Sunday, February 3, 2008

December BJP Page Done

It's done, it's done! I have finished December but
not until February. So much for plans to catch up in January. I can still hope to catch up in February though.

Okay, here's the story. When I was very young, my mother worked at the Nut Tree, a store in Vacaville, California. This is where she bought the cookie jar portrayed here and many beautiful, transparent ornaments some of which were quite large at least in those days. (This was probably 1958 or 1959).

We moved to San Diego for a short time which is where I remember the cookie jar being used. My oldest sister was in her teens and was trying out new crafts and recipes at Christmas time. One of the recipes was for Biscochitas, a good butter cookie with the subtle taste of anise from a light amount of seeds in the dough. That is the only recipe I have ever remembered in connection with this cookie jar and after she left home, I made them at Christmas time. The cookies really are delicious even though my children and husband didn't care for the aniseseed flavor. Now that Mom and Dad are gone, I have the cookie jar. (I found out many years later that biscochitas just means cookie in spanish). Here is the recipe so you can enjoy them:


1 lb. butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

6 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons anise seeds

4 tablespoons dry sherry or brandy

Cream butter, add sugar and mix well. Add eggs and anise seeds. Mix dry ingredients and add gradually to creamed mixture. Add wine or brandy. Roll on floured board 1/8 inch thick, cut into shapes. Sprinkle with mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Bake 10-12 minutes in 375 degree oven or until light brown on edges. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on racks. Mmmm good!

Now, on to the broken ornament. We had recently moved from San Diego to a new home in El Cajon. When it came time to set up the new tree my parents couldn't decide where it should go. Now that I am older I see that around this time my mother was beginning to get sick (she had multiple sclerosis) and was still working full time. Not having a lot of money, Christmas could sometimes be a bit stressful with six kids hoping for a few gifts! We all shared in decorating the tree. My father did the lights, us kids put on the ornaments and my mom, with some help from us kids, put on the tinsel one tiny strand at a time (no garlands, just hundreds of strands of silver tinsel). It looked very pretty when it was done. But wait! My dad (or my mom, I can't remember which) wasn't happy with where the tree was so they picked it up and moved it. Obviously the tree wasn't too big and heavy! Oh no! They moved it back....and forth....and back and forth. Every time it was slammed down in a new spot a few more ornaments fell off. We kids began to imagine there wouldn't be a Christmas. We hoped we would still be a family!! Well, they finally settled on one of the spots, we fixed up the tree best we could and the rest of the holiday went fine. Phew! Sooo close to a disaster!

Mind you, I kept Christmas pretty darn casual after I got married. No big turkey dinners requiring us all in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. I just let my husband decide where the tree would go. Perfection just isn't that important. Now, we spend Christmas at my daughter's home where she runs herself ragged just like my mom did. Maybe, it's simply that the genes skipped a generation!

Well, Christmas is over and I am moving on to January. Yes, it's February but first things first!


beadbabe49 said...

Loved the stories!

and it's just barely february, so you still have lots of time...

KV said...

Wonderful beading and a fun story. My father was a total fussbudget when it came to putting the lights on the tree -- no one else was ever allowed to do it!

Kathy V in NM

Robin said...

Your depiction of the cookie jar is perfect! I knew instantly that it wasn't supposed to be a "real" tree... thought it might be an ornament (like the obviously broken one) or a little decorative figurine. Love your story too.

Rosa said...

I think the broken ornament looks precious in the picture. So sweet.

Betzie said...

Thanks for the recipe. I love the flavor of anise. Might have to try these out!
My dad got the tree and put the lights on, my mom decorated it. I helped a little. Now my hubby gets the tree, but I have to take it all from there, including undecorating least favorite part. For the first time this year, we just had our artificial tree...much easier but I did miss that great real tree aroma!

Judi D said...

Great page! Great colors on your cookie jar.

a2susan said...

Your stories are always so moving. And it's interesting how as adults we often, consciously or not, react to things that happen in our childhood.

Cyndi L said...

A very powerful story to go with a beautiful page. The broken ornament is so poignant!

The Lone Beader said...

Wow! Your tree is beautiful! I love how you blended the greens! :D

abeadlady said...

I had to laugh when I read your story. For many years, my mother had one of those silver foil trees with a spotlight on it. It could only have handmade ornaments on it. This brought back some great memories for me. Thanks.

Your beading on the tree is exquisite. Cookie recipe looks good too.

I'm Toni said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on my quilled cardinal!
I love your beadwork! and your story! Growing up, we put tinsel on our tree, too - one strand at a time, starting at the bottom, working our way up - every half-inch! Made a beautiful tree, but it took days!

Kathy Wagner said...

What I love about all your pieces is that they represent specific events, memories and feelings and always tell a story. A great body of work!

matilda said...

che bello il tuo albero...
"peccato" per la pallina rotta ;)
ciao matilda

Anonymous said...

Hi! Just a note to say hi, I was here! It's nice to see you are having time to do some of the crafting and art that you are wantng to do.

Love, Tena

Sue in western Washington, USA said...

I'm pretty relaxed about holiday decorating and meals too. DH used to be very anal about putting the lights on the tree but now he lets our sons do it. Glad he got over that!

Looks like you did a fabulous job with your beading. Better late than never!