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The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest ~ Sir Thomas Moore ~

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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year ♥...


I wish you HEALTH

I wish you LOVE

&

PEACE

within your HEART

I wish you the BEAUTY of NATURE

that you may ENJOY the work of GOD

I wish you WISDOM

to choose priorities

for those things that really matter in LIFE.

I wish you GENEROSITY

so you may SHARE

all the good things

that come your way.

I wish you

HAPPINESS

&

JOY

&

BLESSINGS

for the

NEW YEAR.

Happy New Year Friends!

~Author Unknown~

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thankful {things I love} Thursday...

I'm in love

with the potential

of miracles.

For me

the safest place

is

out

on

a

limb

~Shirley MacLaine~

***

I use to walk by these trees every day, a few times a day, with Ben & Ernie.

It was our "special spot" and some days I wondered who looked more forward to our walks.

When Ernie passed in May, I changed my walking route, and stopped going to our usual spots.

The woods had lost their appeal and felt cold and lifeless to me.

Wanting to try out Kim's fabulous "friday" texture (on a Thursday), I went through some old photos and as soon as I saw these trees, the memories came back. Lots and lots of great memories.

Once the texture was added, I noticed right away, the form of a heart next to the word love.

The text really sums it up for me ...

WHERE THERE IS GREAT LOVE

THERE ARE ALWAYS MIRACLES

It's snowing. Has been since I woke this morning.

I think I'll go walking through the woods today.

***

Thank you Kim Klassen for your wonderful 12 days of Textures.

Friday, December 23, 2011

With Tidings of Comfort & Joy...

Recipe for A Happy Christmas

***


FILL a house with EQUAL parts of

LOVE, HOPE and PEACE

ADD the JOY of CHILDREN and the

STRENGTH of OLDER PEOPLE

SEASON with the MUSIC of LAUGHTER

and some mistletoe KISSES

WARM before a crackling FIRE

and serve with

TIDINGS of COMFORT and JOY

~author unknown~

***

From my home to yours ...

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 16, 2011

Yuletide decorations ...

The bottom branches of our Balsam Fir Christmas tree have been put to good use & turned into little mini sprigs tucked here and there around our home.

The decorations change with the season for this metal lantern. It's filled with pine cones at Christmas.
The bird's feeding station is decorated. This weekend, we'll drape popcorn and cranberry garland around the branches and hang heart shaped seed covered bread.

I love to sit here, with only the twinkle lights on in the kitchen and a hot cup of tea and watch the birds (and squirrels). The feeders have been emptying at a rapid rate.

Mostly because of this :-)

Even being outside and walking around with the camera didn't phase Chuck in the least (yes, we name all the squirrels) :-) He kept nibbling away seeking out the sunflower seeds.

Can you see the little sparrows on the grass? They have to be VERY patient waiting for their turn at the feeders.

It started to snow ... ever so slightly.

A little tease really...

I am longing for a really big snow fall...

I don't mind waiting ... just as long as it comes by Christmas Eve ♥

Perhaps

the best Yuletide decoration

is being wreathed

in smiles

~Unknown~

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Yarn Along...

As soon as I picked up Knit Your Own Dog, I looked for "Labrador Retriever".


The one in the book is a golden lab, but I pulled out my black wool. Thinking of Ben & Ernie which each stitch knit. I think Bernie is a good name for him ♥


Yes, dogs are allowed on our beds :-)
Picked up this gorgeous coffee table type book at our local animal shelter store.


In Praise of Labs is filled with heartwarming Labrador stories & beautifully illustrated.


Our Ben ♥
1997~2008
Our Ernie ♥


1998~2011


***


It's not just that animals make the world more scenic
or picturesque.
The lives of animals are woven into our very being ~
closer than our own breathing ~
and our soul will suffer
when they are gone
~Gary Kowalski~
"The souls of Animals"
***
Linking with Yarn Along.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fabric of Friendship...

This simple apron is an idea I had to celebrate my daughter's Housewarming a few years ago.

Buying your first home is so exciting, and there is nothing nicer than holding your first dinner party and having friends over to share in the excitement.

To create the original, I used a 49 cent tea towel from Ikea, added a few fabric rosettes to each corner, a little ric rac and lace trim all along the top long enough to tie in the back.

Simply pass the apron around the room throughout the evening and have friends write a special housewarming message.

It's an idea we've used since ~ creating an apron, and having friends write messages,
then tucking it into a basket filled with kitchen items.

A cookbook, Red Velvet cupcake mix, paper cupcake holders,

measuring cups & spoons, a set of pretty dessert plates,

oven mitts etc ... along with the apron makes for a gift from the heart ♥
Constant use
will not wear ragged
the fabric
of friendship
~Dorothy Parker~

Cheers!

You could also add a sleeve of cookies to the parcel.

Here's one of our must makes for the Holidays.

Jam Jams


1 cup butter ~ softened


1/4 cup packed brown sugar


1/4 cup granulated sugar


2 free range eggs


1/2 cup corn syrup


1 tsp vanilla


3 cups all purpose flour


1/2 tsp baking powder


1/2 tsp salt


3 tbsp jam or jelly of your choice ( a great way to use up those little bits of jam left over)


***


Cream butter and sugars in large bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time beating well after each addition. Add corn syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth.


Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add to butter mixture, mixing well.


Roll out dough on lightly floured surface. Cut out circles with a lightly floured cookie cutter (these will be the bottom of the cookie) . For the tops of the cookies, cut out circles ( hearts or stars) from half the centers. For a nice tiny hole, I use an apple corer which works really well.


Place on a parchment lined cookie sheets and bake at 350F for approx 10 min. Allow to cool on wire racks before adding a little dab of jam on the bottom of each cookie. Top with cut out center cookies and give a generous dusting of icing sugar.


Makes approx 18 jam jams. Enjoy ♥


Sunday, December 11, 2011

3rd Advent...

3rd Advent ...
Sunday dinners call for pie :-)
Today's is apple.
One was set aside for the birds & squirrels.

I have a couple of these old portable mechanic lights. I keep string in one in my studio ~ perfect for wrapping gifts.
The other is outside hanging in our "bird feeding tree".
It's perfect for holding fruit ~ the back is covered, the birds can sit on the bars as they nibble at the fruit, and it already has a nice big hook at the top.
While I went outside this morning to take a photo, two little black capped chickadees flew to it :-)
sadly, I was zoomed in on the feeder and as I tried to adjust the lens, they were fluttering around from branch to branch.
The seed and suet isn't lasting very long and every feeder needed a refill this morning. I'll watch it today and see just how long it takes for them to empty.

If we try hard to bring happiness to others

we cannot stop it from coming to us also.

To get joy

one must give it

and to keep love

we must scatter it

~John Templeton~
***

Thank you to everyone that added a comment for my giveaway ♥


The Winner is ~ Donna (Otis & Riley). I will send you an email Donna.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Yarn Along...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Snow is in the forecast :-)

I keep looking out the window as I type anticipating seeing those lovely white flakes ...

I am reading (as I have for years now) "A Day book of Comfort and Joy" by Sarah Ban Breathnach. I think it's probably the best book purchase I've ever made. It stays next to my bed, and each night, I read the page for that day. It's become one of many traditions.

Maybe that's why I love it so :-)

Listening to Michael Buble ~ Cold December Night has become my favourite new Christmas song. I fell in love with the words the minute I heard them.

Of course, no matter what new song I hear {Oh Holy Night will always be my favourite } ♥
With all the traditions that come this time of year, I also like to try new things ... start "new" traditions

so this year, I made a few dozen little tags made from the same salt/flour dough recipe that my children played with many years ago. Stamped & baked in a low oven, I will tuck them into Christmas cards, add some twine and turn them into little book savers, attach mini hooks and place some on the Christmas tree.


I've knit a few Mug Hugs... this one was made to cuddle my Anthropologie Monogrammed Mug and it keeps my tea nice and hot.
Well, now that I have a fresh mug of tea, I best get busy and finish my cards.

I'd love to send a little Mug Hug and tag as a Thank You

for another wonderful year of Blogging Friendship ♥

Just leave me a comment here & I will pick a name on Sunday ~ leaving time to hopefully have it arrive in time for Christmas. Everyone, no matter where you live is welcome to enter.


Like Santa, I deliver gifts worldwide.
***

Linking with Yarn Along

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Texture Tuesdays...

Celebrate!

Kim Klassen Texture: Stained Linen

***

The manner of giving

is worth more

than the gift

~Pierre Corneille~

***

The theme this week at the cafe is Celebrate!

We spotted this gorgeous vintage wagon on a Sunday drive a few years ago. What a fabulous way to Celebrate the Holidays ♥

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gifts of Time & Love ...

We are in full Christmas baking mode at our house. All the tried and true traditional recipes come out this month. The cookies and bars, jam and (vegetarian) mincemeat tarts ...

Lots of celebrations that call for cake :-)
A special occasion isn't needed for this simple carrot cake recipe though.
I like to have something available for friends that stop by for a cup of tea after Christmas shopping & this cake is perfect for that.
It's nice to cut a slice while you sit and write Christmas cards.
Or late at night watching a movie with a coffee or mug of hot chocolate.
Iced or left plain, it's moist and delicious (but I can't resist cream cheese frosting) :-)

Gifts of time

and love

are surely

the basic ingredients

of a truly

Merry Christmas

~Peg Bracken~***

Here are a few of the coffee stained tags stamped.

They will be attached to "gifts of time & love" this Christmas ♥
Vegetables are a must
on a diet.
I suggest
carrot cake
zucchini bread
and
pumpkin pie
~Jim Davis~


Friends who stop by get sent home with a little goodie bag.

These are really easy and quick to make up.

Take a plain brown paper sandwich bag, and begin layering starting with a paper doily, a page from a recycled book, a pretty Christmas image, and then add your little embellishments.

For this treat bag, I added a "There's no place like home" tag, a small vintage playing card, a little button which I've wound my decorative twine, a little snippet of fabric, and at the bottom, one of my coffee stained & stamped tags.
Wishes of Comfort & Joy this Monday

xo D


Sunday, December 4, 2011

2nd Advent...

As we light the 2nd candle of Advent we reflect...
We had a little bit of a Winter wonderland ♥


We love snow...


Christmas lights look prettier...

Cardinals look even more amazingly beautiful...

bare branches become art...

& our resident squirrels look even more adorable with a dusting of snow on their nose :-)


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Texture Tuesdays...

~ Sparrow Sentiments ~

Kim Klassen Texture: Stained Linen

***

The theme at the Cafe this week is Gratitude.

Grateful for every little Sparrow in our garden ♥

This little Sparrow found shelter under our deck and provided lots of entertainment as I watched her move back and forth, eating some of the fallen seed, then scurrying back through the lattice to keep dry on this rainy Tuesday.

***

I would maintain

that thanks are the highest form of thought

and that gratitude

is happiness doubled

by wonder

~GK Chesterton~

Linking with:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent Weekend ...

1st Sunday of Advent...



It is a windy, rainy Sunday here today ...

Perfect for nesting...

for baking ...

listening to Christmas music...

for crafting ...

for lighting candles...

At dinner, we will light the 1st candle of Advent

and say our blessings ...

This year I decided to create an Advent tray.
4 candles (from Ikea) wrapped in twine hold coffee stained tags (tutorial above). Pine cones gathered from our walks and a few artificial sprigs weave in and out of the candles ...

An advent blessing


May the SPIRIT of Christmas

which is PEACE


The GLADNESS of Christmas

which is HOPE


The ADORATION of Christmas

which is JOY


The HEART of Christmas

which is LOVE


Be yours

NOW & FOREVER


Amen

Linking with :


the nest

~Wishing you Peace, Hope, Joy & Love this Advent Sunday~

♥ D