Monday, November 30, 2009

Beautiful Blue Christmas

Whew! What a whirlwind the Thanksgiving weekend can be! I wasn't able to post over the weekend I was so busy. But I'm back for one of my favs, Blue Monday, hosted by Smiling Sally. I'm glad I got so many holiday crafts done before Thanksgiving since I didn't have time for any of that, either. Let me show you some of the things I've been making that are BLUE.I'm madly in love with making tassels, after reading a great tutorial at It's So Very Cheri. I've tried before, but they never were quite right for me. She showed a little trick with a base that makes it so much easier and they look nicer, too. Besides this pretty sparkly bird, I've made some snowmen and golden pinecone tassels that I have in my etsy shop, Little Somethings, along with lots of blue jewelry and monogrammed cards.It takes forever to make these mosaic background cards, and I don't think I will ever do it again. I cut up old holiday cards to make little tiles, glue them down one by one, color in any spaces with paint pen to look like grout, and seal with a layer of thinned Mod Podge. Once it's dry, I decorate it with words and a big picture.
Many more blues, from antiques to modern, fancy to mundane, can be found with the Blue Monday participants listed at Smiling Sally.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Have a Gobblin' Good Thanksgiving!

It's Vintage Thingies Thursday on Thanksgiving Day! You know what a die hard I am; I've never missed a week since I discovered this fun meme 18 months ago. I'm sure there are fewer participants this week, and fewer visitors, because most people are enjoying the day with their families, as am I. But I wrote my post early so all I had to do this morning was link in to Suzanne at Colorado Lady.I own this gorgeous, huge turkey platter. It was my Aunt Kakee's. She bought it in the early 1950s for $1.00 at a Savitz Monday Special. Savitz was a nice jewelry store in Hartford and every Monday they had something nice for a dollar! The design is a raised relief, including the swirls around the edge, which are difficult to see in the photo. She never hosted Thanksgiving, nor made a turkey because of a childhood trauma plucking turkeys, and I only used it once, so it is in pristine condition. I used to have it on display in my dining room year-round, but in this home it just didn't work. Hopefully I'll find a way to display it so Tom Turkey can come "out of the closet"!
I hope you're enjoying a wonderful holiday with your family. After our meal we usually play cards, and before we eat I will be sharing this post and other VTTs with my aunt. She is 85 and fascinated with the internet! If you don't have time today, check in with Suzanne @ ColoradoLady for more Vintage Thingies Thursday goodies during the weekend.
Don't forget the BLACK FRIDAY sales at Etsy, all weekend long. I have marked everything down at Little Somethings 15-20% from original prices and other shops have even better offers, including free shipping. Support homemade and shop in your jammies!

Turkeys All Over Town

This is a slightly revised re-post from last autumn. I hope you enjoy it again!
I grew up in the very small town of East Granby, CT, population around 3,500, according to the town web site. According to my mother it's closer to 5,000 people these days, but she's exaggerating, I'm sure. I graduated from high school with 48 people. There are three stoplights in town, and the only chain store of any kind is Dunkin Donuts, which is on the state highway on the way to Bradley Airport, aka Hartford/Springfield Airport. It was a great place to grow up; the schools are excellent and there are all sorts of fields and woods to run around and build forts, etc.
With that brief background, I wanted to share with you some pictures from last summer's 150 Anniversary Celebration of the town. It was really well-organized three day event with a parade, bands, craft fair & art show, traditional town fair games and activities, and fireworks. One of the things many people came to see were the GIANT TURKEYS that I've been saving to post at Thanksgiving time!The wild turkey is the symbol of the town, so following what so many other places have done, the event organizers put together a decorated turkey charity event.My childhood doctor's daughter did the painting for this doctor turkey with the Band-Aid wings and stethoscope. Before people ask, I have no idea who this little girl is. She was just in some pictures I found online about the event.Being right next to the largest airport in the state, there is also an Air Force station and a National Guard post. This turkey was decorated to honor these people.This is the only realistic-looking bird. I'm a little afraid of what that girl is doing back there!Vincent Van Gobble is painted all over with sunflowers and other representations of Van Gogh's works.This one, sponsored by the local auto body shop is one of my personal favorites!
Have you ever been to one of these painted animal events or participated in some way, by decorting or purchasing one?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A New Classic: The Paper Bag Christmas

A year ago I was invited to read and review my first book for Hachette Book Group. I enjoyed the book, and thought it was worth re-posting, especially for those of you who enjoy reading Christmas stories at this time of year.
Every Christmas season there are several wonderful, inspiring novels published. I read one each year to get in the spirit, in addition to returning to old favorites. Last year I was lucky enough to receive The Paper Bag Christmas by Kevin Alan Milne from Hachette Book Group. The first thing that caught my eye after seeing it was a Christmas-themed book, was the author's last name. According to Milne's web site, his mother has done research that links them with the author of the Winnie the Pooh stories. That's a fun bit of information!

The Paper Bag Christmas is the story of Mo (Molar) and Aaron Alan, 9 and 11 year old brothers, and their experience volunteering on a pediatric oncology ward in the weeks before Christmas. The tale is told by Mo as an adult:
I'm Molar Alan, and this is my story. It is as real to me as the Santa of my youth, and I share it with an enduring hope that yo will carry its message beyond the realm of reindeer, elves, or toys and embed it deep in your heart where the distractions and disappointments of life can't enter, where the worldly can look but not touch, and where the rich in spirit can come and go at will. As with many Christmas stories, mine began on Santa's lap. But this was no ordinary Santa, and he had anything but an ordinary lap.
I'm sure hearing the words Christmas story and cancer makes you think The Paper Bag Christmas is a real tear-jerker, but it definitely is not! It is funny, inspiring, and a little unpredictable. The characters are interesting and each has a special role: Aaron, the protective older brother, All-American boy; Mo, beginning to question the way the world works; Madhu, the Hindu, who wants to learn all he can about the wonderful holiday everyone is celebrating; Katrina, surviving against the odds, and Dr. Ringle, is he really Santa?
At 150 pages,The Paper Bag Christmas is great for a family read-aloud in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I gave the book to my 10-year-old niece who read it in two days and really enjoyed it. She found many parts funny, and noticed details that I had overlooked. Our family has had many experiences with cancer, so that aspect of the book didn't stand out to her, as it might with other kids her age. Her favorite parts were at the beginning when Mo and Aaron sit on Santa's lap, which is where I totally laughed out loud also, and the pageant at the end. The epilogue made her ask questions and wonder what would happen with Mo and his own children, a great endorsement for any book!
Many children would relate to Mo and Aaron getting a little old for certain parts of the Christmas experience. The story of how Molar was named is cute, and the after-hours hi-jinks in the pediatric ward are very adventurous and funny. Like many Christmas stories it ends with a pageant that I could definitely envision from Mr. Milne's vivid writing, as well as my own experiences with children and performing! This warm and sweet book is sure to become a seasonal classic.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Movies

I am a member of the Etsy Bloggers Street Team, and twice a month there is a blog carnival suggested by a member. This month Mystic Wynd is helping us get into the spirit by sharing our favorite holiday films.
Every year a few new Christmas movies hit theaters, some I want to see and others just don't appeal to me. This year I'd like to see the Disney Christmas Carol in 3-D. Sadly for me I'm not allowed to go to movie theaters because of germs, and I know it won't be the same on TV next year. We've all got our favorites, maybe even more than one.I've got a bunch, from the sentimental 1947Miracle on 34th Street with little Natalie Wood, the musical White Christmas with Bing Crosby & Rosemary Clooney, and the hysterical A Christmas Story, each year waiting for Ralphie to shoot his eye out, hopefully while wearing that bunny outfit! These films get mentioned all over the blogs I visit, but I never read any praise for 1988's Scroogedstarring Bill Murray, Karen Allen, Alfre Woodard, and a host of other amazing actors. It's one of the two DVDs I actually own, that's how much I like it! Murray is hysterically, evilly mean in the Scrooge roll, down to sending his brother a towel for Christmas! The Ghost of Christmas Future is extremely scary, and the other two, played by Carol Kane and David Johannsen are wicked funny! If you've never seen this version of A Christmas Carol, you really need to. It's not televised very often, but it is available on Netflix, and usually On Demand in December. I thought I'd let you see the movie trailer, just to whet your appetites!

Blog Carnival submission form - etsybloggers

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pink Saturday & Blue Monday

It's a first for me, combining Beverly's Pink Saturday with Sally's Blue Monday. I know many people participate in both, so here you'll get a 2fer! You'll understand the reason for the combo as you look at the pictures.
When I go to my fortnightly oncologist appointment I like to go really early so I miss the rush hour traffic going into Boston. This week my appointment was at 7:20, so I was leaving the house by 6:00, driving northeast, and this is what I saw.
A gorgeous pink cloud back-lit by the sun coming up. I grabbed my camera and took several photos through the windshield while driving, and this was the best I got.Ten minutes later, and look what happened to the cloud! As the sun rose and the sky became golden and blue, so did the cloud. Pretty nifty, huh? I felt like Joe Pro Photographer sitting in a field taking photos as the sun came up. Except I was using a point 'n shoot and going 70 MPH. I did nothing to alter these photos except crop them.
I hope you'll visit both Beverly for Pink Saturday and Sally for Blue Monday to see more beautiful examples of these colors.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My First Tassel!

On Tuesday there was a Tassel Party at It's So Very Cheri. I had intended to participate, but got caught up with things and wasn't able. I made my tassel on Wednesday, and here's how I did it.First I got out all my potential supplies and just admired all the pretty ribbon and sparkly jewels. Isn't that part of the fun?
Cheri used the lid from a jar as the base to build the ribbons on, which I thought was an awesome idea. I used an old Christmas card and cut a circle out of the tree so that the underside wouldn't be boring cardboard.
The messy part no one sees.
This is what people will see underneath the snowman. Kind of like fancy underwear!
I picked out the actual ribbon I would use from my multitude, going with two stripes and the rest solid. Most have some sparkle in them. The shiny green became loops and the rest just hang. Both the shiny green and the wide strip have very light wire, so positioning them makes the other ribbon fall the way I want them.I thought all that was left was to secure the snowman to the base, but I was wrong. Just like in Cheri's tutorial, I needed something to cover up the gap and little bit of yuck between the base and the snowman. Out came the jewel trim in gold and red! I wrapped that around and then it was perfect.Replaced the cheap ornament string with matching ribbon and TAH DAH! Doesn't he look cute on my doorknob? He's a pretty good size, about 9 inches. The only thing I would do differently is to use something thicker than cardboard as the base, which would have made it easier to do the cover up where the base attaches to the snowman.
Even though the party is over, I'm still going to link in to Cheri's Tassel Party, where the Linky is still up, so you can go and be inspired by so many gorgeously rich tassels. I'm also participating in Finished for Friday at Lit & Laundry, where there's a variety of completed projects on display.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Covering Up for Thanksgiving

It's the last Vintage Thingies Thursday before Thanksgiving! Will you be here next week? You know I will! I still can't decide if I will post something vintage Thanksgiving or Christmas, but you can be assured that after next week it will be all Christmas every Thursday!This vintage apron worn by my niece is made of toweling, so it's great for Thanksgiving when so many things are being cooked and getting all over the chef's hands. It also has two pockets down low, so she can have her meat thermometer or other small things with her. You can't see it in the picture but it has several gravy stains which just won't come out because of the deep pile of the fabric. Our mom used to wear this in the autumn.Little House on the Prairie comes to mind with this ruffled calico that I didn't bother to iron. Have you found that the wrinkles that don't look too bad IRL look awful in pictures? Maybe I'll iron it and give it to my sister as a Thanksgiving hostess gift.
Enjoy your planning and your Thanksgiving, if I don't see you before next week! The other Vintage Thingies Thursday participants have a lot of great things to distract you today, so be sure to visit Suzanne @ Colorado Lady, our hostess.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Getting So Much Done!

Do you get more done on a project or chore if you do it alone, or with help? For me, I used to get more done by myself, but since my health problems, of course it's easier with help. I have people who do errands for me and I had a cleaning woman who also did laundry every week, but I just can't afford that anymore, and I have enough energy to do small basic chores now. For my big things I have my awesome nephews, who are fourteen. They will do things for me without any questions or complaints that their mother wouldn't even bother to ask them to do because the dispute would be so loud.The other day they came over for about 2 hours, after we first went out for a huge breakfast, of course. They put away the patio furniture for the winter, picked up a whole bunch of gross trash on the front lawn of my townhouse and my neighbor's (There was some kind of explosion from the trash truck, I think!), broke down about 10 boxes for the recycling, brought a bunch of boxes down to the basement and organized them to find things easily when I want them. They also did what they each consider to be their specialties; Andrew vacuumed, using all the attachments to get into every nook and cranny, and Sean made up my bed with fresh sheets. He makes it all nice and tight with hospital corners, just like I taught him.Then we had time to do the big project I wanted to get to: rearranging my craft room and setting up the amazing Cricut Expressions cutting machine that I won from My Craft Corner. Great prize, right? You should check them out, they have great things every month! This is something I definitely can't do myself because of the furniture moving. As we moved things, Andrew ran around with the vacuum, chastising me for crumbs around the computer and little bits of paper and sequins all over the floor. Hey, it's a craft room, buddy!He even vacuumed all the dust mixed in with the computer cords.We had the room rearranged and the Cricut all set up and ready to go when tragedy struck! I had opened the box several weeks ago when it arrived and dug around, moving some things. Now, just as we are all set to do our first cut, something all 3 of us were excited to try, we couldn't find the blad! The most crucial part of the tool. Now I got a lecture for not being careful with things and tossing them randomly into baskets. Huh? Isn't that what they do with their own junk? I tried to think of where I would have put it to be "safe", and finally gave up and went to the Cricut website to buy one. $30.00, and they were out of stock. Just as I turned in my chair to move away from the computer, look what Sean found!It was in a Ball jar full of all sorts of detritus that had no home. Since he saved me $30.00 plus shipping, Sean has redeemed himself for losing our movie tickets 10 years ago. I think that's fair, don't you?
I will show you the rearranged craft room soon, the picture here has too much junk in front of the camera.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Even Smurfs are Celebrating!

It's Blue Monday and this week I have a silly little stroll down memory lane for you. The Smurfs were very popular when I was a kid. They had their morning cartoon and lots of merchandise, similar to their friends Strawberry Shortcake and Rainbow Brite, who I really didn't care for. I don't know why. Although their heritage is Belgian, those Smurfs living in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving along with the rest of us.
They collect their harvest.

Smurfette and her friend like to dress up like American Indians for the holiday.

For Christmas they are right in the spirit decorating the tree and passing out gifts.Papa Smurf likes to dress up and play Santa for all the little Smurfs!
I found all of these collectible figurines ona website called BLUE BUDDIES. They had all sorts of Smurf memorabilia if you're looking for a walk down memory lane.
For more beautiful blues, visit Smiling Sally our Blue Monday hostess.