Thursday, December 20, 2007

They May Be Wet and Dirty, But....

The socks are wet and dirty when he comes running in like a herd of wild buffalo, but his feet aren't getting cut anymore. The baby socks are working.

It really is the funniest thing to see when my little guy (our cairn terrier) goes outside to do his business. When I first put the socks on his paws he stands there like a frozen statue and then lifts each paw up as if to say, "What the .... are these doing on me?" Then, he walks a few steps (or should I say prances a few steps) and then decides "okay, they don't feel so bad." Off he goes to do his business.

Now mind you, he isn't outside more than 3-5 minutes when he comes bounding (and I do mean bounding) into our family room and kitchen running 100 miles per hour. He runs right past me, does a jump in the air and turns around facing me with a look of "Did you miss me, Mom? Did you miss me?" Of course, I have to make a big deal out of his being outside and missing him - albeit it was only 3-5 minutes! Maybe for him it was an eternity.

In any event, when he comes bounding in it's almost as if he's flying and jumping at the same time. He jumps from rug to rug like a bunny rabbit. It's the cutest thing to see.

So, the good news is the socks are working. The bad news is they get so wet and dirty I have to dry them for the next time he goes out during the day. I definitely need to buy more. I can't be doing laundry 5 times a day - even if he is a "king."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My Little Guys Feet Are Getting Cut!

My Linda's Blog is filled with references to my baby - our cairn terrier. He's the king of our house and very demanding. And, he's very spoiled.

I've also complained a lot about the snow.

During the last week we had two snowstorms that dropped a combined 20" of snow on the ground - and it's not even winter yet. The last snow storm was a 'Nor'easter which dropped freezing rain. So, everything that was on the ground turned to ice.

Hubby always clears a path in our backyard with the snowblower for our "baby" to have a place to do his business. In doing so the freezing rain turned the grass into glass spikes which hurt my little guys paws. He couldn't walk on it and just kept lifting his paws up each time he took a step. And, because of this he wouldn't do his business. He turned right around and bolted for the house.

I was afraid his little feet would get cut and was concerned about his not doing his business. I'm understanding when it comes to my little guy, but business is done outside and not in the house.

So, I needed a solution for his walking on the grass and came up with the idea of using tiny baby socks. They fit his tiny little paws, prevent the grass spikes from hurting his feet and keep his paws warm for the time he's outside. They get filthy and have to be washed and dried which means I need to buy more socks to last the winter, but "my little guys feet aren't getting cut and he can do his BUSINESS!"

Mom's happy, Dad's happy, and "The King" prances around in the snow now.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My Christmas Pin For 2007

If you're a reader of my Linda's Blog then you know that I've been writing a series of Christmas Tradition articles.

In light of that I just wanted to share with you once again a wonderful, sentimental Christmas tradition that my Dad started a long time ago.

My Dad wanted to give "his girls" meaning my Mother, myself, and my sister something special for Christmas. Back then the term "his girls" did not imply the possessive chauvinistic implications that it does today. To my Dad it was nothing more than a term of endearment. One that separated us from "his boys", my brothers.

So my Dad decided to buy each of "his girls" a special Christmas pin to wear during the holidays. He bought us pins the first year, and then the second, and so on and so on and so on. My wonderful husband decided to carry my Dad's tradition on after he passed away. So, every year he gives me a Christmas pin. Sometimes he can't decide which one he likes best so I get two special Christmas pins. That's okay with me as I cherish each and every one of them.

Every year I take them all out and look at them. What always amazes me is how they have changed in design from the first pin I received (the little Bambi deer shown in the picture to the right) to my latest (the green Christmas bells shown above). Last year it was silver and red candy canes.

And, believe it or not, I don't have any duplicates. Also (and I know this will be hard to believe), I don't have any "dollies." So, a heartfelt thanks to you Dad for starting this tradition and a heartfelt and sentimental thanks to my husband for continuing his pin tradition.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Means Presents! Doesn't It?

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more." - Dr. Seuss

If you ask any child, "What does Christmas Mean?" they'd probably reply, "Christmas Means Presents!" But, is that really true? Besides the religious significance of Christmas, what does Christmas really mean? Where did all the Christmas traditions come from?

Christmas Day didn't become official until 354 when Pope Gregory proclaimed December 25th as the date of the Nativity. Pope Gregory was following an early church policy of absorbing pagan rituals into Christian beliefs. So, he incorporated the December 19th Roman Saturnalia celebration of the winter solstice and the coming of spring and the winter festival of Yule into the Christian Church. The Roman Saturnalia honored the God of Harvest and had seven days of riotous merrymaking and feasting. The Yule celebration incorporated giant logs, trimmed with greenery & ribbons, which were burnt in honor of the Gods so the sun would shine brightly.

In the Middle Ages, the Christian Church added the Nativity Crib and Christmas Carols to its customs. Lavish feasting was the highlight of the festivities. However, all the celebration came to an abrupt end in 1652 when the Puritans banned Christmas in England, which was followed seven years later in Massachusetts. Christmas returned to England in 1660, but a lot of the traditions didn't return until they were revived by the Victorians. The Victorians turned what was once a riotous free-for-all celebration into a family-oriented celebration. So, we can thank the Victorians for a lot of the Christmas family traditions that we have today. Not all of them, but a lot of them.

So, I thought it would be fun between now and Christmas to post some articles on my Linda Walsh Originals - Linda's Blog about the various Christmas traditions and where they came from. So, let's start with one of my favorites "The Christmas Tree":

Christmas trees originated in Germany from an ancient pagan custom of bringing evergreens into your home. Evergreens were a symbol of life. It is said that Dr. Martin Luther (1483-1546)was the first to use the Christmas Tree as a home decoration in Germany. While on a walk one Christmas Eve he noticed an evergreen tree shining in the moonlight. He couldn't forget this beautiful picture so he cut the tree down and returned home with it an decorated it with candles. He told his children that the tree should remind them of the brightness of Christmas and its message of the Savior's birth.

In Germany and in ancient northern cultures, after the December festivities, the branches of the evergreen were removed and the trunk was decorated on May 1st as a May Pole, celebrating a rebirth of spring. The tree was then cut up and the largest log was used the next December as the "Yule Log."

The Christmas Tree was introduced into England in the in 1841 by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, who brought one into his house for his family. The tradition soon spread throughout England and then to America. However, as with a lot of traditions, the use of Christmas trees also caused an uproar. Some thought it was pagan idol. Eventually, it became acceptable to all.

So, it became fashionable to set up a large tree at Christmas and decorate it with lighted candles (far too dangerous today), candies, and fancy cakes hung from the branches by ribbons and paper chains. Just think, the ants and/or rats would have a field day if we did this today. All of the earliest Christmas tree ornaments were handmade.

The kinds of trees the Victorians chose would surprise you. They were not the fat, wonderfully full trees that we think of today. The first trees were small trees that could be placed on tabletops with a lot of room between the branches. Personally, I think this is kind of nice. In fact, I decided this year to forego the big 7' tree in favor of a 4' pre-lit tree that I'm going to place on a small table covered with a tree skirt. Hopefully, I'll like this smaller tradition and will continue it for years to come.

Most of the early Victorian ornaments were homemade. Homemade paper cornucopias filled with sweets, nuts and popcorn hung on many Victorian Christmas trees. Gingerbread men, popcorn strings (you remember those don't you), gilded nuts, paper ornaments, Paper chains (you remember those, too, don't you) and ribbons. Handmade paper toys and dolls hung from the branches.

Glass ornaments made their appearance in the 1860's, primarily in the homes of German immigrants. Other early ornaments were made of lead, like stars and crosses. Around 1870 "store bought" Christmas ornaments began to replace the homemade decorations. From the 1870's to the 1890's Victorian Christmas trees were trimmed with little dolls (my favorites), wax ornaments, shaped like angels or children. Cotton and wool ornaments were also used and decorated with paper faces, buttons, and paper wings.

In the 1890's technology and consumerism greatly contributed to the way in which Christmas trees were decorated. Many families still used handmade ornaments and made it a tradition with their children to make ornaments every year (a lovely tradition which some families still do today.) In 1903 the first strings of electric lights were invented and in the 1960's the artificial Christmas tree came to be.

For me, I prefer the smell of a real Christmas tree and homemade ornaments. However, real trees are far too dangerous (and too much work) and I too succumbed to using an artificial Christmas tree (very nice, but still artificial.) My ornaments, on the other hand, are all handmade. And, guess what? Yes, (this will come as a surprise to most of you) they are mainly dolls or florals. So, enjoy your Christmas tree however you decorate it and remember the words of these famous quotes:

"I have been looking on, this evening, at a merry company of children assembled round that pretty German toy, a Christmas Tree. The tree was planted in the middle of a great round table, and towered high above their heads. It was brilliantly lighted by a multitude of little tapers; and everywhere sparkled and glittered with bright objects." - Charles Dickens

"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall." Larry Wilde

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

"Blue To You Santa" - A BIG Favorite Is Blue!

How could I almost forget another one of my favorite BIG Santa's.

And, this one is wearing an outfit with my favorite color blue.


The "dollies" were ready to chop my head off. My "Blue To You Santa" was very upset and told the other "dollies" so. And, of course, I heard about it. How careless and uncaring was I. But, what "Blue To You Santa" wants most to know is "HOW" I could forget him. After all, he wears his special blue outfit just for me.

I'm not sure what to tell him. He really is one of my favorites. I just kind of forget. With 1,796 dolls in my household - can you really blame me if I forgot one?

So, I made amends. I told him that he has the most "special" place in my household at Christmas and that is in the corner of my kitchen. That's where I can see him each and every day and where I put my most "favorite" BIG dolls. I think he accepted my apology and is happy with me know. I sure hope so. Christmas is a hectic time of the year and not a time to get the "dollies" all riled up. Disaster averted - at least this time.

"Blue To You Santa" stands 40" tall and was made based upon a Tenderberry Stitches design. He is a wood and cloth doll with dowels for legs.

He is wearing his favorite blue Christmas outfit with embroidered hearts adorning the lower band of his jacket. The nightcap he is wearing is one of his favorite as it's a very long one and he likes that for the cold winter nights. He can wrap it around his neck to stay warm. He sports a full beard, socks, and big stuffed boots.

"Blue To You Santa" is holding his "TOYS" bag and has a sled at his feet. It just wouldn't fit in his bag. The teddy bear just wouldn't move over. Like Santa couldn't make him! Not one to rattle the "dollies" like me he chose not to make a fuss.

I hope you like my "Blue To You Santa" and I sincerely apologize to him, once again, for forgetting him.

Alright already.

How many times do I need to apologize. Gees.....

Saturday, December 01, 2007

We're Snow Big! My Favorite Big Snowmen Scene

I know I've told you many times how much I love decorating with BIG floral arrangements and BIG  dolls.

And, I know I've mentioned that I like to change the decorations in my dining room fireplace for the different seasons or holidays. Well, I decided this year that it was time to create a big floral arrangement to cover the winter season.