Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Peek into my Holiday Home

I will fully admit that I love walking or driving around at night and sneaking a peek into the windows of well lit homes. I especially love to see everyone's Christmas trees shining out. Here is a little peek into my home and some of the little corners I've done up for the holidays. I just recently found these at a great thrift shop in Vermont... They were $20 which is a steep price tag as far as my thrifting habits go but I just had to have these... and they are my size! They are a bit uncomfortable but they do make quite a fashion statement. I guess I'll just enjoy fresh cut holly in them for now.

This is our tree for 2008... a gloriously fat Fraser Fir. I honestly don't know how my daughter ever talked my husband into this tree. Every year he grumbles that we are going to get a fake tree but he knows better. They went and chopped it down together and the thing weighs so much we could barely get it into the house. I went out to the hardware store and got some eye bolts and wired it right into the studs in the wall because if this tree goes down, it's not coming back up! It is beautiful though and easily handles all of our decorations. I just need to remember to water it twice a day because it is sucking up water like crazy.
Above... look at my Christmas cactus blooming away. How does it know?... just miraculous!

This is our mantle with the same red and white cloth I used for Thanksgiving. I used a lot of the little pinecone gnomes and nutcrackers that haven't come out of their boxes in a few years. That giant pinecone was given to me by my mother who picked it up in California. When we got it, it was totally closed, very heavy and looked like a solid sculpture. I put it on our mantle for decoration. One evening we heard a sharp pop, pop, popping sound coming from the living room. It was the pinecone opening up and shooting its seeds across the room like firecrackers! It was wild... I just love this pinecone but can you imagine something this heavy falling on your head!

This is my little white "Martha" tree. I got it at K-mart several years ago from the Martha Stewart collection and it is very pretty and easy to decorate with the tiny glass ornaments.

Here is a little collection of the snowmen made through the years. They are having their annual reunion. You can see that we had a lovely dusting of white fluffy snow last night if you look out the window. I hope it lasts so we can have a white Christmas.

This crepe pointsettia wreath was made recently from a kit that my kids gave me last Christmas. I love the way it turned out. Happy Holidays and Comfort and Joy to you all!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Little Holiday Paper Creations

Here is a quick holiday idea and a great way to use some of those pretty holiday scrapbook papers, lace, ribbon, buttons and other bits. I made a simple stocking pattern from cardstock and used that to cut out these shapes from decorative paper (cardstock works best). Remember to flip the template so that you cut out both sides of the stocking. For the "cuff" you can either use lace, trim or cut paper in a decorative edge.Make a little loop from ribbon. Sew the cuff along the top edge of the stocking (using a decorative stitch if you wish) and make sure to catch the loop in the stitching at the corner. Place the other half of the stocking on the back and sew along the edge. Trim away any uneven edges. Now you can embellish to your heart's content with ribbons, flowers, buttons, etc...
I stuff a bit of fiberfill in the bottom and toe to fill out the stocking and then put a small wad of paper shred coming out of the top to give it the finishing touch! Tie one of these to a package or hide a special surprise in one for someone special. Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Annual Walpole Artisan Tour

This the sixth year of the Walpole Artisan Studio Tour. I have participated 5 of the 6 years in various locations but this year I actually erected a tent within the sunroom of my home. Luckily it has a very high vaulted ceiling so this was possible. It worked out great since I could be at home for the whole weekend and welcome visitors to view and purchase my work. The tent was wonderful for isolating my work and not having to empty out the room of other distracting items. I just pushed things aside and put down the walls of the tent and then went to town decorating! Come on in.....

I made a sign from an old frame and some favorite vintage fabric for a backing. The floor lamp with the red shade was on sale at Target and I draped some vintage Christmas hankies over for effect.

This old door was part of the original barn that I grew up has served me well for many a craft show and is great for hanging items.

I loved being able to hang things from the sturdy poles of the tent. You can utilize a lot of space this way.

Close-up detail of one of my large paper stockings made with vintage wallpapers.

Some of my old shutters came in handy for hanging more items.

More pocket journals....

A new batch of fabric luggage tags. These make great stocking stuffers.

Here is one of my woolen camp blankets and one of my Unlikely Alliance Owl and Mouse sets. These all sold!

Here is my daughter India's jewelry display. She had great success selling her creations too. Now she can buy more beads!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Welcome to my Thanksgiving table. My favorite holiday of the year.... hands down, no question. Where we actually set aside a day to be thankful for what we have and reflect on those good things in our life. This has been a rough year for our family with the loss of a sister-in-law well before her time and the illnesses of both of our mothers. Somehow on Thanksgiving you still feel thankful for what is good, you know that you can cope with anything if you have family around you and of course enjoy a really good meal. These are my cherished "Tom Turkey" plates. The story about these goes like this. I really really loved these plates and my mother offered up a deal: Whoever would host Thanksgiving would get to keep the plates. I couldn't get my hand up fast enough and have been hosting this holiday ever since. I have become quite proficient over the years (not to be too braggy about it) and always add in some new dishes along with the tried and true traditional favorites.

My Thanksgiving mantle with a new red and white cloth that I found at the thrift store. I just love red and white.

Holiday centerpieces of mums, votives and mixed nuts. Cheap and easy.

I used a brown sugar and spicey mustard glaze on the turkeys this year and they came out spectacularly brown and really good with a sweet crunchy skin. I always cook two smaller turkeys (around 12 lbs each) instead of one large one. They are more tender and there are more drumsticks to share!

Roasted vegetable medley of sweet potato, parsnips and carrots

homemade rolls.... my favorite right out of the oven.

This was new this year from the Stonewall Farm Kitchen cookbook: roasted brussel sprouts with pancetta and a balsamic glaze... yummy!
I can't believe I didn't get pictures of the desserts but they were good.... trust me.
Hope you enjoyed my Thanksgiving celebration and that your holiday was wonderful...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Looking like Snow in November

I am busy getting ready for my open studio tour at the end of November. Every year I say I am going to get all this done in the summer and not rush around but it never seems to work out that way. Here are some deflated snow people in progress. I have gotten a lot of mileage out of this vintage popcorn chenille bedspread. I am almost at the end of it but it has yielded a nice population of snow people!And all finished....
Here are this year's troupe of Snow People posing for their photo op... they are quite cooperative.

I made a snow lady this year and I love her pink cashmere neck ruffle.

This guy reminds me of an old college sports fan. Making his wool felt top hat took me longer than I thought it would.

I like the way his head turned out... they all end up with their own personality. His neck ruffle is made from a vintage crepe paper Hawaiian lei.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lobster Fest!

Here is the upside of a down economy: Apparently there is a glut of lobsters on the market and when I heard that on the news I ran right out to my local grocery and got these babies for $3.99 per pound!!!! I restrained myself and bought just three...two for the following yummy recipe below and one for lunch. Lobster for lunch on a Tuesday... that's what I call livin!

This recipe was given to me by a good friend and fellow artisan Barbara. She always serves it at our Artisan potluck dinners and it is always a big hit. It's rich and delicious.

Lobster Mac & Cheese

14 ounces small macaroni
4 TBLSP. chopped onion
salt & pepper
6 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 cups thin white sauce (see below)
meat (tails and claws) from two cooked lobsters (can also use the equivilent of frozen lobster)
2 TBLSP butter

Heat oven to 375. Cook mac as directed on box. Place half the mac in ungreased 9x13 casserole. Sprinkle with half the onion, lobster & cheese, repeat. Pour white sauce over casserole. Dot with butter. Cover. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover, bake 15 minutes longer.

White sauce
For each cup of sauce:

1 TBLSP. butter
1 TBLSP. flour
1 cup milk or 1/2 & 1/2 (I used the half and half)
Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour, salt & pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth & bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Corners of my Home

Greetings and hope you are all ready to celebrate a spooky Halloween. I thought it would be fun to give you a peek at how I've decorated one room for the holiday. Here is my dining room mantle with some of my favorite Halloween icons. My black crow who is really rather friendly but a terrible thief... he likes brightly colored ribbons for his nest.

Tomorrow night we will have a group of giggly teenage girls for a sleep-over party. They will watch scary movies and feast on the candies in these little witches broom favors. Thanks to Martha for that idea. I cut all the sticks last week and left them in a little pile on the porch and a sneaky golden retriever (who we all know and love) thought they were her hors d'oeuvres.... had to cut a whole new batch!

My dining room with those ladderback chairs that we bought before we were married. I think I am going to paint them black. I do love that mantle though. I think it was built in the 1950's even though our house dates back to 1849. I painted the brick which used to be bright red. There have been many alterations to this old house.

This paper witch was made last year from a project by the talented Sandra Evertson.

My Halloween owl (another Martha decoration). It looks great all lit up at night!

Everyone needs their own shrunken head in a jar. Have yourself a Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's Party Time!

Maminka Girl would like to thank you for visiting her blog... and a special thank you to Vanessa over at A Fanciful Twist for hosting this wonderful blog party! This Pumpkin Gentleman is dressed in his finest tweeds and silk bowtie to welcome you. This little "Lady of Fate" wishes to tell your Halloween fortune. Her skills are as amazing as her gold hoop earrings. Her skirts hold a wealth of information.

What does the future hold for you.... ?

Step into my house. The wind is blowing, the leaves are flying and the curtains are fluttering in the breeze.

Pay no mind to my friends on the roof. They keep watch for any mischief.

Come, my dears into my cozy living room and all will be revealed in my crystal ball.

The Lady of Fate can see your future and she sees that you will have a very....

Happy Halloween!

Some behind the scenes work in progress. The "house" was actually a CD case on sale at Michaels for only $2.50.

A little paint....

A little vintage flocked wallpaper makes a fabulous carpet.

Some decorations for the walls and slightly tattered curtains adorn the windows

Some spooky friends to haunt the roof. A crystal ball made from an old Christmas ball ornament and placed on a wooden spool and knob which were painted black. The upholstered chair came from the few remaining furniture pieces out of my childhood dollhouse. The lady of fate was handpainted by me and her skirt made from very old book pages. Her blouse is made from vintage wallpaper.

This pumpkin gentleman was made by me several years ago. He used to have a lovely wife but she was sold...sadly for him. I couldn't bear to part with him after he lost his wife so he lives with me now and comes out every Halloween. Maybe he'll remarry one day....

Happy Halloween everyone and thanks for visiting! I had a great time at my first ever blog party and can't wait to see all the other wonderful blogs.