Monday, December 31, 2007

Gifts from the heart...

are very special to me. I love giving and receiving handmade gifts. I believe that when you make something for someone, you are thinking of them during the process, and that in it's self is meaningful. This year's Christmas gifts were exceptional, here are a few:

Granddaughter Olivia painted this for me at one of those "make it yourself studios", with a little help from her Mom and Dad. I was told she painted the pink background by herself. I think we have another budding artist in the family. It is perfect for the cookies we love baking together.

Daughter-in-law, Kasey knitted these two scarves for me. They are of the softest yarn and feel awesome around my neck. The color choices are my two favorite colors. Knitting is something I have never tried to learn, so how wonderful to have a knitter in the family.

Stepdaughter, Kelsey had a job with the Dept. of Natural Resources for a few months this year studying birds. She is also a talented photographer, and the calendar is a collection of photos she took throughout the year. I adore birds, and this gift will keep on giving with each new month.

Though I didn't post a picture of it, I want to mention the gift from my niece, Michelle. She is the cook in the family, and we are the lucky recipients of one of her homemade lasagnas. She makes the best. Some evening when I don't feel like cooking (which is most nights), we'll toss a salad, uncork a bottle of wine and have a feast.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

May your day...

be filled with peace and joy. Have a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A wee box filled with family...

I took time out from all the Christmas preparations to make this for my sister's birthday. The little box is about the same size as a large box of kitchen matches. It is a Seven Gypsy's product, and I believe that it is supposed to hold ATC's, or artist trading cards. I picked it up one day at Mystic Paper, because it was just so darn cute, but not knowing what I would do with it. Sorting through old family photos is always a trip down memory lane. My sister was really surprised, and we had a great time reminiscing.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, Judi...

We shared many secrets, the same mom and dad.
We shared lots of good times, don't think of the bad.
Our memories we'll cherish, with love without end.
I'm glad you're my sister, I'm glad you're my friend.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dan Fogelberg 1951-2007
I was shocked and saddened to learn of the death of one of my all time favorite singer/songwriters. It is always such a loss to lose someone as gifted and talented as he was at such an early age. His music touched me and many others over the years. I discovered his music in 1974, and I have listened to him probably more than any other artist. I saw him many times in concert. Dan was an Illinois boy, and one concert that really stands out is one that he gave in Peoria in 1975. It was quite special to see him perform in his hometown. The stage crew all had t-shirts that said "Welcome home, Danny" on the front and 8/9/75 on the back. I wanted one of those shirts in the worst way. I begged my friend to ask one of the crew if he would sell the shirt off his back. He agreed, and I paid twenty dollars for it. It was a lot of money back then, considering it was probably twice the price of the concert ticket. I treasured that souvenir, and wore it till it was literally thread bare.
He will be missed...but, his gift to us, his music, will live on and on.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bravo, Andrea...Bravo!

Last night was special. I attended the Andrea Bocelli concert with a couple of friends. I had looked forward to it for weeks and the show did not disappoint. The man can sing! He has only seven concert dates in the U.S, so it was fortunate for us that Phoenix was one of them. As we were waiting for the show to begin, and people were taking their seats, we saw a couple being ushered to the front row. I wondered who the lucky people were and later found out that it was Mohammad Ali and his wife. Andrea introduced them and even came out on stage wearing his autographed boxing gloves. As a young boy, Andrea idolized the boxing great and had met with him the day before.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


tra·di·tion (trə-dĭsh'ən)
The passing down of elements of a culture from generation to generation, especially by oral communication.
A mode of thought or behavior followed by a people continuously from generation to generation; a custom or usage.
A set of such customs and usages viewed as a coherent body of precedents influencing the present: followed family tradition in dress and manners.
A body of unwritten religious precepts.
A time-honored practice or set of such practices.
Law Transfer of property to another.

In our family, one of our favorite traditions has always centered around the Christmas tree. I worked in a drug store over thirty years ago that also sold Hallmark items. Naturally, I was bitten by the ornament bug and have collected many. Each year I would add one or two or several. When my sons were small, they were given an ornament each year, starting with a baby's first Christmas. Whether it be Disney themed or sports related, I tried to choose one that matched their interests at the time. When they became married adults, I felt it was time to let them each have their ornaments to enjoy on their own trees. Actually, I am relying on my dear daughters-in-law to keep them safe. It pleases me to see them displayed in their homes, remembering that I lovingly chose them, and knowing that each year they bring back special memories. I am still giving them ornaments and now include their wives and children.
Each year when I decorate my own tree, the memories come rushing back. It's like visiting with old friends that you haven't seen for a while. Not all of my favorites are Hallmark. Some of the ones that I treasure the most are homemade, given to me by family and friends. Here are a few :

Son, Brian made the paper plate Rudolph in kindergarten. His antlers are broken and his eyes have long fallen off...I had a Barbie case exactly like this when I was little, I loved everything about Barbie...My Brother made the Canadian goose...My sister gave me a collection of blown glass ornaments, which included the VW. It reminds me of the bug I drove in college.
Some remind you of special places or trips. While in London, we took a cab to Harrods with the main intention of buying a souvenir ornament. We braved the hustle and bustle of an extremely crowded store, only to find out that we were too early or way too late to find any. Fortunately, one of my travel companions, Patti, made another trip across the pond that same year, and was able to get one for each of us.

My niece cross stitched the "Merrie Yule"...I love the patriotic Santa, bunny ballerina, soccer beaver and reindeer crammed in the phone booth.

My sister gave me this one. Our country was still reeling from the attacks of 9/11. The message was particularly important that year and still is today.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lonesome dove...

perched on an icy branch. My brother emailed me these two photos today. They were taken in the backyard of his Midwestern home. It is really stunning to see the after affects of an ice storm. Extremely beautiful, but incredibly dangerous. I used to think the ice was fun to run and slide on when I was a kid. Driving on it was an entirely different matter. The last winter that I lived in Illinois was a bad one. I remember coming home from work one evening, I tried to turn into my driveway, but ended up sliding into my neighbors car instead. I was barely moving and couldn't stop. To our family in Illinois and Iowa who are dealing with this, please be careful. Stay safe and warm!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The annual sitting...

for this year's Christmas card took place this morning. As always, a great deal of patience and persuasion is needed. Not to mention several treats as bribery. I have to laugh at Ruby in her foo-foo ruffle. The look on her face says it all. Scarlett is always sweet and eager to please. As for Otis, this is his tenth Christmas, so he knows the drill.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

It's beginning to look...

a little like Christmas. The crocks have been filled and the decorating has begun. It is a lot of work to haul the decorations down from the attic and garage, but the effort is always worth it. I have found that less is more, and last year I decided to only keep the decorations that I really love. Even though our home is not a saltbox or a cozy cottage, I prefer to use natural things, like the colonials did. It is so hard to get away from the cutesy commercialization that bombards you in every store you enter. Keeping it simple at home helps keep my stress level down at this busy time of year.