Friday, November 30, 2007

Three men and a crown...

This is another part of my Christmas decorations I just love putting out each year. I found the three kings of the Orient marked down at a garden center and snapped them up. I did not buy the only other piece of this nativity that was still available which was Mary holding the baby. I always regretted that and they are no longer being made. I am thinking about measuring my kings and trying to find a baby in a manger to place with them. For years, I have used a gold crown in which I place a candle.

"We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star"

Take a closer look at the Wise Men. They are on a Cathedral Windows quilt I used for my quilt group as the Christmas in July project a number of years ago.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! I am off to Cranberry Cottage in a windy and rainy Holland but hope your weekend is wonderful in your part of the world.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A special thanks!

A dear sweet friend of mine, Lynda over at Hedgerow Hollow, gave me the friendly site award. Lynda and I have been in an online Yahoo list for a couple of years and she is the sweetest person. She has a kind and gentle heart that is really reflected in her home. Thank you Lynda for passing this award on to me.

I am going to pass this award on to a brand new blogger, Mandie. She is my sister's youngest and my little namesake (middle name as my sister thought it would be too confusing to have two Heidi's in the family). It is hard to believe that she is a wife and mother as it only seems yesterday that I would come stay at the house to watch she and her big sister Kristy. I spent a great deal of time with the girls when they were very young and loved being with them. Now they are themselves raising children and Mandie is a newlywed who's husband was just deployed this week. She started a blog now.

To me, friendly is not a word but an action. It is only visible if you do pick it up and pass it on. We often underestimate it. A smile or just a word or two can make all the difference to a person. I hope you will pass it on today and stop over at Mandie's blog to say hello. You will find her at

If you visit me often, you will remember Dagi, my furbaby. I could not resist showing you this. We were later getting ready this morning as my husband has to drive to Belgium for an afternoon of company meetings and dinner. Dagi was in form today and wanting us to do nothing but pay attention to him. I started to make the bed and he followed me around it as I worked. Then he thought it was time to out smart me! He got up into the last corner I needed to do and laid there so I could not finish. He would not move even when I pulled the sheets over him.

He loves to give me that 'Just try it!' look so I just gave up and walked away. That always works as he follows me. Score: cat ~ one, cat owned person ~ one. I led him to my husband and then went back to make the bed. Now who out smarted whom?

A few responses:
I want to thank everyone for all the kind comments about my Christmas decorations. I do hope that if any bloggers make the Christmas charger (plate) display that you will share a photo of yours on your blog. It is something that can be made so personal and I would love to see them.

Julie ~ I used 2 candles so I could use lots of ornaments which create a circle then in turn. Play with the idea and create your own because everything could work. I hope you have that camera fixed and ready though so I can see it!

Regina ~ I am looking forward to seeing your decorations. I will be sure to check it out next week!

Tanya ~ It was so nice to see that you stopped by for a visit!

Nan ~ The cord is behind the mirror. We used it as a way to hang the wreath itself but lifting on of the hooks loose and placing the cord behind before hanging it again. Worked perfectly and this way only a small portion of the cord is visible at the bottom of the mirror by the plug. Life is busy with also having created a tutorial for my other blog from a project I did for my quilt group so I have not been able to email you about the other blog idea. I will do so later on today or tomorrow. I have not forgotten you.

Marie ~ Good to hear from you and that things are okay. I will look up your email address today on the site.

Angela ~ What a Christmas it would be if the get~together was now. I am just so excited about this coming May.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Another little Christmas corner and a welcome...

Once you come to knock on my front door, I open it to our small entrance. It is small but I always try to make it welcoming.

I have a mirror and chest of drawers sitting right by the door. This year, I decided I wanted to do something else there. For all the years we have lived her we have had the stitched Santas there. I showed them last Christmas on the blog. I have been loving all the silver/gold glass that is in the shops lately. This is unusual for me as I love using brass items which go with the Victorian/English style in my living room.

I dressed my wreath with eucalyptus and berries. I found some silver reindeer which I thought were perfect to add to the glassware. By placing them on the mirror ledge, I linked the wreath to the candles below.

Here is a close~up of them. I really love these. I added some of my fine tinsel to the arrangement.

It is really pretty when you place candles in the glass as they are imperfect with the silver and gold leaf placed on the inside. It gives a pretty effect through the candlelight. Click on the photos to enlarge them and see the details.

Here is another corner in my living room. This one is over by the dining area as we have one room downstairs. This is the large L&L angel I made which I referred to in the first Christmas post. I created a new flower arrangement with white roses to reflect the colors in the angel. We light the candle in the evenings and it again creates a pretty and warm atmosphere here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A fun project for this Christmas

I wanted to share a fun project that is very affordable for anyone to do. You can even play around with the details each year to change it a little.

You will need a charger or any large plate, some fine tinsel or angel hair, two large candles of varying heights, various ornaments (I used 6 small plain balls, two opalesque balls and two pinecone ornaments).

Lay the tinsel or angelhair on the plate and place the candles in the middle.

Now arrange half the ornaments on each side of the candles. It is as simple as that! You could even use ornaments you already have on your tree.

In the evenings, this arrangement gives such a beautiful glow. I hope you will try this fun project and be sure to use things that will give it your own personal touch.

This is last year arrangement which had the candles in an off white.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A little Christmas corner.....

I find that I like to fill each and every corner in my home with Christmas cheer. I mean that literally! I have recently moved my husband's huge pillar~like speakers into the two corners of the living room. I placed some tall candlestick lamps on them. I hate having these large speakers which I find an eye sore so I finally decided if you can't beat 'um, join 'um would be my motto. I am using them as a place for the lamps to light the corners. What is it they say about necessity being the mother of invention?

In this corner, I always dress my guilt mirror each holiday. It is a simple and quick dress up with a French horn hanging from the greenery. I also placed a little berry wreath at the base of the candlestick lamps and also one on my brass deer head. These were popular here in Holland for kitchens to hang tea towels from but I loved having it with my fox hunt prints. Here is a photo of the corner using my flash...

...and this is the pretty effect of the evening light. I hope you come back to visit again tomorrow as I will have a simple idea you can make up yourself even on a budget.

A few responses:

I am so sorry that I have gotten behind and not been able to respond lately. Doing the renovations has really thrown me off schedule but I am starting up once again.

Nancy ~ This woman had an atelier where you could go see her work but I am not sure about her selling online. I will try to look into it and see if she has a website.

Mom ~ That was so long ago that I started buying all the L&L Angels. I bought all the patterns but only completed one plus a few of the same free charts. They are so involved. It brings back memories as Dad was still alive and he used to really get into going to the needlework shops to help me search for things to take back to Holland with me. I have to get my large angel out to hang yet.

Angela ~ The free angels are online yet but I think you are right that she no longer adds a new one each year. They were nice as they were do~able. Her large angels are major operations.

Sophie ~ You are so welcome! It was easy to give you my support as I knew you would pass inspection with flying colors! Thanks for leaving such sweet compliments about my decorations. I hope to see more of yours too soon.

Mary ~ Yes I did know about the new ice skating pads. They are created by a Dutch man who has been busy making them for many American cities now also. He created the idea because we rarely get enough days of freezing weather to be able to skate here on the canals. I have my fingers crossed for this year. I don't ice skate but love watching others. How are your decorations coming along?

Gail ~ I am thrilled to hear your mother was at your sister's for Thanksgiving. Now that was really a day to be thankfilled! I pray she will be able to get out of the hospital so very soon. Cats are a joy! I just love Dagi and cannot imagine my home without him here with me chatting away and keeping me warm.

Julie, Kim, Amy, Penny, Marie and Karen ~ Thank you all for your compliments of my Christmas decorations so far. I really just love all this festive decor. I hope all yours are going well and you are having fun putting them up. All but Karen, who created an amazing country Christmas in her house early for the open house. She has her feet up relaxing while we are all busy.

Friday, November 23, 2007

'Tis the season...

Deck the halls with boughs of holly...fa lalalala lala la la...

I just finished my very last chocolate Bourbon cookie as I sit here to write to you. What a depressing thought! I love this little cookies from England and whenever my husband is there on business, he makes a trip to the grocery store for me for, among other goodies, these yummy cookies.

'Tis the season to be jolly...fa lalalala lala la la...

I have started on my Christmas decorating. My upstairs hall is a mess and you can barely walk there past the boxes which are open and overflowing with festive fare. I have covered my dining table in items and not sure I will ever find the top of the table again. But that being said, my end tables are both decorated and festive looking. My sidetable greets you as you come into the living room. It will start to come together slowly now and I will soon start on my Christmas tree.

Don we now our gay apparal...fa lalalala lala la la...

This is the end table beside my leather chair where I sit to stitch, quilt or read. This chair is beside the woodstove where I can spend my evenings toasty warm while I work or read. There is great task lighting that is not pretty but very functional. It seems as soon as I put my feet up on the ottoman, my cat is right there to sit on my lap. He must have a radar built in as he loves to lay on your lap if your feet are up.

Even though I need space on this table to set my scissors, needle and thread, I like having it looking pretty too. This is the 1993 Christmas Angel from Lavender and Lace which you can find free on the website: She is standing on a small quilt I made about 12 years ago. The gold angel was a gift from my mother and the little tin is from a German shop. The bowl with holly is handmade by a lady who creates items using bobbin lace as a theme. This bowl was made with her hand painted holly leaves and lace bobbins. I love this little bowl and place a holly and berry candle ring in it. Simple but effective.

Are you starting on your decorations?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving greetings and reflections...

Thanksgiving greetings to all the American bloggers! What a wonderful tradition this day is. It can be celebrated by all of us around the world as it is good to stop at least one day a year and really reflect on all the people and things in our lives to be thankful for. I am thankful that a year ago, I decided to start blogging. It has enriched my life in many ways. Not only do I stop in a moment and appreciate more, I also have met so many wonderful new people through blogging! It is great to be able to visit with friends old and new. We get a dialog going through our comments to each other. I want to take this moment to say that I really do value each and every one of you! I am so grateful for each of you who visit with me. I love reading your comments so thank you for being part of my life.

Today was the drawing for my birthday give~away. I wrote all your names out and put them in a bowl...

I drew a slip of paper and the winner is...

...Diane...Now if you read her comment on that day's post, you can imagine how I had a good laugh when I opened this to reveal her name. She is away at her parents house right now so she won't know she won for a little while. She needed this pick me up too as her husband is overseas for a couple of months and I know she is missing him terribly over the holidays along with her three children. I will be putting the fob and napkins in the mail tomorrow Diane. Enjoy them!

Now on a different note, this is a funny postcard for my family as they gobble their turkey. My niece's husband Mitch is a nut and put a song on my mother's blog called "Clean your gun". I told my mother he has to get that off there. It is no surprise to her how I feel about guns anyway. I saw this while looking for a vintage postcard to use for this entry. So Mitch...this one's for you!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Makeover revealed...

This is our old WC (water closet) as it is called in Holland. It is such a tiny room that it is literally a closet so the name fits. It seems too fancy to call it by the American name half bath. Most bathrooms there are much bigger.

This space has been the same for us as far as the decorating in three houses. I have used this sea shell theme for over 17 years. It is very 1980s when I look back at it and it was high time for a change. This stitched piece will have to find a different use. Perhaps, I will get it out in the summertime and use it with a vignette with my sea shells. Can you see some of the starfish which we hung on the walls? Jos carefully removed tiles which were needed to replace some in the upstairs bathroom as we did not change the wall tiles in that room. You can see where he removed a few which were needed right away.

Here is the new WC. We have tried to make it look classical with...

...a retro spigot in 1930s style...

...real marble accent strips...

...and Italian floor tiles layed out in a checkerboard fashion. Sorry that the photos are dark. I took them in the evening and the flash had to be turned off as not to overexpose the surfaces.

This cupboard was a find in a shop up north while we were still in the planning stages. I knew when I saw it that it had to come home and hang here. I love the old look of it. I had so much fun searching the house for the items I wanted to use in it. I placed some hand towels on the bottom shelf for easy use, two of my grandmother's crochet doilies, and my collection of small glass carafes. I thought they looked really sweet in the unit and allowed the aged look to still be well seen. I will now be searching for a perfect mirror to go with this look.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cranford and the Page 161 Meme

The first part of BBC's Cranford showed last night. I so enjoyed it. Did anyone else watch? What did you think? It is not really true to what I have read so far of the book but I do love it. I was roaring with laughter at the scene of Mrs. Pole and Miss Betsy Barker running down the road with the cat in a basket after having swallowed a fine lace collar left to bleach in a bowl of buttermilk. Four more Sunday evenings of bliss to follow. It has been a while it seems since the last really wonderful BBC historical drama.

I am still reading Cranford and love how the book lists the author as being Mrs. Gaskell instead of using her name Elizabeth. Here is another of the black and white drawings from the book. They are so beautiful.

On my friend Nan's blog Letters from a Hill Farm, she did the Page 161 Meme. I told her I would play along.

*** Open up the book you’re currently reading to page 161 and read the sixth sentence on the page, then think of 5 bloggers to tag. ***

My book has a title page as page 161 so I had to skip to the first page of text for Chapter 9. The sixth sentence is as follows:
"Such a piece of gaiety was going to happen as had not been seen or known of since Wombwell's lions came, when one of them ate a little child's arm; and she was, perhaps, too old to care about dress, but a new cap she must have; and, having heard that turbans were worn, and some of the county families likely to come, she would like to look tidy, if I would bring her a cap from the milliner I employed; and, oh, dear! how careless of her to forget that she wrote to beg I would come and pay her a visit next Tuesday; when she hoped to have something to offer me in the way of amusement, which she would not now more particularly describe, only sea~green was her favorite color."
This was describing a letter which Miss Matty wrote. My but that was quite a sentence, wasn't it! I am now supposed to tag 5 people. I will not name anyone but if you would like to join in and want to share what you are currently reading, consider yourself tagged. It is lots of fun!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

SinterKlaas arrives today!

Today all the children in Holland are excited because SinterKlaas (the Dutch Santa) arrived in Holland on his steamboat. He lives in Spain and comes to Holland a few weeks before SinterKlaas avond ~ December 5th which is the day the children receive gifts from him. He helper is not an elf but Zwarte Piet (Black Peter).

December 6th is St. Nicolas Day which is the birthday of this saint. The season brings with it certain Dutch goodies one of which is speculaas or the spice cookie. I love speculaas not only to eat, as there is nothing better dipped in a cup of hot tea, but also for the beautiful molds used to create these wonderful cookies.

For years, I have been collecting these cookie molds large and small. I have a wall in my little kitchen where I hang them. They come in all sizes and various motifs. Click on the photo to enlarge it so you can really get a good look at them. The little lady with the baby on her back comes from a famous cookie shop on the market square in Brussels, Belgium. It was hand carved and very nicely detailed.

These are my newest molds. I purchased these in The Alsace, France. They are springerle molds. I fell in love with these being a stitcher who loves samplers and just had to add them to my collection.

These molds have not been darkened with any oil or stain and are actually able to be used for making the cookies. My other molds are just for show. I was taught by a baker in the National Bakery Museum how to make the cookies. It is a very work intensive process but so fun to see the forms of these molds come to life.

This mold is my largest and used to hang in an actual bakery. It was bought at an antique shop that was going out of business. It is very heavy as it is carved from a solid piece of wood.

Some of my 'newer' molds which still need to be hung. The husband of a good friend is always picking them up for me at flea markets. He found me a really special one that is double sided but has had wood worm. It is outside in our storage shed and will need to be handled to be certain before bringing it in the house.

Those three molds from the previous photo will hang on the wall with this lady and her gentleman. They are hanging where other pictures had been and too far apart. I will rearrange the wall with the other forms to make it look nicer. This way, I can simply add more nails to where these already are.

Another 'arrival' is the wine called Beaujolais nouveau. It is a wine that is fermented for only a few weeks and then sold as of the 3rd Thursday of November. We picked up two bottles this morning. I can't wait to see how this year's nouveau is! This wine has a special place in my heart. Back when I first immigrated to Europe, we lived in Brussels and I was unfamiliar with drinking wine. Jos and I used to take walks in the city in the evenings and stop for a drink in a cafe. He told me to try this young and fruity wine thinking I might like it. Each year, as it comes out, I am taken back to that first autumn here by my taste buds. How different it was to be in a big city and sit in a cafe sipping wine. You really never know where life will take you!

You can still sign up for the blog give~away on the last post if you have not done so. This is a long blog entry so I will save my responses for tomorrow.