Monday, March 20, 2017

Disembodied heads and rainbows, instead

Part of becoming ultra-organized and taking time to appreciate the little things includes making a bigger deal out of heretofore-ignored holidays.  So when St. Patrick's Day came around, I decided to go all out.

First, the cookies.  A simple batch of chocolate and vanilla, but you divide up the vanilla batch and color it.  Rainbow order, of course!

You then roll each color into a log, Play-Doh-style, and smash them together.  In hindsight, I wish I would've rolled each color out flat so the distribution would've been more even...more like a rainbow and less like a peacock feather or a creepy rainbow eyeball.

Encase the log in chocolate...

Refrigerate, then slice and bake.

See the creepy eyeball?  Oh, well.  The chocolate isn't very sweet, and the vanilla tasted almost like frosting.  Delicious!  Here's the recipe if you want to try it yourself.  

Moving on to decorations...I found this 4-leaf clover banner at a thrift store for a quarter.

Green placemats and flowers (helleborus from the yard)...a green box to set the mini vase in...

...and green ribbons for the chairs.

We felt very festive eating our rainbow cookies here!  Time-wise, the cookies were made over 2 days. The slice-and-baking day was very quick.  The "greening" of the dining room was done amid shifting batches of cookies in and out of the oven, so the whole thing was done in 30 minutes.  Not a huge time investment for a lot of enjoyment!

Speaking of time investment, though, I'm ready to put a fork in Fancy Baking Day.  My March effort was a total bomb.  I tried to make a strawberry fraizier - a lemon chiffon layer cake with homemade almond paste, homemade pastry cream, and homemade whipped cream.  I took a morning off work to make it and it ended up taking over 4 hours in total, not counting the clean-up after (which was considerable).  My pastry cream was runny, I didn't have enough almond paste, and the thought of trying to stack and decorate it in the fancy way the example showed was too overwhelming at the end.  I did it my own sad, slanting way, with strawberries sliding in the wet pastry cream and big empty patches from the scarcity of whipped cream.

At least the taste was amazing.  But...NEVER AGAIN.

I've very slowly been working on a new quilt, but my heart hasn't been in it.  I'm not crazy about the scrap fabrics (by the way, those corner stars have been fixed and now align with the rest of the quilt), and my lack of enthusiasm affected my work, with sloppy joins and wonky seams.

I guess I'll go ahead and sew it together.  Maybe I'll be more inspired.

Here is the quilt on day 2.  I'd thought it would be fine on the floor overnight, but I underestimated the vigor of our cats!

Speaking of cats and quilts...they might love them more than I do.

We're back to the season of beautiful sunsets...

But alas, the warm and intermittently very cold days have decimated our azaleas.  They should be going full-bore until late April, but the blooms are all spent now.  I got one poor-quality picture of the two under our living room window last week...

...and have eked one last limp bouquet out of one of the front bushes.

The real disappointment is that my very favorite double-ruffled azaleas didn't even get a chance to open up before the frost got them.  No more until next year...sob!

I've got a few last camellia blossoms around, their blooms frequently toppling over and rolling around on the floor like disembodied heads.  I'm not ready to rely on dyed carnations from the grocery store yet...I went out and cut tons of helleborus.

Helleborus last FOREVER in vases - weeks! - but I just don't like them much.  Maybe the brevity of the other bouquets make them a little more special?  Whatever the reason, I'm just glad that I've got SOMETHING to enjoy!  And there's always next year!

At least Todd is in a good mood, despite our poor flower season.  ;)

Have a great week!

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