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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Santas

How many did I make this year?  I am not sure. I should keep records. The concept came from an old catalog. I thought this would be very different for me. I usually do a lot of embellishment with beads and threads. But this little guy had its challenges too. I wanted something to touch this year. I wanted something you could hold and it would make you feel warm on a cold day.

I ordered wool felt. The poly-felt just did not have the feel to it that I wanted. And the colors were not rich. Then I found this green. 

Of course the challenge is always in pattern making. I wanted each one to be different yet still cut from a pattern. I found that in stuffing them they grew differently. Each one had a personality well defined to itself.

But I could not  get them to stand well. So I created a disc of polished stones which I inserted in the base that you could even move around to give it a stance if you wanted.

And then there were the beards. I had been to the Sheep and Wool festival and bought some raw wool. Uncarded, which means it had not been pulled and cleaned. I stitched it on in tiny clumps and then trimmed it a bit. Not too much. Santa has spent all year resting up for the "Big Day". I don't believe he spent much time fussing over the hair. And when you look closely at it, you will still see little bits of hay. I tell people that it is from the barn where he goes to be with the reindeer.....

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I was writing to my sister Denise about the things I have in storage when all of a sudden I got a craving for chocolate. I rarely eat chocolate anymore so I don't even have chocolate chips in the house.

A little flour, eggs, cocoa, butter, and a pretty bundt pan - voila! The wonderful thing about having great landlords is it will be lovely to bring them some tomorrow. Everyone loves chocolate cake, especially when it is this pretty. Yes?

Winter at last

When I first arrived last winter I was excited about being in the snow again. Snow does not fall in Portland Oregon. Well, we got snow on Halloween, and then nothing the rest of the season. But look at this year. See that snow plow? That is Longine's idea of snow removal. And he quite diligent  about clearing it out. This is one of those tractors that actually pick up the snow and puts it somewhere else. It is incredible. So we move our cars and when we put them back we are clear to move around. He is constantly doing snow control.

This is the back porch looking over towards the hill in back of the house where I grew up. I should put pants on and venture out to take more pictures, but the wind has been whipping about and as much as I love winter, I love to be inside, warm, looking out at it all.

This is my bathroom window. The whole top half of it had a snow overhang. there are bird feeders everywhere.

Today I went out to my car to brush the snow off so I could go see Robin only to find that Chris, Longine's wife had already cleared my car of snow earlier in the day. Can you believe it? She said that my car is so small she just couldn't help herself. It only took a couple of minutes. I am making bread on Friday. I will give them a loaf.

I want to go out to see if the pond is frozen. I keep promising to do that. And I will. I promise.

Family Christmas

This was my little tree. It was all of three feet high and I didn't put lights on it because I don't pay for electricity here. My dear landlord is a little sensitive about wasting energy. Maybe next Christmas I will be bolder. I did buy one package of ornaments. then I made bows from wired ribbons and it really came out quite beautiful. I didn't take it down till the second week of January and it had been so fresh that even after having been up nearly two months, there were few pine needles that had fallen off. And of course, the smells were wonderful. I can't remember the last time I had a tree. This was tiny and perfect.

We celebrated Christmas eve with family. This is PJ, Philip's son. All grown up. And I think he looks just like Phil. He even dresses like him. Phil is my second brother, a year older than I. Just a lovely charming young man. We received the news a couple of weeks ago that PJ has proposed and my brother Phil is overwhelmed with emotion and cannot be a happier man at this point in his life. Very very nice.

This is Linda's tree. I took maybe twenty pictures of this thing and this is the best i could get. It was big and full of ornaments. Whenever I would go over to spend time with Mom, she would get up and click the switch to turn it on. Mom loves her trees.

Linda always prepares a lot of munchies. We also had pork pies. We grew up on pork pies for the holidays. Linda made the filling and Mom and I put the pies together. I would love to say that I made the pie crusts. Had I done them at home I probably would have. But there were I think nine pies and six or eight little individual pies and we used pre-made crusts. Hey - I wonder if my grandmother would have used these if she had the option in order to save time???

This is Suzanne demonstrating another modern electronic something or other that I know nothing about. She and Linda are quite into gadgets. So is Melanie and Hyrum. I listen and watch fascinated. but it all goes over my head. How I love my four sewing machines.

This is my baby sister Linda who is a mere whisper of the woman I hugged when I returned from Oregon at the end of 2011. The young girl next to her is Chelsea who, the lst time I saw her, was what - twelve years old? All grown up. Everyone is all grown up. It was great to see her.

Next Christmas will be a little different as we have decided that gift giving should be not so important anymore. I of course will always make my yearly ornaments. So I will always be giving. For me it is a peaceful time. But the world is getting a bit crazy-overboard with the whole shopping thing.

That is what was nice this year and mentoring Sydney. We had enough time before Christmas that I got to teach her enough techniques so that she was able to make presents for everyone. She was a favorite in her family. And she does have a rather large extended family. She was very proud of her accomplishments and so was everyone else. That is why I always loved Christmas and always will.

I am beginning work on the new holiday. This is going to be a good one, but then, I say that every year.

So Much About Christmas

With the green and red had, this is Sydney, Robin's daughter. I have been spending time with her these past months. Every Wednesday after school, we get together to work with beads, fabric. I have become a teacher again. Nothing better. These are Sydney's friends that came to her house for a Christmas party. I was asked to be a part of it. Yeah!!

We made cookies. One batch was with flour. Sydney is wheat intolerant so the other batch was flourless. I have to find a cookbook and learn how to cook in this form. It was a long process making the doughs and rolling them out, cutting shapes, baking then painting with frostings. The four girls were so intent in this. It was amazing. 


This is my ice cream maker. I brought the ingredients and they each had things to add. Not difficult this process. Watching the cream get colder and colder fascinated them. Then at the end they added the chocolate chips and each of them got to add a few drops of food coloring.

Suddenly everyone came out of the walls to eat this treasure. Doesn't take long for a batch of ice cream to disappear.

The end of the evening and now to contemplate. Four little girls and More fun than can be imagined.