Thursday, December 23, 2010


Oh good! You made it! Your just in time for some nummy eats and the first snow of the season here in New England. 

Welcome to Christmas at DANDELION HOUSE

If you'd have asked me if I would ever be posting photos of the inside of our home for Christmas on a blog one year ago, my answer would most likely have been an emphatic NO. Absolutely NOT. That's private!  
Well here I am one year later having an open house for my new friends and followers. ~ 
 Why not? We all get along famously so I decided 
I just had to have you over for some Christmas Cheer and share some of our traditions too!

 Our Hall Tree is a Trash to Treasure Gem in our house. It functions great as our place to hang our wet coats and the dog leash  ( while we dream of a mud room one day) and it is also a one of a kind PAINTED LADY made from an antique door hauled all the way from Nevada by my mom. The seat was an end table we purchased at a salvation army store and the brackets and hooks we picked up locally new. My mom did all the painting and my hubby " Papa Boz " assembled it for us! I would love to make more of them in the future and paint them bright colors from the garden. Dandelion Yellow, Spring Green, Poppy Red, and Lavender for starters... and perhaps a Turquoise blue too! Ahhh...Winter Daydreams~   

 So, come on in, hang your coat on the hall tree and grab a little something to drink and nibble on. There's lots to see. 

I've made this Onion Pie ( a Country Living recipe) twice this winter and its become a new family favorite. Perfect for a holiday brunch or any cold winter day. 

Saltine Brittle for you sweet tooth Sally's 

 ( I love a little Brie during the holidays )

We're coffee drinkers in our house and during this time of year I bring out my golden tea set ( a gift from my brother ) and set it out near the coffee pot. It adds a bit of elegance to an other wise every day tradition and makes having coffee just a little more special for us and those who happen do drop by. To spice up our every day ritual of drinking coffee we like to place cinnamon, biscotti, hazelnut pirouette's, herbal teas, flavored cream and granulated raw sugar all with in easy reach. 

Amy over at Homestead Revival really puts on her hostess with the most-ess hat when she creates her Hospitality Trays for drop by guests. If you have time, maybe you can drop by her place later too! 

We like to purty things up around here for the holidays... We don't over do it, but we love the extra sparkle and magic of the season. I'm all over the place with my decorating style. I LOVE things that twinkle and glitter as much as I enjoy the simple beauty of an UN adorned pine-cone, evergreens  and fresh cut holly too! My hubby  traipses through the woods behind his folks old farmhouse to find branches full of bright red holly berries every year for our decorating. 

It's tradition to bring out my Christmas Tea Pot and place the hand painted NOEL blocks out each year. The tea pot is a gift from my Aunt Nan to remind me of our treasured tea parties we used to have and my husband painted the NOEL blocks for our first Christmas together...

 I LOVE Santa's and I'm not partial to any one style... If he makes me smile I'll bring him home.
 The cook book on display is Winter by Goose Berry Patch. I've also been pouring over  my Vineyard Seasons Cook Book by Susan Branch and my Mary Jane's Farm Kitchen recipe books for inspiration too!

This year we added a ginger bread house to the mix! And here are some of our cherished Christmas Ornaments~

Turtle Doves from our first married Christmas nearly 20 years ago! 

We are always grateful for being Americans and the freedom we have. This is always on our tree during war time or not. 

Guess what? It's starting to snow!

 So much for that out door fire on Solstice eve ~ 

 The Little Red Hen House is lit-up like Main Street in Reno, Nevada in the midst of the fresh fallen snow. The " girls" are nice and cozy inside. 

Max's FIRST ROMP in the snow this season. 

Thank you for stopping by! 

We wish you the merriest of Christmas's and all Joy's for a Happy and Healthy New Year and May the Magic of the season stay with you all year long~ 

See you in 2011!

Love & many blessings, 
Deborah Jean 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Cookies and Magic Carpet Rides

What do Christmas Cookies and Magic Carpet rides have to do with each other? 
I'll  let you in on a little secret...When our children were toddler's and too little to help out in the kitchen for any length of time with baking Christmas Cookies  I'd bring out my trusty magic carpet which I saved for only the most special of times...

I'd call out, " It's magic carpet time"  and they'd come running with pillows and toys filled to the brim with anticipation of another adventure on magic carpet.
  I would spread it out on the living room floor, provide each of them with a small bowl of snacks and a drink and they'd take it from there... It was make believe at it's best and it kept them entertained just long enough for me to finish up in the kitchen ~ most of the time...

In actuality our magic carpet was a large piece of fleece fabric with a bright red back ground and big friendly spiders on it...( I had purchased it for a Miss Spider's Tea Party reading at our local library)  It was the perfect inspiration for an outdoor adventure indoors or wherever a child's imagination can take them. 
Any old blanket or quilt will do!

 Just remember, when your cookies are all done don't forget to let the kids have a taste and roll up your Magic Carpet until next time! 
It works like a Charm ~ 

What sneaky I mean magical things do you do to keep your young one's occupied when you need some UN interrupted time? 

Happy Baking,
Deborah Jean 

Friday, December 17, 2010

This Moment~ A Friday Ritual

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010



 As Christmas day grows closer we are all trying to figure out how we will fit everything in. Traditions, old and new, shopping, parties, and cherished time with family too. Instead of posting a project or recipe today I  decided  to share these words written just days ago from my Aunt Nan.  The writing gods have been speaking quite regularly to her offering  up timely words we can all enjoy! Today I give you...


It’s time for friends to gather,
And to hang the mistletoe.
It’s time to hear the choir,
And for sleighing in the snow.

It’s time to recall memories,
And to read the children stories.
It’s time to make a wish list,
For the precious girls and boys.

It’s time to dress up fancy,
Put on your Sunday clothes.
It’s time to wrap the presents,
All tied up with Christmas bows.

It’s time to have an eggnog,
And toast this blessed season.
When all the love shows on your face,
Look around…you know the reason.

So I raise a glass to you my dears,
May your Christmas wish come true.
I know that I’m blessed tonight,
Just being here with you.

December 5, 2010
Karen J. Dixon
The Apple House

Keep that Christmas Cheer going... we are almost there! And for an extra bit of fun round' your holiday table, print this poem and share it with your loved ones! 
Deborah Jean 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stitches of Love

I'm not a knitter, but I know a little elf that has been very busy in the Dandelion Workshop.

Nicolette's knitting needles have been getting a workout the last couple of weeks! She became interested in knitting a couple of years ago and with the help of a friend and a Knitting book by Anne Akers Johnson called Knitting  ( for ages 10 and up) she was on her way!  A friend showed her how to cast on and off and the book helped her with the basic's of winding her yarn into a ball, tying a slip knot, hand position, casting on, knitting, purling, casting off, and other nitty-gritty details!
She was determined to learn on her own and spent many evening hours up in her room on her bed studying her " knitting bible"!

 In true Nicolette fashion, she was knitting in no time and I can't say enough about how well done this book is.. It truly is easy to follow and makes learning so much more fun! I wish I had  taken a photo of the first hats she made. We visited my brothers out west in November of 2007 and one of them ( along with his wife) loves to hunt. When we returned home she decided that they needed something warm and bright to wear that would make them more visible to other hunters. Off we went to our local craft store ( no fancy yarn shops just yet ) to find the perfect color and gage... She chose a very bright red and a large gage yarn and went about  knitting them the most adorable matching chunky red stocking caps.

  She was inspired by one of the 6 simple projects this nifty little book has to offer.  The Pocket Purse.

I hadn't noticed the 100% KLUTZ certified stamp up in the right hand corner on the cover until I started this post! This little gem also got the Best Book Award from Oppenheim Toy Portfolio too!

 Who knows I may just learn to knit after all!

Happy Knitting~

Don't be shy now... tell us what you're stitching up for your loved ones?

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Dear Friends, 

As the first weekend in December comes to a close it's occurred to me I'd best get busy if I'm going to have the sort of Creative Christmas I'm encouraging you all to have!

As I type, we are smack dab in the middle of a long awaited (albeit ) modest kitchen remodel

 and a DIY rock wall project with re-claimed granite slab pieces for the patio.

 I've got the last of the pumpkin cooking in the oven to freeze for holiday pumpkin pie,

and a half started Christmas list for my ( not so little anymore ) elves and my big one too! 

We still do snail mail Christmas Cards so add that to my ever growing list and you'll begin to see where this post is leading. 

I'm looking forward to slooooow cooking and down time with my family and friends. I'd like to say it will be simple and easy, but who am I kidding? Some holiday chaos is half the fun! 

There's no doubt I'll be dreaming up new CREATIVE HOME ARTS IDEAS for you 
during my holiday respite and since this is the season of GIVING... 

I would LOVE to know,

 What WOULD YOU LIKE to see more of from DANDELION HOUSE home arts next year
from the kitchen, garden, school room, writers desk and workshop?
~ Thank you all for an inspiring year of blogging friendship and  fun ~

  I'm wishing you a most
and all Joys and Magic of the season 
with those you hold most dear. 

Deborah Jean 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cranberry B(L)OG

Beach season is long behind us, the turkey day left overs are all gone and some of our "festive " neighbors are already flashing their outdoor Christmas lights. It's time to roll up our sleeves dig out the long underwear and embrace another long New England winter. This is GOOD thing! Well, if you HEART cranberries like we do! 

 Cooking with this tart little red berry opens up a world of possibilities for experimenting in the kitchen as well as adding more healthy nutrition to your diet too. Every little bit counts right? 
But before we get cooking let's take a gander at this popular berry and it's other uses. 

Cranberry's medicinal properties have been recognized for centuries. Native Americans used raw cranberries as a wound dressing. Early settlers from England learned to use the berry both raw and cooked for a number of ailments including appetite loss, digestive problems, blood disorders, and scurvy . Who knew? I thought only pirates got scurvy! 

Each autumn, starting in mid-September and continuing until a few weeks before American Thanksgiving, cranberry growers harvest millions of kilograms of cranberries from their farms. Massachusetts is one 6 cranberry farming states including New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and parts of British Columbia and Quebec. Additional regions with cranberry production include Delaware, Maine, Michigan, New York, Rhode Island, as well as the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island.

 Altogether the entire cranberry industry is supported by approximately 47,000 acres, of which 14,000 are in Massachusetts.

Originally performed with two-handed comb scoops, dry picking is today accomplished by motorized, walk behind harvesters which must be small enough to traverse beds without damaging the vines.

Dry, fresh cranberries ready for market are stored in shallow bins or boxes with perforated or slatted bottoms, which deter decay by allowing air to circulate.  Cranberries for fresh market are frequently stored in thick walled barns without mechanical refrigeration. Cranberries destined for processing are usually frozen in bulk containers shortly after arriving at a receiving station. About 95% of all cranberries grown are processed into juice, canned cranberry products and even wine! 

( advertising label for a standard cranberry  barrel)

What's the best part of this little essay on Cranberries?  I'm excited to tell you that my mother in law actually worked in the Cranberry Kitchen for Ocean Spray   in Hansen. MA. 
 ( back in the day) where she tested recipes for some of the first Cranberry Kitchen Cook Books.

Isn't this Vintage Cookbook with the sketches of Native Americans and Pilgrims cute? 

This one belongs to my mother in law. It has some of the first recipes published by Ocean Spray designed to entice the public to use cranberries year round, not just on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  One of her jobs was to find recipes that already had fruit in them from magazines and newspaper articles. She would cut them out and then the girls in the Cranberry Kitchen would test the recipe substituting or adding cranberries to the recipe.  If it was favored it would end up in an Ocean Spray cook book!

The black and white photo above was photographed in the original Cranberry Kitchen. That isn't her hand in the colored photo, but she told me her hand WAS photographed holding a silver ladle and used on the labels for canned cranberries. As part of one advertising campaign customers could send in the labels from their canned cranberries and win a ladle like the one you see above! 

After all this Cranberry talk you must be hungry! 

For a taste of old New England cooking try this yummy bread pudding recipe with Cranberries of course!

Cranberry Pineapple Bread Pudding


  • 16 slices bread, ( organic white bread ) crust removed, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
  • 1 small can crushed pineapple 
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 cups milk
  • 13 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish, layer half of the bread cubes, cranberries and orange peel. Repeat layers. Drizzle with butter. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, milk 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla; pour over bread mixture. Let stand for 15-30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees F for 65-75 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream or whipped cream! 

Here are a few more morsels of knowledge about the amazing Cranberry. 

Trader Joe's sells some of the finest chocolate covered Cranberries I've tasted. I hope Santa slips some into my stocking this year! I've been very GOOD girl!

Cranberry wine is made in some of the cranberry-growing regions of the United States from either whole cranberries, cranberry juice or cranberry juice concentrate.

Finally, if you REALLY love cranberries, you'll be right in step in these fabulous Cranberry Bog Boots while you eat, drink and be merry with all things CRANBERRY this holiday season! 

Wishing you a Delicious December ! 
Deborah Jean  

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