Friday, December 25, 2009

early christmas morning


that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia.

Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance -

a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.

~Augusta E. Rundel

a merry day to all of you

filled with love and peace

Friday, December 18, 2009

Susannah & Dollye make Pressed Glass Shortbread cookies for Christmas

pretty little gentlewomen
~ Susannah & Dollye ~
(see news of Susannah & Dollye below)
asked to have their likenesses taken
after they had taken off their aprons and brushed the flour from their noses
Our dear girls both have a new home for Christmas!
Thank you so much,
Cold and thick fog hangs heavy outside my windows this dark afternoon.
While inside my snug little farmhouse, the air is warm and filled with the scents of fir and cedar,
beeswax candles burning on the mantle and a good apple wood fire crackling
in the big fireplace.
With the last bits of thread and scraps of dolly making swept up
and everything put to rights, Susannah & Dollye have been helping me in the kitchen.
From from the kitchen, the delicious scent of wonderful Christmas cookies baking, comes
wafting through the old house.
We've been baking wonderfulPressed Glass Shortbread cookies
for our neighbors and friends.
~Pressed Glass Shortbread cookies on a lovely old pewter plate ~
aren't they pretty?

~gather your pretties ~ Susannah & Dollye climbed up into the old cupboard and got down some of our old pressed glass drinking glasses to press the designs into the shortbread dough. We used a small tarnished silver salt shaker lid for cutting out tiny cookies just right for dollies and little girls. A butter knife is perfect for lifting the cookies out of the dough after cutting them out. We rolled out the buttery & tender shortbread dough with the rolling pin. Then we lay the pretty pressed glass on it's side and rolled the design into the dough.

The stars and feather'd edge circles make the prettiest cookies. We used an etched glass goblet with a very thin edge to cut out the cookies. We even used an old wooden butter mold with a carved lamb for some very special cookies. We baked them for just a very few minutes on parchment paper'd cookie sheets.

A few of these wrapped in pretty parchment bundles and tied with heavy linen thread or red ribbons with a sprig of fir tucked in makes a wonderful and much appreciated gift.

~~~~ Buttery Shortbread recipe ~ ~~

1 lb. real butter

4 cups flour

1 cup fine sugar


Heat oven to 325 degrees

Sift the flour & sugar together. Work the butter into the flour & sugar with fingertips, then knead until blended and smooth. Break into 2 pieces and pat out onto flour'd table. Lightly flour your rolling pin and roll out from center to make a thin sheet of shortbread. Roll your pretty pressed glass over the dough to make swirls and stars, feather'd circles & vines. Cut with thin edged cookie cutters, carefully lift the cookies onto parchment Bake until set, with very pale light brown bottoms. cool on paper

~ share them with your friends, family and neighbors. Enjoy!

~Susannah & Dollye~ both now have Good Homes for Christmas

thank you & a very Blessed & Merrie Christmas to you all.

Friday, December 4, 2009

wonderful amazing Jolly Old Santa

Isn't this jolly old Santa wonderful?!
He is just one of many many wonderful old Santa's that my dearest
and oldest friend, Norma DeCamp,
has been making for years.
Norma is world reknown for her
Amazing & Wonderful
Old Santa's and Victorian looking old dolls and toys.
This Jolly old Santa is being offered on eBay
along with more amazingly wonderful
Jolly old boys.
I have one of Norma's Santa's and an Old Woman in a Shoe pull toy
that is just unbelievably wonderful and so old looking.
They make me smile every time I look at them...
~I understand that Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey and many more
have Norma's Santa's in their collections~
Please have a look and enjoy him too!
Norma's wonderful Santa's and dolls will surely get you in the Christmas Spirit!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

my december moon

~ cold and frosted moon through the bare apple trees~
Last evening, I put on my coat to put the hens to bed
and then followed the moon down through the trees.
We have had such clouded days and tonight the clouds opened up for just a moment and
let the early December moon shine through.
It's such a beautiful peaceful moon, shining through the old apple tree's bare branches.
The grass beneath, crisp and crunching under my boots.
Looking up at it, in the quiet night, I can't help but feel so thankful for our warm little farmhouse
and the people I love inside snug by the fire and thinking how very blessed
we are with good and simple pleasures.
I pray that all of you have such a night.
sending love,

Saturday, November 28, 2009

a time of magic

" Christmas has always been my family's favorite celebration.
It is a time of magic, Is it not?
~Tasha Tudor ~
looking out the window from my kitchen table at the late afternoon light,
everything seems to look different.
It seems to have a joyful anticipation to it.
Father quail stands sentinel while the rest of the quail family hurry
to the shelter of the old crabapples trees.
They've gotten plump from eating the deep red crabapple drops.
The wood box is stack't high by the back door and something good is
baking in the oven.
For me and my family, as soon as Thanksgiving has past, Christmas is most surely in the air.
And as always, Tasha Tudor's love of Christmas is always a great part
of our family traditions and celebrations.
and this Christmas will be even more special for us.
Our family Christmas is here on Deerfield Farm this year and we have a new little one that
we will share all our joy & anticipation....
I can't wait to have all my babies under our roof for Christmas Eve and morning.
now, I must find my Gingerbread cookie recipe....
Christmas is coming to Deerfield Farmhouse
this week!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

a pilgrim thanksgiving

Wishing you all a most blessed Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for you.

Every year we talked of visiting Plymouth Rock and having Thanksgiving dinner as the Pilgrims did that first Thanksgiving.
When both our married children had plans to spend the holiday with their in-laws,
we decided that it was time. Last November, my husband and I spent our first Thanksgiving away from family and home.
Most of all, we wanted to spend some time in Plymouth, Massachusetts exploring and doing some research into my husband's family history there. We wanted to have an authentic 1627 Harvest dinner, which we did and loved.
~~~ If you want to immerse yourself in a little bit of our country's rich history, this is the place to begin.
wonderful old ocean weathered timber framed buildings and fences in the re-created 1627 English farming village of the Plymouth Colony near Plimoth Plantation. The Pilgrim's first home in the New World.
But, along with the beauty of it were the stories of the people who once lived there. The harsh realities of the bitter cold, lack of food,the local "savages", dreary grey days, epidemics and the death of over half of the pilgrims who first set foot here on the rocky shores of Massachusetts. ~~~
I loved everything about it.
The simple practical beauty of it all.
Smoke crept out from the top most of the tule thatched roof tops.
The tall peaked thatched roofs.
Large and neatly edged or raised bed herb and vegetable gardens beside or behind every
It was lovely.
a basket in a tiny window the community wood pile
the thatcher's coat
winter blue sky
a moments respite beside the fire
overseeing the thatcher
isn't her blue linen jacket and
pettiecoat lovely?
I had the chance to visit with this Goodwife.
She proudly allowed a close look at the linen hand stitching
I told her I had never seen such finer stitching.
How beautifully
it was made. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ While we were there we wanted to be able to see and learn firsthand a little more of what all the old family stories of being descendants of the "old Pilgrim" were about. To either dispel or hold on to the long told stories handed down through the family and
hopefully, at last, find out what really happened.
While there is much more than I can write here or bore you with, I will share this with you.
What we learned was that my husband's ancestor, Robert Cushman, came to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. He had arranged the leasing of the Mayflower for the Pilgrims, but didn't sail aboard the Mayflower to America , but came on the Speedwell instead. The Speedwell developed leaks and had to return to England. He then took passage on the Fortune to America. We learned that he was well loved and revered by the Pilgrims.
There is a wonderful *monument to him at the Old Burying Ground. see below~
It was Robert's son, Thomas, who married Mary Allerton who, of course, then became Mary Allerton Cushman.
My husbands mother, Mary Ann Cushman,(Crocker) was descended from Mary Allerton Cushman.
I will never forget seeing the exhibit for Mary Allerton Cushman at Plymoth Plantation the first time we went to Plimoth. There was her journal and sewing...some other things...
things like this give me chills....
If my memory serves me, there was a letter she had written to her oldest daughter who was pregnant with her first child and Mary was pregnant with what I believe was her last child.
Mary Allerton Cushman was the very last of the Mayflower passengers.
~In search of the Old Pilgrim~
the Old Burying Ground after dark
After dinner one evening we pored over our brochures and maps.
From our map we found the Old Burial Hill Cemetery
We decided to go on an adventure. Right then.
I cannot tell you how the chills and shivers ran down my spine, standing there in the freezing cold, fog and dark (of course we went at night)
I took a few pictures out into the dark cold pitch black night...who knows what you might find.
I'm always looking for orbs and things of that sort.
It didn't take long before the dark and freezing cold cemetery, dripping in wet ocean fog,
soon began to lose it's charm.
We decided to come back the very next day.
It was a beautiful New England morning.
Perfect for a good brisk walk
to the Old Burying Ground.
and so, there, at long last, at the top of the long climb of stairs
in the center of this ancient and sacred place
my farmer met his ancestor,
Robert Cushman
well, it's actually a monument dedicated
by the descendants of Robert Cushman in honor of their
Pilgrim ancestors.
Robert is actually buried in England.
Seeing my husband standing there reading about this man we had come so far to learn
more about made me realize how very strong of spirit they had to have been.
I see that fierce spirit in my husband,
my farmer who came from such
hardy brave souls.
As you gather around your Thanksgiving table today
with your loved ones all around,
would you join me in a prayer of thanks for all
the American Farmers who are the stewards and guardians of the fields and earth
and thank them as they work hard
to feed our country.
Thank you my friends,
A very blessed Thanksgiving to you all,
~ Plymouth Rock~
it's actually a lovely white granite, not large.
which simply reads

Saturday, November 7, 2009

a pleasante afternoon

melting bees wax over an apple wood fire
This is the best time of year...when the fields are finally at rest, the leaves turn deep reds and yellows, the crisp chill air calls for a sweater and boots and the scent of wood smoke curls down from the chimney.
a pleasant afternoon to dip candles down in the old orchard.
The candlewicks are measured out by eye, cut and then tied onto long sticks with a knot on the end,
then slowly dipped into the melted wax,
lifting them and straightening by gently pulling the knot
at the bottom while they're still warm and letting them cool.
new candles cooling in between each dip into the hot bees wax.
of course, there's my naughty kitten,Willow, underneath....
batting at the candles while they cooled.
Katie & I visit and dip the candles together.
The grandchildren climb the old apples trees and eat their lunch sitting on
the branches with the kittens.
We take turns dipping.
It becomes a rhythm, dipping, straightening and hanging them to cool.
The air is crisp on our cheeks, the hot fire smokes and crackles, we hang our sweaters and shawls on a branch and decide that we should tie more wicks, it being so pleasant out.
the nearly finished candles after cutting them from their dipping sticks.
I warm a large knife and cut their ends on a wooden cutting board.
I stack them on the pantry shelf and in old baskets to store.
They smell heavenly and make no smoke and do not drip.


By the end of the afternoon, the wind has come up and the sky begins to turn a deep indigo. Storm clouds hang over us so close we could reach up and touch them.

We gather everything up into baskets and let the fire die down.
We made nearly enough candles to last through the long winter evenings in just one afternoon.
An afternoon of family and togetherness.
and afternoon spent that won't be forgotten, carrying on our traditions
with the children under the old apple trees
down in the old orchard.
Our traditions are just simple things
but ones that the heart never forgets.
I hope this finds you all enjoying this lovely fall with those you love
and making some
wonderful memories.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

happy birthday my beautiful brown eyed bird

loved loved loved.....
happy birthday Katie Bird...
ma & pa

Friday, September 4, 2009

a holy place

my husband's church has walls made of wind and sky and air
a holy place found in a field of wheat rippling in the evening breeze
while the sun set lays every hue of deep yellow and red golds
across the hills like stained glass where the meadowlark darting from the waving grasses, sinks into the cool water of the ditch to drink, then flutters to the fence post where she sings hymns of praise with the owl and hawk circling high overhead. deer raise their heads from foraging the cut wheat fields and we are witness to the clouds in the east, the moon hanging luminous overhead... and in the cool dampness, a field of fragrant mint tumbling and soothing to the eye and the heart. I see his shoulders broad and strong, relax now and his head raise up to the sky. here is where he goes to give thanks, to be immersed in reverie with this beautiful place and meet once again with his wise old friend.

Friday, August 7, 2009

elisabeth wearing an early bonnett & we are besotted

elisabeth kindly allowed me to play
"try on bonnettes"
with her.
she is quite enamored with this one....
an early embroidered net bonnette
with tiny dangles...
perfect for her 6 week old little head.
oh, be still our hearts...
we are all in baby love here.
quite besotted.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

resting up from mischief

twin fawns eyeing my kitchen garden
a nibble here, a tiny footprint there...just opening rosebuds nipped clean...
the raspberry patch looking a little like a mouse had clumb up the stems and taken only the most succulent of the berries.
The telltale tiny bite from a yellow cherry tomato, still on the vine.
~~ I had nearly given up hope of seeing fawns down in the trees after this odd year of not many wild things coming into the fields and yard. There hasn't been the usual flurry of quail and pheasant, no large herds of deer coming down from the hills in the evenings to the cool green hay fields.
This morning I was so glad to see these 2 little ones playing in my garden.
Somehow it makes everything right with the world.
and here they are...the naughty twin fawns. they nibble my lettuce and paw out newly planted peas. and even so, it makes me happy to see them again.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

elisabeth caroline

safe in her daddy's hands
elisabeth caroline
our family grew this past week. in our hearts especially.
a little girl that we have all waited for
and loved from the moment we knew she was coming.
my son and his beautiful wife welcomed their first child,
a tiny pink rosebud of a wee girl
elisabeth caroline
bless you little family

Monday, June 22, 2009

perfectly imperfect

georgianna . a tiny pair of shoes . transfer ware & pewter .
old ironstone . walnut table . old lamb & humble
while I polished and scrubbed my little old farmhouse, I realized that nearly everything here, each little cupboard and table, the bookcase filled with dog-eared books, the candle sticks and the old crackled ironstone plates and cups that we have used for many years
are all a little worse for wear.
Edges that were once fine and new, now worn smooth and some nearly gone.
All of these things are dearly loved.
They are "perfectly imperfect" and that just makes them more dear to me.
I am comfortable in my crooked little old farmhouse,which I'm quite sure was built without a square or a plumb bob. She is filled with worn and tatter'd, beautiful and perfectly faded.
pewter & old paper

The old wood floors have a definite tilt to them and so does my favorite "tippy tea table"....and if you turn the table just right, the beautiful old pewter teapot, properly dented,of course, with a visible half moon hollow in her side, rests comfortably on top.


Like the old gilt mirrors, their silver now clouded & tarnished, the kitchen cupboard with the make-do knobs filled with chipped transfer ware and ironstone, I fit in here.

old doll

We're like old friends all together. all of us have a story of survival made even more beautiful with our imperfections and beautiful fading colors showing.


My favorite ironstone cup has an elegant curved handle, cracked and carefully glued and put back together again.

Our walnut dining table from the early 1800's has a small patch of veneer missing along the top edge of a beautifully curving leg. It also survived a fire. There on the very center of the only leaf it came with is the distinct outline of a large book. It was left by the family Bible that also survived the fire. The table and chairs weren't burned, but they do have some wonderful crazing in the old varnish...and we had to buy them because they are all exactly like the table and chairs that my great grandparents had in their farmhouse kitchen when I was small.

When we learned that the old table & chairs, along with the old family Bible,

had survived a terrible fire,

I knew that it should live with me in my little old house now.

There's the old oriental rug with it's lovely colors faded and worn.

The silver and pewter, dented and mellowed with years of loving use.

An old chalk lamb leans gingerly on 3 legs against an old iron urn on the mantle.

Everything here has a story.


and in the evenings, with the glow of candles being the only light, everything has a wonderful softness of the many years of being loved,

tenderly repaired and kept for many more years of use.

just like me, my things are a little worn around the edges.

Made graceful and more beautiful by candle light...

we all fit in here.

perfectly imperfect.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Pleasure is the flower that passes;
remembrance, the lasting perfume.
~ Jean de Boufflers ~

Friday, May 1, 2009

merrie maye

~early ladye's pocket~
Herbs do comfort the wearied braine
with fragrant smells which yield a certain kinde of nourishment.”
William Coles ~ 1656

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tonight on OPB's Oregon Art Beat~ Katie Estvold of Sparrow's Cottage ~

Books Bound Angel by Katie Estvold
I'm very proud to be sharing this wonderful bit of news with all of you this afternoon.
My daughter, Katie Estvold, painter & paper artist
and lover of
~all Things 18th Century~
will be presented this evening on Oregon Public Broadcasting
"Oregon Art Beat" at 8 pm.
Katie will be talking about her art and her love of the 18th c.
from her home, Sparrow's Cottage, deep in the woods of Oregon.
If you live in Oregon, you can watch the show this evening on OPB at 8pm.
If you are not in Oregon, you can view the show on the internet~
it will be archived, so you can watch it at your leisure at any time on their website:
I hope that you will be able to see this segment.
I'm very proud of my Katie,
who as a little girl,
sat by me and her brother, playing with her paint box, paper & scissors
while I sewed and wrote nearly everyday.
I'm very proud that Katie has this wonderful opportunity
for her art to be acknowledged
and to be able to share her love of old paper
and her art with all of us.
to see more of Katie's work~

Friday, April 3, 2009

a beautiful gift

for me there's nothing more wonderful than putting clean crisp sheets on my bed.
freshly washed and dried on the line sheets.
they remind me of being a little girl, playing all day with my brothers and sister
in the bright spring sunshine and then
being coaxed into the house for dinner and a bath...
There's nothing like
putting on "fresh from the clothes line flannel jammies"
after a nice hot bath
stiff from being dried on the line
and so fresh and clean, that the scent stings your nose...
my daughter, Katie, presented me with the best gift ever.
She had made for me this wonderful brown homespun
~ and completely hand sewn ~clothes pin bag.
It's just wonderful.
Inside I found at least a whole dozen or more of clothes pins.
Katie hand carved ~actually, we like to say they are whittled ~each one for me.
and they
every bit as sturdy and useful
as they are beautiful.
Simply hand carved from our own poplar whips and tightly wired together.
what could be better than this...
a nice hot bath after a long day of working in the yard,
slipping into a stiff pair of flannel jammies
and snuggling down
and falling asleep between the first crisp sheets of spring.
Thank you, my Katie.
~here's a wonderful tutorial by Katie if you'd like to make your own wooden clothes pins! ~

Monday, March 30, 2009

~thank you dear friends~
all is well.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

a lovely First Day of Spring & to thank you all so very much~a little drawing

~little cotton tail bunny who lives under the old lilac~
Happy First Day of Spring
dearest friends,
I'm need a little bit of help, please.
as with all things modern and electronic, I have found that you just can't
depend upon a computer
like you can a trusty ledger and a pen to write with.
There has been a cafuffle with my laptop;
she deciding that she should stop working and leave me without any way of telling anyone
what is happening and in the meantime we have lost a great many emails from my lists.
If you have been a member and/or should like to added to my mailing list,
please do write to me HERE and you'll be reinstated and/or added immediately.
To thank you all for your kind help & emailing me~
All of this coming week, I'll be adding all of the names of those
who send their names & email addresses
into the old wall paper'd top hat.
In a week from today, I'll be drawing 3 names from the old hat
for a little thank you treasure.
I'll be sending one of my Deerfield Farmhouse doll patterns to
3 names that are drawn in one week from today.
Thank you all and I look forward to hearing from you.
I hope that this finds you enjoying a lovely
First Day of Spring.
Spring dollies are waiting and wanting to be shown!
I look forward to hearing from you~
thank you all so very much!
love, Christine
ps. This morning one of the little cottontails that live under the old lilac came out for a bit of sunshine and a nibble of sweet green grass.
Snow flakes have been falling off and on all this past week,
but now,warm sun is
shining through on this beautiful day.
I hope it's shining for all of you, too, wherever you may be.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

keeping a merry heart

he that is of merry heart
hath a continual feast.
proverbs 15:15
I have much more I want to share with you all today, but for now I'm off to
the city with my sweetheart to visit the lumber man, gather up paint swatches and
look for antique lighting fixtures.
Then off to the greenhouse & nursery to buy a thyme topiary for my kitchen.
....dinner at the old Pine Tavern down by the Deschutes River.
This is the most delicious way to spend the day that I can imagine for myself.
I hope this day finds you all doing something that you love, doing something delicious
and hopefully with your sweetheart and those you love.
keeping a merry heart...
and maybe a little chocolate in there somewhere,too.
a happy Valentines day to you all,
with love,

Sunday, February 1, 2009

hyacinths for a winter weary soul

If you have two loaves of bread, give one to the poor,
sell the other and
buy hyacinths to feed your soul.
~Mother Teresa~
every year at this time, after the holidays have been put away and the lack of anything
green outside my windows begins to feel tedious,
the old farm house seems to be just begging for fresh flowers to warm her chilly corners.
She doesn't really mind what they might be,
as long as they're fragrant and they must be white.
I found pots and pots of my very favorite white hyacinths at our little mercantile yesterday.
Stepping inside from the chill air, their heady scent greeted me before I saw them.
Immediately, I could feel the knot in my neck begin to relax
and myself just drinking it all in.
ahhh...fresh flowers.
I do believe its true, that we need hyacinths for our souls, whether it's a potted bloom, a bouquet of lemony daffodils, a tiny green trailing ivy or the sight of tight bundles of pink edged white roses.
The coolness and freshness of flowers, alive and blooming against the chill.
a balm for our winter weary souls.
So here they are in an old ironstone punch bowl, scenting the room while we read
by the fire. My husband with his book, me with mine~
a new book about 18th century houses & gardens.
those are balms for my winter weary soul.
wishing you all a bright and shiny first day of
February and hyacinths for your soul.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

take your needle, my child...

antique wool challis shawl & my dear leaping stag pin keep by sherry hunt
Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern...
it will come out a rose by and by.
Life is like that . . . one stitch at a time,
taken patiently.
Oliver Wendell Holmes

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

hearts a flutter

a small watercolor painted for me by my daughter,Katie
she wrote her heart in sepia script
with small and delicate letters.
with written words that she longed kept
and did not dare to utter.
then safe she sealed it with crimson wax and sent
her heart
...a flutter