Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Wishes

 These vintage cards say it so eloquently and beautifully.

Best Christmas Wishes to you Friends!

...And a Happy New Year!

I will be taking a little break from blogging until after the first of the year, I will be out of town visiting family. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A few more Christmas Decorations...

 I thought I would share a few more decorations this year. I didn't decorate quite as much as last year and most are just a repeat of last year. This sign was a gift last year. It made an easy entry decoration this year. A few little suction cups with hooks to hold it in place, a little elf  perched on top and done!

Mandy and I went antique shopping with our aunt while she was in town last week. We couldn't resist bringing home a few more vintage ornaments! One of my favorites is this one with a snug little house on it. 

 A fun Shiny Brite with sparkly snowflakes.

Made in Poland this one practically glows!

 This one looked blue in the store but once home it turned out purple. Not the usual color for an ornament!

 Instead of our usual wreath, I used vintage bells tied to fresh greenery I snagged on sale for the door. Last year, I had the bells on the front mirror.

Christmas is almost here, are you ready? 
(Just one more project to finish up and then I will be ready!)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Greetings from long ago....

This year the Book Nook is decked out in my grandmother's blue snowflakes. The blue didn't quite go with the living room decor as well as I was anticipating last year. When it came time to decide where to hang them this year, I immediately knew! The Book Nook!

 My Christmas card collection has grown a little since last year. I have been keeping an eye out at the antique shops and estate sales. Each one has a bit of a story to tell.

The bells card I found last year, it is one of my favorites! The house and sleigh cards reads "Do you remember me? I do you. Are you out yet? I received mine on 23 Sept. 1945."

This one came all the way from Sudbury, England! "From Goodie & Frank Merry Xmas"

This one brought a lump to my throat. Inside it reads:
Dear Chet, Here we are embarking on another adventure. This is our first "Peacetime" Christmas in many a year, may it be a happy one and may it be everything you have dreamed about for these past years when you had to be away from home. And may the pleasures of Christmas be enough to overflow into a glorious New Year of health, happiness and success. And may you enjoy many, many of these New Years so that you may live to a good old age and bask in the sunlight and happiness that you have so continuously brought to others. My best to a real friend, Sincerely Bob"

I left the snowflakes on the cardstock from last year and just hung them up with string and mini clothespins. Such a cute look, I might continue to use it after the holidays.

I also hung a few by the bedroom door.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Shiny Brite

A month or so ago, I came across a fascinating article on Shiny Brite Ornaments. By now, I am sure you all know my love for vintage glass ornaments! We have put them on the tree, piled them in baskets, jars and vases, decorated wreaths and  hung them in windows. Such a fun vintage touch!

So here is the story of the best known American-made Christmas ornaments. Excerpts taken from American Made Christmas Ornaments

"Inexpensive colorful glass Christmas ornaments have been an important part of American Christmas tree decorating since the 1880's, when retailer Frank W. Woolworth began importing and selling them in his 5 & 10 cent stores.
The glass making centers of Germany were the primary source for glass ornaments, but by the 1920's, Czechoslovakia , Poland and Japan were producing ornaments as well. "

"During the late 1930s, Nazi German U-Boats terrorized the North Atlantic........This also curtailed the importing of European Christmas ornaments to the United States .  As a result, American retailers were scrambling to find sources for inexpensive glass ornaments."

"This led German importer Max Eckardt, in cooperation with F. W. Woolworth’s, to approach Corning Glass Works regarding the possibility of adapting their ‘Ribbon Machine’ light bulb machinery to Christmas ornament production. Corning agreed and began developing Christmas ornament production during late 1938 and began ornament production in earnest at their Wellsboro, PA plant in 1939."

"Because of anti-German sentiment caused by Germany 's hostility during the late 1930s, the early Corning ornaments were completely new and modern and did not rely on old European Christmas ornament styles for inspiration..... In addition to simple spheres, several ornament shapes were industrial-inspired Deco Modern. By not using old European ornaments for inspiration, the new Corning ornaments completely symbolized Americanism, Patriotism and the American Ideal."

"In December 1940, Life Magazine published a brief article describing Corning ’s foray into Christmas Ornament production.  Life stated:
“The war has reached its long tentacles into the coziest corners of U.S. industry and, as a result, the U.S. this year for the first time in history will be self-sufficient in the matter of Christmas-tree ornaments.  Normally the U.S.consumes from 50,000,000 to 80,000,000 ornaments a year.  Until last year it imported 99% of them from Europe, largely from Germany and Czechoslovakia where they were made by cheap home labor.  Last year the European supply was cut off and America suffered a severe ornament shortage. This year, however, the Corning Glass works, which produces glass in many forms from light bulbs to the 200-in. mirror for Mt. Wilson , is producing 40,000,000 ornaments."

"In addition to their own brand of Christmas ornaments, by 1940,Corning was producing all the ornament blanks for several different Christmas ornament decorating and distributing companies. Max Eckardt decorated and marketed Corning blanks under his Shiny Brite brand.  During most of World War II, Shiny Brite ornaments were packed in boxes with patriotic, Victory graphics showing Uncle Sam shaking hands with Santa Claus. Other companies utilizing Corning ornament blanks during the 1940's were Santa Heim, Coby, George Franke, Marks Brothers, Doubl-Glo, and Santa Novelties - these companies simply decorated the Corning manufactured blanks and sold them as their own brands, they did not manufacture any of the glass themselves."

Ins't that a fascinating story? Before this year, somehow I had missed all that history!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Cozy Christmas

We have our tree! And the house is mostly decorated, just a few more corners to do. This year the tree smells amazing! Every time we come in and is so cozy and Christmasy. 
This year Christmas is coming early to our house, next week to be exact! Family is coming into town and since my sister will also be in town visiting, but won't be able to come down later, Christmas is early! We have been hard at work decorating, baking and wrapping gifts. So much to do!

We put the tree a little off center of the window this year. I thought it was going to look a little odd, but it looks so cozy with the chairs.

 Kerri enjoying the Christmas lights too. And new candy cane pillow covers, love that fabric!

Wishing you all a cozy Christmas season!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

After the Storm

The bright blue sky, air so fresh and crisp, snow smooth and sparkly. 
Don't you love how bright the world is after a storm? 

 I took these photos Sunday morning after the storm. For being the first snow, it was quite the storm! We went from a warm lingering Autumn to mid-winter overnight.We ended up with only about 8" of snow. Though the predictions were all over from 3" to 12". 

 Because the temperature was so warm when the storm came through, the first bit of snow melted and formed lovely icicles

The little apple tree snow draped.

Isn't Frosty cute? Mom moved him to the backyard for a joke, but I think he might be our new backyard Christmas decoration! 

Friday, November 20, 2015

An Antiquing Mis-Adventure

This is the story of an English sugar pot and how it came home with me.
 I wasn't really looking for a sugar pot, English or otherwise, that day. It was just a pleasant afternoon browsing around the antique shop with my mom and sister.

Poking at the variety of objects, some old- some not so old, turning over a dish here, lifting up an item there, peering into the corners to see what treasures might be lurking in the shadows.

But when I lifted an English sugar pot the unthinkable happened....... the lid slipped between my fingers and smashed into pieces.

As I collected the bits of china I checked the price tag and sighed, of course it was expensive. Thankfully, even expensive sugar pots are not too expensive. But under normal circumstances I wouldn't have bought it at that price.

In all my years of antiquing, that was the very first time I have dropped anything. I was a bit mortified. Curiously enough, I kept hearing little bangs and crashes all afternoon while we were shopping. And my sister reached up to take down an item and some sort of  giant wooden handled knife fell on my head. Thankfully, it wasn't breakable.
Maybe it was a phase of the moon.....

I now have one very pretty, but expensive button container. 
I certainly wasn't going to let that money go to waste! So I glued all the pieces back together and it now sits on my sewing table.

It's a very pretty pot, even if it now is slightly defective.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I may be a bit early.......

I am a bit early, but I have started my Christmas baking! I happened to be in a store with good prices on dried fruit and decided to stock up for fruit cake making and I thought, why not go ahead and get a start on the actual baking? Fruitcake freezes really well and I always make it right after Thanksgiving. 
I also wanted to share a little tip. This time I tried lining the bottoms of Un-greased pans with  parchment paper. It works beautifully!! The paper keeps the loaf in one piece and I didn't have any problems with corners or one sticky cranberry stuck to the bottom. I don't know why I didn't try this before! But I don't normally keep parchment paper around the house and lining pans always seemed a bit fiddly. Another bonus, the pans are a lot cleaner, so quicker to wash!

Christmas Cranberry Cake (Fruit Cake)
1 1/2 cups butter
3 cups brown sugar
6 eggs
3/4 tsp baking powder
3 cups flour
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup dried pineapple
1 cup other dried fruits such as kiwi, papaya, mango, passion fruit (optional)
1 1/2 cups chopped apple
1 1/2 (12 oz) bags fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup walnuts
Mix all dried and fresh fruit in a bowl. Stir 1 cup of flour into fruit and set aside. In large bowl cream together butter and sugar, then add eggs. Mix in flour and baking powder. Fold fruit mixture into batter. Line the bottom of un-greased pans with parchment paper, bake at 275 degrees for about 35-45 mins.
(To see the original post with more info on the fruit I use, see this post.)

After having a sunny and mild autumn, we are finally having typical November weather, dark and rainy. Which just makes me want to bake yummy things! 
Anyone else craving gingerbread cookies??