December 29, 2012

Joyful Christmas Memories!

Dolls, Grandmum's House, and A Sweet Story!
Me in my nurse's uniform under the Christmas tree with my brother and the presents that we received.

I have always loved dolls! In the photograph above at Christmas, I received a baby doll from Santa that I named Bonnie, and a bride doll from my Grandmum, who had no name other than "Bride Doll". Along with the bride doll my Grandmum made her a dress, apron, underthings, nightgown, housecoat, and bed jacket. The bride doll had lovely curly hair, which in no time I totally ruined by enthusiastically brushing it. My cousin, who received the same doll, for some reason kept her doll on a high dresser, at least when I visited!

Bonnie didn't have real hair to comb, but she could drink a bottle and then you could change her wet diaper. Bonnie slept in the crib that I got for Christmas that had a mattress and a beautiful blanket and pillow. In the summer time the crib, bathinette, table and chairs and all my little house keeping goods would be put in my playhouse. In the winter time all of these things would be moved up to my bedroom. I still have Bonnie and my daughter Sarah played with her too in my playhouse.

Grandmum's house, a very old red house with maple trees circled round, maple trees that we tapped for maple syrup and sugar sweetness. Grandmum's house looked just like a Tasha Tudor illustration!
Grandmum's parlour was on the front right and her piano room was on the left front. The parlor was only used on special occasions, in the winter just for Christmas. The kitchen was in the back wing. Upstairs in the attic above the wing we found an antique walking wheel and the wheel of a flax wheel, old shoe lasts (old fashioned forms for making shoes) and old photographs.

In the spring we would go upstairs, look out the small windows and watch the baby robins in the nests that were outside on the ledge of the small windows. 'Tis the same at Corgyncombe Cottage. We call them Corgi Windows, because they are just the right height for a Corgi to see out.

The slight dip on the lawn would flood and freeze and we would ice skate in front of Grandmum's house. Down behind Grandmum's house there was a nice hill to slide down using a toboggan or sled.

Me with my sled.

Some of the photographs and some of the writings on this post are from previous Corgyncombe Courant posts that can be found here on the Corgyncombe Courant.

Bellinda merrily ringing as she is blown by the wind and the bakery with all its tasty treats.

I have always loved bells! What a joy as a child for me to find in the newspaper a daily story, written and illustrated by Betty Goetz Knudsen. There were pictures to colour, of Bellinda, a bell who lived in an old church tower and what happens to her as the people in town decide to build a new church. Years later, when Sarah was little, the newspaper sent me copies of the story that had been in the newspaper and how I enjoyed coloring them in again! The border that was always at the top of each day's story reminds me of Tasha Tudor borders. I imagined that Bellinda lived in all of the churches in the same city that Santa Claus (who was also a Shakepearean actor), his wife, and reindeer resided. How my cousin and I looked forward to each day's installment. I put each day's story in a little book that I made with foil covers. When I coloured this in the first time when I was a little girl, Bellinda was pink, so when I coloured her in again this time she could be no colour but pink. When Bellinda was happy she sang "ding-a-dong-a-ling-a-dong in her silvery tinkle-tones". The people in town when they heard Bellinda sing were so happy because "they all knew that Christmas was coming." Bellinda had friends in the story: Bobbin Robin, the mousekins three, Bootlet Johnny Boy, and the brown and white cow. Does this not, dear readers, remind you of Corgyncombe's Tillie Tinkham the mouse, Chirpy Cheerful the bird, and Bessie the cow?

Later, I remembered the Bellinda story when Sarah was little. I wrote to the paper and asked them if they would consider running it again, as I remembered how much joy it brought to me. I described the story and included a drawing that I drew from my memory of Bellinda the Bell with little mice. I was delighted to receive in the mail copies of Bellinda's story and find my drawing was similar to the picture of mice sliding down Bellinda. The lady at the paper said they couldn't run Bellinda's story in the paper again as it just wouldn't fit in with modern times. How sad that such a sweet story wouldn't fit in! Unfortunately, ones feels as if the city, once reminding one of Bedford Falls, now is sadly like the dreaded Potterville, as in the movie "It's A Wonderful Life." Maybe the world could use more sweet, innocent little stories for children.

copyright © 2012 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson

December 22, 2012

Shooting Stars in the December Sky!

Still with the Wonder of a Child!
A basket of old ornaments for the Corgyncombe table top Christmas tree.

The chosen music to accompany this post is "We Three Kings":
Return Here to Read the Corgyncombe Courant.

On December 13th there was a spectacular show of shooting stars! My daughter Sarah says that I act like a little child as I had such excitement over each one that fell from the sky! I'd jump up and down and loudly exclaim as I followed them with my finger "Look at that one!" and "Did you see that one go by?!" and "Ooooh, that one was sure a beauty!" All this exclaiming and jumping, my family thought was reminiscent of what is called around here "the reindeer kid", the little girl in the movie "Prancer". I couldn't help myself, each one was totally wonderful! I was the last one to leave the stars and go inside that night.

Some of the photographs and some of the writings on this post are from previous Corgyncombe Courant posts that can be found here on the Corgyncombe Courant.

Silent Night at Corgyncombe.

The Advent Calendar, "O Holy Night", illustrated by Tasha Tudor. On the 24th the stable doors open to reveal the Baby Jesus sleeping under starlight with mice and birds gathered round. We love the shadows and light and glow from the shining star and the colour in this Advent Calendar! It truly looks like "O Holy Night".

Sarah whilst gathering greens found a bird's nest and showed it to Tasha Corgi.

Me in my little black Christmas party shoes that give an old fashioned look. The Christmas party dress was red with a white collar.

In the photograph above I am at my Grandparents house for Christmas. They always had an old fashioned looking table top tree. My Uncles on both my Father's and Mother's sides always bought me little frocks and then they would take photographs of me in the frocks. On my Father's side the frocks had a more old fashioned look. They were probably bought at charming old country stores that carried older stock. On my Mum's side I received frocks from New York City and all over the world. But then, my Father's side has always been more old fashioned! Grandmum on Father's side has always reminded me of Tasha Tudor!

Dirndls that my Uncle on my Mum's side brought from Switzerland for us girls for Christmas.
I am on the left.

copyright © 2012 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson

December 6, 2012

St. Nicholas Tea Inspired by Tasha Tudor!

A Wreath of Candles to Light December Teas!
Today, December 6th, is St. Nicholas Day.
When lit, the Advent wreath creates such lovely shadows and light on the ceiling.

The chosen music to accompany this post is Carol of the Bells:
Click Here for Specially Chosen Delightful Music.
Return Here to Read the Corgyncombe Courant.

 The Dundee cake is brought out to be served with tea.
With the coming of Christmas, Dundee cakes are delicious at teas throughout December!

The photographs and some of the writings on this post are from previous Corgyncombe Courant posts that can be found here on the Corgyncombe Courant.
I took the photograph of the chickadee several years ago, as St. Nicholas Day morn dawned snowy, sparkly white!

 Mixing the Dundee cake. Corgyncombe uses the receipt for Dundee Cake in "The Tasha Tudor Cookbook". Dundee cakes are made a month ahead of time and put in cold storage until time for St. Nicholas Tea.

The Corgyncombe Bakery makes many Dundee cakes in all different shapes and sizes.
The receipt for Dundee Cake is in "The Tasha Tudor Cookbook".
I never add the citron nor the raisins as called for in the receipt, but add more than the called for amount of currants and in addition to the almonds in the receipt, add walnuts.
This combination makes the most delicious Dundee cake!

Dundee cakes are festive at St. Nicholas Tea on December 6th!
The design on the cup has St. Nicholas pulling a gift laden sled, with a tree over his shoulder, and a doll in a sack at his waist, whilst adoring children look on.
Inside the cup is fresh milk from Corgyncombe Dairy Goat Carmella Lucille!

copyright © 2012 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson