Hello, Dear Friends, I have been thinking of you
and hope that you are finding some peace and comfort
during this busy Christmas season.
I know that this time of year is difficult for some,
myself included, as we miss our loved ones
who leave those empty chairs at the table and hearth.
But sweet memories warm the heart,
as we create new memories, that may one day
be cherished, too.
We woke up to this pretty scene a couple of weeks ago!
It was incredibly beautiful.
There's a lovely hush when it snows.
A magical peace that descends on the forest.
Gradually the birds and woodland creatures come
out of hiding, searching for food.
I save seed for times like these and hope my offerings
provide a little grace for the long-suffering wildlings.
"I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields,
that it kisses them so gently?
And then it covers them up so snug,
you know, with a white quilt;
and perhaps it says, 'Go to sleep,
darlings, till the summer comes again.'
- Lewis Carroll -
We took a drive through the countryside, before the snow melted,
to a local tree farm for some family photos.
We actually went twice - first with one daughter and her family,
and then the other. We were originally scheduled
all together but the original date was rained out
and had to be rescheduled on separate days.
We had a lovely time enjoying the scenery
and being part of making memories.
While there I took a few photos of the gorgeous scenery.
I was particularly enchanted by this scene of peaceful cows
grazing beneath this beautiful tree.
Can you see the swings?
A long view.
My grandsons with their Dad, searching for the perfect tree.
(Our tree is artificial.)
This is the view from the same tree farm with my other daughter's photo shoot.
Normally you would see Mt. Rainier and the cascade mountains,
but the skies were very gray.
My youngest grandson with his two pups in between photo shoots.
They were relieved to be able to run around
after having to stand still so long for photos!
My daughter-in-law, Jen, hosted a wreath-making party
a couple of weeks ago,
and this is the one I made!
The party was so much fun.
Everyone brought a treat and we had a girl's gab-fest
while making our creations.
I supplied the greens.
Jen made these.
She's such a good hostess.
Her beautiful Christmas decor.
She and my son, Dustin, love Christmas.
Two stockings are for their cat-babies, Lucky and Cleo.
My daughter, Heather made mints.
We also went to a Christmas flea market together
earlier in the season.
She collects little houses and bells.
I found some fun things, too.
Our tree is red and gold this year.
It's a beautiful day and the mountain is out!
Mt. Rainier has been hidden by clouds
"Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings."
A line from my favorite Christmas movie,
'It's a Wonderful Life'
Can you see the bell?
(Top left, under the red ball)
My paperwhites are blooming and filling
the room with their intoxicating scent.
Jen and Dustin gifted me with the stag and golden trees
for my birthday in October.
The wooden dough bowl was a gift from daughter Heather
a couple of years ago.
The mirror is vintage.
I'm still loving plaid and thought it would be so cozy
for the holidays this year.
We all need an extra dose of cozy this year, I think.
The plaid daybed, pillow covers, and drapes were
sewn from flannel sheets a few years ago.
Favorite winter artwork.
The children's tree.
Early morning sunbeams.
Kai loves these quiet mornings
while I putter around the kitchen
with my coffee.
The promise of a new day.
My flea-market finds.
Mad for plaid!
My Scotts heritage.
I found another Scotty dog at a vintage store this season.
Scotty dogs were very popular in the 1940's
because of President Roosevelt's Scotty, Fala.
A teeny-tiny painting.
You can see the lighted garland on the fence.
There's one on the deck railings, too.
At night, it is so pretty from the windows.
We are so far off the beaten path that
only we, and the occasional small plane, can see our outside lights.
My flea-market vintage coffee and spice tins.
The snowman in the jar was a gift from my sweet Sis-in-law years ago.
The tins hold hot chocolate mix, mini marshmallows and sprinkles.
I like mine with whipped cream.
I baked dozens of sugar cookies to give away as gifts.
I saved some for eating, too.
The recipe was my grandmother Beatrice's
and I've been baking them for Ramblin' Man
since we were dating.
They are his favorite.
I made some peppermint bark candy and put it in
tin-can pails that I decorated with winter scenes from Christmas cards.
Ramblin' Man put wire handles on the cans
and spraypainted them gold, then I used hot glue to apply
the card images on the front with tinsel trim.
This is one I had left over from last year.
They remind me of something from Victorian times.
Did you know that I lived in a little log cabin when I was a child?
It had four rooms - a kitchen with knotty pine cabinets, a living room
with open rafters and a large fieldstone fireplace,
and two bedrooms - one for my parents and one for my sisters and me.
All the walls were knotty pine and at night the knots in the wood
would turn into strange eyes and faces.
There was also a long, narrow 'sun-porch' off the living room
lined with windows and furnished with beautiful wicker furniture.
The fireplace was flanked by bookshelves (my Mother was an avid reader)
and on the outside grew a huge Boston Ivy that would turn bright red in the fall.
The cabin was built in a forest of 100 ft. pines where no grass
would grow. The ground was covered in golden needles
that was beautifully sun-dappled on a summer day.
We lived in a little village of similar log cabins that surrounded a large lake.
The village had its own private beach and boat launch.
Most of the cabins were 'summer cabins' for families
that lived in the city, but we and a handful of others,
lived there year-round.
There were 3 or 4 year-round families that had little girls that I and my sisters played with.
We had a neighborhood softball team, built forts in the woods, put on plays
and pretended to be horses or butterfly fairies.
We had a miniature log cabin playhouse with log furniture inside
where we 'played house' with our dolls.
In the summer we spent hours swimming or fishing in the lake.
We had a babysitter named 'Midge' who lived next door who made home-made candy
and hosted story-time sessions at the lake on warm summer evenings.
We would bring snacks and blankets
and flashlights to get home. She charged 10 cents to attend, and
her story-times were always full of happy, wide-eyed children.
In the winter we would build snow igloos, go sledding and skating,
and sing carols door to door at Christmas.
I have so many wonderful memories of that little cabin in the woods.
Christmas dreams and memories on a cold winter night.
We put aside our sorrows and cares to
celebrate this special time of year together.
To count our blessings, honor the past and make plans for the coming new year.
We remind ourselves of the reasons why we
commemorate this day - the gift of the birth
of the Master - who gave mankind the blueprint
for peace and salvation.
We have a long way to go, but we must remember that
we are all in this together.
Merry Christmas, Dear Friends, and best wishes
for a Happy New Year.