The bells went much better than I had expected. Of course, my expectations were so low that they could hardly have gone worse. I was relieved and thrilled.

That lasted just until I learned that we were playing more pieces on December 16th. However, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Bokimo has offered to swap bells with me so that I can play middle C, a note I can always recognize on the page. I also have to play B and B flat, of course, but it might still be easier.

11 I did some autumn decorating. Formerprincess is already putting up her Christmas lights, so I may be behind the pack.

The porcelain on the mantel belonged to my great-grandmother. It is a jimsonweed pattern, and I love it. It has with it some beaded pumpkins, wooden grapes, and some silk flowers and leaves. I am ambivalent about silk flowers. On the one hand, I feel that honestly fake things like the beaded pumpkins are fine. We are not pretending that they are real pumpkins. They are pretty objects shaped like pumpkins.

 For me, the silk flowers are in the same category. But I know that for many people, they are fake and pretending to be real, which is a whole different, and less charming category.  

11The cat appreciates the decor, as you can see.

The china cornucopia is one that I bought at a flea market some years ago.

We are having a mere 12 for Thanksgiving, not 14, since my brother and his roomie are not coming. (I know a family that is expecting 32, so don’t think that’s too many.) I am still thinking that we may need to bring out our folding table.

We don’t try to seat that number, of course. I think it was Universehall who was saying she was just going to do a buffet, as though that were much simpler than a sit-down meal. I hadn’t considered that, since we never have enough room to seat everyone and always do a buffet. It seems as though the same amount of preparation is involved, but maybe I should have been appreciating the simplicity of it all this time.11

I am still thinking about vegetables. We are usually very simple about vegetables here, and the boys are firm on the question: mashed potatoes and corn, they say. I am doing sweet potatoes, but there is sugar involved, so that may not count as a vegetable.

I may just steam some green beans, or I might do a salad. I may also come to my senses and recognize that, with turkey and dressing and ham and mashed potatoes and gravy and corn and rice and cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes and several kinds of hot breads and three desserts, no one will be worrying about the lack of a green vegetable. My parents are bringing the meats, by the way. If I were doing a turkey and a ham in addition to the side dishes and breads and desserts, I might not still be thinking about the vegetables.

The ham is an innovation. My mother is concerned that there might not be enough food. You can see where I get this business of thinking that there might not be enough even though there is manifestly going to be plenty.

I am going to make a Jell-O mold. Gelatin is pretty, and it gives a lighter option for dessert, or people can consider it a salad and still have a couple of servings of pie. I may also make appetizers, because they are fun and they distract people if there is still a certain amount of stuff going on in the kitchen when they arrive.

I have an aunt who routinely serves fancy meals to large numbers of people with no visible effort, but I cannot seem to accomplish that. I am always still preparing things when the guests arrive, and the kitchen is always in some disarray.

11 The other thing I made this weekend was a couple of prototypes of a very clever idea that I saw on someone’s blog.

I have tried to find my way back to the blog in order to credit the originator of the idea, but with no luck.

No SEO going on over there.

Anyway, the clever person in question made folders from 12 x 12 scrapbooking paper.

She decorated them (more beautifully than mine, but I still have a little time to work on it).

Then she put a cookbook inside the folder.

11 She put in this particular cookbook, but there are a lot of things that come in this size and shape, so you could substitute some other little booklet. You could also use family photos and let this be your Christmas card. Have the kids do it, for greater sentimental value.

It seems perfect for those people for whom a card is not quite enough to express your feelings, but you don’t want to establish a gift-giving habit, either, or make them feel that they should have given you something.

You could also tuck other things into the second pocket — gift cards, say, or tickets to something — and make it a more lavish gift.

Returning the next day to say that I found the link, and here it is.

11 Finally, here is Ivy. Not completed, by any means, but looking different enough to warrant a picture. This is Elsebeth Lavold’s design, “Ivy,” from The Summer Breeze Collection, in Knitpick’s Essentials, in the color “Ash.”

It is not still on the needles. It is simply that the bottom has a garter stitch band and is therefore rolling up, so I threaded a needle through it to give it the idea that it ought not to do that.

That’ll larn it.

Probably not, actually. I think I will crochet around the edge. Then it needs buttons, and the collar. The collar gets a lace edging, several inches deep.

I know that some of my readers would quit right here and not add the lace, but I really like lace. I think that it gets harder to wear lace as you get older, so I take all opportunities. The patterns calls for a lace edging, which you then sew on. I am going to do a couple of repeats of the lace in question and see whether I might not want to switch to another. I have some favorite old French laces that I think might be very good. On the other hand, Lavold is a very good designer, and the lace she chose might be exactly the one for this design.

Today I have lots of computer work, and the gym, and then rehearsal, so I will not get going on that lace. Someday soon, though.