Thursday, December 1, 2011

Jim Shore's Glorious Angels

Angels we have on heard high
Sweetly singing ore the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains ....

Jim Shore is an artist who has been designing most of his life.  I love his figurines, especially his Santas, Halloween and Thanksgiving figurines, his Nativity, and of course, his angels.  His figurines are amazing because of the intricate design, the attention to detail, and the beautiful colors.  According to the Jim Shore website: 

"Jim’s been designing his current line for Enesco since 2001, but Jim’s been a working artist designing wonderful products practically all of his professional life.  Jim estimates he’s designed over 3,000 Santas in his career.  Some of his older work can be found on auction sites like eBay or can be bought through private collectors.  Due to Jim’s busy schedule, it’s no longer possible for him to sculpt every item.  Now he provides a detailed drawing of a new piece to a group of master sculptors, handpicked and trained by Jim over the course of many years.  These artisans then produce clay molds that are sent to Jim for approvals to ensure they are faithful representations of Jim’s original art.  Often these prototypes are revised several times until they are just right, down to the last detail and texture.  Molds are made from these original sculptures and products are cast in POLYresin.  Each piece is then painstakingly hand-painted and finished by artists using folk art techniques developed by Jim.   Jim’s attention to detail and involvement in the entire process ensure products with the look and feel of real wood and have a quality and level of detail that is unique in the industry."

I have just a few of his angles, a few Santas, and my favorite, his Nativity.  I have the these beautiful angels displayed all year long...

"Angel of Generosity"

"Do This In Remembrance Of Me"

"Smell the Flowers"

"The Child of Mary"
This angel has a wind up switch that turns the three sided nativity scene:  Joseph guiding Mary on the back of a donkey, the three Wise Men, and Mary, Joseph, and the new born baby Jesus.  There is a light that shines on this tableau as it turns, playing "Away In A Manger."

"Angel of Hospitality"

"Glory to the Newborn King"

This angle has an interior light that shines on a star that hangs over the newborn baby Jesus.

"A Star Shall Guide Us"

This is a musical angel that plays
"O Holy Night"

Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

 Christmas is just around the corner...enjoy each and every day as you prepare

for the holiday season.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Figurines and Cookie Cutters (of course!)

Happy Thanksgiving!   Thanksgiving means roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, fresh hot rolls and best of all, our families all together!   Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for our country and the opportunities  that are available to so many of us.  And of course, to remember our forefathers who set the stage for all of us.
I enjoy decorating for Thanksgiving; my favorite decorations are my Pilgrim and Native  American figurines!  They are not antiques, but are only a few years old.  They are all made of resin.
This Pilgrim couple is designed to look like a primitive wood carving, and is my favorite!

This pilgrim couple is a miniature version of the faux wood carving design.

According to legend, the Pilgrims may not have survived without the assistance of the Native Americans. This couple is also a version of the faux carved wood.

In preparation for Thanksgiving, I also made some Thanksgiving cookies for my friends and family.  I used the above cookie cutters for the larger cookies.

My kids gave me these cookie sets (fruits and vegetables) which I used for the cornucopias.


Tom Turkey

Cherry and Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving Dinner- Turkey Drumstick, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Peas and Carrots.

Pumpkin Pie and a piece of pie ready to be eaten!

Native Americans and Pilgrims

I hope that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Celebration!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day 11-11-11

As you all know, today is Veteran's Day, a very special Veteran's Day 11-11-11.   This day reminds all of us to thank those who have served our country, fighting to preserve our freedoms!   I am so very grateful to those servicemen and women who have sacrificed to make our country great.  One of those servicemen was my father who served in WWII.  I have a few items from his time in the military, along with a few pictures.  Before he passed away, I loved hearing many wonderful stories about his childhood, but he didn't talk very much about his time in the army.  I got the impression that it was something that he didn't really want to share.  He actually told me more about his brother who was captured by the Germans and was able to escape, being shot in the process.  Thankfully, he survived!

My father was inducted into the army in January 1943.  He was discharged in February 1946.  He was 22 years old when he entered the army.   According to his military records, he was doing "general farm work, tending to crops and livestock, repaired farm machinery, and did carpentry work at the time of his induction."  He was skilled in the use of guns, hunting since a young age to help to provide food for his family.  He used to tell me that his brother was more scholarly, having gone farther in school and was well read.  So when he and his brother entered the military, my uncle was put in the infantry carrying a gun, and my father was trained as a Medical Aidman on a hospital ship.  He never understood that decision.
While serving during WWII, my father received the following decorations and citations:  American Theater Ribbon, EAME (European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign) Theater Ribbon with 1 Bronze star, Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, two overseas bars, and the Victory Medal for WWII.  He traveled aboard a hospital ship all over the world, they were responsible for evacuating wounded soldiers.  There he was, a young man, who had grown up in a small farming community in the thumb of Michigan, traveling the world!  I can't remember how many tours he went on, but he said that he was sea sick for three days every time they left port.  Poor Dad! (My Dad is in the center of the above picture)

Here is my Dad's military overcoat.  It's hard to believe that it is 68 years old!  I remember my Dad telling me how much he liked New Guinea and would have liked to go back for a visit.  I think he liked New Zealand, too.  I used to tease him and ask him if it was like "McHale's Navy,"  the old TV sitcom!

One of the hospital ships where my Dad was stationed was the USS Wisteria shown above. According to his discharge papers, he started out as a "private for 3 months, then was promoted to a private first class as a cook's helper, and then served for 21 months as  a Medical Aidman, 18 months evacuating patients from the European Theater.  He was responsible for the following:  administered first-aide treatment to sick, injured, and wounded, treated injuries and wounds such as cuts, blisters, contusions, and lacerations applying medicants and bandaged wounds.  Made splints, treated patients for shock and took measures to stop bleeding by approved methods.  Also served for 5 moths in the Southwest Pacific."   Wow!  (However, the 5 months as a cook's helper did not improve his cooking ability.  His Mom was a fantastic cook, and so is my Mom.  Thank goodness! My Dad's cooking skills were limited and included scrambling eggs, warming up canned soup, and making delicious fudge!)

My Dad is on the right.  I am not sure where this was taken.  His military Separation Center was Camp Atterbury, Indiana.  I do not know where he completed basic training.

My Dad's "dog tag."

My Dad was stationed not only on the USS Wisteria , but also on the USS Wharton, both hospital ships.  I am not sure which ship this is.

My Dad

Dad is on the right
I know that serving aboard the hospital ship was very difficult for him.  The many wounded servicemen /women, especially those that couldn't be saved was, no doubt, overwhelmingly sad.  When he used to watch the TV show "M.A.S.H.", he used to say that the show demonstrated what it was really like in the medical arena during a war. 

My Dad is on the right

A well deserved letter from President Harry Truman

My Dad-  Thank you and the thousands of Americans who serve to protect our freedoms.
 And for me...thank you for being the best Dad ever, I miss you every single day!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Graniteware is something that my husband and I have collected since we were first married.  I have always loved the different shades of the enamel and of course the varied shapes and many, many uses for which this kitchenware was designed.  I always tend to lean toward buckets with handles, and really don't mind the bits of rust here and there.  I rarely used the Graniteware functionally and never cooked or put food into dishes or pots that had rust.  I mainly use the Graniteware for display.  I have also heard Graniteware described as "Spatter Ware," or "Enamelware."  It certainly brings to mind days "of yore."

This is a close up of a pie plate or dinner plate so that you can see the "Granite."

I used to display our Graniteware on top of our kitchen cupboards. 

And I know this sounds really silly, but I tend to imagine how they were used in the past and who used them on a daily basis to haul water, pick berries, make coffee, transport milk, fry eggs or flapjacks, etc.  These Granite Ware pieces were probably an essential part of peoples' daily life!

I really like to fill the Graniteware with fall colors...

Apples for applesauce, mini pumpkins, berries.....

Indian corn, maple leaves...

and ornamental gourds galore!

This is one of may favorite buckets filled with Jonathan apples, my favorite for apple sauce.

Yes, I even have a Graniteware bed pan...I try not to think of this being used in the past!

Another favorite, a milk can with lid.

This is the shape of a small "Thunder mug," but I am not sure if that is what is was used for.  It is the only piece that has a label,  "Royal Granite Ware."   A little history:
"Enamelware existed long before the days of the covered wagon and weary pioneers. Enamelware has been around for centuries. The process is the result of the fusion of powdered glass to an object through the process of firing. Once fired, the powder melts and flows to harden as a smooth, durable vitreous coating for metal, glass or ceramics. Enamel was used in coating kitchenware because of its high tolerance to heat and cold, and could be applied to metals used in cooking – such as iron – to keep it from rusting.

                                                      1922 Nesco Royal Graniteware Ad

1922 Nesco Royal Graniteware Ad

An add for the Royal Granite Ware, National Enamelware Company, Granite City, Illinois.

A colander...

Another favorite bucket, with wooden grip handle.  This one is filled with butternut squash.

As I said, I really like the Graniteware buckets!

Here is a large mug and ladle.

More Graniteware...

A Graniteware coffee pot.  Picture an old western movie and the cowboys making coffee over the open fire.  This type of coffee pot was always sitting over the fire to warm up those poor cowboys after a long day of herding and moving cattle on the cattle drive. 

A small sauce pan with a cannon ball gourd.

A wash pan or dish pan.  It was probably used for just about everything!

A large, deep sauce pan, perfect for mashing potatoes..

Two sizes of fry pans, each with a spout.  The handles are quite different.

A roaster, ready for a nice plump chicken with potatoes, vegetables and dumplings...I'm getting hungry!

Another larger "Thunder mug."  I am guessing this may have been used for those night time needs to avoid the cold, scary walk to the outhouse!

A pie plate, dinner plate,  platter, etc.....

There's nothing like Graniteware to bring to mind days of old....

Hope you're enjoying these cold, crisp days of fall...Thanksgiving is just around the corner!