Christmas time is here, happiness and cheer! The moment that Christmas is near, I begin to want to listen to the Vince Guaraldi soundtrack of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'. Snoopy has always been close to my heart, because as a child, I could not get enough of this darling cartoon character. I can clearly remember asking mom and dad for Snoopy plushes, clothing and toys while growing up. It wasn't quite Christmas until my brothers and I would sit and watch 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'. As much as I would like to go back to that wonderful time in my life, I can still recreate some of that magic from yesteryear for my niece and nephews, with some sugar cookies. Long ago I fell in love with a certain sugar cookie of Snoopy lying atop his doghouse, decorated for Christmas. I kept that image on my computer and on my phone for quite some time. It wasn't until I found a vintage cookie cutter online, that I set about planning some Snoopy Christmas co
It's a very charming and special thing to have homemade ornaments strung throughout one's Christmas tree. Whether they're crafted by the kids at school or are made by a very creative member of the family, handmade Christmas ornaments become keepsakes that eventually turn into family heirlooms. A lot of us have such mementos in our homes. Homemade Christmas ornaments, however, can be of the edible variety. These types of ornaments are really meant to be enjoyed for a present-day Christmas season. They're great if one is hosting a holiday party, as each guest can pluck whatever he or she wants. A set of homemade candies, chocolates, and cookies, can make any Christmas tree extra special for the season. It's a nice way to have something that's both sweet and decorative for a holiday party. For weeks I had been thinking about the types of royal icing cookies that I would make for a small, tabletop feather tree of mine. I knew the shapes would be snowf
'Tis the season to partake of fruitcake. Fruitcakes have been around for millennia, and they have developed throughout the centuries based on what was available and what was allowed by religion. Countries around the world are known for their own distinct versions of this holiday sweet. Panforte in Italy, Birnebrot in Switzerland, Stollen in Germany, Le Cake in France, Bollo de Higo in Spain, Christmas Cake in Canada, Black Cakes from the Caribbean, and our very own American Fruitcake which is rich in nuts, candied fruits, brandy or other liqueurs. My very first memories of fruitcake were from the time I was around five years old. My father's cousin, Rachel, and her son would bring us homemade fruitcake several weeks before Christmas, and although us kids never ate any, mom and dad loved having it. I can still see my cousin Peter walking up our driveway holding that small loaf of baked-from-scratch fruitcake. The thing that seemed odd to me, though, was how our cous
I want to show you our Thanksgiving table before we sit down to dinner in a few hours. This year is all about setting a table with earth tones that connote the season's best colors. I love gold, black, caramel, deep yellows and and creamy taupes. With that in mind, I took out a good Wedgwood pattern that gets used a lot here at home, and then I complemented it with a golden-colored linen tablecloth, some black linen napkins and mismatched bakelite. The glassware was etched Depression glass. I love the simplicity of our table. This is an overview of the table looking toward the kitchen. The sheaves of wheat centerpiece was surrounded by a flock of caramel glass, L.E. Smith turkeys. These are going to be used to hold cranberry sauce for guests. The flatware is vintage and not-so-vintage bakelite. I didn't want to set the table with silver this year, so I completed a mismatched place setting for each guest. The wine glasses are quite old, and I absolutely
Happy Thanksgiving to every one of you celebrating the holiday! I wish you good health, plenty to eat and a warm home filled with friends and family. I am giving thanks for the love that our Lion gave us for the eighteen years that we had him in our lives, for having rescued baby Henry Aloysius and given him a good home, for being surrounded with good friends, and for having a loving family. Happy Thanksgiving!
Every Thanksgiving table should have a centerpiece, whether it be fresh flowers, a cornucopia of fruits and nuts, or a crafted arrangement of seasonal items. I have been wanting to make a simple centerpiece using sheaves of wheat, and this year was the perfect time to do so. Nothing could be easier than tying up a bundle of wheat for an earthy table arrangement. Preserved wheat bundles can be purchased from many different sources. The stalks lend themselves to so many uses for table settings, and if you want to get really crafty, you can even make a giant wreath. If you buy a small sheaf, the bundle can quickly be assembled into a festive centerpiece for Thanksgiving. You can, however, break up the bunch and make many smaller sheaves for individual place settings, or to place down the length of your dining table. These beautifully preserved wheat stalks sitting next to my collection of Martha by Mail caramel glass are ready for assembling. Depending on the leng
It is often said that we don't really choose our pets, they're the ones that choose us. I found out how true that really is a couple of weeks ago. My neighbor and dear friend Pam was taking a walk near a client's house the other week when she heard some crying coming out of a drainpipe. When she took a peek, she found a little abandoned kitten. Rather than going straight to the vets she brought it over to me at the cafe and asked if I wanted to provide the baby with a home. I was instantly smitten! Henry loves to be held. He's so tiny in my arms! This was the first time I held Henry in my arms. I remember Pam holding this tiny little bundle of black fur and feeling instantly like I had to protect the little one and give it a home. I won't forget how his meowing stopped the moment I held him in my arms. I think he knew that I could be trusted and that he would be safe with me. The decision was made right then and there. He could sit with
The trees this year have taken their sweet time turning, but I'll have whatever they give us because it's my favorite season. For some reason the Beech trees seem to be some of the most beautiful specimens around the property. Tall, healthy and long-lived, each tree is absolutely perfect. The landscape would be incomplete without them. I was having a long discussion with a loved one about old-growth trees and how vital they are to the ecosystem. We recently noticed that a couple of neighbors have had the impudence to cut down such trees on their properties, much to our horror. There is nothing worse than seeing large healthy trees being cut down, and left sitting in great, big heaps waiting to be chipped. I can't think of any good reason, other than having a diseased or dead tree, to remove an old-growth tree just to tear down a home and perhaps erect a larger "stately" home. It's extremely unsightly. Alas, not everything thinks the way