Showing posts with label holiday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holiday. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It Takes a Village. . .

I asked my sister and brother-in-law how many houses were in the North Pole village display in the atrium of their home. 

"A lot!" was their reply. 

 My brother-in-law created the mountain on which the houses are arranged. The cheerful display greets all who enter their home and is visible on four sides.

Several of the houses and accessories were purchased at half the normal price when a Riverton store was reducing inventory and/or eliminating displays. The bargains were too good to pass.

 It includes more than one ice-skating pond.

It took a holiday village to add a spark of nostalgia to the season.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Back in Time - Adding Tinsel

Mom adds tinsel to the Christmas tree - one strand at a time.
approx. 1969
I was thrilled to find some photos of my mother decorating the Christmas tree. She loved Christmas and took great pride the placement of the tinsel. I have no idea how many hours it took her to carefully place the icicles on the tree. The tinsel icicles were crinkled and not the straight, slippery ones sold today. Note that some of the glass ornaments can be seen on the upper branches.

Mom added the tinsel from the bottom of the tree to top.
In this photo she is nearing the top of the tree. 
I have no idea why the tree in the center of the room in this photo other than it was probably easier to work on the whole tree. The decorated tree was always positioned by the windows to my mother's right where the beige rocking chair can be seen.

The decorated tree must have been carefully maneuvered to its
spot in front of the window. Note the aluminum foil on the TV rabbit ears
 in the lower left corner. The Santa on the middle shelf was given to my
 mom. It was made from a hurricane lamp glass chimney, and the base
was a tuna can, covered with red felt. Most crafts, made in the late 60s
and early 70s were made with felt. 
While I love today's Christmas decorations and trees, I would love to see another tree decorated with individual, tinsel icicles. I didn't put up a tree this year, but when I do, I use individual glass icicles.

Do you add icicles or tinsel to your tree?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fragile Treasures

My favorite Christmas ornament
approximately 1975
This fragile ornament is one of my favorites: I love the color and the peaceful scene on its surface, and I've photographed it many times over the years.

When I was growing up, the boxes of Christmas decorations were stored in the attic, a large unfinished space that was cold in the winter and could only be accessed through a small opening in the hallway ceiling just outside the bathroom door. Getting the boxes down from the attic was always the exciting beginning of the holiday and required a ladder: some years a straight ladder was brought into the house, but eventually, a step ladder was used. When the garage was built in the 70s, the tattered boxes were stored on the shelves and carried into the house. Storing the boxes in the garage made getting them easier, but it took some of the anticipation out of the process.

Even though some ornaments were never used, my mother kept them in the boxes, and each year, we sorted through the collection housed in the containers.

Opening the boxes of decorations was exciting and memorable. The tattered boxes contained a mixture of old and new: red and kinky, celluloid garland too old to use but never thrown away; dull-red, glass ornaments (the size of large grapefruit) that no longer had metal tops for hanging; boxes of glass ornaments of various sizes, some with stripes, some with paint, some plain; plastic prancing reindeer with broken legs and a plastic horn that had long ago lost its noise maker - despite their broken state, they were propped on the evergreen branches; ceramic ornaments (Raggedy Ann and Andy - see next photo) that my sister painted with each grandchild's name. Selecting fragile treasures from the boxes, my mother transformed the tree to a thing of beauty each year.

Marilyn painted a Raggedy Ann for each granddaughter and a Raggedy
Andy for each grandson. The ornaments hung on Grandma Rosie's tree
for many years. (photo taken approximately 1975)
Out of all my mother's ornaments, the blue one shown in the top photo was my favorite. I searched the tree each year until I found it, tucked near the truck. When my mother died, it was the ornament that I wanted for my own tree. It is now stored in a different box in the guest bedroom closet along with my eclectic ornament collection: Hallmark ornaments, travel souvenirs, bead garland, and a turkey wishbone. It is the ornament that I treasure the most and the presently the only traditional ornament I own.

Connie (Far Side of Fifty) has quite a collection of traditional and authentic Shiny Brite ornaments. Even though Connie has photos of her exclusive Shiny Brite tree on her blog, I would love to see it in person.

Do you have a treasured ornament?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Do you have a houseful of guests and need something to begin the flow of conversation?

Check out Thanksgiving Trivia on The Mother Huddle. She provides an attractive print-out of question cards, an envelope in which to store them, and instructions. Looks like a fun activity for a large group gathered around the dinner table. Enjoy!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank a Vet

Thank You to all who have served and are currently serving in the military around the world. Because of these dedicated soldiers, citizens are able to take freedom for granted.

Freedom is not free! 

Today, please thank veterans and their family members for the peace of mind they selflessly provide(d).

Check out the Veteran's History Project and search the database of interviews that have already been taken. The stories of more veterans need to be recorded. Do you know an organization that can spearhead this project in your community?

Update: I just read this blog post that contains a photo and a poem about knitting for soldiers. The poem was written in 1915 - amazing.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Here's a Treat

Happy Halloween

No tricks here today.

If you want some cute desktop artwork for all seasons, Debbie Mumm's website has a nice selection.

Check out the free projects page, too, with a variety of craft projects: quilting, sewing, scrapbooking, cooking, home decor, etc.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

God Bless America

somewhere in Michigan
June or July 1993

God Bless America, 
Land that I love. 
Stand beside her, and guide her 
Thru the night with a light from above. 
From the mountains, to the prairies, 
To the oceans, white with foam 
God bless America, My home sweet home.
(God Bless America ~ words and music by Irving Berlin)

Happy Independence Day!

Thank you to all those who serve and protect this nation that I love

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Christian and Stephanie M.
dye eggs with their Aunt Brenda
at G-ma's house 1992
I hope that all the eggs hidden in the yard or in the house were discovered and collected. After all, nothing is worse than finding a hard-boiled egg a week or more after Easter.

Easter Blessings to you and your family

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Knitting Spring Violets

Spring Violet Vest
started January 16, 2013
I first saw the pattern for the Spring Violet Vest in the vendor's area at the Reno show. I don't know how many times I went back to the booth, drawn by the samples on display.
The booth had many varieties of the vest on display and kits available, but the pattern was not sold individually.

When I returned home, I contacted the company to see if the pattern was available and again was told it was not sold separately, only as a kit.

My friend Cheryl must have grown weary of me talking about the vest. Before Christmas she presented me with a wrapped box and said, "This is NOT a Christmas present." I was shocked and pleased when I opened the box to find the vest kit.

The vest is knit on size 6 needles, using three different weights and types of yarn: a superwash wool, a soft twist rayon, and a rayon loop. Specifics about the vest can be found on my Ravelry project page.

The photo on the kit, and on the pattern show the tunic-length vest, but the pattern itself is for the shorter version - not good marketing strategy in my opinion.

It is an easy pattern to follow, but the rayon loop yarn is difficult to knit.

Cheryl, I am still humbled by your generous gift. Thank you!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Looking for Potential

"We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room,
 drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.
 Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk
 through the rooms of our lives...not looking 
for flaws, but for potential."  
~ Ellen Goodman

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank.
We are going to put words on them ourselves. 
The book is called Opportunity, and its 
first chapter is New Year's Day.
~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Are you ready to discover
  the opportunities 2013 will bring?

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

a favorite ornament from the 50s or 60s
 my mother hung tinsel strand by strand on the Christmas tree

Wishing you a Joyous Christmas
and a 
Happy and Peaceful New Year

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Coloring Contest Winners

Coloring Contestants: Kristi,
NancyKay, Chan,
Sheri, Tea Mouse,
Kathy, Bev

Grand prize: Kristi

First prize: NancyKay

Kristi and NancyKay will have first choice on the prize offerings; however, each of the contestants in the contest will receive a prize for participating. Please contact me with your mailing address.

Thank you all for picking up some crayons or markers and for becoming a child again.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Contestant #7

Today is the LAST day to enter the coloring contest. Entries are due before midnight. Complete "rules" can be found here.

Chan, aka SissySees
She wrote, "The Knight helped. Colored with
Sharpies and dry-erase markers."

Don't you love the clothes pin?  How about that
beautiful cowl?

Contestant #6

Today is the LAST day to enter the coloring contest. Entries are due before midnight. Complete "rules" can be found here.

She wrote, "Thanks for such a fun idea. I had a lot of fun coloring,
making paper snowflakes, and framing the picture."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Memories

December 1958
Second-grade Christmas party
Mrs. Blair's classroom
My mother took this photo of my second-grade Christmas party. I'm the one wearing the white top directly in front of the teacher. I think the four students around the teacher are helping to distribute gifts.

I remember playing Heads Up, Seven Up during elementary classroom parties. (Do you remember playing that game?) At Christmas, we also sang carols, had special treats, and exchanged an inexpensive gift with the person whose name we had drawn earlier.

From first to sixth grades, we made special Christmas gifts for our parents. Some gifts I remember making and giving - a bread board in the shape of a pig, and a wooden serving tray with rope handles (the varnish was still tacky when I took it home), a plate with a specially painted edge, and a plaster plate with my hand-print.

Mrs. Blair's classroom was in the two-story, brick building built in 1940 or 1941 and directly to south of the high school building. Mrs. Blair's room was located on the south side of the ground floor. Next door was Miss Schaper's first-grade classroom. Mrs. Dewey's third-grade classroom was across the hallway and next to the girls' bathroom (the boy's bathroom was around the corner next to the stairs. Mrs. Mitchell (fourth-grade), Mrs. Gordon (fifth-grade), Mrs. Bond (sixth-grade), a teacher's work room and a paper closet were located on the second story. The playground, which was outside the first and second-grade classrooms, was between the school and the road that led to Mrs. Maxey's house.
Back: J. Hippe, R. Six, M. Hornecker, C. Ray, C. Rohn, T. Goodwin.
Middle: S. Jarnagin, R. White, N. Stearns, B. Gies, B. Fabrizius,
P. Hansen, Mrs. Blair. Front: J. Willman, J. Adams, C. Wempen,
M. Williams, R. Burnett, G. Taylor, S. Jensen.

Ten years later, I received my high school diploma with four of
these classmates : C. Rohn, R. White, M. Williams, and G. Taylor
Additional information:

In the mid to late 50s, Mrs. Blair lived on the farm north of Pavillion that my brother leased in the 60s and purchased in 1971. I wrote about that farm here.

Note that the photo at the beginning of this post was printed in August 1959. It was common for film to be in the camera a long time or for the exposed film to be tossed in a drawer until it was discovered and sent for processing. Nearly all the film was mailed to a processor in Nebraska. I don't remember getting film developed locally until the late 60s or early 70s.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gingerbread House

Chan posted recently about decorating gingerbread houses at a Junior League event. I have always wanted to try it, so when I saw a kit at a local grocery store, I slipped it into my cart.

I was pleased that the kit included a building tray, the house parts, icing, and candies. The box also had great instructions and a website address for a video demonstration. How could I go wrong?

The building tray was a great feature: it had 1/2 inch channels for the house to set inside and those channels give the cookie pieces some stability.

I wish the kit had another bag of icing because I ran out and didn't have enough to trim the side windows, the chimney, the back of the house, and the second gingerbread man - I ate him instead.

It would have also been nice to have a smaller tip to add the finer details on the tree, the gingerbread man, and the door. The icing bag was great for the larger areas, but clunky for the finer details. For example, my gingerbread man's smile looks more like a beard, and there was no way that I could outline the tree shape as shown on the box.

Overall, the project was fast and a lot of fun. On the scale of 1 - 10, I'd give it a 7.

I'll definitely purchase a kit next year, but I'll purchase or make additional icing and pipe it around the windows and chimney before assembling the house.

Note: Don't forget to submit your coloring contest pictures to me before midnight, December 21, 2012.   Email your photos to

Monday, December 17, 2012

Contestant #5

Looks like everyone is having fun preparing for the coloring contest

Sheri (no blog) "Rebel Follower"
She wrote, "Here is my entry. Choose me!!"

It's not too late to enter the contest. Entries are due before midnight, December 21st. Complete "rules" can be found here.

Contestant #4

Looks like there has been a run on crayon sales, as more coloring contest entries are arriving:
Tea Mouse
She wrote, "Thanks for the contest. It bring out the kid in me.
This reminded me of Christmas as a child. My Mom would
draw a large Christmas scene, and we would help her colour it.
My mom always colored with us. It was especially fun at
Christmas as we sat with our Christmas coloring books and
64 box of crayons, tree twinkling, and carols playing. Thanks
for the memories!

I reduced the size on my work copier, colored it with my newly
purchased 60 box of pencil crayons, cut around it close, then
glued it to some red construction paper and trimmed it. This is
on my fridge when I get home!"
It's not too late to enter the contest. Entries are due before midnight, December 21st. Complete "rules" can be found here.

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