Summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime!

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Winter's Weekend to Craft and Bake With Our "Grands"!

Some old fashioned Valentines, favorite photos, aluminum foil, a shoe box, decorative papers, scissors, glue stick and tape. 
Doesn't this bring back one of your most favorite holiday celebrations in elementary school?
While spending the weekend with our grandies this weekend, a topic of discussion was the approaching month of February and the holidays in it.  We talked about Ground Hog's Day a little and shared a chuckle.
We then talked about Valentine's Day. "Do you know what Valentines are"?, I asked my oldest grandson who is 4 years old.  "No, what are Valentines"?, he replied.  "Oh, well, you begin by taking and old shoe box and decorating it in order to receive your Valentines"!  "Would you like to learn how to make a Valentine box"?  "Sure", he said.  So after eating a good lunch that his mother and dad prepared for us, we began our quest to make a Valentine box and learn what Valentines are.
I had previously chosen favorite photos of our grands and printed them off using the smallest setting.  I assisted with the cutting of the strips with a child's scissors since this was about the first time he had used them.  We glued decorative papers to the back of the strips with a glue stick.  By placing right sides together we put in one staple and folded them out and down and put one more staple in the bottom to form a heart.  We strung the hearts together with thin ribbon to create a garland in which to hang from their kitchen window.  This was fun and we continued on with our crafting afternoon.

So cute!

Granddaughter, Kate is pulling off heart shaped stickers to use on her project.

Grandpa joined in our fun and showed our grands how to make decorated cupcakes much like the ones we might have taken to school, made by our mothers, for us to share with our fellow classmates at our Valentine's Day party.

Blake and Kate enjoyed baking with Grandpa.  We brought a strawberry flavored cake mix and we learned that Blake's favorite flavor is orange so we all made a trip to the grocery to pick out the ingredients we would need for our cupcakes as well as what we would have for supper that night.
Blake and Kate chose our evening meal which included:

Stouffer's macaroni and cheese
Baked fish sticks
Frozen broccoli
Frozen corn

We picked out a movie of Alvin and the Chipmunks Valentine Party.
Once home we continued through the afternoon creating our cupcakes and making our Valentine box.

I love how it turned out.  It was a fine box!

"Grandpa, this tastes pretty good"!

"Yea, this is good"!

Grandpa shared a childhood memory with our grands.  He remembered one year when he planned his Valentine box design and spent time making it, addressing his Valentines to all his classmates and his Teacher.  His mother even made cupcakes for him to take to school to share in their party. He carefully put everything in place so that it would be ready to go for the next morning's travel to school.  He went to bed that night excited about how fun the next day was going to be.  When he woke up, he felt a little out of sorts and he noticed some red dots on his tummy.  He called to his mother and she told him that he had gotten the measles and would have to stay home from school and in bed for a while.  Needless to say, Grandpa was a little bummed when he had to stay home, up in his room, in bed in order to get over his measles.

The cupcakes turned out beautifully and tasted great!

While waiting for our supper to bake, Blake and I watched the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie together on his DVD player.
He also enjoyed addressing Valentines to his cousins, Grandparents, Mom and Dad.
The next day, we had copies made of our crafting/baking day and placed them in a great Hallmark photo album recordable book in which Grandpa narrated the experience quite sweetly for our grands to remember their day of Valentine creation with their grandparents.  We love those recordable books and recommend them if you haven't tried them.
It was wonderful!
Have a terrific upcoming Valentine's Day and share it with safe keeping of the ones you love!  It will warm your heart, especially in these snowy days we've been having.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Hear the rain hitting my window
Hear the rain on my doorstep

Smell the sweet smell of the rain

So peaceful
Hear the raindrops hit the ground

Smell the sweet smell of the rain.
by Bobby Pate, Jr.

One of my most fond memories is waking up to the dripping sound of a summer rain outside my window

 and gathering my coloring books and crayons to head out under the carport and color, color, color.  Listening to the gentle rain so soothing and calm, under a carport cozy and dry.
Today is a winter rain but the dim lamp light inside and the slow dripping grayness outside reminds me of the same serenity I once found while under a carport safe and sound.

Take the day as it comes and find something wonderful in it.  A memory a prose or whatever it might be.
Securely and safely,

Favorite found objects on Etsy.
The Library Window Pendant by adorapop - Cardiffe South Wales, UK Europe
Chance of Rain - Beaumont Studios Savannah

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter nourishes divine creations.

The snow is coming down gently and beautifully today.  I love it and never tire of it.  I look at it with amazement, knowing that God created it to help return the earth's water sources.  Being inside, I recall a few Christmas projects that I persued thinking they were allowing me a creative outlet and a chance to extend a gesture of kindness and giving to someone else.
The words create, creation, creative, creator all originate and pertain to God as he created the earth and everything and everyone in it.  How this word fits into the desires and description of someone wanting to be artistic is vague to me.  Yet, this word is used often in the arts population.  I did some research on this word and it helps me to put into perspective why and how I go about a project intended for someone else.
  I recall a special project this last Christmas in which one certain fabric with a few other complimentary fabrics and sewing patterns brought about an idea.  The first step in creation, is the idea. Wanting to do a good thing for someone else in hopes of bringing about a favorable opinion is in the image of God.
This is one of many photo pockets to personalize the item.
This was the fabric that began the process.
It was fabric that my sister-in-law,  Karen,  intended to make sofa pillows with.  After being given the fabric, I imagined tree skirts and matching stockings to make for Karen and Gene's grown children, my niece, Beth and her family and for my nephew Jeff and his family.
A bib or art smock for the girls.

Karen and I shared an interest in sewing.  In fact, when I think back on it, she was the one who got me interested in doing it again since high school home ec.  I had a hard time understanding what the directions were telling me to do and she would patiently help me figure them out.   We shared thoughts on favorite fabrics while browsing the sewing/fabric section in stores.  We both loved these small floral prints.  They were my inspiration for the project.  At first, I was headed for Christmas fabrics and I couldn't find the right combinations.  Then I thought of these small florals and it all came together.   
I love painting the brown cardboard unfinished boxes.  They make great gift boxes to hold small ornaments and trinkets.

These were unfinished hat boxes.

Here are Mandy and Ainsley.  In the upper right corner, you can barely see a photo of Jeff from a wooden painted reindeer ornament.
This is one of nephew Keith's Sam & Ethel ornaments.  They had to have one of those!  I love the small star print fabric.  For me, it subtly represents Gene's time spent in the military.  This stocking was made for their grandson.
Second, expending creative energy diligently, passionately in faith and bringing it into existence through divine power.  I probably could have stopped working on the projects time and time again, thinking it was a silly idea.  But, a deep down newly found energy kept me slowly progressing forward.

Thirdly, the Creative Power, the meaning of the work and it's response in the lively soul: and this is the image of the indwelling Spirit.

My desire to create is clear to me.  Through God, I have the ability to bring into existence something that raises an awareness of His presence working in and through me for good.   It is always revealed as that item comes to completion and is handed to the recipient.

Another project for Christmas gift giving came to me while at a Holiday craft and gift show.  Someone had taken old mismatched spoons and painted scenes on them.  I began thinking of how neat it could be to create Christmas gifts with a recycled and re-purposed theme.  I fell in love with the idea and it was so fun thinking about getting started!  I  set out to find old spoons to paint as a small gesture of appreciation to fellow co-workers.  I knew exactly where to look.   An old 60's era flea mkt. not far from where I live.  I rummaged and scoured the area knowing it had to be there somewhere.  It was difficult as many booths were closed.  I finally came to one of the lasts booths and there it was...a box full of old mismatched spoons and other kitchen wares.  The whole box - $5.00.  You can't beat that when you have about 20 to make.  I began after Thanksgiving and had plenty of time to think of each person individually and decided to paint something that represented their passtime, pet or personality.

These were the end result.

They range in snowmen with team logo winter wear, Silent Night for someone battling skin cancer treatments, Twin angels for someone having a twin sister, a country church for someone caring for her ill mother, bringing home the tree, Charlie Brown's Christmas tree,  and so on.
This is Sharon's dog, Fritz.  He loves taking walks and playing in the snow.  I passed them one day while heading to the bank.  He looked like he was in his glory walking along with Sharon and it made me smile.
Here are Cindy's boxer and a word search for Ron who spends every break working on them.  On the back of the fork is the phrase, "Merry Christmas, Ron".  It let's him know what words he's searching for on the fork.
After all were completed, I made iced sugar cookies, peanut butter with chocolate kiss, a couple of very good pre-tested store bought varieties with peppermint chips and swedish heirloom cookies, (after all, I am an old working woman!)  and included some home made buckeyes.  I found 5 per package laminate i.d. holders with clip and used those as name tags and to close the clear celophane snack bag with foiled back board for support and topped with white lace paper doily as a pleasing back drop for the cookies.  The spoons were entwined with lite weight copper wire for hanging and ribbon to complete the package.  After our company Christmas dinner, like always, I brought my things out of hiding to give.  The smiles were like those of children.  It was amazing!  So many folks are single and seem to look forward to something unexpected and magically presented.  I was astonished by their rave reviews!  So many smiles over the idea that I would "paint on a spoon",  it was overwhelming!  I didn't have the heart to tell them it was something I had seen and it brought a smile to my face, so I copied it!   The best compliments were those from so many who said how nice it was that they were all different and that I took the time to express their personalities.  They in turn gave me a wonderful gift of a   JoAnn Fabric gift card in a Christmas card signed by all.  I proceeded after Christmas and bought a nice HD standing lamp, perfect for reading and crafting.

This originally was priced at $179.99.  It was on sale for $79.99.  I added $30.00 to get the last one they had.

It's a nice bright lamp to do tasks by.
  That was a great Christmas!  I definitely felt God's presence lending the creativity he had graciously given me during that whole experience.
Use your God given gifts and talents for the good of others and you will be overwhelmingly happy and will want for nothing else.
Stay safe during these snowy days!

In loving memory of my sister-in-law, Karen.

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