Tuesday, December 9, 2014

2014 Christmas Project

Now that the ornaments are done, it is time to complete the final touches.  First, a tree skirt, as we would not want our tree's toes to get cold.  This one is just over 5 feet across and has 8 different fabrics in it.  Each panel is stitched through to the backing with cotton batting in between for a bit of quilting on what looks a lot like a Dresden Plate pattern.  The center is a simple additional piece of fabric to be drawn close with a satin ribbon, allowing the skirt to be adjusted to the size of the tree stand.

Since we have all these ornaments and a tree skirt to boot, it only seems logical to have a place to put them, so we decorated a box.  We sponged gold, silver, and metallic red paint all over it, then applied cut outs of special gifts (gift of fun, gift of creativity, etc.) and Christmas motifs.  The goal was a treasure box for all things Christmas.

Now to give the whole thing away.  Oh what pleasure and satisfaction there is in giving, just as there is in receiving.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

2014 Christmas Project

The angel is done.  Our project is winding down.  A family has been found. The only thing remaining to make is the tree skirt.  I am excited.  This journey has taken an entire year.  We have all had a lot of fun making the various ornaments that are to be given away.

As we have worked on the project through the year, we have also talked about the importance of giving and how in giving, we each receive so much more.  There are a great many health benefits to giving.  For example, it helps lower your blood pressure and improve your mental well being.  It is also good for your community's morale.  When we give to each other, we strengthen the bonds between each other.

When we receive from others, we also benefit.  Often the burden lifted from our shoulders allows us to relax a little and be emotionally uplifted.

This holiday and throughout the year, please be both a generous giver and a gracious receiver.  The benefits of both are worth every moment spent.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

2014 Christmas Project

The flock of turkeys is complete, but a bit mauled by the cat.  The ornaments for the month of November represent the only holiday in the United States that does not have a religious tie to the European immigrants who largely populated this country.  It is a celebration of the harvest.  A giving of thanks for enough food to survive the winter and get into spring far enough for the food supply to return.  It is in large part about gratitude.

I am grateful for the family I have and that I have enough.  I am grateful that I have enough to share with another family and hope another family is open to allowing my family to share this year long journey of giving.

The final items will be the tree topper, the tree skirt, and the tree itself.  We are looking forward to the culmination of the journey as much as we have the journey itself.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

2014 Christmas Project

The September ornaments are complete.  It takes time for glue to dry, and there was a lot of glue in this one.  I started by making a number of miniature books as the theme for the month was "Back to School."  Then we added letters to the covers, and started putting glittered letters inside to book.  We waited a day or more after each letter before doing the next letter.  There is nothing worse than gluing pages together and trying to get them back apart.  After all the letters were done, we glued in pictures for each letter.  Last but not least came the writing in of the remaining missing pieces of our books.  We left blank pages at the end of each book so that the new owners can add things to their books to complete them.

They turned out really cute.  Since I made more books than I needed, I am using the extras for Christmas gift tags, but don't tell anyone.

One month to go, then the skirt and the donation day.  Until then........

Friday, October 24, 2014

2014 Christmas Project

We did not skip September, those are just a bit more involved and are not yet complete.

October, however, is another ball of yarn.  Being the witching month, October's theme is Halloween.  Halloween is a holiday steeped in tradition.  Also known as Hallowmas and Day of the Dead, it is said to be a time where the veil between the living and the dead thins.  Many take this time to remember the ones who have crossed over already.

For children, young and old alike, it's about the tricks and treats.

In honor of the children, we made witches hats with lots of sparkle.  Remember to be safe this holiday season.  Don't go out alone, always have an adult inspect your candy before eating any, and wear reflective tape on your costume or a light colored costume so others can see you.

Happy Halloween!!!!!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

 My sister-in-law, Debbie, grows beautiful dahlias and, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness, gave me this beautiful arrangement of some of those flowers.  She herself is a breast cancer survivor.

Breast cancer can strike anyone, regardless of gender.  Be diligent.  Knowing your own body and how it feels is often the first line of defense.  It's better to be safe than sorry.

Thank you Debbie for your beautiful flowers, and may you continue to be cancer free.

Friday, September 26, 2014


My son Austin

My daughter Alyssa

Some relationships start from conception, like my wonderful children.

Jill and Casey

Others start when you adopt them, such as our sweet and rowdy dogs, Jill (aka Jilly Bean) and Casey (aka Casey Dilla).

But some of the most surprising ones are when you are adopted.  Meet Voodoo, who came to us Saturday when Casey found her and tried to chew her up.  After rescuing her and putting her outside the gate, I expected not to see her again.  Tuesday morning Alyssa found her sleeping in the chicken coop.  Guess that means we now have a kitty.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

2014 Christmas Project

August is a difficult month to pick a theme for as there are no holidays, other than my father's birthday, and no historic events that really stand out.  It does happen to be the peak of the dog days of summer though, so the theme is summer, family, and friends.

We do like our glue and glitter for this month.  We kept it simple and sparkly.  A little canned air help get the blue glitter out of the orange starfish.

Stay tuned for next month's ornament, and keep on creating!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

2014 Christmas Project

Along comes the 4th of July!  Independence Day!  Fireworks!  Flags!

We made flags. 

They have stars and stripes, and silver glitter.  They are double sided and no two flags look alike.    We made them on the 4th of July, with the sounds of fireworks going off in the surrounding neighborhoods.  I think the girls liked using the glitter spray the most.

2014 Christmas Project

In June we have our summer solstice, which in the Northwest means that the sky is not getting completely dark at night.  Since it is the official beginning of summer, a summer sun seemed fitting.  We painted our disks neon orange, added a few sunspots and sunshine rays, then put some strings through them.  For a little extra pizzaz, we sprayed each one with some gold glitter.

They will make a wonderful shiny spot on a tree.

2014 Christmas Project

For the month of April we went with the Easter Egg theme.  I put holes in paper maché eggs and put strings through them.  I then paint an acrylic base coat of white.  I had the girls paint and decorate the eggs in any way that made their hearts happy. 

Happy, shiny Easter eggs, all sprayed with glitter.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

2014 Christmas Project

For the merry month of May, my daughter and I made posies.

We took a small doily, added a few silk flowers through the center, and wrapped the stems with florist tape so they would not pull back through.  We then rand a piece of colored string though a couple of holes in the top of the doily and tied the ends together.

They turned out very pretty, but you have to hang them carefully or they flip over.

Now to finish April's Easter Eggs and come up with a plan for June.

Happy Creating!!!

Cleaning Lady

Since trying my hand at soapmaking many years ago, I have often thought about making other household cleaners.  Most of the materials to make cleaners easily obtained, and in the quantities used, relatively cheap.

I have been cleaning out the bottles that my cleaners have come in, and setting them aside to reuse when I make my own.  Some of the labels come off easily, and some don't, so I put cleaners of the same purpose in the appropriately labeled bottle.  Problem solved.

I made a fresh batch of unscented Castile soap about a month ago so it would be ready to go when I need it.  I use a regular hand held grater to grate the soap to add in each recipe.

Glass cleaner:

1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water

Mix water together in a spray bottle.  Vinegar is an acid, so use it on marble or other stone as over time it will etch the surface.  Otherwise, clean windows, mirrors, stovetops, counter tops, etc.  The vinegar will cut grease.

All purpose cleaner:

1 teaspoon Borax
1/2 teaspoon washing soda
2 tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vegetable based detergent (I used grated Castile soap)
2 cups very hot water

Combine in a bowl or measuring cup (I used my large measuring cup) and stir until ingredients are combined.  Pour into a spray bottle and clean away.

Liquid dish soap:

1/4 cup of Castile soap, grated
1 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice
2 cups very hot water

Combine soap and water, and stir until all soap is dissolved.  An alternative to very hot water is to use cold water and heat the mixture on the stove, stirring often and never boiling, until all the soap is dissolved.  after the mixture has cooled, add the vinegar or lemon juice, then pour into your waiting bottle.

Tile or linoleum floor cleaner:

Dissolve 1 - 2 teaspoons of the above liquid dish soap in 3 gallons of warm water and mop as usual.  To rinse, add 1 cup of white vinegar to 3 gallons of cool water, apply to the floor (I use a clean towel soaked in it) and dry with towels.

Friday, March 7, 2014

2014 Christmas Project

Happy St. Patrick's Day ornaments for the month of March.  On one side is a pot of gold, and the other a lucky four leaf clover.  Gold and silver glitter cover both sides to add extra sparkle once the Christmas lights shine on them.

We got these done early this month.  Keeping the momentum has been a bit tough, but we will keep going until we have a year's worth of ornaments to give away.

2014 Christmas Project

 February's ornaments are simple wooden hearts with paint and either rhinestones or beads hanging from the bottom.  The hardest part was drilling the tiny holes without breaking the wood.

They sparkle so nicely in the light.

Spring Flowers

Spring is on the way.  The primrose under the rosemary bush is blooming and the daffodils are budding.  The rosemary has tiny little buds all over it.

I can feel my blood starting to pick up speed in my body and my hands starting to itch to dig.  Now if only the spring rains would stop long enough for me to prepare the ground.

I have my seeds and I'm ready to plant.  Please weather person, give me a weekend without rain so I can get in the dirt.  I don't have wipers for my glasses and you are making it difficult for me to see.

My crocuses are blooming too.  Lovely shades of purple and white.  As their tiny spiky leaves poke up from the ground I am marking the location.  Some bulbs have gone to deep to bloom.  I will dig them up later and move them to the garden until I have found all I can.

I hope to eventually get them transplanted under the maple trees in the yard.  For now, I have to rescue them from nearly a foot underground in some places.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Changing of the Seasons

The wheel is turning again.  If you quietly listen, you can almost hear the sounds of the new growth beginning around you.  When you smell the air, the gentle scents of fresh earth and early flowers permeate your nose.  As you look closely, you can see the shoots pushing through the cold earth and the buds starting to swell on the branches.  Early plants have begun to flower as my own witch hazel has done.

Spring is coming.  She is whispering in the wind and floating through the air.  Do you see it?  Do you hear it?  Do you smell it?  Are you ready?

My seeds have been ordered and added to the saved seeds.  Soon I will begin my starts, the plants that need a longer growing season than I have.  Time to start cleaning out the flower beds and checking what is pushing forth.  Spring pruning is around the corner.  I need to order my trees too.

I am excited for spring.

I am ready to grow.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


It says, "Go slow and enjoy the journey."  The pattern was found at a garage sale in a fabulous box of "junk".  It took a while, but I finally got it done.

I am adding it to my box of glamping gear.  That's right, glamping gear.  The die hard tent camper is working to join the ranks of glampers.  You won't find me in heels, and there will still be dirt under my nails (and on the doles of my feet), but enjoying some of life's finer things even while living outdoors is a fine plan to this gal.  I have begun taking stock of the items in my home that I will be adding to the box, as well as the things I will make too.  Most importantly, I have started a "Glamper" fund to save up for a small "fix-her-up" trailer of my own.

So, added to the list of all the gifts I want to make for everyone this year, is a list of items I want to make for me.

A glampin' we will go, a glampin' we will go, hi ho the dairy-o a glampin' we will go..........

Spring Fever

You know you have spring fever when you hang your sheets out on the line just because it's going to  be a sunny day.
The grass under the clothes line was still covered in frost, but the sunshine was just too tempting.  It took all day, but the sheets, linens, and table cloth did dry.  When I brought them inside as the sun was beginning to drop, I kept my nose pressed into their coolness, inhaling the intoxicating smell that was the promise of spring.

With the lengthening of the daylight, the promise of the turning of the seasons gets stronger.  Each day I look longingly at my garden spot, impatiently waiting to turn the soil to work in the fertilizer and prep the beds for planting.  The garden expansion is planned, waiting for the time to sow.  I can see the changes around me and feel the changes in my bones (it's not all the ache of age).  Even the chickens are getting the fever.

The seeds have been ordered and the starts are being prepped for.  I want to be ready when the last frost happens.  Spring is a month away.  Time is passing.  The wheel is turning.

I have the fever.

Do you?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2014 Christmas Project

During the Christmas season this past month, my family and I decided to undertake the project of making 5 to 10 Christmas ornaments each month, and at the end of the year donate a fully decorated Christmas tree to someone or some family who would not have one otherwise.  Each month we will pick a theme based on the holidays in that month, or time of year, and make the ornaments.

We started with December and made some Christmas ornaments using old wooden spools, silver and gold paint, wire, beads, and scrap-booking paper.  They turned out pretty cool looking.  We left the labels on the spools so that a person would know they actually were spools in a former life and not just something we picked up at the hobby store.

For the month of January we went with the New Year Party theme.  We used all things shiny and glittery with pearls, metals, beads, and crystals.  They will look fabulous hanging around a tree with pretty colored lights twinkling off of them.

As a family, we are getting a great deal of satisfaction making these ornaments, not to mention some great time together talking about other ways we can give to people within our community and the importance of doing so.

After we made 2 sets of ornaments, we decided that they will also need a box to be carried in, so we are in the process of decorating one of those.  As soon as it is done, I will post a picture of it as well.

What do you do to give back to your community?

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Today I completed my daughter's yard apron.  Yesterday I completed mine.  The purpose of the aprons is to have a place to keep your seed packets, tools, pad & paper, clippers, and other items at hand without having to remember where you left the bucket full of everything and without having to set it down while you do another task and hope you remember to go back and retrieve it later.

I found a jumper made of pansy fabric at a yard sale and got the jumper for the fabric.  The striped denim came fro a thrift store.  I took the jumper apart and reused the patch pockets and bodice in my apron.  The placket I used on the top of my notebook pocket.  I used part of the skirt for the bottom ruffle and the ties.  There are a total of 7 pockets, including one for pens/pencils & one for a notebook.  I added a couple of utility loops like you find on painter's pants to hang my hand rake and trowel.  I am looking forward to spring when I can get in the dirt with it and see how well it will work for me.

My daughter's was made from a old fabric sample (burlap) and a tired floral sheet.  I added a couple of pockets, a couple of utility loops, and belt loops for a ribbon tie.  I plan to give it to her for Easter, along with a trip to the local nursery to pick her plants for her planter.

I didn't use a pattern for either one, I just made it up as I went.  Mostly I tore strips and stitched things together.  Did you know denim strips at an angle?  I know now.  It has to do with the weave.

Have you ever made anything without a pattern?

New Year

New Year's day I cleaned out the refrigerator, top to bottom.  I took out two bucket's of compostables, some were science experiments, others were things we don't need to keep around because we will eat them just to keep them from going bad (like cherry pie and cookies).  It was very satisfying.

What did you "clean out" on New Year's Day?