Friday, December 14, 2012

A MONTH OF REFLECTION & BUSY WORK

For me December brings lots of things. The flurry of holiday activity. Shopping, baking, visiting. The busyness of clearing out the gardens and prepping the yard for winter. Taking care of our island birds, making sure the suet and seed feeders are continually full. Dragging out the winter clothes and packing away the summer clothes. Adjusting the thermostat.

But it is more than that. It is about reflecting back on how the year went. For us, the year was challenging in many ways.




The sad passing of our beloved Milo (our 14 year old sweet Golden Retriever), who we are still missing like crazy. That seemed to pull us in a downward spiral, and everything we did had Milo in our thoughts. Even today our walks are sad reminders of our darling boy.

I turned 60, and we had a huge party here for 60 friends- dining in our field, which took months of 3 hours a day in the garden to prep it for the guests. It was very gratifying, but a ton of work- a labor of love if you will. The garden looked great, the guests had a great time. It truly was our party of the century (gotta say, my fingers are still stiff and sore from all the work). I wouldn't have traded that experience for anything.

It seemed like every time we turned around something broke (Mercury in retrograde?) - something that needed money to repair...ack! New computers all around, refrigerator maintenance, a leaking deck which was pretty major- the list went on and on. 

It seemed most everything we did took a ton of energy to muster up. I suppose that is just the way life is sometimes. But I think it kind of wore us out. It has us really ready for the new year.

And with that, I can say we are really looking forward with fresh anticipation of what the new year will bring.

We don't usually do New Years resolutions, we prefer to set goals.  Whether they are personal, or project oriented. We have been so busy planning the holidays we haven't had much of a chance to think about what that means. 

One thing I know for sure- next year will be a better year- we're thinking more positively and will start with a new look at some of the projects we've considered starting in 2013. Between now and the New Year, we'll be thinking about our goals with eagerness and renewed vigor.

This most likely is the last post for me for 2012 (I would be surprised if I can eke out another post before 12/31)...so my wish for you is:

May your days be filled with joy and love and may you be surrounded by happiness and people you love.


Happy Holidays- and all the best in the new year.




Tuesday, December 4, 2012

GIRL TIME- HOLIDAY STUDIO TIME

Last weekend I invited some gal pals to join me in the studio for some bubbly and holiday creation fun. And fun we did have.

Of course, it has to start with some champagne and snacks.


 There were so many options to choose from. We ended up with with holiday card garlands, snow globes, holiday wrap, Christmas trees, ornaments, and more.

Here are a few snaps of our lovely creations.

lovely natural name tags or for place settings

Lauren wishing for snow with a bit of painting

friend Linda making garland magic happen


and some fun wrapping paper made with sponges cut in tree shapes and 'stamped' on craft paper

daughter Aleah made this lovely paper with rubber stamp pad and colorful pens
pal Kelly made these cute trees- this one with yarn and a styrofoam base

and this one with moss and pine cones


cute little ornaments made from plastic wine glasses (more on that in another post)
and of course, these little darling snow globes (more on these later as well) 
 What a fun way to spend the afternoon- with my gal pals gettin' all crafty. Thanks girls!

Friday, November 30, 2012

A LITTLE CHRISTMAS GARLAND PROJECT

OK, so how many of you have tons of old Christmas cards stashed in your back closet?

Here's a cute little project that is easy, fun and decorative for the holidays.

I took my old cards and cut them into circles and rectangles using cutters (found at your local craft store) to make these little lovelies.

Here's what you'll need:

-a stack of old Christmas cards
-a craft punch to the shape you like (I use circles and rectangles here)
-a tiny hole punch
-Elmers glue
-glitter (I like the non metallic ones that look like snow) 
-some colorful thick thread, or thin yarn



 Cut your cards to the shape that suits them, then use the small hole punch to add 2 holes at the top to string your thread/yarn through.



Then I take some glue and put it on a plate and run the edges of the cut cards through the glue, just giving it a bit of glue on all edges, and then run that through a plate of glitter and set out to dry. 



Let those dry, then take the thread/yarn and thread it from back to front adding all the cards, alternating from circles to rectangles, until you have the length you want.


You can then move them as you'd like and if you don't want them to move you can knot them in the back and they will stay put.






And there you have it, a sweet little garland that doesn't cost much, but brings back memories of all the cards you've received over the years. 

Enjoy- and happy holidays.


 

Monday, November 26, 2012

A BIRDIE FEAST

It is getting cold out there folks- and one of my first thoughts is to our little island birds and making sure they get their fill of food in preparation for the winter.

A while back my lovely daughter Aleah posted a blog about some cute little paper towel rolls we spread with peanut butter and bird seed, that we hung in the garden. We found that they were eaten down to nothing in no time.

Here's another spin on helping our little winged friends 'beef' up for the winter.

Here's what you need:

Oranges & Pine Cones
Twine
Peanut Butter
Bird seed
Board
Nails

Cut the orange in 1/2 and scoop out the fruit- no need to for it to be perfect- the birds will eat all but the rind.

Take the orange 1/2 and 'nail it' to a board- here I have used a shingle with a picture hanging nail.


Mix the PB with the bird seed and fill the orange 1/2's- it can be a bit messy, but orange and peanut butter are quite tasty- but I don't recommend the bird seed. Best to let your dog lick that off your fingers.


Then it is ready to nail to a tree or hang on a wall- here I used wire to hang it to an existing 'hook' on our pillar.

For the pinecones I spread them with PB first, then rolled them in bird seed, first wrapping the 'tree end' of them in twine.


Voila- the birdies will love it...your good deed for the day.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

THE CLOVE AND THE ORANGE

Here's my spin on the lovely little oranges and clove 'ornament' pomanders.

It's just a tad different in that I like to paint my oranges before adding the cloves.

Hey, why go for the ordinary?


Here's what you'll need:
oranges
whole cloves
twine
paint color of your choice
brushes, scissors


Paint your whole orange in whatever fantastical color you wish- here I have chosen a lovely copper, add the cloves in whatever design you would like, and hang with twine.



Enjoy the beauty and the lovely aroma.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A LEAFY PUMPKINY HARVEST PROJECT

With autumn here, and Thanksgiving fast approaching we've been thinking of fallen leaves and pumpkin harvests- gearing up for toasty days by the fire enjoying some 'indoor' time.

My mom recently came for a visit and I tried to occupy here time with a bit of 'craftyness'.

We opted for painting some fallen autumn leaves as well as mini pumpkins, apples, and pomegranites and I thought I'd share it with you.

Here's what we used:

-mini pumpkins, pomegranites, apples (whatever fruit or squash/gourd you'd like)- I pressed and dried the leaves first so they wouldn't curl
-acrylic paints- I used coppers and golds as well as browns, oranges and yellows
-fishing line


didn't these turn out gorgeous?
there's something to be said for a gold painted gingko leaf

           
I strung mom's painted leaves with fishing line so it looks like they are floating   

Saturday, November 17, 2012

AN AUTUMNAL NAME (GIFT) TAG

This little project is one of my fave things. I haven't done them in some time, but as I was walking one autumn day I saw all the alder cones fallen in the road and it reminded me of some little tags I made years ago.

Here's what you'll need:
-fallen alder cones, moss, hawthorne berries, maple seeds, acorns, moss, poppy heads, whatever you can harvest from the forest that you like.
-glue
-cardboard backing
-color wash, or glitter spray paint if you want to snaz it up
-twine if you want to apply them to a package











 I have made these in the past as gift tags, but this year I plan on making them as name tags for Thanksgiving.
I purchased these pre-drilled rounds at a craft store as well as the backing tag

Here I painted a dried Gingko leaf gold

Here, I dried some ferns and painted them copper



What do you think? I love them...

A CHANTERELLE MEDELY

Last nights meal was so simple and so good- I can't wait to experiment with the ingredients again.


I cut the tops off these babies, took out the seeds and set them aside.


Then I gathered the onions, beets, and carrots from my garden and sauteed them.


Next come these little gems- gotta love Chanterelles.

 Mix it all together in one happy pan...
Add in the half and half...

 Add in romano cheese...

 Stuff the squash- put their little hats on and pop them in a 400 degree oven til done.



 Here's the result- you really have to close your eyes on the first bite- it's that good.

 As you can see we ate all there was to eat...

 And into the compost with the remains- feeding the earth for next years garden...gotta love that.