We found the most luscious velvet for Mycala's formal gown. It was priced at $16 a yard and since we need 5 yards, we were hesitant. But I noticed a sale price on a fabric from the same manufacturer and when I asked, they gave it to us for the sale price! Can hardly wait to begin sewing! She wants a full length wrap dress similar to this.
The day after Christmas, Zippy and I piled into the car and headed to Mycenea's to celebrate our Christmas. Mycenea, Nigel, a new kitten, and Colt, their Golden Retriever, greeted us at the door. We had a scrumptious dinner when Ross came home, then exchanged gifts. This is my mermaid tail! It is even warmer than it looks and perfect for snuggling in when I journal and read! The bitter cold days it has been especially welcome!
The next day we went vintage shopping in Carlisle and both come home with a few more treasures There are so many shops with unusual and creatively displayed items,. She wore the Issey Miyake coat I made her last year for Christmas and looked fabulous! She got compliments every where we went. She has such style and flair!
If it were up to me - and of course, it isn't - this is the young lady I would choose for Zippy. But I realize that she is not his type. Zippy likes long legged brunettes. Tashi, Mycala's black lab, was his first love. Together, they looked like Boris and Natasha. And then came Queen Esther. So I'll stay out of it, but isn't she adorable?
The Three Wise Men presented the baby Jesus with frankincense, myrrh, and 'gold', which may not have been the metal we most often assume, but another incense, possibly aloeswood (Aquileria spec.) and referred to as 'gold' at times. Aloeswood is a hardwood, not to be confused with aloe vera, and is the most expensive wood in the world, valued at up to hundreds of dollars an ounce. It was extremely rare at the time of Christ's birth. It is thought to result from an injury to the tree that creates an infection resulting in the oleoresin to grow inside the heartwood of the tree. The only way to discover if a tree contained the resin was to cut it down, and many healthy trees were sacrificed in an attempt to gain wealth.
Frankincense (Boswellia sacra) and Myrrh (Commiphora erythraea) have been used to purify the air for over 2,000 years. They are still used as incense today.
Frankincense refers to "Christ the priest", myrrh is for "Christ the healer", and gold is for "Christ the king". Is the 'gold' another incense, or a metal? You decide!
I've been making Dobochtorte for Christmas every year since living in Germany. It wouldn't be Christmas with out it! It always brings back memories of past Christmases and wonderful events with friends and family.
Mycala asked me to make one for her office party yesterday evening and her supervisor graciously invited me to join them. It is one more wonderful event to associate with the torte.
Last evening Mayor Catherine Pugh welcomed the Sweet Silver Bells at City Hall to be part of Baltimore's tree lighting celebration. But as you can see in the news broadcast below, the evening was about much more than lighting a Christmas tree.
As I was journaling this morning it occurred to me that if you don't have an attic, or even if you do, creative storage for seasonal decorations is an alternative to adding more boxes to an attic, basement or garage that are over flowing with clutter. hese are a few examples of how some of my decorations are stored. They are attractive all year long and easily accessible when I need them.
When I was in eighth grade my friend Jan and I started two holiday traditions. One was to make a Croquembouche, a French cream puff tree. We made our first in her mom's kitchen for a party for our French class and the tradition continued. Another was to make jeweled Christmas balls. Sadly, Jan died years ago, but I think of her every Christmas. Over the years we made hundred of the balls. Many were given away as gifts.
For most of the year, these ornaments are stored in a china cabinet, but during the holiday season they are placed on the tree and the bowl is perfect for my grandmother's snow ball cookies - a future post.
Bowls, Dishes, Tureens
Other decorations are stored in hat boxes prominently displayed all year They are a lovely way to store seasonal treasures while brightening an otherwise unnoticed corner.
Bulletin Board Storage
If you have followed my blog, you know I am obsessed with bulletin boards..I have six - two over sized and three small cork, and one French.. Some of my favorite ornaments are displayed and enjoyed year round.
When we think of pine, our first thoughts are probably as a Christmas tree, or using the evergreens for wreaths and swags. Pine wreaths were originally hung on doors for protection more than decoration, replacing the dead black chicken which was once hung on entrances to discourage witches from entering. They were honor bound to count every feather before they could go inside. Thankfully, pine needles replaced the feathers, undoubtedly more fragrant than rotting poultry! Witches have very active minds and often get distracted and lose count, so instead of starting over, they will probably go next door. (You may want to advise your neighbors to get a pine wreath.)
Pine cones can be used to make roses, wreaths, garlands, and in table arrangements. The internet is overflowing with ideas for using pine cones as crafts.
They can be covered with peanut butter, rolled in bird seed and hung out as bird feeders.
Use tongs to dip thoroughly dried pine cones in melted paraffin or beeswax, let wax drip off and dry on wax paper or foil.
Turpentine, another gift from pine, is a distilled oil made from pine resin. Some of my most cherished moments in the art room have been surrounded by the fragrances of turpentine and linseed oil.
Amber -Pine's Gift of Golden Sunshine Energy
Pine gives us another gift! Amber! It is said to have the energy of liquid sunshine, to make the wearer more beautiful, to attract wealth and success, and dissolve opposition.
Amber has been identified in over 300 shades. Most of us are familiar with the golden yellow and orange ambers, but it can also be an orange-red, brown, green, black or even violet, though very rare.
Amber is made from the fossilized resin of the pine tree, and to be classified as true amber it must be over 100,000 years old! That is miraculous, don't you think? Copal, or Columbian Amber, less than 1,000 years old, has not yet fossilized but is also beautiful and truly remarkable. There is something sacred about pieces that have been part of the earth for so long!
Amber is revered in the Far Eastern Asian cultures. Asian Indians regard amber as the 'soul of the tiger', endowing the wearer with courage. Egyptians placed a piece of amber in the casket of a loved one to ensure the body would forever remain whole. Early physicians prescribed amber for headaches, heart problems, arthritis and a variety of other ailments. In ancient times, amber was carried by travelers for protection.
Wishing you all a holiday season of fragrant, protective pine and the warmth and sunshine of amber!
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
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