Tuesday, December 31, 2019

From Santa's Workshop (AKA HWNSNBP)

Santa (aka HWNSNBP in this instance) was a busy boy this year making some pretty nifty projects for the family.  He is honing his woodworking skills and becoming pretty adept at it.  

This project was the first he took on after last Christmas at my request/suggestion.  I had seen this wrapping table online and showed it to him.  He checked out the specs and got to work on it.  It is both storage and workspace in one.  The legs fold up and it slides neatly under the bed.

It opens up and can fit a plethora of wrapping paper rolls at various lengths.  

Some are on dowels and you can fit more in between. You can even hide some rolls of tape, ribbon, and scissors in there if you choose.  It is heavy though.  But it makes for a nice uncluttered work surface when it's time to wrap.

Another project he worked on was another suggestion based on our daughter-in-laws thoughts on Christmas gifts for the 3.8-year-old.  It's a shape matching lock and key busy board - link here.  We used scrap wood from the workshop and purchased all the locks at the dollar store.  They each had two keys.  I printed out the shapes for the locks and key tags and laminated them and then made them into stickers.  We had to purchase the eye hooks and needed slightly bigger key rings for the key tags to accommodate the keys.  I found the plastic container for the keys at Michael's.  All totalled it was less than $20 to put together and good fine motor practice for the little guy.

The littlest guy got his very own papa-made toy box.  My only part in this was painting on the monogram.  Remembering back, the older grandson got his on his first Christmas - so this has become a family tradition.   

We gave it to them here and then delivered it to them the day after Christmas because with all their baby equipment, they couldn't fit it into their car.  This little boy has a future in percussion I'm sure!


And here were the both of them together at our early Christmas Eve celebration. 

I just had to throw in this picture of their respective parents at about the same ages.

December Break Visit to the Raptor Trust

Warm temps in the low 50's made for a pleasant trip to the Raptor Trust over the break even though the bombshell weathergirl missed the mark again and it was lightly raining.  But, not enough to need an umbrella and even with the bare trees covering, not enough to get us too wet.

The paths were sparingly lined with festive red ornaments.  Just enough to entice you along knowing that it was a season of celebration.

We passed a few people leaving as we were walking in and could hear some voices in the distance, but it definitely was a quite day there.  Other signs on that fence stated that there was no running and that children should be accompanied by parents.  This was just after the welcoming station where HWNSNBP added our donation to the donation box - there is no set fee for visiting.

The owls first for your viewing pleasure - the pictures are murky because each of the enclosures have netting inside the fencing and my digital cameras mostly choose to focus on the netting unless I can find a place to get closer.  A more educated photographer would know how to change the settings to avoid this problem, but I'm still on strictly automatic settings so I do the best I can with those.

The eagle was engaged in a meal of an unidentifiable animal.  There are two in there.  The one on the ground is barely visible in the picture and obviously had learned to wait patiently whilst his/her buddy divied up the meal.  

 A couple more "close-ups" before we left.  

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas 2019

Wishing one and all a most joyous Christmas.  Blessing to you and your families.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Christmas Elf Strikes Again....

Each year I try to do a little something for the staff members at school and this being my last Christmas there I hoped to make it a little more special.  

I purchased some inexpensive wood slices and painted them with hearts and snowmen.

On the back I put the year, PEACE, and my initials.

Surprisingly the painting went rather quickly - I'd almost forgotten how much I loved doing this.  When they were all painted I added some red ribbon hangers.  The day before school let out I stayed a little late and placed one in each mailbox for them to find in the morning.  They were a hit.

Marshmallow Day

The pans were prepared.

The mixture set to boiling.

The gelatin began to bloom.

Time to fluff.

This is what happens when you mistakenly decide that the whisk is not getting to the bottom of the bowl so you gently hold it pressing slightly upward and then IT POPS OFF!  Not too much was sacrificed to the counter, and luckily it didn't splatter about the room.  

A little less was added to the prepared pans and set to cure overnight.  

Then it was slice, powder, and package before heading out to dinner and a show with friends.  The three amigos below!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

The 25 Doors of Christmas (or less)

Some of my Scribble Picnic cohorts put a challenge out on Instagram called The 25 Doors of Christmas and I was pumped to play along.  Way back on December 1st I was a little more optimistic of being able to fit this into my day and it lasted about a week.  These are the doors that I managed to get done.  They are mostly done in colored pencil (Prismacolors) with the last one being done in watercolor pencils.  

I had been carrying along my sketchbook to school everyday and whilst eating my lunch "al desko" I did get a few more sketches done, but finding time at home to color them was impossible.  We're celebrating our traditional Christmas Eve dinner early this year on Sunday and I'll be packing up all the art supplies for a few days, but I may just get back to coloring those sketches when I can wind down early next week.  And who knows, I might even break out the watercolors.  

If you have an instagram account you can check out #the25doorsofchristmas or Michael McVean at #itsrainingmarmalade or Alexandra McVean at #alexandrasillos for some pretty wonderful takes on Christmas doors of all kinds.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Wood Slice String Craft Ornaments

I had a book about string craft on my Amazon Wish List last Christmas that my son and daughter-in-law got for me.  This summer I did order the wood slices to do at least one of the projects in the book and finally last month I set my mind to actually doing the project.  

I first had to use my dremel tool to drill the holes in the disks according to the patterns in the book.  I have to thank HWNSNBP for the use of one of his clamps which made it a hundred times easier.

I have a small stash of embroidery floss which came in handy.

And I just had to pick out the color combos I wanted to use, thread the floss on a needle and follow the stitching chart for each one.

I managed a dozen string craft ornaments which I think I'll either use for package tags or make a garland out of.  

There are a couple of other projects I hope to get to in this book.  When I do, I'll be sure to share.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

The 12 Days of Christmas

I found this idea a decade or more ago and had done it in a similar way for some close friends and co-workers (at separate times).  There was a Craft "Board" that I used to frequent on the internet that had some really great ideas which is where I first saw it.  Sadly, I've lost the link and I think it may have dissolved, but every once and a while I see reference to some of the ideas on Pinterest.

My good friend J reminded me recently about this and that reminder came at a most opportune time as I was wondering what to do for my office mate.  You need a little time to gather all the items and a little time to put things together so you can deliver it by December 12th.

It's based on the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and each day there is a little poem and a simple gift item.  I was lucky to have found a sheet of wrapping paper with the 12 days illustrated in blocks which made my little attachment cards a breeze.

So you start with a note that says:

The song you've heard sung
12 days in a row
Won't get tiresome with treats
From a person you know.

But to keep up the mystery
And surely the fun,
Start on 12/12
With Bag Number 1.

I found bags at The Christmas Tree Shop this time, but you can use plain brown or white bags.

Day 1 (Can of Pears)

The partridge in a pear tree,
Now that sure would be sweet.
Alas, the bird, it flew away,
But left some pears to eat!

Day 2 (Turtle Candy and Dove Chocolate or Dove soap if you choose, but then change the poem)

Two turtle doves were hard to find.
At the pet store, they said "Nope!"
So these turtles are the chocolate kind
And the dove is not the soap.

Day 3 (Chicken Soup)

If you agree that hens are chickens,
Whether French or not,
You're sure to enjoy this chicken soup,
Just heat it in the pot!

Day 4 (Chapstick)

When calling birds cackle
Their mouths get all dry,
Their lips start to crackle,
So give this a try!

Day 5 (Can of Pineapple Rings)

Five golden rings?
There really are more
Of sweet golden pineapple,
Straight from the store!

Day 6 (Egg-shaped Candy)

Six geese-a-laying
And interesting sight.
One of them squawked
And they all took to flight.
I searched for the eggs,
There were none in the nest,
But these egg-shaped candies
Might be the best!

Day 7 (Goldfish Crackers)

On this 7th day of Christmas
How nice it would be
If 7 swans-a-swimming
Your family could see.
The pond was quite empty
Since the swans have gone south.
We only found goldfish
To put in your mouth!

Day 8 (Candy Kisses)

The 8 maids were milking
Filling pail after pail.
The cows were all mooing,
I heard not a wail.
I watched til' I tired,
And then walked away - 
Sending kisses to all - 
Have a great day!

Day 9 (Cozy Socks)

Nine ladies dancing,
They put on a show.
Their feet got so tired,
So wouldn't you know,
I got you some socks
For warming your feet.
They're comfy and cozy
And all tied up neat!

Day 10 (Popcorn - preferably Jiffy Pop, or adjust the poem for microwave)

Ten lords-a-leaping
Like popcorn they fly.
So heat up the stove
And give this a try!

Day 11 (Hot Chocolate)

Eleven pipers piping
We'll give this a shot -
You'll need a mug of water
And make it piping hot.
Be sure to fill your mug
With love and with care,
And mix up some hot chocolate
You just might like to share!

Day 12 (Sparkling Cider or Grape - or wine if you so choose)

Christmas Eve has arrived
On this, the last night.
One dozen drummers
Would be a grand sight
The noise would be loud
And might hurt your ears.
Instead, make a toast,
And be sure to say "Cheers!"!

I filled each bag and added the appropriate tag with ribbon.

And they all fit into a large gift bag that again, I found at the Christmas Tree Shop, but a box would do also.

I put a bow on the outside of the bag with the explanation poem on the handle and gave it to my co-worker.  

So all the items are useful and this hopefully brings a little fun.  I know that when I had done it in the past the recipients were happy with it, so I hope my co-worker enjoys it.  

I think I'll be doing this again in a couple of years when my grandson's get a little older so they can understand it.