Saturday, December 31, 2011


It's hard to believe we've come to the end of another year. So many things have happened this year but looking back I can't seem to recall what they were. Do you remember what you were doing last year at this time? I guess if you celebrated by saying your goodbyes to the old year and welcoming in the new one by partying with friends you might. I think I might have sat quietly at home watching a movie. That is how I spend most of my time. Quietly and alone.

This past March I started blogging. I hadn't even visited a blog before I started mine. I really had no idea what a blog was. My sister Marlene helped me get started and Maggie gave me a bit of help with the appearance of my blog site and the rest is history.

I've made some wonderful friends out here in Blog Land and I'm thankful for your friendship. It means a lot to me. I've been invited into your homes and have met some of your family members. I have shared some of the good times with you and have shared some of the sad times. I will probably never meet any of you in person but that doesn't take away from the feelings I have for you. I hope to share many more happy moments with you.

I want to wish each and every one of you a very happy and healthy new year.   

~Happy New Year~

As always thanks for stopping by. See you in 2012.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Christmas Wish


Wishing each and everyone of you a Christmas filled with love, happiness and friendship.

~Merry Christmas~

Monday, December 19, 2011

Names for the Gift-bringers

Throughout history there have been many names given for the being representing the spirit of giving. We commonly refer to many of them as Old World Santas. I have made a list of some of those names with a brief description to help identify them.

1.      Aschenklas is a secular replacement for St. Nicholas. Often appears somewhat frightening or stern.

2.      Baboushka (Russian female similar to the Italian La Befana)

3.      Belsnickle is a secular replacement for St. Nicholas. Often appears somewhat frightening or stern.

4.      Božiček (Christmas Man),

5.      Christkindl (The Christ child) is a female gift-bringer, she is an angelic figure dresses all in white.

6.      Dedek Mraz or Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost, Russian), is usually seen very ornately dressed in blue trimmed with white fur and carrying an ornate staff.

7.      Father Christmas, English

8.      Julnisse & Jultomten (Elves or gnomes)

9.      Knecht Ruprecht (Servant Rupert), 17th century in 1668 as one of the dark helpers of Christkindl. Frightening looking dressed all in furs.

10. La Befana (female, the good Christmas witch, Italian), delivers gifts on the evening of January 5th. She is seen riding through the air on a broomstick wearing a black shawl and carrying a hamper of gifts.  She is often seen covered in soot as she enters the houses through the chimney.

11.  Odin the wander

12.  Pelznickel (Nicholas in furs) is another dark helper of Christkindl, looks similar to Knecht Ruprecht.

13.  Père Noel, French, rides a donkey and uses a staff. Donkey is named Mistletoe.

14.  Ruklaas (Rough Nicholas) is a secular replacement for St. Nicholas. Often appears somewhat frightening.

15.  Santa Claus, American derived from the Dutch, Sinterklaas

16.  Sinterklaas, assisted by Zwarte Piet (Black Peter)

17.  St. Nicolaus (Mikulás), The original gift-bringer

18.  Weinachtsmann (Christmas Man) German
 This is by no means a complete list of the names just the most commonly known. I've also discovered one group of gift-bringers that only those of you who have been following this blog have been introduced to and that would be the Nossie.

Here are some photos of some of the gift-bringers as I envision them.

Ded Moroz with his granddaughter the Snow Maiden and Baboushka

Many a Santa is dressed in red and can be seen carrying trees.

Others may be seen delivering wreaths.

Some come carrying a bag of gifts for the good boys and girls

and then there is the Belsnickle with switches for the naughty children.

This Santa is a familiar figure in his red suit trimmed with white fur and his shinny black boots.

The Santa that most children hope for a visit from is the one with the bag full of toys.

Last but not least is one of the Nossie who delivers his gifts to the children of Not Quite Middle Earth.

I know that there's more to Christmas than gifts and decorations but since this blog is about Santa and the Mrs. I hope you'll understand.

I imagine that you are as busy as I am so I won't take up any more of your time. I just wanted to say

~Merry Christmas to all~

As always thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bellamine & Wendy and The Bear's Room

Hi Everybear,

Bellamine & Wendy here and we're going to show you our room and some of the North Pole bear clan. Our friend Prudence thinks if we're persistent we can wear Mom down and she'll give in and let us have a blog of our own. Until that happens, and we know it will cause we are persistent, Mom is going to let us do a post on her blog from time to time to get the feel of blogging.      Do you feel anything yet, Wendy?

Our Mom likes quilts and she especially likes Christmas quilts. We have the prettiest one on our bed. It's got shams to match. Right now it's covered with bears too. They're watching a Christmas movie. We spent the morning helping Mom make cookies and we're all tired.

Our puppy Vinnie is watching the movie with us. He's a real sweetie and doesn't chew our toys and books and stuff like some dogs do. He's a lot like us. Here we are, just hanging out in our room on a Sunday afternoon. This is for you Mom. We're being good and know that you'll tell Santa. You will tell him won't you?  She will tell him won't she Wendy?

We told Mom to take a close-up so you can see some little girl bear's new Christmas dress. It's got a really full skirt and when a certain little bear spins around it goes way out and up. Makes a little bear feel as pretty as a flower, and a little bit dizzy.

They don't even know that I got down off the bed. The movie is so good that nobeary's paying any attention so I'm going to have Mom take a picture of me and our Christmas tree.

We even got some pressies under it. When we wake up on Christmas morning there's going to be more. There will  be a gazillion of pressies. Right Mom? Maybe even more than a gazillion. You think there will be more than a gazillion, Wendy? What comes after a gazillion?

We wanted to take pictures of Santa's work shop but it's not allowed because it's supposed to be a secret. Yeh, right! Like there's anybody who doesn't know about the workshop. Mom said it's cause she had to sign a confidentiality agreement and in it there's a clause that states  cameras are not allowed. Besides, the workshop is off limits to all non workers right now due to this being the final week before Christmas. There's a big ol' count down clock and everyone is rushing to get the orders completed.

We have to go now. We have to vote on which movie to watch next. Since this is one little bear's first Christmas her big sister is helping her choose. Thanks for visiting and we all wish everyone a

              Merry Christmas

Bellamine & Wendy

How did we do Mom? We did pretty good, right?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Decorating a Christmas Tree on a Budget

As you can see from the title of this post, I'm going to show you how to decorate a Christmas tree spending very little money.

When I first started showing you the ornaments I was making, did you guess I was doing an experiment? Probably not as I didn't mention why I wanted to make the decorations for my tree. It isn't like I haven't amassed a gazillion ornaments by now. For heaven sakes, I've been decorating trees for decades. 

The object of my experiment was to see how inexpensively I could decorate a 7 1/2 foot tree. I wanted to see if there was a way of making ornaments by using the materials that I and many of us who do crafts or sewing have on hand. I also looked in other areas of the house, namely the pantry for inspiration. Although the majority of the ornaments were made using materials that comply with the above criteria I still ended up making one type of ornament that I had none of the supplies on hand because I really like the way they look.

Since I have a rather large stash of fabric finding a way to use some to make ornaments seemed like a good idea. Thus the little fabric heart shaped cushions got put on my list. I had the buttons and the fiberfill  in my supply cupboard. The "ribbon loops" are torn muslin. Cost with using what was at hand? $0.  If I had not had the fabric, buttons, lace and fiberfill on hand I might not have made these. 

Most of the photos I'm going to show you are repeats but are being shown now so you can see the ornament along with the cost of making it.

Appearing here with the hearts are the clothes peg Santa ornaments which were the most expensive part of my ornament making since the only thing I had on hand for these were the paints. Cost of making thirty ornaments was $5.98. That was for the clothes pegs and for the bells so this is still a very inexpensive ornament coming in at less than 20 cents apiece.

Next, using supplies from the pantry I mixed up a couple of batches of salt dough and using my cookie cutters cut out several different shapes. Since I've never used salt dough before I wasn't sure what to expect and wasn't altogether pleased with the results. Maybe someone with more experience with this stuff would have had better results.

Besides the gingerbread men with the torn fabric scarves and the "Stuffy" gingerbread men, there are puffed stars and little puffed trees and angels, Santas and snowmen made from the salt dough. In all I think there were 7 or 8 dozen ornaments that turned out nice enough to be given as gifts and end up on my tree. The cost for these ornaments was about 50 cents for salt, I already had the flour.

Then, me being me, I had to have some paper mache ornaments somewhere on the tree so I designed the Santa and elf ornaments. They were made from less than one batch of paper mache clay and the cost for 24 ornaments was less than $4.00 I know that not everyone is into making paper mache but since it's my "thing" I had to include it.

At the last minute I made these little angels and they were the least expensive ornaments of the lot. Each is made with 3 basket style coffee filters, a cotton ball, a bit of white cotton string and some Tacky glue. Cost was mere pennies.

This little experiment was fun and I wanted to see for myself what could be done with very little money to make a uniquely decorated Christmas tree.  Who would believe you could decorate a tree this size for just over $10.00? I may go back to using my other ornaments next year but this was a challenge and I'm pleased with the outcome.

I'm keeping busy baking and making candy and working on finishing up some gifts. I am however not working so hard that I'm not enjoying some free time here and there. Today I'm making candles. The supplies were purchased last year but I never got around to them and nearly forgot that I had all of the materials. I wonder what else I can make if I look inside some more boxes.

This is the time of year for watching all of my favorite movies. Watching a Christmas movie puts me into the spirit of Christmas like nothing else can. We have a huge collection of movies to chose from. I honestly don't have a favorite but there's a joke around here that my favorite Christmas movie is, "A Long Kiss Goodnight." If you're familiar with the movie which stars Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson you may not think of it as a Christmas movie but since it takes place at Christmas the movie is stored in the drawer with the more Orthodox selections.

Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? There seems to be new ones coming out every year but some of the older ones will always be up there among my favorites. I could watch, "It's a Good Life" every year and not get tired of it.

Warm wishes for good cheer and happy memories to all of you this holiday season.
As always, thanks for stopping by.

Friday, December 9, 2011

More Christmas Decorations

I've been busy decorating in the dining room and living room and have taken a few pictures to share with you. I've cut back a bit on the decorating this year as some of the boxes didn't make it down from the attic when my helpers were here and I'm unable to get them down on my own. That would require me to climb a ladder and this old broad doesn't do ladders. I'm too clumsy for that. Anyway I've decided that less is best right about now. I've been driving myself and everyone around me nuts trying to do too many things and now I'm all for trying to enjoy the rest of the time between now and Christmas morning. I've gifts to finish making and buying. Then there's baking for here and for gifts to be given to friends and neighbors. I also have my special fudge to make. Plenty of things left to do so I'll go ahead and show you some photos of some of my decorating.

Starting in the dining room here is the buffet with my very first Belsnickle.

There is an everyday Christmas print table cloth on the table which will be replace with a dressier one on Christmas day.

This is the tree with the handmade ornaments and the tree skirt is a patchwork one that I made about 25 years ago. I made matching Christmas stockings for each family member including the grandchildren. There are only two of the stockings still here at the house and will be hung on the mantel on Christmas eve.

As you can see, I didn't need to be worried about the tree being skimpy on ornaments. The only ornaments that aren't handmade are some little red apples that I added to give it some more red. Usually I use a lot of red in my Christmas decorating.

On the mantel there are some handmade NQR hearts from Oma Linda and a snowman and Santa from my sister Maggie. There is also an angel shelf sitter and a couple of snowman stocking holders nestled in there among the holly leaves and berries.

On the hearth there are some of my little snow kiddies and the stuffed snow couple were made by Maggie and given to me a few years ago. I have a much larger snowman collection but they're still in the attic.

This is one of my two treadle sewing machines that are in the living room. I've covered the top with a small Christmas quilt and have the patchwork Santa standing guard.

The only other Santa that I have sitting out is the one on the coffee table. I chose the two that are my Avatar. This one and the one on the buffet. They are the second and third Santa figures that I sculpted when I first started working with paper mache clay and are part of my personal collection. You can see a bit of my other antique sewing machine off to the side of the sofa.

Okay, that's about all of the decorations I took photos of before my camera battery died. I'm not sure when I'll be doing another post as I need to finish up on my things to do list but I'll try to get around to as many of your blogs as I can.

I sure hope all of you are enjoying you week and have just about all of those things that needed doing done.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Our First Tree Decorated

I finally got one tree decorated this morning and as soon as I finish here I'm starting on the second one.  This tree has been decorated with ornaments that I've had at least 20 years or more. On this tree are Baby's first ornaments for each of my grandchildren and several snowmen with our names on them. Many of the ornaments are Hallmark Keepsake and others are ones that just caught my fancy and I had to have them. I know my bear gang is thrilled as they were starting to think we weren't going to have a tree this year. Bellamine hasn't stopped clapping her paws and jumping around since she woke up this morning. So, without further comments from yours truly here are some photos.

I took some closeups of some of my favorite ornaments. I've noticed that lately clicking on a photo doesn't necessarily make it larger. Don't you just love the kitten in the basket? Then there's the little bunny with the key to your heart. This tree has at least a dozen snowmen and several Santa Claus ornies. There's even a unicorn.

I will be posting again when I get another tree decorated. The next one is going to be decorated with the ornaments that I've been making.

I hope all of you have gotten many of your preparations and decorating completed so that you're able to relax with that cup of tea or cocoa and a cookie or two. If not you're in the same boat as I find myself but now I'm beginning to feel more confident that I might actually get all of my preparations completed on time. Wish me luck.

As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Holidays to all of you.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Since my last post a week ago I've been busy trying to get caught up on my Christmas preparations. I've been up hours before the crack of dawn and have been working nonstop trying to get to a point where I feel like I've got everything under control and can take a break and relax. It isn't happening. I'm just as far behind as I was a week ago, maybe even further behind if that's even possible. I don't even have a Christmas tree up and I've never been this late in doing that. I have however made more ornaments just in case I do get one up so I have something to decorate it with.

Here is a sample of some of the ornaments that I've been making in my "spare time". Spare time is found in those hours when the rest of the world is asleep.

I showed you some of the little paper mache Santa heads, here are some of the elves that work making toys for those good girls and boys.

These little heads are fun to make and I love painting their faces but I'm afraid that I'm going to have to stop making them if I ever plan on getting them out there on a tree. I've managed to make two dozen for myself. I've been sharing them with my sisters or I'd have more.

I've also spent some of that spare time on making two dozen stuffed fabric heart shaped cushions. I got the idea from one of the blogs that I follow, sorry I can't remember which one so I can't give credit where credit is due. These little hearts have allowed me to use up some of the fabric that I have secreted away in boxes. If I make two dozen of these a year, it would take me until I'm 110 years old to use up the fabric stash, that is if I don't go out and buy more. As a bonus, making these hearts lets me use up some of that fiber fill too.

I've used four fabrics that go well together and if you look closely you can also see some of the clothes pin Santa ornaments I made a few weeks ago. I remember where I got the idea for these. Thank you Denise. That would be Denise from Country Creations by Denise. I didn't make them exactly like she did but close enough. I made thirty of these little guys. Next year I'll get around to making the clothes pin reindeer.

I just noticed that I have 100 followers now. Wow!! I never thought when I started blogging last March that I'd ever have this many people interested in seeing what I've been up to. I just want to let you know how much I appreciate your interest and thank you for spending some of your time here with me. 

I should get back to work. I need to get some of my mess cleared away so I have a space to set up a tree or two. I still haven't gotten them down from the attic as my usual helpers never got around to doing that yet. I guess I've been too busy to do a proper job of nagging.

I'll be getting my baking under way this week and I need to get the Christmas cards in the mail. I still have gifts to shop for and so many other things to get done so I may not be around much in the next few weeks. I'll try to visit as many blogs as I can and may not always have time to comment but we'll catch up later I'm sure.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My First Santa of the Season

I sure hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I ate so well that it's going to take me a month of riding my bike to burn the calories from that one meal. Then there's the leftovers.  Is it any wonder my winter and summer weights can be so far apart? Next week I start my Christmas baking and I'll need to make sure everything I bake to give as gifts and serve guests is up to my standards so there's going to be a lot more calories to add cushioning to my mid section.

I've been keeping myself pretty busy working on my ornaments plus other projects and don't see things slowing down any time soon. You realize that there's only 26 days and a wake up until Christmas. I'm so behind already that I don't think I'll catch up. I usually have my Christmas cards ready to be mailed before Thanksgiving but this year I haven't started on them yet. I also haven't gotten any decorating done. Now if you know me you know how far behind I am as I always have things going the day after Thanksgiving. I'm not one of those people who shop Black Friday (well maybe a little bit of shopping) as I use that day to get started on my decorating which usually takes weeks to complete.

Anyway, the reason for this post is to show you something that I've been working on the past couple of weeks. This is my first Santa since July 9th and thought I'd show him to you before he gets boxed up for his trip to his new owner.

sleigh bells ring, are you listening? 

a bundle of switches for naughty children, what's that all about?

I'd say about two axe handles, agreed?

Okay, that's better. I see the vintage teddy bear and the doll in the pocket. I love those over sized pockets. I wonder if there's candy in the other one. Well, that's all for now, I've got to get back to work.

As always, thanks for stopping by.