Wednesday, December 21, 2011

the goose loves friendsmas

Christmas came early this year!

Not real Christmas. Friendsmas (Christmas+friends). This year (like last year, actually), my two best friends  here in Portland are going home for Christmas, while Billy and I stayed up here. We still wanted to get together and exchange some gifts, though, so we all gathered at our house on Monday (you like how timely this post is?! it's not weeks late, like my usual ones!). Our evening involved food (duh), some sugar, some holiday movies, and some gifts.

We started with a present for the Bentley, from his girlfriend Dakota. Bents is pretty good at opening his own gifts. He's better at opening them than I am at focusing my camera, actually. Except sometimes once he gets into the gift, he gives up on unwrapping and just starts chewing on the gift. Usually they're chewable, though.
 Look at those stockings, all hung by the fire! more on that later.
 It's a chewy stick! And I'm sad to report that Bentley has already chewed off like 14 little pieces of red "bark." But that also means he loves chewing on his new toy. Thank you, Kody!
 We baked a pizza and filled Christmas cups with soda. And I still haven't learned the art of focusing.
 Jackie brought adorable party napkins and plates.
 And our stockpile of gifts. Yay for pretty wrapping!
 The evening also included some sugar cookie making and decorating.
 And more drinking. Like my christmas display in the background? More on that eventually, too...
 Love the Christmas shapes!
 But this batch got a little crispy. Uh oh.
 We got some green, red, and white frosting going.
 Meanwhile, the dogs got a little Christmas "lollipop" - completely dog safe, of course.
 They loved it.
 Once I burned baked enough cookies, we got to decorating. Let the sprinkle fest begin!
 Even Billy got in on the action. I chose not to share his version of a decorated gingerbread boy, though...
 Pretty snowflake, pretty snowflake, falling down from the sky.
 And a J for Jackie!
 Lucia's the star. (And a rare appearance on my own blog, actually!)

 Carolyn decorated this pretty mitten, but when she picked it up for a photograph, a shower of sprinkles rained down. Hahaha.
 A few of our results.

 Then it was present time! Jackie gave Carolyn a rotary cutter for her fabric cutting pleasure.
 Bentley opened his second present, which I failed to photograph - it was a doggie backpack! Now he can carry his own water and poop bags when we run or hike... yesss.
 Jackie got us these ADORABLE beagle prints when she was in Florida! They're not speckled with white, though - they're reflecting our Christmas lights. And mom, can you spot the advent wreath? :)
 Carolyn got Jackie a series of pig-themed cooking utensils - Jackie loves pigs. And these are super cute.
 Billy and I got Jackie two squashes and a pencil. Yes. Anyone else watch the Jimmy Kimmel video where parents get their kids bad Christmas presents? You tube that stuff. Its hilarious.
 Okay just kidding - we got them a both a trip to the Columbia Gorge! It's a lodge about 30 min from Mt Hood, so we'll do some skiing/snowshoeing/snowboarding/relaxing/jacuzzi-ing/eating. The only drawback? They have to go with us. :)
 We spent the rest of the evening eating more cookies and watching the movie "The Holiday." Jude Law is hot.

It was an awesome Friendsmas celebration. And now we can all have equally-awesome Christmas celebrations with our families! T-minus 4 days...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

the goose loves dog collars

Finally, I'm making my way through my list of to-dos! That list included making a few dog collars - two for Jackie's dog Dakota and two for my sister's BF's dog, Cru. The best revelation in dog collar making since I originally made some? Use ribbon.
 I order the webbing and pieces online, and the webbing comes in increments like 3/4", 1", 1.5", etc. Ribbon comes in measurements like 5/8", 7/8", etc. That leaves a perfect match between ribbon and webbing, with just a little on the sides. And totally economical too.
 For Dakota, who's a black lab/border collie mix, I chose black webbing, classic silver clasps, and two different pink/black ribbon. I used an applique stitch to attach the ribbon securely to the webbing.
 For Dakota and Cru, who are both about 50 lbs, I started with 24" of webbing (and 36" of ribbon, since I purchased yard increments). I chose 1" wide webbing, 1" metal parts, and 7/8" ribbon.
To keep the collars durable and professional looking, I looped the ribbon over the both ends of the webbing, rather than stopping the ribbon at the edge of the webbing on front. I don't have a good photo of this, but the ribbon basically goes from front to the back on each edge. I then sewed the ribbon down, going through the ribbon on front and back at once. Looks clean and finished.
 That bottom blue one is for Cru, and I have another for him with blue/green/yellow stripes.
 These are easy to make, and look so nice, too! I hope the puppies enjoy them a lot! Dakota got hers at our Friendsmas celebration on Monday (that post to come soon), and Cru will get his in his stocking this weekend!
Yay for Christmas being almost here, and hooray for crossing things off my list!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

the goose loves adventures

Well there's no hiding with this post. It's clearly over a month old. But since this blog is part-diary, and since I'd like to be sure to remember this day, up it goes. In all its overdue glory.

Over a month ago, I had already been working on numerous craft projects for several weeks, leaving Billy to do much of the cleaning, cooking, and dishes. And as good of a housewife he is, I know that he doesn't love all the responsibility all the time. So I decided to separate myself from the sewing machine for a day and take him out for a day of fun things -all of which would be a surprise.

I started the day early.
But so did Bentley. In front of his cozy fire, of course. Yes, he's sitting on his giant used-to-be-stuffed elephant.
This is the reason I was able to stay awake that early on  Saturday. Mmmm.
I wanted to make breakfast before our adventure commenced, so I put together some quiche.

Vegetables, cheese, eggs, milk, and a little bisquick.
I had some deli ham that I laid down in my le creuset au gratin pans.
I then ladled my quiche mixture on top. It's green because I added pesto, not because I use moldy ingredients.
Bake for 20 minutes, or so, and you get beautiful little personalized quiches.

After enjoying our quiche and coffee, we headed to the yellow MAX lightrail line, right outside our house. Bundled up, of course. It was dry, but cold!
The first surprise of the day was a trip to the zoo! We hadn't been to the zoo since our good ole college days, so it was fun to walk around. It was also pretty quiet, which was nice!

Can you find the jaguar tail below? (P.S. Not really sure if that's a jaguar. Or what.)

Lions, and tigers, and bears... Bears that sit like Bentley do! I knew he was part bear.
Oh and the penguins were fun. They're little penguins, but they swim fast!!

Crazy Penguin.

Awww the polar bears were sweet. And sleepy. Zoo animals really sleep in on the weekends, I guess. It was already 10am or something, and they were all lounging still.

Billy=baby bear size
I think the measurements on the right were a little off. I swear I'm taller than 5 feet...

Polar bear butt. Look at those big furry paws!
The monkeys were pretty sweet too.
I liked this one because it had a purple butt.
I think this gorilla is praying. Right, mom?
The elephants were up there with my favorites. They're so wrinkly!

Elephant Family. Mommy, Baby, & Daddy. And Grandma's butt sticking out.
See? Even the lions were still sleeping.
Billy wanted to get in there with the rhino, but I suggested he stay on this side of the moat.
It's Gloria! (Madagascar, anyone?)
And Marty...
And Melman!

Yep, an alligator at the zoo. Could have been a crocodile, though. Not really sure.
Okay, the otter is my favorite. Must be my Montery, CA upbringing. Love these things!
After we were done freezing our fingers at the zoo, we hopped back on the MAX and headed home. Lunch was roasted red pepper soup and grilled cheese.

Oh yeah. Grilled cheese with tomatoes!

Yeah, I'd eat that again.

Bentley, who had been sleeping all morning (they don't let dogs at the zoo...probably a good idea for the animals, since Bentley would have barked at each and every one of them). Look at that wrinkled brow!

Lovey moment.
Please mom, help me.
Our after-lunch trip included some adventuring to Oregon City, OR - about 40 minutes southeast of the city. It's the end of the Oregon Trail (the real one, not the game we all love), and has a bunch of historic homes.

Our main adventure in Oregon City was the Highland Stillhouse, though. It's scottish-pub style food, which would make Billy happy any day, but it's true value is in the form of its whisky menu. That's right. Not its drink menu, which includes whisky, but its Whisky Menu. That's right. About 12 pages devoted entirely to the "water of life." A bound book. Just of whiskies. Luckily, you can't see the drool escaping the side of Billy's mouth in this photo.
Their food menu? Like two dinky pages. Only about 10 pages shorter than its whisky menu.
I ordered a nice dark stout. Delish.
Billy's first three beer choices weren't able to be located - yeah, he picked the rare ones that are buried in the back. Three times. Finally, he was able to get his hands on his fourth choice - the Old Stock Ale. A barley wine, something like 12% alcohol. Therefore, he did not get whisky as well.
I got the steak and mushroom pie, with a beautiful flaky crust on top.
Billy enjoyed the fish n chips. And wow, that was good fish.
It was a great day of adventure, and overall, very economical. We had a Groupon to the zoo, made two meals at home, and splurged only a little on dinner. And so worth it. We just might have to do this again. If I can pull myself away from the sewing machine again, that is.