Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Resident Floral Arranger and Woodworker

HWNSNBP has become quite the outdoor floral arranger.  He put together these barrels and basket using greens and decorative items gleaned from previous years and newly from the $Tree.  The larger ones have solar lights in them that glow after dusk.  

He also put his woodworking skills to work with a couple of projects for presents.

He made and is making puzzle tables.  This one was for our son and daughter-in-law.  The legs below collapse so it can be used on a table top while sitting or extended for standing or placing on a bed like a bed tray.  It has four drawers for sorting pieces.  When the drawers close it forms a "frame" on all sides so if you want to move it to another location the puzzle that you are working on will not slide off.  The drawers are removable also to take some of the weight off whilst moving.   Ours is still in the works but I'm looking forward to using it once we clean up all the Christmas decorations.

He also made a battery organizer for our daughter and son-in-law like the one that he had made us several years ago.  This is hanging in our cellar stairway and is very convenient when replacing batteries.  

He does great work!  His workshop is in the garage (unattached from our house) so it gets pretty cold in there in the winter, so he's back and forth to the cellar to work on these projects.  But he enjoys it.  Gotta find him something new to work on soon.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Our Bubble


Set .........



And the boys with Papa.

We spent some time at my son's house on Saturday.  This is the first time we've all been together since July.  It took a little while for the littlest guy to warm up to everyone.  And the 4-yr-old tried hard to be a good sharer, though it was hard because a lot of what he got had to be off limits from the little one, but he showed good patience.  Until when our daughter and family were leaving, he turned around and said to us "Aren't you going too?"  Papa asked him if he wanted us to leave and he promptly said "Yes."  He wanted to play with his toys.  We only stayed a few minutes longer and Papa prodded me to use the bathroom before we left.  When I came out I leaned over to help the little guy read something and he said "Grandma, you smell weird"  and added "like a lollipop."  We all laughed and I told him it was my cherry chapstick that I had put on in the bathroom.  I'm afraid he thought I was eating lollipops in the bathroom.  Papa told him that he didn't like when I used chapstick either.  

It was so good to be with all of them together again.  I hope we won't have to wait as long for the next time.  

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Last of the 25 Doors of Christmas

So I was able to complete 20 of the 25 doors of Christmas - 21 if you count the door on the gingerbread bird house we made.

I used this as my Christmas blog greeting.

The box part of these 3-D ornaments had been sitting on my work table for the longest time.  I found the little stamp set that went with it and the dies.  The problem I had was that the dies, or it could have been the stamps, were backwards.  I wound up fussy cutting the figures.  

Thanks to Alexandra and Michael for a fun challenge that provided a little bit of creative relaxation and a lot of creative thinking.  

Friday, December 25, 2020

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

This from That and a Grandson Project

Back in April I found a free tutorial that took book page circles and made a 3-D creation.  I used pages from a discarded dictionary and with some circle punches punched out 16 circles of each size.

After folding them in half with a hard crease and then folding them again with a soft crease at the center point, I was able to layer them and make 16 segments.  Then the 16 segments were glued together in the round.  And then I had a paper urchin which sat on my table for months until I found a couple of boxes of wooden drapery rings that someone had given me which gave me an idea.  

I removed the eye screws from the wooden rings and HWNSNBP filled the holes with wood putty and sanded them for me.  Then I painted them white along with two 5/8" wooden beads per each ring.  I punched out a lot more of those circles and whilst watching/listening to Hallmark Christmas movies at night, folded all those suckers and glued them together.  

I punched a circle out of index paper and made sure there was a hole in the center before I glued the urchins to it - one on either side.  I found some suede leather cording that I had bought for another forgotten project and picked the light green to use on this project.  I strung the cording through the urchins and looped the ends through the beads gluing them in place.

I made 5 of them to hang from the light fixture in the dining room.

Another thing that we found during our clean out was a 2 1/2 foot unfinished wooden Christmas tree with a set of lights.  We thought it might be a good project to do with our 4-yr-old grandson.  I  prepainted the tree green and he decorated it dipping corks in paint to make ornaments.  Then we strung the lights through it.  

They grow up much too fast.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Five More Christmas Doors

 I've missed a couple of door days here and there, but I still have some to share.

There's a little magic going on in the oven here.  The gnome is checking on those gingerbread cookies that were on the counter the last time.  They are coming alive in the oven and dancing away.


So I posted this for the door of the day but it was actually something that I had done in the past.  I meant to put it on paper to share it, but didn't get the chance.  It was designed and hand painted by me.  It's meant to be our house.  We have a few less trees in the yard now since this was painted.

This was inspired by a picture of a tree (house) that is somewhere in Lithuania.  I used gel pens on this to try to make it sparkly which was hard to capture in the photo. 

And this was inspired by a gingerbread house I saw. I opted for white houses with white and green trim.

A cake I saw inspired this one.  In the inspiration photo, those little houses are made from gingerbread.

We'll have to see what comes this week.  I'm running out of ideas.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

A Few More Christmas Cards to Share and Little Recycled Ornament



That was a picture of most of my Jingle Belles cards for this year.  I usually have a couple more that I forget about but are really needed to complete our mailing.  This year was no different.  I let HWNSNBP pick out who gets what card with just a little bit of help.  We know who likes certain colors, who get more religious cards, and who have kids.  He'll pick out the family cards first and go from there. Post It notes come in handy.  I make a post it for everyone on our list (easy to save from year-to-year) and he'll stick the notes to the cards.  Here are a few more that were absent from the picture.

I found some of these Outlines Stamps mandalas in my stash that just needed to be assembled for these.

On these I used the other lantern in the Reverse Confetti set that I had used for Thanksgiving.  I had a few different backgrounds to choose from.

These were inspired by our gingerbread house activity.   The house is Tutti Designs die cut and the little gingerbread person border is a Martha Stewart punch.  These, even though they look pretty simple, are a little labor intensive, but I love the way they came out with the embossed sentiment.

Full disclaimer on this one - it was a card front that I had made for a swap many, many years ago that I felt needed a new home.


I have found tons of greeting cards that we've received over the years during this purge we've been doing.  Looking at them again always brings back memories, but it was time for them to be recycled.  I save all the cards from my husband and kids and a few more that have special meaning.  And I do have a selection of cards that have images on them that I might use in one of my cards or journals.  

There was a card that had this little pompom fringe on it and another that had this little bow. I found this little scrap of wood that I rescued from HWNSNBP's scraps he was getting rid of.

I painted the wood white and found an eye screw from another cast off, glued the pompoms on and added the bow.

I trimmed the bow and it looks so sweet on the tree.  

Now, I've got to get these cards in the mail!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Gingerbread House Team Effort

Given the circumstances of not being able to get together in person with co-workers, HWNSNBP's work team (one of them) had a virtual "holiday party".  We first found out about this shortly before Thanksgiving when an Amazon box was delivered that wasn't on our radar. It contained a gingerbread house kit.  He recognized the sender's name so we put it aside for a few days until it came to light what was going to transpire.  

Everyone on the team received one and they were to put them together, with whatever items they wished to add, and they could have helpers.  HWNSNBP, who is not one to sit back in any perceived "competition" told me to "start thinking about what we could do".  The kit came with some colorful candy bits, but I knew that we would have to add to that to make something a little more spectacular.  Not wanting to have a lot of extra candy around the house as a temptation, I thought about what we did have on hand that we could use when I came up with the idea of making this for the birds.  

We had seeds, crackers, peanut butter, unpopped popsorn, and crisco.  I thought we could add to that with pretzels - a snack that he will enjoy.  He was in charge of cutting the base out of a piece of wood and doing the pretzel shopping.  He tried project managing (hanging over my shoulder and watching what I was doing) but was reassigned to "shop clean-up".  

As we buy our bird seed in a mix, I first had to sort it out.  It wasn't as tedious as it sounds.  I poured about a cup of seed into a bowl and gently shook the bowl.  The larger seeds came to the top and were pretty easy to pick out.  I wanted to use peanut butter to "adhere" them to the sides so I spread each piece, one at a time with the pb and first added the windows/door and the seeds that defined them.  Then I sprinkled the small seed over the rest of the panel.  I did this for all four sides and we let them sit over night so the pb would dry out a little (I was afraid that it might be too soft and would slide off.)  I also added the pretzels to the roof panels and sprinkle bread crumbs over them and let them sit overnight with the rest.

Erecting this little house, with all the sides decorated proved to be a little challenging.  I did use a glue gun to help, but I first made a box out of a cracker box that was the inside dimensions of the house (sans roof) to help with the construction process.  A little dab of peanut butter on each side helped to keep them upright while I used the glue gun to set the seams.  The only problem with the roof was the amount of hot glue that was needed to get around the whole piece before it solidified.  I knew this wasn't going to last forever so I didn't worry about it.  

I put the shortening in a decorating bag and squeezed it onto the roof ridgeline.  That's were I added the corn kernels and seed.  I opted not to pipe the shortening on all the house seams.  I smeared the base with shortening and added the saltines around the house, leaving a path that was covered with thistle seed.  The fence was made frome the pretzels.  


The last touches were a bit of greenery at the doorstep, with some raspberry segments as deocrations, and the pinecone tree.

He had to submit pictures the day before the "party" which he did, and then at the party, he had to explain how he had made it.  He was honest and said that he only made the base and did the shopping.  There were about eight different categories they could vote for and "we" won the "Most Creative" bragging rights out of the 53 houses that were completed.

We've been putting it outside on the picnic table on nice days and bringing it in at night.  A couple of juncos have shown a little interest, but so far, the squirrels haven't noticed it.  I'm pretty sure that if we did leave it out overnight the neighborhood raccoon would enjoy it, but we really don't want to entice it to hang out here which is why it comes in at night.  And it stays inside on rainy days. 

We're expecting snow later this week so I'm looking forward to having it sit upon some snow and we will scatter more seed around it to encourage more pecking.  

All in all it was a nice little diversion.  


Sunday, December 6, 2020

25 Doors of Christmas 2020

Some time ago, I participated in a weekly challenge called Scribble Picnic facilitated by Michael McVean.  He and his wife Alexandra moved on to use Instagram as their platform of choice and last year around this time I tried to keep up with their 25 Doors of Christmas challenge for the month of December.  I didn't get very far with it then, but hope to do more of it this year.  Here you will see the first 5 days of doors.  I haven't put pencil to paper for a few months - the desire was there and it wasn't.  I think I've been in the art doldrums.  Hopefully, this will help get me out of them and back into using up these art supplies that I've been accumulating all these years.  I am continuing doing them in an off brand 5 x 7 sketch book with Prismacolor pencils.  Most of them have been inspired by doors/scenes I've seen on Pinterest with changes in details, colors, etc.  The last one with the cardinal is an original design.  

If you have an Instagram account you can check out the other daily entries by using #the25doorsofchristmas and can see other original artworks by Alexandra @alexandrasillos and Michael @itsrainingmarmalade.