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Saturday, December 30, 2006

These are photos of our Christmas Brunch the breakfast nook.

My daughter and her hubby....then an overview with my Mom, my son and his fiancee, and me in red....

It was a sunny Christmas morning and we had 18 happy people here!

I loved having a full house!

In the past day, I have had a good moment in homemaking and a less wonderful moment reflecting my vacillating homemaking skills....

The first "good" one....was feeling wonderfully competent for mending a corner tear in the fitted flannel sheet for our bed...the "frugal" housewife was triumphant!

Before long though, I realized that I had clogged the kitchen sink by putting a "brick "of old macaroni and cheese down the garbage disposer without running plenty of water!!!!!
(I was hurrying to go pick up the cat from being my daughter has an allergy to cats! Then planning to drive to visit my friend as I was feeling lonely!) No excuse! I need to slow down and pay attention!

This (needing to pay attention to the real world) is an on-going theme in my posts......

The plumber just came and we payed weekend rates to have the pipes I can make brunch!

Friday, December 29, 2006

They just drove away....and my heart went with them!

We had such fun, and wonderful memories....

I will get up and be happy soon...but for the moment, this dramatic drama-queen diva pose by my grandaughter, shows a lot of what I am feeling.

Letting them go all over again....

If they stayed, we would get on each other's nerves, they'd be underfoot....I couldn't make my art....but still, I am tearful now.

I have lined up a good friend to visit with this afternoon, I will take my knitting. We will have tea. We have known each other since we were 14...she is like my off I go!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

In quiet moments this week, I read this charming holiday novel.
Set in the historic district of Savannah, GA, it is the third in a series of fun reads..."Savannah Blues" followed by "Savannah Breeze" (set on Tybee Island). These are "Chick Lit"....the heroine owns an antique shop and has a hunky boyfriend who can cook!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Saturday night, after entertaining a few friends and enjoying a meal together, most of the family headed off to see the Christmas lights at the town square....

I stayed home to tidy up and visit a bit with my mom....

the phone rang...SURPRISE! it was my son-in-law, Bindley.
He wanted someone to meet him at our local airport THAT NIGHT when his plane came in
...he had been flying for over thirty hours from South Africa to get here before Santa Claus!!!!! (We had expected him the next evening...)

You can see that he is beaming with joy inspite of jetlag!!!!

More waiting for is still Saturday December 23rd. My niece and her family from Wisconsin have arrived...we have thirteen at the house now.
Baby Ella checks out the tree ornaments, while her great grandmother, also Ella, watches. Ethan is playing with a box...who needs toys? I'm on the sofa with my red bohemian pillows.

More surprises are in store....

Saturday Dec. 23rd

Mary and Lilia are making Tasha Tudor sugar cookie dough....

My kitchen and breakfast nook....with a bay window. The kitchen cabinets are a sort of 1930's green/aqua. (I am really a retro gal).

Lilia is wearing an apron smock I made for her 4 years ago...still fits, barely! Mary is going to receive an apron I sewed especially for her this Christmas (see the photo on the left, from Christmas day) but we haven't opened those gifts yet!!!!

This is the calm before the wonderful somewhat chaotic family was Friday Dec. son and his fiancee were the first to arrive....from Flagstaff, Arizona.
We are in the living room looking toward the red wall on the far end...there is a large original oil painting, a table of family photos and a real feather tree on the antique chest. A father Christmas doll is on the other side of the painting.

It has been a wonderful, wonderful fun 6 days since my last post!
We had lots of family here for Christmas Eve and Christmas day...then 9 people left and we have only had eight of us for the last two days!

Yesterday, we drove to our nearby town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
It is a Victorian can see the old Victorian homes like the one in the photo....lots of scenic beauty, fun shops, wonderful restaurants and good family memories! (I'll add photos of us in a bit...)

The large building is the Crescent Hotel which overlooks the charming can be reached by following Spring Street which winds its way up and down the hillsides and hollows. After dark, the town was glowing with beautiful Christmas lights...very romantic.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

This is a rather faded photo from
Christmas past.....1969. It was taken by my boyfriend (now my husband) who was trying out his new Minolta. It is a candid shot of me in the living room of my family's farmhouse watching our black and white TV. I love the old-fashoined tree with the tinsel and glowing lights.

Ever the fiber/fashion lover, I am wearing a brown tunic vest which I crocheted that fall.
It is over a beige polyester sheath dress with
a mini-skirt! College women's dress code in those days would not allow us to wear trousers unless the sidewalks were icy (rare in Arkansas)...but we could wear mini-skirts!
Crocheted vests are popular now again....but i'd have to wear it over something other than a mini-skirt!
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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

All these images are crowding my world today....

I have an apron to sew from the retro print fabric using the pattern Simplicity 4692. It will be trimmed with the aqua bias tape. On Christmas Day, along with opening the aprons as gifts, we will browse through The Apron Book, by EllynAnne Geisel...full of memories and nostalgia about the days when every housewife had an apron drawer!

The house is coming into shape for the holidays....tidied, de-cluttered, cleaned and decorated....making room for all the loved ones soon to be arriving.

The candy cane and ornaments is a Christmas card from 1950...the year I was born....I found it by following Janet's suggestion ( )and using Google to look up Christmas 19-- whatever year you were born!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Just as the postman pulled away form the curb with the Christmas cards I had just written this morning, I realized that I had put them out in the box with last year's Christmas stamp on the them!
They will arrive postage due at my friend's homes.
That will get their attention!

Just one of the little moments in the life of a pack rat...( and an indication of how quickly Christmases come and go and postal rates go up anymore!).

This is a scanned image of the moleskine page I was doing for today when I realized, as I pasted on the Christmas Madonna stamp from a card I received last week, that my stamps (in the folder below the page) were old!

The page is a pen and ink with watercolor crayons and watercolor of our poinsettia. It is ten days until Chrismas.... and I have 10 hours of work this afternoon and evening with the longer store hours...however, I must say shoppers are not swarming in this year....must be shopping on line or opting for simpler Christmas celebrations!

First I'll stop by the holiday open house at the gallery with my watercolors!

In a week, my family will begin arriving!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Today I have raked another bag or two of leaves...
seems harder to get them all each year! (I
have a hard time making myself do more than 2 or 3
bags at the most, just want to "play" on-line or
make things!)

I took more watercolor paintings to the gallery today. (see the
They are having a holiday open house on Saturday and I
was happy to have more offered for sale there!

Painting is one of the most enjoyable things I do with my time off.
now It's time for going back to work for a few week I need to sew a retro apron (one last Christmas gift!) and then clean the sewingroom/studio/guest room!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I found a wonderful bohemian brocade fabric, red and metallic gold...paisley. I made 4 throw pillows to sparkup the living room decor for the holidays.

More red (lights)and paisley (my jacket)....
Me with my "hunky" husband (HH) enjoying
the seasonal light display on our town square.

A great memory....I'm so glad he loves to take
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Monday, December 11, 2006

A quiet Monday morning....before going in to work.
this is a window ledge with a small grouping of angel and sheep figurines. The aqua angel is my sister's from the 1950s. Others have more recent vintages....the sheep were a gift from my dear friend Lisa. (Who once received a sheep of her own for Christmas. The sheep gave her fleece she could spin and then knit!)

Nearby is our creche from the 1980's....Another of my friends had the family tradtion of having the empty creche waiting ..... moving Mary and Joseph closer each day of Advent...until Christmas eve, when they would reach the stable and baby Jesus would appear in the manger!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

these are photos of my daughter , my new son, and my grandaughter in their home.

they will be spending Christmas with us, along with many more people from my family.

The days are flying by and I am happy with anticipation!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Worth doing again! Publishing from the past....

Our Family Tradition......

Tasha Tudor Christmas Sugar Cookies

1 pound of (real) butter
2 eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
a pinch of salt
1 T. vanilla
1 t. baking soda dissolved in 3 T. milk

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix until a smooth dough is formed. Form into a ball, dust with flour and chill thoroughly before using.

Then break into conveniently sized pieces, adding a bit more flour as needed. Roll out to a scant 1/4 " thickness...or as thin as possible. Dust with granulated sugar and nutmeg and cut into shapes. Bake until light brown in a 350 degree oven (about 12 minutes). This recipe makes 5 or 6 dozen cookies. Cookies may be made in advance and stored in an airtight container.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

This is a book I would enjoy for relates to a gift I have yet to finish.

My mother and I were browsing in a flea market in October and found several vintage they and some glass reamers (for making lemonade) were carried home with us to be gifts.

I still have one reproduction vintage apron to we couldn't find as many aprons as we could think of gals who "needed" them. The fabric and aqua bias tape are waiting downstairs with the pattern. I know I will "get to it" soon. My pattern has a children's version too! (It is Simplicity4692).

In today's mail, I got a card from Mom and a clipping about this website and book . A gallery of vintage aprons, and stories about them....the book is selling out.

This is my most recent painting. I have to keep doing watercolors even in the business of Christmas... it's just something that feeds my soul. Also, I won't let myself cook the beautiful winter squash...the little pale one is a 'sweet dumpling' squash....until I have captured them on paper.

You can only see what fits on the scanner here....

This was yesterday....I've refined it more and am loving the 300 lb. watercolor has a wonderful "tooth" that catches and holds the paint beautifully!

This link will take you to the apron site too.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

(As usual, I have the photos rather backward for the text....)

These packages (below) are finally ready for the St. Nicholas evening tea with my friends tomorrow evening. Instead of tissue, I have used sparkly, sheer fabrics. these my artistic friends can re-use in a project!

Behind the packages is a cheerful pillow Santa. We have had him for about 20 years! (A gift from a neighbor...where does time go?)

The quilt in the photo is one I worked on for several years. It was slow going...I would do a block each Christmas season....for 9 years, I think.
It is hand-pieced
and hand quilted red and white
feathered star Christmas quilt.

The shelf of Santas (above) sits near our Christmas tree.
The largest Santa is a doll I made a few years ago from felted wool....and then there is the nesting Santa doll, always a hit with the children!
(by the way, that is the grandaugher's dance recital photo behind the Santas...) Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 04, 2006

Advent comes before Christmas......

Inspired by my need to honor my faith community and all those who have loved me and opened their hearts to me, I decided to really celebrate Advent this year.

Saturday,I unpacked the handmade stoneware ring shaped candleholder from the box under the bed....

I found the 4 Advent candles at the Hallmark store...but they didn't have a white taper for the center candle. I set the wreath up on a small quilt made for me by a dear friend...but it wasn't complete without the white candle.

I decided to stop in at Target on my way to work yesterday. I found the candle I needed ...I wanted to get the wreath "perfect" for this first Sunday in I was disappointed and almost gave up when I saw how long and slow the check-out lines were. I would be late to work!

Then I saw one of my special friends, Paula. We had not been able to get together for a visit for months now....Paula was there! and she was already in line! She arranged for me to go in front of her so that I would not be late for work and I could get my white candle!

After work, I put the candle in its holder in the center of the wreath. then we lit the candle representing the first week of Advent, leaving it burning during our evening meal. (see photo).

I love looking at this wreath on my coffee table! It tells me, in a visible way, that in a few weeks, it will be the time I light the 4th purple candle, all of my family will be here with me!

The little quilt underneath the wreath was a gift from the same dear friend /artist whom had helped me checkout at Target, Paula! She had taught classes at my quilt shop. Making this little quilt as a gift for me ,(several Decembers ago), Paula chose colors to represent the solstice...and found a wonderful pine-needle print batik for the border.

It seems almost "magical"....I had set up the wreath using the quilt she had made for me (this was the first time I had used it in this way), I hadn't seen her for months, and then she appears as an "angel" in my time of need!

For me, it all comes together in my heart at this time of year....I try not to pick my beliefs apart or to label those of others. I find I am much more of a " both/and "than an "either/or" type of person. Advent/solstice is a time for uncondional love and quiet reflection.

For more information on the customs of Advent and Christmas, use the is link to a good article.....

Celebrating Winter Solstice - School of the Seasons

This appliqued quilt block is another one of those from my unfinished "Snowbound" quilt....

I love the way the sky is lighter on the horizon and gets darker up in the "heavens" . Batik fabircs make glowing "stained glass" church windows and a crazy antique stripe fabric makes a carved woooden door. Up in the sky, where a star twinkles, a primitive angel calls us to gather and to CELEBRATE the LIGHT!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Almost "snowbound" is what I would title this post...

I am home cleaning my art space/guest room. It is a bit like an archeological dig.
How does time go by so fast? and I still have unfinished projects?

These are 2 scanned views of a block from an applique quilt I started for my son in 1993...One reason we moved here was so that he could enjoy a bit of playing in the snow as part of his childhood!

That year I opened a quilt shop, "Quilt Your Heart Out". One of the quilts that was very popular at the time was the "Snowbound" quilt by Jan Patek (& she had 2 partners) seemed like the perfect thing to make......I started, we had classes...I made a few blocks and collected lots of fabric...grays for the sky were not easy to find....
Then spring came and working on this was not as exciting, plus I needed to make many new "shop models" to sell the next classes.
For a year or two, Andrew would ask me if I was working on his "Snowbound" quilt...I got it out from time to time...but never made much progress....finally he quit asking.

Now he is 24 and is bringing his fiancee here for Christmas....I am knitting a pair of socks for him. There is no way that I will try to finish this quilt.... until maybe for a grandson....!

The other part of today that makes it "almost snowbound" is our current weather. We got ice and snow yesterday and last night. When we awoke and turned up the furnace this was 19 degrees outside...the heat would not come on!!!!! (We do have a working fireplace too and my art room has its own little heat pump, so I didn't suffer) I was "snowbound" today waiting for the furnace repair man and for the roads to clear.
An appropriate day to spend a bit of time looking at the blocks from the "Snowbound" quilt and that great collection of fabrics just waiting to be sewn into the next few blocks....

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