December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

May this new year bring you joy, health, challenges and successes.
Happy New Year 

December 20, 2012

The Scrawny Little Tree a Wonderful Christmas Story

I'm having a nostalgic kind of Christmas this year, my tree is trimmed with shiny brites from times gone by, my mother's crewel work of beautiful cardinals on an ever green branch is hung so all can enjoy her handy work, and my children's Christmas books are piled high for me to read to my grandchildren.

Some of my vintage Christmas aprons and handkerchiefs were laundered and ironed and became gifts for some of my friends. I even convinced my oldest daughter to include in her teacher gifts a vintage Christmas apron and handkerchief, I wonder if these two teachers like vintage, let's hope so.

The best part of Christmas is reading my Christmas books to the grandchildren. I will start reading to one of the smaller grandchildren, and before the book is finished I will often times have all of them sitting around me while I read the stories. 

This year I am particularly fond of the book:  
The Scrawny Little Tree: A Christmas Story, 
written by Ed Mehler and illustrated by Susie Pollard.

My copy is an ex library book with a copyright of 1970

This holiday story is written with rhyming text, and illustrated with retro red and green ink drawings. A small poor boy saves his pennies to buy a Christmas tree, a message about "meager means and ample gratitude."

The little boy with arm so small,
saved pennies... though very poor,
to buy himself a Christmas tree,
which he'd never had before.
He placed it there before the door,
so everyone could see,
and sitting til the darkness came,
admired his little tree.
The little tree shed a tear,
but it was a tear of joy,
he felt contentment deep inside,
how he loved that little boy!
...the boy awoke at dawn,
and stood beneath the tree,
but could not believe his eyes...
for, in the spot where he had placed the scrawny little tree,
stood the most majestic one,
in all of history.
...and, the tree they planted in the town,
stand prouder than before,
a reminder of the power of love...
to stand forevermore...

What Christmas stories are you reading to your children or grandchildren this holiday season? I'm always looking for good books to read.

December 19, 2012

Thirty four years ago today, I gave birth to my third child, on that day the stars in the sky shined a little bit brighter.

Happy Birthday my sweet girl.

From a cutie to a beauty.

December 17, 2012

Tomorrow I Will Be Silent ~ Today I Share the Words of Victor Hugo

In preparation for the upcoming release of the movie Les Miserables, people are starting to read or re-read the book. In the preface of the book, there is a speech given by Victor Hugo on Workman's Congress at Marseille. I like to share it.

"Have faith, then; and let us realize our equality as citizens, our fraternity as men, our liberty in intellectual power.  Let us love not only those who love us, but those who love us not. Let us learn to wish to benefit all men.  Then everything will be changed; truth will reveal itself, the beautiful will arise, the supreme law will be fulfilled, and the world shall enter upon a perpetual fete day. I say, therefore, have faith." 

Bloggers day of silence Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thrift Share and a Christmas Angel

The parking lots have been full every time I pull into either St. Vincent DePaul's or Goodwill, the store is filled with the sounds of Christmas music, and people are filled with the spirit of Christmas.  

While checking out I witnessed a Christmas kindness, and it touched my heart and filled my eyes with tears. An older woman was checking out, the cashier gave her the total amount due, the woman didn't have enough money for her items. Embarrassed the woman started to leave the store, but a Christmas angel quickly ran to the door and told the woman she would pay for her items. 

As I was leaving the store, (I was in a different check out lane), the two women were embracing, and both were smiling. That for me is what Christmas is all about small acts of kindness and showing brotherly love.

Brad Paisley's song "What If He's an Angel" has a refrain that has been a reminder for me to do my best.

"What if he's an angel sent here from heaven

And he's making certain that you're doing your best
To take the time to help one another
Brother are you going to pass that test
You can go on with your day to day
Trying to forget what you saw in his face
Knowing deep down it could have been his saving grace

What if he's an angel "

I was thrilled to pick up these two items this week.

This mug set was all taped up with a price tag of $3.99 sitting on the end of the self. I was attracted by the red and while colors and thought it would be a fun thing, to have around so all the grandchildren and myself could enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and candy canes in matching cups. I was thrilled when I turned it over to see that this was a Crate & Barrel product. I went on the Crate & Barrel site and found that the Pick Me Up Mugs with tray sold for $24.95. I love thrift shopping!

On the top shelf sat my next thrift item that I filled with Christmas items that I hadn't used to decorate.

Shinny Brite striped ball and small ornaments...

bottle brush trees ...

jingle bells ..

gold tinsel ...

fill this glass Christmas tree. Glass tree $1.99.

I am linking up with:

Hey, What's for Dinner Mom? -  The Penny Worth Project 

Sir Thrift A Lot - Thriftasaurus

Costal Charm - Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Be sure to visit Laura's blog, Hey, What's for Dinner Mom? and enter to win a 5 quart tilt head Kitchen Aide Mixer, hurry contest ends Wednesday. I'm excited to have a chance to win.

December 14, 2012

Thought for Today

This post was written prior to the tragic events that occurred in Newtown, my heart goes out to the community and everyone that was impacted by this tragedy.
Words by Cheryl Karpen
from the book

December 13, 2012

Christmas Toys Remembered

Today I finished my Christmas shopping for my grandchildren, thank goodness. Memories of the toys I received when I was a child filled my mind.  See if you received any of these toys for Christmas.

My accordion was red and black.

I learned to add on this as I recall I didn't really like this toy.

I loved those little cookie cutter and would use
them when I was playing with my clay.
I am so happy that children still play Jacks, it was my favorite game.
Tom Thumb cash register was among my favorite toys.

Cootie what a fun game.

The metal clicker was a source of aggravation for my parents.
Often this toy went missing for days at a time.
Hours of fun, I would pry out the numbers
so I could complete the puzzle.

Paper dolls you needed a steady hand while
cutting so you wouldn't cut off the tabs.

Pop beads wore them to church for many years when I was young.
Jumping beans, they had weights in the bottoms of the beans.
The round red discs were plain on one side and had a number
of the other this is how I learned how to tell time.

What Christmas toys do you remember? 
Photos from the youtube video 

Christmas Memories Toys and Music from the 1950's and 60's.

December 12, 2012

Annie Sloan Painted Doll Dresser

My granddaughter, LuLu Belle loves her American Girl doll, we had her birthday party at the American Girl Cafe this year, you can read about that post, here.

After lunch, we browsed the store and let LuLu Belle show us what she would like for Christmas. I was shocked at the prices, for example, a plastic claw foot bathtub with cardboard and plastic accessories was over seventy dollars.

While I was visiting my local St. Vincent DePaul's thrift shop strolling up and down the isles I spotted a small doll dresser priced at only $4.99. I thought it would be perfect of the 18" American Girl doll.

As I have stated over and over again I do not have a DIY gene, but felt sure I could paint this small piece. I ordered my first Annie Sloan paint, wax and brushes.

The paint arrived, and I set up the card table in my living room and started to paint. (I know you can't believe I would paint in my living room, but come January there will be a remodel, so I didn't have much to lose.) I was so excited that I forgot to take a picture of the doll dresser before I started to paint. The dresser was the color of  drawers and had missing handles.

Doll dresser thrifted for $4.99.  
After two coats of paint, I was ready to apply a few coats of wax, add the new drawer handles, which were findings for jewelry, but worked perfect for drawer handles, line the drawers, and add the doll clothes.

Jewelry findings and glued on bling were used for the long drawers,
I had to repainted the wooden handles silver for the top two drawers
because the store didn't have another package of the jewelry findings I  used.

Pink and purple paisley paper line the drawers.

The top drawers always hold under garments.

Some causal clothes for her American Girl doll.

Hot pink skirt, white tee shirt and a pair of roller skates. Skate party!

My $4.99 doll dresser painted and waxed with Ann Sloan products
and ready to be wrapped for my sweet granddaughter's  Christmas present.

It may not be perfect because I don't have the DIY gene, but it was painted, lined, and filled with doll clothes and a whole lot of love for my sweet LuLu Belle as one of her Christmas presents.


December 11, 2012

1950 Christmas Shows

My Facebook page has been filled with friends writing about favorite Christmas television programs. I fondly remember many and came upon a few that I had forgotten all about.

I had forgotten all about these short stories  that would air during the Christmas season on the Chicago television channel WGN in the 1950's. 

Hardrock, Coco, Joe: The Three Little Dwarfs  aired in 1956

Suzy Snowflake aired in 1953

Hardrock, Coco, Joe: The Three Little Dwarfs  aired in 1956. These three elves wanted to go along with Santa and help him. 

The Santa now looks a tad bit scary to me, but when I was eight years old I just loved this film. While looking up information on these two short films, I found out that in the 1950's they only aired in the Chicago area on WGN and in Western Pennsylvania on an NBC affiliate. 

Suzy Snowflake, was another of my favorites, when it was shown on television I knew that Christmas was coming soon.

I can still remember all of the words to this song, tap, tap tappin on your window pane, I like that part.

As I view these two films from my childhood I am amazed how far technology has come, but I still love these black and white stop motions classic films and their songs, but most of all I love the feelings I get when I watch and remember those past Christmases.


December 10, 2012

Gift for a Bird Lover - Bird Boudoir

A thoughtful and affordable gift to make for a bird lover.

This gift is easy for children to make and is a thoughtful and affordable gift.

I purchased the suet basket and suet on sale at my local home improvement store, cost was just over two dollars for these items.

Suet basket and some suet are main components.

Found items around my house that I purchased while thrift shopping that the birds could use for making a nest, found my scissors, and ruler, I was ready to make my bird boudoir.

Some material suggestions that you may have around your house: 
Natural fibers, such as cotton, wool, or burlap. Cut fabric pieces 3"- 6" long, and no wider than 1".
String, ribbon lace or yarn again no longer than 3" - 6.
Cloth batting wool or cotton no longer than 3" - 6, feathers from an old down pillow work great.

A search on the internet gave me a list of what to use for bird nesting materials. 
I used jute, lace, ribbon, and cotton threads. All of  these items were from thrift stores.

At the first signs of spring place the nesting materials inside the wire basket. How fun it would be to look up in the trees and see colorful ribbon and cloth woven from your wire basket that helped make the bird boudoir.
When ready to use the nesting materials, items from the backyard such as,
grass clipping, sphagnum or tiny twigs can be added to the basket. 

I made a tag on my computer with instruction and tied it with a red ribbon.

December 8, 2012

Victorian Mansion Sparkles For Christmas ~ Part 2

Heading upstairs of the Durkee Mansion the decoration theme of the "Victorian Jewel Box" continues onto the second floor.

Heading to the second floor the railings have
garland looped across the banister.
This suspension staircase is the largest of its kind in Wisconsin.
The first of the four  bedrooms on the second floor. 
I wouldn't want to sleep with this over my head,
but the effect was stunning.
A charming Victorian bedroom.
This appeared to be a gentleman's bedroom.
Every bedroom had a Christmas tree.
No detail was left out during the decoration of the mansion.
I'm sure the lady of the house would have this bedroom. Stunning!
Perhaps she entertained on overnight guest.
The child's bedroom. 
I stood at this doorway for a long time,
there was so many intriguing items to see.

The display in this room looked like a postcard.
This tiny alcove sits at the top of the staircase. One might think it was built
for decorative purposes, but in fact, is called a coffin niche. This small room
was built on the second floor so that they would be able to easily move
long bulky items such as a fainting couch, and of course a coffin.

Happy Hanukkah! To everyone celebrating the Festival of Lights, 
I wish you and your family peace and happiness.