Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Crafts and Cookies

This is the current state of my craft table and I haven't even started ONE thing! But today is the day! All the other Christmas chores are done and I am free to let my imagination roam.

I got a few vintage style bottle brush trees from KD Designs and plan to embellish them for boxtop scenes.

I was so inspired by the sugar-coated creations made by j.nichelle on ebay that I had to try my hand at it myself! You wouldn't believe how talented that lady is!

My vintage junk awaits.

My daughter is also working on quite a few projects. Here is her work table. Unlike myself, she has completed many necklaces (for gifts) and is close to finishing a beaded mini Christmas tree and a gorgeous tree made out of vintage pins and brooches!
One thing I have accomplished is my cookie baking.

Every year I make rollout sugar cookies. It's the best recipe from Wilton that requires no chilling. but I don't add almond flavoring to mine.

This year I only made boys, trees, snowflakes and a few retreivers for my dog-lover friends.....
Well, I'm off to start my crafts. I probably won't be finished before Christmas but better late than never. Hope everyone has a blessed Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Decorations

In order to save myself some work, we decorated for Christmas and held two parties on the same day! That way I only had to clean house ONCE! I held a Christmas Tea Party for the ladies in my church in the afternoon and then a party for the youth group in the PM. The kids made quick work of the sweets left over from the afternoon party, not to mention the two 24" pizzas.

This year we did not cut down our own Christmas tree. The fam allowed me to put up my two white trees and they let me have a PINK Christmas!

This is a pic of a little set I found at a flea mkt last summer for $5. The little elf is so cute, holding a snowball with the other arm wrapped around her dog.

This is an AWESOME vintage store poster that I got last year at the thrift store. There were two and I got them both for a couple of bucks. The frame was $10 at Salvation Army.

Below are just a bunch of pictures of some of my favorite ornaments:

I love this little girl because she reminds me of the doll on the Island of Misfit Toys.

10 cent Santa!

I love bottle brush trees.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Christmas. Don't forget, it's really Jesus' birthday! Merry Christmas!

Shhhhhh! Don't tell Dad....

When winter sets in sometimes our Homeschooling gets off to a slow start in the morning. It's chilly and no one seems to want to leave the warmth of cozy blankets. Recently, the kids woke up and held a much TABOO'D dog party on my bed! Actually, I think I instigated it but it's something you can do only after my husband leaves for work. He is not fond of having a dog on the bed, let alone all THREE at once! But, Sweetie, we almost NEVER do this and I was sure to shake off the comforter when we were done! ;)
Below is a little treat that God blessed me with recently....Just after Thanksgiving I was driving down one of our country hwys and a glint of COLOR flew past my periferal vision. Mind you, all the trees are bare, so everything is grey. Any color sticks out like a sore thumb. I turned the car around, pulled ove and dug around in the glove box for some scissors (doesn't everyone keep scissors in the car?) "WHAT are you doing, Mom???" Me: "I think I saw something..." Usually, the kids know better than to ask too many questions. The last time I stopped on the hwy they saw me get out and chase a purple crinoline rolling down the grassy median like a fluffy tumbleweed! (But that's another story...)
I got out of the car and sure enough, there were 2 or 3 separate vines of Bittersweet growing twisted among the bare tree branches. It took about 5 min for me to snip away with my "kindergarten" scissors but I managed to gather a good bit.
Even though it was almost time for Christmas decorations, I couldn't resist spreading the berries throughout the house for one last touch of Fall.
(You can click on any pic to enlarge.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

November Blessings

Blessing #1) Work on the cottage continues. Here are my helpers painting the porch. It's getting a little chilly now so the rest of the painting may have to wait for warmer days. I now have an electrician and a plumber lined-up to get the last of the major repairs done. We have to be ready for inspection by January in order to get the construction loan changed to a mortgage. I pray every night that the Lord will work out this time-table! And so far, He has been doing great, by providing me with willing workers!

Blessing #2) Earlier this month we were able to see Sarah Palin at one of the "last-ditch" republican rallies. She is quite a woman.

Blessing #3) Our new niece RACHEL E! Isn't she perfect?

Blessing #4) Another new niece, born 5 days later, RACHEL R! She looks just like her mommy only chubbier!

Here is a photo of the little doll I made for my sister's new baby. I saw one similar on etsy and made my own version of it. The tag reads "I just want to HUG you!" I will not be able to see my new little sweetheart until February! She'll be practically grown!

Am I a Senior Citizen Already???

I am NOT at all happy about a couple of things I received in the mail last week! First, a copy of AARP Magazine addressed to ME! Then, the next day I received an "application" for my AARP MEMBERSHIP CARD!
WHAT??? I'm not even 50 yet! I called my 50-something sister to vent my outrage and all she did was laugh uproariously. (My son could hear it from across the room.)
I mentioned it to a couple of other "retired persons" and they both said the exact same thing, "Well, you get a discount on hotels." AARP will have to come up with something more enticing than THAT to get my early sign-up. How about a free fan for my hot-flashes! ;)

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Fall is so beautiful in October! My 2 apple trees are just bursting with apples! The branches were so heavy with fruit that they almost touched the ground. We've made apple cobbler, applesause, apple butter and more. (click on any photo to enlarge.)

I put a sign in the yard that read "Free Apples, U-Pick" and we had lots of takers. I hung a canvas bag full of sacks and recipes from the trunk of the tree to make it easy. By the end of the weekend there were only a few sacks left in the bag and a couple of recipes left. One person even stopped by with his own ladder!

Fall also means it's time for the Applefest in one of neighboring towns. They have a great flea market and lots of food!

It was a beautiful day to be outside! Eva spent some time with the shetland ponies. There was one pony that was SO small, barely bigger than our golden retriever!

October also means it's time to break out the Halloween decorations! I like to do this on my birthday, but I was in Calif. at the time. But as soon as I got home, the decorations came out.

Here are some of my favorite things. I have pared-down my collection quite a bit this year, but I always manage to find room for my Dia De Los Muertos eskeletons.

I "church" them up by adding some plaques with verses from Ezekiel Ch. 37 to remind us how great God is and that death cannot hold us. We will rise again because of what Christ has done for us! God breathes life into what was once dead. I am so thankful for Jesus!

While I was visiting in Calif. I was able to make my nephew's Halloween costume for him. He wanted to be R2D2! I had so much fun doing this! My brother even helped out a bit with the silver duct tape.

Happy Reformation Day as my DH would want me to say!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Break out the PB & J! It's school-time!

Because I didn't win any of the summer auctions for Core 300 on Ebay, I was delayed in ordering our schoolbooks brand new (OUCH$$$) from the publisher. But they finally arrived and school has started! That's "Pudd" (as in Pudding) in the photo with our FedEx delivery. She's not the only one who is a little disappointed that summer is over!

We all know that with school comes PB & J sandwiches. Guess what! I tried my hand at jelly making for the first time last week. My next door neighbor has a mulberry tree just dripping with bunches of grapes. Huh? Well, previous tenents of that home planted grape vines and they have since been uncared for and have grown up wild inside the adjacent mulberry tree!

Well, my son and I took a few minutes to pick some bunches and brought in a couple of plastic grocery bags 1/2 full. I plucked and washed the grapes then went to the internet to google for recipes. Here is what I used:

That recipe called for 5 lbs of grapes and I only had 2! Oh, well. I figured I'd just cut the recipe in half...or so...I'm not too good at math.

The first thing to do was mash up the grapes.

The next thing to do was boil them and mash them some more.

Then you get this gross purple paste that you have to seive the juice from. WARNING: Any drop of this splashed on your 1940's antique red & white inlaid formica table will stain it! Yikes! Wipe it quick!

You should now have 5 cups of pure organic grape juice...well, I only had 1.25 measley cups. But that didn't stop me! I was gonna make this work!

Next you put the juice back in the pot and add some pectin. I figured about 1/2 a box would do. Then add the sugar. The recipe called for 7 cups sugar added to 5 cups of juice and that sounded to me a bit much. So I did some quick ratios in my head, ("Hmmm, let's see...7:5....2:1 1/4 ...ya, that sounds about right...") and poured about 2 cups of sugar into the bubbling mix. It got nice and gooey and I poured it into two little jelly jars that someone gave me last year. I DID sterilize them in the dishwasher.

I screwed the metal lids on them and let them cool before putting them in the fridge.

Now take a look at my breakfast this morning!

Isn't it lovely?! And it tastes as good as Welch's! OK...It didn't come out's more like sticky jam than jelly, but it spreads wonderfully! When I told this story to my friend Jennifer, whom I affectionately call "Martha Stewart", she kept interrupting me saying, "You can't DO that! You can't DO that!" Well, I did. Now where's my peanut butter?