December 09, 2009

How lovely are thy (bare) branches.

December 9? Really? Trouble. With a capital "T." And that rhymes with "tree" and that sounds like...well, tree. (My tribute to show tunes is a little spotty today.)

We actually bought the tree Sunday night for our city abode (that's where we host Christmas). And it's one big beauty. She's got her lights (thanks to Mike):

And two ornaments. Two.

Here's where the rest of the ornaments have been since Sunday when I pulled them out of storage:

Ugh! Maybe I can have a blog contest...winner gets to come decorate my tree?

And that tree photo is awful because I took it at dawn, which is the only time I'm home anymore. All work and no play is making Laura a dull and unproductive-in-matters-of-the-home girl.

The good news is, I did my holiday shopping throughout the year so no last minute shopping for me. The bad news is, I went back to my homeland this weekend where there were an inordinate number of flea markets and crafty good time holiday fairs. Talk about trouble!

This is my face upon realizing that most of the crap stuff in my mom's trunk now belongs to me, right down to the fabulous knit hat on my head (hey, it started snowing. So I needed a hat, right?) which I bought from a knitting club's table at Sailors' Snug Harbor Cultural Center for $5!

(Photo by The Brother, who may have been guffawing at me at this point.)

I am so in love with it I've worn it every day this week.

Among the other highlights...

At one church's fair, there was an adorable older couple who sell the husband's paintings, mostly of east coast lighthouses and other beachy fare. I have a couple of his mini paintings already, and let me tell you the price is always right.

See these two paintings?

This was the price they were each marked:

BUT...since I liked both he said I could have the two for $20. Original art, people! I mean, really. I couldn't leave them there.

He also decoupages random clip art and old advertisements onto pieces of flotsam and jetsam:

At 25 cents each, these are cheaper (and more environmentally friendly) than greeting cards and that's exactly what I plan on using them as.

And, want to take a guess at who this was "SOLD" to?

I know. Shocking.

I have always wanted a punch bowl but thought it would be a storage issue. And you know what? It will be! But, I mean, three bucks for all this. (By the way there are actually 15 cups, despite what the sign says. I think perhaps math may not be an Episcopalian strong suit? My father, however was both an Episcopal and and accountant. But I digress...) How could someone like me (who clearly is one step away from being on that show Hoarders) walk away from it?

The punch bowl set will make its debut on December 20 at my annual cookie exchange party. Where...fingers crossed...I will also be selling some pieces from my debut sewing collection to help raise some money for the babies of Hudson Cradle, my favorite charity. So if you're in the market for made-with-love (but not necessarily with talent) crafty bits, have I got the item(s) for you!

So two questions:

1. What kind of punch do I make?

2. Are you planning on being near Hoboken, NJ, on December 20? If so the cookie party is the place to be, and the more the merrier!

I'll even pour you some punch.


Courtney said...

I SO want to come to your cookie party! Can I, please? slight problem, though...should have thought of this first...I live in Oregon. Bummer. I was THIS close! But now I digress.

I ADORE those paintings you found and also the old cards on wood (oh, and the price). And in your last post, I LOVED the photo you took of the vintage cake-topper. You should absolutely make it into a wedding card!

Blondie's Journal said...

What a great post. Not sure where it was going at all times, but...the tree will get done, you've hit some great deals and I would love to come to the cookie exchange but I don't bake. That Kitchenaid mixer is just for show.

Love your hat!


The Quintessential Magpie said...

Do you want a potent punch or a sober punch?

I think one of the best punch recipes for sober punch that also has a bit of a tart kick and which Episcopalians like (I am one and used to be a Newcomers Steward at church and hence in charge of socials for well over a hundred folks at a time) calls for equal amounts of ginger ale or sprite, cranberry juice cocktail (think Ocean Spray) and pineapple juice (cans work). You add the ginger ale or sprite last. And I use the name brand, not a substitute. It has a nice reddish color from the cranberry juice.

THEN, I would make ice rings in my bundt pans by freezing strawberries or whatever fruit you wish to use with orange juice. You could even use orange or lemon slices.

You pour about an inch of orange juice in the pan and freeze it. Then you add your fruit and some more orange juice and freeze that. You keep adding small amounts of juice at a time and freezing until you have it filled to the top and frozen. In between, you can cover with wax paper or whatever you wish. Then when you are ready to serve, set it in an inch or two of warm water just to loosen it, don't melt it, and then drop it in your punch bowl to keep the punch cold. When it melts, it doesn't get all watery like an ice ring does. It adds juice to the mix. I use something like Tropicana orange juice. The good stuff. We're from Florida and know. ;-)

You could also make your ice ring out of cranberry juice cocktail (you know the stuff by Ocean Spray) and pineapple juice because those two ingredients are already in the punch.

Now of course you know I love your finds. And don't feel bad, Laura. Your friend here has not done the first thing towards decorating. I am so behind, I don't know when I will catch up. I do have some presents. That is big. LOL!

You are cute, cute, cute in that hat. Love it! Love the paintings and the punch bowl set, too.

Sue said...

Great hat...Miss b is going to be jealous....but have you seen her new King Julian Crown?? I bet you would like one of those...great punch bowl....but the paintings...did that 20 bucks include the two frames?? How can you take advantage of a senior citizen?? I would have done the same thing only I would have talked him down to $15 for the two...

Beach House Living said...

Behind? Your tree is up! Ours is still in the box and probably will be until the 11th hour and it is not because there is any cookie exchange preparations happening.

Leigh of Tales from Bloggeritaville said...

ARE YOU SERIOUS? What deals!!!!!
And your face, poriceless! Be sure to link up for Thirfty Thursday!

Tales from Bloggeritaville

Formerly known as Frau said...

Gorgeous tree! OMG I love the paintings awesome price you scored on everything!!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

You found some serious treasures there my friend! Punch? Is that what you are planning to put in that bowl? Mine is currently filled with candy canes (see latest post)..I have filled my punch bowl with many things, but never punch. Can't wait to see the tree finished. We haven't even bought our real tree yet...yes, we are slacking.
♥, Susan

j.cro said...

" So if you're in the market for made-with-love (but not necessarily with talent) crafty bits, have I got the item(s) for you!"

This had me laughing out loud!!
Easily the best line from the whole post.

Jenn said...

Hmm... is there anyway you could relocate the cookie exchange to say, Ontario?

Loving the punch bowls, c'mon, how could you possible leave it there (with it's EXTRA bowl!) for $3.00? It's just not doable! But I hear you, I'm about two steps away from Hoarders for sure. I've started actually looking around the basement where stuff goes until I figure out what we're doing with it, and you know what, that piles getting just a little bit on the intimidating side...

Love the hat!!! Major score!!

Faye said...

I did actually LOL at your reference to the show hoarders! At times when I'm trying to outrun*** yet another neat find that is trying to follow me home I murmer to myself "you don't want to end up like that". (yes I do talk to myself).

****(you know, it's never MY fault new items become mine but rather THEIR fault as they follow me while I'm not looking, lol)

As for trees being 'up and done' mine is but it's a horrid confession as to how I manage(d) that, lol

Wish I could join in your punch part, but hey, what about cyber showing/selling some of your creations for we poor far-flung peeps? We poor unable-to-have-punch-or-shop-peeps?! Poor US! (I'm just sayin', lol)


Anonymous said...

Laura -

Thanks for stopping by! That punch set was a steal! How could you NOT take it? And the Light House Paintings? We'd be dangerous together.
You are ahead of me. No Christmas tree yet.(Does a plot of land covered in Christmas Trees count?) I will keep you abreast when the big event occurs (decorating).
And..guess where my family was from and where I was born? Answer: The forgotten borough.

Unknown said...

I have no idea about what kind of punch to make. but my mom always did one with ginger ale, orange sherbert, and frozen strawberries as ice cubes.

Courtney said...

Laura...about the Blogger photo thing...I think I was messing around with the settings one time and changed something! But I have NO idea what! Pathetic, I know. But since Julia experienced it too - maybe it's not just me?? Sorry...I wish I had more info for strikes (me) again.

Anonymous said...

Ah! I wish I were going to be in NJ for your cookie exchange! Have fun, lady! Great post!

desiree said...

I want to come to the cookie party! I love to bake cookies. Sounds like such a great time. BTW, you look absolutely adorable in that hat. Best $5 investment!

Jean Martha said...

When I was a kid someone made punch with strawberry ice cream, seltzer and sherbert. Heaven to a 7 year old.

Maya @ Completely Coastal said...

I love those two lighthouse paintings! And your tree looks great, at least twice the size of mine!

Linda Lou said...

How fun a cookie party!!! I do a punch with apricot nectar, pineapple sherbert and a little champagne!! Love all of your finds as usual, and the hat is ADORABLE!!
The two paintings are great too--hope you are having more fun these days - only 11 more days to go...

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

So sorry I misssed your give away in the midst of my computer melt down but I enjoyed reading about the cute book and the tips left in everyone's comments! The only gramdmother I had growing up spoke Ukrainian, so I was out of luck in the "passed on wisdom" department, but I did learn to love gardening by her example :-)

I hae a "thing" for lighthouses so I absolutely LOVE those paintings Laura! Did they have a contact card? I'd love to purchase a few paintings from the artist...what a great deal too!

I'd love to come to your cookie party but we are expecting a snowstorm this weekend and I can't wear a snowboot over my broken foot:-( I'll be hunkered down decorating the tree I was finally able to buy yesterday...slim pickings this time of the month so I was happy not to get a Charlie Brown! Have fun and have a cookie for me!

Hugs, Pat