As most teachers know, "break" (especially "winter break") doesn't really mean that you get to take a break.
In fact, I usually look forward to writing and training over winter break or in-between summer school sessions. This winter break, I swam and I wrote more hours per day than I usually get to, and I loved it (even when the pool heater went out).
Gretchin Rubin, in her Happiness Project, says that sometimes checking one thing off your "on-going to do list" (like going to the dentist or polishing the silver or touching up the paint in your bedroom or anything on Pinterest) will make you happier. With this in mind, I tackled three projects that I'd been wanting to complete since the weather got cold. I patched a tear in my flannel sheets; I combated holes in two crocheted blankets; and I also devoted a day to one baking project from Pinterest.
1. Patching the flannel.
These are my favorite sheets, and I've been searching for replacements since a hole was torn in them last winter. When I tried to use the holey sheets by flipping the hole to the lower half of the bed, my foot got stuck and made the hole bigger: sigh.
I decided the patch didn't matter because no one sees my bedsheets besides me and the animals (Well, now the whole internet, clearly I'm new to blogging.) so I cut a piece of fleece from an old Ikea throw and hem-stitched (the only stitch I know) it on top of the hole. No more feet stuck in the sheets!!
2. Mending the blankets.
When my puppy chews bones, especially those Nylabones, he sometimes gets them caught in the blankets, especially the irreplaceable handmade blankets like the one my great-grandmother made me when I was born or the one my grandmother made me when I started graduate school.
The first hole I tackled was the one in my favorite snuggling blanket that my Grandma Colleen made me while I was in graduate school. I tackled this one first because the yarn is newer and more pliable. I knew that I couldn't make the hole invisible so I didn't even try. I just crocheted a circle (after taking silly pictures of Fin with his head in the hole he made, of course.)
The second hole attempted to mend was a heck of a lot harder because the blanket was so old. The hole also transversed to colors which made it tricky. Looking back, I should have chosen bright pink to make it look like a rectangle of fun. Regardless, I think I did a pretty good job.
3. Baking delicious fig-walnut cookies.
I chose this not only because I wanted to actually do something from my Pinterest boards, but also because I wanted to use up a jar of walnuts that have been sitting in my cabinet for, err..., at least two years.
I used Guida De Laurnetiis' recipe from The Food Network. You can find it here, but let me caution you that it is difficult and time consuming. I had the most trouble with the pastry dough, which came out too wet the first time and too dry the second. I worked with both, adjusting the flour the first time and adding milk the second. Also, I had so many figs and walnuts that I ended using the whole two batches of dough. In the end, I decided the fig-walnut filling is so delicious that as long as these turned out looking like jam-filled ravioli I was doing good! (And they're not too sweet; I even gave some to my dentist.)