Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Rockin' Black Bookcase

My husband is for hire. (I don't like to advertise that too loudly or too often, mostly because I keep him pretty busy with my projects.) But during the month of December, he took some seasonal time off from his nursery job and needed a good woodworking challenge to keep him occupied.

So I contracted him out to our good friends, the Lindemans. They had been wanting a bookcase for their living room, but couldn't seem to find the right shape, size, color, finish, etc. to fit their needs. They sent Eric some dimensions, paint preference, and a few photos of bookcases they had seen & liked, and he got to work.

The construction went quickly. The painting did not. Admittedly, Eric doesn't have the best set-up for painting large furniture pieces. (A.K.A. my half of the garage.) But his patience and stubbornness to learn a new skill paid off. It turned out beautifully. And it looks so perfect in the Lindeman's house, underneath that awesome, rockin' U2 poster! 

We got the official "thumbs up" from Mr. Park as he inspected it upon arrival this morning.

PS. Carrie & Craig: I wouldn't be surprised if your little guy uses those sliding cabinet doors for a future game of hide & seek.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 Holiday Highlights

Gus left this note for Santa Claus on the plate of cookies & milk: "Dear Santa, if you bring good gifts we will make your milk extra chocolatie. From Gus"
It must have worked, because we had a very, merry Christmas at the Denneler house. Here are just a few of the fun things we found under our tree this year. Thanks Santa.
 A Hello Kitty Scooter for Bea.
 A remote control spy video helicopter for Gus.
A menagerie of Wonder Pets - Linny, Tuck & Ming-Ming too!
A Whammo Snowball Blaster. (Now if it would just SNOW!)
The nearly-impossible-to-find Atlantis Exploration HQ Lego set.
And quite possibly, the best $10 Playdoh toy ever made - The Mega Fun Factory! (I highly recommend it for anyone under the age of ten. Gus and Bea both love it.)
Eric must have been an extra good boy this year, because he found an Apple TV in his stocking.
And I was whoopin' and hollerin' about my new Whoopie Pie pan & cookbook. Watch out... I smell some baking in the near future.
Hope your holidays were as sweet as ours.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Carpal-tunnel-inducing Christmas Cookies

Added bonus: they've got bronchitis baked right in!

I'm joking of course, but the 2010 holiday sugar cookies almost didn't happen. Two days before the Weishaar family gathered to celebrate Christmas, I came down with some kind of cold/flu/bronchitis bug. But rest & prescription drugs prevailed, and this baker was back in business... just in the St. Nick of time.

I opted to make festive, geometric squares & circles with a winter-y color scheme of white, red, brown and blues. My main goal was to cram as many cookies a possible into three, large, disposable pizza boxes. (Space was limited in the Nissan Altima sleigh!)

About 4 hours into my frosting marathon Eric said: "Tell me again why you spend so much time decorating these, when our nieces & nephews are just going to stuff them into their gobs?"

I don't know why, I just do. It wouldn't feel like Christmas if I didn't.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Self-decorating Sugar Cookies

I've discovered a new, favorite way to make cool sugar cookies (minus the carpal-tunnel-inducing frosting & decorating.)

They're called Icebox Cookies. (It's the same technique I used to make my Candy Corn Cookies back in October.) You mix them up, color them whatever funky way you desire, roll/layer/twist them however you choose, and pop them in the refrigerator. When they're chilled and hard, you take them out, cut them into slices and bake them. OK. Yes, I realize the Pillsbury Dough Boy's been doing this for 100 years. But I like to use my favorite Kansas Sugar Cookie recipe and make colorful designs with mine.

I'm taking these green stripey trees and wintery circles back to our families for Christmas. I especially love how great they stack and pack for easy travel. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A year of happy faces.

One of my favorite gifts to give our parents each year, is a calendar with family photos. Normally, I make them through our iPhoto account, but this year I decided to try a company called Minted. WOW! They turned out even better than I hoped. The paper they use is so luxurious and the little details (like rounded corners & decorative back pages) really appeal to art-types like me that want to give a well-designed gift, but just don't have the time. They do the creative work for you. I will definitely be using them again.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Will Wu marry me?

My WSU co-worker and occasional WuShock mascot cohort, Andy, got married last week to his sweet, Japanese girlfriend, Kana. And since they were planning a simple, private ceremony, our office got together and sent this Wedding Kit home with him to help celebrate the day - a mini wedding cake, flowers and gift cards for dinner & shopping.

Congrats & best wishes on a happy life together!

Casual Friday

My designer friends and I dressed up in holiday "attire" for a contest at our WSU office Christmas party last week. Kristi came dressed as Mom-on-Christmas-Morning, complete with her own bottle of peppermint schnapps in the pocket of her bathrobe. I was a gingerbread man. And Joey decked herself out in candy cane colors & paraphernalia from head to toe.

PS. Kristi won the contest. That bottle of schnapps was the perfect touch.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Alphabet cookie cutters to the rescue.

I killed three birds with one stone this week. I needed to bring something to work for our office Christmas party, Gus needed treats at school, and Bea wanted to decorate cookies for her friends at daycare. So, I pulled out my alphabet cookie cutters and got creative.

1. A WuShock-inspired Christmas cookie greeting

2. A sugary message to Gus' class

3. Upper & lower case "L" cookies for daycare (It was "L" week.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I heart fun t-shirts.

A few months ago, I stumbled upon the website of an LA-based pie company called I Heart Pies. I instantly fell in love with their fun logo - a baker octopus holding pies. Sweet. I emailed the company, telling them that I lived too far away to buy one of their pies, but that I'd love to order a t-shirt if they sold them. They didn't. And I was sad.

But then last week, on my birthday, I got another email from Emily at I Heart Pies. Their "Octopie" t-shirt was now for sale on their website. Yippee! What a perfect birthday present to myself. I ordered one immediately.

And I heart it.
Now, if they'd just make a t-shirt with that cute little Mr. Whisk character. Hint. Hint.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I still feel like a kid.

Today was my 39th birthday.
I celebrated with my favorite: chocolate cake & brown sugar frosting.
Under a shower of balloons from Gus and his best friend, Jay.
Watching Bea rip open all of my birthday cards and letters.
And in the arms of my sweet little family.


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