One week ago today was Thanksgiving. What? It’s over, it’s been over, and I’ve just started to come out of my turkey coma. I gave the whole kitchen a good scrub down yesterday, put all the baking supplies back (after sorting them and throwing out some really old rice flour- not sure what that was all about…) and cleaned out the fridge. Last night we had a really lovely- albeit sleepy- grocery run in the dark (gotta love Daylight Savings. Dark at 5:30 in the afternoon. Really?). I love a good supply run, don’t you? Fresh veggies and fruits (the Cuties are in! Yaay Cuties!), some lean meats, and I’ve officially begun laying in the chocolate supply for all my Winter Tide baking. I’ve gone with Ghirardelli morsels this year- I’ve missed them so! After a few years of going with Nestlé's and Tollhouse, I really needed some good chocolate in the house!
I’ve slowly been bringing Christmas, Yule and Winter Tide treasures home for a few weeks now: a glass Polar, some polka-dot candy papers, a gnome ornament and a blown glass golden tiger one, too. (Been messing about with recreating that, too- looks good! I’ll post pictures soon.) The Cricut Paper Cutting machine has seen some use, too- lots of prancing ponies, sleighs, red cardinals and foxes are dancing around my idea boards right now. And yesterday I tried out a new cookie recipe- Snickerdoodles! I can’t believe I’ve never made them before- they are really good, with the outside all crunchy from a sugar coating, and the inside all soft and cakey. It made the house smell like Disneyland for a while, too!
Which brings us to a fork in the road. On the one hand , I want to talk about our trip to Disneyland last week, and on the other I have a bit of an essay on the worth of good tools. Which to choose? Let’s do this- I’ll give a brief synopsis of both! Okay, fair warning, this could get long…
So, Disneyland! It’s become a cherished tradition for us to make a trip to the Fair Kingdom on Black Friday. It’s consumerism yes, but of the loveliest sort! We don’t buy much- in fact, it’s become another tradition to pick out a small ornament from the shops on Main Street just before we leave to mark the occasion. Last year I picked TinkerBell, and thought I would just find her in another pose, but at the last second a sparkly little Alice (from Wonderland, you know?) caught my eye. The girls are now ensconced on my jewelry holder, discussing tea and the delights of Christmas baking. So pretty! I’ll post a proper discussion of our trip next week- that’ll be worth a full week of posts at least!
Now, let’s talk about tools, shall we? I picked up a cookie dough scoop to try out this month, mainly because I like to make mostly drop cookies during the year, and for Christmas this year I wanted a more “professional” look to my baking. I looked at a few places, choked over some of the prices (and sizes- I mean really! who needs a half cup measure for cookies?) and decided to get a really cheap, plastic model from the craft store.
Don’t do it! Just walk away! Back away from the cheap stuff, and no cookies will get hurt.
Really, truly- you get what you pay for when you are investing in tools! I will never understand why I think I can get away with buying cheap (I’m talking less than $3) plastic tools. Encarta defines a tool as:
“ an object designed to do a specific kind of work such as cutting or chopping by directing manually applied force or by means of a motor”.
If it’s designed to do a “specific” job, why would I think that just any old plastic thingamajig would do the job? Well, this brings me to the point of this whole essay: I am designed to do a specific, particular job. and at this point in time, that job is doing what I’m doing right now, what I’ve been training to do for the last 7 years! Why would I let myself fall prey to peer pressure and think that I’m not doing “my job”? I lost my way this year, and started thinking that I was spending too much time playing around while my husband did the “real” work.
Just because I don’t bring in a paycheck, I began to think that my work wasn’t “real”. Well, that’s just silly! Because my work is just as real as any one else's! In fact, I would have to pay someone else a lot of money to do what I do. And that would just defeat the purpose. I am searching for a way to make a living doing what I do, but the path I almost set out on this year is not the way I want to accomplish that. And not to put too fine a point on it, but noone else can do the stuff I can: I taught myself how to knit, and sew, paint, quilt, crochet, bake, cook, write (! I’m most proud of that I think. It’s a lot of work writing all these blog posts, but it has taught me so much about writing, and I’ve gotten tons of practice, and practice makes perfect, right?) and garden in the last 7 years! On top of all that skill, I’ve spent the last 11 years battling some pretty serious health issues. I don't know anyone else who was given a Menopause diagnosis at the age of 30! And that’s just the tip of my personal iceberg…
So don’t skimp on the right tools. Sometimes it’s a good idea to search for ways to make one tool do several jobs, but it can’t even do it’s own job if it’s not tempered and built correctly. And sometimes that means spending some real money to get the best choice.
And sometimes, the best tool is the one you’ve had all along!