Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tasha Tudor Wings her way to Suzanne in South Africa

Our Christmas brunch is always graced by this wonderful syrup pitcher from talented potter-artist Julie Whitmore. Check out her blog and her etsy site for some of her amazing work. If you see something you like, act quickly, her works disappear from the site almost immediately. 

And the winner is...

Good bye dear Tasha book, but I must say, you're flying into a great, new, life-filled home with lots of joyful activities and children. You'll be well used and well loved by Suzanne from the fabulous Down in the Meadow blog. Her name was pulled out of a basket with 140 other hopefuls, but Suzanne it was and off Tasha goes. I think this couldn't happen at a better time for Suzanne. Last week her home was struck by lightning. Nobody was hurt, but her computer and all her addresses, etc., were blitzed. Please drop her a line and establish contact again. Suzanne please send me your mailing address.

Holiday Joys and the invisible thread of family traditions

Sara's faerie mailbox was visited by the Christmas faeries who filled this mini sock with treats. The miniature socks are available from Christmas Cove Designs in Maine. They also made all our large stockings. I always add a little bell to the toe. Faerie voices!

The faeries filled Mo's sock, too.

My dear friend Marilyn (from Maine) sent me this wonderful Bodleian Press advent calendar. We have an advent calendar every year, but this is my all time favorite. I'm saving it for next year, too. This is such a simple tradition for the children, but they anticipate the calendar every year and take turns opening the windows each day.

How wonderful it is to share the holidays with children. I enjoy every minute of their excitement and discoveries. This will be a short post as I have more family arriving this afternoon and lots of cooking to do in preparation.

I haven't finished setting the Christmas eve table, but look at the crop of wheatgrass! I will have a healthy, thriving garden this year if the French fable is true (which I am sure it is).

What would I do without my Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home cookbook? This is their tried and true pork roast on a bed of apples. I pat the room temp roast with salt and pepper and a mixture of my homegrown herbs de Provence, then sear the meat, and nestle it onto the apples. The apples have salt and pepper and a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar sprinkled on them. This cooks for an hour at 350 degrees and comes out moist and perfect.

Cookies on a platter.

Just like clockwork, the old Christmas cactus burst into pale fireworks.

Candles are lit, the little tree glows with tiny lights, Christmas music fills the rooms, but the children can't venture in to shake packages or squeeze their stockings until after supper is finished. Delightful torture. I remember how excited I always felt at my Nonie and Bopie's home each Christmas eve.

Each of us has a long, hand knit stocking, that hangs by the chimney. I spend hours finding and wrapping small things to fill them to overflowing. The tip of the toe always holds a miniature glass log cabin filled with Maine (of course) pure maple syrup.

I  buy these from Maine Gold. My grands adore them. Asher, our 9 year old, arrived one February cradling the little syrup in his hand. "I want to have breakfast for dinner," he said, "and I brought my own maple syrup."

What are Sara and Mo doing? They're looking for a long, long gold thread, which will lead them to a special hidden gift. This treasure hunt along the thread is always exciting and lovingly anticipated.

See the thin, golden thread beside Mo? I loop it around legs of furniture, go up and down steps, over books, and finally, after he has searched and giggled his way along the line...

...he traces the thread to its hide-out inside the Amish cupboard.

Sara follows her gold thread through four rooms and ends up peeking into the little blue chest in the entry hall.

Anticipation (and simplicity) makes this such a sweet tradition.

Christmas morning brunch usually features a vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg laced french toast made of brioche or challah (of course, the Maine maple syrup is liberally applied to it).

On Christmas eve Jeff brought me a special and unexpected gift, which he picked up with the last of our cards and other mail. "Here is a great gift," he said as he handed it to me.

Yes, it was a great surprise and a very special gift, but nothing, and I mean nothing, was as great a gift as having my family and friends here for the holidays.

Until next time (and next year),



Kay's flowers said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas. I love the golden thread treasure hunt. What fun! Your roast looks great and the french toast is heavenly looking. I'm so glad Tasha's book is going to South Africa. How special. It sounds like it's going to a good home.
Have a very Happy New Year.

Love and Blessings,

Kay's flowers said...

I think that Trowel and Error is one of my favorite of your books. Or maybe it was the one with all the essays from Country Gardener or maybe Sunflower Houses or maybe
it was....... or maybe they are all my favorites. Congrats on the reprint. It's well deserved!


Susan said...

Dear Sharon,
Thank you for sharing your family Christmas with us. I loved seeing all the grands and your home is decorated so beautifully.
Congratulations to Suzanne-it couldn't have gone to a nicer person. I have a set of Beatrix Potter knitted characters she did for me to be able to read the stories to Ari & Maddie. She's so talented and deserving of this wonderful gift.
Happy New Year, dear friend, xoxo

Spinneretta said...

What a fabulous gift and treasure hunt! And congratulations to Suzanne!

Betty said...

Lovely traditions Sharon....your grandchildren must love visiting you.
Congratulations Suzanne, must look at your blog.
Guess what my daughter gave me for Christmas....."Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars". Wonderful ideas to share with young ones. Thankyou and good wishes for the very best in 2011.

Snap said...

Pork roast and apples .. delish! Congratulations to Suzanne. Looks like the whole family had a wonderful Christmas. Love the idea of a treasure hunt! Happy New Year!

jerilanders said...

I'm with Asher, I want to have breakfast for dinner. In fact, nothing sounds better right now than a big plate of Buckwheat pancakes with Maple Syrup. Thanks Asher!
I was excited to have my 6th printing of a book this year, but to have a 9th printing, Congrats!

Dawn said...

Such great news that Trowel & Error is getting reprinted! Yay!

I just adore hearing and seeing the ideas you have for making Christmas (and LIFE) especially enchanted for your grands. So inspiring!

Thank you for the note, I always love hearing from you.

Wishing you a most joyous new year's eve, and an even better, blessed 2011!

Love, Dawn

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Dearest Sharon! WHat a wonderful surprise to see your comment on my Nowhere post of paper dolls and my theatre! And that you are an artist by way of my sweet friend Jeri. Thank you for coming! We all at Nowhere, with the exception of my husband and Jackie, we all draw our own characters. I am lonely for my band of fellow artists who seem to be occupied with holiday festivities, while I am here at home, BORED. I just posted a new post on Nowhere, but with photos from the web. But if you ever chose to come back, look for original art from myself, Penny and The Dutchess. We have great fun!

Your world is beautiful, enchanting and most lovely! THANK YOU FOR COMING AND HAPPY NEW YEARS!!! Anita

rebecca sweet said...

What a lovely gold thread tradition! (Am I too old to be adopted as one of your grands?)

Unknown said...

How charming Sharon... Leave it to you to create a Christmas full of tradition and simple magic too!
Thank you for sharing your traditions. We do waffles on Christmas morn, right after stockings every year.
I second that Rebecca!
love and Happy almost New Year!

Buttercup said...

Just found your blog and it's like a wonderful visit to a friend's house in Maine. Thanks for sharing your beautiful Christmas.

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Dear Sharon Sweetie...
Oh was I ever excited and just plain tickled to find your beautiful comment on Country Wings in Phoenix. I so adore meeting new friends and sharing along the way. I am #268, your newest follower. I can't wait to see what you share next. I love reading your posts.

I love it that the treasures you share, you provided links for. I am SO going to order a few of these little glass cabins of true Maine Maple Syrup. How exciting that is.

I adored the little stocking and adding the bell is just the element of surprise. I simply adore them.

Your advent calendar is indeed a treasure. I love it. I have never seen one with all of the books on it. So delightful and fun. A beautiful vignette on your tabletop.

Your table is gorgeous. I love the tall candles that adorn the center and love the stripes of red and green for the holiday. The green light at the end, apparently for your herbs is so festive, it really added to your table setting. I love the cottage white of the room. So serene and peaceful for a gorgeous meal.

Love pork roast and boy does yours ever look scrumptous. On a bed of apples, oh yummy. I am sure it was the hit of the meal.

Now I loved the tradition of the gold thread to follow for your present. I haven't tried that one. I love it. We have 8 grands so there would be threads going every which way. What fun. Thank you for sharing with me sweetie.

I hope you will pop back over often, and I would be thrilled if you followed me as well. I love meeting new friends and sharing our hearts along the way.

Many country hugs sweetie, Sherry

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

Congratulations to Suzanne!
Your Christmas food and traditions look very fun. I love the gold thread to the presents.
I've been reading "Hollyhock Days" and marking pages of things to do as it gets closer to spring.

Donna@Conghaile Cottage said...

Congratulations to the "VERY lucky winner"!!! How Exciting!!! Your Holiday looked delightful... YUMMY, and OH SO Beautiful!!! I LOVE your tradition to follow the gold thread How wonderful!!!Your little ones must LOVE THAT!
Merry Christmas to you and have a wonderful Holiday week,
Hugs, Donna

The Unusual Farmchick said...

What great traditions that spark ideas for incorporating into our next winter holiday gift giving! Truly love the golden thread trail.
How exciting! #9 printing!
As always, I leave your blog with a smile and happy heart. May ythe New year be filled with continued happiness and Love.

suzanne said...

Oh Sharon~

I have the widest smile yet recorded on my face! I woke up this morning and popped into my cottage where my in-laws are staying to ask if I could use their have no idea how I covered Tasha's book with positive thought about wishing it was mine. I have admired Tasha Tudor for many years and do promise to treasure this book. I too have a great love for your books Sharon and am honoured to have 'Sunflower houses' in our home.

Thank you with all my heart~!
lots of love

Thea said...

that is such great news about the print run for your book! fyi, i ordered the toad/shooting stars book for my dear friend, diane, and i ordered it from susan branch. diane loves it! she just got blessed with her first granddaughter! have a lovely day! t

Pondside said...

What a lovely peek that was into your Christmas celebrations, Sharon....and congratulations on the reprint!
I didn't realize that you are in San Luis Obispo - what a pretty part of your state,and one which I've visited. Cousins have a horse operation there and after several visits from then to our Pacific Northwest we finally made it down to visit them and fell in love with the hills, the Mission, the Saturday market.....all a delight.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Sharon, thank you for sharing your Christmas. I have several new ideas. The maple syrup and the golden thread. My little ones will like that.
Blessings to you and congratulations on your book.
I do not have this one..

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

Hello Sharon,
Merry Christmas and Happy New year.
Thank you for visiting my blog and kind words. I am most anxious to read more of your blog. I only have a few moments right now on the computer but from what I read in your recent post, I know I will be back this evening after the house had been put to rest. I want time to soak in all your photos and post in peace and quiet. I see you are truly gifted and blessed. So glad you stumbled upon my blog.

Blessing to you and yours!

Janna Leadbetter said...

Sharon, what a fun post! You know what caught my attention (besides those wonderful-looking cookies)? The book in your advent picture, Writers' Houses. I must find a copy of that.

Happy New Year!

Jim Long said...

You had the kind of Christmas many of us only dream about. What a wonderful post about your delightful holiday. It all looks so warm and cozy. Even Martha would be envious! :-)

Marcie said...


Thank you for continuing to think of me, despite my prolonged hiatus! I still pop by to catch up on your news here, from time to time. It is always a breath of fresh air!

warm regards,

Aunt Jenny said...

Looks like you had such a lovely Christmas! I love the Julie item....I adore her and her stuff...and some of it always graces my special. I will sure use that gold thread cute for the that!!
Happy new Year!!! I just love every post. And Trowel and Error certainly deserves a reprint. It is one of my all time favorites for sure!!!

From the Kitchen said...

Thank you so much, Sharon, for sharing your lovely holiday with us. The children are delightful. What fun it must be to follow the gold threat to a special Christmas treat. I'm definitely bookmarking the source of the maple syrup for stocking stuffers. We only use the "real" syrup are are very annoyed when it isn't on the menu when pancakes are served in restaurants. Very best wishes for the new year to you and yours.

Congratulations to Susannah!


Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Congratulations on the reprint! :)

Lili said...

Oh gosh Sharon, I just admire everything you do to make the holidays special for your entire family. And a little log cabin of Maine syrup in each toe made me smile real big! Your imagination and creativity just captures my heart. Congrats to you for your 9th printing of Trowel and Error, that is so awesome! And the Tasha book most definitely went to a very deserving lady! xoxo ~Lili

Lori ann said...

Dear Sharon,
just beautiful. I love all your ideas, everything is so lovely.
Happy New Year to you and Jeff, all the best in 2011!

Congratulations on the reprint, wonderful news.


Rosie@leavesnbloom said...

I'm always amazed at how many people find my little scottish blog. I have friends that moved to Cambria 4 years ago.

Thankyou so much for yor lovely comment. I love the idea of a secret present that the kids find by gold thread.

May you have a blessed New Year.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear Friends,

I finally heard back from Suzanne (winner of Tasha Tudor's autographed cookbook and one of my books)
and she is so happy to have had this good fortune.

The books will be winging their way to Africa after this weekend.

Please check back tomorrow for my New Year's wishes and printable poem. I'll post it for you tonight.

Happy Hogamany!

All joys,


The BUTT'RY and BOOK'RY said...

Hi Sharon,
Thankyou for stopping by
and leaving such nice words:-)
The Holly Hock Days!!! :-))I Love it!

So nice to meet you!
Many Blessings, Linnie

Buttercup said...

Happy, healthy and joyous new year! It's hard to even write 2011 -- it seems like it should be many years far off. Enjoy the evening!

Suzanne said...

Hi Sharon,
So glad Suzanne won--she has a lovely blog and her name is nifty too..hehhee...

Congratulations on your reprint! How wonderful!

Wishing you and yours a blessed New Year!


Vicki Boster said...

Oh Sharon- I love your Christmas scavenger hunt- what a wonderful fun filled tradition. (perhaps I will copy that for our sweet babies!) Your family is so blessed to have you and your desire to carry on with gracious. This is what makes family so special.

Congrats to the winners- how wonderful. Fate has a way of choosing those who need and deserve the most. I am thrilled for your friend from Africa.

Bless you Sharon- for always blessing us---

Magpie said...

the treasure hunt via string is a wonderful idea. i bet it would be great for a birthday, too.

Mama Ruck said...

I enjoyed reading about your traditions for your grandchildren. Thank you for sharing.

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings said...

Thank you for sharing your traditions with us. You are so kind. I felt like we were right there with you. Have you ever read, The Children Who Lived in a Barn, by Eleanor Graham? I saw it on Persephone Books' site and ordered it for myself. I know how you like all books and children's books specially.

Love the golden thread. Love more that your book was set up for another printing. xoxo, Dee