Living in the upper Midwest my entire life has left me rather blase about snow, but since we have had next to none up to this point (which is very strange), I took a few pictures on Friday when it finally did snow a bit. Wow-- rather long-winded sentence there.
A lot of us have one or two favorite recipes that make Christmas "Christmas." This is mine:
My mom had a friend way back in the 50s named Fairy, and this recipe came from her. We've tweaked it a bit, omitting the nuts and adding extra chocolate chips-- what can I say? Every Christmas season my mother (and us kids) made this bread; I've made it every year for decades. Even talked my husband through making it one year when I was sick!
When the cherries hit the batter, it smells like Christmas to me.
I use these old cans to bake in which might be part of the secret. I don't think I'd use today's thinner cans. You can bake it in a square baking dish or those mini loaf pans would probably work well. You know the question: if your house was on fire, what material things would you save? These cans would be at the top of my save list. I also have a copy of this recipe in my fire safe box. I need help!
If I've peaked your culinary curiosity, here is the recipe:
FAIRY'S CHERRY CHIP BREAD
1/2 C margarine (butter is ok too, but I've always used marg)
1 C sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 mashed bananas
2 C flour
1 teas baking soda
1/4 to 1/2 C chocolate chips
1/4 C maraschino cherries, drained and chopped or halved
(chopped nuts was originally in the recipe-- 1/4 C?)
Cream margarine and sugar. Add eggs and bananas. If you're "dirty dishes" conscious like I am, you can mash bananas and beat eggs in the same margarine/sugar bowl. Add chips and cherries, mix. Add flour and soda, mix well. How easy was that?
Oil sides of cans or grease your baking dish (or loaf pans). Fill cans halfway full. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Test with cake tester for doneness-- only melted chips should appear. Top will be quite brown. Cool 5-10 minutes before removing from cans or mini pans-- if using a large baking dish, you can just leave it. Run a knife around the inside edge of the can and the loaf should slide right out.
Cool on a rack or waxed paper.
Store wrapped in fridge.
I usually double the recipe and share loaves with relatives and neighbors. Everyone loves it! If you give it a go, I hope you like it too.
I bought the candlestick phone stamp online, not realizing how large it was. Then I thought of this photo (copy) of my grandmother using the same type of phone, and a scrapbook layout was born. I guess a phone was a novelty back in the 1910s hence using it as a prop in a photo. So I'm glad I didn't return the stamp after all.
Incidentally, this is the same grandmother who owned all the Christmas candles of yesterday's post.
Here are a couple of photos of my (formally my grandmother's) entire Gurley candle collection. If I keep up blogging, maybe I will continue to highlight certain candles during Decembers to come.
Keep in mind my aunt has a few, my sister has several, there are also Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving models, and quite a lot were damaged and lost over time so the original collection was quite impressive. One of my aunts said my grandmother and her collection were in a Chicago paper once (decades ago), but I've never been able to track that down.
I also should mention there are non-Gurley makes in here as well. That's okay. The more the merrier!
Nothing says "Christmas" to me quite like the smell of old wax and limp, yellowed tissue paper. Maybe I need to get out more!
When you stop and think about it, "Christmas" is really a broad subject. What direction do you go? Traditional? Modern? Religious? Cutesie? For Tag Tuesday this week, I decided to look at my scrapbook papers and just use an image I liked. So here is what I picked.
Kind of modern yet antique-type colors. Maybe another day I would have created an entirely different tag, but this is the finished product for this week.
Some of us Taggers participated in a Christmas themed swap. These are the tags I made.
These are the tags I received:
The candy canes is by Mo, and the tree is by Barb.
The angel is by Liz, "Let It Snow" by Jane, and the bird by?? It was not signed, and I don't know yet who made it. Just found out the cute bird is by Norma!
The backs are pretty too!
So nice to see the work of some of these folks in person!
Getting Christmas shopping, wrapping, baking, etc. done early allows one time in December to do something like make a layout for Kaisercraft's Saturday Sketch Challenge (#3 December). So a Christmas-themed layout was in order. This is my then six-month-old in her "baby command center" as we called it. Looking on was out sweet Lab.
I added a couple of real postage stamps, and the rust colored fringe on the bottom is frayed burlap. The candle on the bottom right is cut from a vintage Christmas card.
Ever unpack Christmas decorations and say, "Oh yeah! I forgot about these." That's what I said when I unwrapped these two flower power ornaments. I picked them up cheap at a thrift store last year. They're a kind of paper mache material-- sort of unusual. I'm sure some of you are thinking, "Well, okay, if she likes them..." Well, I do! So mod!
I originally felt like I needed to apologize for the plastic canvas ornaments showing in the photo. My eight-year-old bought a shoebox full of ornaments at an estate sale this fall, and those were in there. She thought the box held the best treasures. To be honest, seeing those on my tree is kind of heartwarming. Someone made those, no family member wanted them, so they found a home on a little girl's tree. Hmm... sounds like a plot for a picture book. Feel free to whip up a bestseller! Besides, if my daughter posted a picture of her ornaments on her blog, she might write something like, "I feel like I need to apologize for the mod flower ornaments. My mom bought them at a thrift store..."
Every Christmas my folks bought us kids a special Christmas ornament. My mom would cut tiny strips of adhesive tape and write my name and the year on it and adhere it to the back of the ornament. This glass Pinocchio was my very first; actually my dad bought this one from Marshall Fields (probably) when I was just four months old. I'm not going to admit to the year, but there's no denying it's definitely vintage today.
I'm amazed those legs and arms are still intact after these, uh, many years. A couple of my other annual ornaments have some damage, but this guy is tough.
By the way, I now buy an ornament every year for my daughter and write her name and the year on the back.
This is my favorite vintage Christmas find this year, and that's pretty easy to say since I only found three things this season! The "pickins" were mighty slim around here. Actually I'm not even sure how vintage this deer is as there were remnants of hot glue on the bottom (which easily peeled off), but it is very cute-- kind of big too; about 6 inches high. I added the bow.
Well, I had a 2-for-1 yesterday, and here is another one today. Two cute but quite different angels. The angel on the left is a Gurley, but the one on the right I'm not too sure about. Doesn't have that Gurley look or colors and no label on the bottom, but I've always liked its simplicity. Both are quite pretty.
I actually made two tags for the "Decorate A Christmas Ornament" theme at Tag Tuesday. The matchbox is embellished with an old postage stamp (notice the price!). I also used some snazzy sequin trim that an aunt of mine handed down. By the way, how do you cut that stuff without it falling apart? I used lots of craft glue! Anyway, I was about halfway done and thought I really wasn't following the directions of using an ornament shape. So I made a second one:
Those are more old postage stamps too. I mod podged the whole thing to look a bit shiny and sprinkled some glitter on the top and bottom. Normally I steer clear of glitter; it follows me around for weeks, but my daughter had left some sitting out where I was working so...
The last Christmas tag I posted a couple of days ago led me to yet another blog challenge called Frilly and Funkie. So here is a tag I quickly came up with for that. The base is an old library due date card. The cat I found as a free image last year but never did anything with it; I was glad to finally use it.
Through a Tag Tuesday friend of mine, May, I came across a blog called, "Dragons Dream Tag It On." Anyone can make a tag for a specified theme. Well, I'm anyone. So I decided to give it a go. The latest challenge is "Christmas," and the only requirement is to use at least one real stamp. Here is my entry:
The Christmas tree stamp I used is really old. I'm surprised it still works so well. It is from a set in a wooden box, no less, that belonged to my husband's grandparents.
I managed to make a layout for Kaisercraft's Saturday Sketch Challenge #2 for December. This is a copy of my great-aunt's wedding picture. I don't remember her, and my great-uncle was gone long before I arrived on the scene, but I still like this photo. Glad I had a reason to make a collage with it.
And, yes, this is the same girl who is standing in yesterday's photo. Do you think she borrowed her sister's gown and headpiece? They look pretty similar.
I know, I know, I'm a day late (and a dollar short), but yesterday was Gurley Wednesday so just play along.
My great-aunt, Linda (which was short for Malinda), was married on December 12, 1912. Yes, 12-12-12 only a hundred years earlier. How about that? The girl standing is her sister. Aunt Linda is the only one in the picture I knew, and that was brief when she was quite old.
"Deck The Halls" is the theme at Tag Tuesday this week. And I'm sure the gal running it, isn't expecting this:
When I dug through my Christmas paper stash, the "Deck the Malls" image immediately caught my eye. So I added some vintage style ads and text from an old accounting book. The "receipt" hanging to the side are from the same book.
Another Kaisercraft Challenge today (Saturday Sketch #1 December). This sketch was pretty interesting as the example used seven photos. I fudged a bit and used four photos. Those are real slide mounts and a real transparency. Kind of fun.
This time year Christmas music is heard from my stereo, radio, computer... My mother had quite a few Xmas LPs (which my dad still has, probably unbeknownst to him, in a closet; I know where they are), and every December we would play them over and over.
What is your favorite Christmas song? So many good ones out there. You can't beat Bing Crosby or "Charlie Brown" music. I don't think I could pick a favorite.
Here is a sampling of the "real" Christmas music, as opposed to MP3s, I have in a variety of formats. I wonder how I escaped the 8-track phase?
Christmas getting a bit overbearing? Give Bob Rivers a listen. Guaranteed smiles, possible chuckles.
And just to prove I'm not a dinosaur (yet), here is a recent playlist on Itunes on my computer.
I'm linking to Mockingbird Hill Cottage this Saturday because Christmas music is a favorite thing of mine-- in December anyway!