Monday, November 30, 2009

A day of thanks

Yesterday morning was a beautiful one. The sky was on fire from the morning sunrise. Starting early, I scurried around like a scurry of squirrels, and soon it smelled like Thanksgiving in the kitchen. Mmmmm. Memories of kitchen past. Before I knew it, family started arriving and we continued working on a jigsaw puzzle that was started last week. Lots of concentrating going on. Aunt Julie brought a new game called "Zingo". Lots of giggling going on.

Dinner done and it was time for the birthday cake. Mine! Julie baked it. Pumpkin. Perfect for a November birthday.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dinner Day

Well, today is our Thanksgiving dinner day. Today Danielle will be here. Brent is home from school. We'll all be together. This morning, I will be busy making the giant bowl of dressing, everyone's favorite part of the dinner. Grandma Gert was a wonderful cook, but tradition is Grandma Anne's dressing for the turkey. She made it, she said, the French way. It's bread, onion, celery, ground meat, rice, eggs, boullion, sage, salt and pepper. Then, after the turkey is in the oven in my big roaster, and the juices start to run, you stuff the dressing all around the outside of the turkey and as the turkey roasts, the juices bubble up through the dressing. Oh my gosh, it's so good. And for the gravy, she would put the neck and giblets in a big pot with water and simmer for hours with a package of onion soup, then take the giblets out and take the meat off the neck to add to the gravy, thicken a little, add a little gravy master and voila! gravy! So now, I must get my house in order after working on Christmas retreat crafts for the last few days! Julie is helping with a lot of the cooking this year, so that is good for me and good for everyone; she is a good cook. Here's our menu:

veggies and dip

Turkey (the biggest)
Grandma Anne's Dressing
Mashed Potatoes
Broccolli/Mushroom/Cheese Casserole
Corn (for those pickies who don't like anything green)
Cranberry Sauce (fresh from the berries)
Grandma Gert's Dill Bread (made in a round casserole dish)

Pumpkin Squares with cream cheese frosting
My favorite Brownies
Ice Cream

I was going to make French Apple Pies but everyone was groaning. I know we will be too full. So I will make them next week for an after-Thanksgiving treat. So now, as you all are enjoying your leftover turkey sandwiches, we will be just beginning.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Take a peek at Pilgrims and Indians on "april's things".

Winter weed research

After our walk yesterday, I was determined to find out the names of these two weeds that I wondered about. I got out my little "Winter Weed Finder" and, lo and behold, this one is Thistle. Do you know that I was always mixed up about Thistle and Teasel. Always thought Teasel was Thistle. I think I need to attempt a tongue-twister!
Telling tantalizing tales of thistle and teasel twists your tongue to a terrible tangle!
(okay, my poet friends, critique please!)

Could this be Burdock?

Friday, November 27, 2009

A November walk

Julie came over this morning for a much needed walk for me. Off we went and first thing we saw were these little footprints in the cement. Somebody had fun!

These trees were decorated with their own ornaments.

Vibrant colors; tempting the birds to come.

Look at this gnarly bark. Don't you love the texture?

Here were some big big trees. We saw cardinals, juncos and maybe a Downy Woodpecker.

Oh, oh. who was living here?

The stately cattails.

And who are you?

and you?

Beautiful greens still showing through.

And look at this rainbow of color.

Then we came across a patch of osage oranges. That's what those big trees are. In the 1930's, they were widely planted as a shelterbelt and hedge tree and now grow wild.

It looked like the aliens had landed!

Look at how big they are!

The softness of moss.

And I almost missed the hawks! There were two of them and here you see one at the bottom of the picture. There were two of them soaring around way up in the blue. I wonder what they were hunting for?
"Do something each day that makes you feel guilty for wasting your time." Robert Brault

...I can't wait!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

"They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here-
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock-
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock." James Whitcomb Riley
One of the poems that I remember learning in grammar school is this poem by James Whitcomb Riley. It always comes to mind at this time of the year.
"James Whitcomb Riley, America's Children's Poet and the poet of the Hoosier people wherever they may be around the world. Riley is, you see, the "Hoosier Poet". "Hoosier" is not just a name for Indiana folk. No, it is the name for people who are humble before God and hardworking despite suffering all that life throws at them. They are sympathetic with the plight of others and tolerant beyond measure of race, creed, gender, orientation or social status. Each Hoosier keeps an eye out for trouble but hopes and prays that none hits him or her. The themes of the poetry of a "hoosier Poet" reflect this kenotic outlook."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Finding beauty

Taking a break from crafting creative Christmas crafts, I headed out the front door for a walk around the house, like Suz does, looking for the positive on this dismal day.

"Goose" is all dressed up for Thanksgiving.

Extending the beauty of the rose bushes, rose hips form among the thorns

along with the beauty of the fading flower.

Violets snuggle in the fallen leaves.

Remnants of autumn color revel here and there.

The Cleveland Pear waits with goodies for the squirrels.

A surprise! Around in the back garden, a mound of parsley! I hadn't even looked lately, thinking I had missed picking it because we have already had frost.

And Rosemary! Thyme! Yay!

Do not open until December 4th

Shhhh. I can't post this until the day of the retreat because the guests must be surprised. These are the little stamps we will make from polymer clay.

Tissue paper and tags stamped to wrap with and give away.

I will probably add a little eyelet and ribbon or cord on the tags.

Trees and stars are what I did, but everyone will be invited to invent more designs.

This is tissue, but we will do wrapping paper and maybe brown kraft paper.

I really like how this little ornament came out, made from a matchbox. The idea comes from .

I'm not done working with this one yet. It is only 3x5 and I would like it smaller, but I wanted to use my new cardinal punch that I bought for the retreat and he's too big to go on any smaller branch!

This twig frame is not the same size as we will be making. This mirror is only 3x3, so the frame is 9x9. Covered with burlap and framed in twigs, it will be decorated with woodsy things that I am still moving around and haven't glued down yet. I had these straw flowers in my stash from one summer that I grew them, but don't know if we can find any anywhere. They add nice color to the piece.

And here is the cover for the journal that i am making for everyone. Wondering if I should bag them as a kit and let everyone assemble their own? pouting! Santa Claus is coming!
...and another.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Another day

Another day of planning the crafts for the Christmas Retreat. I look at the calendar and it's November 24th. Oh my gosh...looks so much like December 24th!

Sleepy evening

" Henri" was very tired after his visit to the groomer. "Bark-N-Bath" in Monee. He was happy though, socializing with the other dogs, who were all walking around and friendly. One was a big white poodle who reminded me of his mother (except she was apricot), and a big fluffy black cat who was very sweet. They said Henri was a very good boy! And he is. And here, "Timber" is just glad that he's quietly laying down.

While Henri was getting his makeover, we had burgers, fries and chocolate malts at "Schoop's" in Monee. I love Schoop's! We used to stop at the one in Munster, Indiana on the way home from Michigan, when we had a place there. This one was very good too with a very friendly small-town waitress. Then we browsed in the resale shop next-door, "Two More Things", and on to a resale boutique in Manteno, "2nd Impressions". I found two pretty little jumpers for Danielle, one is black velvet. For me, a LizWear red flannel shirt and a Sag Harbor black blouse. And a punched tin reindeer ornament and a lovely little enameled Christmas tree pin. I was really looking for a Christmas sweatshirt. I am invited to a "Funny Christmas Sweatshirt Party"! Any ideas?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Beauty shoppe day

Today, Henri goes to the groomer. He's getting pretty scraggley-looking and I told him he needs to be spruced up for the holidays! Do you think he understands? Oh Henri!

Timber does. He is glad it's not him. But Timber needs a bath too. He's getting old and I can hardly get him into the shower anymore. I will see what their set-up is here and maybe it would be easier on him. I know he would feel better.
Then back home to work on the projects for the Christmas Retreat! There are still a few spaces open, so if you can come we'd love to have you! It's Friday, December 4 to Saturday, December 5th. And for those who want to keep on crafting, we stay until Sunday, December 6th! . It's a wonderful Christmas gift to give yourself.

Oh, and I thought it was time to put a new photo on my profile. The old one was from one of Brent's graduations. I think high school, but who knows..... Anyway, I'm older.

More card-making!

Yesterday, Danielle and I worked on some more Christmas card and gift card making. I love her decorated house with the cardinal silhouette on the roof and I love her little snowman. Can you see his arms?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A day at Brookfield

A perfect birthday outing. A day at Brookfield Zoo. Love these lions!

The gates are decorated in their holiday finery.

And it was Tree Trimming Day!

Some of the ornaments were wonderful handmade ones.

The gorillas were putting on a fine show, piling hay on their heads and I guess wondering why it wouldn't stay there.

The beautiful buffalo.

Lunchtime visitors!

Look at this big ol' hippo peeking at us.

And on to the camels.

These sweet faces, watching a grey squirrel run around in front of them on the grass.

The royal elephants.

And a stop for Dip 'n Dots! yum!

Some trees supplied their own decorations. The most beautiful ornaments.

A lazy day. Sleeping in the sun.

Almost all of the animals were out today with the cooler weather. A perfect afternoon for a sunny but cool nap for the lions and tigers.

Pretty, huh?

The sea lions were most active. Swimming and playing chase.

Taking a closer look at us.

Look at those piggies!

This window is asking to be a watercolor.

Soon it was time to go home. A perfect ending to a perfect day.