Wednesday 26 December 2012

Christmas Hits & Misses

I was just thinking about all the projects and decorating I did for the festive season and what mattered most to my family.  Boxing Day is also a good day to reflect on what I will and won't do for next Christmas.  In fact, thinking is about all I feel up to today!  I'm pooped!

Next year, I will not be sewing dolly blankets and little cross stitched doll cradle pillows on the 23rd of December! ~

Some extra thought in wrapping was a resounding success with the grandkids loving their Believe tags and jingle bells on their gifts. ~

The kids second favourite decoration in the house was the tall glass vase turned into a candy cane parfait with some strings of beads.  If I took five minutes on that one, I'd be surprised! ~

Hanging fewer snowflakes, up higher, saved the chandelier from last years near disaster as kitty Maeve lunged for the decorations! ~

Farm girl tells me her youngest four kids were thrilled with their personalized pillow cases.  Thank you Graphics Fairy and Citrosolv!!!  $2 per present cannot be beat.  Of course I gave them a store bought present as well, but I may not have needed to. ~

The ornamental polar bear from the library became a ride on toy and looks like he has a bad case of mange now! ~

The snow village goes on a table in the family room for children to play with.  It  hadn't been out in years as the grandsons had reached their teens.  When five new grandkids joined the family, it was pulled out of storage and back to being loved.

Two years ago the village nestled on a bed of snow that my grandmother had used under her snow village.  The kids dove right into that stuff and a few hours later started complaining about being itchy.  O'mgosh!  The stuff is fibreglass!  Oops. ~

That led to endless jokes from my daughters about children in the olden days playing with barbed wire and caustic chemicals.  That's ridiculous.  We played with BB guns, fishing knives and DDT.  On the train tracks.  While smoking.  Anyway, those are the first kids who wrapped themselves in the fibreglass snow!

Still, I've switched to a bag of loose snow and accept that I'll be vacuuming it up in April.  The kids got out the basket of toys from the spare room and had a heyday marching dinosaurs and circus animals through the tiny town.

The next day, when Baby (otherwise known as Cindy Loo Who) arrived, she marched right up to that snow village with an armful of dinosaurs and did the same thing. ~

I've applied for disaster relief for the snow village and Peta should be here about the polar bear soon.  My feet are on a stool and I'm about to pour myself a long shot of rye.

My favourite decoration?  These paper angels my daughters made for me so many years ago, that I framed last Christmas. ~

I love these angels almost as much as I love the artists that made them!  And, I love them almost as much as the village wrecking, polar bear torturing, pillow case hugging and grandma kissing angels they made for me!

I hope everyone had as merry a Christmas as I did!
ps~I must be very tired.  I spelled It's All Connected wrong on every single pic!  I'm not going back and fixing them so we'll all have to live with it.

Saturday 15 December 2012

Cute As A Button Tree!

I may not be able to remember what I came upstairs for or where I put my glasses, when they are sitting on the top of my head, but I remember buttons.  Dump my old button jar out and I'll point out the one with the little anchor that was on my toddler's sailor dress.  Or, I'll show you the pink pearl buttons from my grandma's bed jacket.  This heart shaped one was on the another daughter's dress and those brass buttons are from a 60's fake leather coat.

When a blogger I read showed us a button covered tree that she bought at a craft fair, I knew I just had to have one!  For the life of me, I cannot find the original blogger but I know you read this, so let me know and I'll send them over to you to see your totally glam one.

Mine is a much simpler version. ~

My sister was visiting and sorting out the white and red buttons for me.  I grabbed one squealing, "Oh my gosh, you know this one for sure!".  She just looked at me.  She often looks at me like I'm one possessed.  "You surely know where this button is from!"  She keeps right on looking at me.  But, I know this is the button I want for my star at the top of the tree.  I remind my sister of the story and we both laugh until the tears are running down our faces.

This is my star. ~

It may be a simple bit of plastic and gold gilt but it certainly has a story!  My daughter was scheduled for a C-section on a February day fourteen years ago.  After the difficult birth of her first son, it was a wonderful relief to have everything under control this time.  Or, so I thought!

Days before the delivery my husband decided to go out of town to work with a well known recording artist. I freaked out because that left me out in the country with no car and no way of getting to the hospital.  My sister said she would take me but her husband was out of town working and had their car.  Luckily, my brother was working as a car salesman and my sister took one of his models out for a test drive.  We'll have that car back to him in 3 hrs.  You can start singing the theme to Gilligan's Island about now.

I've chosen to wear a lovely, new suit with about 40 tiny buttons all down the front of the jacket.  Off we go to the hospital and sit daintily in the waiting room.  My son in law comes out very soon and he does not have the look of a happy new dad.  It seems my daughter has gone into labour on the operating table and we must wait through the whole labour and delivery again!  It has just begun and they recommend we go home and wait for a call that things are getting closer.

We drive back out into the country and hang around sipping tea for hours until we decide to catch a little sleep.  No sooner do we get in bed than the phone rings.  SIL says, "You better get back here fast 'cause it's coming!".  I'm yelling for my sis who is hopping down the hall with one foot caught in the hem of her slacks, trying to get the other leg in.  I'm fumbling with forty, stupid, little buttons and finally say, "To hell with it", yank that jacket off and throw on an old tee shirt.

Sis grabs the car keys and unlocks the doors.  Or, so she thinks.  It's the middle of the night, the horn is blaring and lights are flashing!  It's pouring rain and we're standing out there yelling and hitting buttons on the key holder to shut the damn thing off.  It takes 40 mins to get from here to the hospital, but we made it in half that time and got there just in time to welcome Dermott, grandson number 2!

The car would have been returned if baby Dermott hadn't started running a fever the next day.  My daughter freaked out because that's when grandson number 1 started having difficulties.  She called me crying and I called the doctor and we raced back to the hospital.  It was a false scare and we fully intended to return that car by evening.  Then, the hospital messed up her vegetarian food and brought her a big slice of beef and I had to go home and make her something she could eat.

Three days later, my brother is on the phone saying, "Where the hell is the car you took for a test drive?  They want to know if you drove it to Florida!".  Big sis told him to calm down.  She liked that peppy, little car and was buying it.  And she did!

So, this may just look like an old paper cone tree, covered in buttons, to you but to my sis and I it means a heck of a lot more.  It means generations of family and sticking together when you need to.  It means laughter and tears and joy at the birth of a new baby.

It means Christmas to me! ~

Ah, if you want a real trip down memory lane, just dump out that old button jar.  It's my version of a memory quilt!

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Friday 14 December 2012


Today's post is postponed to take time to shed a few tears.  And, perhaps to pray for guidance on ways and means of stopping these senseless acts of violence.

I cry for the families who are in agony right now and who's lives will never be the same.  I cry for the adults who lost their lives.  I cry for the babies.  I cry for the people of Connecticut and the USA.  I cry for all of us who have lost our innocence and sense of security in the world.

We can and MUST find a better way.

Peace on earth, good will to man!

Wednesday 12 December 2012

How Can I Love This Christmas Display So Much?

But, I do, I do love it!

It all started with an old door I saved from the dumpster when we were clearing out the general store that had belonged to my parents.  It had been the entry door to a long gone upper porch.  I angled it in the corner of my family room.

I didn't want to obscure this wonderful view by plunking a big Christmas tree in front of the corner windows.  The old, angled door has the most wonderful bubbles in the glass! ~

I rigged up a small spotlight behind the door, stood back and admired all that natural chippiness! ~

It's love at first sight! I'd already given away two designer trees and bought this little cedar trunk one at the Salvation Army Thrift Store for $5.99.  It's perfect for some simple wood and rusty metal ornaments. ~

Did you know a bird in a nest is supposed to bring prosperity in the new year?  At the very least, it makes me happy right now. ~

This snowlady angel means a great deal to me.  The first year of my divorce, I found it too difficult to use our family Christmas tree decorations.  My daughter had just started her family and didn't have money to buy any, so I packed them up and took them all to her.  That Christmas she gave me this angel to start a new collection. ~

My vintage wagon serves as a dandy tree holder.  I can roll the whole thing out to vacuum.  If I ever get around to vacuuming that is. ~

What's a tree without some toys?  The doll belonged to my cousin and my dear Auntie Kay made the Anne Of Green Gables costume for it.  A folk artist friend made the wooden soldier many years ago. ~

Miss Piggy is a thrift store find for $4.  My girlfriend Liz says she's the epitome of thrifting run amok because I have no earthly use for it, no matter how great the bargain.  But, the pig did find a use as mascot for our monthly craft sessions. ~

The berry wreath is so old that the berries have all dried out and cracked.  It should be thrown out but the burlap bow and dollar store bird are giving it a reprieve from the landfill. ~

The only theme I'd planned this year was simple country, but another is creeping in.  After putting the stills from some favourite black and white Christmas films up in the kitchen, I had to add some to the family room.  Do you all love Bing Crosby in White Christmas as much as I do?  I downloaded four stills and added picture corners and a frame in Picmonkey and taped them to the glass. ~

The putty on the windows is crumbling and I couldn't clean up to the edges without the panes falling out.  That's a repair job for January!  Now, the next pic is not edited.  Don't the murky edges look like one of the Picmonkey boarder options? ~

The rusty bucket I made from a shiny $ store pail held a small pine tree last year and makes a great, country container for a white poinsettia this year.  It's a silk plant until they settle on whether or not the real things are poisonous to cats.  If you are not supposed to eat it, Mauve will!  The image is from the Graphics Fairy and you can click on the button on my right side bar to access all her lovely, free images.  If you want to make your own rusty bucket, you can read how to do it here. ~

 I wish I had the photography skills and equipment to show you how lovely this looks at night! ~

I've done hundreds of trees for stores, churches, restaurants and homes but none of them have stolen my heart like this one.  Before I'd draped the last string of red beads I was saying, "I can't wait to share this with all my friends in Blogland!".

The bins of decorator ornaments sit unopened and simplicity rules.  I thank all the great bloggers who have provided the inspiration and all of YOU for being there to share!

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Sunday 9 December 2012

Working With Dropcloths

When my daughter decided she wanted to recover a settee with drop cloths, she asked my sister and I to come and help her.  That would be because she doesn't sew and had never recovered anything before.  We do sew but we had never recovered a piece of furniture.  She lives 1 1/2 hours away from me and we would only have the afternoon to work on the piece.  I thought this was a crazy idea, but I'm a mom and it's really hard to say no your kids!

Since drop cloths are made of cotton, they shrink like crazy and you have to pre-wash them and dry them in the dryer, to get all the shrinking out of the way, before you start fitting them.  It makes them less stiff and easier to work with as well.  Farm girl called me back and asked if I was sure she should put them in the dryer.  Uh huh.

Now, I've probably bought a dozen drop cloths and I have never seen one like she bought.  It had a plastic backing that melted and fused to the cotton!  You could see the blobby parts through the cotton and it made a weird crinkly sound when you moved the fabric.  Soooo, we spent a couple of hours peeling the stupid plastic off.  If you bought your cloth at Home Hardware and it has a plastic backing DO NOT PUT IT IN THE DRYER!  In fact, just go to Home Depot or Lowe's and buy the normal drop cloths.

Farm Girl didn't want a slip cover and wanted the fabric stapled right onto the piece.  Big Sis and I are pondering how to achieve this without being able to remove the old fabric to use as a pattern.

The old stuff was pretty well shot and there was no getting that off except in bits. ~

We're measuring and pinning and Farm Girl is saying, "Just bunch it up and staple it on.".  She has 6 kids, 2 dogs and a barn full of rescued animals and she wants everything done FAST! ~

We don't usually work like that, but I was afraid we'd be sent to bed without supper if we didn't  hop to it.  The drop cloths were fitted into place and the excess down the inner sides was cut away.  Big Sis seamed the cut away areas on the sewing machine.  The arms are solid to the seat so that made the fit a bit tougher to do. ~

Farm Girl chose an image of a crow from The Graphics Fairy and did her first Citrosolv transfer.  She's hooked on them now.  My eldest granddaughter is too and dropped her request for me to get her an expensive IPod for Christmas in favour of pillowcases with images on them.  That officially makes The Graphics Fairy a fairy godmother to me!!!

Then, we fitted it all back into place and started stapling it to the settee frame.  It's a little less fitted than I personally would have liked but Farm Girl is delighted with it!

She calls it her Poe-esque settee! ~ 

I'd recommend trying something a little simpler for the first time and maybe spend more than three hours on the job!

Friday 7 December 2012

Christmas For My Country Girl Lampshade

Way back in the summer, when I redid this lampshade, I thought it would be so easy to dress it up for special occasions.  And, it was! ~

If you missed the original post on refurbishing a lampshade with burlap, you can read about it here.

The short story is I took a disgusting old floor lamp shade, tacked some burlap on it with needle and thread and put a strip of frayed dropcloth cotton around the middle.  Adding a few carved, wooden buttons and covering the yellowed candle bulb sleeves with vintage sheet music dressed her up. ~

Of course I don't usually keep my floor lamp outside by a chippy old door.  That would be weird!  It would also suck to have to go outside to read in Canada, in the winter!

I poked a bit of wire through the burlap to attach this country style snowman ornament. ~

I'm crushing on these birch bark stars I bought in an after Christmas clearance sale!  Out comes the glue gun and they are attached to the cotton band. ~

It still needed a touch of colour, so I clipped a couple of sprigs off the fir tree and gave them a shot of fake snow spray. ~

I'd call this a 10 minute costume change for my country girl lampshade. ~

Please tell me you are all as far behind in Christmas decorating as I am!

I'm partying over at:  A Favorite Thing SundaySaturday Show And Tellsunny Simple SundaySaturday Nite SpecialNifty Thrifty SundayDIY Project ParadeThrifty Things FridayTransformed TuesdaysInspire Me MondayTweak It Tuesday

Tuesday 4 December 2012

We Have A Winner!

My big sis and I headed off to the farm yesterday. Farm Girl, had a notion we could recover her settee in an afternoon.  That none of us had ever upholstered anything didn't seem to phase her at all.  It's nice to have your daughter have confidence in you, but really?

With only a few hours to attempt the impossible, the kids had to be kept busy after the school bus inconveniently brought them home.

I grew up as one of six kids and I know children are to be treated as servants.  I set them to icing some cupcakes.  Our resident Lady Gaga was doing a great job!  I don't think you've met her yet.  This girl LOVES to dance, sing and wiggle her butt and she's none too particular about wearing clothes either! ~

Her big sis is carefully spreading icing in her usual meticulous way.  She's our very own National Velvet and doesn't she look like an angel? ~

You all know that Amish girl is competence itself and is the best six year old kitchen helper you'll ever find. ~

Aren't these the best behaved grandchildren in the world?

Wait a minute, Farm Girl is telling off Lady Gaga for this. ~

That look in her eye says she isn't a bit sorry, either.  Now, we have to eat kid spit!

It's time for Amish Girl to pull a name for the draw for the Christmas trees from 2 Be Cherished @ Etsy.  She doesn't want to do it.  Why should she pull a name for someone else to get a present if she isn't getting one?

So, Grandma says, "Listen, little Miss Pouty Face, I told them you would draw the name so stick you hand in that bowl right now and draw one!"  I'm the sweetest Grandma ever.

Great Auntie Lynn (the who has the Etsy shop that sells the trees) says, "I'll make you a set, honey."

Now we have smiles and a winner! ~

Can you read the name?  Of course you can't because Grandma is trying to keep a zillion kids under control and photography is the last thing on my mind!

Having chosen this set of three black, hand knit, Christmas trees, ~

The winner is Danni Baird of Silo Hill Farm, one of the hostesses of ~

Congratulations Danni!

There's an Elf On The Shelf that is going to have something to say about how many of these stockings get filled! ~

Lady Gaga's not worried as she tells me she's already seen a video where Santa tells her she's on the NICE list.  That elf must have missed her cheeky grin!

Monday 3 December 2012

Simple Country Christmas

I feel a real connection to all the women who have lived in this old farmhouse for the last 200 years.  Some I know about and some I just imagine.  I'm taking the house back to it's roots for this holiday season.  Much of my decor will be done as it was before Pottery Barn and dollar stores.

I started wondering what the lady of the house did in the height of the Depression when money was scarce enough for necessities and non existent for frills.

I imagined her turning to what was at hand to make the house cheery.  Of course she'd have to use what nature offered. ~

The boys are gone to school and she settles in to work some craft magic.  She clips some twigs from the bush by the chicken coop and wires together little bunches of  cheery red. ~

The old cat doesn't much like being evicted from his napping spot on the potato sack burlap but she needs some fabric for her door garland. ~

She clips branches from the fir trees and starts to wire it all together with bits of bailing wire.  ~

Crop prices are so low that the farm can't support them and John has had to go to the city for work.  They all miss him terribly, but the boys have stepped up to the plate and are shouldering much of the farm work.  Her eldest boy did himself proud by getting a pheasant and she's saved the feathers for some pretty touches.

The bows have been carefully saved from Christmases before and are taken from their tissue wrappings to give a very merry air to the garland.  She nips the bells off the old cutter harness and adds them to the arrangement.  They haven't had a horse in many years, but oh how she's misses those winter sleigh rides of her youth! ~

The tail feathers from the pheasant look grand in the bucket of greenery. ~

The boys haven't had time to cut a tree for Christmas, so this will have to do.

John is coming home for the holidays tonight and the boys will meet him at the train station.  There's a chicken roasting in the oven and an apple pie cooling on the windowsill.  Just a few more touches and the decorating will be done. ~

The porch light is on to welcome all the family home.  There they are now; her fine husband and sons!  They were so late she was starting to worry.  Ahhh, look, they're proudly hauling a Christmas tree home to her!

And, that is how I amused myself while I worked on the door that has been decorated by so many ladies before me. ~

I'm off to see Farm Girl tomorrow and I'll draw the winner for a set of these hand knit Christmas trees from


I'll have Amish Girl do the drawing.  I know you all trust her.  See, she's lost her first tooth and was very brave about it! ~

Good luck everyone!

I'm thrilled my door was featured on Christmas Decorating Party On A Budget at Creative Cain Cabin!