Saturday, December 24, 2011

Bethlehem Dinner; A 32 Year Old Family Tradition

We have been holding Bethlehem Dinner for 32 years.  It all started as a part of the Preschool Co-op program I used with my oldest two daughters, who are now 36 and 37.  We dressed up as characters in the "Nativity Play" and pretended we were eating dinner at the Inn in Bethlehem.  Most of my Children have had a chance to be "Baby Jesus" and then have grown up with this tradition.

This year was Sam's first time to attend (Far Left) and he got right into the spirit of things.  Spencer, Eva, Ben and my husband Scott finish off this group.

Not everyone dresses up these days, as you can see.  My son Ben, bottom far right shows off his token participation with a headband.
The table is set and read for dinner.  We eat off of wooden plates, with our fingers, and drink "new wine" (grape juice) from wooden goblets.

We try to choose foods that we think would have been eaten in Bethlehem in the meridian of time.  The menu includes long roasted 'fatted calf", round loaves of bread, which we tear and dip in olive oil, grapes, pomegranate, white cheeses and grape juice that we refer to as 'new wine'.  My son Spencer, thought that to be authentic we needed fish, so he added sardines to the menu for the first time. He has missed two Bethlehem dinners and were thrilled to have him join us this year.
Emily, in character as Mary, made three loaves of bread for the feast.  One of her quippy siblings, said it was hardly fair for 'Mary' to make the bread for the Inn and then to be refused space within.

After our dinner, we read the story of the first nativity from Luke, had a manger scene, and then sang Christmas carols.  Sam and Emily are shown here with their 3 month old daughter, Becki.

We were very crowded at the table this year, and when I suggested that maybe next year we should add a table to the 'Inn', one of the kids said they thought having so many crowded around the table made it feel like the crowded Inn in which Mary and Joseph were refused accommodations. 

Well, one table or two, I think this tradition will live on, thanks to the supportive people my children are choosing for spouses.  I love them all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Decor Tour - 3 Friends = 3 Styles

This week I got to do one of my favorite holiday things, I got to go and see my friends' Christmas decor! 

The first stop on the decor tour is my friend Wendy's house.  I love her iron fence all year, but at Christmas its at its best.

Next is her collection of 1950's paper mache Santa boots.  Pretty cute, don't you think?

Next is her collection of 1950's commercially produced kitsch Christmas stockings.

Last of all is her three tiered Christmas scene.

Now we are off to Michelle's.  She is a serious crafter and always has something fun to see.

She collects Nativities too.  Its always nice to see her latest additions.  Here are a couple of shelves worth.  A few years ago I adored her glittery silhouette nativity, and she gave me one.  I still love it.

Below are three of the crafted paper ornaments she has on her family room tree.  The tree is full of them and they are all charming, but these are three of my favorites.

Did you notice a change, when you look at the three pics above, but don't remember having put on your rose colored glasses, well that is because you are now at Stacy's.  I know the center pic isn't really Christmasy, but I was charmed by how she has adorned her mirror.

I love the display on her entry table, so classic!

And last of all is Stacy's magical white tree with pink, white and silver ornaments.  Its ever so charming.

Thanks for coming along and enjoying the Christmas decor tour.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Junk Market Style Junk Swap Time!! Woo Hoo!

I was feeling braver than usual last month and signed on with Junk Market Style's on line magazine for their Junk Swap!  They pair you with another JMS follower and you ask each other a few questions and sort through your own junk in quest of items
you hope they will love.  To the right are the items I gathered for a seamstress named Linda with funky style who lives in Washington state, but who has never been to Farm Chicks (yet).  We have an appointment to meet there next year!!  To the far right of this picture is some
pink chenille, which she particular favors, along with other vintage trims and fabrics.  I included a whole tin of buttons, as she loves those, though I know that a button is NOT a button when it comes to collecting, so I hope there are one or two that she will love.  Other items include vintage Mercury glass garland in greens and blues see above, a vintage clay faced Santa pick. metal rosettes, and a Christmas book that I just finished and loved. There are also little jars of game pieces, and other goodies.  I sent it off a couple of weeks ago and then ....
last Friday I received this box.  I was in the process of getting ready for my Austen Tea and didn't have time to really savor it, so it sat on a chair in the kitchen smiling and beckoning to me all day.

After doing my basic chores on Saturday I sat down to the dining room table and started to unload a very, very heavy box.  Linda had looked at my blog and was pretty much spot on in choosing goodies for me.  Jewelry bits for my reinvented jewelry, fun papers for my
 altered art and smash books, knobs and finials for my reinvented furniture items, and even fun vintage silver plate flat ware items, that I don't even know how she could know that I collect.  What an adventure it was to open this 'chest of treasures'.  I can't wait to put

 some of these goodies together  reinvention style.  I will post the outcome at a later date. Of course the absolute most wonderful piece that Linda sent me was a stove or furnace door, shown in the last picture.  What an amazing bit of art it is.  I have already talked to my husband about ways to turn it into a shelf.  Isn't it just amazing?  Thanks so much Linda for your intuition and generosity.  I am looking forward to meeting you next summer.  Thanks so much for signing on for the JMS Junk Swap.  The rest of you may want to subscribe to on line posts at JMS, they have lots of fun ideas on line and then you will be ready to jump on board for the junk swap next year!!  Thanks for coming along!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Celebrating Jane Austen's Birthday with JASNA-UT

This past week, on Jane Austen's 236th birthday the Jane Austen Society of North America, Utah Chapter, hosted a tea in her honor commemorating the 200th year since her first book, Sense and Sensibility was printed.

The tea was held at my historic  home in Payson, Utah where we all sat down amidst antique furniture, some of it English, and partook of a somewhat traditional English Tea, including cucumber sandwiches, crumpets, marmelaide and clotted cream.

We enjoyed a presentation by a fellow member, Elaine Carlson, in which she talked about and showed us her 1/2 size replica of Jane Austen's personal quilt, put together with her mother and sister, and currently on display at Chawton.
Aspen Anderson, the president of our chapter, and my friend Paulette browse through the folder provided by Elaine with notes and pictures about the development of quilting in England.
Ann, another of my friends who visited out group, is shown with the book she won in our raffle.  The book is Second Impressions, by Sandy Lerner.  It is being billed as the first really historically correct sequel to Pride and Prejudice. We can't wait to read it.

Last of all we had a discussion about Sense and Sensibility.  It was fun to have everyone share their favorite parts.  We even discussed which we considered to be the best movie adaptations.
Sharee, who was been a member even before we had a chapter in Utah, brought along her copy of Sense and Sensibility so that she could share her favorite bits.
The tea party was delightful, we all learned a lot about English quilts in general and Jane Austen's quilt in particular.  Our next event will be a Regency Ball that will occur in Salt Lake City the weekend before Valentines Day, an event not to be missed.

"It is such a happiness when good people get together - and they always do." -Jane Austen, Emma

I'll have a Pink Christmas with You!! (Instead of a Blue One Without You!)

 I expanded my Christmas pinkness this year, by making this Joyeux Noel Pennant banner.  I used antique tinsel garland to suspend it and wrapped that in a stand of pink mercury glass beads.

Then I found the cute pink and white snowman shown above and decided to do the whole mantle pink and white.  The pink antique ornaments wreath and the white tree with pink ornaments have festooned this mantle for three years.

This is a close up of the pink and silver ornaments in the huge pedestal punch bowl.  I ended up with almost a hundred silver ornaments, by accident, after filling my kitchen sink with hot soapy water to wash off several old dusty, but colorful ornaments, oops, the paint comes off very easily and then I had lots of silver ornaments.  I added several pink ones I had in my collection and filled the punch bowl for a center piece with lots of, well, punch!!

Vintage Christmas and Coffee Filter Wreath

 Just a quick post to show you my fun red and white Christmas wreath.  I was having a tea party on Friday and still had no wreath on my door.  So on Thursday morning I grabbed a bunch of odds and ends of vintage Christmas items, and assorted craft goodies, including a Styrofoam wreath...  This is how it turned out.  The centers of the vintage red bulb reflectors, turned flowers are the old caps off of bottles of eggnog.  I also scattered some small vintage red ornaments that had the same red sheen as the reflectors.  I used a glue gun to attach the coffee filter ruffles, then the 'flowers'  and last of all added a big red and white bow and voila'  !!