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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas wishes....

Wishing all of my family, friends and blog followers and blog friends...... a very Happy Christmas..... and also saying from my heart... Happy Birthday Jesus......... that is the true meaning of Christmas to me..... the birth of baby Jesus.

This is my nativity scene that I started painting (ceramics) way back in 1980. I painted one a  year, or one every few  years. I dated the bottom of each one, and my  youngest son helped me with some of them. It is so precious to me.

It is my hope and prayer that 2017 will be a calm, bright and peaceful year for everyone in this world. There is so much tragedy and sadness and upheaval and power struggles, and hunger and devastation...... my wish is for world peace, and peace within my country, the United States.

And even though Christmas is really a spiritual and religious holiday, I must say that my Christmases, as a child and through the years, have been intermingled and intertwined with church, God, and Jesus, and with all the wonders of Santa and reindeer and elves and the evergreen tree, decorations, and presents, baking, cookies, and feasts with the family.  To me, it is all wrapped up into one beautiful, wonderful time of year!

That's me on the far right in the plaid dress. My oldest sister, Chris, on the left, and my younger sister, Linda, in the middle. 1952. (Sorry youngest sister, Barbara, you weren't yet a twinkle in my parents' eyes!)
This song (video below), by my new favorite and most awesome group, Pentatonix, pretty much says it all for me. Please listen and watch the video! They are just fantabulous. They are an A cappella group from Texas....... no instruments EVER in their songs! Their voices are their instruments... they are so sharp and precise and beautifully crystal clear. The two men with the low voices act as base instruments. It's truly amazing. If you haven't heard them, this is my Christmas treat to you! (And if you are viewing this email in your inbox, then you'll probably have to go to my blog HERE - click on this link to watch and listen to the video.)

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!  I cherish all of you.

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

A few of my homemade Christmas cards

I started early this year making my Christmas cards, and I've enjoyed the leisurely pace of making them. I usually wait until the last minute and then feel so rushed and pressured to get them all done! 

I started making in late October and finished up last week. 

 Here are a few of my favorites:

I LOVED this paper from The Paper Studio, 12 Days of Christmas (with the old cars).

Vintage images I found on Pinterest.

LOVE this vintage image from The Old Design Shop. I added lots of gold glitter.

More paper from The Paper Studio and I used a die cut to cut this scrolly design from gold foil paper.

Another darling image from The Old Design Shop. I added glitter to her dress. The background paper is some free digital Christmas paper I found online. I printed out several sheets to use on my cards.

These are papers and images and sentiment tags I bought from  Polly's Paper Studio on Etsy. Her kits are wonderful, full of 4x6 papers, vintage images, sentiments and bows. This link will take you to her Jolly St. Nick Creativity Kit ($9.50). 
Two years ago, I bought a kit from Polly's Paper Studio that was her "pink Christmas" kit. Here are two cards I made from that kit.... but I hoarded them for two years because I loved them so much! I finally sent them out this year.

I found some wonderful digital Scandinavian papers and images to download and use, from  Free Pretty Things for You.  I didn't have enough cards to send out to use all of them, but here is one card I made using the paper that I printed on my printer, and the Merry Christmas sentiment (below).

I love this cute little rubber stamp I got at Hobby Lobby on sale for 50% off!
Here's a photo of the graphics package that Free Pretty Things for You showed on her blog. I think they are there for a limited time only:

Since I am of Scandinavian descent, I absolutely LOVE these graphics and papers! I just want to print them all out and post them on my wall where I can see them. They give me such joy to look at. Here are a few others for your viewing pleasure:

Just glue one of these to a white card base, add some glitter, and you're good to go!

If you go to the Free Pretty Things for You blog and can't find these to download, or they aren't offered anymore, let me know, and I'd be glad to email you any of the ones I downloaded.

Maybe my next post I'll have our tree up. It's still in a box in the garage. Darn........

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Pancakes and bunnies.....

What do you do on a day when a big winter storm has hit your area and the snow is pouring down and piling up?  

Eat of course!...... and sew.........and play in your craftroom..............

Gluten free sourdough pancakes covered with agave nector and powdered sugar.
Hubby had made some gluten free sourdough pancakes a few weeks ago, and we froze the leftovers..... RECIPE HERE. So I pulled one out and nuked it for 30 seconds and added a couple of organic eggs. Yum!

What else do you do?

Oh yes..... crochet of course! I've been kind of stalled on making a baby afghan (8" squares), so decided to try using some chunky Christmas yard I got at the thrift store for ONE DOLLAR. I found this pattern for the simple, 1 skein mini-cowl from the Fiber Flux Meringue cowl pattern. I follow Fiber Flux on YouTube and she had this tutorial there. You can find the pattern on her blog at the above link. I LOVE this because it isn't too long and big and doesn't hang down over my chest. It just wraps your neck in warmth.

And the most fun I had was making a sweet little wool felt bunny. I LOVE working with wool felt, but don't do it very much. I had checked this book out from the library when my son and his girlfriend were here over Thanksgiving, and she LOVED this little bunny (see the little light brown bunny on the lower left corner on the book). What a wonderful book too! I want to make everything in it!

I loved this book so much, I went to Amazon the day after they left and ordered a used one. I received it in 3 days. I buy almost all of my pattern books, etc. USED as you can usually find one that is in good condition or "like new", and the price is way cheaper. This one was about $8.50 I think.

So here's my bunny. I used gray felt for the body, as she has a real gray bunny at home!.... with a white tummy and tail, and little pink ears. (many photos here):

All of the stitching is by hand. This is my first attempt at a stuffed animal that had panels for the head and tummy. I've usually only made flat things, so this was a little bit of a challenge.

I tied a pretty lavender shimmery ribbon around her neck as my son's girlfriend's favorite color is purple.

But of course she has to have a Christmas bow too! I'll add this red gingham ribbon to the package so she can be "dressed" in lavender or red.

Such a cute little white tummy.
Here are some more projects from the book:

That's a chicken "cozy" for a hard boiled egg cup. Love.e.e.e.e.e.e. it! And I HAVE to make the Christmas pixie with the little pointed red hat.

Aren't these houses just precious?

Swoon..... LOVE this butterfly... can you imagine several in different colors on a ribbon that hangs on your wall or as a banner?

Oh my..... owl pillow anyone?
Well.... that's been my fun for the last few days. My Christmas cards are done and sent! I made those during the last few weeks. I'll show a few in my next post.

Snowing HARDER now and we have about a total of 10 inches. Supposed to snow until about midnight tonight (Wednesday).

Stay warm everyone (in the U.S.) I think the entire U.S. is having a cold wave and lots of snow!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

They really DO exist! and this 'n that.

I tell you..... no matter what age you are or how long you've lived, you can always learn something new!  Before I go any further though, I just want to wish you all a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING.... and sending my blessings to you, each and every one of you.

Now for the rest of my story: Before I post the picture of what really DOES exist that I never KNEW existed, I have to tell you a little story first. Hubby and I took a little trip to the Oregon coast on November 3rd for a few days... to see my son and his girlfriend of almost a year now. 

The little town they live in is Astoria, Oregon. I've always loved that town. It's right on the uppermost northwest corner of Oregon. Beautiful (wet, damp) place! I had forgotten how damp it is at the coast!  It's the first time I'd seen the house he is now living in... a darling little farmhouse on 7 acres.

Neat old farmhouse - only has wood heat.
We had a great time! Ate out several times (pizza, yummy breakfast at Pig 'N Pancake) which is a real treat to us as we hardly ever eat out! Went to the jetty out in Hammond and watched the waves crashing against the rocks and climbed the 2 story tower to watch.. .............boy was it windy, could hardly stand up!

Tidelands inland from the jetty... no water now but when the tides are in, it's full!
We went to Ft. Stevens State Park, which is quite famous in Oregon. From Wikipedia: Fort Stevens was an American military installation that guarded the mouth of the Columbia River in the state of Oregon. Built near the end of the American Civil War, it was named for a slain Civil War general and former Washington Territory governor, Isaac Stevens. The fort was an active military reservation from 1863–1947.[2] It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

We walked the beach a little bit, and I mean only a little bit, as was COLD and windy! Saw the Peter Iredale skeleton of the wrecked ship from 1906.  Here is my picture of what is left of the huge ship:

Here are a couple of pictures from Wikipedia and a little history of the ship wreck. I've visited this wreck since I was a little girl. I've always wondered when this happened.  Now I know!

Peter Iredale in Seattle, circa 1900. From Wikipedia.
From Wikipedia: The Peter Iredale was a four-masted steel barque sailing vessel that ran ashore October 25, 1906, on the Oregon coast en route to the Columbia River. It was abandoned onClatsop Spit near Fort Stevens in Warrenton about four miles (6 km) south of the Columbia River channel. Wreckage is still visible, making it a popular tourist attraction as one of the most accessible shipwrecks of the Graveyard of the Pacific.

Peter Iredale, shortly after grounding in 1906. From Wikipedia.
From Wikipedia: The ship was named after Peter Iredale, who not only owned the vessel as part of his shipping fleet, but was also a well-known figure in Liverpool,England, where his business was headquartered.

Sailing from Salina Cruz, Mexico, on or about September 26, 1906, the Peter Iredale was bound for Portland, Oregon with 1,000 tons of ballast and a crew of 27, including two stowaways. The voyage up the coast was unremarkable until the night of October 25, when Captain H. Lawrence sighted the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse at 3:20 a.m. local time. The crew altered course first east-northeast and then northeast to enter the mouth of the Columbia River in thick mist and a rising tide. Under strong winds out of the west, an attempt was made to wear the ship away from shore, but a heavy northwest squall grounded the Peter Iredale on Clatsop Sands (now called Clatsop Spit). High seas and wind drove the ship ashore. A lifeboat was dispatched from Hammond, Oregon and assisted in evacuating the sailors, who were tended to atFort Stevens. No casualties occurred in the accident.
There was little damage to the hull and plans were made to tow the ship back to sea, but after several weeks waiting for favorable weather and ocean conditions, the ship had listed to the port (left) and become embedded in the sands. She was sold for scrap.[citation needed] All that remains is the bow, a few ribs, and a couple of masts.[citation needed]
Captain Lawrence's final toast to his ship was: "May God bless you, and may your bones bleach in the sands."
This is such an interesting story, I thought you might enjoy it. I had never really looked up the history of this ship before, so I did learn something new (but this is not the only thing new I learned............)

Riders on the beach! I was envious.

Elk on the side of the road, in Hammond. They are everywhere in Hammond and the outskirts of Astoria. It's a perfect climate for them. My son's girlfriend said most mornings she sees a herd of elk in the pasture across the road from her house.
Astoria is so green and lush and so much water everywhere. The rivers flood the pastures and the tides fill up the meadows when they are high. It has so much history and sits on the mouth of the Columbia River where it joins up with the Pacific Ocean. 

Which leads me to the "new" thing I learned that weekend. 

Do you recall seeing these little red and white things in movies and in cartoons? Red with white polka dots? (not the ones with teeth). I always thought they were from someone's imagination, Walt Disney maybe? Never gave it much mind really, but thought they were cute.

But wait........ my son's girlfriend told me, after I admired them (along with the little pixies), that they GROW ALL OVER AND AROUND ASTORIA! What? I said! Really? no way!..... She said she takes the little pixies and her handmade jewelry (she has a store with all sorts of precious gems, stones, gifts, and her beautiful handmade jewelry), and takes pictures of the pixies amongst the real mushrooms, with her jewelry! She then posts the pictures on her store Facebook page.

Terra's store in downtown Astoria, on Commercial Street. If you are ever in that area, you HAVE to visit it. It's awesome!

She said these mushrooms are mostly past their prime this time of year, but if she saw any on our drive, she'd point them out to me.

I was flabbergasted.. and excited maybe to see some real ones! I would not believe it until I saw one.

As we drove over to Fort Stevens, and were headed out to the jetty, she did a quick stop and a U-turn, and back down the road we went..... we got out, and there.... was one lone one along side the road! Snap goes the camera. It's real! It's called Amanita Muscaria or "fly agaric" and is highly poisonous.

She went back to her car and got a little gnome she had hanging from her mirror, so we could get some shots with the gnome!
Clapping my hands! I want to see some more!
 On to the jetty we go..... .then back to town to eat.. then on back to their house. I go inside to warm up, and later, she comes in and says, hey.. come here... I want to show you something.. and bring your camera, and a few pixies. By then she knew I was a camera nut, just like her!

So we trudge through the wet and muddy ground, up a long (and steep) path to her pasture, through the tall (and wet) grass.... me wearing my hubby's shoes (that were too big), as I couldn't find the old ones I had brought for just such a thing as this..... up towards the deep dark forest (where the 3 giant trees stand guard over the woods)..... to the far side of the meadow.... and.... voila! three more red mushrooms!  Click goes the camera again.. Click, click........MANY times! 

These look a little flatter and more orange.. and see the one leaning? In my excitement to place the little pixes for their photo shoot, I knocked it over... darn! So I carefully put it back for picture taking. It was so fun posing the pixies.

I had brought the Christmas pixies, "just in case", thinking I could pose them in the moss for Christmas cards. She brought this little guy as she knew that he would be posing on top of a big flat mushroom! She said not to touch them, and if you do, do NOT rub your face or eyes.
See the baby one? No polka dots yet.

We had such fun.. spent about a half hour there taking tons of pictures. Giggle giggle. Snap snap. I was still so amazed that they really do exist!

And wasn't I just a wealth of information today? :-) 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by the ones you love. I'm off to start cooking for the big day.

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