Merry Christmas Y’all!

Written by Aunt Ruthie on December 23rd, 2021

Hello dear ones and Merry Christmas! I hope y’all are doing well! Or maybe you are not doing so well. If not, take heart! I understand and I hope as you read my blog post you will feel the comfort and joy of the Lord since He is the reason for the season and has given us so much to be thankful for! He is our hope.

For me, this has been a very difficult few months. My sweet dad went home to be with the Lord late in October. He was to turn 97 on Thanksgiving Day. His Celebration of Life service was November 18th. My hubby, daughter Summer and I flew out to California to be with my mom and family to attend the service. We were there for several days, and, starting the day after we returned, we began welcoming our dear relatives from the east and west coast who were coming to stay with us to celebrate Thanksgiving. We had 40 family members for Turkey Day!

It was a little overwhelming at first because I felt like I didn’t have time to grieve. But, it actually was good for me to be busy. My sister’s-in-law and daughters were a huge help in preparing our Thanksgiving meal. Love stepped in. It was a blessing and so good to be around the sweet home-folks that I love.

My Thanksgiving Day reminded me of this sweet picture. All of us women-folk working happily together, stirring, baking, cooking, roasting, singing, and laughing. The aroma swirling from the kitchen throughout the house was heavenly. All of it was good for my soul.

And now it’s Christmas! My heart is healing. Keeping Jesus and His wondrous Love in the center of my heart and thoughts has given me strength.

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

When I think of sweet baby Jesus in the manger and the reason He came to this earth my heart rejoices! I made a choice to embrace this glorious season of God’s Love. To look at the light of His love and not at the darkness of sorrow. Joy has filled my heart. I know I will see my dad again and that he is having a blast right now!

Thankfully, I had decorated most of my house before I left for California. And so now I would love to share it with you! Go grab a cup of something yummy to sip, put your slippers on and settle in for a bit!

This year I found another vintage Currier & Ives image to enlarge onto canvas! It’s one of my favorites! This snowy scene if full of heartwarming goodness! I love to create a vignette that reflects the story that the art piece tells. At least the way that I imagine it in my mind! Lol!

Pa is taking big sister into town to the general store to pick out a Christmas gift for Ma. Maybe a new hat, or new shoes, or some beautiful yardage to sew a new dress. Perhaps he will surprise her with that golden locket she had been admiring each time she stopped by the store to sell her fresh churned butter to Mr. Perkins, the proprietor of the Mercantile.

On the right you can see that Ma has just stepped outside the kitchen door breathing in the crisp air carrying her bucket to fetch some water to make a pot of tea and to wash dishes. She had been making pies for Christmas day and little goodie baskets filled with gingersnap cookies for a few neighbors and the Preacher.

Grandpa’s footsteps crunched the snow as he walked back to the house with a armfull of twigs and kindling for the wood burning stove, while old Jack trailed behind, wagging his tail.

“Christmas was coming, and the little house was covered with snow. When Pa came in from shoveling, he caught Laura up in a big bear hug against his cold winter coat. His mustache was covered with melting snowflakes.”  Laura Ingalls Wilder~ Christmas in the Big Woods.

I found this sweet, itty bitty wood stove at a flea market years ago. I put a string of flickering lights inside to resemble a crackling fire. The copper tea kettle belonged to my hubby’s great grandmother from Denmark. It’s got to be over 125 years old. Oh the stories it could tell!

“Soon the kitchen began to take on a feeling of warmth and hominess as the copper coffee pot began to bubble while the oven was heating, and the many different cookie doughs were being mixed… The housewives just loved to outdo each other when it came to the Christmas baking and the many varieties of cookies they could make. So in this early hour, when the smoke rose straight toward the sky from the tall chimney, busy hands were chopping nuts and orange peel and crunching sugar…” Thrya Ferre Bjorn- 1924

“My grandmother’s house…she ran it just like her grandmother and her great-grandmother. They didn’t have electricity. They had wood stoves that never got cold.” Willard Scott

“Ma was busy all day long, cooking good things for Christmas. She baked salt rising bread and rye’n’Injun bread, and Swedish crackers, and a huge pan of baked beans, with salt pork and molasses. She baked vinegar pies and dried apple pies, and filled the big jar with cookies and she let Laura and Mary lick the cake spoon.“ ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House in the Big Woods

I found this old oil lamp that had been fitted for electricity. I see them from time to time at flea markets and antique malls. I put a silicone light bulb in it to add a cozy golden glow.

“For breakfast they had pancakes, and Ma made a pancake man for each one of the children. Ma called each one in turn to bring her plate, and each could stand by the stove and watch, while with the spoonful of batter Ma put on the arms and the legs in the head. It was exciting to watch her turn the whole little man over, quickly and carefully, on a hot griddle. When it was done, she put it smoking hot on the plate.” ~ Laura Ingalls wilder Little House in the Big Woods

Filling our homes with the simple joys of the season blesses our whole family and those who walk through our doors.  Good smells, happy sounds, twinkle lights, wholesome meals, sweet treats, cozy fires, and glowing candles… all of it is like a big ol hug to our hearts!

“Heap on more wood! The wind is chill; But let it whistle as it will,

We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.”

~ Sir Walter Scott

‘I bring you the most joyful news ever announced,

and it is for everyone!

The Savior – yes the Messiah,

the Lord  has been born tonight in Bethlehem!’    

Luke 2:10 -11

The starry heavens sparkled brightly

as God sent us the greatest Christmas gift ever!

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son,

and they shall call His name Immanuel,”

which translated means,

“God with us.” Matthew 1:23

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”  2 Corinthians 9:15

“A little child…a shining star…a stable rude…the door ajar.

Yet in that place, so crude, forlorn,

The hope of all the world was born.”

~Author Unknown

“This will be a sign to you:

You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:12

Winter time fun! Sledding… getting freezing cold… coming in the toasty house to warm up by the fire. Mama brings you a nice, hot cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows and a cuddly blanket.

Everytime my grand-sugars come over I notice the jar of marshmallows is not quite as full when they leave. Lol!

Sing a song of snowflakes flying in the air,

sing a song of sleighbells tinkling everywhere

Earth in dazzling white, sparkling in the light.

~Louise Liddell

All the farmy things I love! An old apple bucket (this one is faintly stamped Ozark Bartletts), an old grain scoop turned candle holder, a vintage round basket lined with gingham and fresh greens and a wee little log cabin.

This is the baking-center side of my pantry. When I designed my baking center and pantry I was inspired by the turn-of-the-century houses on Main Street USA at Disneyland. I imagined what the kitchens might have looked like inside those charming homes with the cute front porches. I’d like to think that Walt Disney might have given me a wink if he could’ve taken a peek at how my pantry turned out! Heehee!

I love the word Merry! To be Merry is to be jolly… cheerful… light-hearted…carefree…joyful… joyous… festive …happy… gleeful!  Proverbs 17:22 says  “A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”   That’s one of the reasons I love to decorate for Christmas (and  all the seasons for that matter)…it creates a merry…joyful….and festive atmosphere….and that kind of atmosphere is good for us!

Every year I buy the Susan Branch Calendar. The illustrations, quotes, and recipes warm my heart so much! I keep it in my kitchen and look and swoon over it often. You can get the new 2022 calendar here!

Say Howdy to the chicken sisters! Beulah, Hattie Mae and Cordelia are all dolled up with wreaths around their necks! Lol! They’re square-dancin’ around the Christmas tree!

“I love all the smells of Christmas;

bayberry candles, freshly cut evergreens,

the smells of baking and cooking~

vanilla, cinnamon, apple pies,

and all the other things that make Christmastime

like a little bit of heaven on earth.” ~ Kathy Healy

“O let there be joy

In the old home tonight,

A tree in the window

 with soft candle light!”

~Rosaline Guingrich

Memories of grandma’s are the best! Delicious aromas of supper cookin’, and scrumptious desserts are baked into the walls. Just walking into the house  and taking a deep breath (ahhh!), a sense of calm comes over you. It’s the most nurturing and loving feeling EV-AH!!

Someone said “The kitchen is the heart of the home”…I agree! Especially at Christmastime! It’s the place where all the warm aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, apple pie, spicy clove and orange pomanders, sugar cookies and supper cookin’ swirl throughout the house making each heart swoon and eyes sparkle. It smells like love. The kitchen seems to be the happiest and brightest room in the house.

“The Yule log is big and sturdy, a last gracious gift from a big old maple. The family is all here, the house bulges. The smell of pine and buttered popcorn, of mince pies and bayberry candles is all through the house, and most pleasant.” ~ Gladys Tabor

Well, sisters, have a blessed Christmas dear ones!

and be sure to say hello in the comments below!

I love hearing from you!

Bless your family. Make home sweet.

Big hugs!

Aunt Ruthie

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Aunt Ruthie’s Fall Home Tour 2021!

Written by Aunt Ruthie on October 17th, 2021

Hello dear Sugar Pie Sisters!! Remember me? Lol! I can’t believe the last time I posted was last fall! This has been a crazy, and at times, difficult year! I got Covid, and thankfully survived that, and then had a few health issues, nothing serious but still not fun. My parents were having some health issues also so I flew to California for several days to see them (because of Covid I hadn’t seen them in over a year! My dad will be 97 and my mom is 91).

We also did some house renovations and then there’s my eight grandkids that I love spending time with.

I was also still having some website issues where no one was able to leave a comment. Your comments are so important to me. I love to hear from you! Your sweet replies let me know that you are here… it’s like we’re chatting over a cup of tea or coffee at the kitchen table…it just warms my heart. Thankfully we have that fixed now!

And then the service that sends you an email notice letting you know that I have a new blog post up was discontinued… which meant that no one would be notified about any notices from Sugar Pie Farmhouse. So I had to do some research to find an email subscription service that didn’t charge $250 or more a month. I did find a service but this is the first time that I’ll be using it. So I sure hope it works and that you got an email letting you know I have a new blog post. If you would leave me a comment that you got an email please be a dear and let me know!

There’s a million other things that got in my way that I’m sure you can relate to. And yet my heart yearned to get back to blogging. So here I am! I am so thankful you are here!

For years I’ve been fervently dedicated to encouraging women to turn their hearts toward home. To take the best care possible of their home and family. Especially, in these extremely turbulent and uncertain times we all need to be encouraged to make our home a place our family loves to be. A place of peace, safety, beauty, joy and prayer. In doing so we will be nurturing and loving our family well.

“She looks well to the ways of her household”. Proverbs 31:27

So darlin’ go grab something yummy to drink… hot tea, coffee or something fall-ish like hot cider! Or maybe just light a yummy Autumn scented candle to set the mood for a cozy Fall Home Tour! To top it off put on my all time favorite Fall music… the Little Women movie soundtrack! It sparkles with all the cozy feels for this time of year!

It’s apple pickin’ time in my front entry! My vignette centers around this darling Currier & Ives print! I love it so much I wanna marry it!!! Did you know that Currier & Ives was an American print making company from 1835 to 1907? They produced illustrated prints by commissioned artists that were then hand colored. This firm was owned by Nathaniel Currier and James Ives. Such a rich look at our American history.

I purchased an 8 x 10 vintage paper print of this scene and then I had it enlarged and put onto a 24″ x 36″ canvas. It turned out beautiful. The company I used was Easy Canvas Prints. I took a picture of the print with my camera and sent them the high resolution image. In one week I received it!

This Currier & Ives print in my entry is called American Homestead: Autumn. It’s of a family picking apples in their own orchard. It depicts how life really was back in the day.

Papa is up on the ladder picking the high ones and Mama is on the ground with the children filling up baskets.

No doubt she made all kind of delicious goodness with the bounty of their apple harvest: Apple pie, apple fritters, apple sauce, apple butter, apple cake, apple jelly, dried apples, baked apples with brown sugar and walnuts, apples in her roast pork and sweet little apple hand-pies!

I love how they were so resourceful back then…of course they had to be! It makes me want to step into the picture!

I wanted my autumn decor to reflect the scene of this endearing picture. A basket of apples, autumn leaves, the color of butterscotch, an apple branch, a picnic basket, a throw and “Papa’s” hat.

This sweet print makes me think of the Johnny Appleseed song! We used to sing it after saying grace with our kids and still do sometimes when the whole family gathers for a meal…grand-sugars and all!

Oh, the Lord is good to me.

And so I thank the Lord

For giving me the things I need:

The sun and the rain and the apple seed;

The Lord is good to me.

The quilts hanging on the old orchard ladder are from the 1800’s so they fit right in!

A couple years ago a sweet friend of mine sent me this beautiful burlap banner that she painted. Autumn Skies and Pumpkin Pies! It’s so me! I paired this endearing quote with some pumpkins on cake stands and a darling garland of pumpkin pie slices that my daughter found for me at TJ Maxx! She was shopping and called to tell me about the garland, knowing I would LOVE IT! I told her to bring it on home to Mama…STAT! LOL!

A close up of this darlin’ felt pumpkin pie slice with a dollop of whipped cream. Adorable!

Well sisters, you know I love everything farmy right? What’s more farmy than a hayride! This year I gathered some vintage goodies including a faux straw bale that I’ve had for years and years, a cow bell, pitch fork, grain scoop, and bushel basket. I tossed in some pumpkins, a gourd, fall leaves and a wispy wreath.

Speaking of Hayrides…do you have my Pumpkin’ Pickin’ and Hayrides Ebook? It’s a wagon load of harvest-time ideas to cozy-up your home, Fun family traditions, yummy recipes, and nostalgic delights to warm and bless your heart! Check it out ... CLICK HERE!

I always loved that saying, “The kitchen is the heart of the home.” It’s so true in my house! It’s pretty much Grand Central Station!

This is my baking center and I’m fixin’ to begin my autumn baking soon! I love to make my pie crusts ahead of time and freeze them for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Before the hustle and bustle of the holidays this is a good time to stash my pie crusts in the freezer. It makes pie baking day easy-as-pie because half the work is done! You just fill the crusts and bake!

I roll out my dough, line the metal pie pans and flute the edges. Then I flash freeze them for an hour in the freezer until it’s firm. Once it’s hardened I stack them and put them in freezer bags until I need them.( I use 2 gallon ziploc bags which will hold 3 to 4 crusts…you can find them HERE ). You can also find my All Butter Pie Crust Recipe Here!

I decided to line my sweet little gathering baskets on my baking center shelves with vintage looking homespun fabric. I chose fabrics with a primitive 1800’s Little House on the Prairie feel. I had Mrs. Olson and her Mercantile in mind.

At Hobby Lobby I found brown plaids, ginghams and ticking stripe fabrics for 50% off. When I laid the fabric bolts on the cutting counter in at tall stack they looked just like they came from Mrs. Oleson’s store. And that made me happy. Notice the sign in the back “Yardage-Fancy and Plain”. I went for the plain!

Right next to my pantry screen door I have a chalkboard that I write on with sentiments for the seasons. This little phrase is something I wrote when I was writing my Fall Ebook, Pumpkin Pickin’ and Hayrides. “I think it’s so adorable that God thought of Pumpkins!”

There’s something so whimsical and darling about pumpkins. They come in all sizes and shapes and they’re just the cutest! One little pumpkin on a plate in the middle of your kitchen table will be enough to make your heart smile. Thank you Lord for creating those adorable Pumpkins!

A little peeky into my pantry!

This old farm table is one of my favorite places to decorate for the seasons! It has seen some happy days!

My mother-in-laws butter churn sits close by and the Chicken Sisters are staying cozy underneath. The little cupboard on top of the table is actually a pie safe. The screen was torn off, but there are remnant pieces left which tell the story of what it was.

Baking days are here! The weather outside is getting chilly in the Ozarks which makes baking up some Snickerdoodles, Ginger Snaps, pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie sound like a wonderful idea! Oh the aroma that’s about to swirl in our kitchens!

Do you see that sweet yellow-ware bowl with the cream stripes? It’s very old and I got it recently in Arkansas. It’s so cute. I’m sure it was a workhorse for a rosy-cheeked, aproned-Mama back in the day!

See those wee little butter-colored pumpkins and the white one too? I grew them in my own pumpkin patch! Their sweetness rings joy-bells in my heart!

“Cheers for the Gingerbread Boys!

Little mouths smacking with joys.

Mama bakes them brown and hot!

Gingerbread boys!

Eat a lot!”

-Charles Wysocki, American Artist, 1928

Take a couple minutes every afternoon to sit and ponder the goodness of God. Make a hot cup of something yummy and savor it with thankfulness.

I love the English idea of Tea Time every afternoon. Let’s make that a thing in our homes!

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”

This summer we had our kitchen painted white and replaced the dark brown granite with white quartz. I love how it brightens it. Everything looks so fresh and clean. It also makes my decor pop in a warm and cozy way.

I love the white especially paired with the warm woods of the stove mantle and the lower cabinets… it helps cozy-up all the white.

On top of the mantle I filled the vintage bowls with raffia and topped them with happy milk-colored pumpkins. The cow tray above the mantle is a favorite! I love cows, don’t-cha-know? Lol! I got a set of two different ones last year. If you google “metal cow trays, Park Hill” you may be still able to find them!

I love this dear white milk can! I love that it’s from the Borden Company in Kansas City too! I filled it with faux corn stalks that I got from Michaels a couple years ago. Totally farmy!

This old cupboard came from my hubby’s childhood home! He lived in an old log house in the woods of Idyllwild, California. I’m blessed to have it! It’s where I store some of my favorite cookbooks, brown transferware dishes, my large Mason Cash bowl that I use for mixing my mom’s Thanksgiving Sausage Stuffing every year!

To the right of the cupboard is a little play-nook for my grand-sugars! After hugging me at the door, that’s the first place they run to go play. It’s filled with toys, books, games, coloring and craft supplies. I got the little table and chairs on Facebook Marketplace a few years ago. It was a great price! It’s originally from Pottery Barn so it’s super sturdy!

The cheerful joyous season,

The Autumn time is come,

With song and shout we welcome,

The golden Harvest Home. ~unknown

As mothers and grandmothers, we are setting the stage for a happy home life. The things we do today will contribute to our family’s memories tomorrow. This quote by Gina Pearson is so thought provoking; “It’s impossible to harvest something you don’t plant.” Darlin’, if we want to look forward to a bountiful harvest of joyful blessings in our family, let’s plant thankfulness, goodness and a celebration of life in our homes.

“For the beauty of the earth

For the glory of the skies,

For the love

which from our birth

Over and around us lies.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,

This our hymn of grateful praise.”

~Folliot S. Pierpoint 1835-1917

God bless you dear Sugar Pie Sisters! I hope you have a blessed fall season! I’m thinking of you and saying my prayers for you. Stay close to the Lord and stay safe dear ones.

Please let me know if you got an email notifying you about this new post! That will tell me if my new email subscriber service is working! If you did not receive an email, please let me know how you heard about this new blog post. That will help me know what is working. Thank you so much!!

All my love,

Aunt Ruthie

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