Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Snowballs in the Window Boxes

This week, I want to do a small tutorial about how to make "snow balls" for your window boxes. I have been wanting to make them for such a long time but I never wanted to spend all the cash it was going to cost to fill four window boxes with snowballs. But, recently, I got a "deal".

We have a shop in the town where I live that sells the leftovers of people's craft projects. Folks actually donate their leftovers (zippers, buttons, fabric, ribbon, elastic, beads, yarn, needles, hooks, patterns, styrofoam, and everything else you can possibly imagine) to this little shop. The name is - Craft Bits 'n Pieces. The shop is actually a fund raising organization which supports services for seniors in our town. Things like transportation to doctor's appointments via Elderbus and Options for Independence Programs.

So I was able to get 24 styrofoam balls for a very small investment.

This is my supplies list for 24 snowballs

1 - 2 32 oz.tubs of all purpose spackling paste.
2 - as many 12" wood skewers as you have balls
3 - glitter
4 - a plastic butter knife
5 - some styro packing material (to dry the snow balls in)

This is kind of a messy job. I did this down my basement.

Method: Open one of the containers of spackle. Dip the sharp end of a skewer into the spackling paste, then plunge the spackled end all the way into the styrofoam ball.

Holding the ball in one hand, ice the ball with the spackling paste. At some point, you'll need to hold the ball by the skewer in order to ice the bottom. Sprinkle with glitter. Set it into your styrofoam packing material to dry. I left mine to dry for a couple days.

Do this with all your styrofoam balls. After they've dried, set them amidst piney greenery in your window boxes. This is how they'll look.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving ~ Cranberry Orange Relish

I just love Thanksgiving. It makes me so happy that this is a joyous holiday in this nation. It's all about family, thankfullness, gratitude, sharing a meal, reconciliations, embracing the lonely, even remembering those who traveled to our shores in 1620 so they would be free to worship the Lord in spirit and truth.

I believe people are truly thankful for the freedoms and prosperity we enjoy, though most do not realize that these blessings don't come out of thin air. Someone provides each one. When someone gives you a gift, you look them right in the eye and express your gratitude. When you are grateful, you are grateful TO someone. Someone is responsible for the giving of these gifts.

James 1:17 The Message: "Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light."

Psalm 107:31 The Message "So thank God for His marvelous love, for His miracle mercy to the children He loves."


My favorite part of our traditional Thanksgiving meal is this lovely relish. It's a heritage recipe now because my children - living in three different states - make it for their Thanksgiving celebrations with their families. And I hope, one day, that my grandchildren will make it for their families.

For this recipe, you'll need 2 small packages of orange Jello or 1 large, 3 1/4 cups of water, I can of whole cranberry sauce, 1 can of mandarin oranges (drained), 3/4 cup of halved seedless red grapes, 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts.

Bring 2 cups of the water to a boil. Meanwhile, put the whole cranberry sauce into a soup bowl and break it up with a fork so that it will incorporate well with the Jello. Put the Jello powder into a large pouring vessel. Add the broken up cranberry sauce right on top of the jello. When the 2 cups of water boil, pour onto the jello/cranberry mixture. Stir well. When the Jello powder is disolved, add the remaining 1 1/4 of cold water. Stir well. Note: your orange jello will appear red but still taste like orange. Refrigerate until it thickens and begins to gel.

Add the other fruits (drained oranges, grapes, and walnuts) to the Jello mixture at this time. Fold in so that the fruits are suspended in the Jello mixture.

At this point, transfer to one of your best glass serving bowls. Return to the refrigerator to complete gelling.

This is a refreshing, cool note to add to your Thanksgiving meal.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday and remember Who to thank for all your blessings...............

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Found It!

When my granddaughters visit me, they like to play "dress-up". They ransack my closet and soon appear dressed to the nines, all made up, reeking of many layers of perfume and hairspray, teetering on high heels.................It's a sight to behold!

They root around in jewelry boxes and adorn themselves with earrings, necklaces, headbands, hats, gloves, purses. And the older they get, the more adept they've become in the "dress-up" game.

As you can imagine, when the game is over, many times all the accouterments do not get returned to the places Grammy had them. And after they go home, sometimes Grammy spends much time searching for a particular item.

Such was the case with this turquoise necklace. I searched high and low for it......for over two years. I looked everywhere. I'd had this experience, of lost items, before so I knew it would eventually turn up in the most unexpected place at a time I wasn't even looking for it.

There is absolutely no sense asking the little girls where they put such and such an item. They are digging into Grammys things with wild abandon, like women at a sale in Feilene's basement...........garments and accessories flying all over the place.

I was particularly fond of this necklace. It was an estate sale "find" of a single shoe clip. In the 30's and 40's, women embellished their black suede pumps with a fancy shoe clip to dress them up for an evening out on the town. Here, at this estate sale, I found the remaining one of a pair. I thought it was so beautiful, I just had to have it. I re-purposed it with a jewelry finding and suspended it on a string of tiny turquoise seed beads. I became my favorite "go to" piece of jewelry. I was so sad that I couldn't find it.

This summer, getting ready to go to my niece's wedding reception, I got all decked out in my finery. I wanted to carry a glitzy purse. Of course, I don't use sequined purses every day. In fact, I must not have used this particular purse for over two years!

What do you think was inside that purse???????? THE TURQUOISE NECKLACE! I was overjoyed. You'll probably see it on me, I wear it often and am thrilled to have it back.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Live Nativity

This is Sean. He's about 10 years old in this picture. He has the faculty of always keeping me in stitches by his hysterically funny observations about life. He is one of the main reasons why grandparenting is so much more fun than parenting.

It was at this time of year, when he was about 3 1/2 years old, that he and I had a date to see an outdoor presentation of what happened on Christmas night 2000 plus years ago.

For our neck of the woods, it was an unseasonably mild night. But, always the cautious parent, his mama dressed him up real warm. Warm coat, wooly hat and mittens, and leggings (ski pants). I suspected he might be a tad warm in this get-up since it was about 50 degrees outdoors. As we were driving to the spot where the presentation was to take place, I warned him that he might feel too warm and that he might see other children dressed in much fewer layers of clothing. I asked him if he wanted me to remove his leggings. "Oh no, Gramma", he replied. "I have to wear my leggings, otherwise I may get a leg infection".

It was quite difficult for me to contain my giggles. It took me a few minutes to figure out his rationale for the "leg infections" but somewhere his little ears must have heard that old adage that, to avoid ear infections you must wear a warm hat(ears covered). His reasoning - same must go for legs - cover 'em up or you may get a leg infection !!!

I have hid this little story in my heart for many years. Sean has filled my heart with with his observations and I treasure each one he has shared with me. I keep them in a little journal exclusively for that purpose - just stories told to me by my grandchildren.

I should have done the same with my children but I guess I was too busy raising them, living life, being young...........

My grandchildren journal is a special delight. I'll share some of its treasures with you from time to time.