Sunday 30 November 2014

Welcome December

 Happy December,  and happy Advent to all who keep this special time of reflection and preparation.
I'm rereading The Purpose of Christmas by Rick Warren to help myself be more thought full in what can be a busy month.

We got out the Advent wreath that has sat on our kitchen table during Advent for many years. I don't have the "right" colour of candles but these will do fine.  Nancy, I hope you notice that under the wreath is the lovely Christmassy table topper that you made for me.

I found three more Christmas brooches ( pins) to pin on my Christmas cushion. The one in the lower left corner is not a Christmas one and will be replaced once I find what I'm looking for ( at a price I will pay. These last three were a dollar each).

              I covered the couch with the Christmas throw  and placed the cushion on it.

I hope you've had a restful Sunday.  Ours was a special day.... our 51st anniversary!  We celebrated very quietly.   Now on to the new week and new month!!

                  Granny Marigold

Thursday 27 November 2014

Decorating for Christmas

I have finished decorating the house for Christmas, all that's left is to set up the various Nativity sets on Saturday  ( Sunday being the first day of Advent). The grandchildren will be in charge of this operation.  Last year the little man was 4 and the set he was responsible for had Joseph replaced by one of the wise men and a sheep up on a ladder. This year should be more conventional ( but not nearly as amusing).

I'm sorry about the wonky angle in this photo. I'm not much of a photographer I'm afraid.
This cupboard in the dining room is usually full of cups and saucers. Now assorted Santas have displaced them.
                                   Another off-level pic of the same cupboard.

   Two Christmas craft  fairs to go to this weekend...that should prove to be fun. Also a Christmas choir to go listen to Saturday evening.  I hope you are having a great week, especially those of you who are celebrating Thanksgiving now.  Blessings,  Granny Marigold

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Something told the Wild Geese....

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go;
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered, - 'snow'.
Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned, - 'frost'.

All the sagging orchards
Steamed with amber spice,
But each wild breast stiffened
At remembered ice.

Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly -
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry. 

I thought of this poem this morning on my walk as hundreds of geese flew overhead. I just stood and was amazed.  Some had spent the night on the lake and after a very noisy discussion a number of geese would take off followed by more honking and more taking off.  By the time I finished my walk all the geese were gone.
  Now it's raining and I plan on baking Chocolate chip cookies before putting a ham in the oven to bake for supper. That's my day. How about yours?


Sunday 23 November 2014

Bits and Pieces

Bits and pieces of china, that is.

I recently bought these three small cups and saucers ( demi-tasses?) at a thrift store. You can see in the next pic how they look next to a full sized cup.

Incidentally, did you notice that the saucer and cup don't match?  I thought they were close enough to be paired together since both were 'singles'.

    I've often mentioned my love of tea cups but I also collect mugs. Here are some of them.

        These next two pics are of my 10 ounce mugs for when I'm really wanting tea!!

     The pretty multi-flowered one on the right is Royal Albert Lady Carlyle Afternoon Tea II.

The middle mug below is also Royal Albert, part of the Bronte Sisters collection. This one is "Emily".
The one with Pansies is just marked  Canadian design Floral Capilano then under that is the name Valerie Pfieffer. That's the one I'm using today for my Earl Grey.

The sun is shining here today but it's anything but warm out. A good day to do more Christmas decorating.  
  For several days I've been carrying my phone around anxiously waiting for news of my nephew and his wife's first baby. Today at last the little guy made his debut. We are all so thankful. 
                  Granny Marigold

Friday 21 November 2014

More Baking

It's such a rainy day, perfect for some baking. I have had a package of Puff  Pastry in the freezer forever and today was the day to use it. My sister told me she had used puff pastry to make butter tarts with great results. ( Both my sisters are fantastic bakers but the requisite gene missed me). So my butter tarts are a little disappointing. I don't know what I failed to do but in any case they are edible.

 I didn't have enough raisin filling so I put chopped almonds in some and  then in the last three I put chopped chocolate bars left over from Halloween.

The ones with the chocolate really cooked over but I think the grandchildren will love them.

Another boxed mix I've had for a long time was a Duncan Hines carrot cake mix. When I looked at the dry mixture I couldn't see any carrots to speak of so added 2 cups of grated carrots and some dried cranberries in addition to the required ingredients. I think they'll be pretty good, especially with cream cheese icing, don't you think so?

So that's what I've been doing today. I hope you're having a productive Friday.

                  GRANNY MARIGOLD

Thursday 20 November 2014

Fruit Cake Recipe

I used to make several fruit cakes each year but the children don't care that much for it and the grandchildren won't even try it so I was looking for a recipe that made one not too large cake. I found a recipe that I thought would do and tried it last week. It was delicious ( only half made it to the freezer! That's how delicious it tasted).  Now I want to make it again making a few more changes. The first recipe I made using chopped Brazil nuts and dark chocolate. This time I intend to use hazelnuts and my DH has requested less chocolate ( actually he wants NO chocolate but since I'm making it as much for myself it will have chocolate but I'll use milk chocolate instead).  It makes one loaf pan sized cake.


2 cups candied fruit or cherries or any combination thereof ( could use chopped dried apricots too)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chocolate   either choc. chips or chopped semi-sweet (or dark)
6 Tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup either orange juice or rum or whatever you want ( that's the way my recipes go!)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts of your choice
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Lightly coat a 9X5 loaf pan with cooking spray then line the bottom with parchment.
( I cut my parchment long enough to stick out the sides to make it easier to remove when done.)

In a bowl combine fruit, nuts raisins, and chocolate and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and both sugars until nice and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating just enough to combine. Stir in orange juice or whatever liquid you're using.
Add dry ingredients and stir well then last add the fruit/nuts that you set aside earlier.
Spoon into prepared pan and bake about 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Depending on your oven it might take longer. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then tip it out and cool completely on a rack.  

If you try this recipe be sure to tell me if you were happy with the results and if you make changes that improved it, well, I'd love to hear about them. I really like no-fail type recipes that I can tinker with and yet have them turn out.


Tuesday 18 November 2014

Chilly Days

It has been a cold week with frost every night. Any flowers or/plants that still were looking nice are now drooping  and dead. Time to make the indoors look bright and cheerful.
The white tree in the living room is up and I'm glad we got this slim tree because that's all the room there is. It's very tall and the angel on top almost touches the ceiling.

I hung the Christmas garland that I made last year using some of my favourite cards that we received.  I found the beaded string garland and it drapes perfectly in front of the cards.
 The six-footers in the family will have to be careful when walking under this or the whole thing will come down!!

Here's the arrangement I made with the greens and holly I gathered. I hope I remember to keep it watered!

I hope your week is going along smoothly.  

               Granny Marigold

Saturday 15 November 2014

Thinking of Christmas?

Our chilly, wintery weather has me thinking ahead to Christmas. I think looking forward to and getting ready for the Christmas season is a big part of the enjoyment we feel. Of course it's very different from the days when our children were small. Those days were so filled with their anticipation!   Everything was magical when seen through their eyes.

We've quit exchanging gifts between the adults ( except maybe small, token things). I think garage sales really opened my eyes to all the unwanted gifts that people receive and end up selling come next summer.  All those carefully chosen presents that were not needed nor wanted.
Of course the younger ones still get lots of gifts and are thoroughly spoiled ( in a good way).

I do love to decorate my house for the seasons and I have put away all reminders of Autumn and begun the Christmas/ winter theme. Our across-the-street neighbour is having a big old Holly tree cut down and my DH went over and salvaged a number of lovely ( and prickly) branches.  I brought back some greens while on my walk, I think they may be Juniper. Smells so wonderful! So those plus a few bits of another kind of pine have made a fairly nice arrangement in an shiny oval tin that has what I think are pine cones on the sides.   I have hung a Christmas banner in the dining room ( picture will appear one of these days).  So....are you getting in the mood to start decorating for Christmas?

I'm always happy to see that comments have been left.

                                 Granny Marigold

Wednesday 12 November 2014

This and That

We've had a few days of very gusty and cold North East wind. I decided to walk in spite of it this morning but I'd forgotten how the wind makes one's eyes water and nose run!!  I gathered a few evergreen branchlets in the park and will make an arrangement of them once I have enough. I have the perfect oval tin container that I picked up this past year ( at a garage sale, of course).

My Thanksgiving and my Christmas Cactus have decided
to bloom at the same time this year.  You can just barely
 see the Christmas one nearer to the  window.

      This Pothos plant is reaching for the ceiling. I love how the new leaves are variegated!

Nancy has asked me to feature tea cups again and I'm always happy to do just that. These two are by Paragon  and have a lovely pink rose inside the cup and also on the saucer. When I took this first cup down I noticed that it has a chip on the saucer.  I wonder how that happened.
   I had to include my pink roses crocheted pot holders and a sprig of those greens I gathered this morning.

This cup and saucer is such a strange ( but pretty) shade of brown. The cup has a little pedestal and of course there's that rose and blue daisies (?) inside . Sorry about the weird reflection on the cup.

I hope you are having a great week....a shorter work week for many what with Remembrance Day yesterday. I watched the ceremonies on TV and kept the silence at 11. It's a good thing to keep
remembering the sacrifices made by so many.

                          Granny Marigold