December 31, 2012

Auld Lang Syne

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?

     For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne.
     We'll take a cup of kindness yet,  for auld lang syne.

V4.  And there's a hand my trusty friend!  And give us a hand o' thine!
And we'll take a right good-will draught,  for auld lang syne.

     For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne.
     We'll take a cup of kindness yet,  for auld lang syne.

"Auld Lang Syne" is an old Scottish song that was first written down in the 1700's.  Robert Burns is the person whose transcription got the most attention, so the song is associated with him.  From what I could find, a good translation of the words "auld lang syne" is "times gone by".  

Happy New Year!

December 30, 2012

A Walk Downtown in the Snow

As promised, I went out yesterday early evening, and then a little later when it was dark, to takes some photos of downtown Lititz all decked out for Christmas.   The Moravian people settled in Lititz as early as the mid 1700's.   The Moravian's were a pious people who came to the colonies to escape religious persecution.  This picture is of the Lititz Moravian Church.  

The church steeple has a large Moravian star that just glows when lit at night.

There are many quaint shops on Main Street.  The next three pictures are some of my favorite Christmas storefronts.

The next few photos are of Lititz Springs Park.

Lititz has some lovely old buildings with beautiful architectural features.  I was actually shocked to find that this beautiful stone building only dates back to 1941.

That concludes my tour of downtown Lititz.   I hope you enjoyed taking the walk down Main Street with me!

December 27, 2012

My Favorite Projects in 2012

2012 was my very first year here in blogland.  It's been so much fun to share my home with you all and it has really jump started some renovations that have been on the back burner for way too long!  Here are some of my favorite projects from this past year!  You can click on the numbered titles to take you to the original post.

10.  Slipcovered Chair

Thanks for your friendship and support in 2012!  I'm so looking forward to 2013 and all that it will bring!

December 22, 2012

Sand Tarts - A Christmas Memory

I've been wanting to write this post for some time now, but ended up exploring some family history in the process.  I first searched the internet for sand tarts and found that apparently there are three different kinds of cookies that are all called sand tarts, but are very different.  The sand tarts that I am referring to are a very thin, cut out cookie.   From what I have found on the internet, this type of sand tart seems to be most prevalent in Pennsylvania.  

One of my fondest childhood memories is making these delicate cut out cookies with my grandmother and her sisters, Ruth and Mary.  The three ladies would gather for an all day cookie baking extravaganza!  They would make the dough the night before and keep it in the refrigerator.  Then, in small portions, it would be rolled out, as thin as possible, and cut out with cookie cutters.  The sand tarts they made were sprinkled with colored sugar, at least that's how I remember them.  This was in the mid 1970's.  Those ladies would spend the entire day making just these cookies and then store them in large tins on my grandmother's summer porch, as she called it (it was an enclosed porch with windows, but not insulated or heated).  From then until Christmas, I would have these cookies with milk.  There were so many, they never ran out until the Christmas day festivities. 

When my great-aunt Ruth died, I purchased all of her recipes from the auction.  I have searched through these handwritten  recipes many times to find something I remember having as a child.  I have other sand tart recipes, but I believe this is the original one that was used by my grandmother, Mabel, and her sisters, Ruth and Mary.  At the bottom of the recipe is the name, Mrs. Ashman.  I believe this was Mrs. Ida Ashman, born 1865.  She and her husband, Sigal, owned the farm that my grandfather purchased.  My father, Evan, built a home on the same property when he and my mother married and dad worked the farm with my grandfather.  

The farm was known as the Ashman Farm and was built in 1792 by Colonel George Ashman, who fought in the Revolutionary War.  The Ashman's were from England and came to America around the middle of the seventeenth century.  The farm was passed down to Sigal and Ida Ashman at some point.   My grandparents were married in 1914 and my father was born in 1930.  I'm not sure of the exact year that my grandfather purchased the Ashman farm, but I know my father was born in the farmhouse in 1930.   This little bit of history, is all to say that this is a very old recipe!

The original recipe says to brush with a well beaten egg and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and finely chopped pecans.  I have seen the sand tarts like this a lot here in Lancaster County and this is probably how they were first made.  Also, I think they were originally just cut in simple shapes and later with tin cookie cutters.  I imagine that when colored sugars came along, people began to decorate the cookies with that to look more festive for Christmas.  Here are a few of the tin cookie cutters I have from my grandmother.

So, if you want to try these thin cut outs, my best advice is to keep your dough as cold as possible and only use a small amount at a time.  This will make it easier to roll the dough very thin - so it is almost transparent!  And, watch them carefully in the oven.  They bake very quickly because they are so thin.  

Thanks for indulging my little trip down memory lane!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

December 21, 2012

DIY Silhouette Nativity Templates

I received so many sweet comments about my DIY silhouette nativity, that I thought I would share the templates with you.  Now, you can make your own silhouette nativity scene!

My nativity is larger than the jpeg images I am providing (an overhead projector could be used to make them larger or you could take them to a copy center to be enlarged).  I wanted you to be able to print the images from your own printer.   You will need legal sized paper to print most of them.  You will need to watch the proportions of the characters.  To get some of the images to fit, I needed to make them a bit smaller.  When making your copies, just use your judgement to adjust the sizes as needed. 

Also, I used heavy chip board for my silhouettes.  You could also use poster board.  I used the real silver German glass glitter from Meyer Imports to make my nativity scene sparkle, but you could skip that step if you aren't into sparkle!  

As in my original post, I used birch branches to make the stable.  I used tiny nails at the four major joints and then reinforced those joints by wrapping them with jute twine in an "X" pattern.  Then, I just hot glued additional, smaller birch twigs to the frame to make it a little more rustic.

I have been asked how I made the silhouettes stand up.  First, I laid out four birch branches in front of the stable and staggered them left to right and front to back.  Then I  hot glued each silhouette to the branches where I wanted them placed.  By staggering the branches, you can add depth to the scene (some of the silhouette images are more toward the front and some more in the background).  

Here are the jpeg images.  I hope you will let me know if you decide to make your own silhouette nativity and, of course, send pictures!

 Mary Silhouette

 Joseph Silhouette

 Jesus Manger Silhouette

 Shepherds Silhouette

 Sheet and Star Silhouette

 Donkey Silhouette

 Cow Silhouette

 O Holy Night Banner 1
 O Holy Night Banner 2

December 16, 2012

A Hymn for the Sandy Hook Community

Does Jesus Care?

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth and song --
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?

O yes, He cares --
I know He cares!
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary,
the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades
Tho my tears flow all the night long?

O yes, He cares --
I know He cares!
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary,
the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

Does Jesus care when I've said goodbye 
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks --
Is it aught to Him?   does He see?

O yes, He cares --
I know He cares!
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary,
the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

To the Sandy Hook Community - your nation grieves with you.  I pray that the God of Comfort will grant you rest and peace as only He can give.  

John 11:25-26
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"


December 13, 2012

Silver White Winter Christmas Tree

It all started with packaging for my Etsy shop Christmas orders!  I have been wrapping my orders in brown paper packaging, tied up with string .  .  .  

Or, it could have been the yearly Oprah extravaganza!   Either way, "My Favorite Things" has inspired a few Christmas ideas this year.  

Like my Christmas tree - I think of it as a Silver White Winter tree!  It's full of white glittered snowflakes, tin icicles, wintery white birds, silver glass pinecones, and silver walnuts.  

The white glittered snowflakes were wood snowflakes that I got at Michael's in the clearance section for $1.49.  I spray painted them white and then added some Diamond Dust glitter to make them sparkle.  The tin icicles were hand crafted and I have had them for years.  The glass pine cone ornaments were gold (last year my tree was more traditional in reds and gold).  I spray painted them with Real Silver spray paint - easy transformation!  

The walnut ornaments I made last year and were also gold.  They are real walnuts with a small eye screw in the top and cording to hang on the tree.  I just hung them all on a stick and spray painted them with the Real Silver spray paint - cords and all!  

There are some glittered words, white pearl stems, glittery leaves, frosty white and silver glass balls, and this cool silver German glass glitter ribbon I found at my favorite local shop to complete the look.  

So, there you have it - my Silver White Winter Christmas tree!