Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Last Christmas Post

The most important part of Christmas for many of us is the celebration of the birth of the Christ child. Many years ago, I was given some Hummel Nativity figures. They have traveled with me from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and 5 different residences. Every year they were the first items I put out to prepare for the arrival of Christmas Day. Mary, Joseph, Jesus, a shepherd, an angel and the wisemen would all be set out, sometimes using the wooden stable my Dad made years ago out of leftover paneling and sometimes just placed on a table top. Several weeks before Christmas, the year that David and I were married,  I set out all of the figures on our antique desk. When David saw them he said that Jesus should not be part of the display until Christmas morning; that Joseph and Mary were waiting for the arrival of the Christ child...

so Jesus was placed in the top desk drawer until the appropriate time.

Two days after Christmas I realized that I had not taken Jesus out of the desk drawer. I felt so guilty! David wrote a sermon about that titled, "Where Do You Keep Your Jesus?" I have never forgotten since. (He also thought the wisemen should be placed on a "far away" piece of furniture until it was time for them to arrive on Epiphany (January 6)...I drew the line on that. Gosh! I might not realize they hadn't come until Valentine's Day!)

Please take note of the two cute donkeys. They are not Hummels. They are salt and pepper shakers.
I thought they fit in pretty well!

The poor shepherd has not fared very well in his travels. He has several chips and at one point he broke in two. Would I replace him? No, to me he represents the brokenness of all people. We all have chips, cracks and breaks. Even in our brokenness, God calls us to himself and promises us eternal life if we just follow Him, like the sheep follow the shepherd.
And the angel said to them, "Fear not: for behold , I bring you good tidings of a great joy,
 which shall be for all people." Luke 2:10

Today I pray that the joy that was born on Christmas, be in your heart all year.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas is not over yet...

Merry Christmas Friends!
Christmas doesn't end on the 25th of lasts until Epiphany on January 6th. (You know, the 12 Days of Christmas) I was hoping to have posted the final stop on the tour of our home at Christmas before the 25th, but I ran out of time and had celebrating to do! So I will now show you the family room which is the heart of our home. You will find our fireplace...

with a close-up of the fraction of my Santa collection displayed...

The two new additions this year are the tall whirl-a-gig Santa painted for me by my sister Barb and Mrs. Claus by Lori Mitchell (Love Mrs. C's legs! and plate of cookies)...

I have a large collection of Santa's but only chose a treasured few to display this year. On the bookshelves you will find my deBrecht Russian Santas with their beautifully painted coats...

and some Santas that are painted gourds...

and even a Krinkles Santa by Patience Brewster...

I am very fond of Patience Brewster's work and have collected some ornaments of her design for the tree...

Not very traditional but her quirky style makes me smile! The ornaments on the tree are all meaningful to us and the oldest one is from my Mother's childhood...a wool Santa (now missing a  leg) which always gets hung first...way inside near the trunk. When I was a very small child, he used to scare me but now I look forward to seeing him every year.

On one wall hangs a festive quilt....there is always a quilt on this wall...I just change it out at the different seasons. I love quilts.....old ones, new ones but especially the handmade ones. (This one is not handmade, however...cute just the same)

and below the quilt is my partner in crime and the love of my life, David!

I'm sure by now you're getting very weary of this tour...we're almost finished.
On the linen press is my music box with a village square and a train that runs while the music plays. There are 50 musical pieces in the music box...most are Christmas tunes but some are old fashioned tunes like
 Down By The Old Mill Stream and You Are My Sunshine.
Little people love to watch the train go around and see the lighted tree inside.
There is also the wooden Advent calendar I snagged at Target last year (I snapped this picture several days ago) that held Hershey's kisses for each day,  and a reproduction Snowman box that is new this year. (Ah, Homegoods)

On the entertainment cabinet is a vignette all in white.
There is a white tree candle under a cloche on a cake pedestal, a glittered church, a tall bottle brush tree and a smaller bottlebrush tree in a cloche ornament sitting atop a vase turned upside down. The two angels and the angel tree on the left (sorry, I chopped some of her head off in this picture) are from
the Larkspur Lane series by Silvestri. Lib Cummings-Mead is the artist.

Quite an eclectic mix, don't you think? I've saved the best for last but it's late and I need to get some sleep. I will come back tomorrow and finish with my favorite figures of all. Can you guess?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Swedish Dining Room

My husband is part Irish and part Swedish and I am German on both sides of my family. When we married and combined our two households, we kept the Scandanavian style in the living room and dining room and kept my hodge-podge of antique/country style in the family room. We have now oozed into a blended style everywhere and in the dining room the table, chairs and two buffet/servers are teak while the hanging shelf on the wall is Shaker and the jelly cupboard is a pine antique. It all goes together pretty well. At Christmas, I keep the decorations in that room primarily of Swedish style. Some things are old and some are newer Ikea. The tree is decorated with straw ornaments and shiny apples.

There are some antique figures on the shelf...skiers and cars...and sheep

The goats are made of straw and are newer ones from Ikea....I long for a wooden Dala horse...(the one pictured was found on the web...

The bowl with the tomptes (Swedish elves) on it is from Sweden as is the paper fold-out

The Santa figure is not old or Swedish, it just fits nicely in this room. The painted slate piece matches it although different people made them and were purchased several years apart.

Moving out of the dining room and into the entryway for a moment....I wanted you to see this glittery house...

first with the lights off...

and then with the lights on.
I purchased this at Pottery Barn last year after Christmas when it was 50%'s my favorite glittery piece!
The Santa and snowman are ornaments...I just thought they worked into this scene pretty well.
The last photo is of one of my Marjoein Bastin plates. I love her detailed and realistic. I have many of her ornaments, snow globes and plates.
I hope you have enjoyed these photos.
How are your plans coming along for Christmas? Our cards have been mailed, our out of state packages have been wrapped and mailed, almost all of the shopping is done but......
I still have things I need to make.....some journals for gifts, some tags for a friend...I don't think I'm going to get to cookies this year, again, but that's OK because I did order some Cheryl's Cookies this year.....and we shouldn't be eating them, right?
 Next to ice cream-homemade cookies are my favorite dessert!
Are you having snow where you are? We have had about 6-inches so's beautiful!
Stay warm and cozy. I'll be back soon!
When I come back, we'll peek into the family room.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm getting there....slowly!

The decorating is almost finished.
Today, finally, I figured out how to put all of the addresses for Christmas cards on the computer to print labels.
This morning I wrote the letter that will go in with our cards and tonight, David & I can sit and finish them and get them in the mail tomorrow.
I am in the process of wrapping up the gifts to be mailed...yes, I know that Monday was the biggest postal day of the year...I hate crowds so I'll wait until tomorrow. I've done a lot of shopping on-line this year. Grown children are not easy to buy for when you don't see them very cards to their favorite shops are perfect I think.
I still have to shop for David. In some ways he's easy to buy for because he never...and I mean never, buys anything for himself. He wears black every day to work (he's a pastor) but he's a guy who loves color. I have some ideas....tomorrow is my day to shop for him. (After I go to the post office) When I asked him what he wanted for Christmas, his answer was "I really need a good pocket comb...maybe 2." You can see why shopping for him is an adventure!
It is very cold here in Pittsburgh but today we had a few hours of sun which is pretty unusual. I ran around taking pictures of our Christmas decorations. I will share some today and some in another post.

First, I want to give a big shout out THANK YOU to all of the tag makers in Elizabeth's (Creative Breathing) tag swap. The tags everyone made were so fine with attention to each little detail. If you go to Elizabeth's blog and scroll down you can see  pictures of almost every tag. The artists who participated are all top-notch and I was honored to be included. (Paula Clare-personalized-WOW! that was so special!)
Elizabeth and I have been blog friends for over a year now. We write back and forth and share ideas and supplies. She is a source of great inspiration to me (and lots of other women too!) and I always love to see what she's creating. A year ago she posted pictures of ornaments that she made for her Christmas tree that were inspired by Jenny B. Harris of Allsorts. Elizabeth  made scottie dogs and star garlands out of felt in bright, happy colors. She fashioned peg dolls into bearers of good tidings of great "JOY". She made felt Christmas trees trimmed with buttons. They were pieces to behold. Several months ago Elizabeth decided to part with some of these decorations and I was a lucky recipient of some of these precious ornaments. I decided I wanted to use them in my kitchen....the room where I spend a lot of time. I hung the garlands from my valances...

The girls are on the windowsill so that I see them often during the day....

The felt tree was paired with a Swedish woodcutting Santa.....
The individual scottie dogs almost went up on the tree but I liked seeing them all massed together so I took this little bargain basket...

removed the tin label for now.....

and piled the puppies in! Elizabeth's beautiful decorations, combined with some things I already a Goodwill (Poor baby store to you E!) find for $2.95.

Not really big enough for many cookies but perfect for these....

and some faux (I love the word much nicer sounding than FAKE) holly on my punched tin chandelier, make for a cheery place to sit and sip my coffee with Peppermint Mocha creamer or Susie's Chai Tea or even some sugar-free hot chocolate!

Thank you Elizabeth, for brightening up my home and my heart with your kindness!
Next we'll take a look at our Swedish diningroom!
Oh, I almost forgot! I have gotten ornaments from 3 of the gals in my swap group in the
Say It With Letters ornament swap....

A darling little clay gingerbread bouse ornament from Melanie Adey,(look at the tiny wreath!) a colorful Merry Christmas pillow ornament and tag from my sweet friend Laurie who has an Etsy shop called Trinkets  and a cute little wooden house door hanger from Deb, the owner of Say It With Letters. Look at one of the items from her shop...

She is a real peach and their products are great to work with.  Go-shop!
OK-that's all for now!
Thank you to all of you who posted well wishes and cheery words about my ugly black eye. Two weeks post-procedure today and it is still somewhat yellow and purple but not nearly as prominent as it was. It's healing and I feel fine. Please wear sunscreen and by all means, protect your face from the sun.


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