November 30, 2012

Victorian Mansion Sparkles for Christmas

The Durkee Mansion built in 1861, sits on ten acres overlooking Lake Michigan. The mansion built by Charles Durkee, an early settler to Kenosha and a prominent politician, lived in the mansion for four years with his wife Caroline.

In 1865, Charles Durkee, leased the house and adjoining land to the Episcopal Church to be used as a seminary for young ladies. It remained a school until 1975.

The mansion and grounds are now owned by Kenosha County. Each year volunteers decorate the Victorian mansion and make it sparkle for the Christmas season. This year's display is titled "Victorian Jewel Box."

"The mansion is a gem on its own, but the lavish decorations bring back the splendor of the season to its Civil War-era roots." 

Colors associated with gemstones are featured in each 
room, the main parlor features garnet and ruby.

The crocheted dollies made by volunteers and wrapped around
glass ornaments with red accents were featured on this tree.
The small kitchen was a happy and cozy place, 
I thought the windows were charming.

The dinning room looked splendid with its 
amethyst and gold color scheme.

My next post will feature the four bedrooms, 
one is a child's room which is my favorite. 

November 28, 2012

By My Mother's Hand

In my post on Tuesday titled, Feed the Birds I told you about the love my father had for birds, in particular the cardinal. 

My mother loved doing needlework projects, she embroidered, did needlepoint and enjoyed crewel work.  I suspect that her crewel work  of the cardinal on  evergreen branch was made for my father's pleasure.

For the winter months, my mother's handiwork will hang on my living room wall.  I wanted to share some photos of the cardinal she made.
This is the same kind of bird that would frequent our bird feeder.

Several of the evergreen needles, pine cones, and birds
nest is raised to give it a three dimensional look.

My daughter thinks I should reframe this piece, but I like the 70's frame.
I am so happy to have several items that were made by my mother, this is one of my favorite treasures.

November 27, 2012

Feed the Birds

Eight windows surrounded the front porch, and from this room my father would call us to come and see the birds sitting in the tree. The bird sitting in the tree was always a cardinal, my fathers favorite bird.

I remember being put out that once again I would have to stop what I was doing to go look at the birds, he always had the binoculars ready for me to take a closer look at the beautiful bird. I learned quickly that a cardinal's face was black, with a wide beak, red crest on the top of its head along with a red breast, with deep red wings and feather tails.  

My father has been gone for many years, whenever we see a cardinal we have fond memories of the front porch and our father. 

I found a recipe booklet by Irene and Ed Cosgrove, titled, "My Recipes are for the Birds." 

"My Recipes are for the Birds"  Copyright 1975
The introduction from the book. "These recipes will attract and delight the guest at your feeders and provide the warmth and energy that is needed during the cold winter months."

Here, are a few recipes from the booklet...

Before our Thanksgiving meal, my granddaughter sat down and strung some goodies for the birds.

This winter remember the birds, fill your bird feeders or toss out your stale bread in the backyard. Sufficient food is essential for the birds during the winter.

November 26, 2012

Traditions and a New Christmas Book

Holiday traditions every family seems to have one. Baking cookies, decorating the Christmas tree, watching "The Nutcracker", or "The Polar Express", sledding, caroling, doing volunteer work, the list goes on and on.

For families with young children "The Elf on the Shelf" has inspired children to behave during the days leading up to Christmas. 

One family tradition that we have involved pajamas, Christmas PJ's for my grandchildren children and they all match. 

I love looking for the right Christmas pajamas for my grandchildren.
I was excited to hear about a new Christmas book written by Hayden Edwards that was published in late summer titled "The Pajama Elves".

Amazon's book description:
"Elves at the North Pole create magical pajamas for good boys and girls and deliver them Christmas Eve. The elf magic stitched into the pajamas guarantees the children will sleep soundly, and Santa will visit without them seeing. (Added bonus: new pajamas equal picture-perfect kids on Christmas morning!) The story is a charming poem with full-color illustrations - perfect for sharing with young children and not too complex for early readers to enjoy on their own. The Pajama Elves is a Christmas Eve tradition that even long-distance relatives or parents who are not with their children full-time can participate in."

When the package arrived from Amazon, I couldn't wait to read the book and see all of the illustrations. Sitting inside the box was a paperback book a little smaller than an 8 by 10 piece of paper that held fourteen pages of illustrations and the rhyming story about magic pajamas. 

"As soon as they are pulled on 
or closed with a zip
the magic starts working
and you will start to slip
into the dreamiest sleep
you have ever known.
It is the elfiest trick
that was ever sewn!"

The book's copyright prohibits me from posting any photos, but if you visit the website of PR WEB you will be able to see some illustrations, and learn more about the author Hayden Edwards and her new book "The Pajama Elves".

November 24, 2012

My Thrift Finds on My Thanksgiving Table

And they say I never use my thrift treasures...

Sitting on the Goodwill shelf several months ago, priced at $1.99...
I thought this ceramic piece "candlelight & posies"
would make a attractive center piece.
It turned out rather well.

In July, my grandson and I stopped at a rummage sale and found two boxes of dishes made in England for $15.00, to read the entire post and see all of the pieces click here.

The dinner service was for twelve place settings plus several serving pieces.
Cost for each piece came out to 25¢. The turkey was made by my sweet LuLu Belle.
The long green tablecloth was a $5.00 estate sale purchase.
As my family came in the door, they all said how pretty the table looked. I smiled and thanked them. I wanted to tell them all of my thrifty details, but it was Thanksgiving. 

We had a delightful meal, great conversations, made memories, and remembered our family members who were no longer with us.

November 21, 2012

I Have a Thankful Heart

As Thanksgiving approaches, I would like to share with you one of my favorite poems written by Nancy J. Carmody, published in the magazine Family Circle in November of 1999.

I am thankful that I live in a free country where I am able to pray 
for the grace to live joyfully with a thankful heart.

November 20, 2012

Lincoln, A Culinary Anthropologist and Thanksgiving

Steve Spielberg's movie Lincoln starting Daniel Day-Lewis as President Abraham Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln is a historical drama that all of my friends and family are talking about. I have not seen this film yet.  I have enjoyed the mini series about John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson so I look forward to stealing a few hours from my schedule and going to the movie theater.

While, on the social network Facebook, a friend posted a link to The Shiksa Facebook page. Tori Avey, is The Shiksa and the author of two websites, The Shiksa in the Kitchen and The History Kitchen

I spent over an hour reading The History Kitchen, Tori Avey is a culinary anthropologist and has written fascinating articles, at least to me, about why and how we eat the foods we do. 

I am a big fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery's books Anne of Green Gables  while on, The History Kitchen website, I found a post title Anne of Green Gables Raspberry Cordial. A snippet of the story pertaining to the cordial episode in the book, with a short history lesson on cordial, and the recipe for cordial was a fun read.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner Avey's post on The History Kitchen website, titled Thanksgiving, Lincoln and Pumpkin Pudding you will be informed how President Lincoln, while not being the " ...first president to recognize the holiday, Lincoln ensured that Thanksgiving would be celebrated as a national day of thanks for years to come."

The blog post Thanksgiving, Lincoln and Pumpkin Pudding gives some Thanksgiving recipes from an1853 cookbook.

Photo source:The History Kitchen

Pumpkin Pudding
source:The History Kitchen

Apple Pudding
source:History Kitchen

source:The History Kitchen
As I prepare for my celebration with family and friends, I will be attending my grandsons school mass this afternoon where he will read a passage from the scriptures this afternoon.

I am an extremely blessed person and I am truly THANKFUL.

November 19, 2012

Thrift Share

Isn't the glow of Christmas lights in a dimly lit room magical! Well at least I think so. That is why I was so elated when I saw this sitting on the cart at my local Goodwill.

Not only are these ceramic Christmas trees hard to find, but the prices are often times exceptionally high.  My lovely ceramic tree was priced at $2.99. I am still doing a happy dance.

After a good clean up I placed the little plastic ornaments in the holes, put the tree on the table at the end of my hallway, and now it's beginning to look a little like Christmas.


November 16, 2012

Button, Button... Today is National Button Day

Every day is a celebration, and today is no exception, today we celebrate National Button Day.

My mother and my aunts, who lived next door to us, had button boxes, and as a young girl I liked to run my fingers through the button box, churning up from the bottom pretty buttons. My favorites were the buttons that looked like rhinestones, but were, in fact, plastic.

I would help my mother and aunt's cut the buttons off of clothes that were destine for the rag pile, leaving a chunk of the fabric attached to the button, that didn't make my mom or my aunts happy. Do people still cut off buttons of unusable clothes?

These white buttons are my favorites, I like the different shades of white, and the different size button holes.

My favorite place to store my white buttons are in old Atlas jars with tin lids. 

The National Button Society was formed in 1938, their website provides a lot of information about buttons, click here to go to the National Button Society page.