Saturday, December 31, 2011

a cozy New Year

It was quite foggy and rather gloomy around here all day -

but, with the tree on and Christmas music playing

very cozy within.

May you also have a cozy and safe New Year's Eve.

Friday, December 30, 2011

lunch with friends

an old friend, and a new one!  Atmosphere, good food, charm. Pretty Christmas trees.

Thank you.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Christmas {p,h,f,r}

I've been {happy} with my new garland

 I used a rich yellow cotton with little white dots, which is why I also used yellow for the tree skirt. I stuck to lots of red ornaments along with some silver and gold and I think it all looked {pretty}.

(I won't be washing this one!)


A merry Christmas season to Leila and everyone.

round button chicken

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

a good purchase

I was at Home Goods a few months ago and saw a non-stick oven skillet for thirty dollars in the clearance section. I also had a gift card with almost ten dollars on it.   You know how it is when you've got a big omelet going - too big to turn over - and you need to finish off the top of it under the broiler? I have a nice metal handled skillet, but it's not nonstick.  Anyway, I bought that thing.

A couple of days later, I was perusing Cooking Light at work, and they were comparing oven skillets; mine was going for sixty dollars!

I used it tonight, finally. So I've had it four months and don't need it that often. But for twenty bucks - and it's really sturdy - I'm okay with that.

Monday, December 26, 2011

a lovely Christmas

  • church
  • making Anna's fruit salad
  • Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on the radio from Cambridge, England
  • kitties and lots of paper

  • dinner at Joanne's
  • lively cousins of all sizes
  • the famous rum cake
  • many pretty Christmas lights to see on the way home

Sunday, December 25, 2011

"a kind, forgiving, pleasant, charitable time"

"There have been many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,... Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, ... as a good time: a kind, forgiving, pleasant, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely...And therefore Uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"

                                -   Charles Dickens,    A Christmas Carol

(Roger Rees as Scrooge's nephew, Fred)

"He was poor..."

I saw this yesterday on Ann Voskamp's site

"He was poor, that He might make us rich.
He was born of a virgin that we might be born of God.
He took our flesh, that He might give us His spirit.
He lay in the manger, that we may lie in paradise.
He came down from Heaven, that He might bring us to heaven...

That the Ancient of Days should be born
that He who thunders in the heavens should cry in the cradle...
that He who rules the stars should suck the breast;
that a virgin should conceive;
that Christ should be made of a woman, and of that woman which Himself made,
that the branch should bear the vine,
that the mother should be younger than the Child she bare,
and the Child in the womb bigger than the mother,
that human nature should not be God, yet one with God.

Christ taking flesh is a mystery we shall never fully understand till we come to heaven.

If our hearts be not rocks, this love of Christ should affect us.
 Behold love that passeth knowledge! (Eph. 3:19)

-Thomas Watson, 1620-1686

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

"Behold, He cometh"

"Behold, I send my angel, and he shall prepare the way before my face.

And presently the Lord whom you seek, and the angel of the testament whom you desire, shall come to his temple. Behold, he cometh, saith the Lord of hosts."

                      Malachi 3: 1

Thursday, December 22, 2011

first day of winter

This quote from Edna O'Brien is in the current Country Living  -

"In a way, winter is the real spring, the time when the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature."

Monday, December 19, 2011

new tree skirt

As I said the other day, the bright red cloth under the tree had to go - it showed the white fur too much.  I found a piece of pale yellow gingham in my stash - perfect!

Dolly doesn't seem to mind the change.

In fact, she's under there all the time.

I guess she approves.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


The Expectation
  by Richard Lawson Gales

"Over the apple trees with their red load
In world's-end orchards, over dark yew woods,
O'er fires of sunset glassed in wizard streams,

O'er mill and meadow of those farthest lands, 
Over the reapers, over the sere sails
Of homing ships and every breaking wave,
Over the haven and the entranced town,
O'er hearths aflame with fir-trunks and fir-cones, 
Over the children playing in the streets, 
Over the harpers harping on the bridge,
O'er the lovers in their dream and their desire,
There falls from the high heaven a subtle sense
Of presage and a deep, expectant hush,

And the wise watchers know the time draws on
And that amid the snows of that same year
The earth will bear her longed-for perfect Fruit."


Friday, December 16, 2011

oatmeal cookies

with cinnamon chips and spices, and golden sugar "nuggets" on top.

For the library's Christmas Cookie Sale.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

fuzzy and furry

Getting depth of field with my point-and-shoots has been a challenge, but I've acquired another camera which is doing it for me

I'm {happy}

(actually, this is pretty much what it looks like to me before I've put in my contacts - or maybe even blurrier)

The cats are enjoying being under the tree, but the white fur!  This red cloth isn't going to work anymore.
I'll have to dig around in my stash to find something else.  Light in color. Very light.

a {real} lot of fur going on, believe me!

round button chicken

Thanks again, Leila - your blog is a real blessing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

too cute

I'm not meaning to be an ad for Crate and Barrel, but. The cover was just too cute to throw out. I stuck it on the fridge.

I mean - the outfit!  Where did they get this kid?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

maple syrup bottle

I found this maple syrup bottle in the basement, and put it in the kitchen window with some red berries from outside.

My brother had to point out to me that there's a proper way to display it -

the house in the middle is painted on the other side, which gives it a little dimension.

A pretty thing which doesn't need to be buried downstairs!

Monday, December 12, 2011

it's starting

The other day my brother came home with this from a customer, and it's starting again. This Polish lady is one of the best bakers I have ever received from. It's a sort of pound cake, with some - but not too much! - fruit inside. and decorated so just right.

Last year she gave him a gingerbread cake - rectangular, sliced horizontally with peach or apricot jam inside. A chocolate ganache over all, and sliced almonds pressed into the bottom.  I haven't forgotten it!  I've been wanting to replicate it ever since.  She could really open a bakery.

You can bet we're making short work of this.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

{real}ly twisted

I had a birthday the other day, and my friend Cyndi gave me something {funny} - two notepads

kinda cute, isn't it?   And this one, too 

we got a chuckle out of them. (actually, now that I think of it, she has a parrot who used to say "Going shopping - be back soooon!" when Cyndi appeared to be going out - I wonder if that's why this caught her eye.)

I also have a {real}.  I made a garland for the tree last year out of fabric.  The tree was up six to eight weeks, and things get dusty, so I thought I'd better wash it.  I swished it around a bit in the sink and hung it to dry. Of course it needed ironing after that, but it had become so twisted that I couldn't bear to deal with it.  The other day I took it out of the ironing bin where it had been waiting almost a year.

I started unwinding it and ironing - but it was really twisted up

and with all the knots between the twisted areas, well, I soon realized that it was more work than it was sensible to do. I threw it out. It really gave a nice country touch on the tree, but what can you do? It was too much trouble. I've got plans to make a new one. Unless I can think of something simpler, I may have to do this every year.

round button chicken

Thanks again, Leila.

Friday, December 9, 2011

bare trees

Lately I've been captivated by the beauty of these backyard trees, as seen through the bathroom (!) window.

especially the light on the bark

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

yarning along toward Christmas

I'm joining Ginny's yarnalong today, making another crocheted bag to use up my yarn.  The pattern is so simple and enjoyable to work on.  This one will be slightly smaller by four rows - we'll see how it turns out.

A library is a constant drop-off point for unwanted books, and all kinds of things come through our place. I picked this up last year, and I'm just finding out what a treasure it is.

Filled with recipes, prayers and meditations, old carols and their histories, Bible readings, quotations - a feel-good book for sure.  And you may recognize Edith Schaeffer's The Hidden Art of Homemaking next to it, which always always puts things back in perspective for me.

I'm also perusing this magazine

which was given to me. How to choose which cookies to bake?  Our Christmas party at the library is Friday, and I'll be making something from these pages tomorrow, if I make up my mind!

Thanks to Ginny!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

not just another suitcase

My Aunt Helen had a birthday last week. She is my late mother's sister, two years younger. When my mother was ten years old, their mother died after a difficult childbirth. A year later, the father died from pneumonia. They were both in their thirties, and left seven children behind. 

Four of the middle children went to a nearby orphanage - my mother, two younger sisters and a little brother. 

We had visited Aunt H. during the summer, and she'd told us she was going through her things which she'd received from others and asking if they wanted the items back. At her age, she wanted to get her stuff in order. She had something for us, but we'd had no prior knowledge of it. 

When my mother was nineteen she left the orphanage. When Aunt Helen's turn came to leave, my mother gave her a little suitcase with things in it which she might need and maybe be unable to get for herself.  Aunt wasn't sure exactly what was in there so many years ago - underwear, and some other things. She brought out the suitcase. 

We hadn't known about it. I have to say, I'm not sentimental. I don't like to save anything which isn't useful; this house is only a thousand square feet.  But the story was very touching, and this small suitcase seemed a very beautiful and important thing. So I said, "Yes, of course we want it!"

It has a pretty lining. 

 Apparently, when clothing donations would come in at the orphanage, my mother would go through the items to find some nice things for her siblings. And, having left the place before her sisters, she must have been thinking of what would have been helpful to her at the time she left - what might be useful to Helen.

I think it's beautiful.  I'm keeping it.