Thursday, December 23, 2010

A carol

God bless the master of this house,
The mistress also,
And all the little children
That round the table go.

And all your kin and kinsman
That dwell both far and near,
I wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year!

Old English Carol

Special thanks to my son-in-law for the photos.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas cake and birdies, or Two posts in One

An Old Christmas Greeting

Sing Hey! Sing Hey!
For Christmas Day
Twine mistletoe and holly;
For friendship grows
In winter snows
And so let's all be jolly.

It's been a rough couple of weeks dealing with some family illnesses. But a few "jolly" times were squeezed in between which made it not so bad.

One being that my friend Sarah invited me over to her house to teach me how to make... honest-to-goodness English Christmas cake...

...with marzipan

...and more marzipan

...and royal icing

pretty, pretty, wrapped up and waiting to be served with Christmas dinner. Thank you, Sarah!

My second mental health day was spent making these bird ornaments. The how-to came from a Martha Stewart Christmas craft issue from a couple of years ago.

You make a clay from one cup of applesauce, a half cup of cinnamon, and a quarter cup of white glue. Now I experiment with these measurements, giving or taking until I get a soft, pliable mixture that can be rolled out with a rolling pin, not unlike making sugar cookies.

Using cardboard templates that my husband made from the pictures in the magazine, I cut out the bird shapes. Put a hole in the top middle with a toothpick so you can thread a string for hanging.

I have one of those plug-in heat-coil food dehydrators that I use to dry the ornaments in. Or you can simply let them air dry. I learned the hard way that it's best to flip them over now and then while they dry. Otherwise they tend to warp. Flipping them helps them to remain flat.

Lastly, go buck-wild with the glitter, beads, and glue.

The End

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Traditions old and new

In 1920, J.R.R. Tolkien sent a letter to his son John from Father Christmas, and thus began a correspondence between the jolly St. Nick and the Tolkien children which would continue for over twenty years. This collection was compiled into a book entitled Letters From Father Christmas. Given to us by friends a few years ago, it has become a family favorite that we read together every Christmastime.

They are the most touching collection of letters I've ever read, especially the ones that were received during the Second World War. Here's an excerpt from the note sent in 1941:

My dearest Priscilla,

I am so glad you did not forget to write to me again this year. The number of children who keep up with me seems to be getting smaller. I expect it is because of this horrible war, and that when it is over things will improve again, and I shall be as busy as ever. But at present, so terribly many people have lost their homes or have left them; half the world seems in the wrong place...

The letters are gorgeous, full of the ancient gent's "shaky" penmanship.

Not to mention the authors' own charming illustrations. When I first read this, I was so inspired that I wished I could have done something similar for my own children, but they were too old. Sigh...

Now I'm not claiming to be half as clever as Tolkien. But I do have some lovely bottles of ink, pens, parchment paper, and a delightful, adorable, irresistable

grandchild who lives far away from her adoring granny.

My dearest girl...

Joining Emily today

Monday, December 6, 2010

Olde St. Nick

Hello, dear friends. I've been a bit under the weather, so here's a little something from this time last year. Hope it makes you smile--after all, who can resist shoes full of candy? Can't wait to be back reading and commenting on all your lovely blogs.

xox Jodi

Who's that knocking at the door?

Welcome, dear St. Nicholas...

We've been good children all year!


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