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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

As I bid farewell to 2011, I am filled with gratitude - gratitude for my son and daughter, 
for my husband, for our families and for many great friends.

When I reflect on our friendships, I am incredibly grateful for the blogging community that I have been introduced to over the last several years. The sentiments from readers near and far have been wonderfully and completely embracing, and your presence in our life is felt and cherished very much. Because of your warmth, kindness, and kindred spirits, I feel as if we could meet anywhere, anytime, and I would know you as a familiar friend.

So thank you dear friends for a beautiful year!

May you be blessed with health and happiness, and with the love of your family and friends in the coming New Year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Surprise Gift

Photograph by Eddie Ross 

I received a wonderful note from Eddie Ross telling me that we will be the lucky recipients 
of these lovely mercury glass Christmas trees, shown above on his elegant holiday table. 

Ever since Country Living used mercury glass in their styling for the Christmas 
shoot in our home, I've been meaning to add a few pieces to our Christmas decor collection.
These trees will receive a very warm welcome when they arrive! 

Thank you Eddie and Jaithan! 

The trees can be purchased here


ADIEU 2011


French for goodbye, farewell...

You would think we are all French these days lol...

I confess, I love the language... The sound as it rolls off the tongue...

Do I speak the language? No. 

As I bid 2011 adieu I have some thoughts to share...

Ramblings if you will.

I have no resolutions like weight loss or starting an exercise program...

But I do plan to do the following in 2012...

Cultivate my faith... My love of God...

Be a better wife, mother, grandma, mother~in~law, daughter, sister, friend...

Make the most of the gifts I have been given...

Just be grateful for what I have because it is so much...

I'm going to water my own grass and I encourage all of you to do the same...

Happy New Year Friends!!!!

Blessings to all of you in 2012!!!

Light bulb moment, New year's eve inspiration

So, New Years Eve tomorrow. Yaaay! I am heading off to see a great friend in the countryside which I'm so looking forward to. Are you having people over? If so, how about these festive ideas with lighting or stars. Simple but beautiful. The perfect way to bring in 2012....
Picture: Wikstein studio

Picture: Varpunen. Lights: Granit
The setting in the picture above was created by the wonderfully clever Norwegian blogger, Heidi, at FruFly. Visit FruFly for more inspiration for your New Years Eve table!

Thank you so much for reading my blog in 2011, you've made me super happy! I'll be back with a beautiful home to show you on 2nd January. Happy New year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bath time!

With all the frenzied christmas shopping, decorating, baking etc behind us what we all need now is a little R & R (relaxation & recuperation) before the new year. And, seriously, I'm voting for one of these baths with a roaring fire to keep me cosy.

Picture: Nu by Staff  Woman

Picture: Via Brown Dress with White Dots

Picture: Via From Moon to Moon
 Tomorrow I'll be back with a little inspiration for New Years Eve! Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Post Scripts

I hope that everyone had the most joyful Christmas! I have to say that sharing this 
Christmas with our sweet son and daughter made it one of our most memorable ever. 

Here are a few snapshots from our holiday week. We moved our couch to the south side of the room (facing the tree) because we wanted to open up as much floor space for playing as possible. 

We usually have a very large play yard set up in the living room, so large that it takes up half the room. It's been the best purchase we've made as it provides for wonderful safe play time (no base board heaters, cupboards or other hazards to get into), especially when Mike's at work and I'm alone with the babies. With both of us home to watch over the babies, we were able to fold it up for the holidays. 

Graham moves fast and kept us on our toes! Margaret likes to take in smaller portions of the room for the most part. They both love looking out the picture window and french door, which are at just their level.

They were much more interested in playing with the boxes and the wrapping paper than with 
the gifts inside.  It was so adorable. Margaret is also grasping one of her favorite objects (the round, bulb-shaped top of a stacker toy). It made us laugh because it looked like she had found 
Rudolph's red nose! 

This photo also explains why you should decorate all sides of your tree. 

We set up our traditional cardinal Christmas tree in the dining room. This tree is especially 
meaningful to us as Mike's Mom (who passed away shortly after we were married) loved cardinals.  

I can tell you that this is the cleaned up version of this room. Usually, the high chairs are there, as well as lots and lots of books (for story time after meals and snacks), and other various and sundry items distributed about the floor - toys, sippy cups, finger snacks...

Next to the tree, we placed my Grandmother's old settee under the mirror at the east end of the room. I just love putting it in this room at Christmas time as its warm tones are so suggestive of the season. 

The settee had originally belonged to her grandparents. She upholstered it with this toile pattern 
years ago, before I was born. It is a piece I grew up with as it was in her entry way - I'd toss my 
coat on it each time I ran through her front door. 

My gift to Mike was this L.L. Bean sled for the babies to ride in on their first winter wonderland adventures. It's a tandem sled that we've only played with indoors so far, as the few inches of snow we've had this winter melted before Christmas. 

Best wishes to you and your families for a joyous New Year! 

The First of My Seed Catalogues Have Arrived

We left on December 4 for our winter vacation, spending a couple of days in chilly Wisconsin before heading to our vacation home in the warm and sunny south.  We returned home in the late evening hours on December 22.  It was a wonderful break and while we could have stayed longer I wanted to be home to spend Christmas with the kids and grandkids.

There wasn't a lot to do in the garden at the

Oh Deery me!

Hejsan, hejsan! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas? I went home to London with my little family. We stayed near a park with lots of beautiful deer which inspired me for this post. No home would be complete this winter without a deer. I love these 'ideers'. Deery deery me, just lovely! Ok enough...(to many crackers?!).


In my house


Via Utop-ian (Pinterest)
I think a friendly faux deer will definitely be a new addition to my home this winter. Any tips on great places to hang him/her?

Oh and don't forget to enter the competition to win a wonderful picky pic picture for your children's room. You have several more days to enter here and it's sooo quick and easy- how about the deer one?!

Back in a little. Kram!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Dear Friends. 

Merry Christmas from the Herb Gardener

Well, after most of the planning, shopping, worrying, cleaning and baking are out of the way (we probably all have wrapping left to do), Christmas is nigh -- as they used to say.  As hectic and demanding as the holidays are, I still love them. Sometimes I love them more in hindsight, it's true. Luckily for me, after the hoopla dies down, memories of a handful of delightful, touching and

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Jam

This is the first season that we made jam from our concord grapes. I have to say that it was exciting to think of eating jam from fruit that grew on our land. I am also quite a connoisseur of jam (meaning I eat an awful lot of it!). Oh, how I looked forward to opening the refrigerator and grabbing a jar of our homemade jam, grown right outside the kitchen door. 

Well, we'll just say that we'll have to work out a few kinks and consider this year's batch to be a test run. In the end we didn't end up with so many jars. So we've reserved them for a small handful of family members (people who will think it tastes good based on the pure effort alone). 

Here are a few of the jars (there were a total of eight in all). 

Here are the grapes ready for cooking.

Taking the grapes off the stems was by far the most arduous part of the process. And when I say 'arduous' I mean that it looked like Mike was doing it for quite some time... I'm admitting here nearly at the end of this post that I hardly helped make the jam. 

Mike was the master canner and he did a wonderful job. Making jam takes patience and the 
wisdom to stick to the recipe. He possesses these qualities in abundance! 

Well, our stockings are hung, the tree is trimmed and I've officially consumed at least an entire loaf of pumpkin bread over the last several weeks. 

'Tis the season...

Merry Christmas!

I hope you have a wonderful, toasty, Christmas!

Picture: Via Castles, Crowns and Cottages

I'll be back with a post on 28th December so pop by and say hi!

PS Don't forget, to enter the competition to win a Pick pic picture. You can enter until 31st December here!

Christmas hugs! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fresh Fruit Ambrosia

Hey everyone!
Are you all busy getting ready for Christmas!
Are you getting your meal planning done?
I wanted to share this quick healthy recipe with you…
Fresh Fruit Ambrosia
Offering a nice change of pace from traditionally heavy holiday eats, Ambrosia is a fresh, clean dish perfect for cleansing the palette or finishing a meal. Plus, this easy treat can be made a day in advance to cut down on your holiday prep time.
You´ll need
5 oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 pineapple, cored and diced
1 ½ cups orange juice
1/3 cup shaved coconut
1 tbsp lemon juice
Combine orange and pineapple in a large bowl and cover. Refrigerate for one hour or more. Remove, add remaining ingredients and toss until evenly mixed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serves 8-10
What are you making this year?
Have a great day! :)

Sew n' Crow Christmas!

This week our Monday night group, fondly known as "sew n' crow" met at Sam's for a festive evening of fun and handmade present exchanging!
Some weeks ago, we all picked a name out of the Secret Santa hat.  Nic decreed that, of course, all presents should be handmade, and cost no more than £5, or should come from your craft stash!  Quite right too!
My gift was wrapped in brown paper and adorned with a luggage tag bearing a button snowman!
And......the recipient of my carefully woven basket gift was Lisa.  Lisa is a fabulous stitcher, as you'll see later on, so I must admit I was a little nervous.....but she seemed to like it!
Lisa in turn made for Jeannette, a lovely jar with pincushion top and stuffed to the brim with sewing goodies......
Jeannette made for Nic, and carefully wrapped her goodies in this gorgeous little wicker hamper - she knows Nic has a penchant for hampers!
Jeannette made these beautiful tweed fabric hearts strung with pretty flowery ribbon and adorned with tiny jewels. 
And filled the basket with handmade iced Christmas biscuits. 
I was the lucky recipient of Nic's gift, some beautiful ceramic heart tags made at a recent Rachel Dormor workshop, plus a really pretty pressed glass bowl and creamer from Nic's own glass collection.
Michelle received a lovely stash of handmade fork pom poms made by Sue - beautifully festive!
Michelle made for Amy and her gift was home made bath and massage oil scented with lavender and camomile and presented in a gorgeous vintage decanter, tied with ribbon and luggage tag.  Michelle even added some glitter to add some extra Christmas sparkle! Amy was clearly thriilled.
Amy's gift to Shiela was a beautiful Christmas Tree cross-stitch presented in an embroidery hoop - Shiela very quickly announced that she had the perfect spot to hang her lovely gift.
Pat's gift, made by Sam, was a beautiful, personalised mug hug - which, as you can see here, also nicely fits an ample glass of mulled wine!!!
Pat made Sue a super cosy, chocolate brown, chenille scarf.  It was on in a flash!
There were no prizes for guessing who made this stunning coffee and walnut cake!  Shiela is renowned for them in these parts - and Sam was the lucky recipient - though I did wonder whether lucky was the right word, since Sam very generously proceeded to share it with us all, leaving her with only half a cake!!!
I think we all enjoyed both the making and sharing of our gifts, in the knowledge that we had invested our time wisely, with love, and had made something which would be appreciated.
I can't finish this post, without showing you a few pictures of the very talented Lisa Museum's finished Santa washing line! She's been working on this at Sew n' Crow over recent weeks and here it is in all its glory - ta dah!
All handmade and handstitched.
How cute.

Sam's cat, Wellington, seemed pretty non-plussed by all of the activity and decided instead that Nic's ball of yarn made a great head rest and the perfect spot for a snooze, whilst we ooohed, aaarh'd, drank and ate!!!
Life doesn't get much better than this!


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