Recently my granddaughter Elise was looking for a ‘Christmas Store’ project for her class room; each student makes things to sell (items must be hand made), then the classroom is set up like a store, and the public is invited to come shop one day.  The class then takes a field trip to a local grocery store and uses all the money earned to purchase food for the local food shelf.  Warms your heart doesn’t it?

Shortly after Elise asked me if I had any ideas for her project, I came upon this recipe and remembered making these about 20 years ago with her mother and sisters.   I thought about all the fun scrap booking embellishments that could be used to decorate the ornaments (not available 20 years ago); the possibilities, options, and fun were endless!  Elise approved the idea and we were in business!

Cinnamon Applesauce Ornament Recipe

1 cup cinnamon
1 T. ground cloves
1 T. nutmeg
¾ cup applesauce
2 T. Tacky craft glue

Combine cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg; mix in applesauce and glue.  Knead well; dough should be smooth and stick together – if too crumbly add more applesauce, if too sticky add more cinnamon.  Roll dough on tin foil to 1/4 inch thickness; cut with cookie cutters.  Use a straw or toothpick to make a hole for hanging.  Let air dry for 4 to 5 days or more, turning twice daily.  Makes about 2-3 dozen, depending on size of cookie cutters.  Decorate!  (Ornaments shrink somewhat as they dry.)

Dry and ready to decorate

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I recently attended, and then hosted, an Upper Case Living party.  My daughter is a new consultant for the vinyl lettering products company, and I have fallen in love with the products and all the creative ways to use them.

When I spied the quote, ‘together is a wonderful place to be’, I knew I had the perfect spot for it; it also made me realize how much the walls needed a fresh coat of paint!  Don’t you love when one little project turns into three major projects?

Here is the finished ‘Family’ photo wall; his family, my family, our family – five generations on display  – together is a wonderful place to be.  I love how it turned out!

Have you been inspired to decorate with vinyl lettering?

Wind powered kid fun

June 21, 2010

Country kids are good at entertaining themselves, and we are NOT talking electronics here.

So kids – on a REALLY windy day take a bed sheet and let the wind pull you across the yard.  Be careful though; if you let go right in the middle of a strong gust of wind the sheet could end up high in the tree tops, and mom might think your fun and clever idea was not quite so clever!

Sometimes, I get these great ideas….  Well, I always think they are great ideas, but my family might disagree and call them crazy ideas, I’m not sure why.  I don’t know where they come from, but they always hit me with a wham, and somehow it never crosses my mind that these great ideas might be, perhaps, a bit difficult to carry out.

I get different reactions from various family members when I blurt these famous lines of mine – “I had a great idea….!”  Or “Wouldn’t it be fun….!”.  A few deadbeats will roll their eyes and moan and groan, as if I had just sentenced them to hard labor on a chain gang, but thankfully a few creative and ambitious souls will perk right up and gleefully rub their hands in anticipation of my latest notion.

So …. I had another one a few weeks back.  I had this great idea of hosting a candlelit walk through our snow covered woods.  Make a few ice candles and invite a few friends to stroll down the candle lit path to enjoy the solitude and serenity of our winter wonderland.  I mentioned it to hubby and didn’t even get the eye roll, so I decided it was a go ahead and proceeded to make plans.  And like plenty of other great ideas I’ve had, this one began to grow a bit beyond the first illumination.  Well, kind of picked up a momentum of it’s own and snowballed, you could say.

You see, once the vision of the candlelit woods was firmly established in my mind, it didn’t take much more to also envision a candlelit walk out to the woods, never mind that it is a half mile walk stroll across the field to reach the woods.  I’ll admit I did have to stop and ponder the feasibility of ice candles stretching out for one and half miles around the field and through the woods; it seemed it could be, well, a bit difficult, maybe.  Then, viola!. Someone suggested Mason jars, and that got me to thinking about all the vases I have laying around …….  And just like that I knew we were in business – the “Mile and half long romantic candlelit walk around the farm” business.

I learned how to make ice candle luminaries, and got pretty accomplished at it by number 100.  I borrowed and begged canning jars from family and friends, and we visited the candle aisle of the local General Dollar Store a dozen times or so.  We packed and groomed the trail for walking and skiing with a snowmobile, then paced it out to figure out the spacing of the candles.  The trail was a complete loop around a thirty acre field, with a detour through the woods at the halfway point; well, to be exact it was 1200 paces out to the woods, 650 paces through the woods, and 1200 paces back to the starting point.  About one and half miles start to finish.

On Friday we set out 90 ice candle luminaries in the woods (ten broke while transporting), and on Saturday we set out 140 jars and vases that illuminated the trail around the field.  Our guests were set to arrive at dusk, and the weather was perfect, about 25 degrees, with not a breath of wind present.

And it was perfect, just perfect.

As I stood on Steep Hill, from where I could see lines of twinkling candles for a quarter mile or more in every direction, I could hardly believe how beautiful it was, and how blessed I am to live here.  And how fortunate I am to see my crazy ideas come to life.

I didn’t need a red gun rack any more than I needed a hole in the head, but when I spied it at a thrift sale, I purchased it with the intent to give it a new purpose in life.  My husband cut a board for me on which I sprayed a few coats of chalkboard paint, then he screwed the board to the back of the gun rack – and PRESTO!  I now have a message center and an apron/hat/bag/you.name.it holder.

What have you turned into a chalkboard?

megans guess who game

Every year our children draw names amongst themselves for gift giving.  This year they added a twist for giving gifts; the gift had to be either hand-made by the giver, from a thrift store, or a service offered by the giver.  The reason they decided to do this, of course, is the state of the economy and their pocketbooks.  It has been so fun to watch them coming up with ideas for each other; I believe they were more excited and put much more thought into these gifts than the usual store bought gifts.

They came up with some really neat ideas; Scott made Julie some picture frames with wood taken from the old hayloft floor of the barn, Jenny made Shari soy candles, and Shari came up with an incredibly fun idea for Megan.  Shari purchased a Guess Who game from a thrift store, and made it into a personalized ‘Megan’s Guess Who?’ game.  She replaced each picture that came with the game with a picture of a friend or family member of Megan’s.  Megan was thrilled with her very own version of Guess Who?, and all the kids have had fun playing with it!  The kids took a vote after gift opening, and everyone agreed that the new rules for gift giving will apply from now on; they all enjoyed giving gifts from the heart!

Anyone could make their own personalized Guess Who? game using their own pictures; and by getting the game from a garage sale or thrift shop it will cost just pennies!