Behind My Red Door

Behind My Red Door

Thursday, December 31, 2009

My very last post….

Yes, can you believe it?? The very last post for 2009!! Wow – did this year go by fast!! And boy, December flew by for me! All those weeks of preparation and days of cooking and then Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were over in the blink of an eye. It was especially meaningful this year to have our little sweetie pea Lili at our celebrations. Of course she didn’t understand much more than the fun of being with so many people and the crinkly wrapping paper that she wanted to put in her mouth, and another new toy to chew on, but it sure made it more fun for the rest of us!

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We really missed not having Mr. Red Door’s parents here for our Swedish Christmas Eve but his dad was too ill to make the long drive and he can’t fly. And my mom was under the weather on Christmas Day so we missed her as well. We still we managed to have two wonderful celebrations with too much food but just the right amount of love and joy.

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Despite a lingering cold and cough, I spent the weekend un-decorating the inside and by Sunday afternoon, I had everything packed away, save for a few winter decorations, and I am enjoying the cleaner less cluttered look. As I have been saying for a few years now, sometimes Less is More! Here are my simple winter decorations along with a few new treasures from some very dear and special friends ~

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While cleaning after Christmas I found an old kit and managed to find a few moments to make myself a new lamp. I already had the old jug and the lampshade so the total cost $0.00 – the best kind of project!

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One day this week my friend Jill came down from Maine for what is becoming our monthly outing. As usual, she spoiled me with some hostess gifts including this wonderfully prim candle holder – isn’t that kewl? I love how it clips on the pages of the book!026

Jill is still buying prims for the time when she has a larger home in SC (whenever her home in Maine sells) so I took her to a few places she hadn’t been too yet and one place that was new to both of us. With the winter sun shining, we headed west of My Red Door and our first stop was in Spencer at Spencer Furniture. This large store has a section dedicated entirely to primitive decor. We both wanted this primitive chair and since we couldn't decide who should bring it home, we decided neither of us could have it. <wink wink>.

I fell in love with this island – the other side looks the same and the drawers pull open from side to side. Of course I’d have to reconfigure some walls and rooms to bring it home and I didn’t think Mr. Red Door would go for that. So I left it there. For now.

Jill found 2 wonderful iron candle holders, and 2 prints of great primitive portraits. I found some Olde Century paint for the dining chairs – a winter thyme project - and a small quilt to hang on the railing that I would dearly love to replace with a half wall. When you come inside the literally behind My Red Door, on the right up the stairs is a railing that is half of the living room wall. It makes furniture placement more difficult because you can see the back and underside of those pieces from the foyer and when coming down the hall from the bedrooms and kitchen. I have found that quilt hanging does a lot to limit that view. This one is perfect with it’s black, mustard and dark red prints and plaids.

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Our next stop for was lunch at the Historic Salem Cross Inn. From their website ~ “The Salem Cross Inn is named for the witch-mark found on the front door-latch of the Inn. In the town of Salem and throughout the Bay Colony this mark was used to protect their inhabitants against "ye evills of witchcraft and diverse other manifestations of devilltry."

Since the Inn has been restored by the Salem family, led by Richard Salem, the pun on the name decided the title of the Inn. Furnished throughout with American antiques, the Inn displays the nation's only known operating Roasting Jack, a c. 1700 device the innkeepers use to cook beef, game and fowl at the huge hearths.

The original King's Grant of the Salem Cross Inn was made to a grandson of Peregrine White, the Pilgrim child born on the Mayflower as it lay in Plymouth Harbor. For eight generations members of the White family lived here, through Queen Anne's War, the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War and numerous Indian raids. John White was killed by the Indians in Brookfield in 1710, prior to the building of the main house. The original ell with its "borning room" and walls lined with crude hand-made bricks to deflect Indian arrows awaits restoration.

The area, historic in Indian Wars, was crossed by the Bay Path, the Hadley Path and the old Boston Post Road, and it was a favorite camping grounds for the Wampanoags, whose chieftain, Philip of Pokanoket, is remembered for King Philip's War. Relics are still to be found in freshly turned fields. The choice of the house site itself was dictated by the ever present fear of Indian attacks, for in the cellar, not too far from the giant central chimney square, flows a steady stream of pure, cold spring-water. Legend has it that when the house was preparing for possible attack by Indians, pots of water were placed in every room against the use of fire arrows, and the smaller children were told to hide in the cellar in a recess within the chimney base.”

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We both enjoyed a hearty portion of the Butternut Risotto and even had enough to take home for another meal~ “Maple roasted butternut squash and caramelized Spanish onions simmered with orzo pasta “risotto style” and finished with sweet cream, parmesan and pecan butter.” Can you say Yummo???! The restaurant hosts events such as a traditional Drover’s Roast and Fireside Feasts. It is a quaint and delightful place to share a meal. The antiques made us drool!

We then continued a short distance west to the center of the small town of Ware to a small shop on Main Street called Wendy’s Country Attic (no website). It is a cute little store in the midst of the quaint downtown area. We found the offerings to much more country than the prim/colonial items we traditionally look for. She was having a great sale on Christmas decor if you are in the area.

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And then we headed back east to Angel House Design - 24 Fiskdale Road - Route 148 Brookfield, Massachusetts 01506. From their website ~

“ANGEL HOUSE DESIGNS is a firm known for its fine design work and quality reproductions executed with meticulous craftsmanship. Designs are developed by architect Valentin J. Dzelzitis. The sofas and chairs are based on authentic antiques and were originally designed for the restoration of our 1731 home, the John Watson House, which now is the shop for Angel House products. We invite you to visit our authentically restored saltbox in scenic Brookfield. “ It was fun poking around and seeing the old house and some of the wonderful old antiques. My red chair happens to be an Angel House design.

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And then it was time to head back Behind My Red Door and before Jill left for home, we enjoyed some of my delicious home made beef barley vegetable soup. It has become my tradition to make a huge pot of it with leftovers from our Christmas Day prime rib. I enjoy that I cook once and we get several meals after the hard work of the Holidays. And it always seems just in time for the cold and snow weather we are now getting.

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And so that brings us here ~ to the end of another year. Tonight we say goodbye to 2009 and hello to a 2010. Mr. Red Door and I are not venturing out in the snow and ice and instead will enjoy a quiet dinner in our warm home.

2009 brought many changes in my family ~ and I like to thin that the good outweighs the bad Behind My Red Door. Like most of the world, our finances took a hit in 2009 and we were forced to revaluate some of our plans and goals. But as I have said before, thankfully for my DH and his diligent savings and hard work, the impact is nothing like it could have been. He enables me to remain the Keeper of the Home ~ a real blessing. On a lighter note, our daughter Jen got her first shiny brand new car. Mr. Red Door enjoyed a few months of temporary retirement and join a golf course and played every single day – sometimes 36 holes or more. I had a dream fulfilled when I got to see our home in print in both Country Sampler and Mercantile Gatherings magazines. But it is the gift that Angela and Jay gave to our family that outshines anything else that happened this year. And of course I am talking about Lili’s birth. Being a Grammy to this sweet darling happy healthy baby is more than I could ever imagine! She has brought Grampy and I immeasurable joy and love. We are so blessed to be a part of her life. 002

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Now as we say goodbye to 2009, I want to send out a special thanks to all 537 of my followers and anyone else that has ever taken the time to read or comment or email me since I started blogging in April 2008. I am so honored and humbled that you take the time to come and visit with me. I wish there was a way I could thank each of you in person. When I started this journey, I could never have imagined how many new friends I would make and how many kindred spirits I would meet in blogland. You are indeed one of the best parts of the past year for me. In that spirit, I leave you with this, a New Year blessing especially for you my friends ~

May the road you walk be a smooth one,
May your troubles be few — if any,
May the days and years that lie ahead
Be healthy, happy, and many,
May you have friends in abundance,
May the sun shine bright around you.

May serenity touch you gently every morning.
May peace be your companion through each day.
And in every restful hour, may dreams renew your soul.
May your world be a wonderful place to live,
And may God's love always surround you.

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Thank you as always for stopping by and making Behind My Red Door part of your day!

Until next time – hugs, Grammy Linda

PS - I’ll be back next year with some of my Favorite Things and I think you’ll be pretty surprised ~ at least at a few of them!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Finally on the mend…

…from the worst cold I have had in years ~THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS! It started as a dry throat Sunday night and got a little worse each day but even Wednesday I still I thought "’Ok, this cold is peaking and it will be all good from here on out”. In the last 5 years, I have not had a real cold, a bad cough, or the flu. A stuffy nose and a dry throat but never a full blown cold. I attributed that to no longer being around kiddos at work and no kiddos to bring germs home and I have a faithful routine of Vitamins and supplements. So Wednesday my glass was still half full. Then I woke up Thursday and my glass was totally drained. I will spare you the rest of the details and just say I was pretty sick. And frustrated! I had to cancel several appointments that were made months earlier and I couldn’t watch Lili and NONE of my Christmas preparations were getting done. Sure, Mr. Red Door helped me with the little day to day things but it was hard to read about all the baking and preparations YOU all were getting done. Reading blogs was about all I could do when I wasn’t camped out on my daybed.

BUT as is often the case with life, something happens to put things into perspective. Friday morning our bloggy friend Sandy over at For A Love of Prims posted about a tragic fire in her town. Several families lost their homes and everything they owned and/or their livelihood ~ just days before Christmas. Suddenly, not being able to buy just one more present or bake that certain cookie, didn’t seem so important. Reading about how her community was banding together to help these families was just the attitude adjustment I needed. Today she has a post which shows the devastation but also how much has been done in just a few days. It is heartwarming and uplifting!

So no that I have rejoined the human race, like most of the east coast, we are in the middle of a horrible blizzard right and we are stuck in for the day. Mr. Red Door is on vacation this week and as is our tradition and he helps me with the last minute preparations. Sometimes, he even cooks a meal. This morning, he made us scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast. I can’t remember the last time I had that and it hit the spot! And fortunately the presents were already bought and wrapped and so at this point, I can focus my energy on the two feasts I need to prepare ~ a Swedish Buffet on Christmas Eve for Mr. Red Door’s side of the family and two Prime Rib Roasts and all the trimmings on Christmas Day for my side of the family. Mr. Red Door is not used to seeing me sidelined like this and he knew I was worried so he went grocery shopping before the storm started so I could start cooking and baking when I felt up to it. Yesterday afternoon I was itching to start and the first thing I wanted to try was this ~

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After hearing my friend Kathy rave about these, I decided this sounded like an easy enough recipe to whip up and I was right! The recipe makes 2 good size cookie sheets of them. I wish I had doubled it because they are addicting (just as Kathy said they would be!!)

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For the recipe and instructions, click HERE!

And because he is such a good guy, before he heads outside later to fire up the snow blower, Mr. Red Door is fixing to help me roll out 5 pounds of Swedish meatballs. Because they are so small, that’s a lot of little meatballs!

Tomorrow Mr. Red Door and I will make our annual trip the Gift Chalet for our Swedish Cheeses and Sausages and we’ll also make a stop at Helen’s Bakery for Swedish Christmas bread, the Coffee Cake for Christmas morning and some other traditional goodies. That trip always makes it feel like Christmas to us.

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Have you been over to A Primitive Place website recently to see all the wonderful Holiday Home tours?? Well, if you have then you are in good company because Country Sampler also has!!! And they choose 3 of the homes they saw to be featured in their 2010 Christmas issue! Kristine and Sarah worked very hard to put together 6 pages of gorgeous homes all decked out for Christmas!! Like several other homes that have been featured on A Primitive Place in the Member Gallery or as a featured Home of the Month in the past, this time 3 of those homes caught the interest of Country Sampler magazine. The one I can share by name right now is our talented and very sweet blogging friend Kath, over at The Old Weeping Cedar. Esther Schmidt had seen Kath’s home and the other 2 homes on the Holiday Home Tours on APP and since Esther and I still keep in touch and chat, I was able to help her get in contact with Kath and the others. I couldn’t be more thrilled for them!! Kath has blogged about it here. Do hop on over to read about it and while you are there, please wish her a very happy birthday - it’s today!! Happy Birthday Kath! This couldn’t happen to a nicer or more deserving person!

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When going through some folders of pictures on my hard drive, I found several of Christmas Decor that I had not put into my album so they never got posted here. I hope you enjoy them.

This Father Christmas figurine was one of my first. I got him at a juried craft show 19 years ago. Naw, my memory is not THAT good ~ I can tell because he is signed and dated! When you first come in Behind My Red Door and start up the stairs, he greets you. I often forget to take his picture because he stands guard on the floor. 038

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Hint hint - This ornament was made by one of those 3 homeowners I mentioned above!

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Another hint - This red shelf was purchased at the shop owned by another of those 3 homeowners!019

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Wow – it seems like just yesterday I was rushing to take fall down and get Christmas up in time for my Gathering! And in just a few days, it will be time to gather up the dried up greens and all my Santa's and reindeer and angels and feather trees and stockings and ornaments and pack them away for another 11 months. I’ll leave a few special snowmen out, and add just a few more, but after months of bittersweet and greens and seasonal accents everywhere, I am looking forward to a cleaner, leaner look! I am at the point in my life when I enjoy my every day decor. I have been collecting those treasures for so many years and refining my look and I enjoy seeing them and appreciating them. I am drawn to them because they evoke the feel of days gone by when possessions were harder to come by and when they were appreciated for what they were. After putting all the extra’s away, I like seeing my treasures in a simpler, less cluttered setting where they stand on their own.

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With all the snow on the ground, it is hard for our feathered friends to find food. My friends Linda over at Simply Country Seasons and Robin over at The Robin’s Nest, both had great ideas for feeding them. Stop on over and check them out!!

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Yesterday was technically the end of the Gratitude Challenge but I wanted to add this today. As sick as I felt, I am very grateful it was not the H1N1 flu. The Christmas Season is such a special time, full of anticipation and I so enjoy making it special for my family. I am grateful I am recovering in time to do just that. We are so excited to share this Christmas with our extended families ~ from the oldest to the youngest.

To all my friends and peeps and fellow bloggers, stay safe and warm and I’ll be back sometime after Christmas.

Christmas is the gift of Peace.
Christmas is the gift of Hope.
Christmas is the gift of Love.

May Christmas blessings brightly shine
on those you love and you,
And may the special love of Christ
be with you all year through.
Wishing You a Joy-Filled Christmas!

Thank you as always for stopping by and making Behind My Red Door part of your day!

Until next time – hugs, Grammy Linda

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Very Special Birthday and more Christmas Decor

December is not only Christmas time Behind My Red Door, it is also the month when we celebrate the birthdays of 2 very important men in my life. My dad and Mr. Red Door. And both on the same day – they were born 31 years apart. Yesterday, my entire family gathered Behind My Red Door to celebrate my dad’s 88th birthday. What a milestone! And it is not often that my brother and his family can make the trip here at the same time as everyone else so it was a real treat to have us all together. This year, I had invited my folks for a quiet dinner with just Mr.Red Door and I so they were very surprised and quite delighted to walk into our family room and see all of their living children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Our family is not very big, so there were 19 of us gathered here. My folks, their 3 living children and spouses, their 5 living grandchildren and 2 of their spouses, and 4 great grandchildren – guess who is the youngest?

My dad was not quite sure what to make of the crowd that greeted him!

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We each got creative and gave my dad 88 of something – 88 Hershey Kisses, 88 memories from childhood, $88 gift card to Trader Joes and so on. Here he is opening a jar with 88 quarters.

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After opening gifts, we moved upstairs and had cake and ice cream and spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying each other.

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Before everyone left, Jay was able to use his tripod and the timer on his camera and get some wonderful photos of the entire family. It was a wonderful day spent making memories to last a lifetime!

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After everyone left and Mr. Red Door crashed on his couch in his office, I was so pleased to see that the Polar Express was on TV last night. I read the book to the kiddos at school every year, and I have seen the movie at least once a year since it came out and yet I still get the goose bumps when Hero Boy rings the bell and finally hears it jingle. Do you believe? I sure do!!

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This year I have not had the time to get the lighting right and take several pictures of the same scene and decide which to keep and which to delete so I am not thrilled with the quality of all of my Christmas decor pictures. That said, here are the last of them for 2009.

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These next 3 are for my friend Donna from Never so Simple… 015 (2)

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And this last one is for the friend who wanted to see the tree in daylight without the lights turned on. She is trying to decide if she wants a German Twig tree. I just love the size of this one. It doesn’t take up too much room and I really love that I can adjust the branches and bend them wherever I need them to be! 019

Truth be told if I had my way, every year I would make the trip to a tree farm to find a Frazier fir in this shape and size. I am not sure they even exist and it is getting harder and harder to even find a Frazier Fir in my neck of the woods! The three tree farms we frequented before I bought this tree in 2007 didn’t replant them. I saw a wonderful one over at Quaint and Plain , one of the most peaceful and delightful blogs I have seen. Quick, hop on over and click on the picture to enlarge it. It’s the most simple prim tree ever and I love it!

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This afternoon, while Mr. Red Door watched the Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers (finally – a win!) I put the finishing touches on my December Musings for A Primitive Place. Click on the picture below to read them. I had fun reminiscing about some of my childhood traditions and some of the new ones we made with our children.

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I want to take this opportunity to wish all my Jewish friends a very Happy Hanukkah! I hope the week is wonderful!

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When I was preparing for my dad’s birthday celebration, and buying the birthday napkins, the snacks, ordering a cake and buying my dad’s gift and everything else for the party, it was not lost on me that Mr. Red Door has made it all possible. In fact his hard work combined with diligent saving and money management for the last 39 years has made it possible for me to plan all the special gatherings of friends and family as well as have a sense of security very rare these days. For that and him, I am extremely grateful. He’s the best husband, dad and Grampy a girl could ask for. And because yesterday was about my dad, today I made Mr. Red Door a roast beef dinner. After all, he deserves a special meal for his birthday too!

Thank you as always for stopping by and making Behind My Red Door part of your day!

Until next time – hugs, Grammy Linda