Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Baby and the Long Winter!

We Have Too Many Blessings To Count!

We have so many things to be thankful for this time of year.  Our daughter Sascha Anna Hatfield is one of those blessings.  Today is Sascha's 31st birthday.  Although today is a Monday, Sascha was born on Thanksgiving Day in 1983.  This is her birthday story!

Sascha's Story
Sascha wrote her story when she was twelve...

...bravely confessing to kissing Snuggle on the TV screen.
The darling little bear was her favorite toy.

Sascha was born on Thanksgiving Day at the beginning of the longest, darkest and coldest winter I had ever known.  When the pains started in the middle of the night, I knew there was no need to hurry or wake my husband...after all I was an "experienced" mother by now.  This would be our fourth child and I just knew she would be a girl!  I had no ultrasound to tell me...I just knew in my mother's heart.

Quilting the pink and aqua Teddy Bear quilt.

How strong was my faith? 
Everything I made was "Sascha Pink" and "Sascha Green."

I sat up on the living room sofa and looked out the window, watching the night progress to morning.  I thought about the life we had had since moving from Germany to El Paso, and finally...home again!
We purchased a house in the (then) rural community of Highland, Utah.  It was a modest split-level on a pleasant street with a fantastic view of the Wasatch Mountains to the east.  On my Thanksgiving vigil I watched those same snow-capped peaks glow pink in the rays of the rising sun.  Later it would snow...and keep on snowing.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

We spent the morning as we usually did each year...watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the annual showing of "Charlotte's Web."  Though what pigs and spiders have to do with Thanksgiving is a mystery to me.  The pains didn't go away, but kept a steady pace throughout the day.

"Some Pig"

I was so glad it wasn't my turn to host the family festivities.  Early that afternoon we bundled the kids up for the trip to Grandma Devey's house.  Even though I was in labor, I was not going to miss a Thanksgiving meal that I didn't have to prepare myself!

Over 30 years later I still have issues with pumpkin pie.

We settled ourselves around the holiday table sharing jokes and stories.  I would frequently stop between bites and wait quietly for the contractions to pass.  They were getting stronger...and closer.  After the pumpkin pie, I whispered to George that maybe we ought to head for the hospital.  The Cowboys were playing.  "Hold on until the game is over," he said.  So he watched the game...and I watched my watch.

The New(ish) American Fork Hospital

After the game, we drove to the hospital.  I was nauseous from the pumpkin pie and anxious to get the whole thing over with.  Where was Dr. Willis?  The nurse said to be patient, he'd be along soon.

"M.A.S.H."  Doc Willis's favorite show and Hawkeye Pierce's biggest fan.

So were was Dr. Willis?  In the Doctors' Lounge watching a re-run of "M.A.S.H."  But all was forgiven, when the dear man prescribed for me the "Cadillac of Anesthetics" and for the first time I actually enjoyed being there for the delivery.  If only I could have gotten rid of the taste of pumpkin pie.

Sascha, one-day old.
Her little nose looked just like her grandmother's.

Sascha Anna Hatfield was born at 11:40 p.m. and weighed 9 lbs. 8 oz.  Later in the morning, as I was holding my new little daughter, I looked out of the window.  It was snowing!  George and I remarked that maybe the ski resorts would open early that year; and it would be nice to have a white Christmas.  But the snow kept falling.  The Highland winds howled across the fields, carrying snow that drifted as houses.  The sun retreated for days on end...appearing rarely and only as a small white disk giving no warmth. When it wasn't snowing, fog lay heavy like a wet wool blanket.  This went on until about March.  It was the coldest winter we had ever experienced.

Sascha's Blessing Day!
Her eyes are teary, but the dress and bonnet I made for her looked great!

Being virtually snowed-in, there was plenty of time to make little dresses and bonnets and work on Sascha's blessing/christening dress.  It was so much fun to make ruffly little dresses.  George wouldn't let me dress the two older girls in frilly girly things.  I also dressed her in vintage dresses I found in the thrift shops.

Sascha's Name...
We chose the name Sascha because I fell in love with the name when we lived in Delmenhorst, Germany.  Downstairs in our apartment building lived a German family with the most adorable little boy named Sascha.  He was like a Hummel figurine, all curly blonde hair and rosy plump as a little sparrow.  I knew George would never let me name our son Sascha, even though it was a boy's name in Germany.  Sascha is a nickname for Alexander...spelled "Sasha" in Russia.  Sascha's middle name, Anna, was in honor of the sweet Swedish-American girl across the street.  Anna's mother became one of my dear friends and is one of the kindest women I have ever met.

Amazing resemblance!

Random Bits of Sascha... 
Our Family Portrait
The beginning of a creative, artistic childhood...

...led to a blue ribbon and a showing at the Springville Art Museum.
Her triple-great grandfather, Joseph Kerby has several pieces in the museum's collections.

Piano Lessons.

When Sascha was quite small and her older siblings were at school, we would sometimes sit at the piano and I would guide her little fingers to play a song we loved on "Sesame Street."  We changed the words to suit ourselves.  We sang...

Sascha's name goes tip-toe tip-toe
Sascha's name goes tip-toe along
Everybody tip-toe tip-toe, Sascha
Everybody tip-toe tip-toe along.

Another favorite:

Sascha's galoshes, coconuts and grapes,
Sascha's galoshes, coconuts and grapes,
Sascha's galoshes, coconuts and graaaaaapes,
Sascha's galoshes, coconuts and grapes!
She was such a smart little girl and begged to take piano lessons with her big sisters, but in the end, she was a little too young.

From the first day of school... the last, Sascha never stopped learning,
creating and growing into the beautiful intelligent young woman she is today. 
In fact, she has gone back to college working on a double major in Forensic Science and Bio Chemistry.  Too smart for her own good! 

Happy Birthday, Sascha! 
A beautiful girl...too many selfies to choose from!

We love you!
Mom & Dad

P.S.  My High School Marching Band...American Fork High School will be marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year!  Yay!!!  I am so proud to be a Caveman!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

German-Style Christmas Decor!

German-Style Christmas Family Room

Our time in Germany has been on my mind a lot since I wrote my son Geoff's Birthday Story about his birth in Bremerhaven.  Story is found here: Made in Germany!  Not too long after I wrote this post, I went to a high school fundraiser yard sale and found the most amazing thing!

Large Nativity Pyramid.

I couldn't believe my good fortune when I saw this huge Nativity Pyramid.  The lady who owned it said I could have it for $25.  I was floored...did she not know the value of a genuine Erzgebirge Pyramid?  Needless to say, I very guiltily and giddily handed over the money and we skedaddled off like crooks after a bank heist.  George was seriously doubting the authenticity of the piece, so I went online to my favorite source Nutcracker Company.  

Close up of Nativity figures.
The loft doors open to reveal angel musicians.

I learned that the piece is 22 inches in height, is no longer produced and sure to be a family heirloom for years to come.  Nutcracker Company was selling it for...$499.  This is marked down from $899.  When I read that I felt even more like I stole it...but not guilty enough to send an anonymous check.  This is when I decided it was time to display all my German keepsakes.

Pyramid in sofa table display.
I made the Advent wreath a couple of years ago.
The hedgehog dolls were made by the mother of Julie Campbell of A Vintage Chic.
Cuter than Steiff by far!!

March of the Mantel Nutcrackers.
Most are German...but which?

Faux Dresden Snowman I made a few weeks ago.
I've hung the others from garlands...not shown.

Tree Corner and Shelves filled with German Items I've Collected.
I still have a bunch of dolls, Christmas plates and other items I didn't put out.

Little house holds a tiny German village.
Found quirky hedgehog last week at an antique mall.

Shadow box holds my few remaining German ornaments from 1980.

Smoker Shelf

Close-up of little tree.
The straw angels were from a Swedish shop at Epcot.

Wooden German Engel/Angel

I found a dozen wooden German angels in a bag at Savers.  I think I paid $2 for the bag.  When I got home I looked them up on a Nutcracker web site to see if they were still being made.  I found them listed for $40 each!  Another luckiest of lucky finds!

Pinned it...and did it!

I have a board for things I have made or been inspired by on Pinterest.

My quicky version.
I had everything to stick in the yellow bowl...temporarily until the season ends.

I have finished decorating the family room, kitchen, and front entry.
I can't put the tree up in the living room until after Thanksgiving, but I will be glad to have a breather!

Can't wait to see what you all create this year!

Giant Pyramid at Dusseldorf Christmas Fair

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dollar Crafts...Dresden-style Christmas Ornaments!

We're Celebrating German-style This Year!

A couple of years ago I decorated my home office with German-style decorations.  I made tree ornaments and an advent wreath to go along with the cute painted wooden trees and houses I arranged along the top of one of my desks.  This year I am decorating my entire family room in a German theme.  And I will be using the same theme for my neighbor gifts.  It's kind of fun to change things up once in awhile.  I will post pictures of the finished room in a day or two, but first I want to share with you some German-style ornaments that I made for  about $1 each with gold glittered ornaments from Wal-Mart.

Dollar Dresden-style Ornaments!
Dresden Foil Embellishments

Dresden trims are embossed, die-cut embellishments which are stamped from metallic foil-backed paper.  They have been produced in Germany since the early 19th century, and were popular with Victorians to create wonderful ornaments using scrap images, tinsel and Dresden trims.  The trims and scrap are still available today from online sources like D. Blumchen and Company.  They can be kind of expensive, but I thought I could replicate the look somewhat using what I could find in my crafting supplies and using some 98 cent glittery ornaments from Wal-Mart.

A fun example of a Dresden ornament I found online.

Another online example.

I could find scrap graphics online to print for my ornaments, but I was lucky to have one of those William-Sonoma Christmas wreaths with the cardboard scrap figures of snowmen, angels, nutcrackers and Santas.  The picture is kind of small and blurry, but this is the wreath.  Each figure was attached separately to the background and really easy to remove.

Victorian Christmas Wreath

Dresden-style Ornaments...

Angels on a golden swirl ornament.
The bells are Dresden only pieces were a few bells.

Angel mounted on a glitter birdcage.
I liked it as a frame.
I added gold glitter to the scrap pieces.

My Favorite Snowman!
A jeweled snowflake.

I put the boy on the wreath trimmed with tinsel.

Tree mounted on the gold birdcage.

I have a few more finished pieces and some in the works.  This is a fun and inexpensive craft that looks rich and fancy.  I really enjoyed making these.  Wal-Mart has the glitter ornaments in red and well as the gold.

 Happy Scrapping and Glittering!

Some German-style Scrap...