Saturday, December 25, 2010

Keeping Christmas Simple

Hillcrest Cottage's Christmas Eve began with a gumbo made from whatever was shot from whomever shot it, and the picture is grainy because permission was not granted to post to this blog. But... the gumbo was very good. Thanks, hunter person!

Hillcrest Cottage's dinner table, and I have to brag that I made my best bread pudding EVER with the whiskey sauce being equally awesome!

This poster, found by my husband in a London thrift store, once lived as a pre-WWII street evangelist's sandwich sign. The sign now reminds me to not stray from the simplicity of the Christmas message.

Also In the spirit of simplicity, Hillcrest Cottage's decorations were scaled way back this season... intentionally... so that...

I would celebrate the importance of a family being together. Love seeing this cadet's uniform hanging around!

In my opinion, diamonds, pearls, and Christmas trees must always be real.

Memories of my childhood are found in this ornament.

Stockings hand knitted by my mom and given at each of the boys' births, are filled with fun. Next came the traditional pic of the guys holding stockings in front of the tree, but I'm not allowed to show that one.

And, finally, the debris that always follows.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bike Ride

Cycling through the French countryside is on my bucket list.

But, the beauty of this River Trail today rivaled scenery anywhere.

Today the air was fresh, crisp, and wintery. The sun was warm enough to take the cold's edge away. The trail was populated with walkers, runners, and bikers... an armadillo and a huge jack rabbit.

Peace, quiet, and the wind in my face.

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Hillcrest Cottage's postbox has been filling up with cards.

I still love mail... real mail!

Outside has been a bit chilly, so follow the arrow inside.

Help yourself to some hot spicy cider sipped from one of my always growing collection of vintage 1960's made- in- Japan- Santa- mugs ( 48 at this writing!).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Comes... Ready or Not!

The funny thing about Christmas is... it comes whether I am ready or not!

I like to cut down my own tree, and these were my helpers this year.

I LOVED the girl-help... and it was her first Christmas tree farm experience: Free hot chocolate and fresh REAL trees!

Hang on there, tree. I'll get back to you on Monday!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gingerbread Tradition

The years roll by; I discover I enjoy doing the same things each holiday. That's what I would call a 'tradition'. At times I have thought no one pays attention or cares.... until a traditions changes. Then... my guys speak up, and I understand the importance of continuity. The traditions we create become a part of the family fabric.

During Christmas time, I make two treats: homemade fudge and gingerbread men. I make homemade fudge because I love it, and fudge reminds me of my own childhood. I make gingerbread for a very different reason.

When Davis was in kindergarten, the teacher asked each child to tell their favorite Christmas tradition. Davis replied, " My favorite tradition is when my mom bakes gingerbread."

"Whaaaa?" was my response, "I have never before baked gingerbread!" Of course, I immediately found a recipe and chained myself in the kitchen.

And have every year since.

The baking of the gingerbread is the beginning of my Christmas. We have yet to put up a tree or anything else Christmas-y. I can only ho-ho-ho for 2 weeks.

Oops... I just looked at the calendar. So, some years I'm a little bit slow-er.

And... it is true... molasses is also slow.

I had planned on stepping up the artistic quality of my men this year, but it didn't happen.They still look like an army of Mr. Bills (SNL 70's icon).

Quality control is my job.

So here's the product of two hard days of back-breaking work.

The packaging alone took a full day. But, I felt very accomplished when I had made it to the post office this afternoon.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Help! I've Been Mugged!

It all began with an innocent flea market outing. When I was suddenly and unexpectedly....


I fell in love with this kitschy, corny design. Then, I wondered if there could be more. The answer was "yes!" ,
and I added this one:

And this one:

Three makes an official collection. I began to establish some collecting rules: No more online buying (too easy). No more than $5.00 (there must be limits!)

Has to be 1950-60 era and preferably made here:

Who could resist this face?

Or this face?

Okay... I'm going....