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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Making invitations.....

It's 2:28 am and I can't sleep. My family is having some trouble right now and I have one daughter who isn't speaking to me and another who is probably really mad at me, too, and it's interrupting my sleep pattern, which isn't all that great anyway. As I've said before, my family can be very volatile.

This is my two beautiful daughters.
I'm busy making invitations for my Relief Society's birthday dinner. Relief Society is the women's group of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we'll celebrate the 170th birthday on March 17th, but there is another activity planned on that day, so we are having our birthday dinner in February, instead. The theme is "Hats Off to You" and we'll be showcasing the talents of the sisters in our ward. We have a very diverse group of sisters and it should be interesting. We (the RS board) made favors that are little wide-brimmed hats to go at every place setting, and so I'm putting little hats on the invitations and posters, too. I used a big circle punch for the brim piece, and I thought my smaller punch would be good for the crown piece, but it was too small, so I had to cut 80 little circles by hand. And I hate cutting circles! Oh, well, at least it wasn't 160 I had to cut! All the little hats are made, but now I've decided they need a little inking on the edges, so that's what I'll be doing tomorrow......uh, today. Then I have to get started on the posters. I'm not sure how I'm going to do them, yet, but I have ideas going through my head.

I'm going to start a new feature called Wednesday's Wealth. It will be about the little things that make us rich, the kind of wealth you cannot buy but have around you every day. You'll see what I mean tomorrow.

As I look at the picture above, I think I should show you my sons, too. I don't want them to feel left out. So here they are, my handsome sons.

Well, this is a short post, but I better go back to bed and try to get some sleep. Sweet dreams to all of you. See you tomorrow.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Friends

It's Friday time la la la la! If you could hear me, I would be singing. I love Friday Friends! It gives me an opportunity to go browsing among your blogs that I might not take the time for as often otherwise. I'm still looking for Valentine's Day goodies, and I found some more good stuff.

First, we have  Julie, Tammie, Joy, Krista and La Tisha, who have a really cute blog called Glue Guns and Spatulas. This post is actually from Valentine's Day 2010, but it is so cute, I thought you wouldn't care. Go check it out at .

Next are the girls over at The Mother Huddle. Their blog is cute, funny and informative. They have lots of things going on all the time and it's very worth a visit. The post I'm linking to has seven different Valentine's ideas, plus, if you click on the heart garland on the header, you will find even more ideas! So go on over to and check out the madness.

Over at Mom On Time Out, Trish has put together Love Bugs that are really cute. Her oldest boy is in kindergarten this year, and so Valentines are a BIG deal! I know he had a blast making these little bugs to give to all his friends.

And for our grand finale today, I have a Velentine's Linky party from Someday Crafts. Go to this link and you will find a plethora of crafts for the day of the heart. And it's open until February 14th, so you can check back daily or weekly, or whatever fits your schedule, for new ideas, or link up your own project! Here is a photo of just one of the projects shown.

I hope you have enjoyed these friends as much as I have and will continue to visit. And leave them a comment. Everyone loves comments. Tell them you saw them here.

I don't know who said this, but I like it. "Creativity, it has been said, consists largely of re-arranging what we know in order to find out what we don't know." Are you actively engaged in re-arranging?Let me know what you are doing to increase your creativity. Until next time,

P.S. Oh my gosh, I just realized I forgot to hit the publish button! Sorry this is so late.....I actually finished it about 7:30 this morning!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It's Thursday already!

Do you ever have those weeks where time gets away from you and all of a sudden it's the middle of the week?!? This has been one of those for me. We celebrated Chinese New Year on Monday, which meant I cooked ALL DAY ! Holy moly, I didn't think it would be so exhausting! Don't get me wrong, it was worth it and I would do it all over again if needed, but I was so tired by the end of the night that I fell asleep on the couch. Then, I've been working on the template, etc. for my new blog, and that always takes longer than I think it will. Oh, the decisions.......text color, font and font color, background color, label color, design, width, yadda yadda yadda! I know you know what I'm talking about. It's fun, but it's time-consuming. I posted my first "real" post today, introducing my partner and just saying Hi to get started. I hope you will go visit us at .

Then, I spent yesterday at the temple and the Family History Center. I left at 7:15am and got home at 4:00pm. A long day. But the kind of day that gets me pumping for the rest of the week, so here I am, on a Thursday, blogging about my week.

I promised pictures of the celebration, so here you go. We started at the top and worked our way down.
Chinese lanterns help set the mood.

This is our table. Notice no silverware, only chopsticks. We all had fun getting the rice in our mouths!

Here is an individual place setting. Everyone had their own menu, plus a treat of chocolate-dipped pretzel sticks and rice candy, and their Good Luck knots and dragon masks. We forgot to get the noisemakers out until after dinner.

I made WAY TOO MUCH food. This isn't even all of it. Some had to stay on the stove because we didn't have room on the table.

Aren't we lovely?

                                       Maybe we looked better WITH the masks?

   Hally and Cameron have a close-up. Cameron actually was born in the Year of the Dragon, 2000.

This is probably the ugliest cake I've ever made! I ran out of frosting and had neither the time nor the ingredients to make more, so I made sure to cover everything but the body, so at least he looked symmetrical. It was our fire-breathing cake.

This is what the kitchen looked like afterward. I think I used every bowl and most of the pans in the house! And guess what? My sweet hubby did the dishes for me! And I was going to help him, but he wouldn't let me, so my daughter-in-law helped instead. Wasn't that nice of them? I was so tired I could hardly stand up, so I was glad to let them do it.

Well, that was our celebration. I hope you enjoyed sharing it with us. Did you do anything for Chinese New Year? I would love to hear all about it. Send pictures and I will post them. Until tomorrow,

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year!

Today is Chinese New Year and it's officially the Year of the Dragon! We are going to celebrate by having a Chinese dinner with dragon decorations, masks, and a dragon cake, if I get it done. I got most of my ideas from Just go to their website and scroll down 'til you see the dragon, and then click on the things you want to see. They have lots of fun ideas and even recipes for easy dishes. Some of them my kids would never try, like the shrimp wontons, but I'm just adjusting them by using ground pork instead of the meats or seafood that they won't eat. I found a Chinese/English translating website and made a menu with real Chinese characters and I will put one of these at each place setting, along with a Chinese Good Luck knot. I got those instructions from YouTube. (You can find almost anything there!) I hope it will be lots of fun, and that the kids will learn a little something about the Chinese culture. I'm going to find out when it will be midnight in China and we will all yell "Happy Chinese New Year!!!" and use our noisemakers and then have Dragon Cake. I will post photos of the table when its all set. I'm excited to do this with my grandkids. I used to do crazy things like this with my own kids and they still remember, so now it's time to make memories with their children. I just wish more of them lived close enough to join in.

Any way, here are some photos of our Chinese New Year projects. In the first one you can see all of our dragons.

We have little felt dragons, dragon masks and a ribbon dragon to go down the middle of the table. In the second photo, you can see all the noisemakers. They have a dragon on one side and the Chinese character for Spring Luck on the other side. I found out that the Chinese have a different character for luck in each of the seasons, and since it's almost Spring, that's the one I used.

We decorated the paper strip that goes around the side of the noise maker, too.  The last two photos are the Chinese Good Luck knots. I made them from some leftover Parachord I had. They were really easy to make. I was surprised at how fast I learned!

The close up looks like I had some kind of filter on the camera. The cord is actually hot pink! I'm not sure what happened, but I wanted you to see the knot up close. I couldn't believe how easy it was.

I'll be back tomorrow with a report on the dinner and whether it was a success or not, plus photos. Until then, here's an old Chinese saying for you: "If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a month, get married. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else." Pretty good wisdom, if you ask me. See you tomorrow! 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Friends!

It's Friday again and I have been having so much fun looking at Valentines ideas!! It's not too far away, you know, and now is the time to get supplies, if you need them, and decide what to make this year. Even if you don't have kids in your home, Valentine's Day can be a fun holiday. So here are some cute ideas for you to look at. I hope you like them as much as I do. When you visit these blogs or websites, be sure to leave a comment telling them you saw them here on Friday Friends. Thanks!

Let's start with The Creative Homemaker. Angela and Heather have such fun ideas for Valentine's Day. This link will take you to a darling project for using board books. It' doesn't have to be a Valentine's project, but it sure could be. And if you look at the sidebar and click on Valentines, they have a LOT of cute ideas. Give them a visit and take a look around. You'll like what you see, I'm 100% sure.

I found for you some instructions on making your own baker's twine! Vanessa at Nifty Thrifty Things is a young graphic designer living with her Texan hubby in Germany. Sounds interesting in itself, doesn't it?  Well, she  has a very simple DIY for making baker's twine that anyone can follow. I need some for one of my Valentine's Day cards and I am so glad to be able to make it myself. And in any color I want! I thought you might want to know how, too, so go find out how at .

I am a big fan of a website/blog called How Does She? I have been receiving their newsletter for some time now and they always have something fun or interesting for me to  look at. Shelley, Missy and Alison not only have great ideas, but they collect them from other contributors, too, so you get a well-rounded assortment of posts and projects. The post I'm linking to today is, of course, on Valentine's Day. There is a cute little mailbox (pictured) and a love notes pillow, a hugs and kisses jar and a few other projects to fill all that spare time you have (she says with tongue in cheek).  Go on over and check them out. And leave a comment. They love comments. Let them know you saw them here on my blog.

I also subscribe to a blog called Something Turquoise, and today's post was such a cute idea that I had to include it today! The blog is a wedding blog, and even though I have no children getting married, I like to look anyway. Today, she posted a DIY guest book/time capsule. It almost makes me wish one of my kids would get married again! :) (NOT!)  I can see this idea being used for anniversary parties, or birthday parties. Imagine a Sweet 16 time capsule that wouldn't bet opened until she was 25. What fun that would be! Anyway, check out this site for good wedding ideas or just to look around.

I also think this would make a cute gift for teachers. The class could put notes to the teacher in the jar and then come back and read them next year. When I was teaching I would have loved that!

Well, that's it for today. I hope you enjoyed the diverse friends we saw today. Diversity is a good thing. If we were all the same and had the same thoughts and ideas, how boring would the world be! I love the fact that I am different from you, and you are different from her. We should be able to keep boredom at bay by being our oh-so-different selves. Until next time,

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Vacations may not be such a good thing!

I'm thinking that taking a vacation from the blog was not necessarily a good idea. I can't seem to get back in the swing of things. I used to get up at 6 or 6:30 and blog before anyone else was up. That way, I didn't get caught up in life and forget to blog. Lately, I've been staying up way too late and sleeping in and then I run out of time to blog. This is not a good thing, because I like blogging! It helps keep me sane, giving me an outlet for my creative side, which doesn't get used as much as it used to. I need to craft and sew and make art. I mean, this is a physical NEED. If I let too much time go by in between projects, I go crazy. I get grumpy and crotchety and I bark and growl at everyone. No one likes me and frankly, I don't like myself when I get that way. So I WILL get my groove back so that I blog at least three time a week, if not more.

I've been working on a project for my new blog. I will have a little partner on that blog.....a duck named Crackers! She is a very fine duck (at least I hope she will be when I get her done) and I have spent a lot of time trying to get her just right. I wanted her to be cute and funny and NOT your run-of-the-mill duck, and I think I've got her just about right. Of course, she will probably evolve, too, just like a character in a book, and I've decided that's OK. She doesn't have to be the perfectly polished, suave duck right from the start. But she IS pretty cute, if I do say so myself. Here are some photos of her creation.

This is my first attempt. She is much too angular. I wanted her to be soft and cuddly looking, and this is NOT it. From the front, she is also way too triangle-y, too. So I scrapped that pattern and started over.

This is the new and improved version. I still had to make a few adjustments as I was sewing, but it fit together pretty well.

She has long, very un-duckly legs, and big feet like me. I put wire in her legs and her wings, so she can be posed for different things. The more I sewed on this last prototype, the more excited I got, because she was coming together just like I wanted her to. I had this picture in my mind and she was starting to match it. At last!!!

She is emerging! In order to turn her right-side out, I had to pull her wings and bill out first. I think it kind of looks like she's hatching. The legs had to be sewn in after she was turned right side out, because there wasn't room for them inside the body.

Here she is, sitting on her legs! They haven't been sewn in yet, but I needed a photo, so I fudged a little. You can see the tops of her leg-warmers, too. After all, long, skinny, little legs get cold, you know. I'll post another photo when she's all finished and ready for her debut. I have her sitting on the bookcase right now with her legs crossed and she looks like such a girl. I'm happy with this one. I took quite a few photos during construction because I may do a tutorial later.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing, along with doctor's appointments for my husband, lab work for me, a couple of projects with the I read this little saying on someone's blog once, and I'm sorry I can't remember which blog, but I thought it was cute and I wrote it down. It says, "Today I will be happier that a bird with a frunch fry," That's how I feel when I am creating, and I bet a lot of you do too. So keep it up. Create yourself silly, and the world will be a better place for all of us. Until next time,

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Friends!

Wow! Time flies, it really does! I have spent the whole week catching up and getting ready to launch a new blog for grandparents and grandchildren. I hope you'll all check it out when I get it really up and going. Anyway, today's first friend is a little different from my usual Friday Friends!

First up is Mormon Mommy Blogs. This is a community/website that encourage Mormon, or LDS women, to voice their feelings, fears, joy, stories of daily life, etc. etc. etc. And not all of the Mormon "Mommies" are women. There are some men blogging out there, too. And they are not all necessarily Mormon, either. This community consists of people who have the same values and want to be the best they can be at raising their families, living a good life, serving the a word, at being Christian. So if you are looking for a place to get inspiration and guidance while toiling through this mortal existence, check out this website. It's fantastic!

The next friend is Debbie Tenzer, who runs a website called . She is amazing! She decided a number of years ago that she was tired of hearing her friends bemoan the state of the world, and she was going to do something about it. She started a "kindness movement" and now has followers in over 90 countries around the world! She has also written a book called, funny enough, Do One Nice Thing. Every Monday she recommends a good deed and then profiles the people who do them. Just reading the stories will make you want to do a good deed, so check it out!

Next up is a blogger I learned about on Her name is Betz White and she is an author, designer, crafter and mom. This link will lead you to a fabric  star ornament that is great! I can think of lots of used for it besides Christmas, too. I think they would be great favors for a Relief Society talent night with the theme, "You're a Star". Or a Primary reward for scripture memorization. Think of what you could do with it for Young Womens!!!! Anyway, I hope you'll go to and see for yourself just how easy they are to make.

And last but not least, is Brie over at Breezy Pink Daisies. She is a special education teacher and she likes to craft and thrift and scrapbook. Just like me! :) She has a great blog with lots of cute and practical ideas. One I really like is her paper bag scrapbook/album. It's really bright and colorful and is a good look for the new year. Go to and see what I mean.

Well, that's it for today. Hope you will check out all these great bloggers and see what they have to share. You will be better for the endeavor. And remember, God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do. Have a nice day. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My New Nativity Set

I am the proud owner of a nativity set made by my grandchildren! I know Christmas is over, but I'm still finishing some things, so I'm letting you in on the fun.  It was one of the projects that I did with the kids over the holiday. I still have a couple of grandchildren that need to add their pieces, but they may have to wait until next year. For now, I have all the main pieces, some of which are in the oven right now, and I am starting the finishing work. I am doing the details and faces, etc., so they will be a matched set. They are so cute. Mostly they are short and kind of squatty, and I love them. They are made from salt dough, which my kids loved to use when they were young, and their children do, too.

Bags of salt dough!
We had to do a little experimenting, because I've never made free-standing stuff before, only ornaments that hang. The salt dough is really dense and heavy, so I finally figured out that we needed a base to build on. Aluminum foil was the best thing at hand, so I made these little foil cones, like something out of science fiction. (You can't hear me, but I'm humming the theme song from the Twilight Zone.)

As you can see in the before photo, they look white-ish and dried out after they are baked, but as soon as you varnish them, they look great. I am using acrylic paints and fabric paints to do the finishing details. If you make any salt dough stuff, you need to know that the paint doesn't stick very well to the plain dough, but if you put a coat of varnish or decoupage medium on it first, then you can paint it easily. Then give it another coat of varnish and it will be permanent. Here are some before and after photos.

You can tell Joseph isn't finished yet. He's waiting to be baked.

You can really see the difference in these photos. The before figures look all
dried and cracked and the finished ones look much better. Cute camel, huh?
He was too tired to stand up any longer. (So said the grandson who made it.)

The shepherds didn't get fancied up like the wise men, but this one had to have a crook. The other one, not done yet, has a lamb in his arms.

Salt dough is a very fun medium to work with, and truly inexpensive, too. If you have never worked with it before, you should try it. Kids love to work with clay and this is one of the cheapest ways I know of to create "works of art" that you can bake in your own oven and keep for years! I am going to make a tutorial, with all the things I've learned over the years about working with salt dough, so keep an eye out for that.

You know, the more I work with children, the more amazed I am. They are creative without even trying. They are SMART! I think kids today come out of the womb smarter than I will ever be. They are joyful. They spread joy without even knowing it. I love to watch them when they don't know they're being watched, to listen to them chatter and interact with one another, or just be by themselves, talking  to themselves or to imaginary friends, whichever the case may be. My little granddaughter sings ALL THE TIME. If she isn't singing actual words then she is humming, and I love to hear her making up her own little songs. Sometimes she drives me crazy because she sings the same line or phrase over and over and over again, but I still love the fact that she sings. As I leave you today, I want you to consider these words, written by Angela Scwindt: "While we try to teach our children all about life, they teach us what life is all about." Isn't that so true? Until next time,

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