Sunday, December 25, 2016

From My House to Yours

Wishing You Peace and Joy
This a cropped version of the cover of the Dharma Crafts Holiday 2013 catalog.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 16, 2016

American Christmas Trivia

A Little American Christmas Trivia

The first American Christmas tree can be credited to a Hessian soldier by the name of Henrick Roddmore, who was captured at the Battle of Bennington in 1776. He then went to work on the farm of Samuel Denslow in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, where for the next 14 years he put up and decorated Christmas trees in the Denslow family home.*

Christmas Village

The first Christmas tree retail lot was established in 1851 by a Pennsylvanian named Mark Carr, who hauled two ox sleds loaded with Christmas trees from the Catskill Mountains to the sidewalks of New York City.

Twelve Days of Christmas Santa

The first president to set up a Christmas tree in the White House was Franklin Pierce, and the first president to establish the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the White House lawn was Calvin Coolidge.


In 1882, the first tree lights were sold in New York City.

Santa and Snowman

In 1836, Alabama became the first state to declare Christmas a public holiday, and by 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant designated it a federal holiday, partly as an effort to heal the rift between North and South following the Civil War. 

Christmas Collage

Wishing YOU well and much joy!

* From the Almanac article that can be read here.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Count Down to the Big Day

Christmas Cards

Part of my count down to the big day is sitting down
and sending out Christmas greetings.

It's so nice to settle down
with a holiday mug filled with tea
carols playing in the background
on an especially cold and wintry day (for the tropics)
and pick out just the right card for the folks on my list.
Some have been sharing greetings of the season for years.
It's a wonderful time for memories and smiles.

Winter Greetings!

Wishing YOU well and much joy!

Home Sweet Home
Little Things Thursday

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Last Month of the Year

"Of all the months of the year
there is not a month one-half so welcome to the young,
or so full of happy associations, 
as the last month of the year...." 
 "All the Year Round: December"
All the Year Round: A Weekly Journal Conducted by
Charles Dickens, 1887 December 10th.


I am hoping our 80 degree temperatures are over,
but I'm not willing to place a bet!

Today the high is expected to be 68
and by the weekend highs will be in the 50s.
On the Texas Gulf Coast -- that means sweater weather!

It also means:
Oatmeal in the mornings
Slipper socks to keep the feet warm
Gloves for my morning walk
Hot chocolate several times during the day
and soup making!


Today I'm making Turkey Vegetable Soup.
Have to use up the turkey and stock from Thanksgiving.
The recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks:
Amazon does have used copies.
I use this cookbook a lot.
I like all the "home" style cooking and stories that are included
and not a can of soup anywhere! 


"Today's improved transportation and preservations techniques
make it possible to have virtually any combination of vegetables
available any time of year in almost every part of the country.
Enjoy this turkey soup with its spring peas and summer tomatoes
during any season."  

(We've come a long way, baby!)

Makes 6 servings

1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, sliced
(I love carrots so I always put extra.)
1/2 cup slice celery
1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves, crushed
5 cups chicken or turky broth
1 can (8 ounces) tomatoes, cut up
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup diced yellow squash
1 cup diced cooked turkey
1/4 cup raw regular rice

1. In 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, in hot butter, cook onion, carrot, celery and thyme until just tender, stirring occasionally.

2.   Stir in broth, tomatoes, peas, squash and turkey. Over high heat, heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cover, simmer 20 minutes.

3.  Add rice. Cover; simmer 20 minutes more or until rice is tender.    

I hardly ever make a recipe as it is written.
In this case, I used olive oil instead of butter.
I didn't have squash, so I added more peas and corn
and brown rice instead of "regular" white rice.
Sometimes I add a pinch of green or red chili powder ... in this case red!

Turkey Vegetable Soup

Some soup with sugar cookies for later.
Snowman cookies on the list to make when these are all gone.


Speaking of snowmen --


I like snowmen.
They can stay out when the holidays are over.
And, they make me smile. 


Oliver is ready for Christmas.
He wore his fancy new collar for all of three minutes.



This will be Oliver's first Christmas.
I've decided when I put the tree up to use the unbreakable ornaments.
Oliver is a climber! 


Wishing YOU well and much joy!

Five On Friday

Willy Nilly Friday

Mosaic Monday

Monday Social

Thursday, November 24, 2016

On This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time of fond remembrances,
Heartfelt appreciation and warm thoughts
of special people in our lives.

Teddy, Cassie, Mina, Oliver and I 
Wish YOU well and much joy this Thanksgiving.

Have a wonderful Holiday!


Friday, November 18, 2016


Looking out my window this morning,
it is cloudy and the wind is blowing.
A cold front is on the way.
At least, what qualifies as a cold front for us! 
We might even get some much needed rain.


This week I took a dear friend to lunch to celebrate her birthday.
We went to one of Houston's top restaurants,

It gives an upscale name to "hole in the wall".
Walking down the street, if you blink at the wrong time,
you will miss it! 

Helen Greek Restaurant

A warm, intimate setting with it's narrow brick clad rooms.

Helen Greek Restaurant

An award winning all Greek Wine selection.

Wine Wall

Lets get to the food!
 We shared the citrus and fennel salad (their winter salad).
Fennel, orange, grapefruit, blood orange, red onions, calamata olives, feta.

Citrus Fennel Salad

And, the Green 'n Cheese pie.
Phyllo, four different greens and three different Greek cheeses.

Green and Cheese Pie

Helen Greek Food and Wine is an easy walk from my house.
I'll be going back ... soon!
There is nothing else like it in town. 

Helen Greek Restaurant

Helen Greek Restaurant

For me, the holiday season begins when the Houston Zoo 
has the members opening for Zoo Lights.

The weather was perfect.
The kettle korn and gingerbread cookies were pretty wonderful, too!  

Zoo Lights

A brief look at the magic forest.

Zoo Lights

Wishing You well and much joy!

Willy Nilly Friday

Mosaic Monday


Monday, November 14, 2016

Start Thinking About Christmas In January

I've been busy knitting.
I finished another shawl except for the blocking and
started another.

Will I have enough made before Christmas?
Not sure,
but they'll be ready for Christmas 2017!  

The finished shawl is made from some stash yarn: Bernat Satin Sport in Jade.
Very soft and light weight - perfect if you live in the "tropics" like I do!
(Otherwise known as the Texas Gulf Coast.) 

The off white shawl is made with Patons Classic Wool,
DK Superwash in the color Aran.
Heavier and will go to live with someone who has cold weather.


As it gets closer to Christmas,
I'm trying to decide what my next crochet project will be. 
I spent too much time at pinterest and came up with these as my first choice.

Christmas Crochet

The pattern for the snowman afghan can be found here.

Crochet Collage

The pattern for the teapot cosy can be found here.

The Gingerbread Family ornaments can be found here.

Decisions  decisions! 

It's obvious I should start thinking about Christmas in January 
if I'm going to make wonderful things. 

From the Fortune Cookie Journal:
"You can't start a new chapter if you're stuck at the table of contents."

Wishing YOU well and much joy!

Mosaic Monday

Monday Social 

Yarn Along 


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Participating is Fun Part 2:

The lovely Stephanie from The Enchanting Rose 
hosted her Ninth annual teacup and mug exchange.
There were 192 tea lovers participating from all over the world.
What a lot of work and
What a lot of Love Stephanie puts into this exchange.

I decided to go all out and take part in both exchanges.

I was lucky that Jill Torres, also a "first timer", sent me a mug.
Hard to believe all of this was in one box!
Everything was so beautifully wrapped.
A lot of effort went into the paper decorations.
Almost too pretty to open! 

Tea Mug Exchange

Jill even included mice and cat nip for my kitties.
So very thoughtful.

I began to unwrap all the goodies.
It quickly became apparent that this was going to be a magical,
fun tea!

Jill is from Florida and she enclosed some Florida goodies.

Mug Exchange

A wonderful Florida souvenir spoon with a pelican.
(The pelican just happens to be one of my favorite water birds.)
Postcards with recipes.
Florida wouldn't be complete without a mention of Ernest Hemingway --
with Highland Select Tea --
"Infused with the author's spirit and passion for life."

Wonderland Tea

More magic with Alice In Wonderland!
Fun mug -- drink me!
Wonderland Tea - The Official Unbirthday Tea called
Topsy Turvy Tea Blend. 
I'm going to fall head over heels for this tea.
Black tea with a delicious citrus and fruity flavor.

And a wonderful book filled with Wonderland ephemera.
It's been so much fun going through it all and I find things
I think I didn't see before.

Wonderland Tea

The precious little bird frame was another little surprise.

Wonderland Tea Mosaic

Wonderland Tea

I got out my Alice In Wonderland Tea for One Teapot.
I'm all set now to have a cup of tea and open the Ginger Nuts.

Last, but not least, Jill included these beautiful white on white hand made cards.

Paper Card Art

They are so gorgeous.
I think I'm going to keep them and frame them.

What fun this has been!

I'd like to thank Stephanie again
and special thanks to the talented Jill Torres for sending such a magical tea.

Wishing YOU well and much joy!

The Enchanting Rose

Participating Is Fun!

The lovely Stephanie from The Enchanting Rose 
hosted her Ninth annual teacup and mug exchange.
There were 192 tea lovers participating from all over the world.
What a lot of work and
What a lot of Love Stephanie puts into this exchange.

I decided to go all out and take part in both exchanges. 

In this post, I'm sharing the beautiful, 
vintage teacup that Nora Chin of Teacup Tales sent to me.
It is a Royal Albert from her own collection.
How lucky am I??

Royal Albert Teacup

The teacup was just the first of the goodies in the box.

Royal Albert Teacup

A box of Numi organic tea: Gunpowder Green.
Must be ESP ... Gunpowder Green is one of my favorite teas.


Wonderful Autumn decor.

Perfect kitchen towel for the fall that I put immediately to work!
I love owls -- isn't he cute ... look at those big feet!
I needed a small pumpkin.

Zipper Owl

They all look great with the rest of the gang!


One more sweet item that is hard to see.
Nora sent a plant stake that has a glow-in-the-dark ball.
In the evening it looks like the frog is visited by a fairy!


Thank you, Nora!
I had so much fun opening your box.
I love everything you picked for me. 

Thanks again to Stephanie for arranging the exchange.


Wishing YOU well and much joy!

The Enchanting Rose

Friday, October 28, 2016

Pumpkins, Kitties, Witches and Books, Oh My!

Watercolors from 2015


The origin of Halloween and many of its customs can be traced to Samhain(pronounced sow-in, which rhymes with cow-in), an ancient pagan Celtic festival that was celebrated to mark the end of harvesttime and the beginning of the new year. The 2-day celebration began at sundown on October 31. The ancient Celts believed that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its thinnest during Samhain, thereby making it a good time to communicate with the deceased and to divine the future. Samhain is Gaelic for “summer’s end,” a day to bid good-bye to warmth and light as the day length shortens.
Following the triumph of the Holy Roman Empire over Celt-occupied lands in the 1st century A.D., the Romans incorporated many of the Celtic traditions, including Samhain, with their own. This day was formerly known as Allhallowmas, hallow meaning to sanctify, or make holy. All Saints’ Day is known in England as All Hallows’ Day. 
Eight hundred years after the triumph of the Holy Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic Church designated November 1 as All Saints’ Day, in honor of all Catholic saints. It was celebrated with a mass, bonfires, and people costumed as angels and saints parading through the villages.
Just as November 1 was once called All Hallows’ Day, October 31 was called All Hallows’ Eve. Over time, All Hallows’ Eve was shortened to Halloween.

Farmer Joes


Turnip lanterns predate pumpkins as jack-o-lanterns.
In ancient Ireland, revelers would hollow out large turnips,
or potatoes or beets, and carve them a demon's face to frighten away spirits.
They would light the turnips from within with a candle 
or a piece of smoldering coal.
They then placed the lanterns in the windows and doorways of their homes,
in the belief that the carvings would scare off evil spirits
and welcome deceased loved ones inside.
Irish immigrants arriving in the New World during the early 1800s
found the plentiful, easier to carve pumpkins ready substitutes for turnips.

One more interesting fact about Halloween.
Did you know that it was once celebrated on Thanksgiving?
You can read all about that on Mental Floss here.


I've been so busy knitting that I haven't done a lot of reading, 
but I did finish THE DEVIL'S DREAM by Lee Smith.
It follows several generations of a Southern family living in the Appalachians.
From simple hymns, old-time medicine shows, radio barn dances, sleazy rockabilly joints,
primitive recording sessions, to the Grand Ole Opry 
and tales of growing up in the Appalachian south. 
Lee Smith is a wonderful story teller and the lure of music is something I think
anyone can identify with. I even remember some of the songs mentioned.


Sometimes I think I visit Starbucks too often.
The barista knows what I'm going to order before I do!


Zipper Owl

This little fella flew in from Louisiana from one of my sisters by choice.
She knows how much I love owls and enjoy Halloween.
He's called a zipper owl.
I think you can see why.
I've never seen one like him.
He's a great addition to the Parliament!

Wishing YOU well, much joy and a Haunting Halloween!

Willy Nilly Friday
Five on Friday
Monday Social
Mosaic Monday

"A grandmother pretends she doesn't know who you are on Halloween."
~Erma Bombeck

* Information from the Old Farmer's Almanac.
You can see the entire article here.