Monday, December 21, 2009

Can You Find The Julbock? - Mosaic Monday

We trimmed the tree with ornaments homemade and store bought.  Some shiny and new, some childhood toys.  Each one special.

Wanna play  "Where's Waldo" with the tree decorations?  We used to play this game when the kids were little.   Can you find the origami piranha?  The papoose?  Where is the Venetian Santa in the gondola?  Point to the glass church.  And the Toucan with the big bill.  I spy with my little eye a tiny felt bear with jointed limbs.   Where is the blue bell made from an egg carton?    Can you find the Julbock?   (You don't know what that is?  He's the Swedish Christmas goat, made from straw.)

 For several years we have played a hide and seek game with the tree.  We hide green pickles and red peppers (ornaments, not the real thing)  in the tree on Christmas day  and then let our kids search for them.  They are hard to find when there are lots of other ornaments all over the tree.  We give out one last present after they are found.

Thank you Mary at Little Red House for hosting Mosaic Monday.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The real reason why we bake, decorate, wrap and give

Sometimes we need to stop the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparation and remember the real reason why we bake, decorate, wrap and give.   I play carols on the CD player, listen to daily advent homilies and keep a nativity scene in just about every room of the house. 

This presepio was made of clay by a Brazilian folk artist and has been in my family for many years.

My mother made this "story of the nativity" book from felt and other fabrics in the late 60's/early 70's following a pattern she found in a magazine.  (Anyone else out there make one from the same pattern?)

My best friend gave me this snowglobe  a year or two ago.

My mother-in-law passed this Mexican nacimiento on to me a couple of years ago.  (She loved it so much she displayed it all year.  So I do too.)

My husband and I purchased this creche not long after we were married.

In sweet jubilation, now sing and be joyous!
Our heart’s joy lies in a manger
and shines like the sun in his mother’s lap.
                               - transl. Latin carol 

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Mail

Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!  Season's Greetings!  One of my favorite things about Christmas is receiving Christmas cards in the mail and being wished the joy of the season!   This vintage Santa mail bag hangs in my hallway and collects all my holiday mail.
  I love all  the beautiful and creative cards sent by family and friends.  It is always wonderful to hear the latest news and see how children and grandchildren have grown.   I also appreciate wishes sent via e-mail and facebook, but don't think they will ever replace that special feeling of finding an envelope in the mailbox and ripping into it to find a handwritten note from a special friend.
So,  I'm curious, how many of you send cards each year?  I posted nearly 100.   (I should add that I have a  large extended family and have moved a few times, so my list gets big pretty quickly.)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Stained Glass Windows- Mosaic Monday

Stained glass windows in St. John's Church, Creighton University.

Mosaic Monday is hosted by Mary at Little Red House.  Please visit her blog to see all the other mosaic posts.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Oh Christmas tree!

"Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches!"

Monday, December 7, 2009

White Christmas- Mosaic Monday

First attempt at a mosaic! We don't have any snow yet, but here is my version of White Christmas.
Mosaic Monday is hosted by Mary at Little Red House. Visit her blog to see more than 80 other creative mosaics.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

New kitties

A couple of weeks ago our cat, Willie, passed away and we buried him in the back garden. 

Rest in peace, sweet Willie.

We were really sad.  Mr. Garden said that the house just didn't feel right without a cat in it.

So a few days later we went to the local shelter and found not one, but two new furry friends:




Natasha, the black kitten, is 5 months old and quite the pouncy little rascal! I have caught her climbing up in the Christmas tree twice. Katerina is 3 years old, has a magnificent purr and loves to cuddle. They get along great together.

We still miss our old yellow boy, but the new kitties are helping to heal our hearts.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Candles

Once upon a time I found a tiny little deer candle online and gave it to my sister as a gift. I liked it so much I ended up buying a few more for myself. Now what does one do with several little deer candles? Well, one buys several little tree candles, enough to make a forest, and then one displays them at Christmas.

The candles reminded me of something I had seen in the past, so the next time I was at my Mom's house, I went on a search through the Christmas decoration boxes. And viola! I found what I was looking for... Christmas nativity candles. They were by the same maker: Gurley. Mom didn't use them anymore, so I brought them home and put them on a shelf. I didn't mind if they were semi-melted.

Now, when one has a nativity scene with no angel, one looks for an angel on e-bay. After a a bit of searching and bidding online, several angels joined the household.

And if while looking for angels, one finds carolers...what Christmas is complete without a little bit of caroling?

Gurley (and Tavern) made so many wonderful little figurine candles! They used the parafin that was a byproduct of the oil industry. I only have Christmas candles, but Gurley also made candles for Easter, Halloween and Thanksgiving. They used to sell for just a few pennies at stores like Woolworths, but now you have to look for them at vintage/antique shops or on e-bay.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Vintage Felt And Sequin Christmas Trees

This vintage felt tree hangs in my front hallway every Christmas. I just love it! It's actually an advent calendar. If you turn the ornaments over, they are numbered 1-25. It's yet another one of my Mom's marvelous Church Christmas Bazaar finds from the late 60's/early 70's.

I mentioned in the previous post that  Mr. Garden's Grandmother M. made a whole bunch of felt and sequin Christmas trees. Grandmother M. apparently loved making crafts and she often got her grandchildren involved in the process. Sadly, she passed away when Mr. Garden was quite young, so I never had the chance to meet her. I think I would have liked her a lot.
She used green, red and white felt to make the trees. Here are pics of the green and red versions. The smaller size green trees were discovered a couple of years ago in a box at a vintage/antique store by my Mom and she knew I would give them a good home.

Monday, November 30, 2009


My kitchen takes on a gingerbread theme at Christmas. Blame it on too many fairy stories when I was a kid. "The Gingerbread Man" and "Hansel and Gretel" were among my favorites!

Gingerbread house cookie jars.

Gingerbread platters.

Cute little felt gingerbread people. 
 (The sequined felt trees were made by my husband's Grandmother years ago.  I love those!)

We fondly refer to these as the Alien Gingerbread Boy and Girl. My Mom picked them up at a church Christmas Bazaar years ago when I was just a kid. (This photo was taken when we were in the process of removing the old kitchen wallpaper. I know! Who would be crazy enough to be in the middle of a wallpaper project during the holidays! Me?)

I'm posting the recipe for Gingerbread that my mother made at home when I was a kid. It's delicious! Don't you love old family recipes?

Mom's Gingerbread

Beat well together:
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup oil

Sift together and add:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg

Stir in:1 cup boiling water

Pour into greased and floured 9 x 13 pan
Bake at 350 degrees 30 to 40 minutes

Notes from Mom: This recipe was the one that my mother used. I grew up eating this with lemon sauce, and learned to make it when I was just a little girl, 12 years old, or so. The best molasses to use is dark Black Strap molasses if you can get it.

Lemon Sauce

to be poured over Mom's Gingerbread
1 1/4 cups water
3/4cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. lemon rind

Combine water, sugar, and cornstarch in medium saucepan until well-blended.

Cook over medium heat, stirring with a wire whisk until mixture thickens and becomes clear.

Continue to cook one more minute, stirring constantly; remove from heat.

Pour about 1/2 cup of hot mixture into small bowl containing egg yolks; stir well until blended.

Pour egg mixture into saucepan with hot mixture; stir well, then return to medium heat (continue stirring).

When mixture starts to boil, cook one more minute, then remove from heat.

Stir in butter, lemon juice and lemon rind until thoroughly blended.

Cool to room temperature, placing plastic wrap over lemon curd to prevent a skin forming.

Chill until ready to use.

Makes about 2 cups.

Notes from Mom: If the recipe is doubled it will also make a great lemon pie filling.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas Tree Auction

Every year they have a tree auction at Union Station to raise money for a local charity. Take a look at some of these fun and festive trees! (these pics were from last years auction.)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas Tree Brooches

I recently started to collect Christmas tree brooches. I just love Christmas trees, and these miniature versions are such fun! I wear one on my collar when I go out. And I attach them to the napkins on my Christmas table to add a little sparkle to the table setting.

I am amazed by all the different designs! 

Mr. Garden gave me the book "Christmas Tree Pins- O Christmas Tree" by Nancy Yunker Trowbridge, for Christmas.   There are so many beautiful pieces to look at!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Prydes Old Westport is the place to go if you are searching for kitchen gadgets, appliances, pots , bakeware, dishes and anything else related to cooking. Every nook and cranny of this historic building is stuffed with great finds. Just amazing! Their motto is "If we don't have it... you don't need it!" When you visit, be sure to leave time for some pie from The Upper Crust.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Unfinished Quilts

Someday I will complete all these unfinished quilts. 
 What inspires you to complete old projects?

Kansas Troubles quilt.

These are still individual blocks that need to be joined together. 
 I love playing with pattern possibilities.

Watercolor quilt.


Row By Row (One row for each month of the year.)