Recently, I was talking to a friend about our Christmas, and celebrating my mother-in-law's 90th birthday (see below).
Her comment was, (keep in mind, we have been deeply affected by the recession, and my husband hasn't worked for quite awhile- a ph.d. won't get one far in this economy) "for someone who's struggling financially, it (our home, our holiday decor, and the celebration), it all looks pretty posh". At first, I was a bit taken aback, as this is a good friend. Now, I think it was a complement.
I have always been a fan of making "a silk purse out of a sow's ear", and am reminded of the wonderful writer MFK Fisher, who was a food writer, who lived in Europe during WWII. Everyone was trying to keep the wolf away from the door, and she wrote a wonderful piece on "How to Cook a Wolf"
Such is our life; the wolf isn't at the door, but he's sniffing around our driveway...that said, we didn't exchange Christmas gifts, and I'd like to show some of you, who are in our same position (isn't that "we are the 99%), how to celebrate without breaking the bank.
I believe it cost me $8.00 to make this wreath.
Our tree was from our local supermarket...the urn has been everywhere with us, and did time in our garden, on our screened in porch in Wisconsin, and every Christmas, we put our 6-ft. tree in it, making a much larger-looking tree, and preventing our cats (who were once tree-climbing kittens) from attack. It has become a tradition...an inexpensive tradition, at that.
The silver, we inherited..(thankyou Aunt Lily), and the candles..dripless, burn an inch an hour, are from Tuesday Morning for $1.00 apiece. (Thankyou Tuesday Morning).
The pointsettia is an old one from last year's wreath...I hot-glued some "bling" to the stamens...ohhh lala..
The center piece, I made from $12.00 worth of German Glitter "asparagus", an old silver-plated teapot from years and years ago, that I bought at a garage sale, and was living in our garage(worn down to the nickel), and bit's and pieces from my endless stash of thirty years.
The china, (from England, TJ Maxx..$1.00 per plate)..The wine glasses, from TJ Maxx, which I hand-painted with a grape design ($7.00 for 6), The silver, ours for years....The ficus, lit with last-year's outdoor lights. That's my beautiful Mother-in-law, my handsome husband, and the back of a friend's head...The runner was from an estate sale, and I refinished the table (tiger maple) years ago - passed down from the family.
We have wonderful friends, who brought wine, and a smile....The menu was simple, served buffet-style...this is Texas, darlin', so we aren't going to be doing foie gras' and pheasant under glass..we did bbq chicken wings, new potatoes, wrapped in bacon and baked in the oven, wasabi develed eggs, a vege and dip plate (for recipes go to http://www.marthastewart.com/ and find the wasabi eggs, and the new potatoes)..have to give credit where credit is due.
I did splurge on the $20.00 raspberry-chocolate cake...some champagne, and good coffee.
viola' - "living well is the best revenge" (I am not sure who said that)..
This was my mother-in-law in Nov. 1946...she was a high-fashion model on fifth Avenue in New York, and as a college student, was on the cover of "Look" magazine as one of the most beautiful coeds of 1944....She's still beautiful!