Sunday, November 28, 2010

Decorating for the Holidays

 After a several busy days cooking and shopping it's time to finish the decorating for Christmas. I must admit we did get the tree up and the outside finished before Thanksgiving. Now it is time to try and complete the process. This is such a busy time of year, and everyday holds a purpose. Seems as if I am always running a few days behind schedule and a quart low on energy.

 I am working on a few things for the tree,trying to use the supplies I already have. Each year it's fun to come up with a totally different look for one of our trees. I was looking for an idea that would be quick and easy. The one thing,besides money I'm always short on this time of year,is time.
So I took some soft rope, a little larger than twine and began looking through my stash of fabric remnants. Once I decided on a fabric I tore strips about 1" wide and 3" to 4"long. I then simply tied the torn pieces of red bandanna fabric to the rope,leaving a few inches in between each one. I made it rather long so it could wrap around the whole tree.The red bandanna fabric gives it a very simple rustic look.
But I also think a glitzier fabric would be great too. Maybe even a collection of kids mittens tied to a rope. Now we have a reason to save all of those miss matched mittens our kids end up with each year. Either way the possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

So much to be Thankful for.

Two of helpers this year. They may need fireman gear
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving my youngest sons favorite holiday. I've commonly refered to it as a holiday designed by men who hated women. I mean who wouldn't love a day off from work to cook and clean, and then cook and clean some more. Don't miss understand,I love all holidays, but having spent most of my early married years away from home and family it felt like a day of triple duty. The main reason may be because I lived through three oven fires on Thanksgiving.

Thankfully the year of fire number one, I had a generous neighbor who felt pity on me.and let me finish my turkey in her oven. That year my Mother and Grandmother who had flown in to visit us in Michigan. It was also the year I learned the fine art of cooking all of the side dishes on a charcoal grill outside in the freezing cold. My Grandmother who had lived poor ,and hard in the hills of Kentucky never missed a beat. She took control each dish at a time. We talked and talked about a million things as we cooked and "made do" and put Thanksgiving dinner on the table.

without actual pictures I thought this might look like a fire

 Fire number two happened the very next year. My Grandmother was there with us again,Thankfully. even better was that it only blew out my oven, I still had the range top. So that was the year I learned to finish cooking a turkey on two burners, as well as all the side dishes.

On the third fire which was many years would think we would have learned to eat out, wouldn't you. But on the third fire my whole family had come to our new house in Indiana.I was up very early and my Mom was keeping me company when it started. It was much worse then any I'd had before, so I of course lost complete control, and screamed "Mom get out of here".
Then like a totally frantic hostess with a house full of people ,I grabbed the canister of flour and threw it in the oven. Believe me that is not what you want to do, the flour blew up all over me, and my pajamas. So I now looked like a crazed hostess, with a house full of people. At this point I hollered up the stairs to my husband "the ovens on fire". My first husband was a man who normally was very slow and difficult to wake up,especially this early and on a day off.
Well from a dead sleep, he shot down those stairs, and into the kitchen completely dressed in a matter of nano seconds.

By now my whole family was up and had run down to see what all of the commotion was about. My always calm under pressure Mother never left the kitchen as I had asked. No, she quietly walked over to the oven and put out the fire. My brother who was now standing half dressed in my kitchen looked at my husband and said "wow I'm impressed, I've never seen you get up and move so fast this early". My husband responded, I've had a lot of experience with Thanksgiving oven fires. I wish I had a picture of how they all looked. Even better might have been a picture of how I looked.

At this point we all burst into laughter.

Yes it's my favorite holiday too, and though I don't ever want another oven fire, I do miss those years. What seemed like the worst moments at the time, turns out to be the moments you remember and miss the most.

Giving Thanks!

Being with family.....there's just so much to be Thankful for. Especially for new kitchen appliances and no more second hand!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Etsy shop,finally

I have finally taken the huge step and opened my Etsy shop last night. I have worried and fretted over this. My mind would recite "do I have my photos right"..."what about shipping"..."am I pricing my items correctly" and a dozens other reasons why I had remained frozen and not moving forward.

Hopewell Creek Designs first Etsy item
Then I decided just do it! Any mistakes I make, well I will simply chalk it up to the learning process. My mind knows that my cup is half full,but my brain will pour out some, and say "see it's almost empty". Well someone in this family has to be the worrier,so I guess it's me!

So now I'm focusing on what to add to the shop next.....but, oh no my brain just said "what if your shop isn't up and running yet?" Well little brain, they did say it could take 24 hours. "what if no one ever buys anything?" Well know it all brain, I will keep trying, and I will never stop creating because it brings me joy.
Take that brain!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A headband Play Hat

 Last summer while having dinner on vacation my youngest grandson Preston was given a paper pirate hat as we walked in the restaurant. Of course as usual his broke almost immediately. He was so sad because it was different then he had before and he was having so much fun that day. We all will forever love Nags Head North Carolina. I secretly tucked that torn hat into one of my many sewing bags for a future project idea. I completely forgot about it and just recently found it while cleaning out a very over stuffed sewing bag.

I decided to make a felt headband type hat that won't tear as you put it on. I then thought what about one for girls. Now girls that is a foreign land to me since I have only sons and grandsons. Well I guess that isn't entirely true. I do have an adorable niece, but at 14 I think she is a little too old now for hats and crowns.

 Wearing his new pirate hat,a tad sideways

a princess crown
After I finished this Preston said "Nana make me a birthday hat for my next birthday".
So it's on to the next idea! Birthday hats and crowns may be the next tradition I hope to make.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Another Trash to Treasure

        Many years ago when I was a young mother I was looking for an unusual way to package a Christmas gift. This was before being "green" was ever a common thought, it was more about just being poor in funds. It was also before Dollar Stores and even before the ever popular paper gift bags. I had just finished peeling potatoes for dinner and was heading to the trash bin to toss the bag they were in, when an idea came to me.The bags back then were a little different from what we commonly see today. Made mostly from a sturdy string material in a wide open weave.

I tore a few strips of fabric and began to weave them in and out of the open sections of the potato bag. I did them two different ways. One way was I would simply weave continually from bottom to top connecting another strip as I wove. The second way was I would weave the cloth strips and tie them off into a knot along the one side.
So the other day I decided to try this once again. With today's economy and the need to recycle and reuse I felt it could be a good fit.

 Since I seem to struggle with discarding containers or packaging that I think could be useful some day, I had a few bags saved to choose from. Unfortunately today's mesh bags (these are from lemons) are made primarily of plastic. The look and the feel is different, but the idea is the same.

The bag I picked was a bit too long. So after a few rows I cut it off to the length I wanted. You can either tie the strips together or tack them together with a needle and thread. Don't worry so much about neatness. The look with knots and raw edges showing gives it a rustic handmade charm.

When you are done you can tuck the salvage edge inside and stitch down.Allow a space at the top to be able to run a length of ribbon through so as to gather up and tie off. Or let the raw edge show like I did and tie the bag off with a strip of fabric. Either way will look great.

This bag is large enough to fill with some Christmas candy, a small gift,or gift card. They can be made as small or as large as you want and can be woven with any chose of fabric. Experiment and let me know what you come up with.
The best part is, it was made from scrap fabric and an item that was headed for the landfill.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Great Friend

What grade did Grandma get I wonder?
         I received an email from the husband of a very dear friend yesterday. He wrote saying that his wife Joyce was crafting once again. She was helping her grandson Jaden make a feather for him to hang in their classroom window. He teased and said "I was wondering if you could sell these,and should she too start her own blog" I thought to myself,she is crafting again?
Now Joyce and her husband Lee have been friends of mine for nearly 38 years! That certainly doesn't seem possible since we are only 40, and during those years I don't remember her ever being a big crafter. Not knowing what to expect I smiled when I saw her very colorful, and with just the right amount of "bling" feather for Jaden.

Now I suspect Jaden loved it very much, and once in the window it dazzled over the other feathers. But ask a child what they liked best, between the finished project or the time spent with Grandma. I believe they will always say the time spent with Grandma was the best.

The price for this feather $1gazillion dollars
So I replied to his email " Why yes, I could certainly sell these.  she should start her own blog
(doesn't everyone have a story to tell) and lets call it Joyce's Jeweled Kabob' life in the kiddie craft lane. He reported back to me, that when he spoke to her at her office she got a huge belly laugh about it all. I told him I planned to write about this, I hoped she wouldn't mind. He felt certain she wouldn't.

Crafting with your kids or grand kids is so special. Teaching kids to be creative is so very important I believe. Just the simple act of making something, anything can make the creative side of your brain spark like small bolts of lightning.

I remember when my boys were little and I needed something to fill an evening and focus some of their energy on. They were bored, and I needed something new to grab their attention. So I dumped a small pot of wet pasta on the table and we began to make designs. It was a messy moment but a great one too.

There are always moments for me where I don't feel I have flicker of creativeness. Once I pick up a piece of felt, a hand full of clay or dip my paintbrush into the water, it can begin. It's very much like being so hungry, and watching the table next to you at a restaurant being served first. You know that feeling, where your mouth starts watering as soon as you see their food. That's what happens to me when I get a new idea!
So get crafty with your little ones. Make a big artsy mess of paint, paper,glue and glitter, or whatever you're hungry for. 
What's the worse that can happen? Just fun and a big belly laugh I suspect, that's all!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A new tool

Several months ago I stumbled upon a web site for some of the most awesome and unique items. I immediately ordered several items I felt I couldn't live without. One of which are these awesome scissors. I am quite sure I will be able to find loads of ideas to put them to good use. They really work best on paper, tissue paper,wrapping paper and etc.
Think about the clever ways you could use these to wrap a gift.
I have to say that when they arrived they were wrapped up in brown tissue paper,tied at each end and cut with these scissors. Wrapped so nice I hated to open them.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Easy, simple Christmas idea.

I love magazines and there aren't many I don't already subscribe to. One of my best loved is Real Simple. In the November 2010 edition under the section called solutions, 6 new uses for a book, they showed an ingenious idea. I thought this would be great just about anywhere but especially in a library or in my daughter-in-laws English classroom. It certainly wouldn't damage the books. Many of us have old books gathering dust so this would be a super easy way to decorate and not spend a dime. If you don't have any old books I know they can be found at any thrift or Goodwill stores for very little. My childhood encyclopedia's would have worked perfectly for the base of the tree.

Well now it's time to sit back and savor my new Mary Jane's Farm magazine that just arrived. Oh that is another one of my best loved monthly addictions.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Floyd Central Theater does it again

Another wonderful evening spent with family at our local high school theater. Amy decided at the last minute to invited a friend of Patrick's to join us. What a fun treat that was. I so enjoy the company of my teenager grandson,add in a few of his friends and now you've got entertainment.
Derek and Patrick are class mates in Mr Bundy's drama class. They may be in other classes together as well, I'm not sure. But what fun they are together, Tweedledee Dee and Tweedledum Mr. Bundy called them when we laughed and spoke after the play. As Mr. Bundy put it " I never know what will come out of theirs mouths in class". They certainly keep him laughing.
Now back to the main subject, I tend to wonder off especially about my grand kiddos. The play we saw was the very funny The Drowsy Chaperone. It was wonderfully funny and so much fun. These kids, sometimes it is hard to remember that they are only high school children, hit the speech and tone of 1928. Most of these kids have probably never seen a movie from the 1930's. That time period had a certain type of speech and mannerism that was so very evident in this play.
If you are not familiar with the vast talent in our area high schools, check out the documentary entitled Guys 'N Divas battle of the high school musicals. Director Barry W. Blaustein ( a former writer for Saturday Night Live) produced and directed it. Showtime then aired it on August 27 2009. It highlighted the lives of each schools theater program. I must admit I am not very familiar with the program at New Albany H.S. and even less at the third school, Jeffersonville H.S. So I can't say if the documentary accurately portrayed each student or teacher fairly. I did enjoy watching it when it aired but fear that it may have been edited in such a way to make it more entertaining. Either way it was a wonderful opportunity for these dynamic theater programs to be seen by a wider audience.
Floyd Central and New Albany have both put on performances that could rival Broadway. Both schools have won many national awards allowing these schools to take their talents on the road. For many years our much loved Floyd Central H.S. has been able to perform in such places as Nebraska and Scotland.
What better way to spend 15.00 for an evening of entertainment than your local high school theater.
Support your local arts!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The creek behind our house has been such a fascination to all of us.Ever since Amy our daughter in law found an arrowhead we have been addicted with treasure hunting. The boys would be down there all the time if we let them,especially in the summer. We keep a box in the barn with their boots and buckets and tools all for exploring.I have to admit they have found some great fossils down there. But for some reason we have found lots of rocks that have a perfect circle cut out in them, or a concave area like a bowl shape. Then it seems we will find a perfectly round rock that can fit. I will gather these up and photograph them, because they are unusual.
I just had a thought. I have stamps for scrapbooking that when they are heated and then pressed against a surface it makes a reverse copy as a stamp. It then will stay that way until it is heated again to be removed or redone. I think this would be a great craft idea with the kiddos. That way we can share our great finds with eveyone in some pictures or gift wrap and tags.
Don't ya just love new craft ideas!

Treasure instead of trash

It easily pulls out. Now just remove the sticky tabs
Side view showing the cute picture
I was recently cleaning my desk in my office and was about to toss a Puffs tissue box in the trash. It was one I had bought from their Halloween collection. On one side it has a hologram picture I think it's called.You know where if you move the picture the characters move or change. I noticed I could easily tear the picture out to save. Not exactly sure what I plan to do with them, but I now have three set aside. Since I have three grandson's I think next year they could make a great addition to some handmade cards for Halloween. I think I do have some pack rat tendency, not to a bad, scary, family intervention level.....but sometimes trash can really become a wonderful free treasure!
I will let you all know.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Persimmons,Pumpkins & Pies

I so love the fall season. It really looked as if this fall wasn't going to be very pretty,blamed on the drought we have had. However as the season progressed suddenly the colors began to show.

 There was one particular morning while driving into the office that was most spectacular. The sun was so bright that morning, and was just beginning to peek over the tree tops. It was quite a sight to see as it  lit up a group of trees with their bright crimson red leaves. So bright they almost appeared on fire. It made a repetitive, mundane drive into work so much more enjoyable. I wish I could have snapped a photo, but I don't believe it would have done it justice.

Halloween was a wonderful day with the kiddos, each one in his costume and anxious to hit the street and scream TRICK OR TREAT! My oldest grandson who is now 15,and much too old to beg for candy, was encouraged to come up with a costume to hand out candy. And boy did he, four little letters written across his face.... BOOK. As my niece Lindsey said it best, the idea was BRILLIANT!!! ( even though he borrowed it from The Office). The funny part is not one of his friends figured it out. Oh how I love teenagers, they make me laugh daily.

So now with Halloween behind us it's on to Thanksgiving! So much to do. Dig out those serving platters and dishes. Shopping, cleaning and preparing for our family to all be together. It is a busy day for sure, and then it's up at the crack of dawn to kick off the Christmas shopping extravaganza. There's a menu to put together ,even though it seems we always serve the same basic dishes. I try to add something new each year.....but traditional dishes are sacred to most families, and never more than on Thanksgiving.

No more Persimmon trees

Nana's treasure hunters who have big imaginations
The only persimmon our one little tree produced
I am so sad that our once healthy persimmon trees have one by one died this year. It has been a huge mystery! Last year our little tree up near the house was so loaded with fruit that the branches nearly hit the ground. We know that the deer as well as the grand kids enjoyed running down to nab a few each day. We now seem to think that the trees have been infested with bugs. Could it be due to the drought? I wonder. How silly to be so sad over the loss of a few trees, but it is a fun treat we shared with the kiddos and now it's gone.