may you enjoy getting together with old friends and new acquaintances ~
~ and find innovative ways to express your unique personality~
~ May you find joy in the little things
and carry that with you wherever you go,
~ and if you discover something new that excites you...
~ may you have the courage to dive in,
seize the moment,
and relish the opportunity you have been given! ~
“We will open the book.
Its pages are blank.
We are going to put words on them ourselves.
The book is called Opportunity
and its first chapter is New Year's Day.”
Edith Lovejoy Pierce (1904)
This Christmas morning, I am thankful to have been born into a family who loves to make things. As I look around, I see Jo's needlepoint gingerbread house, Ace's wooden birdhouse, the scarf you knitted, and the life-sized wooden sleigh Daddy designed and crafted for me (and I sewed all that is inside the sleigh). How fortunate are we to have a family who places an emphasis on sharing creativity? Merry Christmas to all!
"I want to be with people who sumerge in the task,
who go into the fields to harvest and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm..."
...Marge Piercy (thanks to Jen for this awesome poem)
"White ... is not a mere absence of colour; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black.... God paints in many colours; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white." --Gilbert Keith Chesterton
"Meeting Franklin Roosevelt was like opening your first bottle of champagne;
knowing him was like drinking it"
My mom and I have been obsessed with buttons this week. So my latest project was finishing this 10-foot button garland for the tree. It is easy to make, but if you try it, be careful to keep it from getting tangled. I used a heavy silky cotton embroidery thread. The whites, creams, ivories and sand colors appear iridescent like seashells. Martha would think it is a good thing indeed.
"Day has put on his jacket,
and around his burning bosom
buttoned it with stars"
Oliver Wendell Holmes (one of my favorite quotes!)
Jo sewed this felt gingerbread ornament, and I loved putting it in the painting above (even though paint doesn't smell nearly as heavenly as gingerbread)
"Had I but one penny in the world, thou shouldst have it for gingerbread!"...William Shakespeare
This recipe is for a house. But I make it just as it says and use cookie cutters for the ornaments - which makes a lot. So, hang half and eat half . . .
Molasses Gingerbread Cookie Dough
Ingredients1 1/4 cups packed dark-brown sugar
3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Combine brown sugar, molasses, butter, spices, and salt in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved, about 10 minutes. Stir in milk. Remove from heat, and let cool.
- Pour milk mixture into a mixing bowl; add baking powder and flour. With an electric mixer, and beginning on low speed and increasing to medium, beat until well combined. Divide dough in half; shape into disks. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate overnight. Dough can be frozen up to 1 month; thaw in the refrigerator before using.
- PS - thanks Martha.
Glittered Pinecone Ornaments How-To
To glitter pinecones, hold a cone carefully, and brush craft glue over tips of scales.
Then, holding cone over bowl, spoon fine glitter over scales.
For drop ornaments, hot glue a miniature glass ball at the top of the pinecone. You can snip off the end of each pinecone, if necessary, to make a flat place to glue a ball. Run twine through the hole in top ball for a hanger.
Martha Stewart Living
I love your Martha ornaments--come over and let's dig into a big pile of felt and see what we can make!
"Chaos is a friend of mine"...Mr. Dylan
The style of this quilt is Trapunto. It was among several beautiful quilts displayed at the Upper Cumberland Quilt Festival in Algood, Tennessee. The quilt top, batting and the quilt backing make a sandwich for the running stitch. The running stitches outline feathers, leaves, flowers, swirly designs or whatever pattern being worked. Extra batting is then placed inside making the pattern raised. Most were white on white and made for weddings.
"Color is one of the great things in the world that makes it worth living to me and I have come to think of painting as it is my effort to create an equivalent with paint color for the world--life as I see it"...Georgia O'Keefe
4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 teaspoons (or 2 pkgs) yeast
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup melted butter
Apple Nut Filling:
2 cups finely chopped apples
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups confectioners sugar
3 Tablespoons milk (I always need more than this)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Garnish: chopped walnuts, red and green candied cherries
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 flour (2 cups) with the sugar, yeast, and salt. In a medium saucepan, heat milk, water, and a butter until lukewarm. Pour into dry ingredients and mix at low speed. Add egg and blend at high speed for 2 minutes. With spoon, add about 1 and 1/2 cups remaining flour to form a soft dough. Knead in remaining 1/2 cup flour. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 2 hours (or up to 3 days). Divide dough in half, roll each into a 7x14 rectangle and brush with melted butter. Spread half apple-nut filling over each, roll up along long side, seal edges. Place sealed edges down in a circle on greased cookie sheets, then seal ends firmly. Cut 2/3 of the way into the ring at 1 inch intervals. Turn each one-inch section on its side slightly. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk--1 to 1 and 1/2 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. When almost cool, drizzle with glaze and decorate with cherries and walnuts. Yields two coffee cakes, one for you and one to share.
3 cups of sweet potatoes
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup of butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Boil potatoes and peel. Strain and mash, adding sugar, butter, vanilla and milk. Spread in 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
For Topping: Melt 1/3 cup of butter. Mix in 1 cup of Brown Sugar (in honor of Mick) and 1 cup of chopped pecans. Spread on top. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees, and share the love with friends and family...
Oven Apple Pancakes:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup of milk
Set mixture aside.
Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet on the stove while you prepare:
5 apples, cut in cubes (leave skin on)
1/2 brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Saute' until the mixture bubbles and apples are soft. Then pour the flour and egg batter over the apples, transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and continue baking another 10 minutes. Serve hot from the skillet, and garnish with powdered sugar and strawberries or raspberries. Enjoy!
"Oh young artist, you search for a subject--yet everything is a subject, your subject is yourself, your impressions, your emotions in the presence of nature"...Eugene Delacroix
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves"...John Muir
Typically we have lots of the brown squirrels here, but occasionally the white squirrels come around too. I would think the bright white fur would be a disadvantage if you needed to avoid predators, but the population doesn't seem to suffer. Compared to the brown squirrel, he does appear considerably smaller, and perhaps even a little malnourished, but maybe that is normal?