Sunday, December 21, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}~ December 21, 2014

Joining Like Mother, Like Daughter for {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}.


After three years of living in a house without a fireplace, we once again have a mantel, which of course, is prime real estate for Christmas decorating.  I bought a holly garland at Hobby Lobby for $6, knowing it was a little sparse but that I thought I could beef it up a little with what I already had and few additions from the dollar store.  I had six small candle rings with poinsettias, red berries, etc. that I've used on chandeliers in the past, but this house has no such chandelier, so I cut the rings in two and interspersed them as is throughout the holly garland.  I also bought bunches of white "berries" from the dollar store, cut them apart, and just stuck the pieces in willy-nilly wherever there was a bare spot.  I'm amazed at how lush and full it looked!  And all for $8!

I love my Johnson Bros. Christmas plate I bought for $2.50 at Marshall's a few years ago!


We had our first significant snow last week and Man of the House seemed happy as a clam shoveling the driveway.  I doubt he'll feel the same way in February . . .

The pond is lovely in any season~


A last portrait of Felix, taken by Dave

We learned last week that our cat, Felix, was terminally ill.  He took the long ride to the vet on Friday and we are now pet-less.  We've had a variety of pets for the past twenty-two years, and Felix was our last remaining one.  Though we aren't yet used to his being gone, the time is right for us to embrace our new status as non-pet-owners.  Thank you for years of companionship and affection, Felix.  We will miss you.


Blessings to you and your family as you celebrate the birth of Emmanuel~ God with us!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}~ December 14, 2014

Joining Like Mother, Like Daughter for {phfr}!


Not long ago, we had some very cold weather and the pond formed a thin skin of ice that remained for several days. One night the pond frosted over and was lined with long shadows the next morning. It is wonderful to watch the pond transform with the changes of weather and season.  Each stage is beautiful in its own right.


I've been busy since October making Christmas gifts and still have two to go (though both are in progress).  I really, really enjoyed making these finger puppets for Arane.  Each one took one and a half to two hours from start to finish, and I made a total of ten, one for each chubby, little, two-and-a-half-year-old finger.  I borrowed, and in some cases adapted, the patterns from this book.  I haven't worked with felt since I was in grade school and I was surprised and pleased by how enjoyable it was.  I plan to make more things from felt in the future!

I whipped up a little storage pouch with a velcro closure~
easy for little fingers to open and close!

Though I like them all, for some reason this little guy is my favorite!


Coming up with gifts for second babies is hard, don't you think?  Mostly they use hand-me-downs from their older siblings, especially if they are the same sex, as with my two grandbabies.  Books and toys are always good, of course, and we have bought some for Verity, but I wanted to make her something.  I found this carseat blanket on Pinterest and thought it looked practical and cute and fast.  I made it in a couple hours.  I will cut and sew the holes when I have access to her carseat so I can get them in the right place.  I found the fabric at Jo-Ann.  So sweet!

{Funny} and {Real}

I spent Tuesday morning making Dave's favorite Christmas sweet~ fruitcake.  This is the first time I have attempted it in this kitchen with this oven and using parchment paper instead of a paper bag, so I was a little nervous.  The recipe calls for dousing the half-cooked cake in whiskey at fifteen minute intervals during the last hour or so of the baking process.  The house came equipped with a double oven, one large and one small.  I chose to use the small oven despite the little niggling doubt that bounced briefly around in the back of my mind.  After the last dousing and with fifteen minutes of baking left to go, I went out to get the mail.  I came back in to a smoky house and a husband asking me if I had heard the explosion outside.  


Explosion?  What explosion?!  Apparently, the whiskey-soaked parchment had ignited and the explosion had blown the oven door open!  There were bits of ash floating in the air.  I feared for my fruitcakes, but they were miraculously unscathed, if slightly singed around the edges.  Here's the evidence of the mishap:

The black bits are mostly the burned-up parchment paper.
When I peeled the paper off, the cakes looked pretty good!
Dave thinks the smallness of the oven contributed to the ignition, and I think the parchment was more flammable than a paper bag.  Next year, I'll use the big oven and a paper bag.  Ah, well, live and learn.  Christmas 2014 will be remembered as the year Martha caused an explosion while making fruitcake!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}~ Dec. 7, 2014

So much has gone on since I lasted posted that I don't think I can cram it all into one post.  We had guests galore!  Lizzie, Justin, and their two adorable children stayed for a whole week.  Loads of exhausting fun, including a trip to the St. Louis Zoo.  At varying times and for varying lengths, we also hosted my mother, my sister, my niece, and Dave's mother during the same week.  Of course, everyone wanted to take advantage of the WV contingent being so close.  We went to my other sister's for Thanksgiving.  It was all extremely diverting but also extremely fatiguing.  But so, so good!


These pictures do not do justice to the utter adorableness of my two granddaughters.

Arane (almost two and a half)

Verity (almost three months)

So sweet and cuddly!  Just look at those kissable dumpling cheeks! We had so much fun coaxing smiles and coos from Verity and exploring the world with Arane.  Arane is my mother's first great-grandchild and Verity is her fifth.  We've had a veritable baby boom in my family in the past two and a half years!

My mother and Verity getting to know one another


Arane loved to explore the woods and pond with "Papa."  He even let her drive his truck, which scored big points with her.


It was the first time Dave's mother, Sylvia, and Arane and Verity made each other's acquaintance. They hit it off very well, but Arane had trouble remembering yet another grandma's name.  She got the "Grandma Syli-" part right, but when she couldn't remember the third syllable, she added one that was logical and familiar to her: "-ware."  Grandma Sylviware!


Unrelated to Thanksgiving visits and activities~

Our nativity set has gone missing, along with a few other decorations.  We've looked in every conceivable box, and it is not there.  It was last seen on our moving truck in May, but of course, we haven't had occasion to look for it until recently, so we didn't realize it was gone.  We got it as a Christmas present at least twenty years ago.  I really liked it too; it was classic white china with gold trim.  I'm sorry it's gone!

We took far too many pictures to share them all here, or even a reasonable representation of them.  I'll leave the rest to your imagination.  Thanks for stopping by!  Visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more {phfr}!

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