“That my dear, is what makes a character interesting, their secrets.” — Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden.
I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s. The air of “vacation” is still in the air. I”m still delighting on left-overs and cookies. I don’t feel guilty about an extra cup of coffee in the morning, or staying in my pajamas a little while longer. Ahhhhh….. I love the “In-Between” week. (I had never called it this before, but I heard Jo Packham use the term on Facebook, and I had to steal it!) If you’re looking for the perfect book for a week such as this…. I highly recommend a personal favorite The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. It’s the perfect book for snuggling up by the Christmas tree. It will have you reading into the night to see how all of the strands will come together. Happy Holidays, and Happy Reading!
The Forgotten Garden is the perfect mix of drama, mystery, family-saga, and just a touch of romance. The first World War is looming, and a little girl is found abandoned on a ship to Australia. All she carries with her is a suitcase and a book of fairy tales. Jump a generation and a continent, and meet Cassandra, a woman who has suffered terrible tragedy in her life and more recently the loss of her beloved grandmother, Nell. When Cassandra sets off to fulfill Nell’s dying request, she learns that her family history is more complex than she ever knew and that to unwrap all of the secrets, she will have to open up more than she ever thought she could.
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” — Edith Sitwell
I don’t really have a lot of space in my house for decorations, so I enjoy creating small “vignettes” for each season. This tends to keep my small decorations clustered, so they have more of an impact. Yesterday, I made a fruitful stop at my favorite thrift store and hit pay dirt. First of all, I have a huge addiction to cream pottery from manufacturers such as California, USA, McCoy, and Haeger. My thrift store has created a new room for antiques and collectibles, and has begun to price these items somewhat higher. However, they missed this gem…. a Haeger cream planter. I found it with the other common “junk” for $2.50. There’s a small crack on one corner, but hey, turn it around, and no one knows! The next find was the cute little round, green vase/planter. I’m a sucker for the glassware! The small wooden tray was nothing special alone on the shelf, but it’s the perfect place to cluster my treasures. Then there was a great box of vintage Christmas tree decorations, so I pulled out this green one for my display. Oh, the finds continue…. I found a small bag of blocks, and lo-and-behold “NOEL!” (I also picked-up a great old wooden box of dominoes – which is prime for another project!) The snowmen were a previous years’ gift to myself, and they make my display come to life. I love it when I come out of the thrift store with so many wonderful treasures!
“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” -Henry David Thoreau
I’ve had a lot of fun lately, enjoying some fruitful thrifting, some bountiful fall blooms in the garden, and some happy crafting for Halloween. First of all, let me say that two years ago, when I toted home a small Chinese Lantern plant from my farmer’s market, I had no idea that it would spread so eagerly. I has literally taken over my front flower garden. So, what’s a crafty girl to do? Find a way to use them for fun fall decorating, and to make cute decorations to give away! I found this cute idea in the Martha Stewart magazine for turning Chinese Lantern pods into small pumpkin favors. I’ve also had some exceptional luck at the thrift store lately. The orange pot in the background is McCoy (I’m kind of a pottery snob!) and the pumpkin is a vintage Haeger planter. I found these things just hiding among all of the other Halloween “crappity-crap.” (thanks for the term, Dottie Angel, it’s perfect!) Fall decorating is my favorite, and I only wish the season wasn’t so short. Right now I’m pressing some leaves for another crafty idea I saw on Martha’s website… I’ll be sure to share the results.
“In Norway, Charlie Brown says, ‘uff da!’ instead of ‘Good grief!.’ ”
My heritage is distinctly Norwegian. My grandmother’s parents came to America from Norway, and she grew up speaking Norwegian as a little girl. One of the main traditions we still carry on from that heritage is LEFSE! Each holiday season, Grandma would fill her kitchen with potatoes, flour, hot pans and lots of relatives. Lefse is a flat potato bread much like a tortilla. We like to eat it in a number of ways…. butter and sugar, jam, honey, turkey and mayo, the possibilities are endless. Making lefse is not a quick, easy process, but my mom, aunts, and cousins gather together each fall to make huge batches so everyone can take some home for the holidays. There’s flour everywhere, rolling, hot pans, flipping, gabbing, laughing, bonding. What could be more fun? We are getting ready to schedule our annual fall lefse making extravaganza and I am also penciling in my calendar to attend Libby Montana’s annual Nordicfest celebration (my hometown, I’m so proud!) There is bound to be lots of lefse there to enjoy (along with some lutefisk, but I might be too full from the lefse to eat any.) (Technical note: I am scheduled to take blogging class very soon from Holly Becker from Decor8 and Leslie Shewring from A Creative Mint. These lovely ladies have assured me that my photography is going to be divine! These photos were shot by someone else, and I have very high standards for the works of art that will be shown after this year’s event coming up….)
Sorry about this picture quality. This year, I will get better shots!