Sunday, December 22, 2013

Oh.....the weather outside is frightful....

But, the fire is soo delightful!  So, glad to be indoors!  Yep, we had a pretty rough ice storm last night. We've lost a few trees, with lots of branches down, but no house or car damage, and we did not lose electricity...yea!  Even though the ice is dangerous and damaging, it is also very beautiful.  
 I got up early to see the damage.  I couldn't venture out very far because the branches of the trees were so heavy that every few minutes there would be a loud "CRACK,"  sounding like a gunshot, then suddenly a branch would fall with a bevy ice particles  tinkling down.  Again, so pretty and so scary!
 Just after eerie, magical world!
 Once the sun rose, it was a bit easier to see what had occurred over night.  These are the branches of  one of our Amelanchier trees (Serviceberry or Juneberry, bent to the ground.
 A better view of the tree.  Yes, we use the some of the scientific names for our trees; my father-in-law was a landscape architect.  Anyway, we planted these trees when we built our house 26 years ago and it is one of our favorite trees.  It blooms very early and tells us spring it on its way.  Looks like we lost this one, the trunk has cracked.
 The Amelanchier in the springtime!
 My poor Paper Birch, (Betula Papyrifera) it was a birthday gift from my father-in-law.   It came through the last ice storm, hope it does again.
The Paper Birch in the spring time.  It is amazing how the weight of the ice can lay it right on the ground and that it can recover to stand tall a few months later!

 Yes, we were really lucky that the cars weren't damaged...but were completely covered with ice!
 Everything was covered in ice, even the wires.  With branches and trees crashing down, no wonder so many people lost their power.
 After my father died, and my Mom decided to sell the family cottage, in Northern Michigan.  We brought home one of the little Cedar trees as a remembrance.  The deer tended to feast on the tree, that is why the branches start high off of the ground.  I was sad to see it laying on the snow.  I am not sure if this one can recover.  We will see.
 You can see how heavy the ice is in the Cedar boughs.

The Cedar on a much warmer day.

 Another Amelanchier
 The Amelanchier branches encased in ice.
 This is our Weeping White Pine, (Pinus stroba pendula)...a beautiful tree, again, encased in ice.
Weeping White Pine...without the ice!
 Our icy, winter wonderland!
Taking all these pictures made me very wet and cold, so I was so glad to go in the house, with a cozy fire, and sip a cup of hot chocolate, mmmmm.
 I made this hot chocolate mix as a gift for a few of my loved ones for Christmas.  I tried to find a recipe that was richer than most instant hot cocoa mixes.  Thanks to Alton Brown, here is a really delicious hot chocolate mix recipe:
Mix together:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup Dutch process cocoa ( I used Penzey's)
2  1/2 cup powdered milk ( I used Nestle's Nido whole powdered milk)
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Fill mug 1/4 full of hot chocolate mix, add hot water to just cover mix and stir.  Then add the rest of the hot water and stir.  Enjoy! 

And, as you can see, I had fun decorating a bunch of marshmallows with smiley snowman!

Be sure to take time to enjoy this wonderful holiday season!

Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

"While visions of "Sugar Cookies" danced in her head...."

 As we all know, Christmas is just around the corner, so I thought I would share a bit of Christmas baking and decorating....enjoy!

 Christmas ornaments, poinsettias, pine boughs and pine cones....

 Gingerbread men..

 Christmas bell, hand bells, Christmas tree, and a Christmas stocking...Ho Ho Ho!


 It's freezing here in, these hats and mittens are essential!

 A Christmas ornament that started out as a mistake, and turned out okay!

 Winter trees, snowmen, and a Christmas bell..

 Another look at mittens and hats....


  Jolly Old St. Nick...

And my favorite....a pine bough and pine cone...

Enjoy this holiday season...stay warm!!!!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Holiday Bazaar

It has been a very busy fall, and Christmas is right around the corner.  No matter how early I start planning, shopping, or crafting, by December, I am behind!  One of the reasons is that this year I had my own table at our church's Holiday Bazaar.  It was a lot of fun, but a lot of work, too!  But, I am happy to report that I sold quite a few items.  My son came with me to help and after the bazaar, he asked how many other bazaars I wanted to do next year..hahaha!  I'd say he enjoyed it!

 I was lucky to have a wall spot, so I could display my purses and a couple Scandinavian Christmas stockings.  I will show a close up of those on another post.

 I tried to make a variety of things....children's hats, adult hats, purses, chalk cloth labels, food, etc.

 Since the Bazaar was right before Thanksgiving, I made a nice selection of decorated Thanksgiving cookies.

 My daughter contributed the cutest Tooth Fairy pillows and beautiful hot cup sleeves.

 She also made a couple of beautiful baby blankets/ lap quilts, and a wonderful Halloween wall hanging or table mat.

 I made "Portable Chalk Boards" that have a fabric chalk board, a pocket for chalk storage, and another pocket for the wipe off cloth.  These chalk boards can be rolled up and taken with a child to a restaurant, a waiting room, etc.

 I also made a selection of decorated Christmas cookies...which can be frozen until the holidays.

 Here is a better view of the hot cup sleeves.  I even had a stuffed penguin ready to be taken home and snuggled.

And to top it off (ha ha), I fabricated a selection of fleece hats.  I had so much fun making these.  My husband made this great display stand.  The hats drew a lot of attention, so as you can see, I had a hard time keeping them all straightened and "looking forward" !

Here's closer look at the fire breathing dragon!!

All in all, it was a fun day.  I am inspired to start getting ready for next year.  But, first, I better get ready for Christmas.  

I hope that you are enjoying this holiday season!