Thursday, November 29, 2018

Over-the-top Decorations

We had the decorating all done by Wednesday! The photos will look pretty much like the previous years, since just about everything has its place. Only the tree ornaments get changed around, just a little bit. 

There is a story to almost everything.  It would be too long of a post to tell them, so I'll just mention a few that I might not have told before. 

The Santa collection is up in the family room.

 The mantel Santas were all hand made by a teacher friend. 

Santas from a farm town in New York, Germany, and Whidbey Island. 
 My great grandmother's kitchen clock has an appropriately themed Santa. 
 A Santa sits on the top of the tree, which is laden with about 45 years of collecting. 
 Krampus is a more recent addition. 
 There are birds and Santas and pigs and horses, and felt ornaments I made long ago when Jill was a toddler. 
 Fruits and vegetables are a more recent collection too.

 One of the cone wreaths Tom made a while back.
 The Travel Tree, which we inaugurated last year. 
 There are tiny flags for every state and country we have traveled in. 

The kitchen beams are decked with felt gingerbread men and fabric ornaments I made when we first moved into this house, 40 years ago.
This pair of glass ornaments, a gazebo and a greenhouse, were gifts from one of our teacher friends. 

The dining room is very Scandinavian. 

 The garland on the beam displays vintage ornaments. 

There's a lot of stuff, but for one month out of the year, we love it!
Since the decorating job was done faster than I expected, Thursday I started on my baking. I made fruit cake, and not only did the house look festive, it also smelled like Christmas. 

These cakes are by now wrapped in brandy soaked cheese cloth,  in plastic bags, and stored away for a few weeks. I started the first batch of cookies too. They have to freeze before slicing and baking. 

Life is good at the Reeder homestead. 

Early Christmas Present

We have been talking about it being time to replace our twenty year old recliners.  The rocker feature has squeaked for years. The fabric is worn. My chair is sort of lopsided.

We bought our old chairs from La-Z-Boy when they had a sale, two chairs for the price of one, when I had just returned to a certified teaching job after years working as a low paid classified employee. It was our first splurge. 

Now La-Z-Boy was having a Black Friday sale, that would last through Monday. By Monday afternoon we had time to go look. We knew when we left home that we were prepared to make a purchase.  And we did.

Tom picked the new chairs up in our van Tuesday morning. He brought grandson Isaac over Tuesday afternoon to help move the new chairs in and load the old chairs in the van. We'll see if we can donate them anywhere.

Our old chairs were beige. This time we went for color. They are "Luscious Burgundy". :-)
We have been enjoying our evening TV time in comfort in our new chairs.

Merry Christmas to us!

PS - Goodwill took our old chairs!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Fun Sewing Projects

When the weather gets cold and rainy here, it's good to have a few projects to keep me busy once in a while.

A month or so ago I went through my fabric scrap box and laid out some potential projects. I bought a few small pieces of additional yardage for two of them, and then designed some table toppers using what I had. 

This autumnal table runner has been in the dining room since I finished it a while back. 
 My design engineering was all off, and it turned out bigger than planned. It seems I forgot more about piecing than I remembered, but I learned from my mistakes. 

Then I started on a design for a Christmas table topper and two place mats. That went better now that I knew what I was doing. 

I am not a speedy seamstress, and I work on these projects a little here and a little there. That's their purpose. It was a fun project, playing with what I had.

 I actually hand stitched the binding on this table topper, like good quilters are supposed to, but my hands were hurting when I finished just this one, so on all the rest I just top stitched the bindings by machine. 
That dark green fabric prominent in both projects is a three yard piece that I found in an antique shop in Garibaldi on the Oregon Coast. It cost me $8, and it is good quality. I used it for the backing and binding of all of these pieces, and I still have a chunk left. Everything else was selected to match that. 

Now my sewing is cleaned up and put away until after Christmas. Decorating and baking will fill my time these next two weeks, and then I am hosting two events here that will need my attention. 

'Tis the season. 

Monday, November 26, 2018


Rain is on the way, days of rain, so Tom had to take advantage of this dry weekend to get the outside lights up.

He always starts with the house lights.
 While he was doing that on Saturday, I started on the inside, getting all of the pottery collection packed up and stored, and all of the autumn decorations put away. Table tops are cleared off and shelves are dusted, in preparation for bringing out the Christmas decorations. 

We had a dilemma about putting lights in the front yard. It seems that in doing our front garden remodeling this year we got rid of most of the bushes we usually put lights on. Then there were the lights that no longer functioned. So we were off Sunday morning to Home Depot to add a bit to our display.  
 Now lights are in different places and we added two new spiral trees and some sparkly packages. 
 Tom got everything out and up and lit.

While he was doing that, I worked in the garage making two more wreaths.  Our Thanksgiving day wreath is up by the front door.
 This all natural wreath is for Jake, since he is more of a purist. Actually this is a first for him, but I made it because I overheard him being sarcastic with his cousins at Thanksgiving. He is not much of a holiday sort, and when one of his cousins said he needed to get into the holiday spirit and he knew we had been making wreaths out in the shop, he said, " Maybe I would if I had a wreath for my door."  So now he will. We'll see if it helps. 
This one is for Jill and the kids. I know they are in the holiday spirit. They put their tree up today.
Our tree is a ways down the list, but the decorating should be done here by Friday, and yes, that includes the Santa collection. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

A Family Thanksgiving

Since Jill and the kids go to Colorado to join the other grandparents and aunts and cousins for Thanksgiving, we asked to be included in my sister Laurie's family Thanksgiving.

With three adult kids and their spouses and seven grandchildren, Laurie and Arnold have a houseful. Tom, Jake, and I blended right in. 

Laurie had three tables, all beautifully set.

 Arnold carved the turkey.
 There were lots of wonderful side dishes. I took a little bit of everything. 
 There are no photos of all of us eating, but while I wasn't looking all that turkey disappeared. Fortunately there was another, smaller turkey for left overs. Laurie's sons and son-in-law did all of the dishes and Ben took care all of the leftovers. They were wonderful. 

Then the guys retired to the sun room to watch football and nap. 

 The girls, and Tom, who likes this better than football, retired to the shop for a wreath making workshop. 

 I finally got a photo of our host, Laurie, there on the right, with two of her granddaughters.
 Daughter-in-law Ericka is there on the right, across from her daughter. 
 Katie and her daughters were really into their wreath making. 
Tom was my assistant, and I appreciated his help. Here's our wreath. I put the bow on after we got it home. 
 Then we all came back together for pie, and other homemade desserts. 

We had a dark, rainy drive home, but it was worth it to have such a warm, loving, and fun family Thanksgiving. Thank you, Laurie and Arnold, for allowing us to be a part of it, and for all of the work you put into making this good day happen.