Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lighting up the Christmas Tree

Love to sit in the living room by tree light....almost done decorating the tree...a few more ornaments to hang.

Our angel topper--I still see plenty of spaces for the remaining ornaments....

I love the way you can see the outline of the angels body through her dress when the lights are on. This angel is from a prior here for angel post

Even the Santa ornaments look better when the tree is lit!click here to see Santa post

The electric candles are in the windows, the greenery is hung and lit around the windows and French doors. Almost done decorating the living room for Christmas! Next on the list is the dining room. Nothing too much, just some simple candles in the windows, some greenery around the chandelier, a wreath, Christmas linens and candles. Then a few decorations tucked here and there....

Because Thanksgiving was so early this year, I feel like I have a jump start on Christmas and plenty of time to accomplish all that needs to be done. I am making some Christmas gifts, I also want to do lots of Christmas baking, and I do love to Christmas shop. I ordered some things online of course but I still plan to do a lot of local shopping as well.

Tonight after I get home from the skating rink, I will relax by the light of the Christmas tree with a mug of hot mulled cider. It helps me to warm up after a few hours at the cold (and I mean COLD) rink!

To make a speedy cup of hot mulled cider, just pour some apple cider into your mug. Add  smidgeons (not sure if smidgeon is a real word and if it is, not sure that I have spelled it correctly) of brown sugar and then cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to taste. Heat it up in the microwave! Smells so good, tastes so yummy!

A Little Note on Smidgeon

I just had to look it up. I do not like misspelled words. I am constantly reading through all of my old blog entries to make sure I edit and correct any mistakes in spelling. So I was compelled to look smidgeon up. Turns out that it really is a word and there are three accepted spellings of the word:  smidgen, smidgin and the way I spelled it--smidgeon. It is defined as "a very small quantity, a bit or mite." You never know when you might need to know that smidgeon of information!

Of course, when I hit the spell check button, the only indication of a spelling error was "smidgeon"--the way I spelled it. I did check the dictionary so even the spell checker can be wrong!

Hope you all have had a wonderful day and may you all get to relax by the light of your Christmas tree this evening!

"I have been looking on this evening, at a merry company of children assembled round that pretty German toy, a Christmas tree. The tree was planted in the middle of a great round table, and towered high above their heads. It was brilliantly lighted by a multitude of little tapers; and everywhere sparkled and glittered with bright objects."
Charles Dickens

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wreaths as Tree Ornaments

Small grapevine wreath--decorated with poinsettias and a simple red bow. Looks so pretty on the tree.

Begin with a simple grapevine wreath from Joanne Fabrics. I used a heart-shaped wreath approximately 6" across the widest point. Purchase a bunch of pointsettia silk flowers and some red satin ribbon, Narrow ribbon works nicely. Get out your trusty friend--the glue gun--and just begin gluing the flowers to one side of the wreath. When you have achieved the look you want, tie several lengths of ribbon into a bow and glue the bow to the other side. You may attach a hanger to the back of the wreath but I actually just place the wreath around a branch on the Christmas tree and it stays in place.

So simple. Adds a nice homey touch to the tree.

"As from a large heap of flowers many garlands and wreaths are made, so by a mortal in this life there is much good work to be done."
Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta

Angels Watching Over Me

This morning I tore into the storage bin that contains my collection of creative twist paper/clothespin angels. I made these many years ago after a friend had given me one as as gift. I found some wider creative twist paper in various colors, tweaked the design and of course added some of my own "creative twists". Considering they remain in my basement for most of the year, (and year-after-year) I am amazed that they still look almost as good as they did when I first made them.

The creative twist paper comes in so many colors.....

Gold! If you look closely, they all have little tiny gold halos on their heads....

The heart on this angel is also made from the paper twist...

You can embellish any way you I glued on a small fabric heart...


I thought, why not try something similar with's what I came up with....

My  almost NO-SEW Buttons and Bow Angel.....

Simply cut two matching pieces of muslin for the gown, glue the sides and bottom together. Glue on some lace. I also did a very basic stencil across the bottom. You can really embellish any way you want, additional rows of lace or ruffles would look nice--whatever! Be as creative as you want! Glue on some spanish moss for the hair, add a halo from a small gauge craft wire and insert the clothespin into the fabric. You may either run a gathering thread through the top to gather or just smush the fabric (my spell check came on for the word smush--is that not a word?) You can then glue the fabric to the "neck" of the clothespin just below the angel's head. I use hot glue and it works great! Just hold it in place for a minute and it sticks for years! Trust me!
Then add a button and a bow.

The wings are heart-shaped and are cut from two pieces of fabric. Also cut out a heart shape from a piece of cotton batting. Sandwich the batting between the pieces of fabric and glue. If you don't want to sew at all you can skip the next step. I then used a contrasting thread and stitched large stitches around the edge of the wings. It is difficult to see in the photo, but I used red stitches about  1/2" long and it just gives it even a more homespun look. ADd small pieces of contrasting fabric scraps to look like small patches, glue on with some craft buttons and add a twine hanger. DONE!

In this photo, the batting is easier for you to see as well as the large stitches around the wings.

Both styles of angels look so nice tied on to a gift, or tucked into a boxed gift. You could customized them for each person based on their occupation, hobbies. They can be added to wreaths, hung on the tree.... The sky's the limit!

I had planned to make these paper angels step-by-step for you but realized the paper is no longer available at Joanne Fabrics. I did find it online and I am going to order some. It comes in an amazing array of colors. I think the raffia bows on the wings and the lace add so much to her country appeal. The irridescent creative twist adds a nice touch too! 

I will be ordering some of this paper today so that I can make some new angels for package tie ons. They are fun and easy to make and just so cute. 

"These things I warmly wish for you:  someone to love, some work to do, a bit o' sun, a bit o' cheer and a guardian angel always near."
Irish Blessing

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

 Thanksgiving is over, the fall decorations have been taken down and we are now getting out bins and bins of Christmas decorations. I will decorate a little each day so that I don't aggravate my neck. Looking up is a headache trigger for me and since the second round of botox has worked very well in reducing these debilitating headaches I do not want to do anything to set myself back.

 Many years ago I made Santa ornaments in three different sizes and they are among some of my favorite ornaments. I found the idea in a craft magazine and I tweaked it a bit, changed the shape slightly and added my own touches. I love Santas! the first one shown is only about 3" tall.

This Santa ornament has a little bit more embellishment and is about 51/2 " tall. I have them all over my tree and they are made from various scraps of leftover fabrics in several shades of red. This is a great way to use up scraps of fabric!

Sorry that this photo is a bit blurry....this is the largest Santa and this one measures about 12". 

Another large, but blurry photo of Santa made in a red print.

Here's a Santa tucked inside a wreath....

This Santa I did not make. I purchased him from a home decor party that I attended many years ago. He has  spent quite a few Christmases with us guarding our tree. I love him!

Today I will get out another box of decorations....I made many paper angels and will hang them on the tree next. I will post pictures. The angel ornaments are very easy to make and I will include some directions on how to make them. Stay tuned!

"Alas, how dreary would be the world if there was no Santa Claus!...There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence."
Francis P Church

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Counting My Blessings--Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! My creative side has been a bit on hold in recent weeks but I hope that I can return soon to what I love most.

I recently was given about 250 Mason jars and given the popularity of reusing/repurposeing Mason jars, in a small way I feel as though I have hit the jackpot. I have a million-and-one thoughts and ideas of what I would like to do with them. The above photo is a centerpiece I made from one of the Mason jars to brighten the extra table I will need to fit everyone at  for dinner on Thursday. All that was needed was some corn, a small candle and some autumn leaves to create a bright spot to the dining table. I made two......only 248 or so Mason jars to go!

Thanksgiving is at my house this year. My oldest daughter Jenn will be arriving Thursday with her finance James, and they will be staying until Saturday. Emily will be arriving Wednesday and staying until Sunday. She is bringing Ellie, one very adorable golden retriever with her (she is babysitting the dog which belongs to her friend) and they will be here until Sunday. I love it when my three daughters are together and I get such a kick out of watching them intereact with each other. There are times in the past where this was not always the case. I am really looking forward to everyone being together.

My parents and two sisters will also be present and everyone is contributing something to our traditional family feast. Tomorrow I will begin my bake-athon and clean-athon though I do have to be at the rink tomorrow evening for a few hours. So my day will begin early and end fairly late, but I am fortunate in so many ways and I have many blessings to count.

I have washed my table linens--they are in the dryer now and I spent some time today washing all the wine glasses and gathering my large serving dishes. I cannot wait for our turkey dinner!

I also placed some autumn leaves around the chandelier. These were 70% off at Joanne Fabrics. I used two strings which were $2.99 each. all my favorite colors! Remember those curtains from my previous post?

Another view of the Mason jar candle--total cost about $3.00.
Well, my dryer buzzer just went off so I must go get my tablcloths out of the dryer so they will not be so difficult to iron. I just wanted to pop in briefly to say hello and to wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving. I hope you all enjoy the holiday with your family and friends!
"The more we express our gratitude to God for our blessings, the more he will bring to our mind other blessings. The more we are aware of to be grateful for, the happier we become."
Ezra Taft Benson

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
John F. Kennedy