Nov 27 2016

Looking through my list of wonderful quilting web sites I keep handy, I hit a lollapaloozer of a post.

Checking up on the latest with Rebecca at, “Cheeky Cognoscenti,” I read her post from yesterday, Saturday, November 26, 2016, and it wore me out. Look at what she has accomplished and still has enough strength to blog about it! #AMAZing

First Rebecca shares a lovely, many piece Pineapple Log Cabin block, done to perfection, then tells how her family decorated the entire house and put up two trees since Thanksgiving, meanwhile showing her magnificent hoop-skirted vintage gown, her latest Farmer’s Wife blocks and continuing to work on her Jingle BOM, or Block of the Month quilt, following a pattern by Erin Russek. Wow! *FanningFaceSwooning* I had to fix a cup of tea and take a nap, before I could gather myself to read more.

But, I couldn’t stay away, and after having a protein shake and running laps, I returned to check out the links Rebecca was sharing.

Erin Russek Jingle Blocks orig 472 x 392 type

Clicking on the link just over the photo of Erin Russek’s Jingle BOM Quilt, I found a WONDERFUL list of each months’ patterns, in downloadable PDFs, for *FREE.* As Erin says, “Here you go friends…all the Jingle BOM blocks in one place.” Woo-Hoo!

I spent quite a while downloading the patterns, after all, sometimes web sites come and go, and I just HAVE to have those Cardinal blocks!

So, why not run over to Rebecca’s corner of the Internet, click on her link for Erin Russek’s Jingle BOM and do the same! Let your housework go while you collect the patterns for another project! YAY! Quilters after my own heart.

Check on her latest post, “And Now, Happy ADVENT! Let the Madness Begin…,” by going here.

That’s the link where all the happiness happens!

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Filed under: Quilting,Roof,Uncategorized — admin @ 8:13 pm Comments (0)
Dec 06 2011

On December 6, wooden shoes hold hay for Santa’s
reindeer at night and gifts in the morning.

When I was a child, I was fascinated with the Dutch celebrating Sinterklaas, or St. Nicholas’ Day, on December 6 every year.  I was told they would leave one of their wooden shoes outside their door with hay in it for Sinterklaas’ reindeer. In the morning, there would be a little gift left in the shoe where the hay had been the night before.

Now, in addition to the visit from Sinterklass on December 6, the Dutch also celebrate an American type Christmas called Kerstfeest, with first Christmas or Eerste Kerstdag on December 25 and second Christmas or Tweede Kerstdag on December 26, both of which are public holidays. The Dutch, therefore, seem to have a great time in December and have more than one holiday to which to look forward.

Karin Engelbrecht

If you want to see some mouthwatering Dutch recipes, visit Karin Engelbrecht’s blog. Karin is a Dutch food editor and mentions that a big part of the December Dutch holidays is eating and enjoying family fellowship. The specialty foods she profiles easily explain why. Just look at her November 30, 2010 entry for spiced cupcakes typically eaten on December 6: Truffle Kruidnoten Cupcakes. Here’s a photo that will make you catch a plane to Amsterdam, or at least visit the spice aisle at the neighborhood grocery:

Karin’s Truffle Kruidnoten Cupcakes

Before we go on too much longer about the Dutch, we should mention the wearing of wooden shoes. Long before there were rubber garden shoes in common use, many people in European countries wore wooden shoes as matter of course.  My father, in fact, had a good friend who, born in the 1920s, grew up in Holland and spent his childhood and youth in wooden shoes.

Wooden shoes were and are inexpensive, last a long time and don’t let in the moisture. I have a pair of wooden shoes that were carved for me in Holland, Michigan. I really like them for gardening as the mud, when the weather is wet in the spring, does not hurt them at all. I wear think socks with them and just leave them inside the back door, gently tapping them off outside before I enter the porch.

Wooden shoes are made in Holland, Michigan.
They can be bought plain or highly decorated.

If you would like your own pair of wooden shoes, click on this link to see how to order. They can be ordered plain so that you can decorate them, or you can select from a number of styles and designs. Be forewarned! The small “baby size” wooden shoes are VERY hard to resist. And, if you are now in the mood to enjoy other things Dutch, try looking at this web site that has some extraordinary items.

One last thing, of course about food, you also might enjoy this Dutch cookbook that has great reviews and lots of traditional recipes. For a preview, hover your mouse over this link:

Dandy Dutch Recipes

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Filed under: Heart,Heritage — admin @ 3:42 pm Comments (0)
Dec 24 2010

Sugar Plums are a delightful, old fashioned treat.
Easy to make and healthy to eat, they do not require baking.

How to Make Sugar Plums
a recipe from Elizabeth LaBau


Ingredients for Sugar Plums

  • 3 oz (1/2 cup) chopped pitted dates
  • 3 oz (1/2 cup) chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 oz (1/4 cup) dried cranberries
  • 1 oz (1/4 cup) chopped prunes
  • 1 oz (1/4 cup) chopped toasted hazelnuts
  • 2 tbsp fruit jam
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Mix Fruit and Nuts

Start by placing the chopped dates, walnuts, cranberries, prunes, and hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor. If you don’t have a processor you can do it by hand and just chop everything together until it’s in very small pieces and starts sticking together.

So once all of your fruits and nuts are in the work bowl, pulse the processor several times until everything is in small pieces and is well-mixed.

Add Ingredients and Mix into a Ball

Now add the jam, cinnamon, and cloves. Give it several long pulses until the mixture begins to come together in a ball. Here’s a bit of trivia while you’re mixing: sugarplums get their name from the prunes, or dried plums, in the recipe.

Stop and check it once it starts to come together: when you press it between your fingers it should hold itself in a ball, but you want to retain some texture and be able to see individual pieces of fruit and nuts. Don’t blend it so much that it turns into a sticky paste!

Roll Candy through Sugar

To finish your sugarplums, place the granulated sugar in a bowl. Roll the candy into small balls, and roll them in the granulated sugar. To make it a bit healthier, you could roll them in chopped nuts or coconut instead.

How to Serve and Store Sugar Plums

To keep things neat, serve them in paper candy cups. These sugarplums last for weeks if you keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This mixture also makes an amazing natural energy bar, so you can enjoy the fruity, nutty flavors year-round.

To watch Elizabeth LaBau make her Sugar Plums, click here.

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Filed under: Food,Recipes — admin @ 6:10 pm Comments (0)


A very Merry Christmas!

We LOVE you!


What an eye opener!

For the original web site of this post, click here.
For more background on the origins and history of the poem and its author, click here.

Thanks to Brett Kramer, who wrote us yesterday with the correct information, we have learned that the beautiful poem sent to us some years ago by one of our “web friends” is a modified copy of the original circulated on the internet for some years. The original poem’s true author, James M. Schmidt, was a Lance Corporal stationed in Washington, D.C., when he wrote the poem back in 1986.

The true story of the poem, as told by Lance Corporal Schmidt: “While a Lance Corporal serving as Battalion Counter Sniper at the Marine Barracks 8th & I, Washington, DC, under Commandant P.X. Kelly and Battalion Commander D.J. Myers [in 1986], I wrote this poem to hang on the door of the Gym in the BEQ. When Colonel Myers came upon it, he read it and immediately had copies sent to each department at the Barracks and promptly dismissed the entire Battalion early for Christmas leave. The poem was placed that day in the Marine Corps Gazette, distributed worldwide and later submitted to Leatherneck Magazine.”

Schmidt’s original version, entitled “Merry Christmas, My Friend,” was published in Leatherneck (Magazine of the Marines) in December 1991, a full two years before it was supposedly “written” by someone else on Christmas Eve 1993 (and had appeared in the Barracks publication Pass in Review four years before it was printed in Leatherneck).

As Leatherneck wrote of the poem’s author in 2003: “Merry Christmas, My Friend” has been a holiday favorite among “leatherneckphiles” for nearly the time it takes to complete a Marine Corps career. Few, however, know who wrote it and when. Former Corporal James M. Schmidt, stationed at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., pounded it out 17 years ago on a typewriter while awaiting the commanding officer’s Christmas holiday decorations inspection . . . while other leathernecks strung lights for the Barracks’ annual Christmas decoration contest, Schmidt contributed his poem to his section.”

Over the years the text of “Merry Christmas, My Friend” has been altered to change the Marine-specific wording into Army references (including the title: U.S. Marines do not refer to themselves as “soldiers”) and to incorporate line-ending rhyme changes necessitated by those alterations.

We reproduce below Corporal Schmidt’s version as printed in Leatherneck back in 1991:

Merry Christmas, My Friend

By James M. Schmidt, a Marine Lance Corporal
stationed in Washington, D.C., in 1986

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone.

I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I’d seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I’d heard stories about them, I had to see more,
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
“Santa, don’t cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps.”

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.

I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.

Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn’t want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
said “Carry on, Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all secure.”

One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.

Reports are that after leaving the Corps, Corporal Schmidt earned
a law degree and now serves as an attorney in Los Angeles and is
director of operations for a security consulting firm.

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Filed under: Growth,Head — admin @ 6:07 pm Comments (0)
Nov 25 2010

The Santa Sock Doll
An inexpensive endearment from the 1940s

Before mass advertising turned us into mass consumers, many things were made at home with love. Most women knew how to sew and many men did as well. Often, there was more time than money. Just as often, there wasn’t much time, but people weren’t toxic with chemicals and poor food. They had more energy with fewer complaints because they ate nutritious, natural foods that fueled the body, not lined the pockets of big business. With more energy, they were able to work long hours to make the things they needed whenever possible.

It is important to get back to eating those nutrient dense foods today. It is also important to take time to create and give to our loved ones objects of caring and love. We need to reassess what is important to us. Is emotionally leaving a child behind, so to speak, to fend for themselves while we work two jobs just to have the latest car model is the better thing to do?. Or, would it be better to ride the bus even, and spend that time with the family, while financially paring down “wants to needs.” It’s just a thought. It’s something worth mulling over, because once one realizes that everything we do is a choice, we can take better control of our lives. In really thinking about what is important to us, we can redefine our priorities and make sure our lives are the best for what we want out of them!

So, for me, creating has become very important as an affirmation of my life plan. And, it seems, the patterns used by people whose values mirror my own speak loudly to me.  I just love old patterns and styles that solidly ground me to a frugal use of money and time for what I, and those I love, get out of it. A bigger bang for the buck, is what I’m talkin’ about!

With that all in mind, Sunbonnet Smart is pleased that soon we will be presenting the first of our Sunbonnet Smart Patterns. We hope everyone will be able to afford buying our patterns to make something useful and share a gift of love. Sunbonnet Smart Patterns will be available for the 1970s price of 99cents for a pdf download you print out yourself. Low cost, great style with easy access is what Sunbonnet Smart is all about. That and enjoying the process of life.

Check back with us often and jump into the fun!

Sock Dolls are a fun “blast from the past.”
If making one of these inexpensive bundles of
love interests you, just hover your mouse over
the link below to preview this book:

Adorable Sock Dolls to Make & Love

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Filed under: Money,Opportunities — admin @ 6:30 pm Comments (0)

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