Monday, December 22, 2008

Sniffles, Tissues & Lots of Sprinkles ...

Sounds yummy, eh? Who wants some of my Christmas treats!! :)
I've been baking like a fool and got this crummy little ol' cold - but rest assure to any of you who may receive some of my goodies - I have been thoroughly scrubbing my hands, which are now chapped and red, and wearing a mask!! Kidding about the mask, but not about my poor dried out hands - Thank Heaven for Gold Bond!!
My sniffles and tiredness is really beginning to put a damper on my holiday cheer ... I haven't even wrapped a thing!! Someone please remind me not to be such a procrastinator! Next year - I'm buying one or two gifts a month, wrapping in October and baking in November!! I've just had it with dragging myself through December so that by the time Christmas Eve rolls around, I can barely hold my head up from total exhaustion!! I know that I'm surely not alone in this ...
I am currently working on my Sugar Cookie Snowflakes - (see, not a tissue in sight! I told you that I am using extreme-germ-discretion!!)
I've had this copper cookie cutter for years ... and never used it! Crazy, I know! :) I usually do all the variations of Christmas cutters - reindeer, wreath, tree, etc. Since sugar cookies are only on my list of must-have-cookies for the holiday, I decided not to make myself crazy and inundated with dough and sprinkles .... So, my big snowflakes are taking care of my craving for tradition and yumminess to dunk in my coffee ... :)

I received some great, little baking supplies from my Gram that came in handy during my Days of Baking .... my favorite is this fabulous Martha Stewart silicone baking mat (above) - just LOVE it! The cookies turn out super with even baking and color - WooHOO! I'm ignoring the fact that this little gem is rubber/silicone/whatever ... and let's face it - that's not natural material, but the FDA says that it's okay. You know, that in so many years, they will be linking cancer to these things!! Well, I'm figuring that my consumption of cookies once a year should not do too much harm ... right???? Okay ... happy thoughts! happy thoughts!
So, what else might have this sniffling elf been baking??? Well, let's see ....

Kiss Cookies - you know, mistletoe and all? :)

Peppermint Candy Cane Sticks

Snowballs - my hubby's favorite!

Buckeyes - it's just not Christmas without these babies!

A new addition this year - Festive Holiday Bark

(Semi-sweet Chocolate swirled with while chocolate intertwined with toasted cashews and sweetened cranberries ... in other words ... YUM!)

Oh, I do have one little disappointment to share ... my Christmas postcards were unable to be produced by my printer. Apparently, the paper that I provided had a coating on it that changed the color of the illustration when printing ... Thus, no holiday cards from us this year. Bummed is a complete understatement - especially, when receiving such beautiful Christmas cards in the mail. Had my printer notified me a tad bit earlier, I would have created an alternative greeting. (sigh ...) I may still try something if time allows ...

Well - I must get back to the snowflakes .... I'm almost done!! And, if I do not write before the 25th ....

Merry Christmas!
May you have the gift of faith,
the blessing of hope and
the peace of His love at Christmas and always...

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Little Bit of Sugar Anyone?

Saturday was our Annual Gingerbread House Party at a dear friend of our family's home. God Bless Melanie - by the end of the evening, her entire kitchen is covered in every kind of colorful candy mortared to the surface with icing! Whew! I think that I would be a bit batty hosting this type of par-tay, as it is mostly the kiddos as the architects and designers, ranging in ages from 3 to 15! Can I just say that I love the fact that my teenage cousin and her boyfriend continue to join us and look forward to this event?! Very cool kids! And, that goes for all of 'em!!

Thanks, Mel, for bringing such holiday cheer into our lives each year!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Peaceful Morning ...

I found myself this morning in an empty and quiet home ... this never happens! My in-laws earned sainthood in keeping my son all day yesterday to allow my hubby and I to Christmas shop - THEN, (as if that wasn't enough!) offered a sleepover to my son and his cousin (my daughter was having one of her own) ... like I said, "sainthood" ... or just a glutton for punishment! LOL! Either way - we were blessed!!

So, after my daughter and her friend left for a Christmas party, I poured a cup of creamy peppermint coffee and thought that I would stitch up some ornaments to give to friend as a hostess gift. I pondered on a design and decided to do something along a penny rug design ... I do so love that blanket stitch! I say this now, but had you asked me, say, back in October, my answer would have probably contained a cuss word! Those were the days of the dreaded ... Girl Scout Banner ... UGH! :) Kidding aside, I am glad that I took that challenge on and completed it on time - Thank the Dear Lord!!

So - the ornaments ... I picked a Red, an Army-kind-of-Green, and Cream felt...

One down, two more to go ...

After a few hours ... Voila!

Three handmade, penny-rug-style ornaments gifts - and I didn't even have to leave my home!!

Also, just a note of excitement from our home ... My husband harvested the largest buck in all of his hunting experiences (which dates back to boyhood!). He is beyond thrilled - actually more out-of-his-skin jubilant - and I am just tickled for him! The rack is a hearty nine point and the deer is a mature beauty. Kudos, Honey!

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Friday, December 12, 2008

A Night in December ...

"Oh, snowy night"

"Craftin' around the Christmas Tree"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Heartwarming ...

During a recent birthday celebration with my mom and gram, I received what I call, "My Most Favorite Gift of the Year!" (although, Christmas is coming so this may be a bit hasty of a declaration to make - *smile*) ...

"Baby Hoot"

Is he not just the most adorable little-bitty thing that you've laid eyes on?? Actually, my mom had given me a preview of this gift - she says that she didn't think I would like it (What??) - but I truly think that it is because she likes to torture me! So, that preview just left me with a month of anticipation of getting my hands on this sweetly, lil'-feathered treasure! He has tiny, wispy feathers here and there .... love him!

While on the subject of "heartwarming" things, I thought that I would share with you my three most treasured ornaments adorning our tree (these, of course, with the exception of my children's ornaments - those are a given!) ...

Firstly, if I have not mentioned this before, I am a huge fan of Mary Engelbriet - in fact, she is by far the #1 reason that I began to draw and paint again after my daughter was born. I had done mostly portrait and wildlife renderings (click to view samples) with all the detail placed upon the subject - not so much of the surroundings. When I came upon her work, I was completely stunned, smitten, inspired ... and well, simply, in love! Not only is her work magical, but her main character of illustrations, Ann Estelle, is an adorable little girl with glasses.

I guess my affection for her dates back to my own childhood when I was wearing my thick, brown plastic glasses. However, note that I was certainly not cute enough to be made into an ornament! No. If you read my past post, you know what I'm talking about. (No. 6, if you're interested.)

Finally, the next two ornaments are the most prized of my collection, for they are a tangible remembrance of my pap-pap, who will be missed for an astounding 5 years this December 26th....

My pap had many facets to him ...

  • He was warm-hearted; he like to share stories of his youth during walks to Kings Castle (a tall evergreen that was a fort for he and his friends), skimming stones along the shore or just rocking on the porch swing.
  • He was fun-loving; we played card games of PIG and Spoons, or dominoes.
  • He was part American Indian (not sure of which tribe or how much), which lead to his fascination of the history of local tribes; one memory that I cherish is our walks through the cemetery to scout out the grave of Massey Harbison - they kept moving it!! Creepy if you ask me... Where exactly is she laid to rest? Beneath the haunted Jr. High??
  • He was our Chief; one of the traditions at any, and mostly all, family gathering was for Pap to give a speech in "Indian." His version anyway *smile*... Thankfully, I did get this ritual on tape! We would be in tears of laughter with his rendition of the numerous "chiefs" that visited our table.
  • He was a songbird, you know the one that loves to sing, but shouldn't? LOL! My gram used to just shake her head when he would go into his version of, "I Love You Truly ..." Now, I sing it for my son ... Pap-style! :)
  • He was a Christian and Traditionalist; He may not have known this, but he instilled in me my values of family, home, faith and community.
  • He was an amateur bird watcher; Though he enjoyed all types of birds, I know that he had a special affection for cardinals.
  • He was our family Chef; Serving in the Coast Guard as a cook, Pap enjoyed working in the kitchen and was best known for his homemade mashed potatoes - which he had the uncanny way of testing a dollop on the back of his hand before he would serve. The reasoning? I am not sure ... just another quirk that made up my beloved Pap.
  • He was our family's historian; Reminiscing and telling stories of growing up and working on his family's dairy farm was a favorite past-time of Pap's. It was a well-loved farm, in its time, as families would drive for miles to enjoy the homemade ice cream and other dairy treats. He could sit for hours if you'd let him, with photo after photo, and story after story ... he loved that farm.
Which, believe it or not ... leads me to my ornaments. Gosh, I get long-winded! (I've been working on this post for over 3 hours ... Gracious!!)

My beloved milk bottles

Our dairy cow ...

These ornaments were handed down to me and are what I cherish most about our tree.

What treasures do you cherish this Christmas season?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Got Elves?

We do!
Our yearly, little Christmas visitors have arrived! It is never known when they will appear ... they're quiet as a mouse! I happened to see one tiptoe across the windowsill and try to hide behind the evergreen. I just gave him a wink and a smile, and he scurried to the top of my curtains ...

Then, I realized that he had a friend along with him ...
This little one used the baby pine cone to hoist him up over the large teacup!
As I walked through our home, goosebumps tickled my spine when I saw that many tiny friends came for a spell ...
Little "red" closed his eyes and held his breathe hoping that the pine hid him from my sight ...
This itty-bitty elf fancied herself atop my sparkling star ... or was it a sparkling star before?
Christmas magic in the making -

If this little guy had not had an itchy nose and sneezed, "Achoo!", I may not have seen him!
Can you?
There he is!
How I adore these little elves that have visited me since childhood ...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ...

... Everywhere we went!

*Making Snowman Soup & Reindeer Food*Enjoying Breakfast with Santa*Watching the Christmas Parade*Marveling at the Holiday Train Displays*

And, to set our festive hearts aflutter, snowflakes danced from the sky and twirled upon our lashes ...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Goodness Gracious ...

What a whirlwind it has been!

From the completion of our Creative Expressions Program (Awards Night, that is ... our committee is still chugging along ... *smile*) - which by the way, my sister performed her original tribute to CE ...
...I had tears in my eyes ... AND - my daughter placed FIRST in Sculpture ...
...again, I had tears in my eyes.

to - celebrating Thanksgiving (Happy Belated Turkey Day to all ... let us count our blessings daily)
- turning thirtysomething (UGH!)
- packing away all the fall decor (DOUBLE UGH!)
- trimming our home in Christmas glow ... just how many twinkle lights can one room hold? well, let's see ...
Our beloved Winter Village that took on a new location this year - much to my daughter's chagrin *smile*.My lovely bird - my husband gave this bird to me for Mother's Day ... I absolutely cherish it and insist that he stay perched at my kitchen window for all seasons. Love him ... well - both, my hubby and the bird! LOL!
A nod to my grandma - she loves handmade stained glass and always hung her favorite pieces in her kitchen window. She handed this beauty down to me - lucky girl, am I ...

And, finally Doot-Doot-Do-DO! Our tree ...
Once the popcorn was popped, the cocoa was stirred and Charlie Brown's Christmas was placed in the VCR, we trimmed our tree. A tradition that we seem to incorporate every year. How I love the mixture of white and colored lights on a tree ...

(okay - back to the list)

- designing Christmas cards for St. Vincent College (plus hand-painting sparkle glitter on all 200. Call me crazy, but it is just the touch they needed!)
Then, redesigning the blog. If you had not noticed or something seemed a little different - my artwork is now displayed on an all-in-one, easy-access inventory via a new blog titled "My Gallery" If you have a second, please check this out. Note that an Index of Art is located on the side bar - just click on the category that you wish to view. Tell me what you think. Do you like the new layout? Any suggestions for changes or additions? When you click to go to "My Gallery", you will find a link to return to "All Roads ..." I am hoping that this new setup will provide a more organized view of my work. Again, let me know your thoughts.
Well, it's a brand new day already ... Happy Thursday to all!

Friday, November 14, 2008

If you've been wondering ...

I've been crazy busy lately, as every other member of our organization is right now. We are in high gears to bring forth our best year ever and commend the achievements of the participants with our Annual Creative Expressions Awards Program. Woo-Hoo!!

This is our red carpet event of the year! Celebrities shining that evening are the crazy-artistic, talented kids from first grade through sixth ... from the earthy art of sculpture to the lyrical whim of music composition ... the painters, writers, dancers, photographers and the like are all honored and lifted high in praise for their individual artistic passion!

I've spoken before of my adoration of this committee and the amazing women who make it shine with brilliance. I am so blessed to be part of it.

So, to do my part, I have been working on the handout program, which features our contributors who make this program possible with their generosity and support.

This project took the longest ... and thank Heaven that its done! It would have been simpler if my file from last year was not destroyed when my computer crashed and burned ... UGH! Thank the Dear Lord above for the maker of PrintShop! as each ad had to be designed from scratch. But, as our committee members all agree - this program seems to be in the hands of God, as He smooths our paths in broadening our horizons and shaping this amazing program, as well as leads such incredible women to our little group. Each new member adds that missing ingredient and breath of fresh air that rejuvenates our passion for this celebration of art. So - believe it or not ... the advertisements flowed like a magical puzzle that never needed tweaking. Can you believe it? Truly, I sat amazed when I realized that I was finished.

Last night, I embossed the golden seals for our Certificates this year, and now they await my calligraphy.

This year's theme is Kids Just Wanna Have Fun ... so very true, isn't it? My daughter submitted in the category of Sculpture her interpretation of this theme ... you know it brought a few tears to my eyes, for she designed a swing set with her and her brother swinging on it .... how endearing that he was her first thought. I will cherish this always as a reminder of their bond when they are teens and on each other's nerves!! (smile) We'll have to see how she places this year ... I thought that I had taken a photo of it before submission, but I cannot seem to find one. I'll post a pic from Awards Night.

Well - I'm off to pull out my ink and pens so that I can check another thing off my list! Hmmmm... I'm think I'm in the mood for ... yep, The Family Stone, again! You know me and my movies!! :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tag ... I'm it! :)

Just when I think that I'm bobbin' around out here in cyberspace all by my lonesome, Nicole tags me to play! Hmmmmm ..... 7 random tid bits about me - oh, geez. Interesting or odd ... well, I probably have a bunch of the latter - LOL!

Well - let's play ...

Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog - some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I love to wear aprons while cleaning, cooking or baking ... it makes me feel more productive - don't ask me why. I guess it comes from watching too much "Leave it to Beaver" when I was a child ... BTW, I still do! :) My favorite one is my custom-made apron from my sister - She had it embroidered with "...What Would Betty Do?" (a/k/a, Betty Crocker) She's a smartass for those who do not know her! LOL! Betty, I am not. My hubby wishes, I am sure!
2. I have long toes. Once - on a dare - I ate a piece of pie (not sure whether it was apple or peach) while holding the fork between my toes. I know - a picture of grace, for sure. Talents run amuck in our family. Why, my sister can pull a knee high over her head and her nose actually disappears! Like I said, talent. (I'll pay for that one, I'm sure.)
3. I have to watch movies when I create. Odd, I know. And, they have to be certain ones, too. Right now, I have "The Family Stone" in my daughter's portable DVD player on repeat (I've been painting today.). I just keep hitting Play over and over again. Another is "Miss Potter" for obvious reasons. Oh, and I have to watch my "Everybody Loves Raymond" episodes (DVD) when I have laundry day. I'm pathetic that I must be entertained - but it truly makes the time go faster!
4. I made the decision to earn my degree for Paralegal Studies from watching Matlock. Truly. I even announced this in class (not exactly bright, I know.) when asked what brought us to have the desire for a career in law. Well, it must not have been received too negatively, since my professor did end up offering a position to me in his law firm.

(Okay I've just made a startling discovery about myself here ... most everything in my life pertains to TV or Movies ... what does this mean?)

5. I believe, with all my being, that I have talked with my late-Granddad in dreams. I do believe that our loved ones reach out to us when they pass on to Heaven. Bright red cardinals and smells of evergreen and mothballs are my Pap's signs ... at least that's what I think that he sends me. I always lift up a Hello to him on a prayer. Gosh, I miss him.
6. When I was little, I had a lazy eye and began to wear glasses at the age of 2! And, they were those really cool ones with brown plastic frames, really thick lenses and an added touch of sparkle with sticker initials stuck on them ... is anyone catching some sarcasm here? Thank Heavens that eyeglasses have come a long way - my daughter will probably end up in them! And, if you couldn't put it together ... I was a real looker! Add, stringy brown hair that my mother tried desperately to style and you have quite the elementary knock-out! LOL!
7. My husband and I have known each other since 5th grade (I ditched the glasses by then and figured that squinting looked best .... LOL!).

Alrighty - I'm done. Whose next? ....

Charming Posey

Welp ... that's it. I'll be checking to see what interesting tid bits ya'll come up with!

Oh, and Miss Sara just tagged me for 3 things that I like about myself. Oh, goodness ...

1. That God blessed me with a creative heart, a joyful soul and working hands.
2. My hair. You are probably shocked to hear that from reading No. 6 above, but as I matured, my hair turned curly - and believe it or not, quite manageable (even straightened!), unless caught in a rainstorm or very humid conditions. UGH! Then, I become Madusa!
3. Last, but certainly not least ... I take the time to count my blessings. Whether it be tucking my children in at night or behold God's beauty in the morning light - I look around me and see, what marvelous works He has given to me. (honestly - I did not mean for that to rhyme!)

Have a beauty of a day, Friends.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Still Spooooky ...

Since it is still "technically" Halloween weekend ... I thought that I would share with you the haunted houses that my daughter and her friend made last night.

A little paint, a bit of spook & a touch of glittery magic and POOF! Haunted houses to cherish! Aren't they cute?!

Friday, October 31, 2008

The time is upon us ....

It's ... "HALLOWEEN"

Green cats eyes
in midnight gloom
fly with the witch
on her ragged broom
over dark hills
where bonfires loom
~by Myra Cohen Livingston
Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ahhhhh ... peaceful serenity has finally greeted me this afternoon - My check list for this week is finally complete - well, almost. A birthday party for my hubby awaits for me tomorrow, but all is good. It's been a week full of to-do's (I know ... whose isn't, right??) and although I have enjoyed all of the creative elements from each project, I am feeling a bit lighter in spirit knowing that all has been accomplished! Whew!

The bed for Sisters Three is finished ...
You know how it started - a blank canvas ...

I said a little prayer before I began (actually, I do this before I begin each and every project. I like knowing that my hands and creative thought are being guided ... ). [smile]

I gathered my supplies, took a deep breath, and loaded my brush ...

This is a picture of the parchment background for the quote. I began to pencil in the branch and then the words ... the hours passed and before I looked up to see the clock (which revealed that I was soooo late on my schedule for the day!), I had painted the design in it's entirety. Sorry - I do like to show the step-by-step illustration, but brushes, paint and time flew!!

So, there you have it ... the finished headboard.

Now, the footboard ...

My thoughts were "simple" here. Nothing too detailed, but something to make it special. So, I decided to take the branch from above and carry the same onto the footboard.

And, finally, a picture of the two ....

This bed will be for sale at Sisters Three & Me ... any takers?? :)