Saturday, December 26, 2009

'Twas the Day After Christmas . . .

. . . And all through the house, not a creature was stirring.
Not even a mouse!

(Our stockings, including one for the cats, as they appeared in the morning.)

Okay, we did stir, but just barely! We took a nice easy day yesterday, but after the hectic race of the last year (or more), we're all tired today anyway. We started Christmas morning off with a nice big breakfast. Cleaned up from that, sang some Christmas hymns, read the story of Jesus' birth as told in Luke 1 & 2, then decided to head up to open presents at about 2:00pm.

(Elizabeth and her cat, Monika, are ready to open their stocking!)

We aren't the type who like to rush through the presents in a general free-for-all manner. We all sit around the tree and open presents in turn, each watching every present that's opened --- properly admiring things, of course! Our general theme this year, as far as gifts, was "homemade", so there was a lot of "oo-ing" and "ah-ing" and the like, so we weren't through with things for several hours.

(Dad is really happy about his new ID bracelet . . . or is it the chocolate bar?)

There will be pictures coming of all the homemade presents soon, but we've been out shopping all afternoon! My great family gave me some wonderful presents! To name a few: a Wilson cake turner, a cupcake cookbook, needle-felting needles, argyle socks and 300 Victrola needles! Not to mention that my Grandmother gave me my Grampa's school ring! (More on that in another post, though it's visible on my hand in the pic below!) What more could a girl ask for?!

The picture above shows Elizabeth and me with some of our gifts. Click the pic to enlarge it, if you want to. The framed picture is a famous emblem for the campaign to end slavery in the 1800s. Elizabeth actually drew that for me! She's such a great sister! The little blanket on my lap is a present from Mom and Elizabeth. They made a crib size blanket with "Jungle Babies" material and dinosaur fabric for my one-day-to-be nursery. Elizabeth is holding some of her Smurf stuff and a new Nancy Drew book that she's nuts about! More to come on the Smurfs etc. . . .

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly . . .

Christmas Decorations Post #3
We love to deck our halls, though we use lots more than just holly to do it! Here are some more "general" pictures of decorations for you all to see.

Pic #1: Our Dining Room on Christmas morning.
Pic #2: Music Room Display of Old Candles
Pic #3: Music Room and front door with a small tree.

Pic #1: Elizabeth's Creamer Cabinet with lots of 1950s Santa things.
Pic #2: Upstairs Hall to TV Room/Library
Pic #3: Dresser in Mom and Dad's Room (the Christmas pic in back on left is Dad's parents by their Christmas tree in Cuba in the 1950s).

Pic #1: Dad's Bathroom Counter
Pic #2: Tree in Dad's Bathroom w/Hand Painted Ornaments
Pic #3: Tree in TV Room which is decorated using only old balls from 1930s to 1950s! Collecting these is a passion of ours, and this is the first year that we've had enough balls to do the entire tree!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas: It's All About JESUS . . .

When it comes right down to it, He's the only thing that really matters.

That's the message inside of our Christmas cards (which we haven't mailed yet!?) and it's so true. Remember that He is the reason we're celebrating. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

"I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas . . ."

Christmas Decorations Post #2
Here is another batch of pics showing of the decorations around here. I've taken a bunch more, but it takes a while to get them uploaded, so there will be more posts to come. The first shot is our "main" Nativity, which is in the living room. When we were little (that seems like a while ago!), Mom and Dad bought a new piece for us of this nativity each year.

Well, like I said last time, there's a lyric for everything and I am certainly dreaming of a white Christmas. We've had snow for the past three or four days and it's lovely. According to the weather however, we're supposed to have rain and 41 degrees on Christmas day. Ugh. But hey, it might not be the first time that the weather men are wrong.

These next three pics are more decorations in the living room. The tree is a seven ft. silver tinsel tree, so all the balls are shiny, glittery, silver, gold and/or a shade of red. The first picture is our sheet music cabinet decked out for the holidays, and (in the second pic) the wood stove is not to be left out either!

Now for our tiny downstairs bathroom. This is a would-be closet turned into a half bath. Mom uses it for all of her old-fashioned elves and plastic stuff that is left from, or just like, stuff that she had when she was a kid. It also receives the Cuban touch with our "Feliz Navidad" decor!

Well, that's all for now folks, but tune in again tomorrow, same time, same place, for another installment. (Gotta go finish a Christmas surprise while Mom and Elizabeth are still out grocery shopping!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . ."

Christmas Decorations Post #1
As the songwriter says, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas"! I love lyrics. Did you know that there is a lyric for just about every situation? And this one is certainly very appropriate for our house in the last two weeks.

We really like Christmas decorations. Wait, let me say it again, just so that you understand me. We really like Christmas decorations. In fact, we have about 35 large storage bins full of them --- and that doesn't count the 11 artificial trees or boxes full of decorative picks!

There are way too many pictures to put up in one post, so I'll have to separate them. We still have a dresser top, a small tree and our bedroom to finish (today's projects) before we can finally take all of these bins back up to the attic. These pictures are close-ups of the kitchen decorations. The one above is the top of the fridge and freezer. I just finished that last night, except that we still have to hang the ornaments on the tree up there.

We've tried to get a tree and a nativity in every room, and I think that except for one bathroom, we've made it! The other three photos are the area over our kitchen cabinets. I'll get some pictures showing the whole kitchen soon! We also have another (larger) Christmas tree, but I can't get a good picture yet.

We decided to put a lot of the more "whimsical" decorations in the kitchen. A lot of the old Santa things, gingerbread men and the like. The more "traditional" look is in the living room, music room and TV room. More pics coming soon . . .

Monday, December 7, 2009

Remember Pearl Harbor!

December 7, 1941. FDR called it a day of infamy. It's a day that every American should remember. Sadly, I think, it is usually forgotten. Thanks to all those brave GIs and fighting men we still enjoy the freedom in this country that we know today. It's amazing that Pearl Harbor happened 68 years ago! Wow!
As the songwriter wrote: "God bless America, land that I love . . ."

(This is also the day that Dad starts his new job! Talk about a day that should live in infamy!)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Goodbye, Aline. We loved you.

Two days ago we had to put one of our adorable kitties to sleep. Aline had been born in our dining room on April 15, 2006, along with six brothers and sisters. We still have four of them; the others have all gone to sleep. Aline was a sweet little thing and a true lover. She probably had cancer and she was just born old. We are very thankful for the three & a half years that we had her. Here's a cute pic of her.

On a happy note: here is a picture that I just took of Samwise about five minutes ago. Isn't he the cutest cat ever?! I sure love him a lot.

We've all been busy around here getting our Christmas shopping finished and working on our homemade presents. I'm dying to post pictures of what I am making for Elizabeth . . . but she reads this blog, so I'll just have to wait a few weeks! ;) Tomorrow is Mom's birthday, so I need to go get started making a birthday cake. More later.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What Would I Like for Christmas?

Well, now that Thanksgiving is over . . . the Christmas fun begins! I spent all afternoon yesterday "locked" upstairs and working on a secret for Elizabeth. I'd love to post a picture of it so far, but she also looks at my blog, so you'll have to wait until after Christmas. :)

As long as we're on the subject of Christmas: here is what I would like to see under the tree! Uh . . . just kidding. Though this is my dream car! We saw tons of Mini Coopers in Florida (this being one). There were as many Minis down there as there are pick-ups around here.

Dad is spending the day out in the garage working on his secret stuff. Maybe I should go out and visit him . . .

We had our first real snowflakes yesterday morning (and a few the night before), and the ground actually looked white for a couple hours in the morning. On Thanksgiving night we were at our friends' house and celebrated with a display of fireworks! We don't get to see those often around here, so that was really fun! The pink ones were my favorite. That was definitely a "first" for us. We were out watching fireworks as snow was falling! More later.

Monday, November 23, 2009

We're Back from FLA!

I haven't mentioned this before, but Dad and the two of us went to Florida last week! We left on Thursday and came home on Tuesday, which gave us four days and five nights to spend with Dad's family. We stayed at our grandparents' house the whole time (they live in Miami). I have put up a photo album with about 80 pictures in it, all of them with captions. I'll also write more later about the trip itself.

View the Photo Album here.

Here is a picture of Elizabeth and me on the airplane coming home. The weather was actually really nice in Florida while we were there. The only hot day was our last one, so the timing was perfect!

We had a really nice time with our Gramma and Grampa and had time to here all kinds of stories about their life in Cuba. I'll be posting some of that cool stuff soon! Here are pictures of us with our wonderful Gramma and Grampa! That is me with Gramma and Elizabeth with Grampa.

This week promises to be busy, but fun. We're spending Thanksgiving with some friends which will be great. I can't wait for the pumpkin pie and sweet potato casserole! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, just in case I don't write more before then.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fall and a FULL Woodshed!

Well, this is a sure sign of Fall --- the woodshed is finally full to the "gills". Dad and I stacked the last of the cherry logs on Monday (Those are the side that Dad is not standing in front of.). We've had the stove on for a month already, but not all the time. It's finally starting to cool off though.

Here is a picture of the garden as it looks now. Quite a difference from all the Summer pics, isn't it?! We've actually still had a few stray flowers since the weather has been so funny lately, but I think that things are really starting to die back for the Winter.

Well, more later. It's off the the auction house for the evening. That's always fun!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

First Snow of the Year on Wednesday!

It's here! We had our first snow on Wednesday! They were actually picture perfect snowflakes, but the camera had trouble picking them up. It snowed all morning until about 10:00a.m. but ofcourse nothing stuck to the ground.

As the songwriter wrote: "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas . . ."

This has been a busy week. I've been working on getting Christmas decorations organized and packed into bins (as opposed to boxes) and I think that I'm finally caught up with everything back in the attic. Mom keeps laughing at me because we'll be pulling them back down in about three weeks, but I figure it will be lots nicer to unpack the stuff when it's all neatly put in bins.

Tomorrow we have our Bible Fellowship with friends, so that means a nice day out with a potluck meal. I've been making a chocolate peppermint cake with cream cheese frosting (flavored with mint extract and crushed candy canes). I'm sitting here waiting for the cakes to cool so that we can frost them . . .

Here is a clip from the Danny Kaye show that we found this morning. This is Danny Kaye & Louis Armstrong singing their version of "When the Saints Go Marching In"! We saw D.K.'s movie On the Riviera last night and it was hilarious! The last two and a half minutes was worth the whole film! More later . . .

Friday, November 6, 2009

My Picture of the Day!

I just had to post this one. I was playing around with Sammy (and the camera) this morning and I couldn't believe Sammy stayed in this position long enough to snap it! Isn't he the cutest cat in the world!?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The End of Another Week . . .

Here it is again, the end of another week, and time to post something. We've had a full week, but that's nothing out of the ordinary. We went through some books that a friend of ours was getting rid of and aquired another two hundred (or there about) books! You know what that meant . . . Elizabeth and I spent all day yesterday trying to squeeze them on shelves (mostly behind the other books). This probably puts us a bit over the 10,ooo mark, as far as books. Elizabeth and I think that the upstairs is liable to fall in one of these days --- watch out!

Today was the year's first stamp show. It was great to get to meet up with all our friends at the show and the weather was great. Well, I'll try to post some pictures this week.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wool, Llama, Angora and more Wool!

Here it is! I have finally gotten around to posting the pictures of the different fiber that we got at the Wool Gathering last month. It took a whole afternoon to put everything away. I have a cedar chest to keep the wool in (good protection against the moths), but I actually didn't have enough room! I had to put some things in a few other spots that I've been saving.

These first three pictures are Llama and Alpaca fiber in big plastic bags. The first two pictures are Llama and the third is of Alpaca. The Alpaca is black fiber with some brown spots in it, but the camera kind of over exposed the pictures. Sorry. My computer's on the blink, so I can't use Photoshop to hide my poor photography skills. ;)

I am going to use the fiber that is in the first picture to make a teddy bear. You sew a teddy bear shape in a wool fabric and then needle-felt the ends of the two or three inch pieces of fiber into the body. It makes a really cute, furry teddy bear!

These next three pictures are of some really nice, naturally dyed wool blends. (Different combinations of Lincoln, Alpaca, Mohair and Llama.) Wool is, by far, my favorite thing to felt. It has a courser feeling when you work with it that I prefer. These bags are going to turn into a giraffe and a lion!
Yet some more wool, though this time we're finding some brighter colors! These are for accents and decorations, birds . . . anything colorful! The four large balls of white/natural are some of my favorites. A lot of bases are made of white, so it's good to have around. I would really like to make a bendable doll one day . . .
All of the little "curlies" in the ziplocs are for furry sheep (In a previous blog entry there are pictures of one.). First you felt a body in the shape of a sheep and then needle all of the little curlies onto it which makes it a really cute, fuzzy sheep! The golden orange curlies are to make a little lion's mane!

I've saved these pictures for the end as one is my favorite find of the day and another is pretty interesting. The little bag of dark brown is actually Buffalo fiber! Guess what I'm going to make with that?! The little colored pieces are various types of dyed wool. Again, these will be for decorations or special projects. Not pictured are seven more bags (about twice the size) that have the same types of little pieces in them, so I think I'm set up for the year!

Now, for my favorite find of the day: White Angora! That is the bag in the first picture above. That's our cat, Manly (named for Almanzo in Little House on the Prairie), who just had a great time helping me put everything away. This white angora is going to make the base for a statue of my cat, Samwise! I have been furminating Samwise for a year and have a whole bag of his fur (which looks almost just like the Angora) to use as the top. Now I just can't wait for Winter, so that I can get working!

Well, I've finally reached the end here. Thought that the last two pics should be "before" and "after". That was the cedar chest when I started and then when I was done. Like I said, everything didn't even fit in it, but almost everything! More soon . . .