Tuesday, November 26, 2013


The Captain found this little white truck in some stuff being thrown away so he grabbed it right up.  He knew I would love it...
and he was right!

This is really becoming a busy season here around the Cottage.

I mentioned before that we were going to the kids for Thanksgiving and then back home until Christmas Eve, then back to the kids for the night and then back home again until December 30, then off to San Diego for the month of January.

This is such a handsome Santa and I've had him for many years. He always looked so elegant, if not traditional, in his green coat...

Well, I guess I didn't think he was pretty enough, so changed him, with some of the believable magic of the season, to fit into a new scheme.

Here is a peek at another project added this year...and this is only one piece of the puzzle.

I put these little cone trees together with a lot of love and some sticky fingers...

...and added a really tall one, held together with peppermint baker's twine...

...and finally, this little girl was fashioned out of a combination of jute and yarn.  She was a perfect little tree until I tied a piece of tattered ribbon around her neck and she was transformed into an angel.

A pretty ruffled wreath made out of unbleached coffee filters.  A really fun project and quite easy.

I picked up this wreath of glass balls for $1 at a thrift shop.  I added sprigs of faux pine and cones and let it shine in front of a mirror.

This is simply the same banner I used on the parlor mantle for Fall.  I just turned it over, copied Christmas music and glued it onto the original black cards, with an embellishment of letters from a stencil and some cute little scrap booking charms.

I'm saving the best for last...

I saw a similar lamp and shade like this in a high end shop I visited.  I don't remember the price exactly but it was over $100.  I thought it was really beautiful but could not pay that kind of money when I have a house over run with lamps as it is.

I saw the base, in brass, at a thrift store, for $5.  I bought it and glued the jute twine, I had left over from making the cone trees, around it.  I then ordered the shade online. It did cost me $30 but, that was a marked down price, and I love the shape of it.  I then picked up the tin flower/snowflake ornament at Ben Franklin's for $5.  For approximately $40 I have a lamp that I am really quite proud of.

I also received my copy of the new Simply Shabbilicious magazine. It is chock full of pretty ideas for Christmas, beautiful feature homes that you might be familiar with in the blogging world and wonderful photography.  If you are interested you can see here where and how to order it.

All of the above that you have seen today, is scattered around the Cottage in small vignettes pertaining to Christmas.

I am now off to the grocery store to fight the Thanksgiving crowds and then tomorrow I will be baking and cooking my contributions to our family dinner and somewhere in the couple of weeks between then and Christmas, I will be back to show you, in full dress, where this little bit of Christmas magic is happening around the Cottage.

All of us here at Gold Country Cottage want to wish each and every one of you a blessed and thankful Thanksgiving Day with your friends and families.


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Tuesday, November 19, 2013


A few weeks ago, The Captain and I spent a few relaxing hours riding the rails.

We had lunch on the Sacramento River Train located in Woodland, CA.

At first we didn't know what we were in for.  Instead of a grand depot with hustle and bustle going on around it, the train was just sitting alongside a busy city street.

It appeared as if months, if not years, of grit and grime were on the train but the fancy art work painted around the cars still showed through.

We proceeded to the parking lot where we would leave our car and board the train.  As we were the first ones there, we didn't think it looked too safe to leave our car.  There was broken glass on the ground, piles of raked up tree branches and trash and a homeless encampment at one end.

We drove across the street and parked in a shopping center lot.  By the time we returned the lot was full of very nice cars and large elegant tour buses.  Our little three year old Honda would have been in very good company!

We boarded the train at 11:00 sharp, which was right on schedule,
and were ushered to our dining table.  We were up on the second tier of our car and the viewing area was spectacular.

The dining car, although not overly decorated, was roomy and very clean.  The tables were dressed with good linens and looked very proper for an enjoyable dining experience.

At this point, I should have inserted a picture of the food.  But, for some reason most of my food pictures do not show very well, so I deleted them.  But, after seeing Martha's pictures today on the news, I should have shown them.  They would have looked right at home!

We had our choice of salmon or chicken, each served with fancy, amazing sides.  We picked one of each so we could sample them both.  

The food was of excellent quality, very tasty, a very pretty presentation, and we liked both dinners equally well.

The service was the best we have had in any high end restaurant situation.

There was some time between courses, which possibly some wouldn't like, but, for us, it was just right.  I felt it gave us time to savor each course and as we weren't rushed, the experience was all the more enjoyable.

After the main course, we walked down to the open air cars and took in some of the sights from that perspective...

A chocolate cherry mousse with pomegranate reduction sauce,
topped with real whipped cream.
Served in a phyllo cup.
OMG is all I can say!

...then back to our table for a delicious and elegant dessert.

If you were looking for some beautiful scenic views, along with a marvelous dining experience, this would not be an especially must-have trip for you.  But, if you were interested in a slice of nature and good common American way of life, you would love it as we did.

The tracks run along beside dry fields that at times are flooded with water from the river's overflow during heavy rains. Also the fields are used for planting rice to supply a good part of one of the country's staples.

Hay and grain are grown along side...

...apple orchards and...

...seasonal crops as well.

As you sit comfortably in your seats, listening to the click-clack of the wheels over the tracks and hearing the mournful, yet joyous, sound of the whistle, the river comes into view...

...it meanders around and through the open fields and...

...in front of homes that have their own river transportation tied up to their docks.

At times, along the river, the vegetation is thick and green and it almost appears as you could be lost in the jungle.  But, just as quickly, you are once again transported into the middle of a corn field...

...where the farmer is preparing for a new crop...

When I said you wouldn't find beautiful scenic views along the route, I meant in the sense that you might see going down the Rhine or the Amazon. (I'm guessing, as I've never seen either one) but...

...just a glimpse out a window on a simple view of life that shows you a very small part of what makes this country great and...

...how little we really need to have a very beautiful day.


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Saturday, November 16, 2013


I am not doing much in the way of Thanksgiving decorations this year.  We will not be home for dinner and I am trying to get a whole lot of projects done around the Cottage that, if we were smart, would have been well suited to leave until another time of year.

We are also spending New Year's in San Diego  so will not be doing a whole lot of Christmas decorating either.  It breaks my heart, but since we will be spending Christmas with the kids, then rushing home to take down decorations before leaving for the trip, so that we don't come home in February to all that entails, this is just the way it is this year.

This is a little Amish family that we picked up years ago at a country antique show we did...

This is how the Captain and I were dressed for that country antique show when we picked up the little Amish family...

We were supposed to dress up as fitting for the time of year and since they were simple costumes, easy to sew, this is what we chose.

I will leave you today with some words of wisdom that you might be well put to remember when you gather 'round the table on Thanksgiving Day...

"I ate too much turkey,
I ate too much corn,
I ate too much pudding and pie,
I'm stuffed up with muffins
And much too much stuffin',
I'm probably going to die.

I piled up my plate
And I ate and I ate,
But I wish I had known when to stop,
For I'm so crammed with yams,
Sauces, gravies, and jams
That my buttons are startin' to pop.

I'm full of tomatoes
And French fried potatoes,
My stomach is swollen and sore,
But there's still some dessert,
So I guess it won't hurt..

If I eat just a little bit more."

Jack Prelutsky, "I Ate Too Much"


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