Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Merry To You

The gifts are unwrapped,
the paper and ribbons gathered 
up and put away.
The standing rib roast is just about
 to hit the oven
and my thoughts drift toward 
the Yorkshire Pudding to come.
Breakfast was omelets with a little 
Pride and Prejudice viewing post eating.
That scene of him walking 
across the moors...
gets me every time...

The kids and I have spent each late night
 watching Season 1 of Homeland, that 
I purchased just for that purpose.
We have thoroughly enjoyed it, 
and now I have to find a way to see Season 2.
Spending each evening with them 
in pj's on the couch, 
noshing on a variety of snacks
 has been...well exquisite....

We hit all our favorite stores last week, 
and their Father treated them to many fabulous 
meals about town, while I was at work.
Tonight they attend the annual 
Christmas Day movie with him.

Dearest Son leaves for LA tomorrow
 and Darling Daughter 
heads back to NYC, weather permitting,
on Thursday.
It will take me several days to adjust
and not be sad...even knowing they 
return to good friends and significant 
others who love them.

A few more days of holiday work and 
then it's on to 2013 and job searches 
and house redecorating/purging plans 
and a return to my list of all those
 things left undone in 2012,
and moved over to the New Year.

I have been so blessed.

I wish peace, love and joy
to all of you this day....
and I pray each day
that soon this world will
end the hatred, greed,
dishonesty and cruelty 
that makes this 
gift of life so difficult 
for so many.

I love finding you here
each day, each week.
You make my days brighter,
and fill my heart with laughter.
Thank you for your love, 
your support and exceptional kindness.

Merry Merry to you all.


Thursday, December 13, 2012


A heavy NYC winter coat hanging from the hook

 A jumbled mess of her favorite throws
 and smooshed pillows on the couch. 
I saw this first thing as I rounded the corner
 into the den this morning. 
Darling daughter is still asleep after working 
until 3 am (6 am her time) on the computer last night.

I cannot explain why seeing these two sights made me well
up with tears, except to say...
She's Home
She's Home
Dearest Son arrives in one week.
His shoes, his jackets will be strewn everywhere.
He's Home
He's Home

I have a lovely roof overhead
Nourishing food in the pantry
Generous and loving friends
Glorious children
A holiday job I adore
Life is so good
..and the tears fall gently again

merry merry everyone
I pray you are as blessed


Friday, December 7, 2012

Waiting on Justice

I was awakened VERY early this morning by howling and 
quickly discovered our Justice 
seemed to have lost her sight entirely. 
Terrified and unable to hear me reassure her, 
she was hiding under chairs and 
behind them scurrying around the living room. 
I had a thought that her collar and leash might reassure her,
so I grabbed them and sure enough she walked calmly
 out the door to the yard with Howie leaping along side.
 Once she got there, she calmed down and I sat on the porch
 and watched them and snapped some quick pics.
Anyone remember my floppy stars from a few years ago?
I solved the problem...uh..so far....
(Since the pic, I removed the wreath, they looked silly together)

After about 15 minutes Justice trotted back inside
and went to her water bowl and then 
calmly walked straight to her bed and went to sleep,
apparently able to see out of her one eye once more.
She still seems to have a problem with the 
smaller doorway into the kitchen and family room.
She hesitates, then shakes a lot and then dashes through. 
The peripheral vision thing must be difficult for her.

I know there will be more incidents like this morning in our future.
Darling Daughter has not yet seen her like this.
I am glad that she will be home during 
the day to provide Justice comfort when I cannot, 
and perhaps spend her last days with her.

I have no idea how we will care for a blind and deaf dog,
who has many other health issues.
 One day at a time.

Today I'm just going to enjoy the chilly weather
 and the holiday dressings around oldgreymare, 
drink my coffee and get to work.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Simply felted pieces this year in the master.
On the garland, wreath, birds, figures.
Add candles and a few touches of blue.

The patterns in here are brown striped, 
blue florals, brown checks,
cream/brown stripe, blue quilts, etc.
The ceiling is painted blue with heavy cream walls,
and cream wool patterned carpet.
All mixed together willy nilly.
The blue house painting is mine.
The photography darling daughters'.

I made this advent over 10 years ago.
Almost all are Rennie family pieces 
including my Aunt Iva's frame.

Button hooks and eye wear were my Dad's collections.
As requested: a closer look at the felt birdies...
and a couple of the Sarah Lugg ornaments
 Howie DID NOT BREAK....
(remember he broke 4)

Have a great week,
if I don't see you before then.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fa La La La La In Lala Land

Ya gott love felt balls..snowballs 

And Felt Birdies
with more snowballs.

Everyone keeping busy?

Anyone not busy?


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ben's Stuffing and Life and Trees

The Famous Ben Stuffing

Very labor intensive, but most of the chopping can be done the 
day before, but Ben said he likes the idea of the work 
"on the day".
We enjoyed mimosas while HE worked.
The pooches were at his feet all morning
hoping for an errant nibble.
In the center pic you can even see Justice standing
by while he texted.

1 3/4 pounds sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
5 to 6 TB butter
2 1/2 fennel bulbs, chopped
1 1/4 pounds onions, chopped
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 1/4 pounds firm but ripe Bosc pears, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large red bell peppers, chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
1 loaf sourdough bread cubed
3/4 cup dry white wine

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread bread on 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Bake until just golden, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer to very large bowl. Set aside.

Cook Italian sausage in large pot over medium-high heat until browned, breaking up pieces with back of fork, about 12 minutes. 

Using slotted spoon, transfer to small bowl. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in same large pot over medium-high heat. 

Add chopped fennel, onions and fennel seeds. Sauté until fennel and onions are tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. 

Reduce heat to medium. Add pears, bell peppers and herbs. Sauté until pears and peppers are just tender, about 10 minutes. 

Add wine and boil until most liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. 

Add sausage and fennel mixture to bread cubes. Season stuffing to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 13x9x2-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish. Add enough broth to stuffing to moisten (about 3/4 cup to 1 1/2 cups.) Transfer stuffing to prepared dish and dot stuffing with 2 tablespoons butter before baking. Cover with buttered foil, buttered side down; bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until top is crisp and golden, about 20 minutes longer. Top with fennel fronds, if desired, and serve.

( I took the fennel tops and stuffed them inside my bird)

My brother Scott and his wife Crystal have
 a wonderful mini tree farm.
It is located on the lot next to their home in 
New Castle PA.
Each year Scott tends and trims these trees to perfection.
Look at these beautifully shaped trees.
Only Blue Spruce for them,
and only $20.00!
Those are not lala land prices!

Offspring of the folks 
who bought 20 years ago are now coming to
buy these beautiful Blue Spruce trees,
family traditions established and nurtured.

Nurtured in the nursery
for future generations..

Absolutely worth the drive if you are
 anywhere within the Pittsburgh area.
Please remember to tell them I sent ya...
and give em a big hug for me.
If you wish to call and check ahead, email me.

Also please check out Maynard Greenhouse
here and here if you haven't already.
If you are passing through, or live within
a nice long drive,
Maynard Greenhouse is a Must 
stop for Carole's Christmas shop and 
their Christmas trees have arrived also.

Give George and Carole my love and pet Petey
and the kitties.

Filled with love and gratitude today.
My son is still here visiting, he is asleep upstairs.
The joy I feel when the kids are under my roof,
asleep and happy and safe at home.
I am blessed with a great family 
and friends here and in blog land.

Do you ever have those days 
where you just want to hug yourself with joy?
Life is good.
Difficult at times, but good.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gifting In The Studio

Working on Gifts

In the studio - Glitter and glue gun a flyin'

Wonder if I can talk Dearest Son into
a few projects?
He has an idea for a sewn headboard I'm working on.

I've already set up a painting area in the garage for 
Darling Daughter.
She asked what I wanted for Christmas.
What I always want from her....
Maybe I can pick up a few tricks....

Monday, November 19, 2012


Last year I had a lit tree in the den.
With the lights from it and a few candles,
the room felt warm and cozy.

This year I made the number tree,
and it has no lights.

So I was sitting here early evening,
perusing the net,
and realized there was no "Christmas" lighting in here,
other than the candles on the book ladder.
The den just did not have that warmth I need
this time of year.

As I am known to do, when I want something different,
I "shop" the house. I walked outside to the garden,
and literally yanked these two stars out of a tree and
perched them near the ladder.
I have lights, I have ambiance, I have cozy.

I have two more days till Ben is home.
Went to the store for the ingredients for this
MAGIC stuffing of his...$$$$$ YIKES.

Fennel, pears, Italian sausage, red peppers etc..
It had better be dang good!


Everyone please remember all those 
not as fortunate this Thanksgiving.
Even small donations have great impact.
If it's easy to give $10.00 then give $20.00
If 20.00 is easy, give 40.00....

I set a goal 10 years ago, to give to charities 10% of my
 gross income each year for ten years. 
I had hoped to increase the amount as the years went by.
That didn't happen, the economy flipped for all of us.  
This year I will barely make it but I will make it.
I'm selling off a few trinkets here and there to meet the goal.
( as I was typing this a pal called to buy
 some dishes I was selling. WoOt!)

Ten years 
Time to set a new goal.
I live on a very-very small budget but I always find a way.
If your budget is adequate, find a way, set a goal
make a difference.
Be a mensch.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Reds This Year

There is some red this year at oldgreymare.
I adore these House of Hatten ornaments -
the Twelve Days of Christmas and more.

I used a few last year in the den, but this year I did the large tree,
and added more figures throughout the room.

The vintage green wagon in front will be loaded with gifts.

There are whites everywhere else.

With burlaps and browns,
creams and whites,
touches of snow and glitter.

Pinecones, more snow, angels, birds...
reflections, candlelight...
tis the season...
happy happy joy joy
Dearest son Ben will be home for Thanksgiving.
Making his famous stuffing he says.
Mama happy.