Friday, December 24, 2010

My Christmas Prayer

I'm saying special prayers for everyone I know tonight. A little Angel told me that Jesus is listening and is sending answers...we only have to open our hearts and our minds to them. May you all be blessed with love and happiness and a fullness in your heart that is like nothing you've ever known. Amen.

Read anything good lately?

I've joked about this for quite some my kids would not let me read the Twilight Series of books. Well I've asked my daughter about the movies and she said that she watched the first one with her girlfriends back in South Dakota and that it sucked. I asked her what sucked about it- the more she hemmed and hawed about it I knew that it had more to do with her friends attitudes towards the male actors than anything else. So, while she was still in school I happened to watch the first movie- Twilight and LOVED it!
As it is, in a 2 week time span I've managed to read all 4 books in the Twilight Series and have seen the first 3 movies. The last time I read books so fast was when I was reading, well lets just say that I'm all over these books as I was with J.K. Rowling and her series of Harry Potter books! These novels are a terrific read, the author knew how to keep her readers hooked and how to draw new ones in! Thank you Stephanie Meyer for keeping me entertained over the 2010 Christmas Holiday school break!

Visiting the German Christmas Market

After being stuck at home for several day because of snow I finally was able to get us out of the house and off to Birmingham to visit the Frankfurt Christmas Market. It was a cold day 30º (22º with the windchill). We stayed as long as we could tough it out and in the end it was our Hannah who could no longer take the cold. We or should I be saying "I" bought a few things that were different and very unique.

Apparently this Christmas market happens every year in the city of Birmingham. parking garages are quite close and I highly recommend parking in one as the prices for parking on the street and twice as much! This Christmas market IS something that "I" would come back to see and shop at year after year.

Our son Andrew is home for the holiday and he brought his girlfriend Tamora. It's nice to see them together and better yet, to see him happy. They enjoyed the Christmas market but they too became chilled to the bone. Apparently I was the only one that wasn't freezing - I have no idea how that occurred as it's usually me that complains about becoming a Popsicle.
There were many wonderful things available at the market- from beautiful table linens, hand knitted woollen hats, scarves and mittens, wooden toys, Christmas ornaments, ceramics, clothing,German wines and foods and well there's more than I can recall right now. It's really worth taking your family to see and experience this event.

quote of the day

Christmas is, of course, the time to be home - in heart as well as body.
-Garry Moore

Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas.
-Dale Evans

Christmas... is not an eternal event at all, but a piece of one's home that one carries in one's heart.
-Freya Stark

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.
-Roy L. Smith

I don't think Christmas is necessarily about things. It's about being good to one another, it's about the Christian ethic, it's about kindness.
-Carrie Fisher

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
-Charles Dickens

Thursday, December 23, 2010

German Christmas Market

I love Christmas Time! Here in England they have this wonderful Christmas Market thing that is set up various cities throughout the country. Today I am off to embark on an adventure to visit one such city's German Christmas market. When I get back I hope to be able to go into detail about where we went, what we saw (and bought) all with pictures!

quote of the day

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
-Calvin Coolidge

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sinus Headache...

Need I say more?

quote of the day

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
--Albert Schweitzer

Sunday, December 19, 2010


So here it is, another snow day here in Bicester, England. If we were back in the USA we'd be driving on the roads and carrying on business like usual-but we're not. Everything here has come to a complete and total standstill. There are no snow plows to plow the roads and neighborhoods, heck most of the people on our street don't own a snow shovel. Take our newest neighbor- he doesn't own any kind of a shovel. He thought that it didn't snow here- he now realizes the errors of his ways, LOL! Through the kindness of others he will have his driveway and walkway cleared of ice and snow. We've gotten over 8 inches of this fluffy white stuff and it's going to be a while before we can be mobile again.

I love hearing the laughter of children and trust me with our big yard, it's full of children! I've been watching them playing in the snow, having snowball fights and of course it wouldn't be complete without a few snowmen being made and snow angels too!

For the most part, I enjoy snow days. Reminds me of when we lived in the Midwest when we would get 20 inches of snow or more and we'd but stuck inside for a few days. We've got board games, books, DVDs and the snow to entertain us. I feel sorry for our son's girlfriend because she came so far to see England and what she's seen is the airport, the drive home on the highway (at night) and our house.

This snow bound kind of weather brings out the baker in me. We've had scones, sticky buns and many other delights all because of the snow. Today I think that I will encourage our son and his girlfriend to make some chocolate chip cookies from scratch. To get them involved in something fun and mildly entertaining. To take their minds off of being "snow bound".

quote of the day

Airplane travel is nature's way of
making you look like your passport photo.
-Al Gore

Friday, December 17, 2010

Our Boy comes home today!

I think that pretty much says it all! He's been back in the States since July 26th. He is bringing his girlfriend on this trip. It's "her" first flight ever- so what does our son do? He takes her on a 9 hour flight, ooh that's brutal! But I hope that the flight goes well and that there aren't any delays.

Now to nail down that shopping list and pick up some groceries, get those stockings finished and get the guest room set up.

Loads to do and a limited amount of time to get it all done in. I'm one busy Elf today!

The Quilted Christmas Stocking Project

This is what happens when you have a sick child at home surfing the internet for crafting ideas (she is better now). My daughter has voiced (for a while now) how she doesn't like the idea that all of us had "different" Christmas Stockings. So this was the year she really made a fuss about it and well now they will all be of the same design but unique in the fact that they are done in different fabrics. Of course she saw something at one of these crafty websites but she didn't want felt, she wanted a quilted Christmas stocking and a big one at that! So we made our own pattern and got to work. Above you see the first of the finished stockings. Below you see the various prints that I cut stockings from, now to get them finished up.

I wanted to show you that everything is not as easy as it seems. Here is a close up view of the quilting process. I decided to quilt from the inside so have to do this upside down so to speak. Drawing the pattern to be quilted on the inside where it's easy to see.

I've a very busy elf to say the least! Now for me to finish the stockings today!

quote of the day

Every day holds the possibility of a miracle
~Elizabeth David

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'm still an Elf!

So I'm recovering from my injuries, it doesn't mean that I'm just hanging out sleeping all of the time (just most of it). I've managed to get out (to my doctors office) and deliver little cheesecakes The Airman that greets and checks you into the Med Clinic when you arrive, the poor soul who answers the phone when we make our appointments, the person who gets nothing but grief and gripes from us our Tri-Care Rep and the Doctor that sees us when we are in pain or puking our guts out. These are people who never to get see us at our best. I stand up and applaud every last one of them! I hope that they know how much they are appreciated by me and my family.

Now for the other part- I'm sewing and quilting our NEW Christmas stockings. With help from Hannah Elf I've been making some progress. I tried to load some pictures here buy alas my SD reader decided to be on the fritz! SO I will attempt to do this again later.

Now I'm off to get back to working in my Elves Workshop to finish the stockings before my son arrives tomorrow night.

I'm down but I'm not out

I know that I've not written since Friday but I've had a valid excuse (really I do). Here's my story...My husband and I went to the Comm Squadron Christmas party Friday Night. During the party there was a game of Scavenger hunt long story short I was the one to play from our table. IN the end it turned into Combat Scavenger Hunt and I was injured. Someone pulled the chair out from behind me as I was going to sit down- my head hit the stage, and my arms hit the floor. Long story short after seeing the doctor he was concerned about my ouches and sent me to be x-rayed. After being x-ray and thoroughly examined I do not have broken bones (thank the Lord) but do have torn muscles in my neck, and deep tissue damage to my right hand and torn tendons and deep tissue damage on my left hand and am wearing a brace (again). I'm on some serious muscle relaxers and when I take them, I am out for at least 8 solid hours. Now for the funny part, I might have broken my favorite wrist watch but at least I did win the game and got the goody basket- which consisted of spa bath goodies and a gift certificate to our local "spa" lady. Nice huh? Too bad that I can't have anyone touching me right now so no hour long Swedish back massage for me, I'll turn it into the ultimate pedicure instead, LOL! My feet are the only things that don't hurt right now.

quote of the day

A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often - just to save it from drying out completely.
-Pam Brown

Friday, December 10, 2010

Feeling the spirit of Christmas

There are so many nice little things to do for people during this time of year. I feel like an Elf when I go around with a bag full of my hand made treats, delivering them to unsuspecting souls.

Wednesday took us 100 miles away from here, to another US military installation (where our daughter has her orthodontics done). I brought my little hand made New York cheesecakes in for the Orthodontist and all of his staff. One Airmen got teary eyed and told me that it was the nicest thing any one had done for them (she almost got me crying).

Thursday I brought in a pan of my Fudge Brownies for my husbands office staff, When I left, all eyes were focused on those brownies :-) I'm sure that this morning that there's nothing but crumbs in place where those brownies were yesterday.

Now that brings me to today- Friday. I've got to get back to work on those quilted Christmas Stockings. I cut out fabrics for 9 stockings, cut out backing fabric for them all and now to cut out lining fabric, then the quilt batting and then the fabric for the top cuff. That's a lot of fabric to be cutting out, then I get the pleasure of sewing them all. Oh I must be insane to take on a task like this!

I need to power up with some more coffee before I go back Elf's work is never done!

quote of the day

At Christmas play and make good cheer,
For Christmas comes but once a year.
~Thomas Tusser

Thursday, December 09, 2010

quote of the day

At the worst, a house un-kept cannot be so distressing as a life un-lived.
~Dame Rose Macaulay

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Winter Frost

Spider webs look amazing when covered in a thick frost. And the sky is such a beautiful blue gray color..

Even my rose bushes were transformed into something rare and beautiful
I love this time of year...then again I like being inside in my nice cozy house drinking hot chocolate too!

quote of the day

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant:
if we did not sometimes taste of adversity,
prosperity would not be so welcome.
Anne Bradstreet (1612 - 1672)

Monday, December 06, 2010

Crafting is in our Blood

My daughter and I are very much the same when it comes to crafting- go to be doing it and want to see beautiful results. She's been sick this week and really sick over the weekend but she went to school today. Her motivation-there's a trip to Oxford and a sleep over that she doesn't want to miss out on. Oh yeah that's MY girl! So even with her being so sick over the weekend she still had things going through her mind...
Note to self- don't let sick child peruse through the internet looking at Christmas Craft sites.

My darling daughter decided that we ALL need NEW Christmas stockings. Apparently she didn't like the fact that we all had different ones. She wants them to have a "theme" and to be of the same size/design. I had her trace a stocking that we had and make it a ½ an inch bigger all around. There was my template for new stockings. Now to pick out fabric- thank goodness for my stash, although it's come to my attention that I don't have nearly as much red or green as I thought. Good thing I didn't need black as I only have 2 different pieces. We had our fabric picked out, now to cut out the stockings. I got that done as she supervised from the couch. Now today while she is at school I will cut out the fabric that will be used to line the stockings and the coordinating fabric that we will use for the cuffs. Meanwhile my husband is cracking up as I was getting a little flustered with the demands of our daughter. He looked at me and said "Oh Sandie, she's so much like you" Oh really I reply his reply "when you get an idea in your head you've got to make it NOW and there's no stopping you once you get started". I can see this in our daughter and I really do see it in myself- how funny!
So I'm about to start cutting our more fabric, hopefully I'll be able to get these all done up (cut, quilted and sewn together) before our son needs to be picked up at the airport next week.

quote of the day

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again
and expecting different results.
- Albert Einstein

Sunday, December 05, 2010

quote of the day

If you really do put a small value on upon yourself,
rest assured that the world will not raise your price.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Confessions of a British Pottery Addict

So what is it with me and British pottery? I can't seem to get enough of it! But I'm picky you see, I'm one of those purists...I refuse to buy a piece under the guise of "it was designed in Britain" (it's something that my girlfriends don't seem to understand).
Take Spode's Christmas Tree and Royal Albert's Old Country Roses patterns for example; all now being made in Indonesia and China but the companies are charging the same prices as if they were made in Britain. These patterns are those companies top sellers and they're being made where? The fact is that it's not the same- well it's not the same to me anyway. Even when shopping for my beloved Portmeirion Botanic Garden pieces I have to turn the item over and look where it was made. I have made the mistake of thinking that all of it was still made here in the UK- which is not true. I have 3 pieces that were made in China (no joke) they are the pierced cake plate, the set of 4 measuring cups and the multi purpose jar. I had bought these before I had realized that not all Portmeirion pieces are made here in Britain. Alas, as it is, this is something that seems to only matter to me. But with so many things that have been made in China these days that are recalled because of lead content makes me wonder how some of the world's finest pottery companies are turning to the "Made in China" label on their pottery pieces.

What can I say, I'm a purist. I want my British Pottery and Bone China to be made in Britain and I make no apologies for it. I've gone to the extreme to get my "Made in England" pieces, spending many hours sifting through dusty antique stores, browsing crowded charity shops and every now and then I go to eBay UK. I'm happy with what I've bought and the great memories of my "treasure hunting" experiences will be with me for a lifetime!

I ♥ Bicester!

I can say it, I'm going to miss living in Bicester England. This little town is the perfect spot for us- not too close to London or Oxford but also that it's not so big as to not have a "home town" feel to it. My most favorite place to go is to Sheep Street- the shopping district. To grab a pastry and a cuppa at Nash's or some coffee with a friend at Costa. Grab a quick bite to eat at the local chippie, pick up my dry cleaning from Bicester Dry Cleaners on the corner and take home a bouquet of flowers from the local florist a couple of doors down from there. Bicester is beautifully situated and I wouldn't change it for the world!

quote of the day

A true friend is one who walks in
when the rest of the world walks out.
-Walter Winchell

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow let it snow

The things I love about winter..

Mittens, Hats and Scarves

Warm Sweaters

Hot Chocolate

Baked Apples

Hot Apple Cider

Snow Days

Wool Coats

Thermal Underwear

Home-made Breads and Soups

Snow Boots and Wellies

Wool Coats

Heated Car Seats

Cinnamon & Vanilla Scented Candles


Hot Apple Pie

quote of the day

Only the mediocre are always at their best.
- Jean Giraudoux
this quote had me snickering this morning