company or the gifts. I run a shop and sometimes that feels more like my life than a job outside the home. I don’t just sell product off the shelf. I peddle passion and inspiration; and that takes more out of you than shifting premade inventory that's made in China. Every now and then you need to take a breather to recharge the creative batteries and that's what I did. I stayed in my jammies for two days and relished the quiet time with my hubby, son and four wonderful pups.
Christmas morning was all about the hairy kids. Yes, they got toys…Santa comes to all good girls and boys. Hubby bought them a brain challenge game. They have to open doors to retrieve treats and I hate to brag, but all four of them mastered it immediately. But, you know, I don’t think the makers of these games are really thinking of dogs. You can’t hide a treat from a dogs's sense of smell! I think maybe the games are for the masters, something cutsey to spend money on. But then again, maybe my dogs are just geniuses….yes that’s it…they aced the game because of their IQ. It was definitely fun for the two seconds it lasted but really, a big waste of money.
I tried to be good and stay away from sweets but there’s an arsenal of chocolate in the house. I bought the usual boxes of Belgian Chocolate from Costco, the traditional Toblerone, a hunk of chocolate so big it could act as a weapon and Hubby brought home a box of Bernard Callebaut so we were well chocolated up. For anyone who doesn’t know the brand, Callebaut chocolates
are the best in the world. I could smell them in his study, hidden in his desk. How in heck was I supposed to ignore them? Aw well, who needs toes anyway, I’ll just stuff a sock it the end of my shoes. New Year’s with its customary resolutions is approaching so there's plenty of time to make changes. Christmas is a time of indulgence and thankfully it comes but once a year.
We had a supreme Christmas feast. Because it was just the three of us we opted for a huge, free range, grain fed chicken that would have given a small turkey a good run its money, so let’s just call it a turkey and be done with it. It sounds much more traditional as well.
I make the best dressing ever.....don’t care what anyone says, the flavours in this dressing are tops. I’ve been around the Christmas block and tasted my share of stuffing’s but none have come close to the flavours in this blend of ingredients. (Recipe to follow).
We had sweet potatoes baked in maple syrup and butter. Mashed white potatoes for Shane.
Organic foul makes the best gravy, just like mother used to make, without any need for added flavour packets or cubes, and I add my secret ingredient, a pinch of garlic. We cracked open a
bottle of homemade cranberries (thanks Armenia), had steamed broccoli for a bit of green on the plate, carrots, homemade beets and my favorite specialty, sweet & sour pearl onions (recipe to follow).
I don’t stuff my bird as I don’t like the dressing influencing the taste of the meat, so I make it up and put it in a casserole dish, then pour drippings from the turkey and bake it in the oven with
the bird so it’s infused with the flavour. You’d never know it wasn’t cooked inside the turkey. Packing in the dressing and trussing a bird seems like a lot of work. I remember watching my mother stuff and then sew up the cavity and quite frankly, I’d rather be cleaning an outhouse. And not to sound too morbid, it was like she was sewing it up a cadaver after an autopsy…hey I call it like I see it!
I usually start my turkey with the cover on to steam cook it first and then with the cover off for the last hour or so for the browning. I find the breast meat stays moister as it locks the juices in and maybe Miss Stewart wouldn't agree but it works for me and follows my mother’s tradition.
Contrary to what most may think, Christmas dinner is a really simple meal that basically cooks itself. A bit of timely basting and peeling and chopping the veggies and you’re off to the races. It isn’t a meal that forces you to stand all day slaving over the preparation. Hubby loves to help so that makes it even easier for me to keep up the princess persona.
We ate so much food I heard a few groans, most from me. Shane took home enough turkey and gravy to eat hot sandwiches for the next few days and we will be heating up the leftovers for a day or two as well, although by Friday I’ll want to deviate with a bit of fresh fish or beef. Hubby loves a good turkey/cranberry and mayo sandwich as well. Try it sometime, you’ll like it! Add some alfalfa sprouts as well.
Then Boxing Day was a shameless sleep-in day. We got up at noon and had a very relaxed brunch, played with the pups and decided it was a day of puttering. Hubby chopped and stacked firewood in the garage and I hooked. It was a mini taste of retirement, but funny thing, even though I could stay home guilt free, my thoughts continually drifted to the shop. For some reason, I really felt compelled to go to work, so I stayed in my jammies to dissolve the temptation.
So I hooked. I’m working on a very finicky part of the stocking, trying to make the brass trumpet in Santa’s sack look as realistic as possible. The shading has to be just right to produce that glint you would find on polished brass. I love a creative challenge and hopefully I can put my wool where my mouth is.
Then we awoke this morning to a Currier & Ives painting. Sure the white stuff is pretty through the window, but it’s nasty outside when you have to take pups out for their business. Henri loves it. He rubs his whiskers in the snow and then does a body roll. The other three not so much. Because of the sad state of the weather, I opted to take an owner’s prerogative day off. More lounging around in the jammies and computer work. Thanks goodness Mother Hubbard’s cupboard is far from bare and as long as the power doesn’t go out we’ll be set for the evening.
I checked my Facebook yesterday and noticed a kid,, a teenage boy, ‘liked’ my Encompassing Designs page. His wall photo was that of a very muscular older man, at least older than the kid, sporting a rock hard six pack, posing as if he was in a Calvin Klein underwear ad. The kid who liked me did not speak English. I really don’t know a lot about Facebook and quite frankly I don’t understand why a kid, probably not even knowing what Rug Hooking is all about, would even care, so I mentioned it to hubby and he said. “Maybe he was looking for a hooker?” We both laughed, but maybe he was right? Then a funny story popped to mind.
When I first opened business back in 2000 and got my website up and running I had the ability to keep track of the daily stats. How many hits to my site, how many people found it through a search engine, etc. Each day I noted 12-25 people visited my site. That was 13 years ago and over all pretty good attention whereas these days it’s peanuts, expecting 400– 1000 visitors in a 24 hours period. The program also told you where the hits were coming from, whether US or
Canada, and showed which internet provider the search originated from and the area. I was curious and checked it daily to track how popular the site was becoming and who was
So one day I checked and saw almost 600 hits! 597 people visited my shop in one day! 597!!! I almost fell off my chair. So I did the reasonable thing, I waited for the phone to ring. Surely that many people would bring in an order or two, because baby, I’d hit the big time!
Hours ticked by and nothing happened. So I went back in to search the stats further. I peeled back the layers to discover there was a US naval ship anchored in Halifax harbour so every hit came from the ‘US Navy’ from a server in Halifax. The men must have been on leave and were looking for a little hooking action. So, I didn’t get any calls for patterns or kits and thankfully so. Obviously, my kind of hooking was the last kind of handwork they were looking for……