Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas at Last!

My parents were really REALLY into Christmas - and I'm sure our kids and grandkids think that we are, too. After 43 years of shared Christmases, we have indeed collected a great many Christmas decorations - some of which we inherited! For the past 6 years we lived in a townhouse and had no room for a "real" (meaning large & fresh cut) Christmas tree. This year is quite different since we live in a spacious ranch house. Our tree is fat and sassy and full of ornaments holding many special memories.

Our house is decorated, lit, and quite celebratory as you will see below!

This one is a hand-made doll that I received in trade for a small quilt of mine. He's about 18" tall and is nearly all made of felt.

I have a nice Santa collection - most are odd, old, hand-crafted or carved, picked up on sale before they were discarded, and/or gifts from family and friends. Here's a glimpse at some of the Santas...

This is one of many items painted by Marilyn Palmer of Athens, PA. She and I used to hold an annual Holiday Art & Craft Bazaar at my home in PA - until we were transferred to NJ...

And then there's our ornament collection... Here are a few I made: Dumbo was made for our first Christmas tree in 1966. Frank was a grad student in his second year (aka we were POOR) and we had a brand new baby. Frank had access to corks in the chemistry department, so I created ornaments out of corks!

Besides Dumbo, I made a lion and a pig out of wooden blocks with wooden door knobs for heads. I also made a few clothes pin soldiers and some drums out of toilet paper rolls, felt and Q-tips.
This is a purchased one for/from our second Christmas tree - Humpty Dumpty:

Below are our 1976 special ornaments - one with a photo of each of our children's faces embedded in a bell.

Over the years, I made many of our ornaments.
This one is one of the "cookie dough" ornaments - I think I made these back in the 1970's. This one was to look like our red-head daughter but I don't think she ever liked it...

Here's one of the cross stitch ornaments made in the 1980's - did the rest of you do that too???

I also made these back in the 1980's - I made and sold many Santa's and angels and other dolls back then.

This was one of the 1990's art quiltlets - most of which I gave away as gifts. They were all small - less than 16" square. I did some painting (birds, cats, santas) then put a colorful border around them, sandwiched them and quilted them by machine.

I tried to find as many German-made ornaments as I could - my maiden name is Gangl and our family came from the Burgenland region of Germany near Austria & the Czech Republic.

A German filigrie silver star:

This little fellow is one of the kids & grandkids favorite ornaments. I first bought them in Germany and then replaced them when they wore out from being "used." We called them the "Blah Blah boys" - if one pushes the red button on the doll's head, the doll sticks it's tongue out!

Some of our other purchased ornaments that still find their way onto our tree:

Purchased in Russia on a business trip:

Hand painted glass ball painted by my older sister, Elaine.

A gift from an old friend...

Memories of Hershey candy and Hershey, PA...

A hand-crafted squirrel - I have a crow and an oriole made by the same NJ woman. Her work is impeccable!

I hope that you and your loved ones are celebrating whatever holiday you honor at this time of year. May you find peace, joy, and contentment throughout the holidays - always maintaining a great sense of humor for the ridiculous - of which there is plenty in our world at this time!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Cookie Time

We had the first ever "Christmas Cookie Bake-off" last Saturday. This is also the first year in a very long time that we have had family living nearby. As it happens, we may have our second Christmas Cookie Bake-off in another week or two...since we've nearly consumed all the goodies that weren't frozen! Below are my daughter and granddaughter busily making a variety of tasty cookies. I'm in the background, supplying all the ingredients, pans, info as needed - and taking pictures, too. I did make some lemon snow bars during the day, too. But I did not make dinner...

And night fell...