How to Get me a Gift

It was my two year wedding anniversary a few weeks ago.  I enjoyed a leisurely and romantic dinner at the Alchemy Bistro in Gloucester.

I also gifted my husband with what I hope will prove a useful tool for our future together.  A homemade infographic detailing how to give me a gift.

Giving good gifts really is a skill, and not everyone has it.  This was a pretty easy project for me to do, and really fun.

My first thought was to make a flow chart, but this interconnecting web was easier after I realized the starting point of giving gifts is usually an event, like an anniversary.  Then, I thought about all the things I like to receive, and that my husband needs little guidance in getting, after he has the idea.  I also listed some of the things that I’m a bit of a control freak about as items *not* to get me.  I like to pick out my own jewelry thankyouverymuch.

Then, I used crayons and an artist pen on cardstock, after I practiced with the layout on a piece of computer paper.  Finally, I purchased a frame. I think it turned out really well!


The 12 Crafts of Christmas: Day 7 Christmas Cookies

One of the nicest things about staying home more hours has been the unanticipated desire to spend more of those hours cooking.  At the start of 2011 I probably could have listed from memory the number of times I cooked for longer than 30 minutes. Boiling pasta was a gourmet meal.  Sad, but true.  So the desire to make Christmas Cookies, and more than one type, took me by surprise.

I kept it simple by imposing a few rules on myself – no single ingredient costing more than 5 dollars (goodbye pecans), nothing with a fancy flavoring ( amaretto for example), nothing I hadn’t made before (seven layer bars).

So what did that leave me with: Christmas M&M bars, my favorite go to – Cinnamon Cookies, and Brownies (yes, I used a mix from Betty Crocker).  I also picked up two types of candy to add to the mix.  Overall, this was way less complicated than I thought it would be, and I was pleased with the result tucked into box from the supermarket.

If I do this again next year I might go for something exotic.  But we’ll see.

The 12 Crafts of Christmas:Day 5 Making Bagels

My first attempt to make homemade bagels, and some of the mishaps that occurred.

The most time consuming gift I made, with moderate success, was bagels.  I wanted to make something which we eat a lot at my house, just to see what it was like.  I used this recipe in order to make my bagels.

But of course, I got overconfident even in my first attempts and tried to alter the recipe by adding frozen berries. This made the dough purple, and very sticky.  I didn’t know what to do.

It also meant after an hour, it had hardly risen at all.

So I heated the oven to 200 degrees, turned it off, then put the dough in there for another couple hours.

Blah!  At that point my husband was home from work and it was not a surprise that we were going to have very purple bagels.

I think the dough probably should have been stiff-er and felt less like jello, but it did.  I was surprised when boiling them and baking them did indeed turn out palatable bagels.

I’m proud that I did this, however, the chances of me doing it often are low.  Maybe in six months I’ll give it another try.

//Especially since – full disclosure – three days later the bagels were hard as a rock as well as shrivelly looking.  Totally weird.