Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year in Review

Cindy at My Romantic Home is hosting the 2008 Year in Review. This is a simple showcase of photos from your blog throughout the year. As we slide into New Year's Eve, here are some things that I posted this year.

Click mosaic to enlarge.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More New Year Events

I wanted to throw a few New Year activities out there for those who might be interested.
Would you like to gain more readers for your blog? Make it easier for readers to access? Learn from other bloggers about widgets and other elements? Kim from
Sophisticated Dorkiness is hosting a year-long effort for improving her blog, and is inviting others to join her. She has been blogging for less than a year and wants us to share ideas for design, interesting content, stronger writing, all things that relate to blogging, whatever your main interest might be. This is definitely one I am going to do. The first topic on January 5 will be "Setting Goals — What Is Your Blog For?"

Sarah, the Thrifty Decor Chick, is having a sharing of organizing and de-cluttering ideas on January 12. I know I always say I want to get organized as one of my New Year's Resolutions each year and it doesn't happen, so I'm getting in on this one, too! I Click her button for more information.
Lisa is hosting the 3rd annual One World, One Heart Giveaway Event. For this event you, the blogger, host a giveaway sometime after January 19 with the winner announced on February 12. The main goal of this event is to meet bloggers from all over the world, so the giveaway prize or prizes are up to you. And of course, you can enter all of the other participants giveaways, too!

Joanne, from My Little Cottage in the Making, is starting an online support group called A Better Me! They will focus on healthy eating, working out, and living a healthier lifestyle. I definitely should check this one out! Although I've been working on this for a couple of months now, support is always needed.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wacky!

It's Monday and it's all about being BLUE! I am celebrating the color BLUE today with Smiling Sally and many other BLUE Monday participants sharing pictures of things that are BLUE in any shade. Tea pots, clothes, jewelry, ribbons, anything goes as long as it's BLUE! Try to visit all of the participants who are listed at Smiling Sally and maybe join us in the future.
I am only showing one BLUE thing this week, but with three views. This little BLUE planter was always in my mom's house with a small African violet. It's not from a special manufacturer, although it is from the 1950s. She gave it to me with the African violet and I killed it. Boom! Dead in a month. I recently got some cuttings of philodendron and decided to put two small ones in the planter. One of the cuttings was long and only had 1 small leaf at the top when I planted it in June. I wish I had a picture to show of that, but I didn't know how wacky this plant was going to be.With a leaf at the top and more coming in along the stem, it should have started drooping over soon. By September it hadn't. That's the first picture. My mom encouraged me to use a string to gently pull it down and teach it to droop, but I was kind of interested to see how high it would grow upwards, so I've left it alone. In early November it was still growing strongly upward, so I took another picture.Here is the plant today, still growing upward! I wonder if it's because there's a skylight in the room.
Thanks for visiting me for BLUE Monday! Remember to stop in at Smiling Sally and visit the other participants!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry & Bright

Christmas with the Evil Overlord was both merry and bright this year. There was a lot of laughter and talking, a few silly altercations and a totally peaceful Christmas Day. Join me for our two days of all-out family time, will you?
Several things were different for our Christmas this year. We only had 9 people for our holiday this year. My sister, bil, 3 kids, my parents, and my aunt Kakee. We also celebrated both Christmas Eve and Day at my sister's home. I usually have Christmas Eve, but with my health the family thought I could have a problem or not everything would get done, and it was easier for them to have it at her house. But I bought a lot of the ingredients!
We had bacon and egg sandwiches on rolls for Christmas Eve dinner. This was something we always had at my Grandma's as children and K decided to resurrect the idea this year. It was nostalgic and fun. We were supposed to eat wherever we wanted, but Mom, K & D (bil) hid out from the rest of us and our bad manners who were eating in another room!
After eating we did gifts and chit chat. Can you believe a 13 year-old is actually conversing with his 85 year-old great-aunt?
There is always an attempt to get a picture of the kids with Auntie and the grandparents. With 2 cameras, over 20 pictures were taken because of our foolishness. Kids' faces have been smudged for posting.
We ended the evening as we always do, with the reading of a vintage Louise W. Myers Night Before Christmas. This year Frieda wanted to read and she was very expressive!
Christmas Day was relaxing. Instead of a meal we had grazing on appetizers and desserts that were out all day long. We had been so concerned about not having enough food, and more than half was never taken out of the fridge or freezer! So now there's fun food for the New Year!The kids were messing with all of their new loot, including the Wii Fit, which was added to the Wii arsenal this year. Actually, everyone tried it at least once....except Grandpa, who fell asleep for almost the entire afternoon even with all of this action going on around him! I think that's why the day turned out so peacefully!
I hope your family had just as nice a time as mine. Any funny stories? Foolish fights or accidents? Tell us about them!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa's Sleigh

I have a quick post before I get into bed on this Christmas Eve. Can't be up when Santa arrives you know, but I feel the need to get my Vintage Thingies Thursday up on this important day, and I know there will be some vintage junkies checking in over the rest of the week. VTT is hosted by Suzanne at ColoradoLady and she has all of the participants for the week listed, so if you've got the time or inclination, go check some of them out!
This week I have a blow-mold white and red plastic Santa in his sleigh. You'll notice that he is pulled by one animal that appears to be a female reindeer, since there are no antlers. [Edit: Justine told me that female reindeer do grow antlers! I looked it up and they have small ones in the summer months. Interesting!] Or maybe it's a horse with the mane blowing forward. I really don't know. This was a small table decoration that my aunt had from the 1950s when she got her first apartment. It feels very fragile when I pick it up, and I wrap it in bubble wrap to store it because it seems to be getting brittle.
That's it for this week! I hope everyone is off making memories and receiving gifts that will become vintage thingies in 30 years or so! Remember that the participants for Vintage Thingies Thursday are all posted at ColoradoLady.

Another Night Before

Well, here we are, the Night Before Christmas! I thought I'd share another one of my vintage books with everyone.
This one was published in 1935 by Whitman Publishing in Racine, Washington. It was my dad's. The front and back covers are exactly the same, and it is still held together with the three original staples. It's a little worn around the edges, but in great shape otherwise; there's no tape or other attempts at repair, either.
The book is Linen-Like, which I think just means it is all, including the cover, printed on a thick, ridgy cardstock, very similar to the textured cardstock I buy for scrapbooking. One odd thing about the story is that there are no Christmas trees anywhere in the illustrations! I also have to say that I think the father, shown here peeking at Santa, is kind of creepy.
For a book of its era, it's unusual to have color illustrations on every page. The illustrator of the book is Keith Ward, whose work many of you are familiar with as he was the illustrator for the Dick & Jane books, created Elmer the trademark for Elmer's glue, and was the illustrator of The Black Stallion. In the fine art community Ward was a respected and gifted impressionist. He died in 2000 at the age of 94. In researching Mr. Ward, I found a blog called Today's Inspiration that had interesting information about his illustrations and lots of pictures.I am off to Christmas Eve mass with the pageant, and then my family's Christmas Eve where we exchange gifts. This is so no one, aka the kids, is confused on Christmas between the Santa gifts and those from family, and they appreciate things more.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Stockings Were Hung

I used to do a lot of cross stitching, and I made many things for gifts. For my nephews and niece I made their Christmas stockings. Since the boys are twins, I used the same pattern, but changed the colors of some items, used different fonts and colors for their names, and a different color background. They are lined with a holly fabric. We knew in October that she was having twin boys, so I had over a year to finish the two stockings. They were done in plenty of time, although they were my only project for that whole year.Three years later, I again had over a year to complete the stocking for the anticipated baby sister. I got a different Santa pattern for her. Although I had done quite a few patterns, I'd never read the packages carefully or thought about the shading and colors. I just picked things I liked. Big mistake!
This stocking turned out to be my albatross! I just went and got the pattern out so I could be accurate when I tell you that in Santa's robes alone there are seven colors of red! The shading meant much more careful reading of the pattern and having to skip around more. I didn't finish this one until her second Christmas! Of course a 6 month old doesn't know she doesn't have a stocking and the boys didn't notice either, but I still felt badly.
I'm pretty sure, now that I think back, that this was my last cross stitch project. Inspired by all of the fun things I've seen Patty from Pip Stitch sharing, I've been thinking of picking it up again and doing smaller projects.
What kind of stockings does your family hang? Are they all the same? Do you get new ones once in a while?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Blue Monday Greetings

Happy Blue Monday of Christmas Week! Can you believe it's only 3 days away? We've been in a series of snowstorms here, so I've gotten baking done, and most of the gifts wrapped. For your viewing pleasure this week I have vintage Christmas cards with elements of blue in them. If they will enlarge for you, you're welcome to use them in your crafting projects. Blue Monday is hosted by Smiling Sally.These ornaments remind me of cards from my childhood, and the red finial specifically reminds me of the antique red tree finial I broke about 25 years ago. I still feel badly, and that was an accident!These dancing girls and snowman are 2 panels of a 4 panel fold-out card. They are definitely of a 1950s/60s vintage.
Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves." ~ Eric Sevareid
Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale
I always wanted a fur-trimmed coat or cape like these Victorian young ladies. I would have had the blue and my sister the pink, I'm sure.
Angels are a very popular image on these cards and are often in vintage crafts.Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall and the genial flame of charity in the heart. ~ Washington Irving
Isn't this guy cute? I wish I knew what the card said on the inside!
Thanks for visiting! I hope you enjoy seeing what everyone else has for Blue Monday. Have a Happy Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

a Visit

A Visit from Saint Nicholas, popularly known as The Night Before Christmas has been published by scads of companies with different illustrations each time. I have a few vintage versions of the book. This first book was given to me for my first Christmas in 1967. It is a "pillow book" which means the covers are padded and soft and they actually are! In the pictures you can see where my mom repaired it with brads through the spine, and tape that yellowed and dried up with age.
I absolutely love the illustrations in this book. They seem to be right out of the later Victorian era, but the poem was written 1822.
These dancing sugar plums always fascinated me, especially because I never received candy that looked like this, except for candy canes. I also liked the idea of the girls in one big bed, very Little House on the Prairie, in my childhood eyes!
Here he goes! Good thing those kids are sleeping!
Clement Clarke Moore, the author of this poem, was most famous in his own day as a professor of Oriental and Greek literature at Columbia College, now Columbia University.Moore wasn't writing for publication, but to delight his own six children. To that end, he transformed the legendary figure of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, into Santa Claus, a fairy tale character for children.Moore refused to have the poem published despite its enthusiastic reception by everyone who read it. His argument that it was beneath his dignity evidently fell on deaf ears, because the following Christmas "A Visit from St. Nicholas" found its way after all into the mass media when a family member submitted it to an out-of-town newspaper. The poem was an overnight sensation, as we would say today, but Moore would not acknowledge authorship of it until fifteen years later, when he reluctantly included it in a volume of collected works. He referred to the poem as a mere trifle. ~ David Emery @ About.com

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pink Bling!

Welcome to Pink Saturday, hosted by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound. There are over 100 blogs sharing all sorts of PINK goodness, sparkle, and cheer this week, and I bet a lot of it is Christmas related! Be sure to visit Beverly and the other participants to see all of their nifty things.
I have two Christmas items to share. This angel is on a rosy pink burlap background. She used to have a red velvet ribbon that hung down with three bells on it. My sister had one with an elf and we hung them on our bedroom doors every Christmas. The ribbon was a real cheapo and hanging it with tape didn't help, so all the velvet came off. I still hang her on my bedroom door, just sans bells, which is less annoying, anyway! Until I really looked, I didn't realize I had so many glass pink ornaments! The day after I took this picture I found even more! These are all vintage ornaments, given to me by my aunt when she downsized about 5 years ago, and a couple are from my childhood. I love a tree with shiny ornaments!
Enjoy your last weekend before the big holiday; we are having a series of storms here in MA. It looks pretty, but it's really putting a damper on last minute errands. I'm staying in and making cookies! Don't forget to visit Beverly and the other Pink Saturday participants.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jolly Old Santa Claus

It's the last VTT before Christmas, so I'm sure everyone has some really cool things they've been saving for this day. Be sure to visit ColoradoLady and the other participants to see their vintage items that will take you back in time.



I have a vintage Christmas picture book this week,Jolly Old Santa Claus written by Maryjane H. Tonn and beautifully illustrated by George Hinke. According to several web sites, it was published in 1958, but there is no copyright inside the book. I also discovered that the book has been reprinted and is available at Amazon for only $4.00!It is assembled in a style typical of books during this era. The double-spread pages alternate between text and illustrations, which was less expensive to print at the time.The story is very cute, a tour of the North Pole in the last few days before Christmas. The reader learns about Mrs. Santa and her contributions to Christmas, as well as Santa's helpers, known as brownies in this story.Of course Santa hooks up the reindeer and jumps in the sleigh on Christmas Eve. When he returns, he puts his feet up with a cup of cocoa, while the brownies head off to bed!I love George Hinke's illustrations of this story! I found out that he was an artist born in Berlin, who learned his craft apprenticing with several Master Painters in Germany. Many murals in the famous churches of Germany hold his artwork, and Frederick the Great's castle has paintings by Hinke commissioned by the Kaiser in the early twentieth century. There are prints and originals of his work available for sale online and in galleries all over the world.
Have a very happy Christmas, everyone! Enjoy yourself as you visit the other Vintage Thingies Thursday participants at Colorado Lady!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas House Tour

For a couple of weeks I've been teasing everyone with a few photos of different elements of my Christmas decorating, crafts, and baking. Now you have a tour of everything all together, some you may have seen, and some new things. This post is linked to several home tours listed at the bottom, as well as Angie's Holiday Show & Share at the American Homemaker.Let's begin as you enter the house welcomed by this big wreath covered in snowmen. It has battery-operated LED lights on a timer, and I love it! I jazzed it up with the bow and ornaments, and next year I plan to add some other types of greenery and berries to it.
After you stomp all the yuck off of your feet, come in and check out my vintage table top tree on the entry table. My dad bought this for his aunt right before he left for the army during the Korean War. It has a 40 watt bulb inside the tree and glass candles on the tips of the branches for the light to shine through. They have gotten scratched, dirty and broken over the years, so I've added mini ornaments, some vintage and some not, to brighten it up.
Take a seat and enjoy some cookies or coffee cake with a glass of tea or egg nog. I made these treats myself, but they should be safe to eat! Did you know there is now pumpkin egg nog in the stores? Yummy!I'm glad my Christmas card arrived at your home and was enjoyed by all. I make them myself from recycled cards and other elements I have around. They are very "green" this year; I didn't buy anything to make them, not even adhesive.

Besides Santas, snowmen, trees, and candy, I like to remember the reason for the season by displaying my vintage nativity that my mother bought in the late 1950s.

Now that everyone is here we can enjoy the tree...
and all of its unique ornaments, like this red glass ball decorated with my name, the year of my first Christmas, and a glitter picture of a tree on the other side. My mother decorated these ornaments for us each year until we finished college. Only one of mine has broken in all that time! The tree also has ornaments on it that I've made, including candy cane holders and fabric "quilted" ornaments.

These particular ornaments will only break if you work at it! They were produced in the USA during WWII and are made of plastic. Before this time, most shiny ornaments that American used came from Germany. These belonged to my maternal grandparents.

Let's read a Christmas book before people have to leave. I love to read out loud to my niece and nephews. There are several different books we read each year, including A Visit from Saint Nicholas, aka The Night Before Christmas. This picture is 6 years old, which is why my niece isn't wearing the cute sweatshirt I made for her. I am wearing a red and black chenille sweater and one of my vntage Christmas pins.
I hope you've enjoyed visiting my home during the Christmas season! Many people are giving house tours this week. You can find them at Boomama, Hooked on Houses, A Soft Place to Land, Thrifty Decor Chic, Tip Junkie, We are THAT Family, and many others that I don't know about, I'm sure! I can't believe how many people planned a party for the same day!