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

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Christmas Train is Here!

Well, that was a nice little holiday. Now it's time to get back in the groove. I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. We did. We have this family tradition called "Pie Night", which takes place on Wednesday evening, and it really takes a lot of pressure off of Thursday cooking. (And Thursday eating!) We make all our pies before the holiday, and we get together as family and friends on the night before Thanksgiving, and have some cold cuts and snack-y foods, and then stuff our faces with pies! After eating Thanksgiving dinner, there is no room for pies, so we do dessert first! We all bring different kinds of pie, and that way we have a big variety to choose from. We've been doing this for a long time. We got this tradition from my oldest son's first wife and we love it! We don't have anyone to share it with here in Oregon, yet, but we had Pie Night nonetheless. I hope the rest of the family had it where they are.

Thursday, itself, was a fairly slow, kick-back day. I cooked the turkey in the electric roaster I got a couple of years ago, and that makes life easier, too, because there's no rush to bake rolls and extra stuffing and yams after the turkey gets out of the oven--my oven is free the whole day. I just wish I had figured a few of these things out a long time ago. Thanksgiving doesn't have to be rush, rush, rush. It can be relaxed, with time to spend with the family. Oh, and to watch the parade! I love the parade!

The rest of the weekend was spent doing projects with the kids and starting the decorating for the next holiday!

This is our mantel, where there used to be a wood-burning stove but now the TV is there. This is the train that my Dad made many years ago. It is very large and needs a long space to put it, and it hasn't been out for a long time. The mantel is just barely long enough to hold it!

One thing that my husband and I did was go looking for branches for a project of mine. We went to a little wayside and took a walk in the woods to find some branches we could "prune" and take home. We would probably have gotten in a lot of trouble if we got caught...good thing we didn't, huh? I laid the branches out and got an idea of which way to turn them. I trimmed off some of the small branches and left others, so that I would still have some greenery but not too much. Then I tied one end of them together and and twisted them and wove them together to make a swag. Then my son hung it up on the porch for me and I hung some big Christmas balls on it (my mother made them about 30 years ago), and it looks real nice. I think it would have looked even better if we had one in each section of the porch, but hubby wasn't going back for more, so I had to make do with just one. In the other sections, I hung some cute snowflake ornaments I got at Cracker Barrel at an after Christmas sale at a REALLY good price. They are too big to hang on my tree, because my trees are never that big, but I liked them and I knew I could use them somewhere, so I've carried them around for about 6 years!

I don't have the lights and garland, etc. up yet. One step at a time, please. You can't see it very well, but the white snowflake has a snowman face in the middle. It's really cute!

Well, that's enough rambling for today. Back tomorrow with a project! Until then remember..."every great dream begins with a dreamer." Harriet Tubman

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Christmas is coming!

Good Morning Tuesday bloggers! I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but I'm so looking forward to decorating for Christmas! Hope you had a nice weekend. I have been busy working on projects and enjoying my family. The grandkids are out of school every Friday this month, plus this whole week of Thanksgiving! That puts grandpa and me on kid patrol, since dad works and mom goes to school full time now. Yesterday we did the cutest little Christmas trees in preparation for decorating for the holidays. Night before last I couldn't sleep and I just kept working out in my mind this project for the kids to make. They are a take-off on the yo-yo trees I have been making, which I'll post photos of when they're done.

So, I just started by getting out my compass (the type you draw circles with, not the kind you find your way with) and making patterns of circles. I made circles of graduating sizes, starting with 1 1/4" and going up 8 sizes and ending with a circle 4" across. Then we cut them out of different scrapbooks cardstocks and punched holes in the middle of them. I have a long-neck punch that I used on the bigger circles, but you could use a punch meant for putting in eyelets and such. 

Start with a length of 1/8" or 1/4" ribbon, about 24" long. String a bead or bell onto the ribbon and fold it in half, with the bell at the fold. From now on, everything you put on the ribbon will go on both ends at once, and I found it was easier for the kids if we threaded the ribbon ends through a big yarn needle. Next, thread on a small thread spool and push it down against the bell. This is the tree trunk. Now string your largest paper circle, then a bead or two, then the next size circle, then a bead or get the picture. We staggered plain colors with prints, and I say a bead or two because it depends on the size beads you are using and how tall you want your tree to be. After you do a couple of them, you will see what I mean. You can make then short and squatty (and very cute that way) or tall and slender, just by varying the amount and size of the beads you use. When you put the last circle on, you can top the tree with a bead or a star or a bow, whatever you like. You could even NOT top it with anything! That would make it a "natural" tree. I just happened to have these cute star beads that came from a kids' necklace that I bought at a yard sale for .50! Wasn't that lucky? And they are the perfect size for these trees. The kids loved them, too, so that made them perfect. Here's the finished product.

From the side you can see the beads and the "trunk".

A close-up.

From the top, you can see that not all the cardstock was two-sided but....

...when they are hung from the ceiling, you won't see that side, anyway.

Aren't they cute? My gandkids are 10 and 11 and this was easy for them. The hardest part for kids will be the cutting of the circles, and little ones' circles might not be too round, but I think that would make them all the more precious. I'm hoping to make some with the other grandkids when we go to Elko for Christmas. I have a few other things planned for the holidays with the family, too. It's going to be so much fun!

Anyway, that's it for today. I hope you will try some of these little trees. They are fun, fast and easy to make, and they look so cute hanging up. BTW, mine won't go up until after Thanksgiving, so I hung them on a yardstick and put it across the knobs of the cupboard doors. That's why they look a little funny and have such big shadows. It was the best way I could think of to hang them for you.

I read the funniest thing the other day by someone names Irv Kupcinet. He said, "An optimist is someone who starts a diet on Thanksgiving Day." I'm glad I already started mine, but I'm sure I'll be mad at myself the week after, when my lack of self control will show on the scale. Have a good week, and there won't be any Friday Friends this week, because I will be shopping! Until next time,

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Friends!

OK! It's Friday Friends! day I have been schlepping around the internet and finding some really great things. Come, let me show you.

First up is Stephanie over at Somewhat Simple. She and her team do a fantastic  job at sharing ideas on lots of topics. I don't know which one of them wrote this post but I fell instantly in love with these little "Wacky Sacks". I plan to make them with the grandkids over the Christmas holidays. Go see the whole post here:   .

Next up are the cutest little cardboard gourds from Design Sponge. So simple yet so elegant. Again, this blog has more than one contributor, and this project is courtesy of the BBB Craft Sisters. I can see pears and apples made this way, too. Maybe some little grapes. That would be a challenge. Or a bell pepper. Talk about challenges! Anyway, go checkout the tutorial and see what I'm talking about.

Our next project is a BIG project. It's a wall covered with wood from pallets, and it is beautiful! I know there is a lot of controversy about using pallet wood, but Chris gives a link to some really good information. I have no problem with pallet wood as long as it's clean (I bleach it and scrub it) and doesn't have too much guck. Check out this really cool project at

Last is a cute project that caught my eye while blog-surfing last week. It's from Ashley over at Lil Blue Boo, and she calls the post "Spin-Spiration", which is a very appropos name, as you'll see when you go check it out and read the story behind the project.

Well that's the line-up for today. I hope you enjoy all these great projects and check out their other posts while you're there.

I have had a good week this week and I count myself lucky for that. I'm a great believer in luck...I find the harder I work, the more I have!  Until next time,

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Yummy Lemon Cookies

Sorry about the lack of posts this week. I have been so busy trying to get projects done that I totally spaced everything else. I'm trying to get my Relief Society 6 Sundays of Christmas done and out of my hair, along with gifts for the grandchildren, 16 of them, most of which I'll actually be seeing this year, and working on my 12 Days of Christmas for this blog. That doesn't count the cooking and cleaning and taking care of kids in between. But I'm not complaining....I'd rather be busy than bored!

This is going to be short, because I have to get to work on my Friday Friends! post for tomorrow. I really try to have it done on Thursday night because it makes it so much easier than getting up at the crack of dawn to do it. The last couple of weeks it's been late, but I'm trying to get back on track. So what you're going to get today is a recipe for the best and easiest lemon cookies you'll ever make! I got this recipe from my sister-in-law many years ago and it is still one of my favorites.

Quick Delicious Lemon Cookies

1 lemon cake mix (without the pudding)
4 oz. Cool Whip
1 egg, beaten

Mix ingredients together by hand and drop by spoonfuls into a bowl of powdered sugar and roll around until well coated. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake 10-15 minutes on 325. Do NOT let them get brown! They will crack and look very pretty.

I hope you enjoy the cookies, and I'll be back tomorrow.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I have been busy all day working on my 6 Sundays of Christmas for Relief Society. I decided on the scripture to go with the mouse: "And every creature which is in heaven, and on earth.....heard I saying, Blessing and honour, and glory, and power, be upon him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." Revelations 5:13.  I actually found a few scriptures with the word mice in them, but they weren't right for what I am doing, so I went with creature, as in "not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse." Hehe :) I printed it on a little tag and tied it to his ear. Then I cut out mangers and the cards to go with them, printed, cut, folded and glued snowflake wrappers, and printed the activities for the 12 Days of Christmas paper chains. All that's left is to make the baby Jesus's to go with the mangers, and the glass bubble magnets that will say, "Jesus is the Reason for the Season", and cut the paper chain links. Not too bad. I'll post a photo of it all when I get everything done.

I've got a quick recycled craft for you. So easy and so handy. A while back, I bought a big chalkboard sticker frame thing to go on the front of my refrigerator. Hubby and I saw it at Target and we thought it would be cool to have, so we got it and put it up right away.

You'll notice that even thought it's up, it still doesn't have photos in the openings. Soon, soon! Anyway, we have been keeping the chalk and eraser on top of the fridge, where no one can reach it of course, so I decided to do something about that, and I created this.

In case you can't tell :) it's a SPAM can! I tried a round can as a pencil holder last summer, and even though I used 4 really strong magnets, it keep rolling off the fridge and dumping all the pencils all over the floor! The SPAM can prevents that problem and works like a charm. Now we can all find the chalk when we need it (and now it doesn't roll off onto the floor between the fridge and the wall, which is just darned inconvenient!) and the kids can reach it so we don't have to keep getting it for them.

That's my project for today. Not much, but a handy little thing, nonetheless. Now I have to get my Visiting Teaching done. See you later, and don't take yourself so seriously. Nobody else does.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Friends!

Today on Friday Friends! we have a cornucopia of ideas. Did you like that little play on Thanksgiving? With that holiday getting closer and closer, my thoughts are turning more to those things for which I am grateful. And one of those things is all of you and the time you put in to making your blogs so "I wanna"-ble. (Do you like my new word?) So here's our offerings for today....

If you've never visited Cindy at Skip To My Lou, you've been missing a real treat. And she does this wonderful linky party every Monday called "Made by you Monday". If you have a project you want to share, or you need an idea for something to make, pop on over to her blog, and you will not be disappointed. . If you plan to join the party, be early! It fills up very fast. I put a project on there this week...... I found the party on Monday, and on Tuesday when I joined, I was already number 566!!! So make your plans today and be there bright and early on Monday.

Next up is Jill at Homemade by Jill. She's the mother of two young children, and her blog is great! Every year I give homemade hot chocolate as gifts to friends and family, and every year I look for something cute to put it in. Well, I found it here! These are the cutest little tins and not very expensive,either, according to Jill. So check them out here:

At Bee in our Bonnet, you will find great ideas and fun stuff, despite the differing opinions of the two sisters who blog here. They each bring their own perspective to the blog, but they both share a common desire. Here's what they say on the side bar of their blog. "We are two sisters in the midst of motherhood trying to keep our sanity by entertaining ourselves with projects. Our methods and personalities are different but we have the same goal, which is to enrich the lives of our families and enjoy our creative outlets." I think most of us have those same goals, so its easy to relate to their often amusing writings. Today, I am sharing with you a cute little loaf of Amish Friendship Bread. If you dont' have a recipe for your own, I will be posting one here soon as part of my Twelve Days of Christmas series. This gives you a really cute way to package and present it to family and friends.

And last but not least today is Kerry at Baker Girl. She has a degree in Criminal Justice, which is where my daughter-in-law is headed right now, and do to unforeseen circumstances, has taken to baking instead, and I think she's found her true calling. See if you agree when you check out these adorable Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies at .

Aren't they adorable? And yummy, too, I'll bet!

Well, that's the line-up for today. I hope you enjoyed it and will come back next Friday, when I'll have more cute blogs for you to visit. Mae West said, "Too much of a good thing is wonderful!" and I agree totally.

To end my post today, I want to say Thank You to all those who serve or have served in the military. My dad was a 21-year veteran and red, white and blue blood runs in my veins. He was my hero and taught me many things in his quiet, unassuming way. I will always be proud of him and remember him with love. I hope that every soldier out there today has someone to remember them with love. Here is my dad as a very young serviceman. He passed away 25 years ago yesterday at the age of 60, just months after retiring to enjoy life.

I love you, daddy.

Until next time,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

KrisMouse tutorial

Oh man, I'm tired today. We spent all day yesterday shopping and waiting in line at the Verizon store. Came home at 2 so we'd be here for the kids, then left again at 5:30, dropped off Hally and her friend at Girls Scouts and headed for Wal*Mart. Got home around 9. And after all that, I couldn't get to sleep, so I only had about 3 hours of sleep! Okay, that's enough whining.

I promised you a tutorial for the KrisMouse, so here it is. If I don't explain something clearly or you have any questions at all, just drop me a message and I will answer the best I can.

You will need 4 ft. of fat macrame cord. Mine is a woven nylon type that is really strong. Cut one piece 12 inches and one piece 36 inches. Fold the short one in half and the long one so that one end is about 4" longer than the other. Loop the short one around the long one.

Now, for ease of keeping things in place, pin them to a piece of foam core as shown. Pin the center where the cords meet, and then about 2-2 1/2" out from that pin on the two arms of the long cord.

If you have ever done macrame or made macrame friendship bracelets, this will be a walk in the park for you. Take the right arm of cord and cross it over the two legs of the short piece and under the left arm. Then take the left arm under the legs and up through the loop formed by the right arm.

This ties one half of a square knot around the short pieces. Now you have to tie the other half of the knot, and if you've ever been a scout, you know that a square knot is right over left, left over right. So you're going to start with the left arm this time, taking it over the legs and bringing the right arm over it, under the legs and up through the loop formed by the left arm.

You have now made one whole square knot! Cinch it up real tight, keeping your loops pinned down, so you don't lose them.

Now you have to make two more whole square knots the same way.  If you don't do them right, you will know it. They will look funny and they won't lay flat. If you always remember to start your knot with the right arm, you will soon get the hang of it.

Here's what it should look like when you have them done. (Kind of looks like a little man with his arms behind his head, doesn't it?) One end should be longer than the other because it will be the tail. Now, I want you to take hold of the two legs with one hand and hold the knotted section with the other and pull on the legs. This will pull the top of the short piece down into the knots and form the loops into ears! Pull on your loops to even out the size of the ears.

Now you will need your hot glue gun and I recommend you have a glass of ice water near, because the glue can bleed through the cording and burn you, and if you have ice water handy you can just plunge your finger into it and stop the burning instantly! OK. You will notice that one of the cords is coming out of the front of the knot and the other is coming out of the back. Turn the mouse so that the longer cord is coming out of the front of the knot facing you. This will be the back of the mouse. You are going to put some hot glue at the bottom of the mouse and pull the SHORT end over it to the long cord.

After the glue cools, clip the end of the short cord off right next to the glue.

Now put two lines of hot glue on the back and fold the legs up onto it and hold them until the glue cools, then trim them close to the glue.

Now for the finishing touches. Glue a piece of magnet strip to the back. This will cover up the ends of the cord that you cut off.

Turn it over and glue two little googly eyes and a tiny pom-pom nose to his face. Lastly, tie a bow on the end of his tail and fluff out the end, and !Voila! You're done. You have a cute little KrisMouse to perch on your fridge to remind you that the best things about Christmas aren't always the big things.

I hope you were able to understand these directions. I tried to teach as if you knew nothing, so some of it may seem a little redundant, but better too much info than not enough.

As we move into the Thanksgiving season and look forward to the Christmas season, I am reminded of a quote from Hamilton Wright Malvie...."Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love." I love this time of year and the feelings of live that curl their way into the hearts of even the toughest of us. Just imagine the state of the world if we had these feelings all year round! I hope you are all getting into the spirit of the celebration ahead. Until tomorrow,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Christmas is Coming!

Wow! I am already through 1 Nephi! I read one chapter on Sunday, two chapters on Tuesday, and yesterday I found it so interesting that I didn't stop until I was all the way through the 22 chapters of 1 Nephi. That's a first for me. I usually flake out around chapter 5 or 6 and have to push myself to go any further. I seem to be understanding a lot more this time, too, so that's good.

I am the Relief Society chorister in my ward in Gold Hill, Oregon, and I am planning to do a little something for my ladies for Christmas. I wanted to do the 12 Days of Christmas, just like I do here on my blog, but I didn't have the idea until it was too late. I would have had to start the first Sunday in October for that to work. So I'm doing six days instead, starting on the 20th with a little red Christmas mouse. I'm still searching out the scriptures and quotes, etc. that I will use, but I think it will be fun. Here is the little mouse.

Sorry about the photo being blurry. Tomorrow I will have a tutorial for you and you'll get the whole "tail."

This is a short post today because its grocery shopping day. I need to go get my husband up, now that the kids are gone to school, so we can get out of here and back before noon. See you all tomorrow with the KrisMouse, and hopefully the scripture or something to go with him. Until then, here are some words from Albert Einstein, "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Album

It's Monday again, the beginning of a new week. And for me, a new challenge. I have decided it's time for me to read the Book Of Mormon! I am ashamed to say that I am 56, almost 57, and I have never read it from cover to cover. I fell like such a slacker, but I know I'm not the only one, so if you haven't read it either, join me for the challenge. I plan to have read the whole book by the end of the year! I looked at my old copy of just the Book of Mormon yesterday and thought to myself, why haven't I read this? It is the foundation of my beliefs, a testament of Christ, the story of the peoples who lived on this continent where I now live. If this were a well-written mystery, I would have it read in a matter of hours. A really complicated novel  might take a few more days, but I've been trying to read this one for 30 years! What is taking so long? So that's my challenge to anyone of you who is LDS and hasn't read the Book of Mormon yet. Get busy! Let me know if you are going to take the challenge and we will keep track of one another.

This weekend was a lazy one, which was nice after the busy month we've had.. I love holidays, but I really like them when they're over, too. And this time of year, we don't get much of a respite, so I try to take advantage of what little down time we DO get. I've had two little projects going this last week and I finished them up this weekend. Well, I finished one of them. The other one is actually just getting started, But we'll come back to that. The first project was a little album for the pumpkin patch and carving pictures. I started out with a really big tag, and built the book from that. I had two terra cotta colored pieces of really heavy cardstock that I used for the cover. .I cut 5 tag pages from different fall colors of cardstock and then arranged them in a pleasing order.

I used a photo of part of the pumpkin patch on the front, and I didn't have enough letters from any one font to make the title, so I mixed them all up. I painted and antiqued and gilded and stamp-padded until I got the look I wanted. Then I took all my photos and decided what order I wanted them in and started on the pages. I knew I wouldn't use all my photos, but I printed them all anyway so I was free to choose while I created. For me, its easier that way.

I still want to add a few little embellishments, like some little bats on the page with the black silhouette tree, and something sparkly on the last page, I'm not sure what. But its basically done and I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

The other project I finished last night. Kind of.....Its my gratitude journal for November, and now that the book is done, the project is really just beginning. Remember I said last week that I was going to make one. I decided to make the cover really simple, because its what's inside that matters, not what's on the cover. I used a Crayola sketchbook for my base, because I plan to paint and draw and doodle and whatever takes my fancy. Like a gratitude Art journal, so I wanted paper that would hold up to all those things. I removed the spiral binding so I could cover the cover. (hee-hee) Make that covers, because I did the back cover, too. Then I tied some ribbon and jute and glued on the letters. I liked the title on the pumpkin book, so I did the same thing on this one. I like it a lot. Now I have to catch up on my writing. Show you some later.

Well, that's all for today. It was a pretty fruitful weekend and I'm feeling better about myself, too. Remember, if you think you can, you can, and if you think you can't, you're right! You choose what side you're on. Until next time,

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