Friday, December 20, 2013

Gifts, Glitz, Greed and Ice

Well I am finally ready.  I wrapped the last gift of the second batch of wrapping last night.  What a relief!  This year I didn't have to mail anything which is probably why I was so slow getting things done.  Next year I am going to go back to my old routine of doing the bulk of the shopping in October.  This year I basically started the day before Thanksgiving and did some of my shopping on Black Friday and on-line.  So I was really upset to hear about how Target stores were tapped into and the customers accounts compromised because I made several trips to Target during that time frame with my trusty credit card.  So far we have found nothing amiss. 

I don't understand the greed and corruption of people who think nothing of stealing from others, whether it's money, your identity, or as in the case of the woman at the Des Moines Airport, a costly diamond ring grabbed when the owner walked away and left it on the table.  But just because it's the season of love and good cheer doesn't change human nature I guess.  My sister will never purchase anything on line and now it appears that it's not safe to buy from the store at the cash register either.  I have decided maybe it's best to buy local at the small shops and pay cash!

This season I have really enjoyed listening to my grandchildren play Christmas songs on the piano, guitar and violin.  There is just something about the sweet old melodies of favorite Christmas songs that is uplifting, whether it be Silent Night, Beautiful Star of Bethlehem, or Rockin Around the Christmas Tree.


Liam plays the violin beautifully and is now learning the electric guitar.  He will soon be excelling in that instrument also.  But the sweeter sound for Christmas songs definitely comes from  his violin.

 This picture of one of our violins didn't turn out well.  I didn't want to open his case and pull out the one he usually uses.

 And Shannon has been baking Christmas cookies!  I love it when the sweet smell of sugar cookies fills the house.  This weekend we will move on to fudge, toffee and chocolate covered peanut butter rolls.


 This was the sight that greeted me this morning when I looked out the window.  We had rain last night and a solid sheet of ice covered everything.  It was going to be a challenge to get to my last day of work until January 2nd!


Maybe it would be better to just stay home and make some nice tea! But no, I had to get dressed and ready to brave the fun of the drive.

Meanwhile, Polly and Oscar are wondering if it's not too early to open their Christmas presents.  Such sweet dogs.  They give such love and affection.  Polly is thirteen, overweight, settled into her stubborn ways, but loves us unconditionally.  Oscar, only two always has a bright outlook on life and a mischievous gleam in his eye.

And I have finished three knitted Christmas gifts.  Here's a scarf just before it went into it's gift bag.

 I love the glitter, music and beauty of the holidays.  I love the simple beauty of snow on branches and the crunch of it underfoot as I head out to the birdfeeders.  Frost on the windowpane somehow makes things look magical and serene.  There might be greed and corruption in the world but my prayer is that I can keep the peace of Christmas in my heart all year long.  And no matter where you are I wish the same for you too!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Slow Down and Enjoy the Moment

Oh my gosh.  The Christmas cards aren't done.  Nothing is wrapped and my Christmas shopping is barely started.  The quilt border is still in pieces across my dining room table.  Should I put it away now before Christmas or just keep on plugging away at it?  I haven't made any fudge yet - or cookies!  Christmas can't happen without those two important items.  We have our holiday table here at work next week and I have to plan the food for that.  These were just some of the thoughts scittering through my brain as I placed a few of my little Christmas decorations on my desk here at work.

I really shouldn't be spending eight hours here at my desk when there are so many things at home that need my attention.  But if I stay home then I worry about everything at work that needs to be done.

And I wonder why there is stress during the holidays.

The years will go by regardless, one Christmas melting into another, changing the lines and contours of our face and bodies.  No matter how we stress about the lack of time, things somehow manage to get done.  Here are my little sisters and I at an earlier Christmas (at least 45 years ago) when things were simple.  Or maybe it was just that our parents had the role of making the  holiday happen.  

And here we are again, stress free on a sunny spring day in Key West two years ago with our friend Barb. I'm the one in the straw hat and my sisters are in the dark blue.

No matter what we do or how we fuss and worry time goes on.  So I have decided to try to enjoy the moment this Christmas.  Not fret and gripe when things don't turn out exactly the way I planned.  Who put me in charge anyway?   I just want to enjoy the magic of the season, the love of family and close friends and the beauty of nature while we celebrate the wonderful gift to the world.  
The birth of the baby Jesus.

And I have decided to steal my friends Lynnette's recipe for one of my contributions at  the holiday table next week.   A wonderful light combination of red pepper hummus, plain yogurt and chopped celery, onion, green peppers and tomato served with crackers.

 I hope you all can enjoy the moment in the next few weeks and have a wonderful Christmas season!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Holidays, Knitting, Threads and a Safe Homecoming

The last few days have been a whirlwind of wonderful activity.  I started and stopped dozens of things but managed to entertain myself well in the process.  I have made a little progress on my pieced border.  Below are stars that will be worked into two corners of the pieced border  Actually there are six stars but only four show in the picture.  I hand pieced two of them.  That was fun as I had not hand pieced anything for quite some time. 

Since my sister had Thanksgiving dinner I didn't feel the need to clear off my dining room table until I realized I also wanted to put up the Christmas tree and I use the table to lay all the ornaments out as I take them out of the boxes before they go on the tree.  I was amazed at all the tiny threads and fabric dust covering the table when I moved things around. 

Thank goodness for Thanksgiving dinner leftovers so that I didn't have to cook the last couple days while I turned my attention to decorating and doing a little shopping. 

 We haven't had a fire yet in the fireplace and I still need to order in a new pile of wood but the lights, greenery and village make it a cheerful place.
 I love getting out the nativity set.  This one has survived forty years now without a break.  Each year when I unpack it I love it just as much as I did when it was new.
 It was special this year because my Mom came over and stayed part of the afternoon on Saturday and helped me decorate the tree.  Dad was sorely missed but his memory surrounded us with a feeling of quiet peace.
 This is one of two wallhangings that I used the crazy quilt pattern.  You can't tell by the picture but each stocking is nicely embroidered and stitched in various patterns. 

 Not fancy at all, but the decoration that I love the most is the green china Noel sign.  This belonged to my Great-Grandma.  The letters are candle holders and she always had red tapers with them, but I don't like that look so I just use it the way it is on the shelf above my quilt.  Each time I look at it, I think of her and smile.   She was a most wonderful Grandma.  She has been gone for over thirty years but her love, sense of humor and wisdom are with me still.

In the midst of the decorating I pulled out two knitting projects to keep my fingers busy.  These are a couple of easy scarves to use as Christmas gifts.  Since I don't have a hand quilting project in the works right now I have to keep myself busy.  This way I can watch the Hallmark movies and get something done at the same time. 

But the best thing was the homecoming of my grand kids Dad.  Home safe from his second deployment in Afghanistan where he can spend peaceful holidays with the ones he loves.  The kids were ecstatic.  And you can tell by the big smile on his face that there is no place like home for the holidays!