I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, December 30, 2016

Happy New Year!

Good evening! As I type this post, the year 2016 is drawing to a close---and snow flakes are gently falling from the black wintry sky. I do love snow if I don't have to drive in it or shovel it. 2016 had its low points, and days and weeks of pain, but it was not all bad. To me any year where I am with my friends and family and Mo, where I can sew and watch my ocean, is a gift to be treasured.

So let's enjoy each day! And welcome the New Year!

Happy 2017!



gone to the beach......

''For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, and love, and friends..."
 Be thankful, find joy.

                                         Ralph Waldo Emerson

and a hint of the promise: Spring will come...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

After Christmas

Hello! I hope everyone has been having a wonderful holiday. For me Christmas is so fun, so exciting, such a joy to gather friends and family [as best I can] around my table to celebrate the season. So much anticipation---for months!

So much planning and effort, yes, enjoyable, but...then....boom. It's over.
There was a cute Snoopy cartoon online, "Christmas is over, I'm ready for summer." It's a letdown!

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When I was a little girl the festivities lasted the entire week or more, all through until January 5th, tree taking down day. We got off school the week before Christmas, so the holiday seemed to last forever. My parents often hosted a big grown-ups-only party during this week. I loved seeing my mom in her chiffon cocktail dresses and very high heels. One year her dress was apricot!, instead of black. I loved that dress. My parents would almost entirely redecorate the house for New Years. The tree would stay but the holy-pine-Santa stuff would be gone, everything would be silver and gold, with ornaments hung from the ceiling lights, trays of glittery glasses and intriguing bottles of obscure liqueurs to sneak a taste in thimble sized crystal goblets. Champagne at midnight in vintage ''flutes'' with hollow stems that showed off the champagne bubbles.

Some years my dad would make masks for everyone, silver and gold with feathers; another year crowns for all the partiers, again silver and gold with glitter. Oh and those funny loud paper horns, and sparklers!

Some years they were into cocktails...there was a glass and chrome shaker and more specialized glasses. Martinis/ Manhattans---eeew when you're six or even ten. But also Grasshoppers and White Russians, Bellinis and mimosas.  My dad often cooked--filet mignon and duchesse potatoes* at midnight on New Years; party foods like Kentucky ham and pheasant and roast pork loin would appear on the buffet.

New Years Eve dessert was a ball of peppermint ice cream, frozen extra hard in a round mold, then rolled in coconut to form a ''Snowball''. These would be set into a stemmed crystal cup on a bed of chocolate sauce or creme de menthe. A single birthday candle would be stuck in each and lit: ''Happy Birthday! Happy New Year,'' we'd scream.

The  point is: my expectations are high. Here's my menus.

Christmas Eve
savory antipasto, with cheeses and three kinds of salami, olives, hummus. 
Champagne brought always by a good friend.

Main course

spinach stuffed mushrooms.

Peppermint ice cream
Cookie and sweets [marzipan etc] tray for dessert

Christmas Day

"sweet" antipasto: apples/ orange/ lemon slices; sweet cheeses, 
cocktail cookies from Trader Joe's.

Horseradish crusted Prime Rib with gravy

creamy horseradish sauce/ onion-garlic chutney
Wild rice pilaf
asparagus with Bearnaise sauce and fresh herbs

creamed onions

 assorted red wines

Dessert~ Cranberry lemon bars.

I was so busy cooking and serving I did not get good pictures, too bad. But all was tasty and enjoyable. The new butcher provided us with a delicious roast, the main event!

I was exhausted, but not in too much pain, so I consider the dinners --and gifts, well-liked!--a success.
Today I rearranged some things in the house. Mo and I were able to sit on the deck and sew---60*.

New Years will be quiet, as my family is elsewhere now. Mo and I will enjoy a quiet midnight, watching for fireworks on the ships far out at sea.

What do you do for New Year's Eve/ Day?



gone to the beach...


Duchesse Potatoes

Use a muffin tin or 3 1/2" tart pans

use both parts of a  store bought pie crust to make tiny tart/pie shells. 
Bake 350* for 12 minutes. 
Filling: mashed potatoes, sour cream, grated white cheddar, minced onions, butter, to taste. 
Bacon bits optional. 
Whip the filling with a fork til fluffy, then fill the tiny tart crusts. 
Mound the filling up pretty.
Dab of butter in each center, plus a fine sprinkle of paprika. 

Bake about 25 minutes until the potato tops are browning lightly.

Remove carefully, I use a fork.

Serve with bacon-wrapped filet mignon grilled in the open fireplace. 
Hollandaise sauce
And Champagne.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas!

To all my friends here~

~ Wishing you a loving, peaceful, and joy-filled festive season and a wonderful New Year!
Merry Christmas~!

Watching for Santa....


Or nice?



gone to the beach...

Beautiful star in the western sky
at sunset.
Days are getting longer now.

Monday, December 19, 2016

All Through the House

"T'was the [week] before Christmas and all through the house..."
Hi! I'm taking a break from present wrapping to show you around my holiday decorated little house. Now, I am not one for tasteful quiet---oh so chic?---restrained and frugal holiday decors. Nope, the more the better, and big and busy is best! I love Christmas and every moment of tarting up my home in all its glittery finery. No, I don't spend-spend-spend. Instead I have many cherished handmade pieces, like my Noah's Ark and the pink ornaments wreath from my brother, my handmade angels in their antique christening gowns.

 I collect red and white or red and green quilts, lovely old linens, and faded glory old mercury ornaments from the flea. Usually I get my boxes out the weekend after Thanksgiving, and add as the days pass until every corner of this little house is filled with Christmas joy.

Eight bins, under the bed: 3 with good ornaments, 1 w/antique ornaments, 1 w/ wreaths and mercury glass, one w/faux holly and pine, bottle brush trees, and wooden angels, one w/lights and lighthouse tree topper, one to save (no need to open), with childhood ornament treasures.
But this year because of my health issues I have had to make a very small Christmas instead. It's actually not so much the decorating that's difficult, it's the taking down and putting away over just a few intense days, and this year I knew I could not do that. Plus the challenge of shopping for, cooking, and producing two big back to back holiday dinners may be hard. I realized I needed to conserve my strength. So things are different. Not bad, just---different. Quiet.

First the best news: Santa came early and brought my big gift from my family! A new living room rug. I am thrilled. It is so interesting, so beautiful, and so soft and warm. I love the already distressed effect, good to hide any Mo accidents or other spills.

I've never had a rug here that was not white/ ivory/ pale sand/ so going for the slate blue was a big leap for me. This company shows up all the time on FB and other online places, and their rugs are so beautiful. Wide range of pricing, but some, like mine 8' x 12', was under 250.oo with free and very fast  shipping. I'm thrilled, the old rug was stained and so sad looking.

I love how the blue works with my red and white Christmas style. I did have to put away my pickle-green pillows, and instead used the white with indigo coastal pillows. With all the other holiday decor I think the colors work great.

I made these red and white Father Christmas toile pillow covers about...oh 15 years ago?  I love toile and especially love that the toile's scene here is Santa Claus and a Tree and toys, very Night Before Christmas. They button on and off and are an easy  quick change from my dark blue pillows.

We decided not to do our 8' real tree either. That was very hard for me to accept, but one's health, and living pain-free is more important than this odd yet beloved custom of putting a huge real tree in one's house.

I got a tiny 2' tree at the pop-up junky Christmas store.

The ornaments are my stash of antique German glass ornies and some beloved others.

quilties, note the madder calico and double pink on this cow!
 Can you imagine cutting up this quilt top? Sinful, awful.
But I rescued it and have cherished the cow for years.

And old and tarnished silver glass glitter star topper.

The tiny village at the base is by my dad.

It is our Illinois town's Main Street, in his imagination via old photos, c. 1875. I have another very large village of Brewster MA, our family's Cape Cod home, with tiny perfect replicas of the lighthouse and sea captains' houses, and historic places. It includes a skating pond and a windmill, and a harbor with docks and fishing boats, pleasure boats, and Captain Al's  fishery. It's too big for me this year, so I'm happily using Main Street instead.

A few other familiar views, tweaked and trimmed  and festive.

I couldn't hang my collection of almost 40 hand blown ''floats'' or glass orbs. I just hung the newest, most beautiful one.

In my bedroom, besides using my red and purple quilt, an Illinois Mennonite beauty from my mom's small collection, layered with my shredded but beloved red and green beauty,

I put out a tiny Snowman quilt and added a few of the red Shaker boxes and wallpaper bandboxes in shades of red and green, as well as the usual blues. I love these snowmen!

Oddly some of the red [and one dark green!] boxes are missing, they are one collection I never seem to keep in line and all together. In fact they were ALL lost for about ten years, lol, in my MIL's basement. So sad.

And so this is as festive as it's gonna get. But I think in the end we'll have to go dig into the 8 bins after all. I can't do Christmas without our handmade stockings!

Do you have favorite heirloom or sentimental decorations that you love seeing each year?

Merry Christmas!



gone to the beach...

wind squall

snow, briefly

Merry Christmas and Blessed Winter Solstice,
 Happy Winter Holidays 
to All!