Friday, December 31, 2010

I Never Knew How Hard Beading Was!

I've always wanted to try beading and have admired beautiful crazy quilt creations with beading and ornaments created with beading for a long time.

I've also admired goddess dolls and have wanted to try my hand at creating some of the beautiful beaded goddess dolls that I've seen.  Back in 2009 when I wrote about the goddess dolls in a Linda's Blog post entitled "Why Not Be Adventuresome?" and "My Goddess Doll Adventure So Far!" I was hoping to have some time to create some of them.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do so as of yet.  I'm still hoping that maybe this year I will find just a smidgen of time.

I was first introduced into beaded ornaments many, many years ago when a colleague at work brought in some of the beaded tree ornaments she had made and was selling.  She had some large blue beaded ornaments like those shown in the picture below and some smaller white beaded ornaments like those shown in the 2nd picture below.  So, I bought three of the large blue ones and 3 of the smaller white ones.  They quickly became some of my favorite Christmas tree ornaments.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An Obsession With Shoes? Mine or Hers?

I seem to be on a gift giving trend in my posts lately, don't I?

Well, with a big family there's a lot of gift giving going on and a lot to show.

If you've been a follower of my Linda's Blog for awhile you know I have many obsessions - one of which is miniature shoes and socks. In fact, I wrote about this not too long ago in a Linda's Blog post entitled "An Obsession With Shoes and Socks!"

Besides an obsession with miniature shoes and socks I also have an obsession with dolls, the Victorian era, floral arrangements, history, and genealogy.  However, lately, I'm not so sure about the shoe obsession.

Several years ago during a shopping trip to Sturbridge with my Mother I came across a beautiful group of miniature Victorian shoes.  I just LOVED them - they were Victorian after all - and decided I had to buy two, okay maybe three, of them.

They also had the cutest miniature cowboy boot, which I just had to buy for my younger brother.  He's was into cowboy boots at the time so I thought it would make a great Christmas present.

Well, since then I seem to have acquired quite a few miniature Victorian shoes. However, in looking at my collection I have decided that it's not totally my fault. You see I keep getting them as presents from one of my sister in-law during the holiday season.  I may have started the collection, but in looking at my miniature Victorian shoe collection I've come to the realization that maybe it isn't me who has the obsession with shoes, but my sister-in-law who keeps giving them to me. LOL LOL

I've decided that since I have so many miniature Victorian shoes in my collection now that she is definitely a miniature shoe enabler! LOL LOL   She's enabled my miniature shoe collection to be as plentiful as it is.  The family will just have to blame her for my shoe obsession.

So, I thought you'd like to see a few of my miniature Victorian shoes.

Some of the miniature shoes, like the ceramic shoe shown in the picture above, are comical and not quite what you would consider to be miniature Victorian shoes, but most are miniature in size.  Of course, I LOVE all of them and, truth be told, love my miniature Victorian shoe collection - whether it's my fault or not!

Here's a couple of the shoes in my collection. There are many, many more.

Obviously a miniature sneaker is not a miniature Victorian shoe and a rooster shoe is not a miniature Victorian shoe, but that's okay.  Once in awhile instead of a miniature Victorian shoe there's a miniature Victorian hat thrown into the mix.

Or, even a miniature Victorian phone.

I even have a glass slipper!


Am I Cinderella?

Is my sister-in-law the fairy godmother?

Who really has the obsession with miniature shoes?

Is it my sister-in-law or me? 


What do you think?


Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Gifts From My Sister

My Linda's Blog post about the front hall Christmas decorations reminded me of the two posts I had written concerning the Victorian dolls that usually sit atop the cabinet that my brother made and that decorate the front hall for the remainder of the year. That is, until we get to the Fall season and witches take over.

The two posts were about the two Victorian dolls I made and my baby sister. The first post was entitled "My Favorite Victorian Doll Design Needs A Name!" and was about the Victorian doll in the picture to the left.

It seems that while I was taking pictures for all 1,796 of the dolls and crafts that I have made I decided to take pictures of my favorite Victorian doll design who was made for me to use as the Spring and Summer display that I have on the cabinet in my front hall and is not for sale. Every season I change the front hall display and she stays there for the two seasons which suits her just fine.

Of course, my sister also loves her and wants her so I have to be careful that when she comes to visit during the Spring or Summer that she doesn't steal her. She keeps threatening too. I told her that she can't have her. But, I half expect to see her hanging out of one of her suitcases.

So, she says, "Fine, then I'll take my namesake." Her namesake is similar to this doll and is the doll I used for my Debra  e-pattern. She, however, is in a very fancy faux blue suede and white lace outfit. She's beautiful, too, just not as much of my favorite as this one is.

I keep telling my sister that she can't have her either as she was the doll I used for my Linda Walsh Originals pattern so I have to keep her to support the pattern.

The last time I told my sister "no" to both of these dolls she presented me with a list of 54 of my handmade dolls and crafts that she would take instead. All FREE, of course. Isn't family wonderful! I keep telling her that I'm still reviewing her list. I didn't tell her that I tried to burn it! LOL LOL

I told my sister after I made her namesake that she was the largest Victorian I had made and was a pain in the.....! So, I named her after my younger sister, Debra. Ha! Ha!

However, I did clarify that the pattern was a pain (wink! wink!) and not you, my wonderful sister.

Well, let me clarify that - you no longer are. When you wanted to play "Barbie" with my best friend and I you were. Of course, you were only about 4 or 5 then.

The 2nd post I wrote was entitled "What's Fair Is Fair! What About Me! It's All About "Debra!" and was about my "baby" sister's namesake, my "Debra" doll which is shown in the picture to the right.

This post was about "Debra's" - the doll, not my baby sister's, annoyance with the story about the other Victorian doll. These dolls are just so......... jealous. She felt that if I was going to mention her that I should at least show some pictures of her, too.

Since, I couldn't come up with a rationale for not doing so  I wrote about her, too. Kind of reminds me about times with my real "baby" sister. I used to have to appease her a lot, too. Boy, Debra really is like her namesake.

In any event, back to the front hall Christmas decorations story, after being reminded about these two dolls a thought went through my head that I should write about some of the wonderful Christmas presents and Christmas decorations that I'd been given over the years from my "baby" sister.  The problem is there are a lot of them.

Of all the Christmas decorations and gifts that I'm been given the most have come from her - either handmade or bought.  In fact, my house is filled with gifts from my beautiful "baby" sister.  There are many more like a Santa that she made me that isn't out this year and other knick knacks that come out after the Christmas decorations are put away.  Most are displayed on shelves just above my sewing machine.  I keep one of my favorite pictures of  my "baby" sister and I there so I like seeing some of her gifts surrounding it.
I know that after my "baby" sister reads this post that she'll say, "Well, why isn't my Santa out?" I'd better work on an explanation for that.

In any event, I hope you enjoyed the slideshow and also hope my "baby" sister enjoyed the slideshow.  Maybe now she'll stop bugging me about the 54 dolls on her list.

On second thought maybe all these Christmas decorations and gifts have just been a hint that it was time to fork over the "54" dolls that she wants.

I don't think so.

Nice try "baby" sister!

Thanks for all the wonderful gifts, anyways!  You know I love you.

Gotta Love Handmade Quilts

Back in 2006 I wrote a post for my Linda's Blog entitled "We've Got Sewing In Our Bones!" which was about attending the Sewing & Quilt Show/Exhibition show with my Mother and sister-in-law. It's a sewing and quilt exhibition that is held every year and one which I try to go to.

At one point in time I was making quilts for my own house and quilts to give as gifts. I even tried designing some of my own - which is far more difficult than you would think. Given that I tend to like intricate patterns I quickly abandoned that idea as it was just too much work.

When I was making quilts I also quickly found out that sewing large quilts can really do a real number on your sewing machine's tension. Each and every time I'd end up having to adjust the tension and/or have my sewing machine cleaned.

Also, given that I tend to like smaller creations as they take less time I quickly found out that quilted pillows were much easier to design and took a lot less time. Plus, they didn't do a number on your sewing machine's tension.

My Mother, on the other hand, absolutely loved to quilt. Once she found out about the "foldy" stuff pleated quilt patterns by Donna Poster during a shopping trip to Sturbridge she was in 7th heaven. Donna wrote The Quilter's Guide to Rotary Cutting.

My Mother decided to make a "foldy" stuff pleated wall quilt. Then she moved on to "foldy" pillows and "foldy" table runners and placemats. She even made two miniature "foldy" pillows for our little cairn terrier "Bud" to place his head on.

The quilt shown in the picture below is one of the"foldy" quilts my Mother made. It was with her at her memorial service and now adorns our living room sofa.  It's a perfect match for the blue's in our living room.

A few weeks ago I was cleaning out a closet and one of our bedrooms and came across some of the quilts other family members had made and given to us over the years - including the Christmas quilt from my sister that I mentioned in my "Christmas Decorations In Our Sunroom" post.

A couple of the quilts were crocheted by another one of my sister's-in-law many, many years ago and were hanging on a wonderful handmade wooden quilt stand, which is shown in the picture below, that another one of my sister's-in-law had made several years ago for all of us.

The quilt that is shown in the picture below is a granny square throw that my sister-in-law crocheted for me close to 35 years ago. It's still in fabulous shape and still has the most vivid colors. I was always amazed at how my sister-in-law could crochet the smallest doilies and create granny square throws. I couldn't crochet back then and still can't.

So, in thinking about quilts and throws I thought you might like to see some of the other quilts that family members have made for me or that I made several decades ago.

The throw shown in the picture below was crocheted by the same sister-in-law that crocheted the granny square throw mentioned above.

The large throw shown in the picture below adorns our family room sofa and was knit by my Mother close to 20 years ago.

Here's the Christmas quilt alluded to above and made by my sister.

And, here's one of my own log cabin quilts that put a monkey wrench into my sewing machine's tension. Bad quilt! Bad quilt!

When I get a chance I'll try to take pictures of the "foldy" runners, placemats, large pillows, and miniature "doggie" pillows that my Mother made.

And, if I ever get any spare time (like that's ever going to happen) I may just try some of the "foldy" quilts myself.

Maybe they won't do a number on my sewing machine's tension.

We'll see.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone

Christmas - that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance - a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved. 
 - Augusta E. Rundel

~ ~ ~ ~

I heard the bells on Christmas 
Day Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet 
The words repeat 
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!  
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

~ ~ ~ ~

The merry family gatherings-
The old, the very young;
The strangely lovely way they
Harmonize in carols sung.
For Christmas is tradition time-
Traditions that recall
The precious memories down the years,
The sameness of them all. - 
Helen Lowrie Marshall

~ ~ ~ ~

The happiness and love on this one day
Bring thoughts which warm and cheer.
May we keep Christmas in our hearts
Through every day of all the year.
- Gertrude B. Holman in "The Little Things at Christmas"

~ ~ ~ ~

Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself...
- Norman Wesley Brooks, "Let Every Day Be Christmas," 1976

~ ~ ~ ~

Somehow not only for Christmas
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others
Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing
The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart's possessing
Returns to make you glad.
- John Greenleaf Whittier

~ ~ ~ ~

May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love.
- Ada V. Hendricks

~ ~ ~ ~

Let us keep Christmas beautiful
Without a thought of greed,
That it might live forevermore
To fill our every need,
That it shall not be just a day,
But last a lifetime through,
The miracle of Christmastime
That brings God close to you.
- Garnett Ann Schultz

Merry Christmas Bud

If we could have just one Christmas wish this year, Bud, it would be to have you with us once more.

Merry Christmas to our beloved Pepper.

"Do Not Mourn My Passing"

Do not mourn my passing for if you could only see
By slipping all my earthly bonds, I'm young again and free.
By day I run the Heavenly fields, my body healthy and strong
At night I sleep at Angels' Feet, lulled by Celestial Song.
So do not mourn my passing, just close your eyes - you'll see
I'm once again that frisky pup, just as you remember me.

(Author Unknown)

Merry Christmas Mom

Several years ago I saw some wonderful handcrafted and handpainted pillows that had the sweetest sayings and designs on them. I fell in love with a couple of them and decided to give two to my Mother for Christmas, which are shown in the pictures above.  I believe I also gave one to my sister and one to my sister-in-law, but I may be wrong about that!

And, of course I just had to have the one shown in the picture below - just for me.  Now why would that be?

So I thought a picture of the pillow I gave to my Mother that said, " My Mom and Me, Best Friends Are We" would be a wonderful way to wish my beloved Mother, Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas, Mom.  A day does not go by where I don't think of you.  I miss seeing you, talking to you, laughing with you, teasing you, hugging you, and even our goodnatured bantering.  I miss my best friend, my shopping companion, my sounding board, my confidante, my biggest fan,  my sharpest critic, and the rock of our family.  I miss you more than words can express.

May the angels keep you safe until we can meet again.

The pillows were all handmade by Joanne of PillowDoodles.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Gifts From A Long Time Ago From A Remarkable Woman

Every once in awhile in your life you meet a truly loving, generous, and beautiful soul. Someone who is extremely intelligent, artistically gifted, who always thinks of others before herself, who always treats you as if you were one of her children, and who always sees the good in others and the beauty in life. Some one who just wanted to be the best mother she ever could be.

I was so very fortunate in my life to meet such a beautiful woman. She was my former mother-in-law and she entered my life when I was 18 and I considered myself fortunate and blessed to have had her in my life.

If you're a reader of my Linda's Blog you know that my beautiful Mother passed away this year. What you don't know is that both my beloved Mother and my beautiful former mother-in-law, Mary, both passed away this year within days of each other.

Mary was baking cookies and suddenly passed out. Well, they rushed her to the hospital and discovered she had a brain tumor. My former father-in-law and sister-in-law came to my Mother's memorial service in January and told me they wanted to pay their respects, but couldn't stay long as they were going directly to the hospital from the service.

They also told me that during one of their visits in the past few days that Mary mentioned my birthday card and her need to mail it. What you don't know is that each and every year for 38 years I have received a birthday card from her. Every year I send a Christmas card and letter to my former in-laws and every year Mary sends me a birthday card and letter in January.

Unfortunately, the very next day - which happened to be my birthday - Mary passed away. When I heard the news I was just crushed. Two of the most beautiful and remarkable women I have ever known had passed away within days of each other. I cannot express how sad and devastated I was at the loss of two women I dearly and deeply loved.

What you also don't know is that Mary was like a 2nd mother to me. She was there for me at a time when I needed unconditional understanding and love. She welcomed me into her home and her heart and I never really left. Physically I did, but she entered my soul, taught me about genuine love and generosity and gave me unconditional support. I was truly blessed and was changed forever from having known her.

So, I thought it would be nice to honor such a remarkable woman this holiday season and show you some of the handmade objects she gave me which I still have displayed in my home all year and the handmade Christmas ornaments and decorations she gave me so many, many years ago.

The two gnomes that are pictured in the collage below were created during a time when she was taking ceramics classes. I just loved the happy, smiling gnomes and so she decided to make them for me. The blue gnome sits on one of the cabinets we have in our bathroom and I see him each and every morning reminding me to be of good cheer.

The yellow gnome sits just above my computer monitor. I've had him there for years and I love looking at him all the time. There's a sparkle and glint in his eyes - just like there always was in Mary's eyes. Beauty in his and her soul.

The three pictures in the collage below are three of the handmade ornaments that she gave me many, many years ago. For several years she had participated in and made handmade ornament and decorations for her annual Christmas church fair. I can remember her at her sewing machine for days on end just sewing one item right after the other. I was amazed at the amount of items she had created and which were sold for the benefit of her church.

The first picture is two Santa booties that I display each and every holiday season. I just love them. They are made of felt and are actually booties surrounding two small Gerber baby jars. The 2nd picture is a plaid bell and the 3rd picture is a felt cardinal glued atop a hair-clip. The cardinal resides atop my Christmas tree each and every year just below my old Santa tree topper.

I will miss getting a birthday card this year from Mary but know that she is forever within my heart. She came into my life and changed me forever.

For you Mary.....

From headstone in Ireland...



A little girl, asked where her home was, replied, "where mother is."
Keith L. Brooks


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Decorations From The Craft Shows

I can spend hour after hour just walking around a craft show. I just love looking at all the marvelous handmade creations. I find I'm always amazed at the creativity of the artist or crafter and wonder just how they made this or that.

Many, many years ago I tried making some of the  items I'd seen that I liked at some of the craft shows I'd visited.  At the time I couldn't afford to decorate my home so I figured I'd make some things myself.  Well, I have to tell you that they never came out as well as the original or even came out at all. So, I decided years ago to stop re-creating some of the beautiful objects I'd see at craft shows and just buy the original. It's a win-win for everyone. I get a beautiful handmade object, signed by the artisan themselves, and they get a sale.

As I walk around the craft shows I also like talking to the different booth owners. Usually it's the artist or crafter themselves and I find they always have wonderful stories to tell or tips to offer. If the booth is really crowded I don't try to talk to the owner, but if it's not I try to compliment the artist or crafter on their work.

From time to time I find that some objects are just so beautiful and there is so much creativity involved in them that they just take your breath away. I always walk away amazed by this particular artist or crafter's talent.

So, I thought you might like to see some of the Christmas objects either my Mother and I, my sister and I, my sister-in-law and I, my brother and I, or my nieces and I have found from time to time at the craft shows.

I saw the painted wood wall clock pictured at the beginning of this post at a craft show in Sturbridge that my Mother and I went to one year and wanted to buy it. However, it looked really heavy and I knew my car was parked far away so my Mother and I decided that I shouldn't buy it. There was just no way we would be able to carry that to my car.  I quickly regretted not doing so and hoped that the crafter would be at that show again next year.

Well, the next year I decided to ask hubby to come along to see if the crafter was there. If they were then we could buy the clock when we were leaving the show and I could wait for him outside while he went to get the car. To my delight the crafter was there and we bought the wall clock. I was glad we hadn't bought the wall clock the first year as it really was quite heavy.

What I loved about this clock was that it had three little shelves that you could put handmade seasonal items on and change with the seasons - which every season I do. And, of course, at every craft show I look to see if there are any other miniature handmade seasonal items that I can add to my collection.

So, I thought I'd create a collage of some of the craft show items that are being displayed this holiday season. With several decades of attending craft shows I have bought quite a few items.  It would be impossible to display all of them so every season I have to decide which ones will be shown that season.  Here's the lucky objects we're showing this holiday season:

The first picture in the collage is a wooden hand carved doll that I bought at a craft show with my Mother. The artist was in the last booth in the hall and we almost didn't notice him. Well, I was glad we did as he made the most wonderful hand carved wooden dolls. You know how much I love dolls.  So, I decided to buy two pilgrims dressed in black outfits. Then I spotted the woodsman and thought he was adorable. Of course my Mother told me with the two dolls I had already bought that I had enough. Well, obviously I didn't listen to that advice as he sits atop one of our cabinets every Christmas season. And, one season my Mother told me she loved him. Secretly I think she was glad I had bought him.

At another craft show with hubby one year we bought the Victorian Santa picture that is the 2nd picture in the collage. I just loved the fact that he was Victorian and loved the blue colors. I knew it would be perfect for one of our walls. When it came time to take the Christmas decorations down that year I decided I liked the picture just where it was and have him hanging up all year.  He's still there.

The 3rd picture is a cute little reindeer flower stand that hubby and I found at a local school craft show. I like to add the silk floral poinsettia to the back of him for color.

In the second row are three pictures of painted miniature wood houses. The artist at this craft show that my husband and I attended was personalizing the buildings so we decided to make the toy store "Linda's" toy shoppe and the pizza shop "Jerry's Pizza." The church I just loved and thought my Mother would enjoy.

In the 3rd row the first picture is a painted seashell.  My Mother and I found this at another craft show one Fall and just loved this artist's work.  She used real seashells and added painted paper collages in the middle of the seashells for a 3 dimensional effect.  I hadn't seen anyone do that with seashells before and just loved it.

The last two pictures in the collage are some very simple, but elegant ornaments that my Mother and I found at a silversmith's booth one year. Both my Mother and I just loved the simplicity of the ornaments and thought they'd look lovely on my tree - and they do.

So, of course, this year when hubby and I attended a local craft show I just had to buy a new handmade ornament for our tree and choose the hand-painted wood ornament shown in the picture below.  I just love hand-painted decorations as I wish I could paint like that and create such beautiful pieces.

While the following two Christmas decorations weren't purchased at a craft show they were new additions to our caroler's scene this year.  We saw them at a local Hallmark Store and thought they'd be cute new additions.   The tree was put on one of the shelves of our carolers scene and the snowman was added to the fireplace mantle above the carolers scene display.  We thought they were great additions and hope you do too.

Next year we'll create another collage.  It will be fun to see which Christmas decorations from the craft shows that we decide to display. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gotta Love Ornaments - A SMALL Obsession!

One of the things I just love to create is ornaments. Now you might think that's because they are just so adorable.  Well, that would be one reason, but that is not the main reason. The main reason is because they are so SMALL and can be made in a relatively short period of time.

My liking of creating ornaments kind of goes hand in hand with liking to create dolls. They are both SMALL - that is unless you create some 3 or 4 footers like I've done.

In any event - back to the SMALL issue. You might be wondering exactly why that is that I like creating small. Well, when I was first learning how to sew I used to make my own clothes and gifts for others like quilts. Well, if you've ever made your own clothes or quilts you know that it takes a very long time. Too long for me. I just don't want to be spending day after day after day creating something as large as a quilt.

Now don't get me wrong - I LOVE quilts.  I just prefer sewing items that don't require a lot of time. I'd rather make lots of different SMALL items than one really big item - like a quilt. Besides every time I've tried creating a quilt the tension on my sewing machine goes berserk and I end up having to get my sewing machine cleaned and fixed. I've never had that happen with a doll or even an ornament.

The other reason I love ornaments is they can be hung just about anywhere. Whether it's a Christmas tree, a knob, the end of a curtain rod, on a peg, or even a hook they are just so versatile. You can create them for holidays, the different seasons, any special occasion, or any type of person or object that you can think of. With so much versatility it's no wonder they've been a favorite amongst artists and crafters.

I, of course, have many, many ornaments hanging all around my house all year long. They change with the seasons and the holidays. However, the Christmas season is really the time when my SMALL obsession is very evident. I have them hanging everywhere - especially our Christmas tree.

So, I thought you'd like to see some of the handmade ornaments that are hanging around our house and our Christmas tree. Most of the ornaments were handmade - either by me or given to me as gifts from relatives and friends.

It's a SMALL world after all.

Now there's a phrase after my own heart.....

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Menagerie Of Ceramic Santa's I Painted One Year

I suspect that I'm not the only crafter on the planet that goes through phases of crafting many of one type of item.  For me since I can never do anything in moderation I tend to do a lot of one thing.  I can never just dip my toe in the water to try something.  Oh, no not me!  I have to dive in head first.

Well, several years ago I was in a ceramic Santa phase and decided to paint a bunch of miniature Santa's that I had gotten from either Michael's or A.C.Moore during one of my many shopping trips there.

Instead of buying just one or two - well, I bought several.  I wanted to start a miniature Santa collection and figured I needed a few to start and then could add to it one at a time every year.  At least that's what I told hubby when he asked me why I had so many.

Of course, he didn't buy my explanation.  He never does - he knows me better than that! LOL LOL

I also pained a 12" ceramic Santa with a fancy sleigh, but you can only see the top of him in the picture below.  Maybe next time I'll manage to take a better picture.

Also, I decided to paint one of my miniature Santa's pink.  I thought he'd be cute that way.

Of course, over the years friends and family kept giving us miniature Santa's as gifts to add to our collection so it has grown quite a bit.

However, I haven't painted any ceramic figures in awhile.  Maybe I should paint a couple more.  You can never have to many in a collection.  Or can you?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hey, There's Even More Decorations! What About The Farmer's Porch and Bathroom?

As mentioned in my front hall Christmas decorations post front doors aren't really used like they used to be.  It's mainly side-doors and garage doors.  Well, we use our side-door which is in our farmer's porch so, of course, we have to have Christmas decorations there as well.

Since we still have young grandchildren I paste sesame street stickers to the windowpanes of that door.  The one in the middle on the very bottom (at grandchild height) says "Merry Christmas, Now Go Away!"

When visitors come in our door they are greeted by three of my creations hanging on the wall.

There's my fabric wreath which I made in February of 2002 and which I wrote about in 2010 in a Linda's Blog post entitled "Cloth Wreaths and a Giant Stapler - Sort Of!" It's 12" around and I made three Christmas wreaths and one winter wreath that year.

There's my quilted fabric pictures based on a "Picture It With Fabric" design that I wrote about in a Linda's Blog post entitled "Quilted Pictures - A Wonderful Concept!

And, there's one of my artificial evergreen wreaths that's 20" round and that  I made in October of 2002.

There's also a decoration for the doorknob.  You can't forget that now can you?

And, of course, the half-bath off the farmer's porch gets in on the decorations, too.  Shown on the wall are three of the wooden shadow boxes that hubby and I made in August of 1999 and which we gave a Christmas presents that year.

On a wall in the half-bath is another one of the Christmas wreaths that I made in May of 2003.  It's 10" round.

And, of course, you can't forget about the sink.  Everyone needs a little festivity while washing their hands - don't they?

When visitors come to our house this holiday season they'll be greeted with "Merry Christmas, Now Go Away!"  I wonder if they really will! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cookie Marathons and A Festive Kitchen

There's nothing quite like the smell of cookies baking, the scent of Christmas candles burning, and the festive atmosphere of a busy kitchen during the holiday season.

For many, many years my Mother and I would reserve 3-4 days in the weeks before Christmas for our annual cookie marathons. We would spend two days baking cookies and then one day packaging the cookies for our friends, loved ones, and several senior centers and nursing homes.

Every year we would select the cookies we would be baking from our list. For the most part we kept making ones that we knew were really good. Once in awhile we would add a new cookie, but it had to be exceptional to bump another cookie off the list. Sometimes we added fudge and chocolate candies that we'd made.  We knew that our cookies were good - how could they not be with many, many years of experience honing our cookies? As our list continued to grow we even had people asking to be put on our list.  So, of course, we added them and the list continued to grow and grow.

During this period we really took over the kitchen, the dining room, the family room and the sunroom. Let's face it during our cookie marathons we basically took over the house. There were tables everywhere for cooling the cookies or cookies on cookie sheets waiting to go into the oven or tables for the bags of finished cookies. Everywhere you looked there were cookies, but the smell was irresistible.

Of course, the rest of the house had already been decorated with Christmas decorations. We'd have the Christmas music playing in the background and the moods were bright and cheery. After three days of cooking we were always tired, but that never dampened our joy or the festive atmosphere.

It was usually during this time that hubby would try to get some of his Christmas shopping done and when he did he often would come home and surprise both my Mother and I with Christmas pins.  Christmas pins was a tradition started by my Dad a long time ago and continued by my sweet hubby.  I've written about his several times on my Linda's Blog.  If you'd like to read my posts please CLICK HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Sometimes my Mother would come with a surprise.  One year she came with a tiny little girl caroler.  What made this little caroler so special was that she was sitting with her hand in the cookie jar eating as many cookies as she could.  What a perfect gift for our carolers scene and cookie marathon.  She's the little girl sitting in front of the fireplace in the picture below.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Boxes and Trees - How Festive!

I just love Christmas boxes decorated with beautiful wired ribbons and floral accents.  In fact, for quite some time I used to elaborately decorate all the Christmas presents.  Everyone would say that they just looked so pretty they didn't want to open the present.

Well, as the family grew trying to elaborately decorate all the presents almost became impossible.  I still do it from time to time for hubby or some really special presents.  For the most part, however, with the young grandchildren elaborately decorated boxes are totally lost on them.

So, several years ago when hubby suggested that we should decorate some fake boxes and place them above our kitchen cabinets as Christmas decorations I was in 7th heaven.  I could decorate several boxes to my hearts content.  So, I did  five of them and we placed them atop our cabinets.

Well, this year we decided that we needed something in between the boxes and so we went to look at some of the other floral decorations I had made during the last two decades that we hadn't seen for awhile.

To our delight we found 3 of the artificial miniature evergreen  trees that I had created when I was in my miniature evergreen tree phase.  And, guess what, they fit up there just fine and look wonderful!

At least we think so.

So, I thought you'd like to see our boxes and trees.

Oh, the season is just so festive.

Elaborately decorated boxes. I love it.

Festive miniature trees. I love it.