No, it’s not really snowing here. In fact, it’s snowing in West Texas. Snowing in West Texas BEFORE it snows in New England. Call the weather police! But we don’t care! Let’s pretend it’s a marshmallow world out there! MUSICA! Better go get yourself a cup of something hot to drink, keep warm, brrr.
So beautiful. I worry that someday people will read about the four seasons in a book, see old photos of snow and falling leaves and fields of daffodils on blogs like mine, and think, “Oh how quaint!” My poor baby California is on fire right now. 😥 Please say a prayer, there is no good time to lose your home, but Christmas must be the worst. And pray for the brave firefighters and first responders 😘 ~ that they be kept safe. The thing I know is that everyone will gather to comfort and help each other as always in times of trouble, because that’s who we are. Have you seen THIS? It’s a video of a man saving a bunny from the fires. Come back and see it later . . . it’s so wonderful it will make you cry.
I’m sure our snow will come soon . . . it’s cold here.
Isn’t imagination a luv-lee thing?
We’ve had a fire almost every night.
In these quiet few days before all the festivities get going . . . while we’re decorating and wrapping and sending gifts across the sea.
Our boy is stretched out . . .
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Love this photo with the early morning shadows across the kitchen while I was polishing up the gravy boats, getting things ready.
My little stack of bread baskets . . .
Joe brought in some branches with leaves from the garden . . . and I set the table …
This is how the dining room looked when we first bought the house in 1989. I was setting the table for a lobster dinner, and there’s girl kitty (the first!). Love the befores and afters!
Finally decided which dishes to go with . . . all I needed were the napkins and the table would be done . . .
Jack was helping me fold them . . .
Because our kitchen is the heart of the home, where everything happens ~ folding clothes and kitty kisses too . . .
And rolling out pie dough . . . cooking up a storm . . . thinking of the many Thanksgivings prepared here in this kitchen, counting my blessings. Our turkey, filled with my grandma’s dressing, came out perfectly.
So here we go . . . making the house pretty for the neighborhood . . . my own personal private elf-man doing a great job.
My guy. He is amazing.💞 Not just for this, but for everything.
There are so good ways to decorate . . . in case you’re in the throes of it like we are, here are a few ideas …
H A P P Y D E C E M B E R
We hang up all our loved bits of collected Christmas paraphernalia!
Bits and pieces end up on the kitchen cupboard knobs . . .
And as always, the shelf on top of my stove is in full Christmas mode . . .
The little house I found at a flea market several years back . . .
The stockings are hung by the chimney with care . . . and the memories flow . . .
Remembering childhood Christmases at home with my parents and brothers and sisters brings back all the magic (although, in this photo, we still have one sister to come, here we are only seven). My favorite Christmas memory is when the little kids would be in bed, the older boys in the family room in front of the TV, I would go into the living room, turn off all the lights except for the colored tree lights, lie on the sofa in the twinkly dark and listen to Frank Sinatra sing I’ll be Home for Christmas.🎵 I do it every year and it’s as dreamy as it’s always been.
I was reading our local paper the other day, the Martha’s Vineyard Times ~ an article about the first death from a car accident here on the Island in 1902. It happened because the speeding vehicle was allegedly going more than 15 mph! 🙀 Yes! Lock him UP! Must have been difficult, the change that took place as horses were replaced by automobiles. I’m sure many held out forever for the horse, and the car people must have been very frustrated. The island town governments jumped into action and set the new speed limit at 5 mph. (I think my car goes faster than 5 mph when it’s in neutral.) It was another world, another time.
See the Linden tree on the right? That’s the same one I wrote about in Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams ~ in this photo it’s still young, but it grew to be huge, spread like an umbrella of leafy dappled light over the town when I came here in 1982 ~ and covered with lights at this time of year. Amazing how so very little has changed in this photo. The Times, my favorite newspaper, recently started something new I think you might like. They send out a very short daily email called “The Minute” ~ it tells about the daily doings here on the Island, has a quote of the day, and a “what’s-for-dinner” recipe. It’s free … If you’d like it to show up in your mailbox, go HERE.
So yes, we do try to slow down time a little bit during the holiday season so as not to increase its speed.
We went to the movies on the night of the super moon. I looked up through the trees on Main Street in Edgartown, and there is was, in all its glory, peeking through the clouds. So festive to be out on cold nights during the holiday season, when everyone is out and about and everything is decorated!
We had a delicious dinner at Alchemy … Edgartown was all lit up …
They make a very good Old Fashioned at Alchemy… but you know Joe makes them a little bit better ~ here’s his recipe:
And since I wrote this recipe, we have discovered THE PERFECT WILD CHERRIES for this drink. Dark, almost black, and intensely flavored, there are no other cherries for us. Absolutely forget about maraschino cherries. They’re called Fabbri Amarena and are available HERE… delicious in an Old Fashioned, and also, just as heaven over vanilla ice cream or on cheesecake or between layers of a Chocolate anything. 💋 Somebody should put these in somebody’s stocking. You’re welcome.
We went to see The Man Who Invented Christmas . . . the story of how Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol ~ so good, perfect for anyone who loves the book, or wants to know a little more about Chas Dickens, has ever tried to write a book, or is fascinated by imagination and invention. In addition, MATTHEW (from Downton) plays Charles Dickens.👌He’s never been handsomer ! Wowzer. I rest my case.
SO, other than that, here’s what I’ve REALLY been doing. Stealing hours and sometimes whole days, to paint. I discovered something I never knew before ~ Youtube has audiobooks! So I’ve been listening to Mansfield Park while I paint (that’s what you hear in this video). And dreaming of this . . .
This, my darling girls, is the view from the house we’ve rented in the Lake District for our picnic on Beatrix Potter’s lawn at Castle Cottage next May 11. Eeeek. That’s all I can say. If you are new to this blog and not sure what I’m talking about . . . then go HERE, where you can read all about it, and possibly join us, a whole bunch of kindred spirits, for a luv-lee afternoon in the historic English countryside. BYO Picnic Basket!
And yes, the Royal Wedding is going to be sometime next May! We’ll be there! So I’m fairly sure the entire country will be decorated in bunting!!! Petey is ready to go, Mrs. Rabbit is blessing my new Castle Cottage cup; I’ll be making special name tags for everyone, too. I’ll put them on the next blog post so you can print them out. MUCH more fun when we recognize our kindred spirits!
That’s Post Office Meadow above, which Beatrix Potter owned, and it will likely be filled with baby lambs when we are there . . . and behind it, the white house, that’s Castle Cottage ~ and our picnic will take place in the garden! I can barely believe it, but I know it’s true.
Something else hard to believe. This is real, but this photo could never tell the whole amazing story because bluebells drift over every hill and dale in England in the springtime, in some places, as far as the eye can see.
So I had to include bluebells on our remembrance cup . . .
This quote tells the whole story . . . and on the bottom it says, “Memories are made of this.”
I wrote on them,”Picnic, Near Sawrey, Lake District, UK 2018″ ~ Never to be forgotten! And don’t worry if you can’t make it ~ we are taking everyone along with us, virtually . . . through pictures and videos ~ you won’t miss a detail! I will stick my camera into everyone’s picnic basket!
So, yes, you may have noticed . . . I finally received samples of the actual real cups that will be coming the beginning of January. Aren’t they gorgeous? Bone china is such a nice thing! I photographed them all, fronts and backs so you can really see what you’ve signed up for. 📷
They came out wonderfully . . . this one I called Valentine Love . . . it’s good for husbands, boyfriends, sisters, and girlfriends, moms and dads, and everyone in between …
I couldn’t wait to put this wonderful quote on a cup ~ because anytime is a good time to give a toast to love. On the bottom it says, “Of thee I sing…”💞
Here are the bottoms of all four cups . . .
And here’s the Winter cup (the bottom says “Not fit for man nor beast!”). Mrs Tittlemouse cozied right up to this one. I adore seeing that my Beatrix Potter figurines go so well with my cups!
There’s a snowman on the winter cup. . .
And a good wintry tea quote!
And this one is Girlfriend’s Tea … on the bottom it says, “If friends were flowers, I’d choose you!”
Also good for Valentine’s Day, with lovely words by Nancy Luce. Pay no attention that Nancy wrote that about her chickens she adored so much! Love is love! Right, Mrs. Tittlemouse? Right! (Of course she would agree, she’s almost a chicken herself! Oops, look at her face, I think she heard me say that!)
And for you who bought the cups already and are just waiting for them to arrive, don’t forget I made gift cards just in cases you wanted to give them as gifts this year . . . just click HERE and you can print out a card (like above) so they know something is coming.💞 Cups and other dishes are still up for presale right HERE.
Because guess what else, everything in this photo will be here early next week! Antique-store finds of the future! Whew, we tried so hard to make them arrive in time, and I think we did it!
For all you embroiderers . . . I’m so happy you’ve been enjoying our new kits! We sold out of Tea Party already! And there are only a few of the Ornament Kits left. We’ll be getting more I think, but in the meantime, we have two brand new kits arriving at the Studio very soon. A bunny pin cushion and a little robin to hang on your door or cupboard knob . . .
And here’s a wee gift from me to you with love, these two bookmarks . . .. . . just click HERE and print them on card stock… you can laminate them and make a sweet little stocking stuffer. And Kellee says to look for new wallpaper and other free stuff HERE ~ it should all be up sometime this weekend! And new Winter Recipes are waiting for you HERE. We are going to keep you busy! (er!)
And one of the things I’ve already started . . . I’m writing us another book ~ it’s going to be all about our trip next spring . . . it will be another diary, loaded with watercolors and photographs, I dream it every day, this time there will be Ireland in it! It’s all I really want to do! Because now I know I have a tiny bit of Dickens blood in me. Not the genius part I’m sorry to say, the slightly insane part.😜
Now, I want to ease your mind, because I know you’re busy, but don’t worry one minute about getting everything done ~ I found our fortune in a cookie last night and all is well:
Love you girls, Have a wonderful time, whatever you’re doing. Prayers, prayers, and more prayers for those suffering in this most wonderful time of year. Digging a bit deeper in the wallet this year, for lots of people and places are so dearly in need. Blessings on you and yours. ❌⭕️ Your Pal for Life, Anna Susana Branchburger the third.