Wednesday, December 28, 2011

baby alpaca knited scarf

Charlotte at eight years of age indistinctly knows fine yarn. While at the yarn shop she indubitably selects one of the better yarns. She loves to touch and scrunch the different fibers and her tastes are impeccable. A chunky baby alpaca yarn of pink and cream was knitted into a lovely scarf.



And Rose just happens to possess the exceptional flair for modeling the scarf.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

sunkissed

Maybe because I woke up to the sound of steady rain this morning when even the cardinals that breakfasted from my feeder seemed hampered.

Or maybe it was the huge deluge of rain around lunch time heard outside while Rose and I were contentedly bringing order to my ribbon supply.


 Eureka! When the sun finally burst forth later during the afternoon I beheld this sight as I was coming down the stairs on my way to fix a cup of freshly brewed coffee for my husband. Their glowing faces gave such pleasure I could not help smiling.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
     on those living in the land
     of the shadow of death
     a light has dawned."
                                  Isaiah 9:2

See me in the background?

Today was a bustle with last minute preparations, so tonight a buffet was set with a smorgasbord of food consisting of: ham biscuits, raw cauliflower and broccoli florets, bacon horseradish dip, crackers and an assortment of cheeses, my most favorite being the cheddar with blue cheese.

Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 23, 2011

On the twenty-third of December...


          ...I traveled by car for 2 and 1/2 hours to attend the funeral of a family member. 

Bagpipes were played and a bell was struck fifteen times in honor of this firefighter.  A wonderful commendation displaying the brotherhood shared by all firefighters, a tribute containing great taste and respect for the deceased and his chosen profession.


Before I got into my car for the drive home, I embraced my cousin and we agreed it was not good to be only meeting at funerals.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

burnishing

On the twenty-second of December...

...the silver was polished.



Pattern: Buttercup by Gorham

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

something to sink your teeth into

On the twenty-first of December...

... morning dental appointments for all.

I do not know about you, but dental appointments around here are made a year in advance and woe to him who cancels short of death. We feel so "privileged" to have a scheduled appointment. I am sure it is some kind of American Dentistry Associations approach to mind altering.

Then we stopped by our favorite deli to eat Reubens and German potato salad, the best ever.

Home to grocery shopping and making these for a neighborhood Christmas party we are attending tonight.


Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Bundles


2 bunches of fresh asparagus, trimmed
3 tablespoons of olive oil
12 thin slices of prosciutto, separated and sliced in thin lengths
pepper to taste
!/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
After washing and patting asparagus dry, trim ends and coat with thin layer of olive oil. Take three spears and wrap them with one piece of prosciutto. Place the bundles on a baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes (depending on thickness of spears). Arrange on platter, sprinkle with pepper and cheese.

The best part is they may be served warm or room temperature, making for a perfect carry-along food.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

something to dance to

 On the twentieth of December...

....I will attempt a sedulous catch-up, of sorts.

The forming of gobs of chocolate into balls and rolling them in cocoa, hazelnuts, or pearl gold dust. These truffles are simply a cinch to make.


A total of four Nutcracker performances culminating in success...and relief for all concerned.




Champagne toasts for husband's birthday...


...And a pecan pie that was delicious. 
In days of yore I would have been hesitant to admit it, but now I feel as plump and proud as a fat hen to have thought of it at all, ordered and picked up at the bakery. 
Smart move, indeed! Cluck! Cluck!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

pre-show

On the fifteenth of December...

...I was backstage for the second night in a row helping with the dress rehearsal for Charlotte's dance studio's annual rendition of the Nutcracker.




 But on this night Rose was engaged to assist too. All the excitement the dancers were experiencing sparked off them and left us feeling it too. It was a busy and hectic place at times.



It was late, most of the dancers and cast had departed, the girls were waiting on me as I was replacing some trim on one of the costumes.


What's a person to do?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

goodies

On the fourteenth of December...

...a morning was spent in the kitchen baking goodies.



yes, we did have a plan.

Specific baked items:
Rolled-out sugar cookies,
chewy molasses cookies,
peppermint bark,
dipped pretzels,
and with perspicuity of the necessity of something chocolate, we added truffles.

 After a full morning of sifting, mixing, rolling, dipping and decorating, Claire had a lunch date to get to and Rose and Charlotte had piano lessons. Therefore, the chocolate is gaining firmness in my refrigerator...still. But there are plans to scoop out little melon balls worth of chocolate and roll them in cocoa and shimmering gold dust.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

at the stables

On the thirteenth day of December...

....we assembled a tote-a-long basket with a thermos of hot chocolate and pumpkin bread.

Upon which we headed to the stables, and while Rose rode



 Charlotte and I shared afternoon tea in Christmas mugs, naturally.


In the air there certainly wasn't a" feeling" of Christmas,

Which made sitting outside extremely comfortable for the knitting of a scarf.


And before I go I really must introduce you to Cosy.


The dangling feature out of his mouth is due to a broken jaw and makes him quite endearing, after you get over the initial shock of being a little grossed out.
He's a curious soul.
On the twelfth day of December...

...Internet services went loopy and I was not able to post.

But to give credit it was late anyway and I was rather loopy too.

But I did get snazzy with the making of black and white taffeta yo-yo's


and attaching them to red satiny hats.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

On the Third Sunday of Advent...

Latin once again strikes a chord.

                                                      
Dignus Est Agnus
  Worthy is the Lamb


Barry Moser's paintings in this book are beautiful.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"about those...."

On the tenth day of Christmas...

....red and gold diagonally-challenged ornaments were looped with glittering gold ribbon and hung from the chandelier in the dining room.


They catch your eye when you walk by, therefore, they may be classified as a topic of conversation.

Friday, December 9, 2011

homemade greetings

On the ninth day of December...

...creations made from card stock, stamps, glitter and ribbon.



Thursday, December 8, 2011

gloria

On the eighth day of December...

...we enjoyed an oratorio and orchestra performance of Handel's Messiah. 

I carried along a beautiful book for Charlotte to follow along with when the singers would be singing, a book I purchased back in 1992 so that Witt would have something to follow when I first started taking him.  Tonight he sat beside Charlotte and from time to time I saw him glance over and follow along with her. So helpful to see the words, "Oh, they are singing verses", she said.

It was glorious.

Then we stopped by the doughnut store.



Where they were being freshly made and served "hot".
I am not a doughnut eater, but...
...It was glorious.

Then we rode through streets where balls of colorful light dangled from tree boughs, dazzling us with magnificence.


It was glorious.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

notes

On the seventh day of December...

 ...three seasons seemed to collide into one another.

 Because the weather was springlike, we took a walk around the block while it was yet early, a gentle breeze stirred and a light cotton sweater sufficed. The gutters we strolled past were level with newly-raked piles of leaves waiting for the leaf machines to come by with their noisy vacuums and clean away the remains of autumn.  Our eyes saw Christmas wreaths on doors and windows,  fanciful balls hanging from bare branches on outdoor trees and tiny candlestick lights shining in windows.


By afternoon, gales of hardy wind escorted in rain and chilly temperatures. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

a seasonal stack

On the sixth day of December...

...favorite Christmas books are delved from an eleven month hiatus and set in appropriate places of honor.



We have many favorites at our house that are read year after year.


Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck. 

It's guaranteed to bring a lump to your throat,
regardless of how many times you've read it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

secondhand dessert

On the fifth day of December...

 We served at the church, feeding a  home cooked meal to the surrounding community.

I spent a portion of my morning preparing a hamburger casserole, lima beans, potato salad and a trifle.
Once I actually set out to make a trifle. But usually it comes about as a solution to a cake that is not up to par, a blunder.


Anything goes really. This trifle was created with layering broken pieces of chocolate cake, vanilla pudding, whipped cream and topping it with crushed toffee pieces. 
No would would ever guess it was a secondhand dessert.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

ring-a-ling

On the second Sunday in Advent...

...I played with the handbell choir at church.


Upon which I must now admit I am a bona fide ding-a-ling!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

nutcracker alterations

On the third day of December...


I walked with Charlotte into the dance studio for her rehearsal.

Upon which I continued on past the leotard-clad bevy of dancers and down the wooden stairs into the basement for an afternoon of sewing on Nutcracker costumes. For the most part it was a matter of  finishing the alterations by hand,  the removing and adding of hooks, whip stitching tops to tutus or tulle skirts, and elastic changes.



For those of us who possess proclivity in this sort of thing, we are regarded as either mad or held in a state of awe.

Friday, December 2, 2011

frasers and frescoes

On the second day of December...

We drove to the mountains in order to choose a fresh fraser fir.

Upon which our tree-laid car drove down the curving roads onto the highway to make the trip home. I always get a special thrill when I see a Christmas tree on the top of a car riding down the highway.


And while there it was decided there was something we must share with the girls. Four of Ben Long's frescoes are ensconced in two humble but beautiful churches within driving distance of where we were. As we sat on the wooden pews our eyes filled with awe and worship



Advent  has begun in our hearts.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

a room to decorate

On the first day of December...

taken on my iphone

We gathered paper, garland, lights and ribbon and continued the decorating of mother's room.
Upon which she promptly thanked us.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

on this last day of November

I am in the last days of drinking my morning's cup of coffee in this mug of mellow colors which remind me of fall, and thoughts of paisley spring into my mind too for some reason. My Christmas mugs have been pulled out from under the counter and are now settling in beside the coffee machine.

But this November morning was so restful, the sun was flooding my space and I wanted to remember the moment.


And just so you can be assured I am totally satisfied from my fingers... 


... to my toes.
(I  can get somewhat amused by all the feet I sometimes see online, therefore, it took quite an indulgent whim to post this picture of my feet).

 But don't you like my Toms?

On this last day of November I've ran about town a bit with scheduled morning orthodontist appointments, early afternoon piano lessons, and some Christmas shopping thrown in between times.  School is carried on too, either in the car or upon returning home.


Monday, November 28, 2011

autumn frock

 Thanksgiving Day was different this year.

Only five gathered around my table.  Menu and food preparation amounts were substantially  smaller too.


But the day was like a stream of honey being drizzled into a cup of warm tea.



Charlotte wore her frock.

You just have to appreciate bare feet on an autumn's day.







                                                                

Thursday, November 10, 2011

costumes, toiles and ballets

toile (twa:l)
     -n
2. a garment of exclusive design made up in cheap cloth so that alterations and experiments can be made

The rehearsals for the upcoming Nutcracker are in full swing. It only seems fitting that I  do my part in the costume department. Yet the making of costumes that will be altered throughout many performances and in the forthcoming years is stretching me quite a bit. The lady in charge handed me bolts of festive shiny sleek material and a 10-12 size pattern and offhandedly mentioned they will be worn by little girls that are seven years old.

Before I wasted any of the beautiful fabric I decided a toile was in order.  An old sheet was accessed in the bottom of my linen closet to be used to make a raw costume from the pattern. The only alterations so far are in the length. Tonight I will grab one of the "polichinelles" aside for a proper fitting. Then the true work will begin.



At least Charlotte's autumn dress is completed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

coram deo

Latin study has molded itself into a part of my day.  The study of Latin is fascinating to me and I love it.   I will by no means try to make my attempts at learning Latin seem easier than it is, frankly, I find it difficult and challenging. If I could be a full time student maybe it would come with more ease, but my "older" brain is so full and busy, and alas, my attention span can run here and there like a very animated cartoon.  But I plod on. "Aut viam iveniam aut faciam" (I'll either find a way or make one).


Latin sayings, you just have to love them. One in particular has been on my mind lately.

Coram Deo  
Before the face of God


As I read Claire's blog this morning, that was what came to mind. (Could I possibly be thinking in Latin? HaHa!) I thought she conveyed this particular truth in her post where her personal perspectives and insights were open and honest, looking both inward and outward with specific everyday happenings in her life.

We are to live every moment of our lives with the realization of being in God's presence. With the absolute understanding that He is omnipresent and He is omniscient. How I live my moments, my days, should always be with this thought foremost in mind. To consider His sovereignty and His glory in everything should be my goal. My life makes up the whole of this whether I am teaching my children their school subjects, folding laundry, setting a pretty table for teatime, feeding my mother,  working in a soup kitchen or witnessing on a street corner; everything I do is done before the eyes of God. He sees my failures and my frailties; He sees the very smallest sins in my life and the most amazing miracle is that He loves me with an everlasting love and offers absolute forgiveness. His mercy and grace in abundance is always before me, how I chose to respond and live my life has great weight. Thanksgiving and praise are the gates, even when it might be sacrificial.

Therefore, I am a student of Jesus Christ. The study of His word has molded itself into my day...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

the hotel

There appeared a new mat in the elevator every morning, "Have a Pleasant Saturday"or "Have a Pleasant Sunday", scripted in red with flourish, a mat for every day of the week. This simple bit of mien for proper detail was looked forward to with delight and expectation every time I stepped into the elevator. I just happen to take notice and appreciate such things. But then in this hotel, the hospitality offered is as natural as breathing.

We dined Saturday evening in the hotel's dining room where the waiter steps to your side offering a soup spoon atop a linen napkin that rests upon a china plate. It is rare indeed today to see this kind of presentation, but in a hotel filled with history, one that holds to a certain manner of tradition, it can be expected and relished.


The large, old window in our bathroom allowed views of the sunrise.


It is good to go away, yet it is even better to come home.  Experience has taught me that the absence of normalcy is what makes going away a special treat. But to quote a famous bard, "People usually are the happiest at home." I could not agree more.

 Home is the place where soup spoons are set by your soup bowl on any given day,  but very properly of course. 

november as it looks now

"After the leaves come down, the countryside has an open look. New vistas appear, hills unseen when summer's wealth of green is spr...