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Saturday, December 24, 2011


My Christmas cake. I think it weighed about five pounds. I found a recipe very close to my traditional chocolate cake recipe that I have been using for my family and friends' cakes for decades. My personal cook book is in storage in Oregon. And as many hundreds of times as I have made that cake, I could not for the life of me remember the recipe. I just don't remember things. I have to write everything down. For a cake this big, I increased the recipe by a half.

I am also dealing with an oven that runs 75 degrees hot. But... if you set it at 275 to get 350, it heats to 275. But if you set it then at 350, it heats to over 400 degrees. So I practiced on a package of brownies which I then gave to neighbors. Then I spent hours working the temperature knob to get the oven as close to 350 degrees as possible. Also I had to take into consideration the fact that I was dealing with large cake pans and extra batter. So, needless to say, getting this cake to work was really up to kharmic energy.

But look. I got a fantastic cake. I then made a double batch of frosting and voila. Christmas cake.

I got all my gifts into a bag. I made sure my camera was in my pocketbook. In another bag I put a bunch of magazines and a sweater I fixed for Linda. And these I had to handle while also bringing down the stairs the cake. All I could think of was dropping the cake. When George called that he was on his way to pick me up I told him I would need help when i got out the door because I would be balancing the cake. When we got to Linda's house, I realized I forgot my pocketbook. At first I thought, oh well. Then I quickly realized that it had my camera in it. Merde!!


That is all that I got for pictures for Christmas. I didn't get any pictures of the ornaments I made because I made them, wrapped them and sent them out or packaged them for the family. I made pin cushions for my sisters Suzanne and Linda and did I get pictures? I spent 99% of my life creating all of these garments and all of these beautiful things and never took pictures. I have been trying to break that habit for the past three years or more and I just have to be better. My sister Denis is constantly on me for not taking pictures and I am a constant disappointment.

I did take pictures of this apron I designed. My niece Melanie asked for an apron for Christmas. Of course, the task was given to me and I was happy about that. Aprons are pretty popular but it is very very rare that I see one that I like. There are some wonderful pieces out there, but they are more ornate than practical. I wanted something practical. And Melanie is not a foo foo person herself. I was sure she was not looking for something with frills and cutesy fabrics. She, I was sure, was looking for something heavy, washable, and a fabric that stains could easily be removed from.

I went to this store nearby called Fabric Fix where you could buy fabrics inexpensively. I found two folds of decorator weight toile. One red based and one green based. Perfect. I made hers out of the red. I created the pattern myself. It is an ample fit. It covers the entire bodice not just the center of the breast. The neck strap is adjustable using 1" D-rings. It wraps around completely to the back and the straps come round to the front to tie. I made a 1/2" bias binding to completely cover the raw edges using 2 & 1/4 " bias strips. I made enough to make the straps as well. This way, it is completely finished instead of having rolled edges. It has more substance.

When you put it on, you are surrounded with it. It is long enough to go down to just below the knees. Melanie was thrilled as she claims to be a sloppy cook in the kitchen. It is totally washable and I told her that if she gets any stains, just give the stain a spray of Simple Green and throw in the wash. After it is dried, you don't even have to iron. The weight of the fabric will hold its own.

The perfect apron! She tried it on and loved it. Yes!! So who wants one?

I did not get pictures of the wonderful spread of food my sister Linda put together. All these hor d'heurves, a cheese fondu, a full table of wonderful things. Suzanne made a buche using whipped cream and chocolate wafers that was absolutely wonderful. I didn't eat my own cake. I ate hers. The tree, under which were a hundred gifts. Suzanne was there with her husband John, Melanie and her son Hyrum, Mom, Linda, and George and I and a surprise guest, PJ, my brother Phil's son. I haven't seen him since he was just a boy and now he is in college, 28 years old, deep voice and all grown up. A great personality and a joy to be with. My first Christmas with NH family in eight years. Everyone was happy and healthy and it was a nice warm evening. We celebrated on the 23rd this year as Linda had to work on Christmas day. Linda's a nurse and has a schedule.

No matter. What is important is being with them. My favorite time of year.

I didn't get to make my Christmas cards this year, so I will be creating New Year's cards this week. A looking forward card, a wishing well for the new year. That will be great. I never buy. I always make. It makes every occasion more personal.

I am worried though. I sent my sister Denise her gift on Monday and the post office said it would be there by Thursday. It is now Saturday and it still has not arrived. I am uncomfortable.


  1. The cake is exquisite! And the photos of it are perfectly done. I can zoom in and see it as if it were right in my own kitchen! Great post! Joyeux Noël!! Meilleurs souhaites à tous!

  2. I get the sugar jitters just gazing at your cake ... I remember your cakes .... oye!

  3. I am loving my apron! It is absolutely PERFECT! Thank you so very much. When I am not wearing it, I have it hanging on a window pane hook - like a decoration. I only wish I looked as stunning in it as the model in your photos!