Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Before and After

 Christmas is over for another year, but the memories linger on. I didn't take as many photos as I would have liked because I was so busy cooking and enjoying our company. Here are a few from around the house as we prepared, and some from the holiday itself:

Washing the red glass,

and washing the green;


 the table rearranged after your suggestions for improvements. The changes made it exactly what I was looking for. Here's a closer look:
 I added a rustic board, as Jason suggested, some greenery as several people suggested, and a little red ribbon. I changed out the linens too, for a rich red, green and ivory scheme.

A not so great photo of how we arranged the green pieces:
I've had the green "mountain" bookends since 1987. I was working as a security guard at the state Capitol building when a conference on tourism was held. I helped with an assortment of tasks--controlling access, finding janitors when needed, picking up, and the final takedown of tables, etc. One of the organizers thanks me for my help and gave me a pair of the bookends, which were made by Blenko especially for this conference. They have been in various places in the house, but I like them here best. The little lights really made this arrangement come alive, I think. I believe the tall green pitcher with its clear handle and base may also be Blenko. It was given to me by my father. I put the tall green vase (which I also think is Blenko but have never seen another like it) inside a tall clear rectangular vase, and added a tall flower-shaped vase/paperweight to balance the round crackle glass vase with the two Anchor Hocking green vases to the right.

The tree continued to look like a Charlie Brown tree, but it seemed quite at home in the log room. I caught granddaughter Kate in a thoughtful moment:

as Cassidy played and Hannah, and Willie our new puppy listened:

Later we went to our son's to help put together Hannah's new bed. What a puzzle that was! After a little while it became apparent that Kate has a real knack for such mind games so we stood back and let her and Derek get it done. The girls all tested the bed, and I guess it's strong enough!

Hannah is in the midst of a room re-do. She chose the paint, bed and bedding for her Christmas gift. It will look great when she's done, I think. She has a good sense of style.

Long-legged volleyball player Ally is now almost 5'10", I believe, while her cousin Hannah, who is a few month older, just reached 5'. The height certainly never came from me! Hannah and 9-year-old Michaela are the only granddaughters shorter than me and I expect both of them will be taller in the end.

Great-granddaughter Cadyn came too. Here she snuggles with Daddy. She looks so much like her mother, our granddaughter Jordan.

Cooking dinner on Christmas day was such fun. I had the turkey in the oven early; it was 23 pounds so it needed some time. I started cooking the rest just before the first arrivals of the morning. Everyone jumped in to help: Jordan helped make the rice with mushrooms, onions and rosemary; Derek put together a cheese and cracker tray for before dinner snacking. Cassidy, Kate Ally, Haley, and Hannah made the salad--it was a mix of Romaine lettuce with dried cranberries, pecan pieces, chopped Granny Smith apples, and white beans. I made a mustard vinaigrette to put on it. I made the stir-fried fresh green beans with peanut-almond sauce, a recipe that my family said was a Thai recipe. I found it somewhere and just thought it sounded good. It was delicious. I also made the corn and the gravy for the turkey. Derek carved the turkey for us and Jennifer helped with setting the table and getting things organized. Larry, Tommy, Ethan and Jared stayed out of the way; they decided to go target shooting instead, a wise choice given the commotion in the kitchen!

Desserts were pumpkin pie, mincemeat tarts, pineapple-coconut balls, and a variety of cookies. I was very pleased that we had enough sweets but not too many; no one ate pie but everything else was pretty much gone at the end of the day. A blessing, that; usually we have tons of cookies left over and that's not good for our diets.

My gifts for family this year were all homemade. Each son received pretty much the same thing: a tin of homemade cookies, some white chocolate and chocolate dipped pretzels rolled in a variety of decorations, some lavender sachets and mulling spice mix that I put in resealable tea bags so they can be easily used and a sewing kit in a Mason jar with a pincushion top (I saw this in a magazine and loved the idea. The pincushion is two circles of fabric with cotton balls for filling, hot-glued together and put in the lid). Some got peppermint tea, rosemary oil or an Italian herb mix. Aaron didn't get the sewing kit because Jaime is a great seamstress and I figured they were well-stocked in that area so they got a couple other things instead. I loved making these gifts and plan to do the same next year--now to start looking for new ideas!

I'll have more photos tomorrow. It was a very good time for all of us, and I'm sorry to see it end. But isn't that always the way with holidays and family gatherings?


Rowan said...

You obviously had a really good Christmas, I love your table setting, it looks really rich and festive. All that food sounds good too:)

Granny Sue said...

We did, Rowan; it was especially nice because everyone was so relaxed :) I hope yours was the same.

OneOldGoat said...

Hi Granny Sue - I linked my blogpost about my tea set to your blog. I picked up from the post office on Friday and it was like an early Christmas!!! Of course, I had to put everything right away or it would have been lost but I have the teaset and tea cup out and am enjoying your beautiful gift this afternoon.

My post is at oneoldgoat.blogspot.com


I left a long comment and it wouldn't let me leave it.
Basically what I said was I enjoyed reading about your celebration. Beautiful photos and what a lovely home you have. Red and green, great pieces. I have one or two but not much. Can't find it anymore or it's sky high in price.Table was lovely and so was the lighted hutch.
The grands make the day and I can see yours did too. Fun to watch them rolling around on the bed as mine did some of that on a guest bed and I was yelling at them. They know I'm not mean so they ignored me mostly til their moms came along.
Happy New Year to you and yours. Love and blessings. Barb

Farmchick said...

Beautiful table arrangement. It looks like you had a wonderful time with your family.

Nance said...

love the green mountains . . . and the story! and all the red and green pieces. I have a few old green pieces. guess I need to research Blenko to see what I've got? We too had a relaxed, kicked back, Christmas eve day. Low stress and Big Enjoyment. Happy New Year!

Jaime said...

We enjoyed the homemade gifts, especially from the garden. They are always our favorite. Thanks

Granny Sue said...

I'm glad you all liked them, Jaime. Hug those not-so-little guys for me :)

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