Sunday, November 14, 2010

Handmade Christmas Ornaments

My daughter and I were admiring the Christmas displays in a department store last week when we saw this paper and tinsel bird ornament. This was our inspiration piece for some items we will donate to the Christmas Room at our Annual Church Bazaar which is held every November. Of course we will be baking cookies and maybe make some candy as well. This year is the 70th year for our Church Bazaar!
I thought sheet music would be perfect for our bird, so off to the resale shop.
And this is what we came up with.


We decided to glam it up a bit, So we bought sparkly lacey ribbons, glittered holly berries and vintage styled buttons to decorate more birds.
If you will notice, our inspiration bird was a cardinal with the little crest on its head.
We added tinsel "feathers" to our bird's head to make a partridge as in "a partridge in a pear tree". We loved the look so much we made all the rest into partridges.

We also made a star.......

And then more birds.......

If you're interested in making some of these, 
I'd love to know about it,
please leave me a comment below.  
I'd like to feature you in an upcoming post!!

I drew this bird freehand, but I've found an 
online pattern you could use as a template here.

When at the resale shop I also found a book of Christmas music.
 The text was green and the lettering old world style. 
I thought it was so beautiful, I had to frame it. 
So I cut out a little piece of "Away in a Manger" 
and put it in this little 3" square frame 
that I think will look adorable on a tree.
 I decoupaged the song title onto the top of the frame.
 I would love it if I could find a teeny tiny little nativity scene 
to glue right onto the glass in the bottom righthand corner.

I think the music looks so lovely I will use some larger frames and frame larger portions or whole pages of other Christmas songs to set on a table.

My daughter and I had so much fun making these we don't want to stop.
I'm joining the fun at

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Oops! I Did It Again..........

I have a weakness for vintage china with all its pretty floral decoration.
I recently spied this set of vintage china in a resale shop and just HAD to buy it. I have pieces from four different sets of vintage china that I keep adding to all the time, as well as a few coffee/dessert sets.
This set is marked Taylor Smith Taylor. The pieces are gold rimmed, and decorated with a pretty blue band with gold scrolls encircling clusters of little pink & blue flowers and yellow centered daisies connecting wispy garlands of greenery.

This set is incomplete as well.
There are many dinner plates and saucers, a small oval serving dish with underplate or platter.
Four little cereal or sauce bowls.

And just ONE cup.....what a shame, I simply MUST go hunting for more pieces. LOL

Oh, and there is a lovely covered two-handle casserole dish that will look nice along side my tureen collection!

Hmmm...........I wonder if there was a teapot made in this pattern?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween How-To, Kid Pleasing Party Games

Being a stay at home mom when my children were growing up, I was able to be involved in all of their elementary school holiday classroom parties.
For Halloween these are some of the party games I created.
With three children I used them again and again over the years..... at school, church and home, and the kids always had a great time.
I would divide the room up into stations so the kids could quickly travel around the room as they pleased to the various game stations or just stay and play the same one over and over. The more games, the shorter the wait lines so the kids stayed entertained.
I always had just 2 rules to play:
After you've taken your turn,
1. you must collect the game pieces and hand them to the next person in line, and
2. you must always go to the end of the line to continue to play.
First up is.......

Draw a large Jack-O-Lantern using a whole sheet of orange posterboard. I cut and glued yellow construction paper for the eyes and nose. Make the mouth as large as possible so the kids can easily throw the bean bags through it. Remember we just want it to be fun and not overly challenging. Then glue onto sturdy cardboard or foam core board. Cut out the mouth.
Here is a closeup.
Cut PVC pipe and use an elbow joint to make 2 L-shapes. Taped to the back of the giant pumpkin with packaging tape to allow it to stand up.

Stitch together a few bean bags. Printed fabric squares filled with dried split peas, beans or squirrel corn are easy and quick to make.
I used felt and cut little bats and pumpkin shapes here.

And the bat flies right in! YEAH!


You will need 2 sheets of black posterboard. With one sheet roll into a cone shape, tape or hot glue and cut the wide end to even off. Measure across the open end of the cone. With the 2nd sheet of posterboard cut as large a circle as possible using the entire sheet. You will make this into a donut. The center hole measurement should be just a little smaller than the open end of the cone that you measured earlier.

The donut can then slide onto the cone and will rest just above the floor, no gluing or taping is needed. It's easier to store and/or transport to the party place when it is in two pieces.

For the rings to toss, cut strips of colored posterboard and staple together. You probably need to double up the posterboard here so it holds its shape and itn't too flimsy when tossed and goes over the hat easily.


Draw a hissing scary cat with bristled hair, arched back and curved tail out of foam core board.

Cutting the head out separately and attaching with hot glue just gives it a little more dimension. Here's a closeup of the face, with all the construction paper features.

Cut the feet like this with a vertical slit the width of the foam core.

Cut two more "feet" with the same type of slits so they fit together like this allowing the cat to stand up.

In the game of croquet you must get your croquet ball to roll through the wire arches. Here the object is to swat a ball under the cat's arched back using a witches broom.


I saved up some 1 quart size plastic milk bottles.
First I cut a strip of peachy colored construction paper and drew eyes with black marker. Then wrapped strips of gauze around the eyes and randomly around the bottle making sure to include knots and loose ends. This kind of gauze was the kind that stuck to itself, so was very easy to do.

A small plastic pumpkin or skull head can be used as the bowling ball.


Use an empty box with a lid such as a shoebox or laundry detergent box.
Cut a small hole on one end of the box just large enough to reach into to feel the contents of the box.
Cover the box with wrapping paper. You will need to wrap so that the lid can be opened to put the feely things inside before the party. On the end where the hole has been cut, drape with a piece of fabric so as not to reveal the contents of the box and you will be reaching in blindly.
Decorate the box so as to start the imagination as to what might be in the box.


I decorated one box by hot gluing gummy worms all over the top of the lid. Inside the box I placed a dish of cold spaghetti that I had cooked the night before, so this, of course, felt like .....WORMS!!!!!
This box will get a lot of EEEEEEEEWWWW!!!!!!!!s, screams, squeals and giggles.

Another box I decorated with little pompom spiders and hot glue webs.

Here's a closeup of the little pompom spider with pipecleaner legs.

Inside, I wanted it to feel tickley and crawly all over your hand and wrist as you reached in, and then soft and stringy too like spider webs so I hot glued pieces of yarn to hang from the lid.

And in the bottom of the box was some polyester fiberfil like you would stuff a pillow or plushie with.


I decorated another box with eyeballs. I think I started out with foil covered chocolate eyeballs then switched them out when we got these plastic eyeballs floating in liquid with some fast food kids meals.

In this box I placed a dish of peeled grapes so it would feel like slimy eyeballs. hee hee More squeals and giggles here, hands come jerking out!!!
It's a good idea to have a roll of paper towels handy for wiping slimy hands. I don't know whether it's more fun to be the "feeler" or the" observer". Everyone watches with anticipation and wants to know what's inside but is hesitant after watching the reactions of those ahead of them. I always let the little ones know it wasn't anything that was going to hurt them and would usually whisper or let them peek inside the box after they were done feeling. This usually resulted in more laughs and a sense of trust and relief.
If you have young children or grandchildren, I hope you have found some ideas here that you can use.......

 .......I'd love to hear about it in a comment,
......will Feature you if you post about it!

Have a Happy Halloween!
Keep it Safe and Fun!
I'm joining the fun at

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pumpkin Squares, Just Right for a Fall Tea Party

Favorite Pumpkin Squares

4 eggs
1 & 2/3 cup granulated sugar
16 oz. canned pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil such as canola
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional- I instead chose to sprinkle a few on top

Cream the eggs and sugar, then add the oil and pumpkin. Beat 'til fluffy.
Sift together the remaining ingredients except for walnuts. Add to creamed ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Spread in an ungreased 15"x 10"x 1" baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 - 30 minutes. Or until pick inserted
in center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 ounces (1/2 brick) Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract/flavoring
2 cups powdered sugar or enough to make a good spreading consistency.

Beat together ingredients in order given. Spread over bars.


Refrigerate any leftovers to enjoy later.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Owl Bag Topper Tutorial

If you're looking for cute packaging for Fall gift giving, cookies, popcorn balls, etc. Look no further.
I've seen owl bag toppers attached to plastic sandwich type bags.
My version uses a brown paper lunch bag! This is a nice size for bigger portions.
An appealing way to package your goods if you're participating in a Fall Bazaar, etc.
Here's how......

I'm using white paper here just so it shows up better, but you'll want to use brown or black construction paper. Fold and cut in half lengthwise. You will only use one half sheet for each owl head. This should be about the same width as a paper lunch bag.

Then fold it top to bottom and then side to side like a greeting card.

Now cut curves as shown on the open sides,
leaving the folded sides uncut.

Then when you open it you have the basic head or face of the owl.
It is still folded at the top.

Fold the top of a lunch bag over approx. 2 - 3 inches and line up the folds of the bag and the owl head.
Glue into place.

It should look like this with a front and back head and the bag is still able to open.

Next you want to cut several pairs of circles. If you don't have a template, just look around the kitchen for things you can trace around like little lids, measuring cups, etc.

You will need:

2 circles cut from black construction paper 4cm dia. for the center of the eye
2 circles cut from white construction paper 5cm dia. white around center of the eye
2 circles cut from light brown or orange 6 1/2cm dia. for the outer eye
1 circle cut from dark brown 5cm dia.
this circle you then fold in half then cut the folded side with a slight curve for 2 eyelids

The eyes with the light brown outer edge looks like this.........

The eyes with the orange outer edges look like this..........

The eyelids add alot of personality.........

I saw another version where the outer eye cirles were cut scalloped and that was very cute, but I just snipped around here before adding the eyelids to make them a little ruffled looking.

Fold over a little bit of orange construction paper and cut a beak shape, then glue into place.
An open beak adds more personality.

Try folding it at an angle before gluing.

Hint: Another way you can add personality is when you glue the head to the bag, fold the top of the bag slightly uneven and this will make your owl look like it has it's head tilted.

Finally, I added little three-toed feet to my bag.........

I think he turned out pretty cute.
His head is actually a darker brown than the lunch bag body but this contrast doesn't show up very well in my pics. :o(

Now just fill with goodies!

I can't help thinking the face would be so adorable made out of felt and used as an applique, or, made into a child's purse or something along those lines.