Saturday, December 24, 2016

Silver & Gold

December is a busy time for all. A month that's full of preparation and reflection.
This year was a whirlwind around here as we had a granddaughter in
The Nutcracker.
There was a week of dress rehearsals every day leading up to a weekend with three beautiful, magical performances.
This month that brings each year to a close also marks another wedding anniversary for me every time it rolls around. At the age of nineteen, thirty-three years ago, I said, "I Do" on a cold, frosty December night. The temperature was twenty-one degrees below zero with a big, fluffy snow blizzard whipping all around us.
The church was lit only by candlelight and a Christmas tree.
We were married in the midst of a Winter Wonderland.
I will never forget it.
December 17th remains my favorite day of the year.
I look forward to it with the anticipation of a little child at Christmastime.
This year, December brought some unexpected sadness along with it too.
As I mentioned in my last post,
my family suffered the loss of my beloved cousin Kari.
I attended her services in a quick trip to Chicago
{there and back home in one day}.
These are some old photo's I would like to share with you...
Grandpa holding: Me, Judi, Kari
Grandma holding: Kari, Judi, Me
Kari, Me, Judi
I love these old memories and actually think of them often.
As hard as funerals are, the good thing about them is being reunited with family.
This is a picture of my sister and me with my cousin Scott,
who is Kari and Judi's brother.
It's been too long since we've all been together.
Bridget, Scott, Me
Time has marched on, as it does, and Christmas is here.
I have been knitting to fill orders and knitting for fun.
This is the last local order that went out.
And then a few knitted Christmas trees for some last minute fun.
Miss Kitty is enjoying the big tree as usual.
Before I leave you to nestle in and enjoy the season with your loved ones,
 I would like to say,
The greatest thing I believe this year has taught me is
that every part of the journey of our lives
is lined with Silver and flecked with Gold.
The days of old... memories we hold so dear...
Friends and family and whispers of yesteryear gone by,
like Silver linings around the edges of our hearts and minds for all our days.
Then bright, shiny, new people and events entering our world all of the time,
like flecks of Gold.
So much to be Thankful for.
And I would love to share my favorite Christmas recipe with you.

Old Fashioned Gingerbread
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter
1 Egg
1 Cup Molasses
2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Cloves {ground}
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Hot Water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray 9 or 10 " pan with cooking spray.
*I use a round pan and cut mine in pie shaped pieces.
The original recipe calls for a square pan*
In large bowl, cream together sugar & butter.
Beat in egg and mix in molasses.
In separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt & spices.
Blend into creamed mixture. Stir in the hot water.
Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for approximately 1 hour, but watch closely
{mine is always done in 40-45 minutes}.
Check center with a toothpick.
Allow to cool in pan before serving.
Best when served still warm with whipped cream.
Yield: 12 Servings

Whipped Cream
2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Teaspoons Pure Vanilla

Chill metal or plastic bowl in freezer for 15 - 20 minutes, along with beaters.
Whip COLD cream on MEDIUM {so cream does not become buttery}
until almost stiff. Add sugar and vanilla.
Beat until cream holds stiff peaks.
Can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 hours before serving.

May this Christmas Eve find you Warm and Cozy
as you share the love of the holiday with your family and friends.
Merry Christmas!
With Love,

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Speaking of Angels ...

Who turned the clock from midsummer to the first week of December when I wasn't looking? That's what it feels like, isn't it? We all know what order the months have in our calendar and that they never change but for some reason I always seem to be taken suddenly unaware when Christmastide is upon us once again, like Dorothy looking down at red shoes on a path in a different land...
Just yesterday I was knitting on my front porch swing with my dogs and birdcages outside, feeding my squirrels {which I still do} and now I'm wrapped up by a fireplace with extra socks and a sweater. Of course for me the one thing that remains the same, no matter the season or weather, is that I always have a steaming cup of tea while knitting... yes ... even in the heat. Can't help that. Must be fueled to work. I must say, this time of year it adds to the coziness of things.
I also have to insert here that I really, really do love Christmas and everything about it. That's why I got married just eight days before Christmas thirty three years ago. It's just that it always seems to sneak up on me.
For those of you who don't follow my Instagram and don't know it, I had an annual event in my home this last Saturday, which is one of the reasons I have been silent here on my blog for longer than intended. My fingers have been flying over lots of fiber in preparation.
Not to mention just a bit of housework and decorating. If you'll look closely at the first picture you will notice my Christmas tree has only lights and no ornaments on it. That's because I always wait until after our Sale to decorate it. We fill it with items that are For Sale on the day of the event.
This year's Christmas Tea & Sale went beautifully. There were four Fiber Artist's involved, including myself plus heavenly handmade, organic body butter and sugar scrub from another local vendor.
We served Cinnamon Coffee and Christmas Tea along with a variety of home baked goodies.
Our customers enjoyed their sweet treats and many of our fiber arts flew out the front door as though on the wings of angels. Every single thing about the day was lovely. If YOU were here I would like to say "Thank You".

Speaking of Angels...
As many of you know, my nine year old granddaughter, Gabriella
{one of my Angels here on Earth}, is a ballet dancer with Peoria Ballet. She was meant to dance two roles, one being a rather large role, in this years Nutcracker performance on December 10 & 11, however, she has a fractured tibia due to the fact she has grown six inches in the last two years. The doctor says this is twice the amount she should have grown in that time period, therefore that particular bone was not able to keep up with the rapid growth spurt.  
When my daughter explained the situation to the Executive Director at Peoria Ballet she said Gabby could still be onstage just standing and not dancing. She said injuries are so common in the world of dance and they figure out a way to work around them because the children work so very hard all year long to be in the performance and they are heartbroken if they are unable to participate. She's right. Gabby was heartbroken and this made all the difference.
Thank You Executive Director...
Now that's an Angel in action if you ask me.

And now though I'd like to join Miss Puss in her Winter's nap...
I really must decorate the Christmas tree because this weekend will be busy with
The Nutcracker and next Monday we will be having our
Knit Night Christmas Party here.
So much to be happy and thankful for during this Joyful and Festive Season.
May you all be very Merry & Blessed.

"I expect to pass through this world but once.
If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show,
or any good thing I can do any fellow human being let me do it now.
Let me not defer or neglect it,
for I will not pass this way again."
Stephen Grellet

As I was in the midst of writing this post I received a call from my Dad to tell me that my beloved cousin passed away in her sleep Sunday night. We grew up very close. She is one of the little girls I talk about in a previous post entitled
Her name was Kari. She was just thirteen months older than me, making her only 53 years old.
In her late thirties she suffered a brain aneurysm and over the course of years has had twenty eight brain surgery's. She passed away unexpectedly but peacefully, in her sleep in the night at her sisters home after attending a Christmas Open House with her. So I will be making a trip to the Chicago area this Thursday to attend her services. Your prayers for my family at this time are much appreciated.
She was my Aunt's firstborn child.
I am heartbroken at the loss of her. I will carry her in my heart all the days of my life and return often to those carefree days of our childhood... days full of laughter and sunshine... days of running through cornfields and playing dress up with Grandma's aprons.
Rest in Peace My Sweet Kari,
Once again you're floating in a world that knows no time,
And Thankfully, no pain.
God Bless You All.