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

Friday, December 16, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I know it's a little early, but I am taking the next couple of weeks off to finish projects and to just enjoy time with my family. Things have slowed down a bit, but not totally. I still have a few things to make and some baking to do, but I took the day off today and I feel much better. I wanted to take this opportunity to say Thank You to anybody out there who is reading this blog. I know there aren't many of you, and I hope there will be more someday, but for now, a big THANKS to the few.

Before I take my break, I want to show you some photos of a nativity a good friend of mine made. Her name is Robin and she is one of the craftiest people I know. She is always making some goody or another, plus she sings and leads a singing group, directs and acts in plays, she's involved in church and community, and so many other things. She cuts her own wood items, too. Anyway, here is one of her nativities (she has a whole collection of them.)

The pictures were taken while it was on display at the annual Festival of Trees at the Old Logandale School in Logandale, Nevada.

Last year we spent Christmas with the six of us living in our little tiny motor home. We had very little money and it wasn't a big Christmas, but it was a good one. We had what we needed and the kids were happy and that's all that mattered. Here are a few photos from last year.

You can see our little tiny tree in the background of a couple of the photos. It was all we had room for and we loved it. We were stuffed into our little space and could barely move, but we were together. It was such a tight fit that when we cooked, or ate, or did dishes, we had to put the tree in the bath tub so we could use that little counter space.

Christmas will be so different this year. We don't have any more money this year, but we will have more family. We are going to Elko, Nevada, to my oldest daughter's home. We will have 10 adults and 15 children (I wish it was going to be all 16) and there will be lots of laughter and craziness, which is a given in our family, and there will be snow and snow angels and snowmen, and sledding and hot chocolate and, of course, presents. I hope we will not be so caught up in the chaos that we won't remember what it's really all about. My family are not active in the church and don't even think about the reason for the season, so I hope I can get them all to stop and take a minute to listen to the real story of Christmas, the only one that really counts.

I will be back after the festivities to show you pictures of my family, the whole group of them, so you can see the many reasons I have for being happy. I love them all very much. Merry Christmas to you and yours and I hope you enjoy your holiday as much as I plan to! 

Friday Friends!

Boy! Christmas is getting closer and closer! I still have a few projects to do and some more baking. Next week I'm going to give you one of my favorite recipes. It's a bread ring filled with cream cheese. Mmmmmm good!

So today's offerings start with a cute project from Amy at The Happy Scraps. I love nativities, and the manger in particular, and this one is darling. This blog is written by two very good friends, Debbie and Amy, and they have a cute style and lots of nice projects. Take a look at this cute manger, and check out the rest of their blog while you're there.


My next find is a blog called My Simple Home Life. Its author is Jackie, mother of 4 small boys and a black lab who looks just like my Molly. She has some really cute paper trees that I think you will really like. They look easy and fun, so hop on over and take a look. These can be made before Christmas easily, and they would be cute last-minute decorations for a party or cookie exchange. She's got some cute renovating projects, too, so go check it out at

I love these! I have to make some next year.

Last for today. but certainly not least, is the cutest little fishy purse you ever wanna see! I came across this by accident, and I think I have two granddaughters who need them! Actually, three. The blog is written by Ashley, who openly admits that she would rather blog and craft than clean house. A woman after my own heart! Anyway, she gives a great tutorial and the patterns, too. So go over to  and check things out.

Well, that's it for today. Right now I am so tired I can barely function. Along with being the Relief Society chorister and getting a musical number ready for Christmas Sunday, doing the 6 Sundays of Christmas, the 12 Days of Christmas, making gifts for the family and trying to get the baking done, I am also on the Relief Society Board, and we just had our Christmas function. I think I will spend the day being lazy, and then get started again tomorrow. Christmas waits for no man (or woman). Until next time,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Great Christmas Tree Hunt

Today I'm going to show you our Christmas tree. This was the first time for my son and daughter-in-law to go tree cutting. My hubby and I did it the 2nd year we were in Montana, but that doesn't make us any kind of experts. So we went to the Forestry office and bought our permit, got our map, and came home to peruse it. We haven't lived here long, so when we looked at the map, we were kind of worried about getting into the wrong place. A lot of the area was checker-board looking, and it would be easy to get on private property instead of BLM or forest land. But......there was one area that was pretty much all forest land and we were pretty sure we would be okay. So that's where we went.

As we climbed higher and higher, the view got better and better. Oregon is soooooo beautiful. Anyway, we found a place to park the truck and we got out and started looking. No luck. We got back in the truck and went up a little higher. Got out and walked some more. We found several trees we liked, but they were too tall. You aren't allowed to cut any trees that are taller than 12 ft or shorter that 8 ft. so you have to be watchful when you choose a tree. Finally, we found one we liked.

It was a little taller than 12 ft. but not too much, so we decided we would be okay.

Cameron got to try his hand with the axe first.

   Then it was Hally's turn. She could barely lift the ax!

Finally, Andy got in there and took care of business! Then he got out the chain saw and sawed off the extra trunk and sawed the stump to less that 12". We carried out the extra trunk pieces and after they have a chance to dry, I will use them for camp crafts next year. They will make nice slices for any number of projects.

We tied up the tree, fastened it to the top of the truck, and took her home! Now she has the place of honor in our living room. Next year, we will go out scoping out good place to cut trees, and hopefully find some trees that are fuller, more bushy. But for this year, we are happy with our little Charlie Brown tree.

So there we are, all ready for Christmas. The house is ready, anyway. See you on Friday for Friday Friends! Until then, remember that gifts of time and love are the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas. Good night,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 12 of the Twelve Days of Christmas

This is it! The last day of the Twelve Days of Christmas! And, of course, it's a nativity. For me, that is the culmination of all the happiness and joy and celebrating. The real reason for Christmas. I have a little pin that says Jesus is the Reason for the Season, and I wear it all season long.

Our little nativity is all natural this year and it looks like this:

Gather your supplies and let's get started. You will need: cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, whole allspice, Star Anise, a pine cone and jute twine. You will also need a little hot glue to help you hold it together and a little saw to cut the cinnamon sticks and the pine cone.

You need 5 cinnamon sticks to 3" to 3 1/2" long. Mine were 7" so I just cut them in half. You can adjust if yours are 4", but if they're longer than that, you need to use a saw to cut them. You also need one piece 1 1/4" long, for Joseph. You need to use a saw to cut a petal from a pine cone for Mary. And you need 1 whole star Anise and one piece of one, for the baby.

Start by laying out your five cinnamon sticks in the shape of a stable. When you get everything placed just right, lift each piece and put a little dab of hot glue. When you get it all fastened together, use the jute to tie it at each joint. Also tie a piece of jute at the top for a hanger.

Now, you're going to make the figures. Start by finding two whole cloves with good size bracts and two pretty good size allspice, too.

Pull the clove out of the bract and use your fingernail to clean it out good. Glue the allspice into the bract. This makes the head with a collar under it.

For Joseph, glue the clove down into the short piece of cinnamon stick.

For Mary, glue it to the back of the pine cone petal.

Sorry some of these photos are blurry. I was having trouble with the macro setting on my camera. I finally got it to work, so they get better. Now we're going to work on the star and the baby.

Some of the Star Anise will be broken, so if you can't find a whole one, or one you like anyway, then you can glue pieces together to make a whole. After you get your star chosen, pick one of the broken, single pieces to use for the baby's body.

The seed inside will be the body, the hull will be the manger, and you glue a small allspice to the open end for the head. Now, you're ready to put it all together. Using hot glue, fasten Joseph and Mary to the back of the bottom piece of the stable. Glue baby Jesus in front of them, head toward Mary. Glue your star at the point of the roof and you're done!

I love this little nativity. I got my first one at a yard sale about 10 years ago, and I've been meaning to make some more ever since, but never got around to it until now. I DID buy all the supplies 3 or 4 years ago, though, so I still honored my "no buy" challenge for this year! Children really like these little nativities, and they can make them with help. They make sweet gifts for Primary teachers, and it's a nice little project for Activity Day Girls and Young Women, too.

A man named Harlan Miller said he wished we could put some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar every month. I think the world would be a much better place if we had an endless supply of that spirit to call on when we feel contentious, or jealous, or blue. Maybe we'll have to come up with a project that would be somewhat comparable to one of those jars. Let's all think on it and see what we come up with. And by the way, there seems to be no cure for the common birthday, and I am a year older today. Until next time,

This post linked to:
Made By You Monday at Skip to My Lou

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 11 of the Twelve Days of Christmas

Day 11 isn't really a project. It's a sentiment, a legend that has become a tradition for me. It's a snowflake.

It's nothing big or fancy, it's not expensive, and it's not handmade, but it could be. Every year I give these to someone. This year it's my Relief Society sisters. I type up the legend on cardstock, and then make it into a pocket, into which I put a simple little snowflake from Wal*Mart or the Dollar Tree. I tell them that it's nothing fancy or expensive, in fact it's not the contents that really matter, but what they represent. Then I read the legend to them, and bear my testimony as to the divinity of Christ, and the true meaning of Christmas. I always have tears in my eyes by the time I'm done and so do they. So here's the legend:

Long ago,
a glimmering Star
led the way to a Holy Child.
Legend has it that
are tiny pieces of that very star,
sent to lead our hearts to
Christ, the Light of the World.

It says it all, so I'll stop here. Until tomorrow,

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 10 of the Twelve Days of Christmas

It's getting closer and closer to the actual time to start the 12 Days of Christmas! I hope you're getting everything ready to go. For day 10, I have my husband's birthday, plus a project for you. :) It's a little yo-yo Christmas tree, and it's so cute! To start with, you will need a thread spool with a dowel that fits snugly in the hole and cut to 4" above the dowel. Paint or stain the spool and dowel brown, like a tree trunk. You'll see it a few photos down the page.

If you don't know what a yo-yo is, it's a circle of fabric gathered at the edge to make a smaller circle, sometimes with a circle of batting inside to give it body. They are used for any number of things, from quilts to toys to hot pot pads. They are used for decoration on clothing, too. They are very versatile and easy to make. Here's how. For our tree, you will cut 6 circles in these sizes: 8", 7 1/2", 6 1/2", 5 1/2", 3 3/4", and 2 1/2". I made patterns from chipboard and traced them onto the fabric. You get better circles that way.

Using a needle threaded with heavy button and carpet thread, run a gathering stitch around the outside of the circle. Because these circles will be stacked on top of one another, and the gathering won't show, I didn't turn down the edge. You can tell by the photo how much smaller the finished yo-yo is from what you start out with. Pull up the thread tight and trace the yo-yo for your batting size. I wanted my trees to be fat and fluffy, so I used two layers of batting in each circle.

Open your circle back up and lay the batting in the middle. Pull up the threads again, and tie the ends in a knot, leaving a hole big enough for your dowel to fit through.

Put your little finger inside the opening and flatten out the batting so the yo-yo lays nice and flat.

Turn the yo-yos over and cut a cross-shaped slit in the middle, so that your dowel can go through the yo-yos. You can stack them onto the dowel now, or you can make ruffles to go in between them. The ruffles can be made from wire-edge ribbon or net. (I was going to use net in red and green, but I had some scraps of ribbon left over from the bows I made for the front porch, and since I made a commitment to spend as little this year as I could, that's what I used). Cut 2 pieces of either net or ribbon about 12" long and 2" wide, one for under the big yo-yo and one for on top of the big yo-yo, and work your way from there. Make each ruffle half as wide as the finished yo-yo. Gather one edge up tight on the wire and tie it by twisting the wires together, leaving a hole big enough for the dowel. Stack a yo-yo, gathered side up, and then a ruffle, and then a yo-yo, and then a ruffle, until you get to the top little yo-yo. Slide it onto the dowel and use a nail file or something thin like that to tuck the edges down into the circle. This gives you a finished top.

Tie a little bow around the top and you're done, or you can add a little wooden star, too. I found this cute little house box at the dollar store and I bought one to see if my tree would fit in it for storage and gift giving, and it does! But I don't think it will fit with a star on it, dang it.

These trees take a little bit of time, but not too much, and it's something you can do in the car or while watching TV. If you're like me, you have to be doing something every minute or you feel like you're wasting time! So I always have a project to keep my hands busy when the rest of me isn't.

Thornton Wilder said, "We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." I think that the treasures he was talking about were family and friends, not material things. I try to be conscious of those treasures always. I love them very much. See ya tomorrow!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Friends!

Sorry! I almost forgot that I had to do Friday Friends! too! But I found some really cute things on some really nice blogs, so it will be worth the wait.

First up is a cute website called Can't Stop Making Things. Right off the bat, she's got me with the name. And she's got some really cute projects. It took me a minute to figure out that the "labels" box was the navigation tool, but as soon as I did, I had a good time going from post to post, seeing what she had to offer. I found two things that I wanted you to see for sure. The first one is what she calls a fortune cookie coin purse. It's made with a milk jug!

The other thing is a beautiful rose made from plastic spoons! If no one told you what it was made from, you would never know. It's really nice.

Next is a Fortune Cookie Christmas Countdown. I seem to have a theme today, don't I? This is a darling idea, and she has some cute ideas for the activities on the "fortunes". I know you will like this. Check it out here:

Now, last but not least, ANOTHER fortune cookie craft. This time it's a gift holder. I found this by accident when I lost the other website and had to find it again. What luck, huh? Go to and check it out. I think I will make some really BIG ones and put some little gifts for the grandkids in them. Won't they love that?

Before I go today, I want to show you some pictures of Christmas at our house. We have a very small house and don't have much room, but we still got into the Christmas spirit. And I think I did pretty good with my "don't spend any money" challenge.
My father built the Christmas train and my mother painted it.

My daughter Deseret made this in Girl Scouts when she was about 5th or 6th grade.

This banner was made by my son Clif when he was in 2nd grade. It's kind of hard to see,
but it has cute little people that form the letters.

My granddaughter, Halena, and I made this last week because we didn't have a wreath.

I made my husband :) go with me to cut the branches for this swag.

Penguins welcome everyone to our home.

I finally got the rest of the lights and garland up, and added some bunches
 of greens with big bows. I know, hard to see.

A handmade window swag. Up in the right hand corner, you can see one of our
 paper trees hanging from the ceiling.
I will show you the tree another day. There is a story that goes with it, and I don't have time today. As you go about your holiday-ing, remember this. If Christmas isn't found in your heart, you certainly won't find it under a tree. Until tomorrow,

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