Saturday, December 31, 2011

Trying out a new "face"

Bear with me, dear friends...this unsaavy tech chic is trying to create a new blog face for sidebar buttons are now at the bottom!  YIKES!! Hopefully, I'll get this snafu fixed before long!

Suggestions are greatly welcomed and appreciated!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Special Holiday Edition!

You all know I'm a "Monday Kinda Gal" with my postings, but I got to thinking about some things I wanted to share with you before Christmas.

Throughout the years we (the Hess clan) have run the gamut of Christmas trees, from the Charlie Brown tree when we were still in college and very, very poor ~ to the 10' Blue Spruce in our great room ~ to the the potted tree which we could replant ~ to the pre-lit artificial tree done with the vintage colored bulbs which was enormous (and now resides in the girls' living room) ~ to the "weight watchers" version we currently have.

I wish I had a picture of each one to share, but I will share our latest.  After living for 34 years in the desert and desperately trying each Christmas to sustain a cut tree, we've given in to the artificial tree, and now have pared down in size as well.

The nice thing is that this little tree is a snap to decorate and can be completed, from set up to finish, in less than 1 hour.  As I hung the ornaments I relished and reflected on the memories attached to each one...

The few remaining from my wonderful childhood...

One beautiful cardinal ~ a reminder of my Mom, her favorite bird...

A gift from a former student...

Sweet memory of a Christmas holiday in our favorite city...

And most precious of all....those creations that came from the hands of our children...

So, dear friends, the cards have been sent...

The cookies baked...

The caramels made...

But there is still "elving" to do ~ food to be made for the Saturday and Sunday feasts ~ gifties to be wrapped...

I will be taking a break from the blog next Monday and will join you again in the New Year.
So, I leave you now as we approach the most beautiful day in Christendom, our Lord's Nativity, with a simple message ~

Saturday, December 17, 2011

6 Days and Counting!

Wow!  Is it only 6 days till Christmas?  12 days till we say "goodbye" to 2011?  Is it less than 2 months till my 1st "Blogiversary????"  Time does fly, and sadly...a little too fast sometimes.  Things are "cookin'" in the Hess household as we finish preps for Christmas.  Looking back to Saturday, we had a ball at Tucson's Gaslight Theater where we saw "Christmas In  The Big Apple." It was a great way to kick off our Holiday season.

Swaps have been "wrapped" up for this year....I had the good fortune to participate in Cassandra's Handmade Ornament Swap.  My partners were Terri at Tinker Through Time

Freda at Sew What's New

And Michelle and Ashley at The Tattered Quilt

All these ladies have such amazing talent and I was so privileged to be paired with them for this swap.
And here's what I sent to my partners....

Thanks to Cassandra for hosting!

Dear friend JoAnne at Vintage Dragonfly hosted a Secret Santa 25 Days of Christmas Swap and I've been a good girl and have only opened one little gifty a here's the first 7...I have a pretty amazing SS!
the top of the double matchbox

side view
the presents - one for each day
the first 7 days
Next Monday I will show you the rest, and hopefully be able to identify my SS!!! (And the ones I sent to my "good girl!")

Debi at Bloggerette Sorority hosted a "Make One Buy One" ornament swap.  My partner was CeeKay
who is also a fellow Arizonan.  Here's the darlings she sent to me...
Made One

Bought One
Happy Birthdays abound this month... to dear bil Paul in Lancaster, PA

and sweet Aunt Debbie in Douglassville, PA

 who celebrated theirs on December 6th ~

my dh who celebrated on December 16th ~
and my sweet  baby brother, Erik, who celebrated on December 17th ~
and my dd, who will celebrate his in Heaven on December 20th ~
We are quite the family of Sagittarius, aren't we? lol

Well, that's it for now...I've got a brunch date this morning with a special friend,  a holiday party tonight, and start food preps for Christmas Eve (Feast of the 7 Fishes) and Christmas (traditional sticky buns and quiche in the a.m.;  baked ziti  and roast organic turkey with trimmings in the p.m.)....and gift WRAPPING!!!

Happy Hanukkah to those celebrating at sundown tomorrow night, and Christmas blessings to one and all.  Take a deep breath and will go by all toooooo fast! You are ALL a blessing to me and I love you!!  I leave you with this little prayer from Jane Austen (1775-1817).
Incline us, O God,
to think humbly on ourselves,
to be saved only in the
examination of our own conduct, 
to consider our fellow creatures with kindness,
and to judge of all they say and do
with the charity which we would desire
from them ourselves.

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

The stockings are hung NEXT to the chimney with care....(no mantle!)

and so much more has come to our home since my last post.

All it takes is one good social event to light a fire under my decorating muse.  

That event took place on Tuesday for the Tucson Swap Queens and our Altered Cigar Box Swap!
What a fun night...13 Queens swapped the most amazing altered boxes ~ shared our favorite appetizers ~ indulged in Nadine's famous Christmas cookies and peppermint ice cream with fudge sauce...does it get any better???  Yes it does, Virginia....Marfi's uber talented daughter, Gabriella, sang "O Holy Night" and "Ave Maria" for us.  She is an aspiring opera diva and we will one day see her performing on stage at the Met.  I'm sure of that!
from me to Shann

inside ~ Shann's a country girl

from Karina for Alex

from Laura for Karina

from Marfi for Geri

from Sandra for Kiera

from Shann for Marfi

from Katie for Debbie

from Geri for Sandra

from Kathleen for Katie

from Karey-Ann for Kathleen

from Kiera for me

from Debbie for Kiera
from Alex for Laura

The Queens!
I promised to catch up on swaps and I'm keeping my, I will apologize in advance for the length of this post...good time now for a "station break!"

I swapped inchie fabric art for the 12 days of Christmas with a talented group of ladies, organized by Jeanelle Ricca.  I'm showing the banner-in-the-making which hangs in our breakfast room, keeping our Christmas angels company.
Here are the close-ups and artists:
Partridge in a Pear Tree - Jami Miller ~ 2 Turtle Doves - Tamatha Kaplan ~ 3 French Hens - Hope Ellington
4 Calling Birds - Laurie Jackson ~ 5 Golden Rings - Mollie Morrison ~ 6 Geese a Laying - Karen Hess
7 Swans a Swimming - Nora Neely ~ 8 Maids a Milking - Mary Kahler ~ 9 Ladies Dancing - Lisa Hadja

10 Lords a Leaping - Sheila Rumney ~ 11 Pipers Piping - Robin Weins ~ 12 Drummers Drumming - Jeanelle Ricca
These were all individually wrapped and packaged in the most amazing and creative ways!

The Button Floozies exchanged ornaments with 3 different people,  so that made for a lot of buttons and gorgeous creations.
lovely tussy mussy from the talented Laurie Jackson at
And Laurie also included this sweet inchie

The second to arrive was from the amazing Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart at

Next came this gorgeous package with the prettiest vintage button! The artist is Linda Olstad at

the sweetest felt ornie deer with the teeniest MOP buttons I've ever seen!

Here's what I created and sent to these lovely ladies...
a spoonful of sugar

wrapped and ready to post

There are a couple of other swaps I've received, but I'm waiting for some final ones to arrive and I will share all that with you next Monday.  In the meantime....

  1. Blessings for your visit and bloglove
  2. Blessings for your friendship
  3. Peace and calm for you and your family
  4. 9 Days till Hanukkah and 
  5. 13 Days till Christmas, so hang in's all good!
  6. Have a beautiful week!