Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thoughts for the New Year

My bloggy pal Lin over at Duck with Wheel and String posted this interested collection of thoughts. I thought they were a great chance to clear the cobwebs about what I want for the new year. How I want to go about doing things differently, what I want to get rid of and what I want to go after. Feel free to do the same over at your place. We can compare notes :)

I am...

saying no to worrying so much about what other people think of me, fear that keeps me paralyzed and unproductive, worrying about those things I can't do anything about, the excuse "I'll do it tomorrow"

saying yes to my dreams, life, getting outside every day, laying the groundwork for the life I long for, cooking more and savoring every meal, breathing whenever I feel stress coming on, myself

giddy about starting a business I care about and am passionate about, submitting my trilogy to agents, a clean slate, the knowledge I've accrued this year that will steer me into my business and writing goals for the next

deeply inspired by nature, music, fresh air, the amazing blogs I read, Victoria magazine and British Country Living, the wonders of the ancient past and its stories

obsessed with drinking tea, really good cheese, blogging, reading, writing, creating beautiful things, story

in love with my husband Jon, life

scared of never seeing my dreams come true, spiders, being stuck in the city we're in now forever, working in an office for the rest of my life

haunted by poor decisions

saved by grace

Happy Tuesday to all! It's good to be back.
Jen

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I've only got a moment...

...the Internet may decide to vanish once more. I was able to put up a post over at Woolgatherings. Wander on over if you like. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Happy Holidays!

Love,
Jen

PS: Welcome to my newest followers. I apologize for being unable to visit your blogs as my computers (both at home and at work) are having issues. As soon as I'm able, I shall be by to thank you!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Apology

Just in case you're wondering, I'm not dead! But my computer is close to being so. I apologize for the lack of posts but most importantly I apologize for the lack of reading and commenting on your wonderful blogs! Please forgive. I hope to be back to "normal" by the end of this week. Hopefully by then the computer issue will be rectified. Please don't give up on me dear friends! My once consolation is that I will have a lot of reading to catch up on! Sounds like a nice, leisurely Sunday morning to me :)

Happy week!
Jen

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snow

I see a pattern (dare I say a theme?) amongst blogs today. Snow. Theme Thursday is not something I've participated in before, but in the spirit of the season, I wanted to post something about snow.


I love snow. I'm a Georgia girl. We love snow. We have romanticized ideas of snow, from Dicken's England to the Colorado Rockies. A few flakes and the coats, hats, gloves, pizza pans come out. (Pizza pans? If you have to ask, you're not from the south .Why, a good, old fashioned, metal, round pizza pan makes and excellent sled. It's not like we southerners have THOSE lying about in the garage!).

My ideas of snow, my memories of snow are clouded and mixed with fantasy. Instead of waxing long and poetic, I thought I'd let Archibald Lampman do so for me:

White are the far-off plains, and white
The fading forests grow;
The wind dies out along the height,
And denser still the snow,
A gathering weight on roof and tree,
Falls down scarce audibly.

The road before me smooths and fills
Apace, and all about
The fences dwindle, and the hills
Are blotted slowly out;
The naked trees loom spectrally
Into the dim white sky.

The meadows and far-sheeted streams
Lie still without a sound;
Like some soft minister of dreams
The snow-fall hoods me round;
In wood and water, earth and air,
A silence everywhere.

Save when at lonely intervals
Some farmer's sleigh, urged on,
With rustling runners and sharp bells,
Swings by me and is gone;
Or from the empty waste I hear
A sound remote and clear;

The barking of a dog, or call
To cattle, sharply pealed,
Borne echoing from some wayside stall
Or barnyard far a-field;
Then all is silent, and the snow
Falls, settling soft and slow.

The evening deepens, and the gray
Folds closer earth and sky;
The world seems shrouded far away;
Its noises sleep, and I,
As secret as yon buried stream,
Plod dumbly on, and dream.

This is one of my favorite poems and I was introduced to it by the ethereal music of Loreena McKennit. Go HERE to hear this beautiful version accompanied by some beautiful images. I tried to embed the video, but apparently my computer doth protest too much!

Happy Thursday,
Jen

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Handmade Christmas This Year

Looks like it's going to be handmade Christmas this year. I don't mind at all. I usually end up making some of the gifts we give but this year we've decided to make them all. I found a wonderful caramel recipe from Mary Jane's Farm magazine (last December's issue I believe) and an Oreo truffle recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. I'll try and post the caramel recipe later. I'll definitely post pictures of the final product (unless I eat them all...must...not...eat...gifts!).

Here's a couple of boxes we hung on the wall. They're both from my mom. She always finds the most beautiful Christmas wrappings.

Ever since we got a table and chairs in the upstairs (or the Tower as I'm fond of calling it), Master Colby thinks it belongs to him. Here he is peaking at me, bleary eyed from one of the chairs. He likes to sit up there with me while work.

And speaking of work, it's so nice to have my own space to create and leave it all out, ready for me to use it again. Before we moved to the Manor, we lived in a garage and there was NO ROOM for anything, much less projects of the paper making kind. Here's a few sheets hanging in front of the bathroom mirror, drying. I plan to tie them in bunches of nine with lace and dried lavender. Lovely...

Last but not least, I think I promised a picture of the Christmas tree. It's kind of small, but here it is! I hope you can see it. It's such a wonderful tree.



I'll be cooking spaghetti tonight for a dear friend. She recently moved and I don't get to see her as much as I'd like. I hope you all have a wonderful week. Any of you making Christmas gifts this year? I'd love to hear about them! I'm making other things besides the truffles and caramels and paper. Stay tuned for more pictures!
Happy Wednesday,
Jen


Monday, December 7, 2009

The First Noel


"The First Noel is unknown in origin but is generally thought to be English dating back to the sixteenth century. There is a misconception that the First Noel was French and it is believed that this is because of the French spelling of Noel as opposed to the olde English Anglo-Saxon spelling of the word as in Nowell. After England was captured by the Normans numerous words were adopted from the Norman French language and Noel was re-spelt as Nowell, early printed versions of this carol use the Nowell spelling. The First Noel was first published in 1833 when it appeared in "Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern," a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys." ~http://www.carols.org.uk/the_first_noel.htm


The First Noel, the Angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter's night that was so deep.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the East beyond them far
And to the earth it gave great light
And so it continued both day and night.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

And by the light of that same star
Three Wise men came from country far
To seek for a King was their intent
And to follow the star wherever it went.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

This star drew nigh to the northwest
O'er Bethlehem it took its rest
And there it did both Pause and stay
Right o'er the place where Jesus lay.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

Then entered in those Wise men three
Full reverently upon their knee
And offered there in His presence
Their gold and myrrh and frankincense.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made Heaven and earth of nought
And with his blood mankind has bought.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

I love Christmas music. In fact, I've been known to watch "White Christmas" in July and hum Silent Night as early as August (don't hate me!).

~Jen

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Time is Here

Last weekend we went and got our Christmas tree. It's a bit of a tradition in my family: after turkey, Christmas tree comes.

Friday morning dawned and I was giddy as a little girl. "Christmas tree day!" I sang as we cooked our normal weekend breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast.

Christmas tree farms are magical places. All those potential Christmas trees, waiting, drinking in earth and water. Watching as each person strolls by, puffing out their branches, straightening their trunks, wafting their intoxicating scent. "Pick me!" They cry in unison. "I'll look the best in that corner!" "I'll shine best with your lights." "I'm the tallest!" "I'm the fattest!" On and on they call, on and on we walked...

It was Awesome Photographer Husband who pointed to him. Yes, him. All Christmas trees are male. I do not know how I know this, I just do. I always have. He stood there, proud and tall. His top leaned to the left, there was a bare patch on his right. I looked up, smiled. "He's perfect!"

We had to saw off half of his bottom branches, but finally he was fitted into his tree stand, cool water filled to the rim. Twinkling stars on green cord went round him, round and round from bottom to top. Then the ornaments, bits and baubles we've collected for five years, a few from when I was a bachelorette, fewer still from when I was a child. Candy canes and owls, snowmen and clear, glass bubbles. A gingerbread man who looks as if he's about to fly away; a Santa that looks less than jolly.

The extra branches were placed here and there. In a stocking with some ornaments...




...around a dish, a make-shift wreath, all glimmering blue and silver and sparkling candle light.


Even the tables were decorated, glass balls in vintage bottles, the Christmas magazines pulled from the shelves...


Several branches were put around a nativity in the window, plastic icicles woven in between the branches. A bouquet of glittering silk flowers and a Father Christmas round things out.


We decked the walls and the old record player, vintage bottles standing sentinels amongst the greenery...



The smell of pine needles and lit candles danced in our noses and sugar cookies baked in the oven. I love Christmas tree day. I always have. And I always will.

Happy Season of Christmas,
Jen
PS: I'll post some pictures of the decorated tree soon. My camera won't take a good picture of it without a flash and the flash blows everything out! I'll have to get APH to send me one of his :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Excuses, excuses

Hello dear bloggy friends!

I do apologize for missing my usual Tuesday post, but I had a bit of an adventure on my way to tea. I do hope you will drop by and read about what happened yesterday. All I wanted was to find my lost fur (the one Bogart gave me) and I ended up in an enchanted wardrobe. The first part of the adventure can be read here, the conclusion can be found here. It was quite an exciting few hours, but I made it safe and sound to Mr. Toast's tea.

I trust your Thanksgiving's were wonderful (for those of you who celebrated) and your weekends were grand :)

Ciao,
Jen

PS: what is it about a simple tea party that can cause so many adventures? curious...