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Holiday Crafts and other Business

I realized I haven't posted in a month! It's been a challenge to post to a garden blog in these cold dark days. I am missing my flowers. During the last month I've...
- gotten bifocals. It happened almost immediately after I turned 44 in September - extreme tromboning, and couldn't read coupon expiration dates. I got the prescription and took it to the new Walmart - they replaced the lenses in my current frames with the no-line bifocals. They take a bit of getting used to but they work well. Now I can read without having to take off my glasses. I also tried out a sample of the contact lens bifocal and it works well. I'll get those next year when my current supply runs out.
- joined the church choir. I've always been a musician. I mostly sing and write songs with my guitar in songwriting classes and open mikes. I figured since I'm not working I should volunteer for the choir. I had to audition and was accepted - soprano. I loved the first practice - some intense sightreading but I can read music well, so was up for the challenge. Sang in the Immaculate Conception mass last night. Afterwards the choir director asked me if I wanted to cantor. I said yes, and turns out my first cantor experience will be on ... Christmas Day. GULP. YIKES. She said she'd work with me, so I'll just have to practice a lot.
- been doing a lot of cooking. I like Martha Stewart recipes - made some from her latest pies and tarts book for Thanksgiving, and also the orange and red onion roasted chicken. Also made what was President Reagan's favorite macaroni and cheese. It is a simple recipe, but good. During these short days with little sunlight, I feel it's important to eat fresh vegetables and fruits every day. So many great citrus fruits in season, and I find a fresh green salad helps lift my spirits. Here's the one I just made:

- determining this year's holiday craft. I've got 8-10 people I need to mail gifts to each Christmas, and decided last year I'd like to start sending something handmade rather than ordering from a catalog. Last year's gift was a hit. I can tell that by the fact that everyone's house I visited during the year had them out on display. We made homemade coasters, by cutting slices of a log from a downed tree in our yard. I got the idea from an article in Country Living magazine. We removed the log, rented a saw to make the slices, let them dry for at least a week, then stamped each with a leaf stamp, and lastly sprayed some clear finishing spray on them. I sent four to each recipient, wrapped in a pretty bow and shipped in a box from Michaels. Here are some photos of the ones we kept for ourselves:

This year I'm going to try to make woodland-themed picture frames. We bought wooden craft frames:

and I'm going to stain them a walnut brown tonight. Then we've got hundreds of acorns I saved from the Oak in front his fall:

as well as twigs from the crabapple tree. These are the twigs which had been growing upwards from the root of the tree, which I trimmed in October. The twigs are very straight and lots of them a reddish color. 

I also bought a finishing spray, some glitter, and felt. My intent is to cover most of the frames with the twigs and acorns in pretty designs, and use any other objects I may still find outside, like pinecones. I'll attach everything with hot glue, and then apply finishing spray. So, I'll chronicle this in the blog. First step is staining tonight. I hope the fumes aren't too strong. I'll do it in the basement, as I'm not about to do this in the garage in the freezing temperatures. Wish me luck!


  1. What a lovely post. I was (in my younger day's) also a singer.
    Have a lovely weekend

  2. How awesome to be active in your church! My hubby plays guitar and sings in the Praise Team for our church on Saturday nights. He's always wishing for a truly dedicated soprano!
    Those who get one of your handmade gifts are truly blessed. What a wonderful idea!


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