Monday, December 9, 2013

Grandma's Playing with Winterberry, Elves and Vintage Stuff

  I found winterberry growing  in Julie's back yard, when I was cutting the bittersweet last month, and now that  we've discarded that, it's time to bring in some Christmas greenery and berrries.  You can find quite a few plants growing right  in your own yard to make arrangements, garlands, and wreaths.

Ilex  Verticillata   This is how winterberry looks in fall, before the leaves drop.
I's a shrub  which grows on the edge of Julie's woods. In summer it has small white flowers.

 Winterberry, is a native holly, and a source of food for overwintering birds and small mammals
The bright red berries last all winter and look great in Christmas arrangements.

Frosted winterberry- It's snowing today!

My little elf tasting snowflakes.

Frosted Juniper berries

"Burning Bush" berries

Back inside, it's nice to warm up after a romp in the snow.
I didn't put the berries on the mantle,  because if they drop, I am afraid
 of Tommy eating them.
 So I just put a few branches on a platter at the table for a few days, and I can cut
 fresh ones as needed, and take the wilted ones outside for the birds on the patio.

We're having fun pretending that the elf  is spying on us,
 and having lots of discussions about being a good little boy since 
 our elf is reporting back to Santa!  it's helping a lot, along with bribing 
more time outside in the snow later,  if  we behave. 
 I love watching Tommy as he finds  "Buddy" each morning. 

         Christmas is such a fantastic opportunity to share with a youngster all about the meaning
 of Christmas.    I've love telling the Christmas story of Jesus' birth through  glorious carols and
 festive music,  story books, and TV specials.
 The magic of Christmas and Santa Claus teaches about sharing, giving and believing- in fun ways.
 We're having such an exciting time with all the holiday decorations, preparations and our family
 traditions,  and  I love seeing it all  through the eyes of this precious child.

        He wasn't one bit  afraid of Santa, like last year!  He's grown up so much in one year!

 He plays hard, jumps, runs and climbs - in constant motion.

 Right now, when I'm not busy with grandkids, I am working hard putting up decorations
for my clients, or working on my Etsy store and shipping orders!
I've been a  busy little elf listing many vintage goodies on my shop,
 for Christmas decorating and entertaining.
 There's just enough time to order my Christmas vintage stuff, if it is to arrive in time.
Vintage linens are popular in my Etsy shop, so are figurines.

                                                           Christmas Apron



I've been very busy listing great gift items as well!

 For a train collector, A hearty  train mug and some old train curtains

 A Hummel Candy Dish, " Let's Sing"

And songbooks.  A Christmas Guitar Book

I still dream of having a store one day.  I sure wish you could stop by  and have tea with me and talk about vintage goodness, how to use it throughout your home!
reading A Christmas Annual, from the year I was born,  and having a treat on my pretty china plates

  Speaking  of tea and "vintage goodness", I saw a friend at her booth on Saturday,
 and she has lovely handcrafted " feminine frills"   that you must see!

May I introduce Kathryn Ross, of  The Writer'sReverie. a  most delightful blog!

 Cameo Impressions
Her Etsy  shop,  Cameo Impressions has lovely hair accessories
 and  fancy Victorian-style tree ornaments.

        I hope you'll consider giving vintage and lovingly handcrafted gifts when you are
  Christmas shopping.
        It's fun to find good things that are repurposed, that have a story,
 or are  specially handmade, one-of a kind gifts.
        It's good to support small business, and Etsy is the place to find all that!
        Visit my Etsy shop,
         Have a good, old-fashioned vintagey Christmas!

   I hope you and your family are  richly blessed this Christmas season
                                                                                      with love, peace and joy!
Love, Linda

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Julie's mantle, decorated with Grandma's candlesticks, and bittersweet from the woods out back.
I found this bittersweet vine in the woody area back of Julie's yard.  I love it, and I cut it and brought it in and placed it all over the place, around pumpkins, in vases, on the mantle!
 But then I got concerned when I did my research, because there is Oriental Bittersweet, which is invasive and kills trees, a real nuisance according to the FDA, "a prohibited  noxious weed.that should be eradicated!
 Then there is American Bittersweet, which is endangered!  But they are hybridizing, and they are hard to tell apart!
 I hope I have the good kind!  I love decorating with natural things I find right outdoors. But I don't want to spread it, so I must bag it up when I dispose of it, since composting it will spread the seeds.
 Bittersweet-  to think that something so lovely may be a problem.

"Life at best is bittersweet"  Jack Kirby

American Bittersweet,  Celastrus Scandens  or is it Oriental Bittersweet, Celastrus Obiculatus

See how huge the vines are?
 They strangle the trees and make them top-heavy and susceptible to wind damage.
Most of it was really up high and I wondered how I could get it, then I found a low bush full of it.

Bittersweet- how the days come and go so quickly,
 new day so full of hope, but yesterday's sadly gone.

"Every day is a fresh beginning 
Every morn is the world made new."
Sarah Chauncey Woolsey

Grandson Gary having a cuppa,  as he walks to his schoolbus.
Little Tommy calls his big cousin "Superman" ! 
 I guess he is!   He gets all A's, works at Burger King,
 and  was just inducted into the National Honor Society.  
 I love seeing Gary off to school.It's so early, and being a teenager,
he sometimes doesn't respond to me fussing over him,
  but I know he still needs a little kindness and encouragement.
I don't hover,  I just say, " I love you! Have a great day, Gary!"
 Ya know, it is bittersweet seeing him grow up and realizing his childhood is nearly over,
being scared for him going out into this  dangerous, troubled world,
 but it's also wonderful to see him growing into a strong and  independent young man.
 and  it's a joy watching him plan his bright future. 

 yes, I'm a copycat!   Acorns!
 I got silly and painted some acorns because I saw them on Rhoda's  beautiful blog post.
Then I  found a legend of Lucky Acorns in a  Victorian Trading Company catalog
 and  hand-printed it to display with my acorns.
Lucky Acorns
".......believed to attract the opposite gender, increase income, etc.....
attributed for soul immortality and longevity, youthfulness,fertility and good health"
 I am not superstitious at all, but just find this folklore fun and fascinating.

More playfulness!   I made play dough for Thomas, something I've wanted
 to do for a long time. I got the recipe online.
There are many versions, this is a composite, and it turned out great!

 1/2 cup salt
2 Tbsp. Cream of Tartar
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Combine in  saucepan and heat until warm.
Stir in 2 cups flour
 Then mix well and knead until smooth. 

 Separate into small balls of dough, for
as many colors as you want, and add a
few drops food color then knead some more.

This is non-toxic, completely safe and keeps for 60 days.
Store in sealed containers or bags.

 I couldn't find the food color at my daughter's house,
so I used my acrylic craft  paint and got really vivid colors. 
 It was not too messy and Tommy really enjoyed it. 
I had a nice marble counter top to knead it on, 
and before I told him,  he knew it was for him to play with. 

Cheap fun!  Playing together enriches our lives I think he is learning something too,
when he tries to make things.
 It's good working with his hands and using his imagination, learning shapes and colors.

"When we treat children's play as seriously as it deserves,
 we are helping them feel the joy that's to be found in the
 creative spirit.   It's the things we play with and the people 
who help us play that make a difference in our lives."
                                                                       --Fred Rogers

     Don't be afraid of messes, 
    just have fun with your Grandbabies,
      they grow up so fast!   

Love, Linda