It's not what you gather, but what you scatter, that tells what kind of a life you have lived.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy New Year!

Well, Christmas is over and life is about to return to normal, whatever that is. The kids will be going back to school and I will be headed back to Nevada soon. I have been involved in a project for quite some time now, 6 years to be exact. I have been co-authoring with another woman, a book on the history if the valley we used to live in. (Me , I mean.....she still lives there.) It's called Muddy Valley Reflections: 145 Years of Settlement. Anyway, Volume 1 was finished in October and Volumes 2 and 3 are almost finished. About 2 weeks more and it should be ready for the publisher. The last of the corrections need to be done, along with the dedication, acknowledgements, etc. And my partner's story. She has lived a very colorful life. She was the first female investigative coroner for the state of Nevada, as well as being on the Clark County Fair Board for 25 years, and a few more things. When these things are done, I get to come home to Oregon to stay.

Walking with my hubby.

I am looking forward to being here full time. I need to get a job so we can get out of debt. We need to find a house to live in. I need to get back to my family history and volunteer work. Lots of things to do! I'm also looking forward to the spring. If the photos of fall are anything to go by, spring should be absolutely beautiful! And there is so much to do, too. Festivals and Farmer's Markets and all kinds of events. I can't wait.

I hope you all have a great year to look forward to. These last few years have been lean and hard for us, and I hope this next year is better. I don't ask much, just enough to keep our heads above water. We have done more sinking than swimming this last year, and I hope its time for that to change. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me things would get better, they'd be better already. Anyway, enough of that. I'm not much of one for boo-hooing over what could have been. I like to see the glass as half full instead of half empty. We survived another year and that's what matters.

I wish all of you the very best new year possible. May all your dreams come true and all your socks match! And remember, new years are the start of new journeys, and you can become anything you want enough to try. 'Night, Gramma G.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 12 of the 12 Days of Christmas!!


tell it

on the


over the hills

and everywhere!

Go, tell it on the mountain

that Jesus Christ is born! Joy to

the world, the Lord is come! Let earth

receive her King! Let every heart prepare

Him room, and heaven and nature sing, and

heaven and nature sing, and heaven and heaven and

nature sing. Oh little town of Bethlehem, how still we see

thee lie. Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, the silent stars go

by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light. The hopes and

fears of all the years are met in thee tonight. Oh come, all ye faithful, joyful

and triumphant! Oh come, ye, oh come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold

Him born the King of angels.Oh come, let us

adore Him, oh

come, let us adore
Him, oh come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!
Wishing you all the joys and blessings of Christmas and the best of all
holiday seasons! May you have the gift of family and the fun of friends. If I could
put the Spirit of Christmas in a jar, I'd give you each a dozen jars, so you
could open one every month during the coming year and
remember what true joy feels like. 'Night, Gramma G.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 11 of the 12 Days of Christmas

I love snowmen! Any size, any shape.....any snowman. Today's snowman is made from an old sweater and some stuffing.

You will need:
The sleeve of a white or off-white sweater
A large needle
Heavy button and carpet thread
Five or six black buttons
Scrap of fleece or Christmas flannel
A small piece of orange felt or a small plastic carrot

Cut the sleeve off the sweater at about 18" and turn it inside out. Thread the needle with a length of thread and sew a running stitch around the cut edge of the sweater sleeve. When you get back to the place you started, pull the stitches up tight and wrap the thread around the stitching about 3 or 4 times and tie a tight knot. Turn the sleeve right side out and the gathered place is now the snowman's bottom.

Stuff the sleeve, not too loose and not too tight. (If you put a rock or some rice in the bottom before you stuff the sleeve, the snowman will sit better.) Run another row of running stitches about 4" down from the end of the sleeve. Again, pull the stitches tight, wrap and tie. Now cut a length of thread and wrap it around the snowman to form the head. Don't wrap it too tight, or your snowman's head will be wobbly. Wrap 3 or 4 times, tie a knot and trim the ends short.

Fold down the end of the sleeve to form a hat and make few stitches if needed to keep it in place. Glue buttons for his eyes and for the buttons down the front. Roll a little triangle of orange felt into a cone and glue it on for the nose, or use a little plastic carrot. (I find them at Easter and put them away until I need them.) I didn't have felt or a carrot so I used a button, just like in the song.

Now finish him with a scarf cut from the fabric scrap. Fringe the ends for a cute look. You can also make a yarn pom-pom for his hat. You can also quickly crochet a little scarf in no time at all. Just chain until you have the length you want and single crochet about 4 rows, then add fringe. Or you can finger-crochet one, like the one in the photo. I used a fat, loopy yarn and did the finger-crochet loose and then put a little fringe on the ends. I made it long enough to wrap around his neck three times, to give it some volume. If you like, you can add twig arms, but they tend to get broken easily, so plan to replace them a few times.

Now he's ready to display. Put him on some pulled out stuffing, which looks more like real snow than batting. Add a few Styrofoam balls for snowballs, some sparkly snowflakes, or maybe a little sign that says "All my friends are flakes."
These are so fast and easy to make that you can make a dozen! Give them away or keep them all for yourself. Make them in all different sizes and shades of white and off-white. They'll make a perfect centerpiece to a holiday table or a cute snow village underneath the tree.

Christmas is a time for loving and giving and sharing with others. Two of my grandkids told me a few days ago that they don't believe in Santa anymore. I told them when they stop believing, they get underwear. Then I proceeded to tell them that Santa may not one real person, but he is the embodiment of the spirit of Christmas. He represents the good things we all want for ourselves and those we love. If we keep that spirit in our hearts, we will always believe in Santa. Someone once said that if you don't have Christmas in your heart, you certainly won't find it under the tree.

May you all have Santa in your hearts, at the same time remembering the reason for the season....the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. 'Night, Gramma G.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 10 of the 12 Days of Christmas

Today we have another "old" project....the Christmas card ball. I have been making these for over 50 years! I've taught them to at least 3 generations of children, and to a lot of adults, too! I make these mostly out of old Christmas cards, but sometimes, like this year, I don't have any old ones so I go to the dollar store and buy a box of 20 assorted cards for $1. You can't beat that cost for a project your whole family will love! Each person making a card ball will need twenty cards, some glue and a pair of scissors.

Start with a pattern. Your main pattern is a circle about 3 or 4" across. I usually trace a drinking glass for mine. Trace it onto the back of one of your cards and cut it out to use for your pattern. Trace the pattern on the front of each of your 20 Christmas cards and cut them out, being careful to keep your circles round and as close on the line as possible. You will see later why this is important, but they can be made to work from circles cut my little hands, too. So don't stress.

Now comes the hardest part of all, and that's making the triangle pattern. You need to create a triangle that is equilateral, (or the same length on all three sides) that will fit inside your circle with all three points touching the edge of the circle. I usually trace my circle onto several other backs of cards to experiment with. I draw what looks like a good, even triangle, then get out my ruler and measure the sides. Just keep adjusting 'til it fits. When you get the triangle right, trace it on the back of every card circle, and fold the flaps toward the front side of the circle. When you have them all folded, you are ready for the magic!

Take five of your triangles and glue the flaps together, forming a circle. It will seem like there needs to be a sixth triangle, but what you do is glue the first and fifth triangles together to form a little cap. Do this twice, so you have two caps.

Take the other ten triangles and glue them in a straight line. To do this, you put one with the point up, the next with the point down. Keep gluing them this way until all ten are glued together, then again take the first and last and glue them together. This will give you a big circle for your middle.

Now, take one of your caps and put glue on all five of the remaining flaps and glue it to the middle part. Make the edges as even as you can. Do the same with the other cap, and you will have a ball!!! Use a paper punch to punch a hole in one of the flaps and hang with a piece of ribbon. Curling ribbon looks cute, with some curly tendrils hanging from the knot at the top.
These also look cute made from family photos. Just copy your pictures onto cardstock and use them to make the circles. You will have happy family faces looking at you wherever you sit. Or mix photos and Christmas-design cardstock. Talk about fun! Let your imagination go and create your own way to make these old-fashioned decorations. I'm sure your children will have great fun making them. My children did, and now my grandchildren are, too. My son knew exactly what we were going to make as soon as I said we needed some old Christmas cards. Its fun times like this that they remember forever. In the words of TV newsman, Hugh Downs, "Something about an old-fashioned Christmas is hard to forget."
As the day for celebrating the birth of our Lord gets closer, we need to turn our hearts to our families, neighbors and friends with love and compassion. Give everyone your best and everything your best efforts. 'Night, Gramma G.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 9 of the 12 Days of Christmas!

Today brings another old ornament made new. Do you remember those cute little felt horses that were made to hold candy canes? We had lots of them on our tree, but maybe you never did. Anyway, here's what they look like. And they are so easy to make! Buy your candy canes and good luck finding the old-fashioned red and white peppermint kind! They all seem to be Starburst or Skittle or whatever flavors, so pick the color you like and felt to match.

Lay your candy cane down on a piece of paper and draw a little horse's head. Be sure you make it wide enough to get the candy cane into it. Because of the crook, you have to leave extra room. (You can see it in the photo.) Cut two pieces of felt using the pattern. Cut a contrasting piece of felt 2" wide and about four inches long. Fold it in half lengthwise, and cut from the folded side to about 1/2" from the cut edges to make loopy fringe.

Now glue the fringe in between the two horse-shaped pieces and glue all edges but the nose and the neck. Cut a piece of yarn or jute or some kind of cording about 15" long. Find the middle and place it on the front of the nose. Bring the two ends around the nose, cross them and bring them around the neck and tie close to the head. Tie an overhand knot about 4" from the horse and trim the ends. Glue a little googly eye on each side of the head and there you have it! A candy cane horse. Now slide your candy canes into your horses and hang them on your tree. They also make good package toppers for your Neigh-bors! (A little horsing around makes for good friends.)

Bing Crosby, one of my favorite crooners of Christmas, said, "Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won't make it white."

This season, as you get ready for the best holiday of the year, remember your neighbors and those less fortunate than you. Share your smile and your blessings with everyone! 'Night, Gramma G.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 8 of the 12 Days of Christmas!

This project is a little late for using this year, but it's a good thing to have afor next year...all year. Its a set of Countdown Blocks, and they can actually be used for other times of the year if you choose to make them that way.

You will need;
4 or 5 wooden blocks, anywhere from 2" to 4" square
Scrapbook papers of different colors and prints
Decoupage medium
Paint brush
Sandpaper and emery board
Adhesive letters and numbers or paint pens

Start by giving the blocks a light sanding. Cut the scrapbook papers in squares the size of your blocks. I used about 12 or 13 different designs, but I think when I make them again, I will use a different paper for each side of all my blocks, which means 24 papers for 4 blocks or 30 for 5 blocks. Using the decoupage medium, glue the papers to the blocks, trying not to get it on the front of the paper. Do four sides of each block, allowing each to dry while you work on another. Then go back and start with the first one you did and do the other two sides. Let them get really dry, probably overnight. Now, using the emery board, sandpaper or a sanding stick, sand the edges of the blocks, sanding the paper at the same time.
You can use a stamp pad or antiquing pad to darken the edges if you want. Mine are not done because all my supplies are in storage at the moment, but they will be done when I can get to them. If you darken the edges, you should spray the blocks with clear acrylic spray before the next step. Otherwise, the ink may run as you brush.

Now apply a coat of decoupage medium to each block. I use the matte finish, because the paper will still look like raw paper, but it will wipe clean! After its good and dry, you can apply your letters and numbers, or use paint pens to write your own. I couldn't find numbers large enough for my 4" block, and I can't find my paint pens so I used a Sharpie. I don't advise
e it! It doesn't look good. I will re-do it really soon! You can learn from my mistakes, and I just wish you could see the blocks at their best.

Now, for the layout for words and numbers.

Block #1........9, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Block #2.......1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 0
Block #3.......Days 'til, Merry, It's
Block #4.......Christmas! school's out, school starts, birthday(if using 5 blocks) or my birthday (if using 4 blocks)
Block (Block 5 can also have things like a flower, a candle, a pencil, such things as that. I only used 5 blocks because I like the way they sit better.) I also had the idea of putting a velcro dot on one side of block #5, and then having little things made from felt to stick to it for different occasions.)
Children love to countdown to anything, so make the blocks with whatever days or events you like. Just have fun with them. And of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas. Peg Bracken
I love my family and wish I could have them all together for the holidays again, but they are scattered all over the country, and that's not going to happen, so I plan to really enjoy those I do have near. I'm greatful for the blessings I have and wish you the same. 'Night, Gramma G.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 7 of the 12 Days of Christmas!!

I have been making ornaments with my grandchildren and having so much fun! I only have two of them here with me this year, but we are making something new every day. These ornaments are made with Styrofoam balls and felt. I use metallic rick-rack for the trim but you can use anything you like. You can also use fabric instead of felt, but you have to be really careful not to use too much glue because it will soak through the fabric a lot easier than it will the felt.

You will need:
2 1/2 inch Styrofoam balls or the size of your choice
Felt squares in the color of your choice
Tacky glue or other craft glue
Gold or silver rick-rack or trims of your choice
Ball-head straight pins

You will need to make a pattern first. Measure around one of the styro balls. Divide the measurement in half for the length of your pattern, then divide the same measurement by 6 for the width of the pattern. The pattern itself with be a wedge shape, with points at the top and bottom and wider in the middle. It will look something like the one at the right. If you use a 2 1/2" ball, you will use these measurements, too.

Cut 6 of these from felt. Starting with your first piece, glue it to the ball, stretching it a little from top to bottom, causing the sides to hug the ball. Don't stretch too much, or you will make your pieces too skinny. Start the next piece with the tip on the first tip and the edge right next to the edge of the first piece. Glue all 6 wedges to the ball and put a straight pin with a little tiny head at top and bottom where the points meet. Make your "seams" as neat as possible, or you will have trouble covering them with your trim.

Now cover your seams with the rick-rack or other trims, and place a ball-headed pin to hold the ends in place. You can decorate the balls with more pins, placed in designs, or with sequins or other embellishments. You can hang a beaded loop at the bottom, too, which makes them look very special. Glue a loop to the top for hanging and you have a very nice ornament.
No one truly knows the origin of the Christmas ornament, but it is known to have originated in Germany in about the 15th century. Trees were decorated with things from nature, such as nuts and berries, birds and nests, flowers, etc. As time went on, more and more reflective surfaces were used, making it more about light. This was understandable, considering the bleakness of winters in Germany. The light also represented the Light of Christ, who is the reason for the season.

Whatever the origin, whatever your beliefs, Christmas ornaments are fun to make and they make a nice family tradition, too. Your children will remember them for the rest of their lives.
A tradition my family had that was connected with the ornaments on the tree started with a common children's game. We used to lay on the floor around the tree, and play a version of "I Spy". One of us would describe an ornament we could see and the others had to guess which one it was. We did this for hours sometimes, and my kids still have nice memories of the time we spent together doing this simple thing.
Remember, it doesn't make much difference how much your ornaments cost, what matters is that they have meaning for you and your family. And whatever you do, enjoy your family for the holidays. 'Night, Gramma G.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 6 of the 12 Days of Christmas!!

Another wreath. But this can be made in any size, from large enough to hand on a door to small enough to hang on your tree. Its all in the size of the circles. Kids love to make this one, and I call it the Roundabout Wreath!

You will need:
Old Christmas cards of Christmas print cardstock
A heavy piece of cardboard the size you want your wreath
Scissors and glue
Ribbon for hanging

Cut a circle from the cardboard the a little smaller than you want the finished wreath. Measure 3" into the circle all around, and draw a line. Cut the middle of the wreath out on this line. To make the back look nice, you can paint it or cover it with wrapping paper. Cut a 20" piece of ribbon, put on end through the circle, put the two ends together, and tie a knot close to the wreath. Tie the ends together with another knot. This is you hanger.

Using cups, lids, cans, etc., cut circles from the Christmas cards or cardstock in at least three different sizes. Some of your circles should be a solid color, too, to help tie all the different designs together. Start gluing the circles to the wreath circle. Overlap them, mix up the sizes, even stack some, to make a pleasing design. You can add glitter glue to some, bows, buttons, bells....whatever you like! You can use a theme, like all Santas or all Nativities, or use a color scheme, like red and green (of course) or pink and sage green, or just mix it up.

These are fun and easy to make and they make a good project for school classes if you are a teacher or room mother. Have fun with them, and make one for all your neighbors. Let the kids deliver them to the doorstep, ring the bell and run, just like on May Day. They will love hiding in the bushes, watching the neighbors answer the door to find their friendship offering. Add a plate of cookies or homemade candies, and you'll have the whole neighborhood raving about the little elf that visited them!
Perhaps the best yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles! 'Night, Gramma G.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 5 of the 12 Days of Christmas!!

Another ornament. This one is all about the real meaning of Christmas, and your children will love to make this one.

You will need:
Round or square wooden toothpicks
An old Christmas card with a picture of the nativity OR
A stamped or hand drawn nativity

Using the toothpicks for size, pick a picture that will fit into your "stable" that you are going to make. Glue a toothpick across the bottom and one on each side, overlapping the ends of the toothpicks about 1/2" like Lincoln Logs. Glue two more toothpicks to the top, making a roof shape and again overlapping the ends of the toothpicks. Let this part dry.

When its dry, trim around the toothpicks as close as you can get without causing your stable to fall apart. Now start adding toothpicks to your structure. Glue them in the same order that you did to begin with...bottom, sides, roof, bottom, sides, roof. You can move the sides out just a little bit each time if you want it to really seem like you're looking into the stable. Make your stable three or four toothpicks deep.

Now find another card with a picture of a Christmas tree that will fit in the shape of your stable. Trace around your stable onto the card and cut it out. Glue it to the back of the stable and glue toothpicks to frame it. Use fine gold cord or embroidery floss to loop through the toothpicks at the top and form a hanger.

As you make these little nativities, you can tell your children the real Christmas story, or discuss the real meaning of Christmas. You will be able to plant in their hearts the true joy of the birth of our Savior, and what it means to us as individuals, families and the world. Activities like this help our children learn without even realizing it and they will remember these times for years to come.
Remember...a happy memory is a hiding place for treasures. "Night, Gramma G.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 4 of the 12 Days of Christmas!!

Today, let's make some cards! Handmade Christmas cards are the best. They let your family and friends know that you care to make the very best, and they probably tell a little about you, too. Get your children involved, too, and not just in the holiday photo that goes in the card. Let them help you make the family cards or cards of their own to give to their friends and teachers. Help them exercise that right side of their brain!

If you've never made your own cards before, there are tons of websites out there that will give you ideas! Just Google handmade Christmas cards and see what comes up. It will take you hours or days to look at them all, there will be so many. If you don't have the time to do that right now, here are a few ideas for you.

If you have children old enough to draw, have them draw you a Christmas picture. Give them some guidance as to what to draw, and then let their imaginations take over. Scan it into your computer, size it, and print it on white cardstock. Be sure to give them credit on the back of the card for being the artist. Everybody loves kids drawings, and they will all love these cards.

For little kids that can't draw yet, you can use a coloring book picture and let them color it, or use die-cuts and let them glue them on the cards. You can also recycle last year's cards by letting them cut out the pictures and gluing them onto cardstock. Use glitter glue to decorate them a little, and you can add other embellishments like little tiny bells, pom-poms, rick-rack, chipboard letters and shapes....anything you can think, you can do.

Or you can start totally from scratch.Here is a card I recieved from my neice a few years back that I have hung onto because it is so cute! And she incorproated a newsletter-type feel without the newsletter! The greeting is on the front with the cutest little ribbon tree ever, and the inside is devoted to giving just highlights of the year for each family member. Its a great way to keep everyone informed about what's happening in your life without the long and sometimes boring newsletter. You can print your own photos right from your computer or take them to Wal*Mart or someplace like that and have them printed. You can even do it online! Order your prints online and pick them up the next time you go to Wal*Mart. How easy is that?

HAVE INK....WILL STAMP! Are you a stamper? Then I probably don't have to tell YOU how much fun it is to make your own cards. But if you're new to stamping, you don't know what you're missing! It is so much fun and there are so many different techniques to explore. Again, you can Google to get ideas. But, you can start with just one stamp or stamp set and one or two stamp pads and create beautiful cards. Try a cute Snowman. All you need is white and pale blue cardstock, a light blue stamp pad, and a few things like scissors and glue. Stamp the snowman on the white cardstock with the light blue ink, cut him out, glue him to the blue cardstock that's been cut to the size of your cards, add a sentiment, and Voila! You have a Christmas card! You can get a lot more fancy as you learn more.
In the eyes of children we find the joy of Christmas. In their hearts we find its meaning. 'Night, Gramma G.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 3 of the 12 Days of Christmas!!

I seem to be concentrating on ornaments this year. I'm not sure why, but this project is another one. Its been around a long time, but I thought we needed to re-visit it. It's a little Lifesaver Man to hang on your tree. I have one that hangs on my tree that my mom made when I was about 12. It's made with a full-size roll of Lifesavers, but I made this one with a little treat-size package. (Sorry about the blurry photo. I think I was too close.) I plan to make these with my grandchildren this year. I know we will have fun!

You will need:



1" or 1 1/2" Styrofoam ball

Felt scrap

Heavy cardboard

Scissors and glue

Tiny googly-eyes

Long yarn needle

First, cut the cardboard into two pieces, one 6"square and one 4" square. Wrap the yarn around the 6" piece 20 times and cut it even with the edge of the cardboard. Don't wrap it too tight, or it will be really hard to get it off. Now, gently slide the wrapped yarn off the cardboard, being careful to keep all the loops together. Take a piece of contrasting-color yarn or little tiny ribbon, and tie the loops on each end about 1/2" from the end. Cut a piece of the contrast yarn 20" long and tie it around the middle of the bunch of loops, keeping the ends even when you tie. Thread those ends into the long yarn needle and use the needle to thread the yarn through the middle of the roll of lifesavers, from the bottom to the top.

Next, wrap the yarn around the 4" piece of cardboard 15 times, and tie the ends like before. Lay the bunch of loops over the top of the lifesavers and tie it in the middle with the yarn that's going through the lifesavers. Be sure to tie it really tight, so the legs will hang down a little and not go straight out.

Now put the needle through the middle of the Styrofoam ball and slide the ball down to the lifesavers. This is the head. Cut a little circle of felt about 1" in diameter and thread it onto the yarn for a hat. Glue the hat to the top of the head. Tie the ends of the yarn in an overhand knot to make a hanger the length you want it, and cut off the excess. Glue on two little googly-eyes and a little circle of felt or a tiny pom-pom for a nose. He's ready to hang on your tree! He also makes a really cute package decoration.

Kids like to make these and give them to their friends, too. If everybody would take just 30 minutes a day to help a child create something, anything, the world would be a much better place when that child grows up.

Agatha Christie said, "One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is to have a happy childhood." 'Night, Gramma G.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 2 of the 12 Days of Christmas!!

Don't you just love to see a cheery wreath hanging in every room of your house? I do, and I like to make them fit the room they're in, too. This post will be short...just ideas for you to use. A nice wreath always makes a nice gift, too, and kids love to make them. Swags are fun, too.

For your front door, of course, you want something spectacular, something that says something about the people that live in your house. I have a couple I like to use. One has a big stuffed sheep head in the middle (a very friendly looking sheep), because I used to collect sheep. I probably will again, because I have a spinning wheel and I love to spin. I want a loom someday, too. Anyway, the other has a Santa dressed in red, white and blue, because that's my thing. I love anything in red, white and blue. My whole house used to be dedorated in those colors, and part of it still is. So anybody knocking at my door during the Christmas season already knows something about me just by looking at my wreath.

Inside, it's fun to put a little humor in your decorations for the holidays, so I try to match the wreath to the room. For example, the kitchen wreath can have some measuring cups and spoons, along with cinnamon sticks, star anise, etc. I made one for the historical building I work in that has silverware on it. I happened to have some I no longer used, but you can pick old silverware up at any thrift store for a song. I used apples and grapes to go with the utensils, and some bows, and Voila! A wreath meant for the room it hangs in!

For the bathroom, you could wind a garland of toilet paper around the wreath and then decorate with old-fashioned curlers and other hair do-dads. Again, old-fashioned curlers and hair do-dads can be found in most thrift stores or at yard sales. Not much money for a cute decoration!

Just one more idea, then I will leave you to think of more yourselves. For a child's room, an old train can be useful again. It doesn't matter what shape it's in. Glue the train on the inside or outside edge of the wreath, making it look like it's running around the wreath. This is where the thrift store a a few good yard sales come in handy. Find LOTS of old toys, no matter what shape. Broken or missing pieces, it doesn't matter. Glue them all over the wreath, making them a mass of toys, like in a toy box. Only put them on the front of the wreath, leave the sides free, and it will look very cute. Your kids will be happy to have a wreath of their own hanging on their door.

Now it's up to you to see what kind of different items you can find to put on a wreath. Start with the room it's for and just let your mind freefall, thinking of anything that goes into that room. That will lead you an idea or theme for you to build on. Remember, make it fun! Enjoy yourself! Things like pine cones and cinnamon sticks, teddy bears and snowmen are always good additions to any wreath.
Give joy and humor to others! "Night, Gramma G.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 1 of the 12 Days of Christmas!

Well it's time for the 12 Days of Christmas!!! Can I tell you I just love Christmas! I love to make gifts and give them to the people I love and those I work with or go to church with, or anyone! My mama raised me that it's better to give than to receive, and I believe it. So here's your first project of this year. They are ornaments made from Styrofoam balls and pop bottle lids.

You will need:

Styrofoam balls the sizes you want your ornaments

Fabric scraps big enough to cover the balls

Pop bottle caps

Glue and scissors

Embroidery floss (I used metallic red and green)

A drill with a little tiny bit

String or heavy carpet thread.

Start with the pop bottle caps. You need to drill 2 tiny holes in each one. See the picture for placement. Spray paint them gold or silver and let them dry overnight or until really dry.

In the meantime, take one of the Styrofoam balls and place it in the middle of a piece of fabric big enough to go around it with an inch or two extra. Pull up the four corners and hold them in one hand. With your other hand, kind of gather the sides in and hold them, too. Now, you have to pull all the fabric as tight as you can around the ball and tie it with heavy thread or some string. Wrap it a couple of times so that it's good and sturdy. Trim the excess fabric off to about 3/4" in length. Do the same with all of the balls.

When your bottle caps are good and dry, loop a 10" piece of embroidery floss through the holes and tie it in an overhand knot, with the threads coming out the top of the cap. This will be your hanger. Fill the cap about 1/2 full with craft glue and place it over the trimmed fabric nub on your Styrofoam ball. Make sure it covers the string or thread you used to tie the fabric. Hold it in place for a few minutes until the glue starts to set and the cap stays in place. Check them every once in a while to make sure they don't lift up.

Let them dry overnight, then hang them on your tree or use them to embellish packages or plates of cookies...anything! These are really fun for kids to make, but they may need a little help gathering the fabric around the ball. I usually do that and then let them tie them real tight.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Oh my goodness!!!! It's been a year and a half since I posted! My life has been in an uproar the whole time. I have been helping to write a book on the history of this little valley that I've spent the better part of 25 years in, and Volume 1 is finally done and Volumes 2 and 3 will be done in the next couple of weeks. They had better be! My husband has moved to Oregon while I have stayed here to finish, and I BETTER be there soon or he may divorce me! Not really, but he'll be really mad and I don't like "really mad" at Christmas time. My youngest son and his wife and two kids moved up there and asked us to go with them, so we decided "What the heck?" Only problem is, this book has taken a LOT longer than I thought it would, so Andy and his dad have been there since July, and Kristen and the kids since September. And I'm still here.......big sigh. I committed to stay until the books are done, and I don't want this hanging on my conscience again. (That's a whole nother story.)

Anyway....I'm getting ready for the 12 Days of Christmas again. Starting on the 12th of December (my birthday!) I will post 12 ideas for the days leading up to Christmas. I hope you will enjoy them. I might not have a sample photo of each, because all my crafting supplies are in Oregon, but there will at least be a drawing to go with each one. These are all fast and easy projects, so they won't take up all of your time. Most of them will be easy enough for you to do with children or grandchildren, so you can spend some time with them, too. I've been thinking of doing 12 things you can make out of pine cones, but I haven't perfected it all yet, so I may have to keep that idea for next year.
Well, gotta go for now. Be back in a couple of days. I'll have some photos of the family get-together at Thanksgiving. Not your normal festivities. See you soon.
Remember...Everyone has a creative side. Thank heaven they're not all the same, or this would be a boring existence. 'Night, Gramma G.
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