"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ivy Lea Teacup, Cookies, & Importance of Family Traditons

 I got down all my boxes of teacups and sorted through them looking for the perfect Christmas teacup, and although I have a lot of very beautiful teacups , this teacup is the only one I took out to be MY special Christmas teacup. She is Ivy Lea by Royal Albert. I keep her on the buffet with a little shepherd and some sheep , and her matching creamer & sugar bowl.
 I snatched a few Berry Butternuts* from the stash my husband baked this past weekend. Berry Butternuts are a family Christmas tradition started in my husband's family by his father.
 Berry Butternuts are a family tradition my husband is now carrying on in our family, and he takes this very seriously. We have to use real butter, real vanilla, fresh walnuts, and good raspberry jam. He was in a tizzy one Christmas season when we ran out of raspberry jam. I suggested some of my homemade plum or blackberry jam, but no, HAD to be raspberry jam ! Now I make sure to make a lot of raspberry jam from our own berry bushes. We can't be running out of raspberry jam at this time of the year.
I made a pot of peach tea and covered it with my Christmas tea cozy, marveling at how well the gold-rimmed , ivy intertwined with snowdrops pattern cup and saucer fits in with all our Christmas decorating. I am thinking of snipping a few sprigs of variegated ivy I have growing in a pot on the porch and using them for my Christmas table-setting.

Both my husband & I come from Norwegian American families. Our families shared a few beliefs and attitudes about this time of the year I discovered were not , as I had assumed, common to most families. Our families were very good at being "over the top " in celebrating Christmas without spending a lot of money. I found a book Keeping Christmas ~ Yuletide Traditions in Norway and the New Land by Kathleen Stokker , that is rich with the history & traditions of Norway from pagan to Christian times, and then onto the celebrations the immigrant Norwegians brought to America. Fascinating ! This history explains so much about our families' attitudes &expectations towards the Christmas season we still carry on, without having realized just how much our families' traditions & history affect us even today. Hospitality was always important , especially at this time of the year. 

"A veritable archive of Norwegian American character traits - the vital role of hospitality , equality ,evenhandedness in sharing hosting obligations, resourcefulness ,the ability to make one's own entertainment , a concern for aesthetics, and the attention recorded Christian piety- this custom embodies qualities still valued in Norwegian society." by Kathleen Stokker  Hospitality is always precious, and sharing tea and cookies with friends & family this time of the year and all year round are traditions and customs shared world-wide . Tea-Time Tuesdays have given me a glimpse of hospitality from all over the world through a tea-cup  !

Join these ladies to see how they celebrate all things tea :
Artful Affirmations with Terri *
Bernideen's tea time Blog *
Martha's Favorites *
Rose Chintz Cottage with Sandi *
Antiques & Teacups with Ruth *

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Just Another Huge Windstorm

 The weather forecast and local news was warning us of a huge storm coming our way. Yeah, yeah... thus far we had not received any of the strong winds and drenching rains predicted and it was sunny outside. I went out to feed my sheep. To feed my sheep I take the wheelbarrow through the gate shown above to get hay from the hay shed. Just minutes after I went through the gate the winds picked up to a horrifying speed causing this branch to come down where I had been less than 5 minutes before. The branch broke on the roof and was stuck firmly under the sheep shed, and also left debris all over the other side of the shed. Meanwhile, I was in the hay shed and  hearing loud roaring of the wind and seeing huge branches flying horizontally across the sky, and hearing loud noises of large branches hitting the roof of the hay shed. I stayed put under cover until the wind subsided for a moment, then I ran with the wheelbarrow full of hay to the sheep shelter, fed them quickly and ran for the house. Good thing too, things got very dangerous , very quickly.
 We lost electrical power before the 6:00 news. For the next few hours my husband & I listened to raging winds outside, heard large things being blown against the house, saw our porch furniture being blown around the porch, and we were glad to be safe indoors. We read by candlelight, I wrote in and addressed many Christmas cards , and we went to bed knowing we were safe & sound, even without electricity.( Above, a tiny bit of the devastation around our pond... a tree top laying over our fire pit. )
 We had a lot of storm debris and tree tops fall into our pond, and over our fire pit ,
 but the morning after the storm the sun shone bright, the power came back on before noon, and the ducks and geese were swimming & bathing in the pond.
Life goes on. The storms rage , wreaking devastation , but the sun will eventually come out and calm returns. Through so many storms in my life I have finally learned , storms do end... and I need to simply hang in there for the sunshine , it's worth it ! " He sends forth His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow, " Psalm 147:18  ~

Saturday, December 13, 2014

All I Want For Christmas Is My Own Reindeer

 I love reindeer.
 Not just the ornaments I display around Christmas ,
 but real live reindeer.
Ever since I sat across the reindeer exhibit with my sheep in The Animals Of The World barn at our state fair, I have wanted real reindeer. I have been researching them for years , and maybe, just maybe I can convince Santa we should have at least a pair of reindeer ?

Oh well, I think that probably won't happen, but I do have a little wether ( castrated male sheep ) with 4 horns I have named Blitzen. He is very friendly. I' m going to make him a nice harness and train him for Santa. ( Note to self : start looking for small sled and keep a few more wethers. Comet, Cupid, Donder...)

"Now Dasher ! Now Dancer ! On Comet ! On Cupid ! On Donder and Blitzen ! To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall ! Now dash away ! Dash away ! Dash away all !  ~The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

Monday, December 8, 2014

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas !

 We've been decorating for Christmas.
 We're not finished, and I am already exhausted. But it is a happy kind of exhaustion, a Christmas festive kind of exhaustion.
 We still have to put the tree-topper on , after I finish making it.
We only put a few ornaments on the tree this year , and I left a lot of decorations in their boxes in the closet under the stairs. In spite of using far less decorations, and deciding not to put lights up around the house outside, we still seem to have Christmas decorations everywhere.

This week I'll address, write in, and send out Christmas cards & presents and then the baking begins . It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas !

Monday, December 1, 2014

Santa & I Are Very Good Friends !

 My husband & I have been gone . We've been over the snowy mountains and far away, returning home yesterday. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration with our sons, daughter, and their families. Just because Santa & I are very good friends, he visited us after Thanksgiving. He let me take a picture of him holding our new grandson ...
...and I even persuaded Santa to let me sit on his lap for a picture. ( Shhh, don't tell anyone, but Santa kissed me ! )

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Don't Despair ~ Be Thankful !

" And it is good to take time to be thankful , for it is all too easy to let the world's trouble sweep over one in a dark flood and to fall into despair. "  Gladys Taber

" Be anxious for nothing , but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."   Philippians 4:6

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Where I Store My Teacups ~ Part II ( Cat-Napping Room ? )

Blizzard woke up from his cat-nap while I was taking photos of my crafting room. Since he realized it was only me he settled himself back down and got comfortable on my work surface.

This was once our daughter's bedroom. She has long since moved out and now lives with her own family, so my husband & I began setting things up to accommodate the crafting supplies and work area that I used to store under beds, in closets...anywhere I could find space. Now it is all in one room. The boxes and bins are labeled and I try to keep like items together. The shelves are from Home Depot and are in the closet storage system department. I had at first wanted beautifully made hard wood shelves  and know my husband could have made them, but we're busy and expediency and budget were taken into consideration. I am very happy with these shelves.
Even though this looks cluttered, everything is labeled and has a place.
The wall on the far right has shelves holding the clean & carded wool from my flock of Jacob sheep. I try to use almost all of my wool before the next wool harvest , but there are always a few wool batts left on the shelves before the new shearing is finished. Sometimes this wall holds many bags of clean and carded wool fiber piled up in front of the shelves of wool. So much wool you cannot see the shelves ! The little shelf to the right of the wool shelves holds weaving supplies and a sewing machine.
This is the wall opposite my work table. Fabric and sewing supplies dominate here while the lower cabinet holds crafting books, pattern books, and magazines I use for inspiration in my crafting. The sewing machine & sewing table I use is beneath the thread holders on the wall. I keep it covered when not in use because working with my wool fiber can sometimes be dusty work. Again, any closed boxes, baskets, or containers are labeled and stored near similarly used supplies.
I see Blizzard is sleeping again and I am going to have to reclaim my work surface. Thank-you for taking a moment to see my messy, but useful & much loved crafting room. Now I am going to work on a few more needle-felted balls. Blizzard will probably happily bat them around and hide them . He's just testing them out to make sure they work properly and having fun watching me find them later on. I suppose this makes it Blizzard's room too, his cat-napping room !