Monday, December 31, 2007

Ring in the New Year with...
And MAKE 2008 a wonderful year!
The little bell in the photo is only about an inch tall and has hung on our tree for 38 years.
Always a story...
In 1969 my mom and I went to Vienna.
My wonderful mom kept putting coins in my coat pockets so that I could stop and buy tree ornaments as a remembrance of our adventure. Most of them have lasted through the years... a few have disappeared. But the memories of those happy days being together, strolling the streets, looking in shop windows, and nibbling warm roasted chestnuts, will remain forever.
~~Have a safe and wonderful evening.
Make this a great year for you and your family!~~
Love from Joni, Boyd, and Gabby Cat

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Swap With a Sweet Friend

Nicolette asked if I wanted to do a swap.
So here are photos of the parcel from The Netherlands.
This is a Delft tea set from the town of Delft. I adore it and it is so perfect in my dollhouse.
The windmills painted on the set are sooooo tiny, but perfect.
Below is a photo of 2 dollhouse friends having some Christmas tea with the new Delft tea set.

This is a wonderful lawn chair for the dollhouse.
It is handmade and so adorable.
I can't wait for warm weather to put it outside the house on the patio.

Here they are... all of the goodies from the parcel.Clockwise...
* A card (Nicolette loves cows... and I live in Dairyland).
* A box of marzipan which has been nibbled away. Very tasty!
* A large dark chocolate bar which was savored on the day the parcel arrived.
* Kitty treats from Midas to Gabby Cat.
* Yummy coffee candy.
*Lovely Dutch fabric that I am saving for the perfect project.
* The Delft tea set.
* The handmade lawn chair.
* Dutch stickers.
* A tissue holder for my purse made from Dutch fabric.
There were some tasty cookies that we had with tea... not a crumb or sign remains.
Thank you Nicolette!!
I love everything... especially because they came from you.
Enjoy the remaining time left in 2007!!
Think about the people who made a difference in your life this past year.
Let them know that they did.
Love to you all!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Comments I recorded during gift opening...

Joni said (looking at photos in the camera),
" Why didn't somebody tell me that this scarf makes my face look so fat? My diet starts January first!!"
Said every year at Christmas time. This year I blamed it on the scarf.

Wendy said, " Now, gift cards are my kind of present. Way to go, Kristin!"

Kristin said, "Hey, Wen... these Lily P. pants will match your Lily P. wedding!"

Joni said, "Wendy, you always find the best wrapping paper!"
And she does!

Kristin said, "I saw this on the Today Show. Are you expecting me to drive off a bridge?"

Wendy said through gritted teeth, "Kristin... in what way do you connect me with Frango mints?"

Someone said loudly, "Do we have to listen to that movie one more time?"

Kristin said, "Hey look... the Lily P shoes fit perfectly! I wonder how they'll work out there in the snow drifts?"

Boyd said, "Nice! They'll go really well with my 'Mr. Mistletoe' pajamas!"

Heard this morning.
Joni said, "WOW... is it quiet today. I think I'll go put together something for my blog!"
And I did. And it feels so good to be back.

Just a sample of Christmas highlights with the girls.
What fun they are... and how hard we laughed!!

Today they went to Chicago to stay at Kristin's overnight as they fly out of Chicago to warm Arizona tomorrow.
At this moment they are walking down Michigan Ave. visiting lots of neat stores and drinking Lattes.

I love you two!!
Thanks for the wonderful holiday!

And to my blog friends... I thought about so many of you during the break.
So many of you have become such a part of my life.
Hugs from the heart,

Wendy's wedding is 6 months from today.

A package from a swap partner.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

An idea a day... SHOP!!

Last Minute Shopping
I really did try to make my cards, make some gifts, and shop on Etsy (the gnome on my header is from Etsy).
However... there are those times when I feel I need to support our local small businesses.
I worked in a local gallery before I went back to teaching. I knew how important the jingle of the bell on the door was when someone walked in.
Did you see 'You've Got Mail' with her Shop Around the Corner??
That said it all!!
I had my hair cut today... almost shoulder length on the sides and shorter in the back.
Hmmm... I like it!
The best part of getting my hair cut is the cute shop next door. I came home with 2 shopping bags.
I had to share this cute HAT lamp with you. I mean if you're going to shop, then share!
It reminded me of something from 'The Grinch' movie. It's all crooked and has a bell on the tip of the hat.
I have it in the guest bathroom for a night light... pretty big night light!
I love whimsical things... and this certainly qualifies!


Christmas Hugs to all of you!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

An idea a day... #14

Quick and Cute Tree Ornaments
There were some gaps on our tree this year.
This was the year I went through all our ornaments and pulled out all the ornaments that were made or bought for my daughters... now with their own trees. Quite a walk down memory Lane!
I took a picture of each ornament so that I can put them in mini albums for the girls with the stories behind each ornament (after the holidays).
I made some quick... very quick... ornaments to fill in the gaps.
1. Cut a square or rectangle of colored cardstock for the background.
2. Cut the edges with a scalloping scissors or scissors of your choice.
3. Stick on a 3-D sticker or a die cut (from your stash, scrapbook or craft store).
4. Punch small holes in the upper corners.
5. Tie on a small piece of ribbon for hanging.
Here's the finished product on our tree.
I love the block of color.
These would also make great gift tags.

"Think left and think right and think low and think high.
Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!
~Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

An idea a day... #13

A Year of Pictures
During the year I make lots of little mini books full of pictures about an occasion, an event, a vacation, or anything that I want to remember and document.
It's such fun to put these in a basket for friends and relatives to look through.
Often they'll find themselves in at least one of the small albums.
Quick and easy to put together... and such fun to read and reread.

"A good snapshot stops a moment from running away."
~Eudora Welty

Love you all!

Monday, December 17, 2007

An idea a day... #12

Christmas Card Holder
Through the years I have displayed our Christmas cards in a variety of ways.
This has proved successful the past few years.
1. As cards arrive, I punch a hole in the upper left corner.
2. I put a metal ring through the holes to hold them together.
3. I tied red and green ribbons on the metal ring to cover it and give it a festive touch.
4. A ribbon looped through the ring and tied in a bow provides a hanger for the card holder.
5. As cards arrive throughout the season, punch a hole in the card, open the ring in the back & slip it on.
6. Hang it anyplace!
After I took this picture, I saw a stack of cards I had forgotten.
It's so easy to add them to the ring.

This idea can be used with any type of cards.
These are cards from my daughters. So many of them are handmade.
I can't bear to throw them away and have kept them on a ring for years.
This ring hangs on a hook screwed into a shelf above my desk.
Every now and then I take them down and look at them or read the precious notes inside.
Metal rings come in a variety of sizes. As your collection grows... add a larger ring.

I know you well enough that someone is thinking, "I wish I could see what those dishes look like in the top picture. OK... here they are! Did I mention how much I love dishes and how many I have?
Most of them are changed seasonally... except the bottom dishes which I hand-carried home from Positano, Italy. My friend Lyn and I met 2 of our other girlfriends there and traveled the country side for a month. Of course I found the dishes during the first week and carried them for 3 more weeks.
Not a wise idea!!!
The book on the top is Susan Branch's Christmas book.
To those tired and stressed people working so hard to make Christmas sparkle for others...
"Oh bed! Oh bed! Delicious bed.
That heaven on earth to the weary head".
~Thomas Hood

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Weekend off

I'll be back with my "an idea a day... #12" on Monday.
I'm taking the weekend off to finish this scarf for our niece, Annie.
And also to watch the football games today. Our Green Bay Packers are 11-2 and playing the Rams in St. Louis. They are having a GREAT year!! GO PACK!! Be safe!!See... I'm thinking of you all!

Friday, December 14, 2007

An idea a day... #11

~A Special Christmas Chair~
I always keep my eyes open for inexpensive wooden chairs at garage sales, etc.
I picked this chair up for $5.00, sanded it, and painted it with red spray paint.
I decorated it with paint pens, acrylic paints, and a black Sharpie marker.
The photo is a bit blurry but if you click on it you should be able to see some of the details.
Each Christmas the chair was brought up from the basement to find its place in some cozy corner of the house.
This year it has moved to my daughter's house in Phoenix.
It's so filled with memories.
This chair is only a few years old and is packed away with the Christmas decorations
until the house is transformed for the holiday season.
I added a sprig of holly and polka dot ribbon for a touch of color.

"Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles".
~Author Unknown
Love to you all!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

An idea a day... #10

Fairy Bread

I'm sharing this because of a little girl named Katie.
For her birthday she asked for Fairy Bread and cupcakes.
You must read the cute story Helen, her mum, wrote about this on her blog.

I had never heard of Fairy Bread... I thought maybe it was just a name that a 3 year old had given to some food.

My curious husband was already Googling this on the Internet.
Alas... Wikipedia came through for us again (love it).

I think children all over the world should have the opportunity to taste something as enchanting as Fairy Bread and the wonderful mental images that it can create in their minds as they nibble on the sweet, sugary treat.

Fairy bread is sliced bread (usually white because it tastes best) spread with margarine or butter, and then sprinkled with Hundreds and Thousands (also known as sprinkles or nonpareils, a product consisting of small balls of coloured sugar intended to decorate cakes).
Fairy Bread is from Australia and is often served at a special occasion
Fairy bread is served at children's parties, almost exclusively in UK, Australia and New Zealand. Slices of the bread are often cut into triangles (or other shapes such as stars and people figures), the crusts removed (though not essential), and then stacked tastefully on the host's plate.
It was originally made using finely chopped rose petals for colour and scent instead of the sugary lollies that are used today.
The origin of the term is not widely known, but it may come from the poem 'Fairy Bread' in Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verse, published in 1885. (Wikipedia)

I can't wait to have a tea party for my friends' children
and serve Fairy Bread in fun shapes and pretty colors.

Hmmmmmm... maybe the little people who live behind the small door on my wall
made this delight for them???

Love, joni

An idea a day... #9

Quick Tree Garlands
1. Punch circles out of colored cardstock with a circle punch.
2. Use a very heavy thread to stick them on.
3. Attach circles to the thread with smaller gummed round stickers.
4. Just stick them on randomly... no pattern required.
5. Tie a loop at each end of the thread.
Quick, easy, and colorful!
Hang them from branch to branch.
Up and down and all around. No symmetry here!!

Sing: "Oh, Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree..."
do the Christmas tree dance!!

"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree.

In the eyes of children, they are all

30 feet tall".

~Larry Wilde

The Merry Book of Christmas

Monday, December 10, 2007

An idea a day... #8

Red Twig Decoration
One of my favorite decorations... and probably the easiest to make.
I gathered twigs when the weather was still nice...
and sprayed them with quick dry red paint.
During the holidays they will stand in one of my favorite Polish pitchers on a shelf.
I love the wispy look against our cream walls.
I thought of hanging Scandinavian hearts in the branches,
but I'm enjoying them plain and simple right now.
We'll see what thoughts tomorrow brings.
"Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty,
never grows old."
~Frank Kafka

Sunday, December 9, 2007

An idea a day... #7

Organizing Ideas and Inspiration
Through the years I have tried so many ways of organizing ideas that I see in magazines, catalogs, and online.
This is what is working for me right now... a large Rolodex.
1. I divided the Rolodex into sections by stapling a small piece of wide ribbon at the bottom of the card at the beginning of each section.
2. I glued a picture or small photo of the idea on the page and added thoughts I had about the item, etc.
3. I added comments on the card if I made the item and the date.
I can flip through the cards to get inspired to create something...
or look for a particular picture to remind me of the details.
Christmas ideas

Favorite quotes, scripture, etc.

Sewing ideas

Scrapbook Ideas

"Should you need a helping hand,
I'll gladly give you mine".

Afterthought... To get the small pictures for the Rolodex:
1. As I'm reading blogs and am inspired by an idea, I save the photo to a picture folder.
2. Using Photoshop, I organize the photos on a contact sheet to get them small enough to fit on a Rolodex card.
3 Print out (I do use photo paper with most as the colors and details are so clear).
4. Cut out, paste on card, and comment.
If I see something in a catalog, I usually go online and save the online picture to a folder.
Then... everything fits and is the right size.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

An idea a day... #6

A Quick Picture
I needed a picture for above my Christmas polka dot towels in the guest bathroom.
I tried several pictures I had and nothing looked right.
I remembered a Christmas card with positive/negative trees on it that I had seen somewhere.
1. Cut a background piece of scrapbook paper to fit a frame (I have quite a stash of frames).
2. Cut a rectangle of white paper that will fit into one half of the frame.
3. Carefully cut an abstract tree from the white paper (I use small manicure scissors).
4. Glue the negative tree and the positive tree side-by-side.
5. Cut 2 circles and glue above tree tops.
6. Frame
I wanted to share how the finished product looks above the polka dot towels.
I may lower the picture a bit... or hang a small red heart
between the bottom of the frame and the towels.

Such fun!
"A merry heart doeth good like medicine".
~Proverbs 17:22

Friday, December 7, 2007

An idea a day... #5

Handmade Christmas Cards
I bought this cute cat and dog fabric just because it was cute.
Yesterday, as I was looking at my Christmas fabric stash I had an idea.
And it worked!!
Just cut, sew, and add a ribbon.
They're ready for a personalized Christmas greeting inside.

I have many more cut out... will sew them this morning.

I made these cards earlier.
They're just made from my scrapbook supplies.
I don't like repetition... so they're all different.
Actually, I have a whole basket full of them... as our card list seems to grow each year.

I hope you're all enjoying this Christmas prep time.
My feeling of panic is gone and I've slipped into an excitement mode.
When stressed remember...
"A good laugh is sunshine in a house".
~William M Thackery