But I had to get a picture of my sister's amazing rosemary Parmesan pull-apart bread. YUM!
Oh, yeah, my sister brought pumpkin eclair cake, too! NOM!

Ah, here's that other cookie atop some white chai tea. =)
This is a Dutch Stroopwafel, which is two pizzelles sandwiching some caramel. Setting it on your hot tea (or coffee) melts the caramel just enough so it's soft. It's also great for dipping...mmmmmm....

The next morning we all gathered at my parents' house for opening presents, eating and playing games. From this point on pictures were taken with the new camera! =) Here I am playing with its color filters during a game of cards.

Messing around with soft focus. This is a temari I made for my mom years ago!

The next day Michael's parents came over. I still need to read the whole manual on my camera, but I couldn't resist running around taking more shots. This is one of the stitched ornaments that moved to the tree because it was "in theme" (white and gold). =)

Closeups of ornaments on the garland. These were some of my oldest sister's favorites. I'm so excited because next year we are going to exchange ornaments!
She says she already knows what she's stitching me! I can't wait to see what it is.

One more color filter shot. Michael's parents brought this lovely poinsettia when they came over.
They took us to see Odysseo, the new Cavalia show. It was fantastic!

Random cool Christmas things:
1) I was totally behind Santa in traffic on GA400. I pulled up behind a pickup truck, and the license plate was "HOHOHO". "NO WAY!" I shouted, and eased around to his left. Sure enough, Santa was driving!!
2) A nice lady at Target gave me two quarters to go down 400 with...I was totally out of cash and trying to get the checkout lady to charge me fifty cents extra and give me some quarters. Thank you Christmas angel!
3) Alongside 400 there are small pine trees, and each year someone decorates one of them. Well, at least the bottom few branches are covered in tinsel, shiny garland and baubles which always look like they were thrown on hastily. This has led us to believe that the GDOT does not do this, but it's some guerrilla Christmas spirit going on. This year we were headed home late, and we spotted a guy doing it! Sure enough, he was just throwing decorations in the general direction of the tree. We're now sure it's on the down-low, because his car headlights were off. Believe me, you don't want to be on the side of 400 in the dark with your headlights off unless you're in stealth mode. Now that we're sure it's "just some guy," we love the tradition even more.

Hmmm...those were all related to 400, weren't they? That almost makes up for the TWO TIMES I have had to get out of the car at the toll plaza...once to go back and put ANOTHER quarter in because the machine said one was "invalid," and once because I could hear one quarter just spinning somewhere in the machine. A nice whack on the side made the quarter drop from wherever it was. Good thing, too...that was one of the angel's quarters and I literally had 8 pennies on me.

Hope your Christmas was great!

Hopefully the picture quality around here will improve!!


Unknown said...

Fancy spreads! Looks like you really went all out!

Delusional Knitter said...

Sounds like an awesome time. Very cool you saw Santa in person, LOL!

Carrie said...

Man oh man, how I wish I was there for Christmas Eve and Day! Your buffet sounded delicious, and one of the first things Mom recalled to me was the teacup cookie! Our Christmas was tropical, but I hope to get to see you next year!

Happy New Year!

Chris said...

I love your ornament garland!
It looks like you had a lovely holiday.

Melanie said...

OMG, love the ornament garland!~!!!
Sounds like a wonderful time.
Happy New Year to ya!!!!! :)

Jenny said...

Wow, you have some really gorgeous ornies and a sister who stitches!? that is awesome! The garland looks wonderful - I may have to try that next year. Thanks for a great piece of inspiration
Oh, and congrats to the new camera - the "new" pics look great!

Mindi said...

Love the new camera, and I can't believe the picture of the poinsettia, absolutely gorgeous with the filter. No clue how you did it, and I wish my camera would do magic things like that.

Old Geek-outs