Posts Tagged ‘accessories’

CANDLES have been associated with Christmas since forever because as we all know before electricity, before gas and kerosene lamps, there were candles.  And candles have always been part of our holiday imagery.  Think back over the years.  I remember Christmas cards featuring candles in lantern posts and pictures of a little kid in a nightshirt holding a candle in the classic candle holder as part of the Christmas culture.

Light the way!

Light the way!

Victorian Christmas trees were adorned with real candles and LIT !  How did they escape burning the house down?  In the 20th Century, we electrified the candles and put them in every window in the house.  I was so obsessed with that concept that when we built a house, I made sure the electrician knew I wanted an outlet under every window on 3 sides of the house.  I’ve used small votive candles in luminaries to light the way to my home on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  However, now that we are in the 21st Century, we have technology on our side.  Behold the battery-operated candle and one that is made out of a wax-like material and look SO REAL, it’s hard to believe they’re not.  

These candles have really come of age this past year.  You can purchase all sizes and colors in a great number of stores.  I have found several in The Christmas Tree Shop (not a pun and not really a Christmas shop) and bought a bunch at Costco.  These candles are The ANSWER.  What a terrific way to set a mood.  Scattered around the house during the holidays, they produce just the warm glow you’re looking for.  And as far as luminaries, these candles will surely not blow out in the breeze and catch the bag on fire!  

Think about the myriad ways in which you can utilize these faux but-oh-so-real-looking candles and make your life prettier and softer.  So much of the holiday preparations are time-consuming and costly.  With these candles you get a lot of bang for your buck,

They even come scented!

They even come scented!

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When did it happen? You’re never really sure exactly when sometime between the Fourth of July and mid-August, it’s apparent summer is waning like tonight’s moon.  The signs are all around us and they’re getting harder to ignore.

end of summer, sea grass

Lariope-Uh Oh!

Just like those hopeful crocuses signal that Winter is over and life renewing Spring is on its way, when I see the Lariope in my front yard bloom, I know with a heavy heart that Summer will soon be over!  And then there’s the candles in the window….

I have battery-operated candles in the windows of the cottage; White candles with light bulb flames, flickering or not, are status quo in Ocean Grove along with flying the American flag.  My house is very old and I don’t have the luxury of multiple outlets, so I have these candles which turn themselves on every 16 hours.  You set them when you want them to light and then each day at that time the candles go on.  Well, what’s been happening lately is that it is getting darker and darker and the candles still haven’t gone on.  Apparently we are now losing a full 2 minutes of daylight each day.  Time to adjust the candles to go on earlier…and you know what that means :(.

Of course you also can’t go into any store and NOT be assaulted with signs that the first day of school can’t far off.  File folders with exotic designs, 3-ring notebooks in a rainbow of colors, hundreds of pens, pencils and highlighters are visible everywhere.  

And need a summer dress or a pair of capri’s and you are SOL.  It makes me hot just to go into the store and see all the wool and knits and dark colors.  I feel like disoriented tourist wearing my  orange bermudas and sleeveless tangerine top as I walk around the circular displays of brown, black, gray and loden green outfits!

What signs do you see that tell you summer is over?

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Alright maybe giving candles is NOT so clever BUT think of it this way;  it certainly is a wonderful hostess gift, a Secret Santa gift, an office gift exchange, a sister-in-law, really anyone who entertains will love this idea.

Purchase a bunch of candles (tapers)the number is up to you.  However, I think 4 would be the minimum in either holiday colors or shades that would complement your giftee’s home.  On the other hand, everyone can use a few beautiful white tapers.  Wrap the candles in a linen napkin.  Again the color contrast or combination is up to you.  Tie with a ribbon and you have gift within a gift.

Now I know you are thinking, who wants just one linen napkin?  The answer is the hostess who wants to line her bread or cracker basket with a linen napkin but doesn’t have an extra or odd one.

green tapers, linen napkin gift wrap,
All Tied Up For Christmas

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My old and dear friend, Susan sent me this charming little story about Grandma’s aprons.  Of course it took me back to a time when I remember my own Grandma, standing in the kitchen in her “Cobbler‘s Apron”, because that’s the kind she preferred and she used to make them herself.  I remember my own mother wearing the more traditional short, tie-it-around-your-waist version and having many;  Some were the kind she put on just before the company came, crisp, clean and often frilly. 

fancy aprons

Hostess Aprons

When I was a young wife, I asked my Grandmother to make me some Cobbler Aprons and she gave me two.  I still have one (which unfortunately I can no longer fit in) and one I gave to my daughter.  I think she still has it, I hope she does.

Today’s aprons are very different and are more associated with grilling than cooking although lately I’ve taken to wearing one more often than not when I cook.  I mean how many times do I have to send a tee shirt or blouse to the cleaners before I learn that it’s quite possible that I will a) spill something on myself, b) splash something on myself or c) the oil will spatter on me!!  Well I have about 4 of these pseudo-chef aprons; a black one with various pasta shapes and their names on the front, a white one with a big blue whale courtesy of a Westchester real estate company, and two favorites; one with penguins on the front and lined in pink – just perfect for me and my husband’s niece, Dani made it.  The other favorite is a black apron with the just these words so near and dear to my heart – something like “All I ask is that you treat me with the same respect as Martha”. – Love it!  But enough about me, here’s the lovely little story which if you’re old enough will take you back to another  simpler time.

What a sweet memory!

McCall's pattern, cobbler apron

Just Like My Grandma Made

McCall's pattern cobbler apron

Cobbler's Apron

    Remember making aprons in Home Ec class?

I don’t think our kids know what an apron is and they certainly don’t have Home Ec classes.  The principal use of  Grandma’s apron was to protect the  dress underneath because she only had a few and it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material.  But along with that….

It served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children’s tears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs and fussy chicks.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow bent over the stove.

Chips and kindling were brought into the kitchen in that apron for the wood stove or fireplace.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in the apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up, it’s surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

It was a super place to hide a marble, a piece of candy or almost anything in Nana’s pocket.  

apron with pockets , cobble apron, house dress apron

Grandma' s Apron

When it was time for dinner, Grandma would go out to the porch, wave her apron and the menfolk would know it was time to come in from the fields for dinner. (This is more Hollywood than any memory I would have).

It will be a long time before anyone invents anything as useful as Grandma’s apron.

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accessorized, asphalt jungle, Easter rabbit, Easter bunny, Easter Sunday

Accessorized for The Parade!

I am SO READY for the Easter Parade.  I hope my accessories will be as colorful and outrageous as the Bunny’s.

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