Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Goodies are coming!

I have a few Christmas goodies that just
arrived in the mail
sooo cute!
I thought today however  I would share
some of our fun
decorations from the last few years.
I tried to make them kid friendly 
so that if my son decided to handle them there would be no big loss!
The Putz Village was out of reach on purpose!
This was taken with my point and shoot
sorry it isn't as nice as usual.
I have been collecting Putz houses since I was in college
so 13 something years...
Ughh. Doesn't seem like that long.
I have all kinds and I don't discriminate!

My home is almost 100 years old,
so yes there are cracks in the wall here and there
I call it character...
This year the village will be moving to the dining room I think
I promise to take much better photos!

Again, horrible point and shoot
that won't rotate
for my sons first Christmas we used all soft knitted
It was so cute!
Last year he was so focused on decorating this tinsel tree
I decided to let him have it as his own this year in his room
We are going to decorate it this weekend...
We used this skinny tree for lack of space and time
last year
All the ornaments are plastic
This is probably the best it looked
because little Keeper loved taking the ornaments off when we
weren't looking and then putting them all back on the bottom
It was pretty funny for a while
A year later i am still finding the tops of those ornaments all over
because every time he took one off the hook piece would pull the eye off!
By Christmas there were only a few that could be hung because they
still had the eye!
No remorse though because they were not my "special" pieces
I would highly recommend if you have toddlers
as children or grandchildren to keep your precious ornaments
out of reach.
They know no what they do!
If you have that perfect kid who does absolutely everything you say
then good for you!
You are like 1% of the population if you are telling the TRUTH!
This was Gingerbread Saturday Night!

We had so much fun
I let go of my need for perfection and we lathered on
(and ate)
 so much tacky sprinkles,candy,and icing it got to be
quite Hee-larious!
You can't even see my nice piping work on the front
because my son wanted those trees right there!
I gave up and my sister and I had great laughs during the whole thing!
I highly recommend an activity like this with little ones
because they really can't mess up
and they really feel like they are doing something big!
This was from a kit but they are so easy to make with simple graham crackers
and icing,candy you can buy on your own.
No baking involved!
The end of that night will be forever known as the
Great Village meltdown...
pictures of my son throwing an absolute tantrum when it was all over because
he wanted to demolish it or something
will be reserved for blackmail in his later years!
 I caught him with my camera just as he decided to throw his hands down
face bright red and demand he get his way!
 Hope you are getting into the holiday spirit....
Can't wait to share pics of my Vintage Christmas finds
and our new village scene next week!
Happy Wednesday!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Know how I know Christmas is coming?

The last two days I have been
finishing up my projects for the Christmas swap
I am participating in...
for now until everyone receives their packages!

Spending lots of time with
glitter and glue at the table.
Yesterday I took a break to run some errands
and decided to make a stop at Trader Joes because
it is that time of year boys and girls...
when that special treat comes out
once they are gone they are gone...
(Unless you can find a box on E-Bay)
and yes there are people who stockpile and sell them on E-bay!
If you don't know what I'm talking about
then lay your eyes on the box that can lead to an
all out frenzy if it is the last one on the shelf....

I had to open this box while my husband and son were down for a nap!
Mainly so I could get my share to hide....
My husband has been guilty in the past of eating a few more than his share
and I have to admit I was actually upset
when I went to get one and they were all gone!
Especially since they were sold out for the season!

is so special
about these cookies you say? 

They are not just some
The Candy Cane version has tiny candy cane pieces in the creamy center
and they use real peppermint oil
not flavoring - there is a difference...
Great with Coffee, a Latte, or a nice mug of milk...
are you drooling yet?
Well it gets better
they came out with a chocolate coated version as well..
Oh, they are to die for!
That box is hidden to go into a Christmas stocking...
Last year my hubby found the one I had stashed for myself and almost got divorced over it!
(kidding of course)

You know how I know Christmas is coming?...
The appearance of the Candy Cane Joe-Joe of course!
 let me go find my mini vac so I can get the crumbs off my laptop!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Just wanted to wish everyone
Happy Thanksgiving..
Thought a good chuckle would be great
especially since we talk about this type of food all the time
and which version is better...

Now eat, drink, and go take a nap...
If you are going out for early black Friday...
just remember to be nice
and that people who are working probably missed time with their family in order to work
in the store you are visiting...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Precious Metal Clay

This weekend I took a class
from my new friend
Bronwyn Evans
at her studio
She has been making jewelry with Precious metal clay
for about 10-12 years now.
I had never heard of it until I met her
and couldn't wrap my head around what it was until I took this class.
You can visit
to learn more about it
but the interesting thing to me
was that it is made from silver by-product that
Mitsubishi Corporation
wanted to put to use....
and they hired someone to develop this!
We spent a great 1/2 a day working on our pieces...
I didn't take photos but Bronwyn has an amazing home
on a riverfront near here
and an amazing  inspiring view from the studio!
Here are the pieces that
I made as a Metal Clay Virgin...

I did not take photos of the process so I could concentrate
plus my hands were not camera safe!
But basically you shape, press, mold your pieces
and then let them dry
we used a dehydrator to speed up the process...
clean up the edges with a file
and place them in the kiln to fire them
They are white when they go in
and once they come out and cool
you can scrub them with a brass brush
and / or even put them in a tumbler
and like magic
they are silver!
The piece above was polished only...

( I put that awful string on just to show where the charm hole was)
This set was aged with sulphur and then polished again
with a fine rubbing powder...
I wanted to be able to see the design better
and the sulphur makes the design stand out...
This pair was aged the same way
The pattern was achieved with what looks like a tiny rolling pin.
You have to have a kiln to fire these so
not something you can at home unless you have one or know someone
who does. 
If you can find anyone who is near you
who teaches a class in this I would definitely recommend it!

I had a great time
and would definitely do it again!

Please remember about the journals for my
Stocking Stuffer gifting...
I could really use some help
I plan to work on them during Thanksgiving...
If you didn't hear about it check here...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Journal Donations........

For the last 3 years
I have donated stocking stuffer bags to a local charity.

The idea came to me a few years ago when
my mother in-law told me about the "shoebox" gifts her church gives at
I sent her a few things to contribute to the family
she was taking care of.
For these children in rural WVA this box contained probably the
only new socks, shoes, and clothes they may get for the year.
They also of course would include some candy, books, and a few toys.
This reality still exists in OUR country!

The year I was pregnant with my son
I had a lot of time to think about things when I was at home...
he was born in December.
So the holiday surrounding this time was very
different for us living on one income.
I started thinking that even though it was different for us
and even though we were financially in a different place,
we still were in a better place than a lot of people.
There are 3 churches within walking distance of my home,
they feed and give shelter to the homeless in wintertime...
Let me tell you that the homeless are not always
drug addicts, mentally disturbed, or men unable to hold down jobs...
who at this time
have lost their jobs
and homes
due to our failing economy...
To see young children,
having to sleep on a church hall floor
is just heartbreaking,
especially at the holidays.
I thought the one way I could contribute
in a small way was to make
"stocking stuffer" bags.
The first year I asked the doctor I worked with
to donate toothpaste and toothbrushes for 40 children.
I added candy and some small toys, goodies to the bags.
I donated them anonymously .
I did not want it to be for self gratification.
In the last two years I have managed to add
20 women and 10 men to the mix.
I have tried to gear the bags towards small things to make them smile
and have a treat.
I have had a few friends who have donated money or items to help out
and two other doctors who have donated the dental products
so that we could expand our numbers.
We are operating on a pretty small budget.
Last year was the first year I personally delivered the items
with my husband...
Christmas Eve I found myself looking through
the window of the church seeing
young teenage boys and men making pads to sleep on the floor.
When we got back in the car I was so
thankful for what we do have.
This year I
wanted to ask for some help from my readers
not necessarily with money or items
(although we would gladly accept them)
but instead
inspired by
the "Little birdie told me quotes"
I receive from
I decided to try and add
a small journal with pen and or crayons.
Each to include an inspirational message.
I have felt personally like my journal and blogging this year
has helped me grow tremendously.
I am hoping that by including the journal
that children could be able to color and draw in their OWN
little book.
Adults can take time to write down thoughts
in order to have a release from the pressures they are facing..
As my fellow journalers know...
sometimes simply writing the thoughts you have in your head down
makes you feel so much better and  like you are able to move
ahead now that those things are not dancing around in your brain anymore...
my call is to all my crafty friends out there,
If you could take one of your creative moments and create
a journal -
it doesn't have to be huge,
under 20 pages
use paper you already have
and make a cover .
Put to use the scrap we all have lying around
and help me on this journey.

If you want to make  1 or 10
it would be greatly appreciated!

I would love to share the photos of the works that come in
and plan on documenting the whole process this year...

Even if you can only send one or you want to help in another way
get in touch with me and we can talk.
Link me to your friends,
Pass this around...

Here is throwing out a cosmic wish to the wind
to see what we can do!

Thank You so much for being here.....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Back at it!......

I have taken a small break from
my thrifting habit to focus on my artwork....
but after 3 weeks I had to go out!
I was having withdrawel!

I got these great items at a twice a year Flea Market
in a nearby city...

I got this great big piece of Toile
from a lady clearing out her project stash
.25 cents!
I jumped on that, missed a nice piece of barkcloth by a few seconds!
The Homer Laughlin plate was $1.00!
This was the pattern my great grandmother had so I try and pick up cheap pieces
to add to the set.
I love the soft colors of it and how light and airy the flowers seem.
These tiny shakers were also $1.00
I think I will try using one or two in a soldering project
and maybe some of them for fabulous glitter shakers?

For some reason I have been wanting a compact lately...
Drooling over lots of great vintage ones on Etsy
and then at the same booth where I found the fabric and the shakers
I found this lovely little Avon compact
it is in great shape for plastic of its' age.
The little butterfly is a vintage hairclip and I couldn't resist the bluebird
I am always attracted to the color in these little painted pieces.
I paid $1.00 for both!
Got to get the Sparkly on!
The bow is also a hairclip
and the necklace has a nice patina on the metal now
I really like that it is not perfectly shiny.
$4.00 for all.
The blue rhinestone piece has a clasp so it can hang from a necklace
or it has a hole where I think a jumpring could be attached or maybe a pin?
I thought the horseshoe piece was so vintage but something you'd see on
Carrie from Sex and the City!
It is a brooch or necklace.
$2.00 for both!
I had some great jewelry scores this day...
I have not always been a jewelry collector but when pieces
capture my attention and they are as great a deal as these I pounce!

Head on over to
Her Library Adventures
2nd Time around Tuesday
to see the other treasures from this weekend.
Happy Sunday!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day Thankfulness.....

I can't believe it is Friday already!
Where did this week go?

I've had a lot on my mind lately...

Inner Reflection
being Thankful....
I have shared in the past the struggles my family
has faced in the last few years..
a few weeks ago
I stumbled across a book at my grandmothers
full of accounts of people
who lived through
The Great Depression...
I asked her if I could borrow it...
This book has reminded me where I came from and how lucky I am.
Some of the stories I am reading are stories
like my grandparents and great grandparents have told me.
Let me tell you though,
I have learned a lot that has shocked me too .
It is all too much to get into in one post...
but the best part of the
book is the hope and actually the fond thoughts the writers
have of those hard times...
"We did not have money,
but we didn't know we were poor"...

I'll be sharing some of the stories and some of
my own family....
Today for Veterans Day
I thought I'd share two vintage family photos

The young man on the right
is Alton Earl Gray
my grandfather on my dads side of the family...
Doesn't he look like a young Paul Newman?
I absolutely love this photo.
I know he was in the Army and fought in The Rhine River Valley..
Sadly I don't know a lot more...
He liked to talk....but we never talked about The War
We are doing some research be continued...
This is a photo of my Great Aunt and Uncle
Mannon and Nathaniel Cameron
I love this one too because it was taken on the front steps
of my Great Grandmothers house...
I was told this was taken on the day they got married...
might be true..?
Obviously he was in the Navy,
Doesn't she look amazing?
I thought I'd share these because I realised there is a whole generation
of our family where every male served in some branch of the
armed forces...
We were lucky to only have one not come back....
another story for another day.
Hope I have inspired some of you to do some reflecting
and to all my current family tree branches who
are serving our country...

Thank You.

Monday, November 7, 2011

How beautifully leaves grow old.

How full of light and color are their last days

~John Burroughs

Wishing you a happy Autumn and a wonderful Monday!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Words of Advice....

Last month my grandfather
turned 80.
We had a small party
for him at home.
My grandfather has never been a man of many words
and as he has gotten older sometimes I find myself
struggling to try and find what to talk about with him.
He does enjoy when we come to visit,
watching the kids run around,
and a good meal.
So on this birthday...
after he blows out his candles on his cake,
my mother asks him-
"Dad, do you have any words of advice or wisdom for us now that
you are 80?"
He stared for a long time, and said "No."
My mom couldn't believe that so she said
"Really? Nothing? Oh, come on..."
He stared again for a few minutes and then said

I didn't expect this man of few words to have come up with
some long speech.
So I thought it was kind of fitting, kind of funny.

What else could you expect from someone
who enlisted in the Navy during WWII
when he was actually underage (probably under 16) ?
Who lived through that war and saw God knows what as a young boy/man?
Who lived through the Depression in the rural south and
whose parents were Scotch Irish and Cherokee Indian.
(Unfortunately ,socially, two things people did not want to admit to at that time)
Who married at an age when most of us were finishing
 still in high school
 had a child to support?
Who could have handled that kind of pressure before the ago of 21?
Even though all these were common practice and totally "normal" for that time period.
Who struggled with alcohol but finally beat it....
He lost his middle child unexpectedly several years ago
and is the only surviving child in his own family now.

I imagine life has been hard....
I do know there were ,
and are
 good times in there too.

There is a good part to this story ...
As we were leaving that day...
My 3 year old walked out onto the back porch...
( let me explain my grandmother has a bit of a thing for thrift shopping too...
like that is a surprise!)
she has a good portion of her back porch stacked with some of her "treasures"
which is always a bone of contention between
my grandfather and her....
as I was saying...
My 3 year old walks out onto the back porch and looks around
motions a sweeping gesture with his arm covering the "pile"
and says
"Gees' whata' MESS!"
"All Junk!"

I could not help myself ,
I burst out laughing!
My grandparents were behind me and my grandmother didn't hear what he had said...
my grandfather sure did!
I whipped my head around to look at him
and out of that quiet, tiny man
came the biggest grin and laugh I have ever heard from him...
He then said
"See, even a 3 year old agrees with me! Who needs to be 80 to have wisdom?"
We all burst out laughing and then of course had to
explain what went on to grandma...
Who in the end had a good chuckle herself too!

I'm not sure if this story had the point some of you were expecting
I just had to share it..
Life does not always hand us what we wish for....
but there are some true good times and some true hard times..
Many people look back on those Hard times and realise those are what
make us who we are
what really taught us lessons
and made us for the better.
I think Life is how you decide to view it and your attitude that keeps you going.

Life is a big Mixed bag if you ask me.....

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Love......

Halloween was always fun as a the neighborhoods I lived in, I only remember one or two that really did up their whole yard. One of them I would never go near because the guy who lived there always dressed up jumped out at you. People hanging from trees,etc. Too much for "little" kids in my opinion.....
The neighborhood I live in now is absolutely amazing when it comes to Halloween. Some of the yards are like stage productions!

( 1st Halloween)
(2nd Halloween)
After my first year here I really got into it too.
Then when I got married my husband became totally obsessed with our display!
The markdowns the day after Halloween are like his own type of
Black Friday!
The last few years we have had to back down a bit
with Baby Keeper around!
The first year was just too much.
Then work and weather got in the way the last two.
Baby Keeper really was not totally aware of what it was all about either...
(4th Halloween)
This year!
They have talked about it at school and he was ready!
He even asked to be a Pirate this year!
I was totally giddy of course with my Pirate love and all...
but there went the whole Star Wars theme I had collected all year....
We decorated in a kid friendly manner this year.
Still not to the extent that we normally do.
To our surprise he was not afraid of much last night .
Went and tugged on the Wolfman, talked it up with a Zombie and a totally decked out Witch!
They were stage worthy costumes too,
not something off a rack!
My point being...
Mr.Keeper was totally into it too and I saw
that spark back in his eye!
Even though we were all so worn out we went to bed by 9!
Today he was up and out in search of a few markdowns for next year...
I know he is hoping this will become a tradition our son will love too.
I'm thinking he will...
He crawled into bed with me at 6:30 a.m.
snuggled up and asked.....

"Hey mom, can we do Tricks or Treats again tomorrow?"

Hope you had a Happy Halloween!