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Friday, December 31, 2010

Wishing You The Best !


A Happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I've played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.

~Edgar Guest

I truly wish each and every one of you, a New Year filled with much love, peace and happiness.
Your friendships have encouraged, enlightened, and made me laugh my frock off throughout this past year.

Here's to a 2011 filled with the same !
To friends and family alike
Many Blessings,
Jo
x

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gifts That Made Me Smile

My sweet daughter, has a genuine love of antiques.
I put it down to all those years her dad and myself spent endless Sunday afternoons rambling the aisles of our local antique malls, despite her protesting, a seed was planted.

I in turn now reap the rewards of her passion, she has an adeptness of choosing the most beautiful pieces of dinnerware, and utilitarian pieces.


On Christmas Day she gave me this set of Liberty Blue, English Staffordshire dishes. All displaying Historic Colonial scenes, such as the one shown Independence Hall.
The 'blue' is just stunningly beautiful.



Next she added more dishes to my Johnson Brothers Friendly Village collection.
Eight of the Winter scene square side plates.

Last but not least, a gorgeous silver and glass pedestal cake plate,
the middle piece is made of etched quartz glass and shines like the North Star.

Thank you sweet baby girl.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Winter Friendships

Since I have a few days off from work, I had hoped to catch up on my overdue visits to dear friends.
Share a cup of tea, a piece of homemade Christmas cake, and swap Christmas gifts.

Instead, I've been infected with some sort of malaise, and have found myself spending much of the day in bed, my head wrapped in a lavender and chamomile sinus poultice.

Hopefully tomorrow it will have ran it's course.


"Winter, a lingering season,
is a time to gather golden moments,
embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour. "

~John Boswell
Ratty, and Mole visiting Badger ~ Wind in the Willows

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Visions Of Sugar Mice Dance In His Head

No longer able to withstand the festivites, and many sniffs of cat-nip later
Oliver ops for a cat nap.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

And The Snow Came

It is close to midnight, we have feasted, celebrated, swapped baubles, and made merry.
The snow came.
No significant amount, just a dusting of the white stuff, enough to give the feeling of being a part in a picture postcard.
Snow on Christmas day, is there anything more magical !


"Christmas--that magic blanket that wraps itself about us,
that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance.
It may weave a spell of nostalgia.
Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer,
but always it will be a day of remembrance--
a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved."
~ Augusta E. Rundell

Dreaming Of A White Christmas


As if by magic, the snow is falling.

The first time in seventeen years since we have had a 'White Christmas' and as the midnight hour approaches, there is stillness and silence all around.

"In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago.

~ Christina Rossetti, 1872 ~ A Christmas Carol.




Please turn off the PLAYLIST first by scrolling to the bottom of the sidebar and clicking the large round button
Merry Christmas to you all !

Friday, December 24, 2010

Peace On Earth Good Will Towards Men

Christmas is upon us.......

I've so enjoyed our visits back and forth throughout the year, all the sweet comments written, and well-wishes when a word of encouragement was needed.
I truly wish each and every one of you, all the blessings of a wonderful Christmas.


May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love."
~ Ada V. Hendricks


Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Men
From our home to yours.......

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Memories


When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow,
We hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago,
And etched on vacant places
Are half-forgotten faces
Of friends we used to cherish,
And loves we used to know.
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Catnip Dreams


Christmas is coming
and all through the house
no creature is stirring,
not even a mouse

With a soft sweet purr
from under his hat
in catnip dreams lost
sleeps Oliver cat .....

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Longest Night


With the full moon high in the winter sky and the promise of a rare combination Lunar Eclipse and Winter Solstice, I've spent the better part of the evening outside.
Bundled up, with wool coat, gloves and hat, I began the task of stringing the faerie lights around the porch.

Inside, the warmth of the hearth, twinkling trees, and heady aroma of clove-studded pomanders gave me an excuse to abandon the project, opting instead for an evening with Dylan Thomas the popular and much-loved Welsh poet.




A Child's Christmas in Wales, a timeless tale, delivers with gentleness a glimpse of a child's Welsh Christmas and takes you on a journey back to the magic and marvel of boyhood " where no two moments were ever alike, and life was embraced with belief instead of doubt ."

Purely magical !

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Shopping


It's a bone-chilling 20 degrees in our fair city this early morning, no cloud coverage, and hoar frost white as snow.

I ventured amongst the masses yesterday, taking myself off to the thronging Christmas shopping mart, I must confess, it's not my cup of tea.
I much prefer the kind of shops that are a 'hole in the wall' kind of place, chocked with antiques and time-worn utilitarian pieces, their finishes worn with years of use and enjoyment.

Today's a day of work for me, so the shopping will go on hold. It's not looking promising to finish checking my list !

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Is Coming

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man's hat
If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do
If you haven't got a ha'penny, then God bless you!

Tradition English nursery rhyme




Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bringing Home The Tree


"Christmas--that magic blanket that wraps itself about us,
that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance.
It may weave a spell of nostalgia.
Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer,
but always it will be a day of remembrance
--a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved."

~ Augusta E. Rundell

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Cracker Traditions


Each year as I'm busying myself with the Christmas decorating, my thoughts turn to home.
The traditions at Christmas that have stood the test of time throughout many English households.

The partaking of mince pies, raspberry trifle, sausage rolls, steamed plum pudding, and Christmas cake laden with dried fruit , marzipan and Royal Icing...hard as a rock.
Afterwards a tipple of traditional sherry, or port, toasting the season and good health to all !

The pulling of the Christmas crackers before eating turkey dinner, wearing the paper party hats, laughing at the silly paper jokes inside, and delighting in the small prizes, most often magic tricks, or plastic trinkets.

Happy times, that are gratefully forever etched in our memories ..........

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's Beginning To Look Like A Charlie Brown Christmas

The snow continued to fall throughout the night, blustery wind carrying it to every nook and cranny.
Today, snow is still falling, I believe it is the beginning of the season...







Sunday, December 12, 2010

And The Snow Came

Just as predicted the snow fell.
A cold, wind-blown driving snow, with no sign of deminishing any time soon.

The closest I came to any outside Christmas decorating, was hanging the wreaths on the windows, hindered by my scarf and gloves, it was the best I could do.

Nightfall will soon descend, don't forget our little feathered friends, and offer them an extra scoop of seed ~


Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farmhouse at the garden's end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.
The Snow Storm ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, December 11, 2010

They're Off.


Not a minute too soon, with forecasts of snow and icy conditions over the next few days, I took a trip to the post office early this morning and posted off the Christmas cards.

Mostly to relatives and friends in England, and other parts of the U.S.A.
It seems each year, there are fewer and fewer to make out, as my address list continues to shrink.
I think it is still an important part of the overall Christmas goodwill, and look forward to catching up on people's comings and goings throughout the year.

Don't you agree ?

Friday, December 10, 2010

For The Love Of A Cat



Gentle eyes that see so much,
paws that have the quiet touch,
Purrs to signal "all is well"
and show more love than words could tell.
Graceful movements touched with pride,
a calming presence by our side --
A friendship that takes time to grow -
Small wonder why we love them so.

~ Author Unknown ~

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Nesting Season



A bitter-cold night, ground laden with a hoar frost.
The kind of evening that lends itself to staying indoors, finishing the Christmas cards, and watching old movies on the television.
A time to nest.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

In An Old Barn


Tons upon tons the brown-green fragrant hay
O'erbrims the mows beyond the time-warped eaves,
Up to the rafters where the spider weaves,
Though few flies wander his secluded way.
Through a high chink one lonely golden ray,
Wherein the dust is dancing, slants unstirred.
In the dry hush some rustlings light are heard,
Of winter-hidden mice at furtive play.
Far down, the cattle in their shadowed stalls,
Nose-deep in clover fodder's meadowy scent,
Forget the snows that whelm their pasture streams,
The frost that bites the world beyond their walls.
Warm housed, they dream of summer, well content
In day-long contemplation of their dreams.

~ Charles G. D. Roberts (1860 - 1943 )

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Home Again Home Again Clippity Clop

After a long, enchanting day at Mr. Toast's Christmas Tea, I reluctantely retired for the evening. Such delicious food, the best of teas, and wonderful friendships, what could be better.
I'll leave you with a few glimpses of our wonderful accomodation, nothing short of magical !








Safe journey home everyone........and a huge thank you to our wonderful host Mr. Toast, it was a perfectly special time.

A Little Peek

The 2nd Annual Mr. Toast's Tea is about to begin. I took a walk around the snow-covered grounds earlier this morning, such spectacular beauty !

Above the tower door leading to the castle, The Scottish Coat of Arms is displayed.

Winding my way through the hallways, leading to the kitchen. I had sausage-rolls to deliver.

The grand hall, all splendidly decorated for the Christmas season. I plan to return later, with my mince pie and mulled wine.


It's almost time for tea, I hope to see you there !

Saturday, December 4, 2010

*** Arrival Update ****

I've ventured through the blanketed snow, and not a minute too soon arrived at Torosay Castle.
Oh, what magnificence !

I plan to eat a hearty meal, unpack my luggage and retire early for the remainder of the evening.
Mabbe indulge in a cheeky wee Glenffidch whisky, just to fittingly toast the occasion !

Now, where are those snugly hot water bottles Mr. Toast was telling us about........


Almost There !

I've made my way through the snow-covered British Isles, and will soon be embarking on the last leg of my journey.
Destination Torosay Castle, on the Isle of Mull, off the Scottish Headlands, as guest of Mr. Toast's 2nd Annual Christmas Tea Party.

It's going to be a magical time, hope to see you all there !




There is nothing in the world,
More beautiful than the forest
Clothed to its very hollows in snow.
It is the still ecstasy of nature,
Wherein every spray,
Every blade of grass,
Every spire of reed,
Every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance.


~ William Sharp

Friday, December 3, 2010

I'm Off To The Bash !

I'm bubbling with excitement !
This Sunday, December 5th is the much anticipated event of Mr. Toast's Second Annual Christmas Tea.

A virtual blog party, and you are all invited !

It's so easy to sign up, click on the Mr. Toast's Tea Party Announcement at the top of my sidebar, it will magically transport you to his sign-up linky.

The party is to be held at the Baronial styled Torosay Castle which stands majestically nestled among thousands of acres of green pastures, on the Isle of Mull off the Scottish Highlands.
It is planned to be the most magical of times, with our most gracious Mr. Toast as our charming host.

Please won't you join us, there will be lots of delicious treats, and of course the very BEST of teas. You may read all about it http://goodteatoo.blogspot.com/

My travel plans begin with the haunting call of a bagpipe beckoning me to the station platform where Edinburgh's famous train awaits. Celebrated as a world-class travel experience, the Royal Scotsman is one of the best ways to visit Scotland.

Once aboard, I'll be treated to an ultra-sensory mix of Highland culture and hospitality, set to motion along a stunning backdrop of highlands, lochs and glens.



My evening gown for the event with be this exquisite tapestry.


My hair will be worn in an elegant updo


A velvet cloak to keep me snug in a drafty castle

The British Isles has been blanketed with freshly-fallen snow


Once I've disembarked the train, I'll be transported through the Winter Wonderland via sleigh.
I hope they have the hot mulled cider waiting.

Here's our destination for the event, the magnificent Torosay Castle.
Of course the photograph shows it's splendor in summertime, can you just imagine how enchanting it will be under a sparkling cover of snowflakes !

See you at the bash !
We'll have a grand time.