Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A wonderful New Years Give-a-way!

Over at "Creating from the Heart" with Melissa, she is having a wonderful give-a-way! Be sure to visit her blog for your chance to win!


I hope everyone has a very Happy New Year!


Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Special Christmas

We spent last evening at the nursing home my mother-in-law now resides in. They had a Christmas party for the patients and their families. There was a young gentleman who played the piano and sang various songs. They had a vast array of hors d'oeuvres in the formal dining room. Everyone had a wonderful time. It becomes so difficult at times knowing that Catherine will continue to decline and one day be as empty of a shell of her former being as some of the other Alzheimer's patients are.

This evening we attended another Christmas party. The lady who owns the shop where we have one of our bead group meetings had an open house. She also owns a Foursquare Craftsman Victorian home. She decorated it beautifully and everyone had a memorable evening.

While we were at the Christmas party this evening, I received the news that I am a grandmother again! Ethan was born early this morning. Mother and baby are doing well. That truly is a blessing. She has had a difficult pregnancy so just knowing that all is well, certainly is a gift from God. I can't wait to see a picture of him!

This holiday season has been so very busy. I think everyone is aware of all the health issues I have been dealing with. I am still dealing with the issue that I can't wear my glasses but the bifocal contacts are helping out. I'm finally at the point where the pain from the fractures and the surgeries is subsiding. I did want to pass along the latest news. I had my breast MRI last week. The results are once again another gift from God. After going through the surgical biopsy and partial lumpectomy on the left, the MRI does not show any signs of cancer. We have to be diligent with follow-up visits but for now, prayers are answered. I will still be seeing the breast surgeon in January. She may still want to do more surgery to remove the suspicious areas that they feel will eventually make that turn to cancer, that they have cautioned me about when they gave me the results. I will cross that bridge at the time, but I would rather have the surgery than to go through what my mother, my best friend and many others have gone through.

This Christmas will be very special in so many ways. We have so much to be thankful for and so much to celebrate. We will have our family Christmas Eve dinner, then will attend the service at the Church. We will celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas day with my in-law's from morning to mid-afternoon, then over to our daughter's home to celebrate with her family. Even though Skylar and Hunter have been with the family for three years now, the adoption was official late summer, so this will be the first Christmas together as an "official" family. Since the last few months have been a time of healing for me, it will be such a blessing to spend time with family.

I almost forgot to mention something we did this year for the first time! When my brother was in town, we took him, my mother and my grandson to see the Hartwood Acres Celebration of Lights! There is a three and a half mile drive filled with lights and amazing displays. I think we will go back when it snows, to see how differently the lights look in the snow. As we were driving through the area where they lights are sequenced to look like the deer are jumping over the cars; I paused to take yet another photo when a family of four real live deer crossed the road ahead of us! I didn't get their photograph, I was too concerned about not hitting them! It was just a little ironic that they crossed our path at the same place that the deer lights were jumping over the cars! We really enjoyed our visit to Hartwood and look forward to going back again.

May everyone have a Very Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wooden Block Christmas Tree

Wooden Block Christmas Tree

This is something I made many years ago, however it still comes out every year as a centerpiece on the coffee table in the parlor. This is the first one I ever made, back in 1999.

I can't begin to count how many of these I have made over the years. I thought that I would share how to make them with all my blogger friends!

I started with a wooden plaque as a base. You could use just about anything that is flat. You need a good supply of the 1" square wooden blocks. Sometimes you can get lucky and find them at the dollar stores. I begin by figuring out what I want to spell out. Each layer of this tree spells out something. I have the names of the children, the pets and different words that relate to Christmas. Each tree is personalized for whomever I make them for. Once you have your words figured out, arrange them from the longest word to the smallest. You want the larger words on the bottom and then you work your way up.

You can use hot glue, however I find that E6000 stands the test of time much better. Hot glue tends to allow items to fall off over time. I've never lost anything yet with the E6000!

Build your first row by creating a circle with your longest word on the plaque. If you have extra space, just use the side of the block that has a shape on it. Each row gets added by making them smaller by one or two blocks, depending on how tall you want the end result to be. Try to space them a little off-center so that you will have a lot of little cubbyholes to glue your miniatures to. Once you reach the middle of the tree, start stuffing crumpled paper, shredded paper or whatever you want, in the center, in order to help it keep its shape while drying. You "can" use a styrofoam cone shape however I find that the natural color of brown paper bags is less conspicuous. Add the final top layers and let the tree dry for several hours.

Once the blocks are dry, start to add your miniatures wherever you want them. If I have miniatures that relate to hobbies of the person's name on a particular layer, I try to put them there. I find my miniatures in the hobby shops, doll house shops, craft stores and floral stores. You can find tons of them on eBay and Etsy as well. Try not to use too much of the E6000 glue, a little goes a long way.

Once it is all done, sit back and enjoy the many compliments you will get. There is always something different for people to look at and admire. When the holiday season is over, I put a plastic bag over it and store it carefully.

I hope you enjoyed the "tutorial" and have fun making your own special holiday tree!

Merry Christmas to all my friends around the world!