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Showing posts from November, 2010

VINTAGE CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS!!!

In spite of the use and abuse of ultra modern engineering and the rushing hullabaloo of the 21st century, people often seem to become nostalgic when it comes to home decorating for Christmas.  Norman Rockwell's creations-marvelous pictures of Victorian villages under the snow, children eagerly waiting for the arrival of Santa Claus while carolers walk around the villages singing Christmas carols.  Thinking to families decorating a beautiful Christmas tree and drinking hot cocoa with marshmallows, makes our hearts feel merry.  These "old world" visions are the reasons why a lot of us desire vintage Christmas ornaments for decorating our homes.  However, truly old vintage ornaments can be difficult and expensive to acquire.



   Not so long ago the nostalgic desire for items from the past has caused a boom in the artistic creation of vintage hand crafted Christmas ornaments in the last 10 to 15 years.  A lot of online and regular retail outlets specializing in vintage it…

THE UPSIDE DOWN CHRISTMAS TREE: TACKY OR TRENDY??

The upside down Christmas tree is one of the strangest trends seen in a while.  There are some people who probably like the idea.  An upside down Christmas tree is just a matter of personal preference, some people love the newest trends while others prefer traditional decor.  How long will the upside down Christmas tree be popular?  Only the consumer knows for sure, after all, we do determine such trends.  If people stay fascinated with the upside down Christmas tree, then it will become a mainstay.  If the upside down Christmas tree is ignored by consumers because it is just too bizarre,  then it will go away just like any fad.  I am a traditionalist myself.



   Every retailer that is selling the upside down Christmas tree is quick to point out that the tradition came from the 12th Century in Central Europe.  They would hang the Christmas tree upside down from the ceiling instead of right side up.  The meaning behind using an evergreen tree was the triangular shape symbolizing the…

THE HISTORY OF EGGNOG!!

Eggnog is the starter of that wonderful holiday season.  It's what reminds us that the wonderful time is about to begin.  That time when peppermint mocha's, presents, family, friends, carols, Christmas movies, decorating trees, and eggnog is abound.  It's that time of the season already.  It makes you think when something like eggnog was invented and how.  Did it begin as something special just for the holidays or was it begun in a whole different way?  The creamy richness of that powerful drink is something well worth the effort of looking into and that is just what we are going to do.  So before you begin your holiday season take a look at this and become enriched in all the flavorings of Christmas.
   The history of eggnog is a bit shrouded.  A lot of people believe that it was brought from England to America which in a way could be true.  After all, the word is related to a lot of wine punches and milk drinks that were made in the English tradition.  When brought t…

THE STORY OF COLORED DIAMONDS!!

When we think of diamonds, colored diamonds aren't usually what come to people's minds.  The fact is however, that fancy colored diamonds are not unusual; they come in almost every shade and hue imaginable, and in many cases, are more valuable than "colorless" diamonds.

A Glorified Lump of Coal?

   Diamond-known to the ancients as adamantine-is what is known as an allotrope of carbon, and in chemical terms, is identical to common forms of coal and graphite.  The difference lies not in the chemical composition, but rather in how the molecules are arranged.
   Diamonds form far deeper beneath the earth's surface than coal or graphite; the carbon ins subjected to extraordinarily higher pressures (up to 440 tons per square inch) and temperatures (as much as 2300 degrees Fahrenheit).  This causes the molecules to be bonded to each other in a tetrahedral arrangement, accounting both for the hardness of diamond and the eight-sided shape in which they occur.



Shades of…

THE HISTORY AND FACTS ABOUT CHRISTMAS TINSEL!!

Where did tinsel come from?  Its origins are murky, but it was apparently first made in Germany during the 1600's.  It was made by hammering out a paper thin silver alloy and then cutting that into strips.  It's unlikely that this first version was as thin as what it is today.  It was used, not only on Christmas Trees (which were just catching on in Germany) but also on any other decoration that needed a little shine from statues to fireplace garlands.  Since candlelight, lanterns and fireplaces were the primary method of lighting homes, reflective surfaces were often used to maximize the light.a
   The early stuff was meant to be reused, carefully gathered from the trees and decoration to be used again the next year.  Unfortunately, silver-based metals tend to tarnish when they aren't used or aren't kept next to the skin (some claim it was the candlelight that tarnished them, but simple disuse could do the same).  Cheaper alloys were introduced that also had the ad…

POPCORN AND ITS HISTORY!!

Popcorn is considered a junk food but if it is it is one of the healthiest junk foods around.  It actually has some things in it that are good for you like fiber.  You can eat a lot of popcorn before it adds up calories.  four cups of popcorn has only 92 calories and only 1 gram of fat if it is popped with hot air.  These numbers are more if you pop your popcorn in oil.  The nutritional value of popcorn is 71% starch with other carbohydrates, 10% protein, 3% fat and there are a trace of vitamins and minerals and 14% of the kernel is water.  If you pop your popcorn with a hot air popper it has much less fat than if you use oil methods.
   Popcorn has a hard kernel and when the kernel dries a little water is sealed inside the popcorn kernel so when the kernel gets heated up to a certain temperature the water inside the kernel actually boils and the pressure causes the kernel to pop into popcorn.  It literally turns itself inside out when it pops,  showing off its white interior.



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DAZZLE YOUR FRIENDS WITH YOUR POINSETTIA EXPERTISE!!!

Are you a trivia buff?  If so, perhaps you'd be interested in knowing a little bit more about the poinsettia plant you buy every Christmas season.  This knowledge should really impress your friends and family at the holiday dinner table.
   Did you know that the poinsettia's main attraction is not its flowers, but its leaves?  The flowers of the plant are the yellow clustered buds in the center.  The colored leafy parts are actually bracts or modified leaves.
   Red is the most popular color, accounting for roughly tow thirds of all sales nationwide, followed by white, pink, marble and peppermint candy.   Poinsettia's also come in a variety of other shades of salmon, apricot, yellow and cream.  There are also unusual speckled or marbled varieties like "White Glitter".  New varieties are introduced yearly with even more variation in height and colors.



   How many poinsettias do you think are sold each year?  Would you believe over 5 million!  In Canada, Poinse…

THESE ARE A LITTLE ON THE LATE SIDE, BUT HERE ARE SOME PICTURES OF MY HOUSE FOR HALLOWEEN 2010!!

I finally got around to getting the pictures from my  camera onto my computer.  I always took pictures in the day time, but this year I decided to take them at night with just the lighting I used on them.  Some didn't turn out like I planned, it might be time for me to upgrade my camera.  Everything was hand made, the windows were covered with styrofoam boards, the ground breaker coffins were also made from styrofoam.  So without further ado here they are:
















WINE AND FOOD PARINGS FOR THE WINTER HOLIDAYS!!

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   It's simpler than you think. Years ago, it was red wine with beef and perhaps a robust pasta and white wine with chicken and fish.  This is fine to use as a general guideline but the main thing to re member is to drink what you like.  Having said that, here are some good pairings.
   It's fun to pair wine with food to make a meal more enjoyable.  The light-bodied wines go best with lighter foods and the heavier wines with heavier, very flavorful foods.  The body of a wine is how powerful and weighty it feels in your mouth.
   As you pair wine with beef, wild game, barbecued meats, and/or pastas in a heavy red sauce select a heavy-bodied, flavorful red wine.  Consider there wines-a Syrah, Merlot or a Cabernet Sauvignon.  If you're serving light seafood dishes, poultry, ham and mildly flavored cheeses look to the lighter wines.  For a red wine, these would be Beaujolais, burgundy or a Pinot Noir.  If you prefer to serve a white wine, consider a Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay o…

CHRISTMAS TREE SHOPPING TIPS

With Thanksgiving a little less than a week away, it means that alot of us start to think more about Christmas.  We start to think about what theme or decorations that we're going to put up and how its all going to look.  Also we've got to start thinking about putting the lights up onto the house and anywhere else that you want them to go.  Just think of how many trips we're going to take up into the attic to bring down all of the boxes filled with Christmas decorations (by yourself most of the time, because everyone else disappears during this fun filled time).
   One of the main items that we ponder on the most though, is the Christmas tree.  Whether it's an artificial tree or a real one.  The Christmas tree is usually the focal point of your inside the house Christmas decorating. Most of what we decide to do with the tree and how it gets decorated, coinsides with  what the rest of your Christmas theme or  decorating style on the inside of the house.  The Christm…