deck the halls (phase 1)


Although most people in our area can’t wait for the food on the Thanksgiving table to get cold before putting up their Christmas decorations, we take much more time to deck the halls, often putting the final touches on the tree as the Solstice suns sets. And now that I am a full-time student as well, currently in the last week of classes with four studio art projects to complete before the final critiques with professors on the 14th…let’s say not much else holiday-wise is on the agenda until later next week.

Except for this sweet wreath made by my friend Patty! She brought to the Christmas Market on Saturday, and James hung it while I was at classes this week.🙂 Now between my chili sauce bottle design project and mounting my sculpture for 3D  class,  I just need to remember to water the poinsettia!😉


christmas market


Yesterday was a busy day at the Christmas Market in New Holland. It’s been two years since we first started selling at craft shows, and even though it’s a lot of work to prepare and actually execute well, this introvert has come to enjoy the face-to-face interaction with others. It’s super-fulfilling and satisfying to be able to share our harvest bounty with folks, to receive their positive feedback, and establish relationships with our regular customers who keep coming back for more!

The market hall was full of craft vendors, and we saw a  regular stream of visitors all day. One of the high points for children was the visitor of Mrs. Claus, who entertained them with “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and carol singing before presenting gifts to all from under the tree.


Mrs. Claus’ obvious love of the children and the enthusiasm she shared reminded me much of my grandmother, who was a kindergarten teacher for many years. Like this woman, my grandmother went all out during the Christmas season (and all holidays, really), not in the over-consuming sense, but rather with the spirit and tradition and, of course, making sure the children had a wonderful holiday, creating sweet memories indeed!

Happy Sunday, everyone!


advent calendar traditions


The first advent calendars I remember were the ones we received along with our family’s World Book “Christmas in [insert country name]…” series back in the seventies and early eighties. The annual subscription included a handcrafted tree ornament, the beautifully photographed book detailing that year’s featured country’s Christmas traditions, and a paper advent calendar, which my brother and sister and I took turns opening its windows (with our mother refereeing). For small-town kids in an era before mass international travel, those books and ornaments, not to mention the advent calendar, were a highlight of our holiday season and absolutely treasured. In fact, the ornaments still adorn our trees almost forty years later.

And I still think advent calendars are a fun holiday tradition, so this year I picked up one for me and another for James (at 99cents a piece, it was an affordable splurge!). I also am participating in a Kindness Advent Calendar event (details can be found here) because our world can always do with extra kindness, especially at this time of year. If you haven’t a traditional advent calendar this year (or even if you do), why not join the kindness chain!

Happy Friday!



Happy December, everyone! There is no snow here on Baldy Hill today (this is a photo from last year), but the gray sky, low light, and chilled wind make it almost feel like it’s possible.

I have no classes scheduled for today, so I have been busy making a couple batches of jam — strawberry and elderberry — for Saturday’s craft show.  We participated in New Holland’s Christmas on Main festival last year and are happy to be back at its Christmas Market again.

Today is also the start of Holidailies, an online blogging event in its 17th (!) year. I have contributed postings there over the years and am excited to be able to join along this holiday season. So look for regular blog posts here and at Holidailies for the remainder of 2016!

Have a wonderful day, friends.

the queen


When I was a child and thought of a butterfly, an image of the monarch always came first to mind. And now, forty-plus years along and the numbers of this regal butterfly plummeting, a monarch sighting has become something to celebrate. Its visit to our garden was brief, so I made sure to get a bunch of pics. The brilliant orange and black and white spots still dazzle, and yet again I find myself awed by nature’s beauty on this waning summer day.




This is what our midsummer looks like — beauty everywhere! In the garden, in the sky, all around the homestead. We are grateful for our many blessings and this abundant harvest season. Yes, even all that zucchini WILL be put to good use! (Last night we had it roasted, with garlic, onion, tomatoes, spinach, and a bit of chili sauce — yum.) Somedays, when the muscles are weary, it can be difficult to muster up the energy to get the work done. But we do it because the Earth is an amazing partner to work with on this journey. That said, if the weather holds, we are looking forward to a brief beach sojourn later next week, to dip our toes in the ocean and smell that salty air. Just what’s needed to recharge after weeks of hard work!🙂 Wishing all of you the best of this bountiful season!!!