"Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest."
~ Henry Van Dyke

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Just can't help myself.....

Found this today and had to share it! Make yourself a cup of your favorite warm tipple...hot cocoa or coffee or tea...as this is fun to play with for a while. Be sure to go back and play with all three hedgehogs...

 Happy Wednesday ... 4th day of Christmas!

Monday, December 26, 2011

It is still Christmas!

Here in Holland, it is what we call 2e Kerstdag or 2nd Christmas Day. I think it should be 2nd Christmas Day everywhere. Why is the biggest holiday of the year just one day? I like the tradition of the Victorians to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. Why not start your own tradition? Why should we only think Christmas is one day? To me it should be Christmas in our hearts everyday. The world would be a better place if it was.

This video is so precious. I am not a pop music fan at all and have never heard of this group but I found this video last year and just love it. I watch it once in a while to bring to back to the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Not only the nativity but also the girl walking along and discovering all the pieces herself. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Magical Christmas Day!

What is it that creates the magic of Christmas Day? That answer would be different for each of us I think. It is also many elements to each of us. One part of Christmas magic is nutcrackers.

Each year, I put out my collection and the magic starts once again...

I have a collection of colorful ones and of natural ones...

Last night, I watched a production of The Nutcracker Ballet by the San Francisco Ballet on German satellite television. My mother asked me don't I ever get sick of watching it. Christmas is not Christmas if I have not seen The Nutcracker.

Wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Twas the week before Christmas - Day 7

Decorating simply with pinecones...

On a windowsill with pine branches, berries, lights and ornaments...

In a large glass cookie jar with lights, dried cranberries, cinnamon sticks and star anise...

On top of the hutch with greenery, holly and lights...

In a dough bowl with red ornaments and a little stitched pillow...

"I hear the wind among the trees
Playing the celestial symphonies;
I see the branches downward bent,
Like keys of some great instrument."

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Have a peace-filled Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Twas the week before Christmas - Day 6

Our sweet Christmas kitty Dagi is 14 years old today!

When we got Dagi 14 years ago, the vet had the assistants come into the surgery to look at him. He said he used to see Javanese or Mandarins (half long hair Siamese) often when he had a practice in The Hague but we were the first he had ever had here. He had to help us with a problem from the start as Dagi was allergic to cat food. We have fed him on Hill's science diet only from that day on and he is doing well ever since. The vet warned up that Dagi is a breed that does not get old so we would have him for a short time.

Joy of joys! Dagi has become our little old man. He is turning white from his old age and moves slower with stiff joints than he used to. He is my companion who is constantly on my lap even when it is not convenient. He talks my ears off until I ask him to shut up and then he looks at me, meows okay and keeps on chatting. He is my quilt tester who is now also my afghan tester since I learned to crochet. In this photo, he is trying out Jos' new afghan which I am crocheting now. He is my cuddle toy while I sleep. AND he is a dear cat who I am grateful for each and every day!

Happy birthday!

Twas the week before Christmas - Day 5

"Christmas is forever, not for just one day, for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf. The good you do for others is good you do yourself..." 
~Norman Wesley Brooks

What says the magic of Christmas better than glass, silver and candlelight? 

Place a cloche filled with pearl look and silver ornaments onto a glass cake stand for instant elegance. 

Silver reindeer and wire tree on a tray of various mercury glass ornaments and tea light holders adorn the dining room table. By using a large tray for the arrangement, it can be easily moved when dining. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Twas the week before Christmas - Day 4

"Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house." 
 ~Henry Ward Beecher

I love to decorate with books. This is my reading corner in my living room. December is a time when I put aside all my other books and start reading or rereading some holiday or winter themed books. So far a book by Elizabeth Goudge entitled I Saw Three Ships has been a highlight for me. You can read my review on my Bookshelves and Stove Tops blog. I am now rereading The Christmas Tree by Julia Salamon and this is a story that always warms you with the true meaning behind a Christmas tree.

Do you have a favorite Christmas book? I love reading Charles Dickens or Henry Van Dyke as much as a modern novel like Twelve Days of Christmas by Trisha Ashley or The Golden Ring by John Snyder.

"When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before."
 ~Clifton Fadiman

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Twas the week before Christmas - Day 3

It is December and once again Christmas Village has suddenly appeared. This magical little village only comes out for people to see once a year. On Christmas eve, it comes to life...

It is just a few days until Christmas. There is great excitement in the air along with a great deal of snow. The schoolmaster cancelled school for today. With this much snow, the children would have there mind on other things rather than their numbers and letters.

Peter, Thomas and Luke are happily playing outside in the snow supervised by Mrs. Potts. In the meantime, families rush in and out of the General Store for last minute items needed for the Christmas dinner while carefully avoiding the snowball fight between Thomas and Luke.

But look! Even the raccoons are being naughty! They have gotten into the trash containers while Mrs. Dewhurst is baking the tradition Christmas cake for her husband the vicar's annual Christmas tea. This year she is trying a new recipe. 

Sister Charity is overseeing the arrival of the Yule log and tree for the church. Everything must be just right. Already she has draped a garland with red bows around the church doors. 

Sarah and her lamb are taking a stroll in the snow. Sarah loves the snow so much that she named her lamb Snowflake. 

Christmas trees are being delivered to homes in Christmas village. Families will be very busy turning the trees into magical beauties tonight in time for the celebrations. 

But for now, the villagers arrive by the village green in front of the toy shop to sing carols. Wait...how is that on top of the toy shop? Did Santa pause to hear the singing? 

God rest you merry, Gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
For Jesus Christ our Savior
Was born upon this Day.
To save poor souls from Satan's power,
Which long time had gone astray.
Which brings tidings of comfort and joy.

A note to those of you new to my blogs...This little village was made especially for me by my mother and sister. It was made as close as possible to the village my mother made when we were children. I loved our village and later she made me one of my own. Each year, I think I love it even more and have been writing a story about Christmas Village each year which you can find from past years on my blog by searching under that name. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Twas the week before Christmas - Day 2

Central to most Christmas decorating is the tree. Last year, I told you about deciding that I was not going to set up my big Victorian style tree any longer. You can read about it here. My mother had bought me a black pencil pine tree for my bobbinlace ornaments a year ago. I make a couple each year. They were not showing up well on a green tree but come out nicely on the black tree.

This tree is set up in no time. I took some white or cream, mercury glass and silver ornaments from my old tree to add to my own handmade lace ornaments. The lace stands out well and I enjoy remembering making the lace.

This pencil pine was the perfect tree for the antique tree stand I found at a flea market in Germany when on vacation a year ago.

I do miss my big tree but am glad that I have a tree that is set up in about an hour instead of two days. As I write to you, I am looking at the glowing lights in my tree this evening which make my lace really stand out and am happy with the changes this year.

I find the words of Norman Vincent Peale ring true...

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Twas the week before Christmas - Day 1

I have been neglecting my blogs. It has been a very busy time for me with a visit from my mother for two weeks followed by my annual Christmas party for my quilt group and a day of teaching a friend how to crochet a cowl. Then I just needed some rest. But now I am going to do a daily blog post leading up to Christmas. This the first post as Christmas is only one week away. How did that happen? 2011 has flown by for me...anyone else?

This is a make do project as I use what I already have in my Christmas decorations to make my mirror festive. This can also be done to a picture in your home as well as a mirror.

I used faux green, berries, ribbon and cord, pinecones, a brass horn and Merry Christmas paper ribbon.

Attach the faux green to the top of the mirror. Be sure it is very secure as it will mean the arrangement stays securely on the mirror top later as it is decorated. I wound a piece of the green to the hook behind the mirror.

Start with your center piece. Add a bow and attach to the green. You can use many items you have among your Christmas decorations.

Wrap wire around the pinecones and then wrap around the berries. Stick into the green wrapping a green branch around the berries. Try and keep your piece balanced to be sure your mirror stays straight. Now wind cord among the branches while allowing it to drape on the sides. You could also use a wide ribbon for this. Last, place a greeting like my paper ribbon resting it into the faux green.

This takes only moments to put together and creates an instant festive look.

See you again tomorrow for the 2nd day.....