Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Top Five Posts For 2011!

Happy New Year!...
Zetta's Aprons has been a real learning experience for me.  I used to read a few crafty blogs and loved being inspired to do new things.  In August I decided it was time to try a blog on my own.  It's been a fun and creative outlet for me.  I've become more organized with my time...I don't waste so much of it least until I discovered Pinterest!
I'm going to share with you my Top Five Posts of 2011.  After only 4 1/2 months...5 is a good number to start with.

#5...The Lost Plane!

Amelia Earhart joins the search for the lost plane.

#4 Mary Pulley's Hill!

Mary Pulley's Christmas display charmed generations of children!

#3 Halloween Table Runner!

Rag piecing is easy for beginners!

#2 Collecting Santa Face Mugs & Pitchers!

There are so many ways to decorate with these cheerful Santas!

Finally...#1 Fun Christmas Table Setting!

This was so much fun to put together.  Our real family parties use paper!

Thank you, Friends!...
I really appreciate the support and friendship I have found through this blog.  It's just a small thing...I don't really promote it very much. No Linky Parties...yet!  I am still figuring out how to do things.  When I out! =D

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Our Bestest Present!

Vivienne Knows the Secret...
And frankly...she was shocked!  Grandma and Grandpa are way too OLD to have a new baby.  But there was a strange hustle and bustle about the Old Hatfield Place.  Things were being built...other things were being rearranged.  There was nesting going on for goodness sake!  Grandpa was whistling happily as he worked.  Grandma was getting that hassled and overworked look again.  It was as busy at the grandparent's house as Santa's North Pole.  Would they be ready on time? A new arrival needs so many things...

A New Baby Needs...
A New Crib...

A Baby Gate...

Baby Food...

Something Pretty to Wear For Pictures on Christmas Day...

Welcome to the Family, Daisy!
She's 8 months old and the prettiest, softest thing you ever saw.  She already loves George most of all!

Hope Your Christmas Day Was Merry & Bright...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas From Zetta!

Merry Christmas one and all!

Mel, Zetta, and the strangest Santa I've ever seen!

I just found this pic today and had to share!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Best Christmas Present Ever!

I Can't Wait!
If all goes well today...George and I will be picking up our gift to each other.  Please, please, please, Santa!  I am having the hardest time keeping the secret, but I will be back on Monday to share a bit of our Christmas celebration. 

Merry Christmas, dear friends.  May the holiday bring you joy, peace, and a time of reflection.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Lovely Surprise!

Vintage Christmas Apron...
I don't get many surprises at Christmas...when you're doing Santa Duty you don't.  But I found a sweet surprise in my mail this afternoon from Betsy of The Little Red Hen at Home.  It was the cutest vintage Christmas apron ever!  She told me that she and her daughter found it at the local antique mall.  I can't wait to wear it on Christmas Eve.  Until has found a cute spot on my kitchen wall.  I will treasure it always!

Thank you, dear Betsy!

More Disney Christmas!

 Another Christmas Tradition...
Once the kids have grown, sometimes the empty-nester parents make a few new Christmas traditions of their own.  For the last few years, George and I have made an after-Christmas trip to Disneyland.  First stop is Las Vegas for New Years Eve.  We ring in the New Year on the Strip. 

The busy Las Vegas Boulevard is closed to traffic and revelers can party in the street while awaiting the fireworks spectacular.  It's a lot of fun!  If you can't be on Times Square...this is the next best thing!  My only complaint is that midnight Vegas time is 1:00 a.m. Utah time.  But we never have to worry about getting a hotel room.  A few years ago, we were able to buy a condo in Henderson for a really low price.  That is one of the reasons we are able to go to Disneyland so often...we have a base of operations.

Christmas in Disneyland...
Big Thunder Ranch...Where Santa stables his Reindeer.

Donald...Red and White Happiness!

Christmas Cheer on Main Street...

Mickey Wreaths...

Window Shopping...

Huggable Pluto!

A Merry Mickey Mouse!

One of the colorful "Small World" wreaths...

Ginormous Christmas Tree in the Town Square.
We'll be there New Years Day...I can't wait!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mountain River Ranch...a Favorite Christmas Tradition!

Christmas Dinner Show and Wagon Ride...
Each year, the weekend before Christmas, we drive north to Idaho Falls to visit our daughter Missy's family and deliver the Christmas booty.  While we're there, George and I love to treat Matt and Missy with an evening at Mountain River Ranch.  If you love the Old West...this is about as Cowboy Christmas as it gets.  The Ranch is located near the Snake River in Ririe, Idaho.

We checked in at the Bunkhouse, located in the cutest miniature "western town."  Outside, people gather around wood burning in fire pits, sipping on spiced cider and waiting for the horse-drawn wagons to arrive to take us across the ranch to the Dinner Theatre.  When there is sufficient snow, the horses would be drawing large sleighs instead.  We listen to hear the rhythmic jingle of the sleighbells as they approach. The air is so crisp and cold that the hooves of the draft horses make a crunchy crackle. 

The horses came in three sizes...giant, enormous, and ginormous!

Oh, What Fun it is to Ride...
The winter nights are so very, very dark and cold at the Ranch.  Even the stars are freezing pin-pricks of light. The trip to the Dinner Theatre takes us through woods and pasture.  Colored lights on the fences line the road and lighted Christmas vignettes are set among barns, cabins and other outbuildings.  My favorite kind of drive-through light display!

Missy and Matt are the young couple in the center.

Trails end...we unwrap a precious bundle!
Mckinley's 5 sisters could not be trusted to babysit!

Fiddles and Fun...
What better accompaniment to dinner than a Country-Western show!  The food was served on huge platters...slabs of ranch-grown prime rib so huge they could feed a small family.   Thank goodness for doggy bags!

Silent Night...
The Last Christmas Tree...
The show ended with the story of "The Last Christmas Tree"... a pioneer family has only one tree remaining in the grove near their remote cabin.  Instead of cutting it down...they decorate it...and in the morning, open their gifts beneath its branches.  After the story, we all sang "Silent Night," before boarding the wagons for the return journey.  Christmas can come spirit is renewed.

Merry Christmas and a Blessed Sunday,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Nightmare Before Christmas!

A Recurring Nightmare...
I've been having this dream for's Christmas Eve and I haven't decorated the house or purchased any presents.  It's 5:30 p.m. and Wal*Mart closes at 6:00.  I race around the store trying to find a pair of pink Hello Kitty pajamas that will fit my youngest daughter, but there are no pajamas to be found.  I can't find anything for my husband or little boy Greg. I'm desperate!  I go home and try to decorate the tree.  Nothing works.  I wake up covered in sweat and drowning in guilt.  I don't know why I dream this...I've always been prepared...sometimes weeks in advance.  But I still have this fear of having to buy all my gifts at a convenience store. A few years ago I wrote a poem about it in the hopes of driving the dream away.

My Nightmare Before Christmas...
"Twas the night before Christmas and all through the town
Merchants were closing their little shops down.
The K-Mart employees were snug in their beds
While visions of clearance sales danced in their heads.

As George snored on the couch (It's a Wonderful Life!)
I assembled the toys like a dutiful wife.
When inside my head there arose such a clatter,
George stirred in his sleep, mumbling "Hey, what's the matter?"

Away to the bedroom I flew like a flash,
Grabbing my coat and my car keys and cash.
Because what to my wondering eyes did appear?
"All the presents I bought for the In-laws aren't here!"

I knew I had better provide for them quick,
Since my husband has never been known as "St. Nick."
More rapid than eagles my Minivan came,
And I sobbed and I shouted and called them by name.

Convenience Store Gift Ideas:
Little Tree Fresheners are Festive!

"Now K-Mart!  Now Kohlers!  Now dear old Fred Meyer!
On A-1 Appliance where I once bought a dryer!"
From the end of the town to the end of the mall,
I dashed away, dashed away, checking them all.

Like a psychic who sees her own doom from afar,
When I meet with an out of my car.
I had parked on the asphalt in front of the door
Of the only open convenience store.

And then in a twinkling I heard from the back,
A voice bellow "Shut up yer barkin', Jack!"
As I opened the door and was looking around,
From the backroom a humanoid came with a bound.

He was dressed all in black from his head to his foot,
And I swear that a knife had been stuck in his boot.
Two six-packs of Coors was what he was packing,
And he looked like a biker with I.Q. points lacking.

Tasty and Individually Wrapped for Stocking Stuffing Convenience.

His eyes, they were bleary.  He didn't have dimples.
His cheeks were quite grimy, his nose covered with pimples.
His mean little mouth was drawn up in a sneer.
And the beard on his chin wasn't shaved in a year.

The butt of a cigar was clenched tight in his teeth,
And the smoke smelled just like an old outhouse...Good Grief!
He had six tattoos and a protruding belly
That jiggled obscenely.  My word was he smelly!

The gift you can only rent...not buy!

George likes these in his stocking.

He was surly and mean, not a jolly old elf.
And I shook when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twitch of his head,
Soon made me suspect I had plenty to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went back to his work,
Stocking the cigarettes, then turned with a jerk.
(I'll try to finish as fast as I can...)
Grabbing my stuff, out the door I ran.


He sprang to his feet, to his dog gave a whistle.
It was too busy gnawing a deer leg with gristle.
Yet I heard him exclaim ere I sped out of sight,
"It was just a bad dream!  Merry Christmas!  Goodnight!"

I've been feeling unprepared...those lost sick days!  LOL!

Note:  Pictures courtesy of Google Images

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Memories...Mary Pulley's Hill!

American Fork circa 50's-60's...
This story is for all the children who grew up in and around American Fork, Utah during the Mary Pulley years.  I have many happy Christmas memories, but there is one I share with thousands of others.  This was long before modern drive-by light displays, electronically controlled spectaculars with lights flashing to the rhythm of "Party Rock." or something by Mannheim Steamroller.  This light display was something to behold in our low-tech lives.  Trees bedecked with countless strands of colored lights surrounded a peaceful nativity scene, carefully painted wooden backdrops large enough in scale to be seen from the street.

Mary Pulley...
Before I continue I want to say a few words about the woman behind the display.  Mary Pulley was one of those wonderful women every town should be blessed with.   Her long life was filled with service to the community beginning in 1929 when she represented American Fork as our first "Poultry Day" Queen.  She presided over the picnic, parade, ball game, races, carnival, program and dance...a very full day indeed.  She kept her poise even when a young server at the banquet spilled hot cocoa on her white satin gown.  She simply blotted it up and went on with the festivities. Her later photos show a woman of graceful stature and serene demeanor.

A Beloved Tradition Begins...
Miss Pulley began her traditional Christmas display in 1942 as a gift to the children and it continued until her death.   Her home was situated at the bottom of a hill on several acres of graceful lawns planted with large trees...the perfect site for a large display.  People could easily drive by to see the lights. She brought in Santa Claus to stand at the gate at the end of her driveway and hand out candy-canes and oranges to carloads of children.  This gift was considered extraordinarily generous...because this was during that period of war rationing.   In the picture above, a local family and Santa are standing next to the sleigh from the Santa can see how large the scale needed to be.  I wish there were more pictures.  I would love to have one of the display to show you.  All I have is my memory...and we know those are unreliable!  If anyone wants to share their memories in the comments...I would love that!

A more modern Santa.
A few years ago, some well-meaning folks tried to revive the tradition.
Some things you can't bring back.

A Memory Movie...
I know it's not possible that there was snow every year...but in my memories our car moves slowly in the endless line of vehicles waiting to pass by the display.  I can hear the crunch of tires on packed snow...that is...I could if my little brothers and sisters would just settle down for a bit.  They bounce about in the old station wagon like balls in a pinball game...getting on Dad's last nerve.

Finally, just as Dad has bluffed for the last time about getting out of line and going home...we pass the last house and trees that conceal the magic.  There's plenty of the slow admire the manger scene. To "ooh and ahh" over the lights and enjoy the tinny blast of "Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer" coming through the speakers nailed to trees and power poles.   When the vignette of Santa's Sleigh moves into view we grow more and more excited.  Santa is there!  He's waiting at the end of the drive with treats for each of us.  I'm hoping for a candy cane or maybe a small Hershey Bar.  

Dad tells us to open our windows.  We do so and the frigid air pours into the car.  Santa is stamping his frozen feet and steam from his breath "encircles his head like a wreath."  We yell out our Christmas wishes like one chaotic fast-food order and receive our long-awaited treat of chocolate marshmallow Santas.  I hate marshmallow Santas, but I would never be ungracious to the Big Guy.  With a "Merry Christmas" he waved us on. 

I still have dreams of the downtown stores and businesses of my childhood.  My favorites memories of Christmas include the decorations that hung across Main Street

The Christmas Train!

Santa's Sleigh and Tiny Reindeer!
I so wish I could see them again...hometown mainstreets were magical in those days.  Still...after a fun family drive to see the lights...we all wanted to end up here...

The Hi-Spot Drive Inn! 
When little brother Tommy learned to read...Hi-Spot was his first word!  We were so proud! This was not our only family favorite, but I love this picture.

Christmas is coming! Yikes!
I'm glad I felt well enough to get this written.  Hubby finally made me see a doctor this morning.  I have a lovely case of tonsilitis...huh?  Anyway...glad it's not strep but I still feel lousy.  I have so much to do and Grandkids in Idaho that need visiting this weekend.  Pray for the meds to work.

Note:  most of the pictures are from the book American Fork City:  The Growing Years by Betty G. Spencer.