Monday, December 31, 2007

A Toast To You

To "all" of you - my very few, but very much appreciated, readers:
As the sun sets on this, the final eve of 2007....

A train load of healthy, happy, and lucky good wishes is heading your way for the year ahead!

And thank you so much for reading my blog!

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Christmas Thank You

I think these two, below, were my favorite Christmas gifts. Both are things I really wanted- but didn't ask for, and didn't expect! This great book about Audrey Hepburn, and the DVD of the musical Hairspray. One from one sister, and one from the other. A big thank you and big hugs to my big sisters!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

"It Came Just The Same"

Well, there was no Grinch around here to stop Christmas from coming. We had a lovely Christmas at my nephew's house, and I hope you all did, too. I wanted to just take some of the words from the Grinch story to accompany my pictures.
"It came without ribbons."

"It came without tags!"

"It came without packages,

boxes, or bags!"

So, yes, it would have come just the same even without all the trappings and wrappings. But I do enjoy making gifts look beautiful, and it helps to surround myself while wrapping with all of my ribbons, tags and papers! I'm glad that for years I saved all of my Hallmark dispensers that the curling ribbon came in - because I don't believe they make them anymore ("Why Santa, why?"), and now I've filled my ribbon box with them. Yes - I could buy a Martha Stewart dispenser at Michael's- but I already have some that work just fine! And I keep my extra rolls and colors on the paper towel holders nearby in case I need replacements.. I found the little rack my tags are on somewhere- can't even remember! But it sure is handy. And I always love the Martha Stewart gift wrap from K-Mart. That's what most of them are that you see in the photo below.

And of course, I also love to use vintage papers when I can find them - but I have to use some of those sparingly. So this whole mess has been put away down in the basement waiting 'til next year. I just hope I manage to start earlier next year!

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Stockings Were Hung ....

by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

And, just for good measure - one more offering of felt and sequin loveliness - this vintage beauty I found downtown in an antiques shop a few years ago. This was one of those things where I saw it, loved it, wanted it, didn't buy it, couldn't get it out of my mind, went back later- and it was still there! Hooray! Must have been meant to be mine. It's huge - 35 inches long!

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Christmas Coffee Cakes

Our mother used to make a fabulous coffee cake for Christmas morning.We all have enjoyed it very much over the years. It's a recipe out of an old 1955 Knudsen recipe book, Knudsen Coffee Cake. I changed the white sugar to brown in the topping, and we like to add a few well drained, chopped red and green maraschino cherries for some Christmas "color". Years ago, I sort of made myself the Self-Appointed Maker Of The Christmas Morning Coffee Cakes - I tried whenever I could manage it to get a coffee cake to each family household so that all of us could enjoy it on Christmas morning - because we didn't all get together until later in the day for dinner. Well I did pretty well for a long time - but I just didn't always get it done. This year I actually was able to get two of them made last Friday to take over to my sisters on Saturday so that each of them would have one for Christmas this year. I have been busy (like everyone else)- after getting all of the gifts wrapped, then it was 5 days in a row of either baking or decorating cookies and/or coffee cakes. Oh - and I should not EVEN be eating this stuff! Alas- it IS the holiday season! And all of the work was finished after I baked two more cakes last night - all that's left now is dinner tonight and tomorrow, which won't be bad - not doing it all myself!

Wishing everyone the happiest of holidays!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Norman Rockwell - A Christmas Print & More

This framed print was a giveaway gift when you purchased a television in the 1950's sometime. Nope - those kids aren't interested in their toys that were under the tree - they are enthralled with the television set. Well, I won't even go into My Lifelong Love Affair With TV on this post, so let's suffice it to say that I can relate.
And on the subject of Norman Rockwell, I have admired his artwork for too many years to count! When I was in high school,I was buying The Saturday Evening Post because they still had covers by and/or articles about him. And I used to go to the county library after school and pull out and pore over the HUGE tome they had full of his art. Years later, I finally managed to acquire my own copy of that beautiful book. I wanted the Green Giant advertising tray that featured the image below, and Mother bought it for me as a gift from an antique shop way back then. I even sent him a letter before he died, and received a reply! I asked if he remembered painting "Who's Having More Fun?", and he did not - but I was later delighted to discover an article by his son Peter - and learn that he himself had posed for that painting!

(I think you can click on the picture to enlarge if you are interested in reading this excerpt from the article)

I have collected numerous books, articles and magazines about him during the years since then. Maybe I will write more about Rockwell, one of my favorite artists in the world, at a later date. (I'm supposed to be baking today!)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Greetings and Holiday Cheer!

Greetings! I really just can't get enough of these lovely vintage cards. They really don't make 'em like they used to! The colors and the silver or gilded detailing! Snow-covered cottages like the one above are particular favorites of mine. The black background card below "Holiday Cheer" was a pre-printed card sent out by Missouri Pacific Lines (probably from the 1940's, I believe).

And to prove my point that I can't seem to get enough of them, these are a few others from an assortment I just received in the mail yesterday from an Ebay seller!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More Christmas - More Felt With Sequins

One of two beautiful sequin and bead decorated felt trees that I found on Ebay after Christmas last year. About 14 inches high, they are decorated differently on both sides. I am always in awe of the work that was put into these crafts! Yes, I know I have said it before! Below is the other side of green one shown above.

And then below, the front and back of the other one.

I would imagine that they are one-of-a-kind,as it doesn't seem likely that the lady would have made others that were exactly the same. Yes- I am assuming it was a woman- wouldn't you think ? Pretty, huh?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

More Vintage Christmas

This gorgeous framed postcard in it's vintage frame was a Christmas gift from my sister a number of years ago.

I liked this acrylic frame (even though it's not old) because of the deco look it has with it's arched, stepped sides. For the longest time, I tried to find the perfect picture or image to fit inside it. I was so happy to find this vintage card with it's silver and black details, and even an arched design - it seemed the perfect match!

And I just wanted to also include this photo- this is the living room in my mother-in-law's childhood home on December 25th, 1929!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas "Corners" Of My Home

My sister gave me the framed 1930's vintage Christmas cards a couple of years ago. They look great with one of my favorite deer lamps from Ebay. I found the perfect shade for it at a shop in Sutter Creek.

I like to imagine that this little angel is helping Santa to make his deliveries in Fairyland. I found the pink sleigh at an estate sale, and the pink swan is from a thrift shop. The swan is marked/signed underneath "Vivi to Gramma '56 Christmas"

Deer bookends dressed up with red ribbon collars hold a few of my newest Christmas books in front of another favorite vintage deer lamp (my first! It was given to me by a friend years ago), with glow-in-the-dark icicles dangling from it's original fiberglass shade.

I saw a Barbie tree in a magazine a few years back - but I had already been doing mine for years. I did it a little differently this year - I didn't get out my vintage Barbie dolls who are usually helping to decorate the tree dressed in their pajamas. Maybe next year.

I have been wanting to have a white tree with all white lights for awhile, and finally found a reasonably priced small one this year, so I put it in one of the front window in the guest room. I decorated it with mostly chandelier crystals, blue Shiny Brite miniature glass balls, and aqua colored glow-in-the-dark vintage snowflakes and stars, and then surrounded it with sparkly decorations old and new.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Have Yourself A Sweet And "Mary" Little Christmas

Mary See, that is! I finally got this book a couple of months ago. I wanted it as soon as it came out. If you know someone who loves this brand, it would make a lovely gift. So, anyway - please pardon me while I wax rhapsodic about See's Candies!! If you have never tried them, you have seriously missed out. I mean it. They are quite simply FABULOUS! You can have your Godiva and your Ethel M. I'm not saying those aren't good - but in my humble opinion, NOTHING compares to See's. Melt in your mouth chocolate yumminess with fillings sublime. I have loved them since I was little - back when most of the time there was ONE box to share among our family of five- and we only had that because my dad got it from his employers at Christmas. On rare occasion, we might be lucky enough to visit a shop in downtown Sacramento, or at a mall. But more often, we just had it the one time. Well- believe me, that changed as soon as I was old enough to buy my own and drive. I have had it considerably more often as an adult. Especially now that they have mail order, and even smaller towns often have a fund-raiser booth set up somewhere at all the main holidays! I suppose having it more readily available may make it a bit less special than it was when I was a little girl - but ask me if I care?! I still love it just as much. And I never get sick or tired of it, and I know I never will. I'm supposed to be following my weight loss program, but See's is something that is impossible for me to resist! And while I'm going on about chocolate - I also like these:

The Hershey's Mint Truffle Kisses are wonderful, and so is the Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark. I'm just a chocolate fiend, it's part of my make-up. What can I say? Well, I'll start with " My name is Heidi, and I am the true definition of a chocoholic............"

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I'm Dreaming Of.............

A silver and black Christmas? Well, sure - if it's a lovely vintage card like this one that fits in with my art deco things I love so much! I think I found this one on ebay.

A brown Christmas?

Well, yes, actually - because I found a HUGE roll of this vintage wrapping paper in the garage still in it's original box with cutter edge. It's leftover stock from when my husband's family had an appliance store here in town for 32 years. I may use it mostly to wrap gifts for the guys, but I can make it look pretty with black and gold ribbon and bows. It may not be my first choice of Christmas colors,and it may not be as pretty as my Martha Stewart K-Mart papers, but it is a cute pattern, and it is vintage- and I actually do like it! So I will definitely use some of it.

Or, last, but definitely not least, a more traditional red, green, and silver Christmas! I LOVE vintage Christmas boxes, and this has to be my absolute favorite one that I have. I use it to store some of my collection of vintage cards, and then, of course, it just begs to be displayed at Christmas, wouldn't you say?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Antique Christmas Postcards

I put these together a few years ago, and I absolutely LOVED how they turned out! The frames were from a dollar store, and they were just perfect for framing some of my favorite antique Christmas postcards from my collection. So easy, now, to display them along with my other vintage decorations.

For cheap little frames, they look awfully pretty with the lovely vintage images inside, don't you think? I wish I had bought every one of those frames they had! Were I somehow coerced into choosing a favorite, it might have to be this last one, shown below. This card was found more recently - and I couldn't believe it when I saw it - I mean, it has my FAVORITE - PINK ROSES! And silver, and Christmas! I thought it was one of the most beautiful vintage postcards I had ever seen in my whole life. I love it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Glow Tree

I'd love to find a little tree like this one from an advertisement in magazine from 1951. I have a small collection of glow -in-the-dark icicles, snowflakes and stars, and I like to decorate a small tree with as many as will fit.
But you should see what my sister does! I'm not sure if she is doing it this year, but she often decorates her entire Christmas tree in vintage glow-in-the-dark plastic ornaments. She must have hundreds of them, and her tree is literally dripping with them. It is so gorgeous, and you should see it glow once the lights are turned out! A sight to behold, indeed!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Look What's Under the Tree!

Look how happy this housewife is to find all that Rubbermaid loveliness under her tree!! Call me crazy - but I wouldn't mind finding some of that stuff myself! I'd love a red dish drainer, and the red plate rack. I'd even like the green sink protectors or a blue drainer under tray. Much prettier than the ones I see at the store these days. They may still make the red, but they don't carry them at any of the stores I go to. Oh, well- I suppose I'll have to settle for whatever else is under the tree for me this year. I really do prefer vintage over new!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Pins ( And Still More Sequins)

Part of my Christmas pin collection, amassed over the last 30-plus years. When I was a waitress, I would wear one or two every day in December on my uniform. Many were gifts, some were stocking stuffers. One year my stepmother gave me the pretty pink stocking, and it has been perfect to display them on.

And below, as promised, - more sequins! The green felt wreath with the red sequins was a gift from Grandpa YEARS ago - he gave one to all of his girls - his daughter (our mom) and we three sisters. Well, when I found similarly made ones many years later, I felt (pun intended) the need to add them to my collection.

And I thought I should throw these in, too. These were all gifts - a cute little snowman bag made of felt, and sequin evening bag with beaded shoulder strap, and a sequined coin purse.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Mother Made Them For Her Girls

So, here is my Christmas stocking. Mother made them for each of her three girls in the early 1960's. The beginning of my felt, sequins and beads obsession. I always have, and always will, treasure it dearly.

And she also made these adorable shadow boxes for us - I'm not sure what year. This always has a place of honor in my home at Christmas, as well. We don't have a whole lot of things that were made especially for us by her own hand, so they are very special, indeed.