Friday, December 4, 2009

It's Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas

Just look at those beautiful images from one of my favorite magazines, Country Living. They really put you in the mood for decking the halls and having fun riding in a one-horse open sleigh. Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra knew how to make spirits bright, too!

find both albums at

Our Christmas stationary finally arrived from our paper source of choice since four years, tiny prints. I won't show the card yet, it's a surprise. But I will say it turned out amazingly pretty, as every year. They really produce stellar stationary, and we are impressed every year.

Look what came in the mail from my little brother Noah! He's so talented. Ramon and I are both very excited to see him for New Year's. He's growing up so fast, each time we see him it's a bit of a shock. Last time he was almost as tall as me. He asked me innocently, "Aren't you going to grow anymore?" "Nope," I answered, "This is it."

I also officially have my Christmas list ready for 'santa,' though the list only has one thing on it. The new Olympus Pen E-P1 digital camera. *SIGH* My husband, I mean, ehem, SANTA, is actually the one who suggested it. I would never dare request something so expensive. But he insisted I've been a very good girl this year, a good girl who loves taking photos and working in photoshop. I agreed to put it on my list, as long as it remained the only thing 'santa' gives me. To read about this fabulous, gorgeous camera, click here.

A big sign of the season: my fingers are itchin' to bake and ice Christmas cookies! I especially like baking Susan Branch's Cookie Cutter Ginger Crisps and decorating them intricately with royal icing. Other favorites include Betty Crocker's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies, which come out tasting like soft Butterfinger candy bars. I love the Betty Crocker cook books, especially 'Christmas' and 'Best of Baking.' Both are choc-full of really delicious classics.

As you all know by now, one of my favorite authors, and PEOPLE for that matter, is Susan Branch. She is a talented painter, wonderful cook, and general big-hearted, generous-souled, angel-winged human being. Below you can see some of her cookbooks among other favorites (if you look closely you can also see where Kiki gnawed off the bottom of the spine of 'Heart of the Home' when she was a naughty puppy). 

She recently shared her annual 'Big Cookie Jar' as an early Christmas present for her fans, or 'girlfriends' as she calls us. I just can't keep this to myself and hope she doesn't mind if I share it with you! Full to the brim with Susan Branch baked goodness for you to make, enjoy, and share. Get the word out about her; she's a self-made lady, living her dream, pursuing her passion, and making the world a better place in her own adorable way.

(click HERE to get susan branch's cookie recipes!)

The days grow colder and Christmas with all it's bright lights, comfort, and joy draws near. As Gladys Taber once wrote: "Christmas is a Bridge. We need bridges as the river of time flows past. Today's Christmas should mean creating happy hours for tomorrow and reliving those of yesterday."

happy hall decking and cookie baking :)
xo country girl


  1. Yet another gorgeous post Dawn - Susan will be thrilled, I agree the cookie jar is too good to keep to ourselves - spread the joy! I'm so sorry I didn't comment on yesterday's brought back very sad memories for me and I just didn't know what to say. Nothing anyone says will take away the pain, but time will soften it (and you WILL be a fabulous mother one day soon, I know) xox

  2. I am really starting to wonder what is going on that bookshelf...I have every single one of those EXACT books.....Tasha Tudor, Magnolia, Susie's.....all of 'em...

    Wonderful ..cozy..Christmasy post....

    I'll check back later....

    Kary and Buddy

  3. one more thing..that In A Vermont Kitchen Cookbook is ALWAYS sitting on my drainboard...

    I think we're twins.....

  4. What a fantastic blog you have here. I love your photography and I adore that cookie artwork. Thanks for putting us all in the Christmas spirit this morning. :)

  5. Oh Country Girl, I love love love your blog. It makes me smile. So quaint and charming. did you become a fan of Susan Branch? Do you know her personally? I had never heard of her until I came across your blog. But now I'm just so enamoured with her.
    And that drawing by your little brother is just so sweet!

  6. Lizzie, welcome to the blog! So nice to have you...

    Johanna, your note made ME smile! :) SO glad you like stopping by here. To answer your question, I'll have to tell a little story, which I don't mind telling because it's one of my favorites.
    In September a few years back, I believe it was 2005, I was looking on Amazon for a new book. Because I love the fall season so much, I put the word 'autumn' into the search engine, curious what would show up. And there it was: Autumn, by Susan Branch. THe cover was so beautiful, water-colored...I had never seen a cover like that. I ordered it and hoped the book would be as good as it's cover.
    About a week later I was lying in bed, sick. I had already forgotten about the book, and was lying there, feverish, watching rain streak the bedroom window. Then the doorbell rang; it was the postman with a brown carboard package from Amazon. It was my Susan Branch book!
    I took it to bed with me, opened it up to the first page, and went on to read that book, cover to cover, for about five hours, being sure to drink in every tiny beautiful detail. I was so smitten! A book with handwritten quotes and recipes, all in the voice of this woman who seemed to think like me and paint how I wanted to paint!
    That was how I was introduced to Susan Branch's work.
    But the story doesn't end fact, I'm thinking I should write a whole blog post about it soon!
    I am so glad I can share her with you and everyone else on here; I know she made my life alot brighter!
    Thank you, as always, for stopping by and letting me know you care, I just love hearing from you.


  7. ooo lots of links to check out - exciting stuff! And that camera looks wicked - rather jealous but I'll be excited to see what photos you take with it!!! xxx

  8. wow that is one hellava camera....!!! (Now I've looked at it more closely!)

  9. mmmm. I am SO jealous of the camera. SOOSOSOS jealous. Will you write my "santa" and tell him I want one, too? :) I can't wait to see what you can do with it!

  10. Haha! Curious Cat, I am SO excited about this camera....and also feeling a little overwhlemed by it; I hope I am able to do it justice! It's not a point and shoot, so I will have to learn to use it. Wish me luck!
    Oh, and if you give me your santa's email address, I can send him the link! :)



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