Thursday, January 31, 2013


I cleaned off the refrigerator front last week. I finally took down this favorite picture. It was taken in 2008 at our friend Sara F.'s wedding. Daughters M, Mac, L and A with Husband.

Wonder W!

This post brought to you by Wonder W!

Sister A. bought this shirt on clearance for $1 and it is getting a lot of use. Promotes winter exercise. The horse is fast and loves to jump!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Winter Postcards

Todays Postcards From God come from Brother-I-L Brian, who is a great photographer and nature observer. He shared these winter shots from around their place.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Doll Clothes-Heart 4 Hearts

Daughter M likes to sew and make things with fabric and yarn. I like to shop thrift stores. Daughter W. has a little Heart4Hearts doll that needs dressing. These factors all marry in this first doll dress project. I can find baby clothes for under $1 at the thrift store, sometimes for as little as a quarter! One day it hit me that with a little creativity and basic sewing skills, baby clothes could be remade into doll clothes. I bought this little girls skirt at a thrift store. M. cut it on the seam and we measured it around "Consuelo" and cut to size. A simple seam and the removal of the bottom ruffle made a darling dolly sundress. It also gave us practice in sewing seams and provided almost instant results. Win, win, win, win when you consider the recycling and cost aspects. We plan to sew on some ribbon straps to finish it.

This lacy little number started out as a sampler rag for crochet stitches. I was trying to teach myself some new stitches while planning a blanket wrap project. It was just a wonky square, sort of narrow at the bottom and wider at the top. I planned to pull it all out and make a regular dish rag when W. grabbed it and wrapped it around "Consuelo" and said it was a dress. Why yes! Yes it is! I added a little bodice and straps in the middle of the front and edged it along the back. I sewed up the back two thirds of the way and added three coordinating buttons and it was done. We all like it! We later wove some ribbon in the lacy areas for modesty and decorative purposes.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Silly, Pretty Girls

They were off to ballroom dancing, and had their hair done by cousin Bekah. (Note the RSD hair pins.) Being close to family is a rich way to live.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

St. Nicholas Homemade

I got a little behind on my homemade Christmas gifts this year. December was spectacularly busy. I had wanted to make a little saint doll for Friend Nancy since she had shown me some on-line awhile ago. I had the little peg doll blanks for months, and finally got them painted this month. I made one for Friend Ana while I was at it. I liked how they turned out. You can tell they are both St. Nicholas, but I like how they are each a little different.

I wanted them each to have a crosier and miter. I made the crosiers from jewelry wire and then pounded them flat. I attached them with a couple of beads glued onto the side of the doll. The miter hats are just felt painted with acrylic paint. I began making them with two sides to be glued together, and halfway through decided to just use the felt for the fronts. I hot glued a small strap of elastic to the back of each hat. The hats fit great and stay on well. I really had fun making these little personalized gifts.

I wanted to add these little sketches made when planning how to make my St. Nicholas dolls. It's mostly for my art students who I try to show that it's OK to have very messy pages when working on an idea or project.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

More Homemade

Daughter L. made this vintage window nature scene for Daughter A. for Christmas. Daughter A. has always admired one their Aunt G. has in her kitchen, so L. began saving and drying field and ditch plants over the summer. We bought the old window frame on a rummage sale.

After she had all the materials, we had to figure out how to put it together. We thought it needed more depth than the frame gave us, and that there would need to be a natural looking background, so we went looking at Hobby Lobby. We bought one sheet of the thickest foam board we could find, and one sheet of a thinner foam board that had a light brown mesh pattern on it.
We cut the thick foam board into strips to line the bottom indented space of the frame (right next to the glass, but leaving a space between it and the glass), and put another strip along the back of the frame just below the first strip. We hot glued these on with the foam aiming up. Before glueing on the front strip, I attached some brown scrap material to mask the white foam board that faced the glass. We used these strips to poke the grasses and weeds into and hot glued them in place as needed. Sometimes pre-poking a hole with a toothpick was helpful for inserting finer plant stems. 
We also glued strips of the thick foam board to the sides to "build out" the depth of the frame to match the bottom width. The thinner, patterned board went on the back to seal it up when we finished the arranging. Because the back was so thick, I nailed tacking nails along the edge of each side and leaned them in to hold the board in place. I also sealed and secured the back by duct taping around all edges. We will finish it with a sturdy hanger.
When designing the frame we propped it up on our table near a front window so we could work on both sides of it. It was easier to arrange it with one person on each side of the frame. We added little nature finds (milkweed seeds, feathers, seed pods, etc.) in the little well created in front of the foam board strip at the bottom. We all liked the way this turned out.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Daughter Mac made me these green tea soap bags for Christmas. She wrapped green tea soap up to look like real, oversize tea bags. A very clever and fun gift.

Daughter W.  made some more of her "trademark" cute clay animals as Christmas gifts. She said, "I don't buy gifts, I make them." Good plan.

Daughter M. and her friends C and S made candy one day out of the Little House Cookbook. They dropped it into snow just like Mary and Laura Ingalls did. It was a little chewy but good, and they learned a bit about cooking candy to the correct temperatures.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Holiday Faces

Color co-ordinated cousins

Snow girl W.

Snow boarding sisters L. and A. Husband and all the girls skiied together one day (M. and W's first time), but there were no pictures.

Hoping for books for Christmas seemed to pay off for M.

W. wanted books and stuffed animals:check and check.
Friends from college dropped by to visit and play games-Abby, M., L., Rachel, A., Sarah


A bunch of beautiful, affordable blooms ($4.50 x 2) from Wal Mart to brighten our winter days! Find some beauty for your day, too! (In a $1 thrifted vase.)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cutting Book Letters

When I saw letters cut from old books on a trip, I knew I wanted to try to make them. I searched the Internet and only found one reference to making them on a Pinterest post that said they used a band saw for the cutting. A band saw seemed like a big investment, so we tried a hand held jig saw. First, I drew out the letter shape I wanted on the back of the book. After the first one I found it worked better to draw it on the front. Any leftover lines erased well, and it was easier and more accurate to cut from the front.

I didn't know how to make inner square corners with the saw but Husband said if I curved in and got a cut made in one direction, then I could take the saw out and turn it around, re-insert it in the cut, then finish the cut line going back the other way.  Man brain can be handy sometimes.

To cut out the center of letters with no opening, I used a drill to make two holes close together, wide enough for the blade to fit into. Smaller areas can be harder to cut as you go along because as the cut pieces of cover and pages become loose there is no way to hold them together and they vibrate. Using a clamp might help in some cases, but with the hand-held saw you would have to keep moving the clamp as you cut. I can see how a band saw with a flat work surface to cut on would be easier and probably give a neater finish. Sometime I'd like to try one, but this method worked pretty well too.

I was able to find books for as low as 25 cents at thrift stores. It  is kind of hard to cut up old books, but when there are soooo many, you soon see it as re-using them in a new way. These can make a fun gift, especially if you fit the book title/subject to the person you are making the letter for. (This Latin Composition book went to a friend who is trying to conquer Latin at college. She actually seemed to enjoy the thought of damaging a Latin Composition book!)
I posted these on and .