Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas tablecloth

I found this unspeakably charming thing on Etsy two years ago.

with reindeer,

and bells,


and Santa's sleigh!

I paid $16.99 for it - and it came with eight napkins.  And I  was afraid to use it - so I didn't until last year, and I avoided everything with beef gravy or tomato.

But I'm not worried anymore, because I know about Biz. Santa and his reindeer can keep zippin' around the table without any trepidation on their part or mine, because stains are a thing of the past!


Monday, December 27, 2010

an idea from Rosamunde Pilcher

A few years ago, this lovely book came through our library, and I wanted to look at it again

She has an elegant and tastefully decorated home in Scotland, and at Christmas time she likes to display many of her cards by hanging them on a ribbon.


I did the same, hanging mine in the kitchen on a long piece of bias tape.

Only those which can hang over the tape. I'm not sure if I'll do anything with the others, but I like this idea.
She displays cards in other places all around the house, in amongst the knick knacks - I do that, too! She says, "It is almost as if we surround ourselves with the people who are close to us."  That's a nice thought.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Italian nativity

At church


Saturday, December 25, 2010

first day of Christmas, passed

what it's all about

Dolly waiting

my favorite ever paper

pretty things


Then dinner in the evening at our cousin's - Joanne, excellent hostess - Jimmy, who actually remembered that I dislike diet soda, and had some real Coke just for me - Anna's fruit salad, which I brought, and now Joanne wants it again next year! - and their kitty, Teddy


who I woke up, poor thing, and is really much cuter than this!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Henry in the living room


the O Antiphons: the seventh night

O Emmanuel:

"O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God."

(Nativity,  by Marc Chagall)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

the O Antiphons: the sixth night

O Rex Gentium:

"O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust."


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

little cloth gift bags

I got this idea from an old Victoria magazine, little cloth gift bags made by

putting the fabric wrong sides together, stitching on three sides and pinking the edges. Then adding ribbon handles, and tags made from Christmas cards.

They seem ideal for small gifts, and not much more trouble than wrapping.

Except that now I don't have enough checked fabric to lengthen my garland, which is what I was going to do with the rest of this - until I forgot all about it, and made these charming bags!

the O Antiphons: the fifth night

O Oriens:

"O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death."

(Light of the World, by Holman Hunt)

Monday, December 20, 2010

the O Antiphons: the fourth night

O Clavis David:

"O Key of David, O royal power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of Heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom."

(Crossing of the Red Sea, by Cosimo Roselli)


favorite Christmas music

I got this idea from the Long ladies' list of favorite Christmas movies and cds.

I have a good assortment of Christmas music, but a handful of very favorite ones -

This one I originally had on tape, bought from a catalog which featured things from England. I love A Christmas Carol, and it was called Inside Fezziwig's, so how could I resist it? By a fellow named Ed Sweeney along with some other musicians, it's a lively mix of dancing melodies.  After a few years, the tape got distorted and I was in a panic, but my faithful friend (Cyndi Lou Who) found it on cd at Amazon with a different name.

One of my jobs at the library is to purchase music - mostly classical, some jazz, holiday music (of course!), along with this person, who buys mostly pop. I like to get things from different cultures, and I got this one from Musical Heritage Society. It's from a music school in Sweden and I fell in love with it. I'm not Scandinavian at all, but I love to listen to it. The acoustics are wonderful, the singing is wonderful, and the way Peter Mattei sings O Holy Night is terrific.

Here's another discovery from MHS - Julianne Baird singing a Renaissance program at the Metroplitan Museum of Art in NYC.

These two are my absolute, absolute favorites - the Cambridge Singers can't be surpassed. Both of these are perfect, and I can't think of anything more to say about it!

My father was a musician, and loved Sinatra more than any other singer, so we grew up hearing him, and I still like him. I've heard other of his Christmas recordings, but they're a bit too jazzy for me - this one is quieter, but with some cheerful songs as well. A very nice collection.                                                                  


Sunday, December 19, 2010

the O Antiphons: the third night

O Radix Jesse:

"O Flower of Jesse's stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid."

(Notre-Dame de la Grande, Poitiers)

Sunday Baroque

This is a radio program aired on a local-ish station for two hours every week, but it's a four-hour program, devoted solely to baroque and renaissance music. I enjoy it every Sunday while getting ready for church, but often forget that it's available to listen to online - any time. The host, Suzanne Bona, has a very pleasant speaking voice which makes the commentaries a pleasure to listen to, and this morning I heard an enjoyable array of Christmas music from a few hundred years ago, which I like. So, I think I'm going to tune in today to hear the whole thing. If you like earlier music, here's the place to go.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

the O Antiphons: the second night

O Adonai:

"O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free."

(Moses and the Burning Bush, by Bourdon Sebastien)


toe socks

For some obscure reason, the subject of toe socks came up at work yesterday. And it just so happened that I'd dug out my pair just this week.

A gift from a friend, some Christmases ago.  They take a bit of getting used to. Especially inside of shoes.

But they're fun. And warm. And it's a holiday!                                                                        

Friday, December 17, 2010

the burden of patience

I stumbled upon this article by Sonja Corbitt today, and it was exactly what I needed.

the O Antiphons: the first night

O Sapientia:

"O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation."

(Annunciation to the Herders, by Govert Flinck)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

tough earrings

Among my collection of cheap Christmas earrings are the above.  A number of years ago I wore them to the supermarket; there was snow on the ground, and when I got in the house one of them was missing from my ear. I searched every place I could - they didn't turn up.

A couple of months later, I found it in the driveway, unmarked, unblemished - no peeling, no rusting, or whatever might befall cheap metal earrings which lay in the snow for weeks; being run over by a pickup, etc.   !

I still am amazed when I think of it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas cards into gift tags

A co-worker made some very pretty gift tags out of Christmas cards, just by some strategic cutting. I still have last years cards - I hate to throw them away, but you can't save everything. Not to mention the "Seasons Greetings" cards which we don't tend to send, but they often have such pretty scenes on them.
Well, now I know what to do with them!


"Advent...like springtime in nature"

"The season of Advent is like springtime in nature, when everything is renewed and so is fresh and healthy. Advent is also meant to do this to us - to refresh us and make us healthy, to be able to receive Christ in whatever form he may come to us."
                                                    - Mother Teresa 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

3 nice girls

Last night I went with my co-workers to a local restaurant for a little Christmas dinner. They make gourmet style pizza, which we all love. And as I was going out, passing by a table with three young women around 20-ish, one of them stopped me and asked if we were teachers.  I said, No - we work in such and such library - why?

I forget exactly what else I said to her, but I was wondering how we appeared to them. Ten middle-aged women, all getting along with each other, laughing about some things, yawning a bit near the end. But no, the three were looking at me with interest; it was a very pleasant, if short, interchange. They were curious about us - we appealed to them in some way - they had lovely, open faces - looked me in the eye. They were such a contrast to the usual encounters we have with young people, plugged into a cell phone or personal music.  They were interested in a group of women, mostly in their 40s and 50s.

 God bless them! May their curiosity about their fellow man always stay alive.