Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas from Ben Stein

This is the most eloquent piece of writing I have read
in years. It
encompasses what I feel are the major ills of this
country and it's
people (including myself). This is one email I will
ask that you be
sure to pass around to every one you know and maybe
the miracle we are
promised in all those other ridiculous emails will
finally happen.

Subject: An eloquent comment, from CBS Sun morning
~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by
him on CBS Sunday
Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was
Jewish. And it
does not bother me even a little bit when people call
those beautiful
lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel
threatened. I
don't feel discriminated against. That's what they
are: Christmas

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry
Christmas' to me. I
don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to
put me in a
ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we
are all brothers
and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It
doesn't bother me
at all that there is a manger scene on display at a
key intersection
near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a
creche, it's just as
fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew,
and I don't think
Christians like getting pushed around for being
Christians. I think
people who believe in God are sick and tired of
getting pushed around,
period. I have no idea where the concept came from
that America is an
explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the
Constitution and I
don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea
come from that we
should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed
to worship God as
we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm
getting old, too.
But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick
and Jessica came
from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for
a laugh, this is
a little different: This is not intended to be a joke;
it's not funny,
it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early
Show and Jane
Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like
this happen?'
(regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely
profound and
insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is
deeply saddened by
this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling
God to get out
of our schools, to get out of our government and to
get out of our
lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has
calmly backed
out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and
His protection
if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school
shootings, etc. I
think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was
murdered, her
body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer
in our schools,
and we said OK.

Then someone said you better not read the Bible in
school. The Bible
says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and
love your neighbor
as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our
children when they
misbehave because their little personalities would be
warped and we
might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son
committed suicide). We
said an expert should know what he's talking about.
And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no
conscience, why
they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't
bother them to
kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough,
we can figure it
out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and
then wonder why the
world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the
newspapers say,
but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can
send 'jokes'
through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when
you start sending
messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about
sharing. Funny
how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass
freely through
cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed
in the school
and workplace.

Are you laughing?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not
send it to many
on your address list because you're not sure what they
believe, or what
they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other
people think of us
than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just
discard it... no
one will know you did. But, if you discard this
thought process, don't
sit back and complain about what bad shape the world
is in. My Best

Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein



Friday, December 21, 2007

Ruth Ann's Famous Dinner Rolls

Ruth Ann's Famous Dinner Rolls

This roll recipe was handed down from my favorite aunt to me. I have made some improvements in measurements over the year - she didn't measure anything, but the recipe remains basically the same. I raise my dough and rolls on the kitchen hearth. Truly the fragrance of home!

4 packages yeast

4 tablespoons sugar

2 cups lukewarm water

2 cups boiling water

2 cups sweet cream butter, no substitutes

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons salt

4 eggs, well beaten

8 cups bread flour

1 pound sweet cream butter, no substitutes, melted

Dissolve yeast and sugar in 2 cups lukewarm water; set aside. In a very large mixing bowl, pour the boiling water over two cups butter. Add sugar and salt. Stir until butter is melted. Stir in 4 eggs. Add as much flour as possible while dough is in the bowl. Turn dough onto work surface and knead in the rest of the flour. Dough should be slightly sticky. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, but do not add more flour. Place bowl in a warm draft-free place and allow to rise until doubled in bulk. Punch dough and allow dough to rise again until doubled in bulk. Spread work surface sparingly with flour (the remaining cup should be sufficient for rolling out rolls). Roll dough to about 1/2” thickness. Cut rolls with 2-3” round cutter. Totally immerse each roll in melted butter. Fold each roll in half and place in pan. By the time the pan is full it will be floating in butter – do not remove butter. At this time the rolls can be sealed in bags and frozen. When ready to bake allow rolls to rise until doubled again. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake 15-20 minutes until rolls are golden brown.

This recipe is taken from my book "Afternoon Tea Recipes". You may order your copy - 318 pages - for $19.95 + shipping and handling by contacting .

Our book is also now available at

Christmas at Our House

Christmas at our house is going to be a bit lazy this year. There are a few more gifts to be embroidered and lots left to be wrapped. A few more delightful dinner parties to attend and then there's just the three of us enjoying the fire and the tree. Maybe a few more games to play this year? And fondue for a quiet New Year's Eve. Ah, this is the very best part of the holidays!

Merry Christmas!
Ruth Ann, The Bag Lady

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Here are just a few more of the
Christmas ornaments I've made this year. I'd like to start early next year and make enough of these and the beaded snowflakes to do a whole tree!

Christmas Tour

Welcome to our Christmas home tour! We hope you'll join us in a cup of mulled wine and linger a while before our fire. This afternoon we'll be baking bread for our holiday parties and you're invited to grab a rolling pin and join in the fun!

One of our more interesting packages! This is the handiwork my my precious husband.

A handmade wooden nativity placed inside a gourd. Purchased in Venezuela.

The dining room table is already set for tonight's party.

Poor Poppett is still worn out from last night's party!

This Christmas tree all aglow in the early morning firelight. Christmas music is playing softly throughout the house. Such a warm, comforting feeling!

The fire has been lit in the kitchen in anticipation of this afternoon's bread making.
Please join us!

Ruth Ann, The Bag Lady

Sunday, December 16, 2007

You are invited to a virtual tour of homes that have been decorated for the holidays on this coming Wednesday, December 19, 2007.

We will offer a few photos of our Christmas decorations and projects as well as some of our favorite recipes.

Please drop in and share a cup of Christmas Cheer with us!

Ruth Ann, The Bag Lady

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I've been spending my restful hours making snowflakes for our Christmas tree and for those of family and friends. It looks like this may be the only snow we get this year. At Thanksgiving the lows were around 22. Yesterday our high temperature reading was 76 degrees, making it hard to get into the Christmas spirit.

I've been making homemade rolls for our parties and friends. Candy making should begin tomorrow if the weather stays dry. Our annual Christmas party is this weekend. My poor darling husband is doing most of the work again this year. I know he'll be glad when I am fully recovered!

Friday, December 7, 2007

A Peaceful Time for Christmas

It's time to retire from purse making - except for gifts for very special people - until after the holidays. All of my Christmas purses sold out before they were posted to my website. I only made 3 Christmas purses this year. I have 2 new designs in mind for the next Yuletide season.

I have several new designs on the drawing board (uh, that means in my head) for early spring. For now, I'm going to enjoy the holidays. I have lots of new recipes to be tried. I try to make one new thing every few days as I recover my strength. I go back to the doctor next week (Bah Humbug!). Hopefully he will allow me to stay up longer at a time.

Meanwhile, I wish you all a very restful and Merry Christmas!

Ruth Ann

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Christmas Purse Preview

The fall season has been slow this year at Ragg Baggs due to my poor health. The entire fall line was very small and sold out locally.

My Christmas line is in the making as we speak. The photo at left will give you a hint of the beauty of my holiday purses. They will be in the style of a Victorian reticule, but will be large enough to carry your holiday goodies. The limited edition of 6 purses will be elegantly trimmed in burgundy, forest green, and sparkling golds with great attention to detail. I'm playing with the idea of adding a mink topper.

All of the purses are handmade by me. A photo of the completed purse will be available on Thanksgiving day. Be sure to order early to add this fabulous purse to your holiday wardrobe.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Grand Opening of Ragg Baggs

Ragg Baggs

Welcome to the Grand Opening of Ragg Baggs' Website!

Our site officially opened over Labor Day weekend though there is still a problem with adding PayPal buttons.

My husband and I have been in the craft business for over 30 years having spent most of our young married life attending craft shows around the country. Age and the price of gasoline have changed the direction of our business.

Our line is now totally limited to our most popular items - designer purses. Many of these purses are one of a kind. All are strictly limited editions.

We hope that a visit to our site will provide you with just the purse you are looking for, if not, a purse can be designed especially to meet your needs and wishes.

Over the years, we have become gypsies traveling the world to bring you beautiful fabrics, trims, and embellishments. Our travels have resulted in many adventures as you can see in the photo of me on my graceful mount - Jing Chou Ku, meaning Loud Mouth Camel. This lovely beastie carried me to the Ba Da Ling section of the Great Wall of China during a late May snowstorm - the first in many years. This was a trip to indulge in the marvelously patterned silks the country offers.

We look forward to serving you for many years to come!