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Monday, December 27, 2010

Back To The Grind

I just ate my morning bowl of oatmeal. It is slow moving this morning, I need to wake up and get to work!

I started working on my February article for Two-Lane Livin', it is due on Saturday. My article in December was titled  "Collecting Memories."  You can go here and check out all of my past articles.

I need to sharpen my pencils and get back to my writing.

I have many stories, but they are not going to get published sitting inside my hard drive. I am going to get serious and send out my Middle Grade story, The Family Secret to publishers. . . again. I need to get out my Picture Book manuscripts and send a few out. And while I am waiting the loooong wait to hear back about them, I need to start a few new stories. I have been very lazy with my writing lately and someone needs to slap me on my hand with a ruler. That's what the teachers used to do when I was in grade school. They held out your palm and slapped you with a ruler. Now a days, teachers would get in trouble for doing that. It never hurt me, though, it only took one time and I learned my lesson. I never did anything else to get the ruler slap again!

So, I think I am going to spray on some of my Infini perfume my husband gave me for Christmas, look  at my pretty Fenton vase and bird my boys gave me and try to wake up and get to work.

I hope all of you had a nice Christmas. 

Is it hard for you to get back to work, too?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Recipes and Crafts

It has been a busy month. We have celebrated two birthdays in our family. My sons Andrew and David were born on Dec 11th and Dec 13th (different years, of course). We usually celebrate on the 12th with one cake shared by both boys.

I brought our duck in out of the cold and dressed her for the holidays.

We have had a lot of snow and we have been feeding the birds.

I am almost ready for Christmas. How about you.

I have posted recipes before that are very good to make around the holidays.

Hard rock candy. I make this every year and it is very easy to do and makes great gifts, too. I make mine in the microwave. Go here to see my recipe.

Pecan Pie Muffins and Nuts and Bolts. The muffins are delicious and the Nuts and Bolts are a great snack.

Fudge. Everyone loves fudge. I like the old fashioned hard kind. The kind we grew up with. Go here to see this easy and delicious recipe. If you have harvested any black walnuts or hickory nuts this year, they are very good to add to fudge.

Party Cheese Ball. My family loves cheese balls, especially my husband. I used to make these only on the holidays, but now I make them all the time.

Pumpkin Muffins.

I have also posted a lot of Christmas crafts.

Click on the ones below that you are interested in and take a look. My scrabble ornaments are very popular, I used to make them and sell them at craft shows, I would personalize them with their name or whatever else they would want on them. They are good to put on the outside of presents as name tags. The gumdrops are also very pretty! I love them and they are very easy to make.

First Christmas Ornament, Natural Christmas Ornaments, Birdhouse ornaments,
Christmas Ornaments, Cinnamon Dough Ornaments,Gumdrop Ornaments, Scrabble Ornaments

 Have a very Merry Christmas and I hope you give some of my crafts and recipes a try.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Frogs

I have a friend who loves frogs. She has frogs all over her house. But I don't think she has a Christmas frog, so I decided to make her one. I came up with the idea for the Christmas frog, but I got the template for it here.

I made the template bigger. I did it small first, 
but found it very hard to turn and get the frog's legs pushed out and filled. 
Making it larger made it much easier to do.
I like easy!

I used a Christmas pattern material for the top of the frog 
and used green felt for the bottom.

Pin right sides together and sew around the edges, leaving it open between the hind legs. 
Be sure and stitch backwards to reinforce the starting and ending stitches. Turn. 
I used a writing pen and pushed out the form of the frog.

I stuffed mine with fiberfill, you could make it into a beanie frog by filling with rice or plastic beanie pellets. Hand stitch together the opening.

I cut out small circles from the green felt and glued them onto the frogs face. 
I then glued google eyes in the middle of the felt circles.
You could do your eyes differently, if you wish.

I wanted mine to be a girl Christmas frog, so I tied a small bow with thin red ribbon and glued and stitched it on her head. I think she turned out cute.

You can use your imagination and make yours a little different. I did mine different than the other website did theirs. That is what I like about crafting, every item is unique. 

If you make these for a small child, I would leave out the eyes and ribbon. They would be cute plain. Experiment and use different patterns of material. If you like frogs give it a try, it was quick and easy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Getting Out The Decorations

I have slowly been decorating my house for the Christmas season. I got down my box of tree ornaments from the closet shelf this morning.

I found out that I like angels. . .

snowmen. . . 

and birds.

Did I mention that I liked snowmen?

I think  I  like snowmen. . .

The little vintage houses were sold with a string of lights. There is a hole in the back of them where the light was inserted and they were strung on a tree. I found these in a ziploc bag at a yard sale. I know they were a light set, because a few years back I found another set of these at a thrift store in the box they were sold in. Its like a little lighted Christmas village. I think  they are very neat.

Can you tell that I recycled a lot of items in making the ornaments and decorations? Some of the things I used were old vinyl records, cds, plastic film boxes, pencils, Styrofoam cups, old quilts,  pine cones, juice lids, different sizes of light bulbs, spoons, blocks, golf balls, pages from a songbook and clothes pins.

I love re using items.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Labor of Love

We decided to put up our Nativity this year. 

The wooden pieces for the manger, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus,
a cow, a donkey, a camel and a shepherd and three sheep came out of our building.

It was a cold blustery day. 
Charley scratched his head while he tried to remember how it went together.

After a few false starts, we finally figured it out.

We brought down the figurines from the rafters of our building. We will remember this year to put them in trash bags before they go up in the rafters again. There was quite an accumulation of dirt and saw dust on them.

But, everything came out in the wash. Charley did most of the work. He washed all of them. Even though he is in short sleeves, it was very cold outside. He said he didn't want to get the sleeves of his coat wet.

Baby Jesus' cradle had broken, so my son made a new and sturdier one. The one that came with the figures was a flimsy plastic one. Andrew made this one out of some cedar he had in the building (another name for his workshop).

Our neighbor gave us some hay. We finished putting it together just before the rains came. I think it looks real nice. We hadn't put it up in quite a few years. We bought Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in 1991. In 1992 we bought the donkey and cow. In 1993 we got a lamb. In 1994 we bought the shepherd and two sheep and a camel. So you see, we have accumulated our Nativity piece by piece over the years. I guess we now need to get the wise men. I haven't seen these in the stores lately, though, I don't know if they still sell them or not.

The rains turned to a dusting of snow.