Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas at Wellington 2011

Our second Christmas in Wellington was memorable in so many ways.  Regular readers will remember the pine cone bird saga.  On a walk with The Hub, I found this pine cone half buried in the dirt.  When I picked it up it was already shaped like a delightful bird, with the "beak" in front rather than on top, like a normal pine cone.  I flocked it and made some feet out of heavy gauge wire.  When The Little Boy came home from sleep away school he let me steal this tiny hat off of his caramel apple.  You know your son loves you if he doesn't make a fuss when you steal the tiny hat off of his caramel apple.  And now my pine cone bird has a friend!  The Dot's bird that she bought at Romancing the Home.  Are they a cute little pair?

Here is a little section of the Glitter House village.  That's mini Wellington on the far left.  The pink house in front was the first Glitter House I made.  The church on the right was purchased at an after-Christmas sale last year.  And I bought some teeny tree lights at Benicia Bay Company to light up my bristle trees.  It was really cute.  (There is one more purchased Glitter House not pictured that is on the left.)

Here is the view looking through the French Doors from the library.

This is how the Christmas Cake turned out this year.  I put it on this little Christmas platter then covered it with a glass bowl, to keep the dust off.  It looked like a huge snow globe.  I was very happy with it.  We brought it to The Hub's brother's house on Christmas and left it there for them to enjoy.  It's iced with a layer of marzipan, then royal icing.  (Seriously, it's good.  But we prefer ours bald.)

This is a present I got from my dear friend, Cindy.  It's so perfect for me because not only do I collect tea pots, but I love birds.  This teapot has a chickadee painted on the front, and on the tray below, plus it has a little chickadee handle.  Very cute!
Here is our Christmas dinner table that we enjoyed on Christmas Eve since we went to The Hub's brother's house for Christmas dinner.  Last year, The Dot bought these crackers and we each got two!  Mine smelled like crayons and when I opened it, it had crayons inside!  The Hub got a harmonica.  The Dot got a magic trick and The Little Boy got a metal ring puzzle.  I can't remember the rest, but they were fun.  We wore the paper hats too. 

People who have known me a while will recall that I make a new stocking for The Hub every year.  It all started in about 1984 or 1985 when I discovered that he didn't have a stocking of his own.  We were just dating then.  I made him a little stocking out of felt.  The next year I made him another stocking and a tradition was formed.  This year I think it's about the 26th or 27th stocking.  Plus I made one for each of the kids the year they were born.  The stocking above is this year's stocking.  It's reverse applique, white underneath.  The holly is attached with two red jingle bells - one tiny and one medium-tiny.  There's also a little Santa-shaped bell hanging from under the cuff on the right by the ribbon loop.  You can't see it too well in this picture.  It look like a little snowflake, but it's a Santa bell I bought when The Dot and I went to the Dickens Christmas Faire in San Francisco earlier this month.  Of course Santa filled this stocking to over-flowing.  The Hub is spoiled.

Here is our Christmas tree.  It's beautiful!  It is very full with a kind of flat top that was perfect for our topper - a white metal rocking horse strung with white twinkly lights.  It used to be a table top decoration but one year The Hub strung lights through it and shoved it on top of the tree and there it has stayed, year after year.

And now I'm trying to learn all of my new electronics, which include an espresso maker (thanks Hub), a portable DVD player (thanks Sis) and a fabulous mp3 player (thanks Dot).  I'm always tempted to wing it when it comes to electronics, but it seems that they just get more and more complicated and I would miss out on all of their features if I didn't take the time to learn them.  So that is what I'm doing this week in between eating all the delicious food, trying to roll myself off the couch and sucking in my pot belly as The Hub walks by.  Luckily New Years Resolutions are right around the corner.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas in Benicia

I have never lived in a place that does Christmas as well as Benicia.  Last weekend was the Christmas Tree Lighting which I would like to proclaim as a huge success.  Here are the pics to prove it.

Many of the shops on 1st Street had beautiful displays.  This is the Camelia Tea Room.
Here is the Blue Goose Antique Store.

Sailor Jack's.

The end of 1st Street where the palm trees along the water are decked out in twinklies.

The Depot with the holiday crowd.  You can't see it, but they're there.  The Youth Commission was treating everyone to cookies and cider.  You could buy wine if you wanted.

And the finale:  The Tree Lighting.  Accompanied by Kris Kringle and the Mistletoes.  They were very festive.  A good time was had by all.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Arbor Walk in Autumn, and the Santa Ana Winds

Some people may not believe it, but it's autumn in Benicia. It's December 2. Almost winter, even. But if you were in Benicia you would think it was May. It was 74° today. SEVENTY-FOUR. It's on account of what I like to call the Santa Ana Winds.

For those of you who don't live in California, Santa Ana Winds, according to the US National Weather Service are "Strong down slope winds that blow through the mountain passes in southern California. These winds, which can easily exceed 40 mph, are warm and dry and can severely exacerbate brush or forest fires, especially under drought conditions." They come from Southern California all the way up here to Northern California. Wednesday was cold, cold, cold. I got home from the gym and almost froze to death before I could change out of my damp clothes. It took me forever to warm up. I finally had to take a bath (rats) in Wellington's soaker tub. It's a jetless Jacuzzi. It's deep and contoured and I love it way too much.  My second favorite is the rain shower head.  Then, Wednesday night when I went outside, the winds had started up and they were warm.  It's probably 20° warmer today. And tomorrow will be 20° cooler.

But for now, we're reveling in the mild climate.  We're spending every possible moment outside.  Dot and I walked downtown (some of us bought some vintage ornaments, pics to follow), the cat is lying on the warm porch.  And later this evening is the Benicia Christmas Tree Lighting.  I'm thinking there will be a great turnout this year.  Last year, which was our first in Benicia, we went a little late.  We missed most of the ceremony.  Mostly what we got was rollicking hoodlums showing off for each other and forgetting that other people are trying to walk down the street, for crying out loud.
Fingers crossed that they've either learned better manners or they'll be busy elsewhere because Dot and I are going!

These are pictures of the Arbor Walk in Autumn.  As loyal readers will recall, this is the first autumn for the Arbor Walk and I'm happy to report that it is chock-full of autumnal beauty.

The persimmon tree was beautiful but was disappointingly leafless by the time I took the pictures.  All the reds in these photos come from the snowball bushes and the weeping Japanese Maples.

And what's up with this Daphne?  Blooming in December?  That aloe is from Morningsun Herb Farm and is very happy in this little succulent patch.

The magnolia is still very happy, even though it's no longer blooming.  He needs a rest now and then so he can grow big and tall.  Not too tall, though, since he's outside my kitchen window.
I'm going to go see if I can locate The Dot and drag her downtown for the tree lighting.  She's a little disappointed in the weather on account of being a stickler for weather acting the way it's supposed to.  She would like chilly and foggy.  I'd rather be comfortable and pretend it's winter at Wellington.