Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 is almost over

Hello there, how are you doing? Another year is almost done and as always, I wonder where the time has gone. So folks for those of you who participated in my 2013 January Challenge - how did you do? Did you finish all your projects? Fantastic!! Oh dear, you only managed to complete half.... that is still fantastic!! Good job, well done. Even if you only managed to complete ONE project, that is wonderful - you get to cross that one off your list. Are you wondering how I did... well, to be honest - I didn't finish all of my 52 projects but I certainly put one heck of a dent in it!! I completed quite a few and I will have a better number for you tomorrow. So what's next you say... well the 2014 challenge!! Okay I heard a few groans especially from my friend Janice, she has already threatened to kick my butt if I started another challenge. (tee hee, I can't resist) My challenge for 2014 is to finish all the projects that I started this year as well as starting an ornament every day in January. Just think of all the ornaments that I will have ready for the craft fair next year. And speaking of next year, I wish you a wonderful 2014 filled with love and good health. All the best and until next year.... hugs Louise

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Memories - Part 3

Hello tis me again. During the years we spent in Montreal, Christmas days were usually filled to the brim. Presents to be opened, then in the afternoon, the aunts and uncles came to visit and then supper! Oh my goodness, the big supper - turkey with stuffing, potatoes, carrots and we had to have mashed turnips! (I didn't like turnips when I was a child.) And then the desserts, Christmas cake and a variety of home made cookies. As the kids grew older, we all helped out with the desserts as these were made ahead of time and frozen or in the case of the Christmas cake, well wrapped and stored in tins in the fridge. Mom's Christmas cake was a very dark fruit cake filled with a lot of cut-up fruit (both fresh as well as dried), nuts, a bit of flour and a touch of brandy. These cakes were made in October/November and Dad helped in the preparation. All the fruit and nuts were cut up and left to soak overnight in juice (pineapple, orange) and the brandy, this was done to give it some lovely flavours. Now here's the part where Dad helps, he would add more brandy when Mom wasn't looking!! And oh yes, he had to stir the mixture. This recipe yielded 3 Christmas cakes and was very tasty (so I was told, I don't like fruit cake). If you would like the recipe, leave me a comment and after Christmas I can post it for you. And the cookies - did I mention I was the original cookie monster! (lol) Mom and I would make at least 6 different types of cookies including shortbread and these were then frozen but I have to be honest - some of them didn't make it to Christmas because yours truly would eat some directly out of the freezer - they were so good!! I had 2 favourites - Frying Pan cookies and peanut covered cake cookies (not sure of the name). The frying pan cookies are made from dates (and other ingredients) that you cook in a frying pan. They are so easy to do and so very tasty but they are covered in coconut and guess who is now allergic to coconut! Oh well, I really didn't like them all that much (I guess). As for the other cookie, I am not sure what it is called. Mom would make a thin white cake (about an inch thick) and let it sit out overnight to dry out a bit, the next day she would cut the cake into 1 inch cubes. She then made an icing (I think it was a seven minute icing) which was used to cover the entire cube - so we now have a cake cube covered in icing (as well as very sticky fingers) and then we would drop this cube into crushed peanuts (the kind with the red skin) and roll the cube until it was entirely covered in peanuts. This was so yummy, my mouth is drooling as I write! I am also laughing because I can see my Mom and I sitting at the kitchen table giggling while trying to make these cookies and both of us with sticky fingers and of course one of us would get an itchy nose... yup, never failed. Ah memories.... well the final memory that I want to share with you is about our Christmas stockings. Mom always filled them with a tangerine (boring), maybe an apple (again boring), the fruit was put back into the fridge very quickly.... okay so we were kids - where's the chocolate!! While we dug deeper into the stockings, we would find other little goodies, maybe a tiny whistle, some crayons, a new colouring book and yes, at long last - chocolate! One year, I remember Dad had a kazoo in his stocking (yes, we all had stockings - they were red with white trim and each one had our name on them - I still have mine). Dad's kazoo was really neat, it had a train at the end of the kazoo and when you blew into the kazoo, not only would you get music but the train would go around the track. This silly little toy that Mom probably got at the Five and Dime (equivalent to the dollar store today) kept the entire family busy all day long. We would take turns trying to see who kept the train going the fastest or the longest time - looking back, it just proves we were full of hot air. To all of you, I wish you a wonderful time this holiday season, may it be filled with love and laughter. Merry Christmas to you and yours, love Louise

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Memories - Part 2

Hello dear friends, how are your days shaping up, everything ready for the big day? I had a lovely e-mail from my sister Alice telling me how much she enjoys my blog and the warm way of writing that I have - what a lovely compliment - thank you. She also shared a little story with me that I certainly didn't know about. Let me share with you some more memories, my mother always wanted a new nightgown for Christmas and her Chanel No 5 powder! Whenever Mom got the new items, she would then burrow into her drawer and pull out last years presents so that they could now be used and then she would put the new ones into the drawer for next year. My sister wrote "one of my memories (besides all the cookies, lol) is Dad giving me his credit card so that I could go buy some things for Mom. Of course, it had to include a new nightgown (just in case) so that she could now dig out the one from last Christmas. And the funny thing was that I would check with Mom first to see what she really wanted. I am not sure if Dad knew that I did that, it was supposed to be Mom & my little secret. And of course, Mom wasn't supposed to know that it was really me who shopped, not Dad." In the 60s and early 70s, we lived in Montreal and my parents listened to CJAD a radio station. Paul Reid, one of the announcers on this station would have an evening dedicated to his memories of his parents and growing up in a large family. Our entire family would sit and listen to his stories and the music, the beautiful songs and carols that his parents loved. The best part of that special, for me, was when he read "The Littlest Angel". Oh, he made that story come alive for me, a deep booming voice for God, a childs voice for the littlest angel. You could see this new angel running down the streets of heaven, getting dirty and his halo all askew (he must have tried the patience of the saints). It is a beautiful story and if you ever have the chance to listen to it, just sit back and enjoy. More memories soon. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Love Louise

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Memories - Part 1

Christmas memories - its that time of year again.... kids looking forward to the big day, people getting ready - doing all the baking, shopping, wrapping presents and hopefully listening and singing along to some Christmas music. What do you remember most about Christmas? For me, it was the presents (an absolute ton of them), the cookies that Mom and I made way ahead of time, and of course the music. My friend Barb was over recently and she downloaded some Christmas music and we were laughing over the choice of the songs. She was even kind enough to download some of my favorites. Growing up I listened to a lot of different music, my Mom loved country music and her favorite singer was Jim Reeves. I remember her on Sunday mornings (before church), she would lie in bed and listen to the LPs (remember them - vinyl records). Looking back we would tease Mom about the music but now I can appreciate the beautiful voice this man had. Barb very kindly downloaded "An Old Christmas Card" - it brought tears to my eyes, remembering Mom and listening to this man's voice. My brother George loved Nana Mouskouri and I love her version of "Ave Maria" and "Petit Papa Noel". Then of course, favorites by Bing Crosby, Mahalia Jackson, Mario Lanza and some fun songs by Great Big Sea, the Irish Rovers and of course Alvin and the Chipmunks. Mom and I would sit for hours and wrap presents - she would sit at one end of the table and pass me the presents in their boxes and then hand me the sticker with the persons name on it. I cannot tell you the number of times that I had unknownly wrapped my own presents. I don't know about you but I always thought we had lots of money when I was growing up because we had presents piled up under that Christmas tree. They would be stacked 3 or 4 high, leaning up against each other. But I have to tell you - Mom would wrap everything!! We always received new underwear, new socks, new nightgowns and pajamas, new slippers every year AND each item was wrapped separately ... so with 4 kids and 2 adults - that was a lot of presents under the tree. That's it for now, in the next post - the cookies and the fruit cake and our Christmas stockings. Thank you for taking the time from your busy life to read my blog. Hugs Louise

Monday, December 9, 2013

Mill Hill Believe is finished

Yippee, another one finished. I finished the Mill Hill beaded kit entitled Believe. It is certainly a very different Santa Claus but you know what - I like it, there was something about this picture that kept calling to me. So much so that I decided to stitch it before a lot of my other kits. So this means that I can now strike another one off of my list from my January challenge. Now that calls for a happy dance!! I know, I know - I can hear my friends asking so which one are you working on now.... sorry I can't tell you yet... its a surprise. But as soon as I am finished that one, I am going to work on my "Housework makes you ugly". If you know me, you know how much I hate housework.  So wonderful people, until the next time, hugs from me to you and thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Louise

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Some packages have arrived

Good morning, how are you today? If the weather were sunny instead of the gunmetal gray, life would be even better!! Yesterday I received an e-mail from Cindy and today an e-mail from Ingrid stating they had received their goodie packages. Both are pleased and that makes me very happy.  I sent Ingrid the floss, I love these colours and use them a lot in my stitching, and I included a few patterns from my stash and voila, instant gift.  Cindy loved my little humbug so of course it was hers from the very start. I also included a little piece of lavender fabric for her.  What she will stitch on that fabric will remain a mystery but I do hope she tells me because I have another piece of that fabric and I haven't used it yet!  Cindy was kind enough to tell me that Debby (the winner of the blog anniversary) is away visiting family so I can't post a picture of the goodies that I sent her.  So folks, you will just have to wait for that one.  On that note, have a wonderful day, I hope that you have some "me" time today.  I am going downstairs now to do some serious stitching on a Christmas present for a dear friend.  Hugs, Louise