Monday, December 30, 2013


Christmas 2013 was a good one here at Ashton House. My dad, who is recuperating from surgery at the hospital, was able to come for a few hours to celebrate the holiday with us. We were also able to see my Grandma and spend time with my in-laws. It is always a gift to see loved ones at such a special time of year. On my blog, I like to remember some of the holiday gifts I received, so if that's not your kind of thing, you might want to skip this post (I'll be back to regular programming in a couple days!). As usual, the hubby surprised me with some very thoughtful gifts, including this extra special one (pictured below). He commissioned artist Sara Pulver to paint a portrait of our two black kitties (Teddy and Poe) and ourselves. Sara sells her art on Etsy and is known for her quirky paintings, prints, and cards of animals. We are big fans of her work and love how she often cleverly interchanges the role of people and pets in her portraits. For example, in our painting, our cats are shown quilting and sipping tea with crumpets while we are downsized and curled up on a small rug near the fire. Can you see us?! What a special one-of-a-kind treasure this is!

Before I move on from the subject of kitties, I wanted to share the sweet little stocking that my friend Belinda made me. She made the hanger with some pretty cording. Belinda makes beautiful cording and seeing it always makes me recall the day that she taught me how to make it. It sure adds a wonderful touch to everything from stockings and ornaments to pincushions and beyond. I am always so touched when friends take the time to make something for me by hand. There's just nothing like a handmade gift, and I've been lucky to receive several beauties from Belinda over the years. 

On a funnier note, my husband also gave me a hairbrush in the color of Shrek! I had to ask him what that was all about. He said that on the internet it looked like my favorite shade of spring green and he had intended to brush my hair with it as a treat. So that solved the mystery of the garish-looking hairbrush! 

I've been wanting a pair of pink UGG boots for years. Well, my hubby surprised me with a pair of beribboned hot pink ones this Christmas. I was afraid I would never be able to find a pair of them as my feet are too small for any of the adult UGG sizes, but the hubby found a pair of kid-sized ones that fit perfectly! They couldn't have come at a better time as we just got a fresh layer of snow this morning! Speaking of pink and feet, the hubby also gave me a beautiful little pink glass decanter that holds soothing foot massage oil from the Ancient Ways shop here in Des Moines. It's nice because it doesn't make your feet slippery afterward!

A day colored with pink is always a good one, and today my friend Merry showered me with this generous box of pink goodness. I was so touched that she took the time to knit me this beautiful pair of socks in my favorite shade of pink and the cozy fingerless gloves. I was totally awestruck by her workmanship. Take a close look at those exquisite socks and gloves. Knitting is a mystery to me, so I really admire those who have mastered the art of it. The delightful cranberry and cream china is precious egg cup, and she found the piece of wonderful pink wool (bottom left) and rose quartz (top) for me while vacationing in South Dakota earlier this year. Merry loves to search for unique china pieces and has a keen eye for finding pretty and well-priced ones.

My friend Cinda gifted me these cute little journals as she knows I'm always jotting something down. With such fun graphics, their covers really inspire my creativity! I already have a few new ideas for wool portraits.

If you're a regular follower of my blog, you might know that I write magazine articles for Victoria magazine. What a wonderful resource I received in this thoughtful gift from my friend Anne. It's a DVD containing the complete set of Victoria magazines since its inception in 1987 to 2012! 

I received several gifts from employers, including the kind sisters (I call them the "prim sisters") behind Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine, who sent me this yummy gift set of gourmet pastas and pasta sauces. My hubby is looking forward to enjoying a nice pasta dinner!

I promise not to bore you with all my gifts but must share one last one—this captivating green milk glass nesting hen. I've collected nesting hens for more than 15 years and like to decorate my kitchen with them. This beauty measures 8 inches from beak to tip of tail and 7 1/2" tall.

In years to come it will be fun to look back on previous posts like this one to see all the fun gifts I've received over the years. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and I'll see you in 2014! That sounds so far away but it's only a couple days away!


  1. So many lovely gifts. Happy New Year, Kimber!

  2. Beautiful thoughtful gifts, especially those pink socks!

  3. You did receive some awesome gifts and I agree - handmade is really special! Happy New Year!

  4. Happy New Year Kimber! You got some wonderful gifts this year. You really cleaned up on the "pinks."

  5. Dear Kimber, thank you for your lovely comment! It appears we have more than the love of kitchens in common....I waited for over 30 years for this dream kitchen...and I feel incredibly blessed and fortunate to be cooking in this perfect space...also Victoria Magazine is my most favourite of all time and I have every continues to inspire me in everything I do...and nesting hens....your gift is a beautiful example of one, and in green, my favourite colour...I was certainly not bored reading about your gifts this morning...thank you for sharing this post, and I hope 2914 holds all that is near and dear to your heart...N.xo

  6. Lovely gifts! My favorite aunt (85 yrs old) collected decorative plates all year and gifted them to me last Christmas along with a three-space plate hanger. I think of her every time I admire them hanging on my dining room wall. :)


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