Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas at Our House

 Lyrics from my favorite Christmas song: "Christmas At Our House" by Barbara Mandrell:

Christmas at our house . . .
 Newington, Connecticut, 1950's
Warm memories

Andrea, Cheryl & Nancy; Christmas 1953

Bright colored presents
And Christmas trees

Marshmallow meadows
Applegate, Thanksgiving 2014
Candy popcorn balls
Photo courtesy of Taste of Home.com
I knew that Santa wore overalls
Mama's baking in the kitchen
Daddy's chopping firewood
Raisin cookies I was snitching
Christmas was good.
Reaching out to help a neighbor
That's the way it always was
We knew Jesus as our Savior
Christmas at our house still does.
Christmas at our house
Some things have changed
Faces and numbers have rearranged
Kristen & Grampa (1923 - 2005)
Mom (1921 - 2014) and the "Stunning Smith Sisters", 2008
Hank, Cheryl & Nancy (1952 - 2010) , Wells, Maine 1987
Giggles from children stay in a place
Andrea, Cheryl holding Nancy; Christmas 1952, Newington, CT
Rob, Aunt Joanne, & Kristen, Christmas 1978, Essex Junction, Vermont
Rob, Katie, Kelly, Kristen, Kevin & Kit; Christmas 1990, Andover, Mass.
I see old Santa has gained some weight.
Mama's baking in the kitchen
Nancy, Christmas 2006
Daddy's chopping firewood
Kristen & "Mommy" (me)
Raisin cookies I was snitching
Christmas was good.
Reaching out to help a neighbor
That's the way it always was
We knew Jesus as our Savior
Christmas at our house still does.

22 Applegate Lane

Christmas at our house is love.
Anna & Aunt Nancy
From our house to yours...
 Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Misfits Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving was . . . different.

Our power went out at about 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Eve due to almost a foot of wet heavy snow that surprised us early this year. 

It wasn't back on when we woke up so we relied on our trusty generator to provide enough power to cook the 19 pound turkey we had thawed and stuffed.

I felt bad for the families who were unable to cook Thanksgiving dinner at all. Some coastal peninsulas, like Harpswell, still had no power yesterday.  I imagine that it's difficult to be thankful when you're cold and hungry.

Since my Mom passed away in April  and my sister, Nancy, before that, our family has grown smaller. I miss the days when we would have 20 or more people at our house for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving 2008

Thanksgiving 2009

This year, it looked as if there would be just THREE of us for Thanksgiving - DH, DD and me. I wasn't sure how to make that feel "festive".

Then it became FOUR; my friend who is a minister would be between church services and was excited to share Thanksgiving dinner with us. We laughingly referred to ourselves as the "Misfits Thanksgiving" . . . a day for "the otherwise uninvited".

On Thanksgiving morning, the snow storm added another guest to our little dinner group. Another friend was stranded in the snow and couldn't join his family in Massachusetts for Thanksgiving.
Now we were FIVE. This was beginning to feel like a real Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving 2004
The dinner was delicious and the sweet simplicity of the day was an unexpected joy.
As we were contemplating dessert, the doorbell rang and BFF Mary Elizabeth arrived.  Now we were SIX! We sat over pie and coffee martini's and Bailey's well into the evening, sharing stories and laughing.
We were thrown together for Thanksgiving due to changes in our families and changes in the weather. And, at least for that one day . . .

Our little band of "misfits" became a family.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

DIY: Closet to Martini Bar

What do you do with an underutilized kitchen closet? Well, if you're my very handy friend, Mary Elizabeth, you transform it into a martini bar!

 If you've been reading this blog, you know that I've been helping Mary Elizabeth update and repaint her house. We were taking a lunch break in her kitchen one day and the door to the little closet off of the dining area was open.  That's all it took to get our creative juices flowing!

 Since Mary Elizabeth loves  martini's, we got a crazy idea:
Why not transform the little "junk closet" into a functional (and fun!) "Martini Bar"?

And what better martini-inspired color to use than . . . ta da . . . "OLIVE green!

Shelves were removed, cut down, painted and repositioned.
Mary found the mirrored tiles for the back of the bar at Goodwill and installed them herself (she's a whiz with power tools!). She also installed battery operated lights and painted the insides of the door with chalkboard paint. Better to post her "Martini Menu" on!

Mary Elizabeth is still planning to hand-paint olive borders on the trim around the chalkboards but otherwise Applegate's newest Martini Bar is ready to open . . .

And I plan to be the first customer!
p.s. In a comment about my recent post on wine cork crafts, blogger Donna from Distressed Donna Down Home wrote, "I thought surely you would create some sheep, a donkey and the Wise Men for the nativity scene". 
So Donna, this is for you!
(And yes, I know my sheep bears a strong resemblance to a llama . . .).

This post is linked to:
Party Junk at Funky Junk Interiors
Nifty Thrifty Sunday at Nifty Thrifty Things
Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps On the Porch
Make It Monday at Distressed Donna Down Home

Monday, November 17, 2014

Don't Put Those Wine Corks Away Quite Yet!

I decided to try making a few reindeer while I was working on the wine cork Nativity figures over the weekend.

I first saw these on Pinterest at the Homeless Finch blog.

I changed them out a bit, using sticks for legs, neck and antlers. These were simple . . . no tutorial needed. The hardest part was making holes in the corks that would allow the sticks to fit snugly. I ended up using my awl and securing them with a dot of hot glue.
I plan to use these little reindeer on the porch of our log cabin dollhouse when I finish decorating it for Christmas.
With my remaining corks, I'm going to try this idea from Chelsea at two twenty-one:
Such a warm accent for the holidays and so simple!
Two more great excuses to drink wine!
This post is linked to:
Make It Monday at Distressed Donna Down Home
Motivate Me Monday at Keeping It Simple
Show & Share at Coastal Charm
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps On The Porch

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Wine Cork Nativity Tutorial

I had so much fun making these little nativity sets that I thought I'd share a tutorial.
They would be fun to make with grandchildren or in a Sunday school class.

I plan to give mine as little gifts. (Full disclosure: they're so cute, I'm keeping one set for my mantle.)

Why a wine cork nativity? When our friends Anita and Fred downsized to an RV (lucky them!), I was the recipient of a huge bag of wine corks they had collected over the years . . . lots of years judging by the size of the bag!

So I headed to Pinterest for some "wine cork crafts" ideas and found this photo on an Italian blog called Creamamma. It was love at first sight! I knew I had to make these. The blog is written in Italian but Google Translate took care of that. There was no tutorial so I just used the photo and figured out my own way of making the figures.  

I started by purchasing a couple of inexpensive packages of small wooden doll heads at JoAnn's Crafts These are optional; the blogger in Italy did not use them. She used champagne-type corks with wide tops but I didn't have enough of those.

I made a platform with thumbtacks sticking up between two layers of corrugated cardboard, set my corks out on it, and sprayed them with white primer. You can skip this step for the nativity but I am planning on painting some of my corks for future projects so I just primed them all.

Then I hot-glued the heads on.
(Children could do this with craft glue.)

I played around with a piece of fabric until I came up with a simple pattern for the felt robes. Here is the shape that worked for me. My pattern is approximately 3 inches tall and 4 inches wide.

I hot glued the felt "robe" to the head first, then just folded the two sides over each other in the front and glued the robe shut. (Oh dear, just realized it looks as if Mr. Winecork is flashing us - pretty funny but totally unintended!)
To make the baby, I cut a Q-tip into a piece a little over an inch long and wrapped it in a small square of felt - like you would swaddle a real baby. A little glue holds the "blanket" shut in front.

I glued on a little face out of tiny circle of flesh-colored felt and drew on eyes and mouth with a thin Sharpie. The cradle is another cork cut in half lengthwise; a serrated kitchen knife did the job. Another dab of glue holds the baby in the crèche.

Finally, I tied gold cord around each figure - as a belt on Joseph and around the neck or head for Mary.

These are quick to do.
Once I had the materials together, I was able to make four 3-piece sets in an hour.

The set I decided to keep is already on the mantle on a piece of fleece "snow" next to the little LED tree I found at Goodwill yesterday.

So very simple and sweet.

This post is linked to:
Party Junk at Funky Junk Interiors
So Darn Crafty Party at Sew Many Ways
Show & Tell Saturday at Be Different, Act Normal
Make It Monday at Distressed Donna Down Home
 Link Party Palooza at Tattertots & Jello
Found & Foraged Linky Party at House of Hipsters
Sunday Showcase at Under the Table and Dreaming by SL
Show & Share at Coastal Charm
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps On the Porch
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